Chilliwack to 100 Mile House Through Hell’s Gate

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 21 ~Day #42
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$4200
$111.91
$5267.33
$125.41
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4981+576=5557
3826
000
69
10060.4

Current Location: 100 Mile House, BC

Transportation: $79.00 gas
Accommodation: $17.75 incl showers
Food: $15.16 groceries

On The Road Again
There was a light rain this morning but it felt good to be back on the road again. We are headed towards Jasper and Banff Provincial parks in the Rocky Mountains.

There is quick route through the mountains called the Coquihalla (pronounced coka-holla) – Hwy 5, but it is not the scenic route. We took the Trans Canada – Hwy 1 from Chilliwack to Cache Creek then Hwy 97 to 100 Mile House. Yes that is the actual name of the town. Back in 1862 it was just a roadhouses that was located 100 miles up the Old Cariboo Road which which was a resting spot for travelers during the Cariboo Gold Rush

Hell’s Gate
The Trans Canada winds through some spectacular mountain scenery but it is just a prelude to the Glacier Highway we’ll be following through The Rockies in a couple of days.

The highway follows the Fraser River valley through the Coast Mountains. At one point the river passes through a narrow gorge called Hell’s Gate. There is a cable car you can take to a viewing platform and gift shop where you can get a better look but at $19 each there was no way we could justify the expense – besides it was still raining.

Maybe I’m just getting old and curmudgeonly but it feels like more and more tourist attractions are trying to rip me off. It seems to be a kind of vicious circle – business is poor so they raise the prices. The higher prices mean less people will buy a ticket which means business is worse. The only ones unaffected seem to be the Japanese tourists that visit the area by the bus load.

100 Mile House
100 Mile House is much larger than I expected with a good selection of stores but none seem to be open past 6pm. None except for the grocery store and we apparently needed more groceries.

In the middle of town is the 100 Mile Motel and RV Park where we pitched our tent for $15 which included wi-fi but not showers. The showers cost $1 for four minutes which is just enough time if you’re quick.

Turns out the Wi-Fi only sort of worked (which we are getting used to on this trip) but the site was clean and dry and the shower block was close. For $15 we thought we got a good deal.

Father’s Day in Chilliwack

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 20 ~Day #41
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$4100
$76.66
$5155.42
$125.74
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4981
3826
000
69
9484.40

Location: Chilliwack, BC

Today’s Total Expenses: $76.66

Food: $76.66

Father’s Day

Today was Father’s Day and my sister and I were able to contact my Dad and wish him a Happy Daddy’s Day!

Sadly, my Dad is the only Dad left now. Geoff’s Dad passed away some years ago as did my brother-in-law’s Dad. But they are, of course, still in our memories.

However, Geoff, of course is Dad to his daughter “J” and he was very pleased to receive a Happy Father’s Day email from her.

Laundry

Yes, more laundry again today. Does it ever end?

Traveling light is great, but it means that the laundry needs to be done way more often.

At least this means that we head out tomorrow with clean clothes.

Yes, unfortunately, this is our last day with family for a while. Next family will be with my daughter and her family in a couple of weeks.

Stocking Up on Groceries

Today we made another trip to the supermarket to stock up on groceries before we head out. Again, it was tough not to buy too much. Actually, we probably did buy too much but were at least able to restraint ourselves from buying WAY too much.

Repacking the Car

As we get ready to head out again tomorrow, we’ve made an attempt – well, Geoff has, actually because I’m not very good at this – to repack and reorganize the car.

It’s really packed well but considering that we are “traveling light”, there doesn’t seem to be much room in the car once it’s packed. With everything in place there is just enough room for me and Geoff in the front seats. All the other space is taken up with the tent, the cooler, the groceries, our clothes, etc.

Turkey Dinner

My sister decided to send us off with a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings on our last night staying with them.

We all enjoyed it immensely and all agreed that turkey is great any time, not just for Christmas or Thanksgiving.

Thanks again for the fantastic time we’ve been able to spend with you guys!

Nanaimo to Vancouver to Chilliwack, BC

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 18 ~Day #39
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$3900
$48.70
$4955.39
$127.06
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917 + 64
3826 + 30
000
69
9484.40

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Mileage: 128 (Chilliwack to Vancouver and return)
Nautical Miles: 30 (Departure Bay (Nanaimo) to Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver)

Today’s Total Expenses: $48.70

Transportation: $27.70 (Ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver)

Entertainment: $21.00 (Parking for Stanley Park, ferry to Granville Island)

BC Ferries

British Columbia has an amazing ferry system to service many of their communities.

This morning we were up early to catch the 8:30am ferry from Departure Bay in Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver where my sister would be waiting to pick us up. We had a full day planned visiting Stanley Park, Granville Island and finishing up with a BBQ with my brother-in-law’s family.

The ferry crossing was pleasant and relaxing. I was hoping to see some wildlife along the way – whales in particular – but I would have settled for seals or dolphins, but it was not to be.

We felt the charge for the ferry was pretty reasonable. We only spent $27.70 for both of us and the trip was over 1-1/2 hours long and covered 30 nautical miles.

Stanley Park

My sister was waiting for us as we got off the ferry. She had brought our car, which we had left at their house while we were on the Alaska cruise.

We threw our stuff in the car and headed for Stanley Park. This is a huge park on a peninsula in downtown Vancouver. It boasts an aquarium, totem poles, many lookout points and more. I’m really not doing it justice with my description, so you should consider a visit here.

We drove through the park to get an idea of where we’d like to stop. We then found a parking spot and the parking pass was good for anywhere in the park which meant we could feel free to stop and explore wherever we wanted.

Our first parking spot was actually just outside the park but our pass covered that, too.

It was lunchtime so we stopped for lunch at a small Arabian restaurant for a Shwarma (I hope I’m spelling that right) plate. It was a plate of spiced chicken, rice, humus, tabouli and a pita bread. We couldn’t finish it all.

Granville Island

After walking the seawall in downtown Vancouver to work off some of our lunch it was off the Granville Island.

Granville Island is a mix of farmers market, boutique stores, entertainment, restaurants and more and is a “must see” when visiting Vancouver.

We were able to leave the car where we had parked it and take a cute little ferry to Granville Island.

While we were there we were able to meet up with our niece (who is expecting within a couple of weeks and simply cute as a button), her husband and their six Afghan hounds – that’s right, I said six and they are all amazingly beautiful.

Back to Stanley Park

After taking the little ferry back to where we had our car parked, we headed back into Stanley Park and made several stops throughout the park including one at the totem poles.

Wildlife Encounter

Finally! An up close and personal wildlife encounter.

Okay, it was only a raccoon with attitude, but it was exciting anyway.

Family BBQ

From there we headed, with the help of Madge (our GPS), to the family BBQ. It was lovely to meet many family members that we have not met before and to see a few that we hadn’t seen in more years than I care to mention.

The conversations were interesting, the food was great and there was most certainly lots of it. Many thanks to my brother-in-law’s family for including us in their get-together.

At Sea En Route to Anchorage, Alaska

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 06 ~Day #27
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$2700
$222.76
$3277.38
$121.38
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917
1307 + 717 = 2024
000
000
7244.6

Location: At Sea
Daily Cruse Expense: $222.76

Heading for Anchorage

Today was another “at sea” day meaning that we are simply putting miles behind us in order to get to Anchorage tomorrow.

On this cruise we will have a total of three “at sea” days. The first, of course, was the Inside Passage, our first full day on the Amsterdam. The second is today as we head towards Anchorage and the third will be after we leave Juneau and head for Victoria, British Columbia where we will actually be disembarking. We want to spend more time in Victoria and then take the train up to Nanaimo to visit with my brother and sister-in-law before heading back to my sister’s in Chilliwack to pickup our car and start the eastward bound part of our North America trip.

Motion of the Ocean

For most of our voyage the seas have been fairly calm but have been a couple of days where we’ve had some significant waves. Certainly not what we would consider rough seas but enough to sometimes get the ship rocking a bit from side to side.

Neither Geoff nor I are particularly susceptible to seasickness but other people, including one of our dinner companions, were feeling the effects from time to time.

As you exit the main dining room each evening you are presented with a choice of mints, hard candies and crystallized ginger. Both of us have been indulging in the crystallized ginger and recommending to anyone who is a bit queazy because of the motion of the ship.

Ginger is wonderful for settling the tummy.

Entertainment Onboard

Each evening there is entertainment in the Queen’s Lounge, a large, two-storey theatre at the bow of the ship. There are two performances so they can accommodate all of the passengers onboard.

They have a talented group of singers and dancers that stay with the ship in addition to guest performers.

Classical Music at Sea

Our absolute favorite so far was a pianist – Elliot Finkel. He not only played for us one evening but today, at 3:00pm, he gave us a classical music performance that ended in a standing ovation.

Weight Loss Challenge

Perhaps the title for this part of my post should be – “What was I thinking?”

I guess it kind of goes right along with the obvious senior moment I had when I decided I didn’t really need to pack a warm jacket for our Alaska cruise. Thanks again to my sister for the warm fuzzy jacket that I have used extensively on this trip.

No, I haven’t yet weighed myself since the first time I weighed in, so I have nothing to report.

I did promise myself that I wouldn’t have dessert with lunch, though, and I kept that promise for a full 24 hours!

Whether you’ve cruised or not, everyone knows that it’s pretty much non-stop food on a cruise. Most of it is really quite good, too.

Last night we decided to eat in the Italian restaurant onboard rather than in the Main Dining Room. You need to make reservations for this restaurant, but it is included in your cruise fare.

I had veal and Geoff had cod and it was obviously cooked to order and delicious. We had a lovely table to two right in front of a large window.

I was hoping to sight some whales but no such luck. Maybe tomorrow.

The Land of the Midnight Sun

We’ve all heard this expression and tonight we actually experienced it.

After watching a movie in the small theatre we went to the Lido Deck for a midnight snack and cup of tea. It was midnight and the sun still hadn’t completely set.

We witnessed a section of bright blue sky with rose-colored clouds and the sun attempted to set just past midnight – incredible!

Chilliwack to Seattle for Holland America Alaska Cruise

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

May 31 ~ Day # 21
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$2100
$316.42
$1856.82
$88.42

Location: MS Amsterdam
Mileage: 300 Total: 4917 (approx mileages as we took a bus from Chilliwack to Seattle)

Today’s Total Expenses: $93.66

Transportation: $90.16
Accommodation: $0.00
Food: $3.50
Entertainment: $0.00

Many Thanks

Many, many thanks go out to my baby sister and her husband for making us feel so at home during our stay with them.

Also, thanks for the warm, fuzzy jacket my sister gave me. As I mentioned in a earlier post my brain must have been elsewhere when deciding what to pack. I didn’t think to pack a warm jacket and I knew we were cruising to Alaska – DUH!

So thanks, TA! I know it will be much appreciated during the cruise.

Early Morning Departure

As we needed to be back in Seattle to begin our Alaska cruise, we looked a several options.

The first option was to just take our car with us and park it for the two weeks we would be away. Parking close to the cruise docks would have cost almost $250.

Another option was to leave our car at my sister’s home and find another way to get to Seattle. We checked the cost to fly and the best we could do was about $114 each and that didn’t include getting to the airport. We checked taking the train. It was about $75 total for the two of us but it didn’t included getting to Vancouver from Chilliwack. The option we actually chose was the Greyhound Bus. From Chilliwack to Seattle was only a total of $52.16 for the both of us. Additional costs to that would be a cab from my sister’s house to the bus station and another cab from the bus station in Seattle to the cruise port. The only catch with this plan was that the bus left Chilliwack at 2:55am! But, we decided this was the most cost-effective way to go and that’s exactly what we did.

We pre-arranged with the cab company to pick us up at 2:30am and then I called again at 2:00am to confirm that they, indeed, has us scheduled. The cab arrived on time and we got to the bus station in lots of time. The cab cost, including tip, was $15.00.

The trip into Vancouver was kind of a “scenic route” as we stopped may places to pick up and discharge passengers. Once in Vancouver we had about an hour to change to the bus heading for Seattle, so we picked up a cup of coffee and waited.

Back in Seattle

The trip to Seattle was uneventful, even when we crossed the border. The US customs and immigration officers were friendly and cheerful and we got through in record time. Of course, the fact that, at this point, there were actually only six of us on the bus probably made the process speedier than usual.

All in all the trip took just a little over 7 hours. We left Chilliwack just before 3am and arrived in Seattle just after 10am.

We had hoped to get a little sleep on the trip, but this just didn’t happen. We had decided that since the taxi was picking us up at 2:30am, there was really no point in going to bed earlier that night. Actually, I was worried that we might not get up in time if we did that. So, we just watched TV until it was time to go.

By the time we arrived in Seattle we realized that we had now been up for about 26 hours and we still had to get to the ship and board.

Checking in with Holland America

We were able to get a cab just outside the bus station that took us directly to the cruise ship dock. The cost for this cab, including the tip, was $23.00. Our major expenses for today, not including the cost of the cruise, naturally, was transportation.

We arrived at our ship’s check in point at about 10:30am. I was a bit worried that we would be too early to check in. (I just LOVE to worry about stuff.) The information we received was from Holland America was that check-in was a 1:00pm and we would sail at 5:00pm.

However, as is normally the case, I needn’t have worried. There were already lots of people there ahead of us.

Check in is much like going through airport security: you need to show your passports lots of time to just about everyone; your luggage goes through the x-ray machine and you have to go through the metal detector. A plus, though – we didn’t have to remove our shoes.

All through this process Geoff was the one lugging our big duffle bag which contained all of our clothes and carrying the computer as well. I was carrying our toiletries and my purse. That’s seems fair, right?

Well, after we had checked in with the duffle bag in tow, we were told that we could have checked the duffle bag downstairs where we came in, otherwise, we’d have to keep it with us until the rooms were ready – sometime after 1:00pm.

So, Geoff schlepped the duffle bag back downstairs, we put the toiletries bag inside the duffle bag, too so that meant that we only had to deal with the computer and my purse – much better. We headed back upstairs, back through security and then waited until we could board.

By the way, the Holland America check in staff we both helpful and welcoming.

Boarding the MS Amsterdam

At around 11:30am they started the boarding process. When we checked in we were issued to boarding group number. We were in group 3 so once the process started we didn’t have long to wait before our group was called.

They took to inevitable boarding photos as this seems to be a standard thing on all cruises and then we walked up the gangway to the ship. The weather was overcast but fortunately it wasn’t raining as parts of the gangway was not covered.

Food, Food and More Food

Anyone who has cruised before, or even knows anyone that has cruise before, knows that there is pretty much non-stop food available on a cruise, and I’m not going to tell you any different.

Upon boarding the ship we were directed toward the Lido Deck where there was a huge buffet of all kinds of food waiting for us. There were buns and salads and sandwiches made to order and hot food – Asian, Italian, etc. – and, of course, desserts and lots of other items that I haven’t mentioned.

We got some rolls and salad and a couple of other things and settled into a window seat and enjoyed our lunch while trying not to give in to how tired we were.

Another Challenge?

As you know, our main challenge for the entire time we are traveling is to average no more than $100/day. The cruise will skew this average for a while until we can add in a few less expensive days after the cruise.

However, another challenge that I have set for myself is to actually try to lose weight during the cruise. Probably a more realistic goal is to try not to gain any weight, but I feel I’m up for the challenge.

I plan to weigh in tomorrow morning and then track my weight throughout the next two weeks. No, I’m not going to tell you what I weigh but I will let you know if it’s going up or down. Wish me luck!

Cabin’s Ready But Where’s Our Luggage?

At about 1:30pm there was a ship-wide announcement that all the cabins were ready so we headed to our’s to check it out.

We realized when we checked in that we had been upgraded without even knowing about it. Thanks Jennifer! (Our Holland America cruise consultant).

As we are trying to do this entire trip in the most cost-effective way we, naturally, chose the least expensive cabin. We had expected to be in the smallest stateroom on the lowest deck (Deck 1). To our surprised, we were upgraded to a larger stateroom on Deck 2.

Our luggage had not yet been delivered to our stateroom so we spent some time just exploring the ship and trying to stay awake. By this time (about 2:00pm) we had been up for about 30 hours. I think at this time we were well passed overtired and into our second, or possibly third, wind.

Leaving Port

At about 5:30pm the ship began to leave port. It was lovely and sunny – a welcome change from the overcast and slightly raining it had been most of the day – and we reclined on deck chairs at the aft of the ship while we slowly left Seattle.

Wet Clothes and No Shower!

We headed back to our cabin to see if our luggage had arrived yet and to get ready for dinner. We had chosen the late seating for the dining room which meant we would be seated at about 8:00pm.

Still not having slept, we wanted to shower to get refreshed and then dress for dinner. For the first evening aboard ship the dress for the dining room would be casual.

Our suitcase had arrived – Yay! I began to unpack and start to hang things up when I realized that several of the items in our suitcase were very wet. Had our luggage been left out in the rain? Dropped in a puddle? We didn’t know. But, when I reported the problem to the office they sent a room steward to pick up the clothes to have them cleaned and returned to us at no charge.

Next, we headed for the shower, turned the knobs and NOTHING happened! No hot water, no cold water – nothing. The sink worked fine, the toilet worked fine, the shower stayed dry no matter what we tried. It was getting close to dinner time and we really, really wanted to shower.

The office promised they’d send someone right down but we waited for as long as we could and then used the sink in our bathroom to wash ourselves down before heading off for dinner. The office said they’d get the shower fixed while we were at dinner.

Discretionary Purchase

On the way to the dining room we noticed a liquor-tasting event and stopped for a bit. We tried some Sheridan’s Coffee Liquor – it comes in an impressive bottle that is actually two bottles in one, one side is a creamy white and the other side is a dark brown. There are two spouts and you pour both at the same time. The white liquor floats on top of the dark brown coffee liquor and the resulting taste is exquisite.

As you can purchase liquor duty-free onboard they were offering two large bottles for $39.95, but the clincher was that there was a third, smaller bottle that came along with the purchase, that you could take back to your room as long as you finished it before disembarking. No problem there!

As the challenge we have set means we need to keep costs down whenever possible, we will not be purchasing any alcoholic drinks while we’re on this cruise. So the temptation to have such a tasty liqueur in our stateroom proved irresistible. So, yes, we bought the two bottles for $39.95.

As this is a discretionary expense, we have not included it in the daily total.

First Dinner Onboard

There are always many, many choices of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner aboard a cruise and this cruise is certainly no different. Both Geoff and I opted for the “Chef’s Recommendation” for our first dinner. Unfortunately, we found we were both somewhat disappointed. The soup – double baked potato soup – was lovely, but the baby back ribs were fattier than I like and not very tender. But, this is only the first day and I am looking forward to wonderful things! So, I don’t plan to dwell on such a slight disappointment.

Evening Entertainment

Immediately following dinner we headed to the Queen’s Lounge for the first evening’s entertainment.

The entertainment was light and there was a lot of information about upcoming events and entertainment and the introduction of the cruise’s social staff. The real entertainment begins tomorrow night.

Still No Shower?

We arrived back in our stateroom around 11:00pm still craving a long, hot shower to find that the shower still wasn’t working!

Instead of calling the office we went directly there and they promised they’d sent someone right away.

True to their word a maintenance person arrived very quickly and fixed our shower. Yay!

Time For a Good Night’s Sleep

It was now almost midnight and that meant that we had been up for almost 40 hours straight. Yikes!

Not knowing how long we would sleep in after being up for so long we put a Do Not Disturb sign on our door and settled into our comfy king-size bed and quickly drifted off to sleep anticipating the second day of our cruise.