Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Canada/Alaska Day 3: Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again.

Look at this! You know how when you read about neighbourhoods in American lit and they talk about people hanging out on the “stoop”?

I think this is a stoop!

Anyway, on with the day.

Sharon, our tour director, handed out these chocolate lollies of Canadian money. Their $1 coins are called ‘Loonies’ because when the Prime Minister of the day ruled that $1 notes would be replaced by coins, the people thought he was crazy.

When the $2 notes went the same way, “Toonies” just fit.

The toonies have the Queen (now the King) on one side, with a bear on the other. So Canadians have a coin with the Queen with a bear bottom…

We had a long day of driving planned, with a winery visit at the end. I was looking forward to this until Sharon confidentially told us that the organic wines at this winery were shit, but the sparkling wine was good. I began planning how to swap my wine tastings for extra sparkling. Still, a winery visit is always nice.

Our first coffee break was in a town called ‘Hope.’ It’s famous for being where ‘Rambo’ was filmed, as well as being the place where chainsaw-wielding lumberjacks create street art.

While everyone else got off the bus and queued for the loo, or raced to get coffee, I power-walked down the street to see as many wood carvings as I could.

This is one side:

… and here’s the other.

Here’s Harry the Sasquatch.

When we were driving here, Sharon said that she believes in the Sasquatch, because she dated a few of them in her younger years.

When I got back to the bus I told her that I’d found a former boyfriend of hers. She said, “Oh yes. His name is Harry.”

“He said to contact him if things don’t work out with you and your husband. He’s here, living in Hope,” I said.

Well, I wasn’t wrong.

There were all sorts of sculptures dotted around the town. It was fun to walk around and see what can be done with creativity and a chainsaw.

Rambo was filmed here. Sylvester Stallone is very short, so when the call went out for local extras, all of the local lumberjacks showed up. Most of them were big, burly men who towered over Sly.

So then the call went out in Vancouver for small extras.

This is my first sight of a bear-proof rubbish bin. Sturdy, isn’t it? It looks like a WWI tank.

We set off again. Look at this – it’s the last month of Spring and there’s still snow on the mountains.

All was good until suddenly the bus driver pulled over to the side of the road. There was something wrong with the bus. We were out of mobile phone range. Lovely.

After a few minutes, we set off again. Phew!

Ten minutes later, there we were again.

Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again. This time, they could call out and get help. Even though we were in the middle of nowhere, a mechanic and a replacement bus were coming to save us.

In two and a half hours.

So the bus sat by the side of the road, buffeted by every logging truck and heavy vehicle that passed. Another tour bus stopped to offer help, but we’re pretty much a full bus so they couldn’t help us.

The people at the back started complaining about heat and lack of fresh air. Sharon allowed them to get out and sit by the side of the road. Megan went out with them, while I stayed back on the bus and talked about the Royal Family with Pam from Liverpool.

(TLDR: We love the Queen; on the fence about Charles; Harry is lovely but shouldn’t have spilled the family secrets.)

We stopped right by an animal highway. It’s a tunnel under the road, so animals can cross without being skittled.

Finally, the cavalry arrived. We had to move onto the new bus. It was an old model which Mike, the driver, HATED.

“How does the bus feel, Mike?” Sharon asked after a few miles.


“Maybe that’s because this bus is moving!” she said.

I tell you what – it wasn’t moving very fast. We didn’t get to the winery, though from what Sharon had said, it wasn’t much of a loss. We crawled up the highway beside a river which suddenly became a lake.

It was majestic.

The beaches are very precious to the people of the town of Kelowna. The Canadian Geese come along each year and try and mess up the place. To solve this, they hire people with trained dogs to chase the geese (but not hurt them) so that the geese fly away and leave the place in peace.

Cost? 45K/dog.

Look at our room. Twin queen beds. We both lost our minds when we saw them.


Dad joke for the day:


  1. Roger

    Actually the $1 coin was called a “loonie” because originally it had a loon engraved on it (the “loon” is a common bird in Canada)

  2. Maureen

    Glad you are enjoying the sights of stoops, chainsaw art (?) and nature. Most NA hotels rooms have 2 queens as that’s what I usually am given even when I’m traveling alone. Enjoy!

    • FrogdancerJones

      So do you sleep in a different bed each night if you stay for more than one night?

  3. sandyg61

    Sounds like a fun trip …. till the bus broke down. Could have happened at the lake LOL

  4. Paula

    And the bird on the one dollar coin is a loon.

    • FrogdancerJones

      The tour guide played the loon’s call for us over the speakers. Such a strange sound.

      • Paula

        Nothing like sitting on a lake shore in Northern Saskatchewan at dusk listening to the loons. Pure magic.

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