Monday, April 4, 2016

Vancouver For Free! (February 12, 2012) A story from my best adventure. I really need to do another one of those adventures again. Repost

Adventure is not outside a man; it is within.
             David Grayson (Ray Stannard Baker)


  Do you remember all the horrible stories you have heard about travel rewards programs? I myself have heard how they are hard to redeem and very limited.
I just want to say Thank you to Via Rail Canada (no they are not paying me for this endorsement, I wish).

My story begins with my long-time dream of travelling by train to Vancouver before I was sixty years old with just a backpack. Well, I am not sixty but my birthday is next month, and I must admit I am getting closer. M phoned me and said the words “I’m going to Vancouver.” Wow, I almost fell off my chair.

You see M has been squirreling away Via Rail points since 1999, her first year in a University far from home. She has continued to accumulate them ever since we both agreed that we love travelling by train; it is relaxing and just so much easier. We have always considered it like a vacation for a few hours.
Well; M has always said she was going to use these points someday for her big adventure, a dream I am sure she has mulled over for years. She now has enough points to travel by train from Toronto to Vancouver and then back again, for free. I have always expected this phone call. I had not expected what happened next.

 Being the generous person she is and after seeing the tickets were greatly discounted she mentioned she would like to share her adventure with me (her Mom). She had no idea if they would redeem the points for such a huge trip, and did not think they would ever let her buy two adult tickets. This is why I almost fell off my chair.

We are leaving sometime in April. No meal plan, no shower, no sleeping berth, and no plan; Economy Class all the way. One way that is. The tickets were free. We have no idea what to do now. We are definitely going we just don’t know where we will stay, or how we will get back. Now that is an adventure. I am sure it will work out; we have well over a month to plan. Shiver,shiver.

We will be going with one backpack each, and a bag with food for the trip. This is the way I have always dreamed of doing it, but in my dream I was alone. This is going to be wonderful. It would be much nicer if K could go but, maybe next time (she is squirreling away her Via Rail points too).

So this is my big Thank You to Via Rail Canada for honouring these points and making a couple of regular customers very happy. Buttons Thoughts will be going on the road.
I hope to be able to blog, during the trip. I do know I will be taking lots of photos, and writing.  Travelling four days, and four nights by train. Arriving in Downtown Vancouver, stay for a few days (not sure where), try to get to Victoria, and then, we find a flight home (I hope). OK as I write this it does sound a little crazy.
Sometimes crazy adventures are good. I cannot wait; I must say I am very excited, and just a little nervous about the unknown.  I think I am going to need a bigger backpack. The thought of sleeping in our seats sounds like fun, right?

I am going to need some suggestions, and some tips.  Where to stay, preferably safe and reasonably priced? What we can do, what to expect? Any travel tips would be appreciated. My very wise blogger family has some great advice to share I am sure. Email me or leave a comment I would love to hear from you.

Thanks, M this is going to be awesome. Scary but awesome.

Later.


37 comments:

  1. I sure do admire your adventuresome spirit. How exciting!

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  2. That is a trip I would love!!!

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  3. Sounds like fun! I'm glad you and your daughter can do this together!

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  4. My dream too.. Loved trains since iwas 3 and traveled from Edmonton to To.. You will love every minute

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  5. What an opportunity! And what could be more fun than traveling with your daughter. Enjoy enjoy!

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  6. you crazy, adventurous soul! but how fun to share this time with your daughter!

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  7. Oh, how I love trains! And oh!---what an adventure you will experience! There is nothing like vacationing by train. I am excited for you.

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  8. You are going to have a wonderful time! My daughter and I also love trains. It's a wonderful way to travel.

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  9. That sounds so exciting! I'm sure you are going to have a wonderful time!

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  10. This is a super adventure! WOW! I have always wanted to do this too... but I guess not this year. You will be passing through East Gwillimbury on the Canadian National tracks. If I see you, I'll wave! :))

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  11. Hi B,
    If you want to stay in downtown Vancouver, I highly recommend a property on Robson Street; central to everything. I stayed at the Blue Horizon once, and it was great. Also stayed at a condo/hotel next door to the Blue Horizon, I'll have to look the name of that one up.
    www.hellobc.com is the website for the BC tourist board. They often have discounted rates for travel in April.
    I'm excited for you!!!

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  12. Woot! Woot! You'll have more fun and adventures that you'll EVER be able to blog about. But write and take photos anyway. I don't know about the rest of Canada but the Canadian Rockies were off the scale beautiful! The whole trip across B.C. was jaw-dropping gorgeous. Loved Vancouver. I'd recommend the ferry trip to Victoria as long as you're that close. (And as long as you're THAT close you could drop by and see ME in Idaho.

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  13. Wow, what a wonderful adventure, Buttons!! My favorite hotel in the Vancouver area is the Inn on the Quay in New Westminster (http://www.innatwestminsterquay.com/). Their pillows are fabulous, which is hard to find in hotels, and the service is wonderful as well! The rooms look out over the Fraser River. And the hotel is a quick 3 or 4 minute walk from the New Westminster SkyTrain station. If you are stopping at the Via/Greyhound station I am thinking of, the hotel and the station are on the same line, so there is no transfers or buses to worry about (check out http://www.translink.ca for SkyTrain info). Stanley park is good to check out, I've visited the aquarium and walked part of the sea wall.

    Hope this helps! Have a great trip with your wonderful daughter, Buttons!

    Mandi

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  14. Yes!!! So much fun you will have...and a memory maker! All will work out. I've never been to Canada but I hope to "one day". We have decided "one day" is really any time now! I have airline points to use! Have a blast...and write us. Sandra

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  15. Yay! So much FUN!
    We want to know EVERY detail!!!!!

    :)

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  16. You are going to have so much fun! It isn't the destination it is the trip. Best of all to take it with your daughter! I am so happy for you. Good luck! To be able to spend this time with your grown daughter is priceless.

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  17. You deserve a trip away. You work so hard! How exciting!

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  18. Sorry it's taken me awhile to get back to your blog, B -- have been a bit overwhelmed these days.

    What an awesome opportunity! I can't offer any advice about your trip other than to say, enjoy! :)

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  19. awesome b.....the adventure of a lifetime. enjoy every single second!!

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  20. yay!!! so excited for you! i have friends who goes everywhere by rail (free). he owns a small business so probably builds up reward point s little faster then your daughter. and vancouver looks beautiful! look forward to traveling along via your blog!

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  21. Woot for you! I've always enjoyed whenever I visit Vancouver... such a beautiful town...

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  22. Oh wow B, it's going to be absolutely and totally awesome!! How lovely of M too.
    I love the feeling of jumping into an adventure feet first. Things will all just fall into place, you'll see.
    For sitting up journeys I always found one of those cheap plastic little blow up neck pillows great.. for either the neck, or propping against the window for your head, or, with just a puff of air in - for the small of the back! Funnily enough, I've also used it to put on the floor to rest my socked feet on... the softness feels good (take 2 perhaps - I did! They roll up to practically nothing in your bag :D))
    Will be eagerly following your trip. I just love train travel... something about that 'clippity-clip clippity-clip" sound :D)

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  23. You so deserve your dream!!! AND with a daughter no less!!!!

    trains are very cold to sleep in at night - I took a train from Whitefish Montana to Wisconsin - in June at night it even gets cold! So make sure you wear warm comfy clothes when you sleep :)

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  24. What a wonderful and memorable time you and your daughter will have! And I can't think of anyone who would appreciate this gift more than you. Happy trails B!

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  25. It sounds like a very exciting adventure for both of you. Wishing you both a great time. No work and all play.
    I'm afraid, I don't know Vancouver and can't give you any advise other than be safe and enjoy and have fun.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  26. That sounds like a wonderfully fun trip with your daughter. It would be good to 'live on the edge' with no preset plans. I don't know about sleeping sitting up for 4 nights though. My body couldn't handle that. Maybe take one of those neck pillows and a thin fleece blanket. It sounds like a grand adventure though. I know you will have fun. xx Pam

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  27. I am so glad you had this trip. And hope and trust it was WONDERFUL.

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  28. I hope your trip is wonderful. Looking forward to any photos you might take.

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  29. What a wonderful trip you had with your daughter! Great memories were made I'm sure. I'd love to hear the rest of the story.

    I was going to say pack a lighter back pack but realized you'd already done the trip a few years back. :-) That was one thing we learned traveling by train in Europe in 1973. Too much in our packs made them heavy for carrying.

    I enjoy the stories you share.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

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  30. Well deserved my friend.
    Enjoy.
    Hugs M xox

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  31. What a wonderful trip, to build and bring special memories.

    All the best Jan

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  32. What a trip it will be!! I did it in 1972, sitting up all the way, with a bag of food and the nerve of youth! I'd jump off at every stop and buy some juice or tea - no one was selling bottles of water in 1972!

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  33. I remember this trip fondly. You, M, and me on Grouse Mtn laughing and laughing, throwing snowballs, taking photos. Wonderful memories.

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  34. I would have sworn I left a comment here yesterday...I know one thing...I completely missed the part about it being a repost...I hope it was a grand time. Sounds like it was by the last comment by Kathleen.

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  35. what an amazing adventure you will both be going on... having quiet times to share with a daughter is so precious too and sharing the experience, more than magical.. When my daughter emigrated with her husband and son to Canada 13 years ago the first place they lived and worked was in Vancouver and I managed to visit them several times over the years they were there.. then a promotion led to being settled outside Toronto and again I managed to get across to visit them and the family had expanded by a daughter, a real Canadian girl** I love Canada, I like the people and their quiet kindness and good manners... at least all the ones I have met so far... so its lovely to come across your blog and find out that you are going to see the best of both worlds when you are on your adventure with your girl... all the best from over the pond in the old UK.. J

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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