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Churchill (and Nunavut) The Sequel!
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MHz



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 287
Location: Morris

PostPosted: Aug 07, 2013 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THz and I are now booked for the 7:30am Beluga and Fort tour Friday morning.
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MHz, a cacher who no more knows her destiny than a tea leaf knows the history of the East Indian Company
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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 504
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 09, 2013 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up my physical train ticket at Union Station today. I asked if people would be able to do that in Thompson, and the man said probably not. However, your bar code receipt should be sufficient, and you'll be asked to show ID and sign a manifest. If you're uncomfortable with that, you can get you ticket at Union Station. FYI, they're closed on Wednesdays and Fridays. Check the Via site for their hours.

I also picked up a time table. It looks as though we stop for 30 minutes in Gillam on both trips there (11PM) and back (5AM).

There are two caches in Gillam. One is a traditional, but it's around a mile from the train station. The second is a 10 stage multi cache. Several of the stages are close to the train station, however one is over a 5KM drive, and another is a 10KM drive.

Even with 30 minutes, I don't know if we'd get either... UNLESS ... does someone know anyone in Gillam who can do the reconnaissance beforehand, and we can determine the final ahead of time. I can tell you one of the answers (the 5Km one) now. That said, the final could still be miles out of town.

I haven't decided on what tour I'm going to take, if any. Are there any caches that cannot be reached unless I take one of the tours? (I'm thinking the fort tour perhaps). Let me know so I can start making up my mind.

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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 504
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 09, 2013 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey all! There have been some side conversations about seating on the train. I noticed this on the VIA web site:

"Two or more travelling together?
...
If booking at the same time is not possible, or if there are more than four people travelling together, please proceed with your bookings and contact us by e-mail or by phone, referring to your different booking numbers. We will then reconfirm the seating arrangements. "

So, I was thinking if everyone sent me their booking numbers, I can contact Via and try to get us all into the same car. It's probably better than doing it at the last minute. I will also try to send this as an email via GC.com to ensure you see it. My email address is contact_dani@yahoo.ca

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MHz



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 287
Location: Morris

PostPosted: Aug 09, 2013 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been checking back in my e-mails and forum posts from the first trip in 2009 that I was scheduled to go on but cancelled at the last moment because of a death in the family.

I've found some good info and a little bit on timings for getting and convoying to Thompson.

First some advise I received from the Z's:
The train:
"There is a cancellation insurance on the Comfort Class and a
pre-boarding as a group so we can all sit in the same car. The seats
rotate and recline. How much sleep you will actually get depends on
your ability to sleep on a poorly maintained roller coaster.

There is a dining car on the train, as a group we should be able to
book certain times so that the people wanting a nice breakfast will
actually get into the dining car. "

What to bring:
"sweaters/sweatshirts/fleece
waterproof boots (hiking)
long-sleeved shirts
comfortable pants (baggy)
windproof jacket (outer shell)
sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm
insulated (warm) jacket
personal toiletries
rain gear (jacket, pants and rubber boots)
hat/cap
warm (wool) socks
gloves
water bottle
bird book (optional)
notebook
Phone Card *NOTE THERE IS NO CELLULAR SERVICE IN CHURCHILL!*
GPS!!!! And caching supplies
Insect Protection: Wet areas and warm weather mean A LOT of biting
insects such as mosquitoes, black flies, and horse/deer flies
("bulldogs"). For protection, wear clothing that covers as much exposed
skin as possible. Insect repellents are a good idea, as well as bug
jackets and hats . MOSQUITOS and biting bugs LOVE dark colours. If you
would really like a closeup view of the bugs wear black!!!! This is NOT
a myth, Z’tirnats can prove it! (He ignored this advice on the first
trip there) "

Great advise from the Z's!

Here is the link to the other trip's forum thread which has an interesting pic of the tracks in Thompson!
http://www.mbgeocaching.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1537

Some more on the train that I recently found out. Even if we were booked as a group, they are not going to guarantee we can all sit together. Remember getting on at Thompson is roughly about half way through is route so there will already be people on the train and there is no assigned seating contrary to info on the Via website! That being said, it's worth while pursuing the group thing if we can to increase out chances of at least getting in the same car etc. We should arrive early at the train station so we can all enter the train as a group to try to get the same car regardless of if we are booked as a group or not. As for the barcode, I am going to trade mine for a real ticket before heading up as the further you go north the less capabilities there are. I'd like to make sure not only I get on the train to head to Churchill but also that I can get back!

Now timings:

In 2009, I was going to meet around 6 am near Birds Hill so be at Warren, MB for 6:30ish to meet up and convoy with the others. This was to arrive in Thompson for a 7:00pm train and allowed for some caching and stops along the way for food and gas. TurdleEggs noted the only real place to stop for lunch was in Grand Rapids. Not sure if that has changed.

Being as our train leave 2 hours earlier at 5:00pm, I'd suggest leaving 2 hours earlier if you want to cache etc on the way up. That means a convoy would meet up at Warren, MB at 4:30 am. (Sigh means I need to leave the farm at 3:00am! A very long day indeed!)

Also a note about the FireHall parking also from Z's:
*The vehicles have to be left in Thompson and they will be looked after
by the Fire Department for a donation to their burn fund. Suggested
donation is from $20 to $40.*

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Ztirnats



Joined: 20 Jul 2006
Posts: 199
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 10, 2013 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perfect MHz! Great tips for a successful journey. One thing to remember is the train is NEVER on time! Pack lots of trail food/snacks and maybe books, MP3 player or something you enjoy doing on a long journey.

We never even attempted the caches in Gillam. There is really not enough time. The train only stops long enough to unload passengers & cargo. Once that is done the train leaves. It might be 10 minutes or one hour. The train won't wait for anyone. When our train stopped at Gillam in 2009 there were two little girls anxiously awaiting the arrival of the train. We wondered why they were so excited to see the train. Turns out, 2 little pink two-wheeled bikes were taken off the train destined for these 2 young girls. The sights and sounds and the culture are truly amazing. We would go back in a heart beat but sometimes life just gets in the way.

All caches in Churchill are available on foot except Rusty Bear which is near the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (23 km from the townsite). There is a multi-cache, GC1FG58 Aboriginal Predecessor, which is shown as archived. It is up and running for the 2013 caching season, however, I have tried without success to get it unarchived through OCC but he is reluctant to do so. I know it is a functioning cache as the CO wrote a note on the cache page and a couple of geocachers from Missouri accidentally found the final and thought they were the FTF an unpublished cache.

Oh yeah, don't forget the MBGA banner. Its great for pictures.

Journey on...............................
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MuStash



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 10, 2013 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is some information about a place to stop for sustenance along Highway 6 during the drive to and from Thompson:

It is called the Pinesiw Energy Travel Plaza. It has a Shell fuel station, a convenience store and, get this, a Tim Hortons! It is open 24/7.

It is located at N52° 54.712 W99° 09.916. That is a few hundred meters south of the intersection of Highways 6 and 60. That makes it roughly 20 miles south of Grand Rapids.

The facility is about 2 years old. It had just opened when I travelled there in September 2011 while pursuing tromelin's Provincial Parks challenge cache. Google Earth's images for that area are from 2009 and only show the sign announcing that the plaza is coming soon.
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MuStash



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 10, 2013 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

p.s. We are driving to Thompson on Tuesday the 20th in order to spend some time there ahead of the Churchill adventure.
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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 504
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 13, 2013 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just talked to VIA, here's an update on numbers...

There are 30 people getting on the train in Thompson (17 are our group). They're expecting over 54 people for the trip to Churchill (several will already be on the train). They will do their best to seat us somewhat together on a car. There are only 2 passenger cars on this train, so regardless, we won't be far from each other.

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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 504
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 13, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ztirnats wrote:
Oh yeah, don't forget the MBGA banner. Its great for pictures.


Great idea! Mike (Glacier_ice) has Ok'd us taking the banner up, so if someone is at the CITO on Sunday, grab the banner and let us know if you have it.

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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 504
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 13, 2013 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

City Hall / Fire Hall Parking is here: N55 44.800 W97 50.940

Fire Hall is here: N55 44.770 W97 50.930

Make sure they're aware you're parking there (and that you're in the right place) and give them the suggested donation ($20 to $40).

If you'd like to take a taxi to the train station (N55 44.440 W97 49.675) instead of walking (2+ kms) with your luggage, here are some numbers:

Cliff’s Taxi (677-2543)
Driftwood- Nickel City (677-6000)
North Star Taxi (778-3333)
Thompson Cabs (677-6262)

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Ztirnats



Joined: 20 Jul 2006
Posts: 199
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 14, 2013 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quick note regarding leaving vehicles at the firehall. You will be required to leave your car key with the firefighters. You should have your car key on a separate key ring. We had plastic key rings that you write your name & plate #. Each car is logged into their book.

We were able to choreograph the vehicle drop offs so only one person got a cab to the train.

Drop everyone + luggage at the train station. Then the drivers only head to the fire hall to drop off their vehicle. Only drivers are at the firehall where one vehicle is selected to transport the drivers back to the train station. This may take 2 trips. The driver of the selected vehicle will then get a cab to the train station.
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oakbank24



Joined: 04 Apr 2010
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Aug 14, 2013 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MHz wrote:
Haven't had time to keep up with this forum so I missed seeing the note about the tours until today. I had e-mailed them back in mid-July and they booked us in for the Saturday and they confirmed us but I've now e-mailed them to change it to the Friday morning so we can go with some of the group on the Beluga and Fort tour. We'll see.

Is any one thinking of convoying up to Thompson?
I now have a full tank (MHz, THz, and the 2 gnirips) but would love to join a convoy of vehicles traveling up. Perhaps meet north of the city at Warren, MB or somewhere up there? If so what time?


I am driving up to Thompson on Tuesday. When are you going? I have room for others in my vehicle.
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MHz



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 287
Location: Morris

PostPosted: Aug 15, 2013 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am driving up to Thompson on Tuesday. When are you going? I have room for others in my vehicle.


Sorry, as I stated in my long post earlier, I am leave the farm at 3:00am Wednesday to meet up with anyone who wants to convoy at 4:30am in Warren , MB. I can't leave on Tuesday because I work that day and then run to the airport to pick up THz in the evening.

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MuStash



Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 15, 2013 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been talking to my friend Dorchester about places to stop around Grand Rapids. He retired about a year ago after driving the Winnipeg to Thompson Greyhound bus route for many years. He figured the best place to stop in Grand Rapids along the highway is the ESSO station. It has a restaurant that has been run by Koreans for many years and always treated him well.

To find the ESSO, be alert as you cross the Saskatchewan River bridge in Grand Rapids. As soon as you cross the bridge, the highway curves to the left and then the ESSO is on the left side immediately around the curve. (Of course this assumes a northbound perspective.) I scoped it out on Google Earth and came up with coordinates of N53° 11.060 W99° 16.171.
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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 504
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Aug 15, 2013 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MHz wrote:
Quote:
I am driving up to Thompson on Tuesday. When are you going? I have room for others in my vehicle.


Sorry, as I stated in my long post earlier, I am leave the farm at 3:00am Wednesday to meet up with anyone who wants to convoy at 4:30am in Warren , MB. I can't leave on Tuesday because I work that day and then run to the airport to pick up THz in the evening.


If we're meeting at 4:30 now, I, too, will have to leave at 3AM to get to Selkirk to pick up Netley. And then to Warren for the convoy. I don't think I'm going to have much problem sleeping on the train later that day.

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