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In search of Nessie

Bunarkaig Bay to Gairlochy

overcast 60 °F

This morning was all about more watersports and cycling in Bunarkaig Bay in Loch Lochy. Lots of sailing, paddleboarding, canoeing, and cycling. After lunch we weighed anchor and the barge headed towards Gairlochy, where we would spend the night. Three of us chose to walk the 3+ miles to the mooring spot where we met the barge. Dinner tonight was a typical Scottish dinner featuring a very good grilled haggis with some mashed root vegetables. (Only three of us out of 12 ate the haggis). After dinner we had a little celebration to thank the crew for an absolutely wonderful week.


Posted by rpickett 16:02 Archived in Scotland Tagged loch to lochy gairlochy Comments (0)

Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady

sunny 80 °F

Finally after a long hiatus, my brother and I headed to Miami to board Richard Branson's Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady. Miami was again full of cruise ships, with our ship, two Carnival Ships, an MSC ship and an NCL ship all in the embarkation process.

We were assigned a 3:00pm check in slot, arranged on the Virgin Voyages App - your electronic home for the cruise. Check in took some time but was efficient. We first checked in and got out paperwork for the required Covid test. After a brief wait we got the antigen test and headed to the second floor of the terminal for the official check in, where they checked our passport, our vaccination card, and our wristbands - essentially the electronic key to the ship. By the time we finished the check in process, our Covid results had been emailed to us and we could board. Our bags were waiting for us when we arrived at our cabin. The first evolution, as normal, was the required safety drill. To complete it, you watched the rather clever safety video, and then proceeded to you muster station where you checked in with your wrist band and watched a demonstration on donning the life jacket.

Tonight Cocktails were at the Draught Haus - with seven different beers on draft as well as liquor and other canned beers.
We had made reservations at Razzle Dazzle - one of the many eateries on board. Although Vegetarian by design, it had meat on the menu. I started with a wonderful mushroom tartare and then grilled salmon with a side of smoked bacon. My brother had grilled chicken with a side of loaded tater tots. Desert was three giant cookies with cinnamon "cereal milk" The food and service was all excellent.

This morning for breakfast we headed to "The Galley", the ship's approximation of the buffet. Of note, is that since you "live" on the ship with the Virgin app on your tablet or phone, signed in to the ship's good wifi, there are charging stations at each table in The Galley.

Today is a sea day, so we are relaxing and exploring the ship!


Posted by rpickett 21:23 Archived in USA Tagged sea to miami Comments (0)

Vancouver to Calgary

Rocky Mountaineer Photo Album

The photo album of this fantastic adventure is up and running. It is hard to capture in pictures the magnificence of the Canadian Rockies.

I recommend that you review the album first to see the captions and itinerary and then do the slide show to view the beauty

Click Rocky Mountaineer Photo Album

Posted by rpickett 21:32 Archived in Canada Tagged calgary vancouver to rocky mountaineer Comments (0)

Vancouver to Calgary

Lake Louise to Banff

semi-overcast 55 °F

We finally got a day to sleep in and explore the Lake Louise resort - one of the great properties in the world. Since we didn't leave until mid-afternoon, I took a walk almost to the end of the lake. Although cloudy, it is an amazingly beautiful place.

We then boarded the bus and headed to Banff, stopping at Yoho National Park Natural Bridge on the Kicking Horse River, the Spiral Tunnels and Emerald Lake.


The Big Hill on the Canadian Pacific Railway main line in British Columbia, Canada, was the most difficult piece of railway track on the Canadian Pacific Railway's route. It was situated in the rugged Canadian Rockies west of the Continental Divide of the Americas and Kicking Horse Pass. Even though the Big Hill was replaced by the Spiral Tunnels in 1909, the area has long been a challenge to the operation of trains and remains so to this day. The essential problem was that the railway had to ascend 1,070 feet (330 m) along a distance of 10 miles (16 km) from Field at 4,267 feet (1,301 m) climbing to the top of the Continental Divide at 5,340 feet (1,630 m). The narrow valleys and high mountains limited the space where the railway could stretch out and limit the grade (hence the later decisions to bore extra mileage under the mountains and lower the grades).


Emerald Lake is enclosed by mountains of the President Range, as well as Mount Burgess and Wapta Mountain. This basin traps storms, causing frequent rain in summer and heavy snowfalls in winter. Due to its high altitude, the lake is frozen from November until June. The vivid turquoise color of the water, caused by powdered limestone, is most spectacular in July as the snow melts from the surrounding mountains.


Posted by rpickett 20:48 Archived in Canada Tagged lake banff to louise Comments (0)

Vancouver to Calgary

Quensel to Jasper Alberta

semi-overcast 55 °F

Today we boarded the train at sun-up for the all day trip across a time zone and province to Jasper, Alberta, which is in the Mountain Time Zone. We also shifted from the Cariboo to the Rockies. It was a stunning transition. The highlight was passing Mt. Robson - of which we saw about 50% - the tallest mountain in the region at more than 15,000 feet above sea level. The train treated us well with a Chocolate overload for desert at lunch and a wine and cheese tasting just before we arrived in Jasper. We arrived in Jasper just after sunset.

We switched Engineers and Conductors at St. George when we changed to the Grand Trunk Line. We were allowed to go faster and the Engineer had to have a different license for this set of trains tracks.


Posted by rpickett 23:55 Archived in Canada Tagged to jasper quesnel Comments (0)

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