The Grand Canyon beckons

Three Ottawa, Ontario area kayakers won the lottery for a time slot on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Small problem. Their kayaks were in Vancouver, BC, 2200 kms away from the launch point. They needed someone to transport the kayaks to Las Vegas, Nevada. I volunteered for the task and so, here I was at 5:30 AM waking up to get to the airport for an early morning flight to Vancouver. This time around, I was flying Air Canada, but plenty were also there at that time of the morning to board the Westjet flight boarding at an adjacent gate.

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I was flying with point redemption so, as is normal, the only spots that tend to be available are the flights that leave early in the morning or arrive very late at night (or have multiple stops along the way). Since flying from Ottawa to Vancouver takes about 6 hours non-stop, it was the non-stop flight that I wanted to be on. Not interested in extending that part of the trip by stopping for a chat or plane change in Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg or Calgary which made up all of the other options and would have added another hour or two to the travel time.

Before we could take-off, our pilot had to taxi the jet to the deicing area so that a solution  could be sprayed onto the wings.  While waiting for the deicing process to be completed, the couple sitting next to me began a discussion of the costs of the deicing process both in terms of the cost of time as well as the cost of the deicing fluids and the manpower and machinery needed to apply the stuff and clean up the excess fluids. That led to discussion of how coatings based on nanotechnology might some day eliminate the need for deicing altogether.

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I was looking forward to visiting with my brother in Vancouver before loading the kayaks and heading south to Las Vegas. The slight difference in temperature between Ottawa and Vancouver was an added bonus of flying to Vancouver. When we were boarding the plane in Ottawa, the outside temperature was hovering around -25C while the forecast temperature in Vancouver was +8C and sunny.

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The flight with Air Canada went well with just a touch of turbulence as we approached the foothills of the Rockies near Lethbridge, Alberta. I was lucky to have a young couple sitting beside me on the plane who were involved in the mining industry in Peru. Although they had lived in places that I might only wish to visit some day (Chile and Peru), their Canadian roots in Squamish and Whitehorse (two places that I have visited) were locations of which we could share some knowledge and stories. Who knows, in this small world, my middle son’s career in Geophysics might some day lead him across their path on some flight in the future. Having interesting flying partners can certainly make the flight seem shorter.

As we flew along the 49th parallel, I could look south to see all sorts of mountains and patterns whenever the cloud cover thinned to allow a glimpse or two at was below.  Soon we were back on the ground at Vancouver International Airport .

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After my brother met me at the airport, we did a quick tour of Vancouver’s Gastown (cobblestone as demarcation from nearby Chinatown) The steam clock was an interesting piece of engineering.
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As we walked from place to place a number of different signs caught my attention as did Vancouver’s Flat Iron building which is a backdrop in many of the large number of films produced in Vancouver.
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Plenty of food establishments in the Gastown are but we finally decided on one with an interesting wall 🙂
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After my brother headed back to work, I wandered around Vancouver’s Gastown and Chinatown area. Overhead the skies were clear blue and the sun shone brightly. Rather an uncommon sight in Vancouver in the winter.

About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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