Justifying Expenses

I have been monitoring the long range weather reports for Jasper. Of course this means that the closer I am to departure the reports are likely to change. This has meant I am waffling about buying anything I might no use more than a few days. Eight days before departure I finally broke down and bought two T-max Heat thermal mock neck tops. Not Merino wool, but suitable for my needs.

Men’s, because of course women have no need for warm base layers as we approach March. These items were on sale, $19.88 each, down from $44.99 each. It did mean my choices were few, I ended up with an XL and a medium. If I were still in my 20’s the XL could serve as a mini-dress. Perhaps I will be able to go dogsledding after all. Not sure I want to try riding tandem on a snowmobile. Flurries and snow with temps just below 0 C forecast for the days I will actually be in Jasper.

Getting There

I may have mentioned in other blogs just what it takes to begin an adventure from where I live. The winter months make it even more of a challenge. If I did not live in the capital of the island an extra few hours or so would have to be added on.

I could drive my car and park it Swartz Bay, bcferries.com terminal for this side trip. However, it seems a major waste of money at $12.00 per day in the long term parking and more opportunity for thieves to ransack vehicles. It also does not save a lot of time on this end. Therefore, public transit is the most sensible mode of transportation.

It does irk me that passengers must now pay for each section of their trip or get a bctransit.com day pass for $5.00 – payable only on the bus. I would prefer to buy the pass at one of the many outlets where monthly passes can be bought. It will take two buses to get to the terminal. Perfect driving conditions will take 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours to get there.

As the ferries will still be running on the winter schedule I have to time my arrival at the terminal to catch a ferry without having to wait an hour. After March 15 I believe the run between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen will be every hour. It takes an hour and 40 minutes to cross. When the weather is fine the $17.20 plus any applicable taxes is well worth it. Heck, even when the weather is not fine it is worth it!

Then hop on a Translink bus once on solid ground again to the Canada Line skytrain then transfer to the Expo Line, about another 1 1/2 hours, $6.00 with a Compass Pass. Be prepared to enjoy 5 plus hours of scenery. Never a hardship when living on the westcoast of Canada.

Checking my Lists

I know I have noted in previous trip post that I never travel with a credit card. I am at the point now where I do not want one. Sometimes this poses problems. Such as when the accommodation I choose absolutely insists on one. I understand their reasoning, but not when I offer to pay a reasonable, immediately refundable upon check out, deposit. Usually I book using my debit/visa. Sometimes it is accepted, others not. (My trip across Canada brought out the little old lady in me when this happened; or, when that did not work I insisted on seeing a manager) I search for places that do not insist on a credit card to check in.

I was very happy to discover that HI-Jasper Hostel, where I chose for my stay in Jasper did not need one. Also the free shuttle to their location. The latter I double checked a month ago with an email after reading different reviews and an ambiguous description on booking.com by the hostel. Hm, seems they do charge,”a nominal fee.” Due diligence brought me back to a look at their information just days before departure. New information perhaps? It now says free hostel shuttle service between Oct 16/16 to April 30/16. Another, more worrying, change in information is that a credit card is now required at check in.

After a major night of tossing and turning, as if I do not wake up far too often during the night already, worrying about having to sleep in a doorway, or perhaps a jail cell, I finally decided I have two choices, ignore the newer listing information, or call them. I am leaning to calling, in the hope they will not cancel my booking for lack of a credit card. It is a hostel, not the Fairmont! I am willing to pay $3.00 per shuttle trip, but think it is unacceptable to have to need a credit card. I am even reluctant to get a prepaid one; which, by the way, are often not accepted at various accommodations. I need this break. I do not need the aggravation. I will post the result of my conversation.

Hurray, hurray! I do not have to worry about having a credit card and there is no charge for the shuttle until the end of April. Sometimes all it takes is talking to a real person.

Still concerned about keeping warm I bought some dollar store hand and toe warmers. Funny that hand warmers say to place inside mitten, and warns against placing against the skin. Good thing I had the foresight to pack mittens I can wear over gloves.

Wavering over taking my small, soft sided cooler – with or without the inner box – for my food. What does one take when travelling towards winter on the train in Economy class? I raided my earthquake emergency supplies, the timing worked out as they need replacing every six months. Dried fruit, variety of tuna and cracker packages, almonds, granola bars.

I tend to have a battle with myself over the bars, they have too much sugar – or none and taste like cardboard and sawdust – but are so easy to throw into a daypack for when I might need an energy boost. I will add bagels, cheese, tea eggs, fruit and pre-cut vegetables. As the hostel is 7 km out of the town I want to ensure I have enough food to last me if I decide I do not want to venture beyond the property. I have not quite figured out how to travel with coffee cream. Not sure I could bear to not have my morning coffee.

I nearly forgot about my travelling companions! Must keep them away from any hungry sled dogs.


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