A Travellerspoint blog

Vertigo

I ain't gettin in no plane fool!

sunny 27 °C
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So I woke up with 3 bites that looked like bed bug bites, they were all in a line, strange thing is I've already had one night in that bed and nothing bit me!? Anyway they aren't itchy so all is good.

Today we head back to Vancouver from Kelowna which isn't too far away and on the way there is an opportunity to Skydive. I already knew this was an option but it depended on the weather, it was blazing sunshine there was no ducking out of it....I signed up......

So I'm at 3085 meters about 10000 feet in this old camo'd up plane with the teeth painted on the front thinking this is ok I feel good....then the door slides open, which I'm sat next to, and it hits home that I'm about to exit a perfectly good aircraft. I'm sat between the legs of a guy half my size who tells me I have to get up onto my knees, this is a pretty tight space and the door is open so I do this very very carefully. Thankfully I'm not first to go as there is someone in front of us. The guys swings his legs out the door his instructor gets into position 3..2..1..they are gone. Now it's my turn, I manouver into the sitting position, legs out the door. Your instinct is telling you to hold onto the sides but you have to cross your arms and your legs as you exit. So with just the hooks attached to the instructor for support I'm hanging out of the aircraft door. Ready? he shouts, I nod, go........ I'm out, shouting profanities as I see the ground below my brain goes "what the hell are you doing?"

Wow! the first 4 seconds are total free fall and your heart is in your mouth, then the instructor taps your shoulder and you have to put out your arms, by now he's released a kind of mini parachute that helps steady us and stop us flipping over. We fall for another 25 seconds and I'm grining like a cheshire cat, then he pulls the cord and it's time to enjoy the scenery, I can see Vancouver and Vancouver Island plus Mount Baker and the Sea it's an amazing sight.

Posted by ride165 11:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Kelowna

Nice salad

sunny 25 °C
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Next we headed for Kelowna a city on Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley. Its name derives from a native term for "female grizzly bear." Another early start and it was still raining, Joey the Moose driver wanted to go karting but most of us weren't up for it except for Dan and Wayne. When we arrived at karting it was still raining but this didn't stop these nutters. So we spent 20 mins watching them smash crash and generally go crazy on the outdoor mud soaked track, very entertaining.

After karting we stopped at a Dairy farm where they made their own cheese and best of all ice cream so I promptly ordered a cherry custard thick ice cream milkshake, it's the best milkshake I ever had!

Arrived in Kelowna at about 4pm so I went for a walk round the town with Shane the Aussie on our bus. It was pretty quiet though being a Sunday. It looked a nice city to chill out in so I decided to hop off the bus for an extra night so I could recharge. This turned out to be a good move as later on we all met up an played drinking games before we went out for food. We had to play with cards and each card number had a certain meaning some generated rules, one of the rules was that no names were to be used. A little 11yr old Canadian kid had joined in (he was drinking ginger ale) and after a few minutes the crafty little sod tricked me into saying my name it was very funny.

The next day I waved off the moose bus and went for a stroll along the harbor and found a tiny beach with only one other person on it which was pretty cool. After chatting with her for a while about Canada and places she'd lived and how I'd seen more of Canada than she had we went for some salad and met her friends. It was a nice chilled out day and I got to meet some real Canadians instead of other people doing the same things as me from other countries.

Later I met up with the moose bus and caught up with the guys who hopped off at Revelstoke. After a meal and some catching up I hit the hay.

Posted by ride165 22:52 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Revelstoke

Where?

storm 20 °C
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Everyone on the bus today was pretty tired after a late night so it started of a bit quiet, some new people got on the bus a couple from Wakefield called Dan & Jen and another couple called Scott & Lou plus Justine from Southampton and Wayne from NZ.

We were supposed to go Kayaking on the lake but as we got to Revelstoke a huge storm hit which meant it was canceled. It was quite an impressive storm though with full on fork lightening and serious wind and rain. I decided to catch up on some sleep along with a few others and the rest went to a waterpark.

Later we all had a BBQ in the rain, just like being at home!, and in true British style burnt the bangers!

Posted by ride165 22:44 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Calgary

and the Badlands

overcast 25 °C
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So today I set off on my Prairie Duster part of the Moose tour which I added at the last minute. I really wanted to see the Badlands which is why I did it.

First stop was the Hostel in Calgary to check in and pick up some people for the trip. A brief look at Calgary reveled that it is in fact a bit of a dive. The City has grown so fast that lots of it has failed to keep up. There are lots of drunks and drug addicts dotted around the place. Most amusing was the huge drug and alcohol rehabilitation center we passed which not only had lots of people sat outside drinking but also sported a liquor store at the back.

After the delights of Calgary we headed to Drumheller and first stop was Horse Thief Canyon which gets it's name because the area is like a maze of canyons, ravines, gullies which made such good hiding places that horse thieves would hide out there for days. These canyons and gullies and other such geological forms are know as Badlands. Other forms that can be seen are Hoodoos, these are tall thin pieces of rock that protrude from the Badlands area and look a bit like mushrooms.

Hoodoos_Drumheller.jpg

After this place we had a quick stop at the smallest church in the world, it's just at the side of the road and is no more that 1 meter x 1.5 meter. The last stop of the day was a Dinosaur museum which was OK but I'm not really a museum kind of person so I sped round it then went for a walk around the Badlands area on the site.

On the way back to Calgary we stopped at a place called Wayne and at the Last Chance Saloon this was a very original Saloon type bar. There were a couple of old timers sat drinking whiskey and they decided they ought to do a sobriety test to see if they could drive home ok. This consisted of a small, but painful looking, animal trap and a coin. The idea was to get the coin and not get your fingers caught, needless to say they failed on several attempts much to our amusement. I videoed them doing it, I'll upload it to Facebook as soon as I can.

After a night in Calgary we headed to a place called Head-smashed-in Buffalo Jump which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The buffalo jump was used for 5,500 years by aboriginal peoples of the plains to kill buffalo, by driving them off the 10 metre high cliff.

Next we headed back to Banff to stay the night there in the Alpine Hostel, the rooms were fantastic and I got a double bed on the mezzanine level after craftily switching the bed numbers round so the Frenchy I was shering with got the single. After a home cooked meal, thanks Angie, we all headed to the bar which being a Friday meant Karaoke night. It was a great night had and myself Andy and Shane got up to sing Wonderwall, my first time doing Karaoke, I think the booze helped!

Posted by ride165 22:07 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Banff

Again!

semi-overcast 20 °C
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Day 1

Heading back to Banff we stopped at Athabasca Falls then Peyto lake and Glacier, it was a crappy day weather wise which meant we couldn't do the normal hike because of the very low cloud so instead we headed straight to Banff and went to the Hot Springs to chill out in the 40 degree natural waters.

We all went out for a meal and drinks in the evening and I had Bison burger which was nice and kind of tasted like spicy sausage. The rest of the night involved lots of drinks and some live music, we got in around 3am a little worse for wear.

Day 2

Hungover me Ian and Matt decided it would be a great idea to work of the hangover with a short bike ride, we hired the bikes for 3hrs and set off. 7hrs later we arrived back at the bike shop having covered about 55km right the way around the base of Mt Rundle. It was a fantastic day though with excellent terrain and I saw a black wolf crossing the trail ahead of us. It looked up at me from about 200 yards away then disappeared into the forest, very cool! When we got back to the bike shop 4hrs later than planned the guy was so impressed with the distance we covered that he let us off the extra money!

Day 3

My brain obviously wasn't functioning properly today as after waving off Ian and Matt on the Moose bus I decided I'd not had enough exercise and hiked up Sulpher Mountain and back down the other side the elevation covered was about 800 meters. At the top of the mountain we were at 2230m which is higher than Whistler. The trail said it would take between 2 - 5hrs to get to the top but Adam and I did it in 1.5hrs I think you'd have to walk backwards for it to take 5hrs!

Posted by ride165 16:45 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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