We started off today early… 4:45am early.
We met Anthony our Rocky Mountaineer FAM Host in the hotel lobby at 6:10am. Once we were all assembled we were given our boarding passes, luggage tags and we were off to the Rocky Mountaineer Station. We were supposed to be a little earlier than the rest of the guests because they incorporated a train inspection of the GoldLeaf train. I’ve already seen it, but it was a nice start to the day. The only issue was that we were given the wrong vouchers and we were waiting for the correct taxi company to arrive. They didn’t show up in time, so we boarded a bus that was heading to the station instead. Because we were early, I made sure to get a photo of the locomotive this time as I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get a photo of it anywhere else on our journey.
We then assembled inside the station for the “All Aboard” call. It’s kind of a tradition. Afterwards we boarded our respective trains. It was so nice to get onboard and relax. We left the Rocky Mountaineer Station at 7:55am and were on our way to Kamloops. We were all served some fruit juice and had a welcome toast. As we were toasting we slowly moved by the “wave off”, just over one month ago I was waving off a Rocky Mountaineer train, now I was on the receiving end this time.
Once we were out of New Westminster, we were served a warm cinnamon and raisin scone along with a fruit salad and coffee. This was the start of the never ending food. About twenty minutes later we were served an omelette with apple chicken sausages with roasted potatoes and tomatoes. It was really interesting to see a different side of travelling out of Vancouver through the Fraser Valley. Once 9:30am hit, coffee and Bailey’s were free flowing as we were going through Mission. The scenery along this leg of the journey changes quite a bit, from the farm land of the Fraser Valley, to the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate and Cisco Crossing in the Fraser Canyon to desert near Kamloops. British Columbia is very diverse in the way of ecosystems and microclimates.
We actually did really well on this trip. Typically fright trains have right of way and priority. However we only stopped and waited once for about fifteen minutes for a train just outside of Cache Creek.
Food just came coming, we were given snacks and had a Whistler Beer. We were given a delicious tomato salad with a mustard seed dressing followed by “lunch” which I had Braised Short Ribs with mashed potatoes and root vegetables. It was amazing. This was followed by more coffee and Bailey’s and a brownie cake. The scenery from the train was amazing. Hearing the stories and the history of the railroad and the area made the trip that much more memorable. I was just taking every moment in. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this journey so far. It’s truly amazing. Today we saw some bighorn sheep and many eagles along the river. We reached Kamloops ahead of schedule due to no delays with fright trains. We were welcomed into Kamloops by two volunteers on horseback, waving us “welcome”. This time the transfer situation was much more streamlined. We were given hotel keys before we even left the train. When we did leave the train, we were steps away from our bus that took us to our hotel, The Thompson Inn. Our suitcases along with a note and some chocolates were waiting for us in our rooms. This alone makes the Rocky Mountaineer stand out and truly sets them apart from any other tour company I know. Their customer service is outstanding.