Secker Goes Globetrotting
29th Jun 2012 - 1st Jul 2012
To the Rockies & Canada day celebrations
At a rather un-holiday like time of the morning my alarm went off. 5.30am. Why?! Well we had a long 2 day drive ahead of us so it was totally warranted but i never like mornings especially ones that early. We were ready and on the road 10 minutes earlier than scheduled (tour director as we affectionately call my dad was pleased!) and we easily made the 8am ferry as hoped. The ferry ride was much the same as the one before, I tucked into the breakfast the hotel had provided while the other 3 purchased from the restaurant. The cries of "you wouldn't get this on P&O" resumed and mum and B hit the onboard shop. Coming back with identical green bags for extra carry on luggage for the journey home. My dad has since broken my mums one which she is very upset about (he'll tell you the handle snapped but he didn't really ever like the bag to start with! Coincidence?!).
We skirted around the very flat suburbs of Vancouver and drove east on highway 1 - the trans canadian highway. I think to goes all the way from west to east hence its name. God knows why the car hire saleswoman thought we'd need GPS to follow signs for highway 1 and East when she was aghast that we were driving all that way with a regular old fashioned map.
Our overnight stop was a place called Kamloops and with a little tiny mistake right at the end (we drove past the hotel as we were all looking at the wrong side of the road!) we made it in good time at 3 ish. The adults hit the pool and the hot tub, I hit the bath.
We stayed at the hotel for dinner. The combo of the early morning and a lack of hydration during the long drive (tour director banned non essential stops, including toilet stops. Ok he didn't but he joked we wouldn't be stopping that often) meant I wasn't feeling all that well and headed to bed after dinner. It was my turn to drive in the morning so I wanted to be tip top!
We were up early again on day two of our drive east, getting on the road by 8am. It was raining again but as we were on the road early traffic was light. The road gradually got less straight and the traffic built up. The only thing I didn't like about the drive was the trucks. There were one or two that were doing over the speed limit and flashed me a number of times for doing the speed limit exactly. I wasn't going to push my luck in the rain on roads I've never driven before.
We pushed on through towards Canmore and stopped for a bite to eat at Lake Louise. Not the actual lake but the hugely busy rest stop area. It was a holiday weekend after all so of course it was busy. We were on the final stretch, Canmore was only about an hour or so from where we were. As we drove into Canmore we were on the hunt for Elkhorn lodges. When we came to where the directions told us it would be, there was no mention of Elkhorn or a picture of an Elk or anything. Dad went in to investigate and yes we were in the right place. Phew, I think it had been a long day for all and we were happy to have arrived.
The new accommodation looked nice, not the same as where we'd just spent the last week - we would have to fix our own breakfast for starters. The scenery surrounding us was wonderful though. Mountains, mountains and more mountains.
We took a stroll into the town, well the edge of the town and stopped for dinner at a shabby looking on the outside pub. Inside it wasn't as shabby and the food was ok enough. We were all just tired and hungry!
Today was Canada day. Happy birthday Canada! The festivities in Canmore didn't kick off until midday so we had a rare lazy morning and I used the time to call my Iain and Emma back home and fill them in on our busy week so far.
We walked into town and found a great spot to watch the parade. We were right at the end of it so we had plenty of room. For a small town the parade was long and there was a wide mix of lots of participants!
There were marching and pipe bands,
Floats for local businesses, Majorettes, the Royal Canadian Militry Poloce, some clowns, the Calgary Stampede riders, queens and princesses from various years, a nice selection of Classic cars and what seemed to be well known local faces.
Once the parade looked like it was over (there were at least two previous times where it looked as though it was over but more matching bands would eventually come along) the crowd dispersed. We walked into the busy town centre, stopped to look at an art market and then found a cafe for lunch. The Canada day festivities continued in one of the parks an we ventured on over as we heard there was birthday cake. The cake was all gone sadly but the music was just starting to get interesting. Local bands playing a mix of country and blues. We found a spot on the grass in the sun and listened to the rather good music. I had my book so delved into that but the music was a little distracting!
I was also disappointed to find that the bouncy castles were for kids only.
On our way back to home we stopped off at the shabby pub for a drink. It was only right to toast happy birthday to the country we were in (or that's how I justified it at least). I plumped for a gin & tonic this time instead of the usual beer (this pub didn't have much in the way of ale) and I realised it's the first g&t I've had in 11 months.
in a suprise turn of events, I cooked dinner this evening. Just pasta which I've become very adept at cooking these last few months as I've eaten enough to last me a few years. It's cheap and easy and most backpackers live off pasta. This one wasn't my usual vegetable tomato based one which was a good thing.
Over the course of the last week or so we noticed that my dad occasionally mixes up his words. So for example when him and I were getting lost in Victoria and I was driving, Belleville street became breville (which was obviously confusing for me) and we cycled to gravel island in Vancouver not Granville. Today was not exception and as we were paying Rummikub - either I was winning for a change or losing badly - I mused at the reason for my fortune or misfortune and settled on it must have been the drink. Dad says "well you have had a couple of geers and a bin & tonic".
We all rolled around laughing at that!
As it doesn't get dark until really late in Canada the Canmore fireworks didn't kick off until 10.30/11. Dad and I wimped out (his knee and I just didnt feel like going by that time) but mum and B went along.
They got lost. Not because they didn't know where they were going but in their wisdom they followed other people who looked like they knew where they were going/knew a short cut. After a while of following them, the people in front turned around and asked whether mum and B knew where the fireworks were! Plus they'd picked up some more people behind them. So they all turned back and eventually made their way to the park. We couldn't see them from our apartment as we were facing the wrong way. And we only had one key so I couldn't go down to the street and watch from there either. Nevermind, I'd still enjoyed celebrating Canada day.
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