Day 1 - Thursday 24th July 2008

Ropley to Richmond

As the packing was underway, Tilly didn't want to miss out.

Well, we were up most of the night packing, tidying, and so on. Got to bed about 2, up at 4:30, collected at 5:30, at Heathrow before 7:00. Bag drop took longer than it should have, then a coffee at Costa before the long drag through security.

On the far side Laurie and Aid explored gadgetry while Meld went to Boots, then it was hanging around for the gate to open. A chance to get the diary started and Laurie started his blog at

Now it's time for the gate to open, so gate 26 here we come!

We used the GPS to plot our route - thanks to Google Earth we can show this on a map: north up over Scotland, over Iceland, Greenland, up north of 73°, then south west across Baffin Bay and northern Canada, into northern Alberta, across the Rockies into BC north of Jasper, over Kamloops, then into Vancouver from the west. Display the track log to see more.

As we crossed the south coast of Iceland the sea was a bit cold looking!

Crossing the north coast, the mountains dropped into the sea.

Greenland was a mass of snow, frozen sea, and rocky mountain tops standing black above the white.

Even Laurie got some sleep.

Baffin Bay - the ice floes.

GPS mounted on window blind.

South towards northern Alberta, eventually fields start to appear, sign of human habitation not seen further north.

Crossing the Rockies north of Jasper.

Near Valemount we saw a glacier.

The excellent views of the mountains continued.

Kamloops Lake.

Over the Coastal Mountains.

Harrison Lake.

Even close to Vancouver the mountains are pretty wild.

We normally manage get a train picture for Jules - this time its the whole marshalling yard in eastern Greater Vancouver.

The river is used to transport lumber.

and this is through the metroplitan area.

And so into the airport, through customs, baggage pickup and to a queue for the car. But it was worth the wait for our Chrysler Town and Country - a luxurious minivan.

We drove south to Tsawwassen to pickup up the girls.

We lunched at Tim Horton's in Tsawwassen before driving down to Boundary Bay where a seagull had caught his lunch.

The girls watched little shellfish make grooves in the sand.

Aid walked south along the beach...

..and ended up in the USA, so turned back north.

The road names gave away which side of the border I was on.

And so back to the others and the car, and to our hotel, where we checked into our palatial suite. Dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, and bed. It's been a long day!