A Travellerspoint blog

Down day

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September 5, 2012
We picked a great day to do nothing. We headed out to Canmore around 9am, under cloudy skies, looking for a coffee shop for breakfast. Did I mention that the temps were in the thirties? The car doesn’t like this weather and we had to use the seat warmers for the first time in many years. We found this great place for cappuccino and out of this world pastries. We took a short hike, walked around town for awhile, did some shopping and settled on a nice place for lunch, that did soup and sandwiches. The food and service was really great. The car and the bikes needed a bath, so it was off to the car wash. It hasn’t rained for forty days and forty nights. We pulled out of the car wash and it started raining and hasn’t stopped. Go figure! We drove over to Banff and walked around town for awhile. Once again, nice place but everything is overpriced. A bottle of wine you can get in Florida for $7.99 was $15.00 and that doesn’t include the taxes. We left Banff empty handed and decided to stop at our new favorite watering hole, The Last Call. We had two more of those fantastic Canadian drafts and watched some tennis. We are now back at Delta lodge and it is still raining. Maybe if I wash the car again it will stop. It’s funny, you sit at the bar and listen to the conversations and it’s the same discussions you have back home. Taxes, guns, medical coverage and those nasty politicians are the topics of the day, along with sports and could I please have another beer, please. Anyway, it was another fun filled day and we are looking forward to our last day in the Canadian Rockies. Almost forgot, Annette saw a bear today but we were going too fast to get a picture. If you don’t get the picture, does it really count?
Bob and Annette

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Jasper Ice Fields

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September 4, 2012
We started out early again this morning. We originally thought about passing on the Columbian Ice Fields in Jasper National Park, due to the distance. But what the heck, its vacation time so off we went. We made a stop on the way in Banff National Park, to get our picture taken at Lake Louise. I was beginning to think we were the only people in the world without a picture of this special place. The setting was beautiful but I have to say, after traveling around this area, there are many beautiful lakes with mountains in the background. The drive t through the Ice Fields was just over the top. You could stop every ten minutes and take pictures. When we finally arrived at the Columbian Ice Fields and Athabasca Glacier, it was a little disappointing. There had to be 30 buses in the parking lot and you couldn’t even move in the lodge. Everything was overpriced and the food was cafeteria style. Seeing the glacier was worth the trip but I wouldn’t rush back. The same with Lake Louise, you have bus loads of people all scrambling to get that one picture. I guess you check that off your bucket list and move on. We thought about staying overnight at one of the lodges, instead of driving all the way back to Delta Lodge but for 200 dollars for a small room with no view, we decided to drive the extra two hours and return to home base. So here we are back at Delta Lodge. This really is a great place. It’s a little off the beaten path but the setting and services are great. Things are a little price here verses Florida but they have a captive audience. Tomorrow looks like a down day and some much needed relaxation. We might just go into Canmore or Banff and spend the day doing nothing but poking around. You have to
E-mail Annette and ask her how much her one shot martini was. It did come with olives at no extra charge. One other strange thing, you can get you steak rare but you can’t get your hamburger well done. That’s a federal law in all of Canada. It’s the same cow, just a different part. Just saying! Back to the room for a good night’s sleep and no early wakeup call.
Bob and Annette

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Delta Lodge

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September 2, 2012
We have an early wakeup call again this morning. It’s off to the Canadian Rockies and Delta Lodge where we are staying for the next few days. The ride north was very scenic and then all of a sudden you turn a corner and the Rockies are right there. They remind us of the mountains in Austria with their ragged peaks and snowcap tops. The lakes and rivers are this emerald green color. Every turn in the road brings on another beautiful vista. Where the road turned off on 93 to the parks area, there was entry station. The lady informed us we had to pay a fee to get to Banff. Ok no problem. How long are you staying? Around 5 days. That will be 95 dollars please. What! You have to be kidding. Then she informs us that the fee included entry into all the parks during our stay. They don’t honor our US senior National Parks Pass. But what the heck, we are on vacation and they take American Express. Which reminds me, American Express should change their motto from, don’t’ leave home without it; to make sure you have another card for a backup. Just saying! We finally arrived at our destination. It’s a little off the beaten path but a really nice resort. We might have to scale back our travel plans, due to distances. It always looks closer on the map then it really is. We had a nice dinner in the lounge and the bartender gave us some good info on where to go and what to see. He was a nice guy, originally from Poland. He has the same accent as Michal and Helena. It’s back to the room to plan tomorrow’s activities and a good night’s sleep.

September 3, 2012

We spent our first night at the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis. The views from the room are spectacular. So how much better can it get? A whole lot better. The bartender from the night before suggested we head south rather then back to Banff because of the three day weekend. Oh by the way, they celebrate the long weekend, however no one seems to know what the celebration is all about. They are just happy that it’s a three day weekend. Don’t over think, just go with the flow. We headed out early thinking we would get a jump on the day. Great plans are just that, plans. We missed the turnoff and ended up 30 miles down the road before we realized our mistake. So back we went, another 30 miles. Not a lost cause, because we did see some wildlife along the way. We got back on track and spent time checking out the upper and lower Kananaskis Lakes. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. The bartender also suggested a gravel road that wound around the lakes and ended up back in Canmore. It was an outstanding ride with view after view better than the last view. We made it to Canmore, a very nice town and we managed to find a neat little local pub called, The Last Call. We met some nice local characters and had some great conversations about everything from politics to Canadian football. They really don’t want to hear that Canadian football is not real football. And we did lend them Doug Flutie after all. We had lots of laughs and a few Canadian beers and could have stayed longer but we had the long drive back to Delta Lodge. All and all it was a great day and we are looking forward to tomorrow. Say what you want, you meet some of the greatest people in local pubs. Just down to earth folks, who enjoy life and like many of us, don’t realize what a beautiful place they wake up to every morning. Did I mention it was in the forties most of the day? Burr!
Bob and Annette

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Biking Idaho

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September 1, 2012
September already, where does the time go? Early wake up ok, long drive ok, bike on the Hiawatha Trail, priceless. This trail is a rough ride on gravel and at our age tough on the old body. It’s part of the old Trans Continental Train System. This part of the trail starts just over the border in Montana, with a 1.7 mile ride through a tunnel with no lights and when you come out the other end, you are in Idaho. The only lights are the ones you have with you. Of course lights with bad batteries will only get you half way through the tunnel. Then it is stumble in the dark and try to hook up with someone who was smart enough to have good batteries. The ride is mostly downhill, through several more tunnels and over several trestle bridges. Beautiful scenery along the way and many pull outs explaining how the rail road was built and all the towns that sprung up along the way. It was truly the Wild West. We only had one small mishap when Annette and I got our signals crossed and our bikes collided. No serious injury, just a few scrapes and a little blood, mostly Annette’s. But being the trooper that she is, we forged on to the end. After the ride we stopped in Wallace ID looking for Brian’s relatives. Brian is Erin’s, my cousin’s husband. We didn’t find any relatives but we did find a Wallace Brew House with cold beer. And for those of you who comment, that we seem to have a pattern going, your right we do. As my friend Paul said and Skip confirmed, “Life is too short to drink cheep beer”. So these beers are for you, my friends. A funny story in Wallace. A husband and wife from Wallace were arguing on the sidewalk about a place to eat. He says; “we won’t get any service there are too many dam tourist”. The wife says;” it’s ok honey we will just do take out”. The husband says;” I guess that’s ok, I suppose we can’t just shoot them”. The season doesn’t open on tourist until later in the month. That aside, it was a wonderful town with mostly friendly people. Mean while we are back at the ranch a little dusty and tired. It’s time for a wine and some relaxation before we head out to Banff tomorrow morning.
Bob and Annette

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Idaho

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August 30, 2012
We had an early wakeup call this morning, only to find out we were celebrating our 43rd anniversary. Where does the time go? And what better way to celebrate, than a ride on the Lewis and Clark trail and a death defying ride into Hells Canyon. How romantic can you get? The ride on the Lewis and Clark trail was spectacular, with many breathtaking views following the river. The ride starts just outside of Missoula, in Lolo MT. We took historic route 12 all the way to Grangeville ID, where we picked up route 95 to White Bird. The only down side was, the smoke from the wild fires burning to the South. The smoke followed us most of the ride and was really heavy at times. We had lunch in White Bird at a neat little restaurant, the only restaurant, before heading out to Hells Canyon. The ride into Hells Canyon was hell, the views were spectacular. It’s 17 miles in and 17 miles back out on a narrow gravel road. Annette shot some video that doesn’t even come close to the feeling you get looking off the side of the road, knowing if you go over there is no survival. That’s when and if they ever find you! Parts of the canyon are deeper than the Grand Canyon; at least that’s what the brochure said. After that it was off to our hotel in Clarkston WA and another time change. Clarkston is just over the Idaho border. This was a very nice hotel with views of the river and mountains from our balcony. We ended the day with a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant and a bottle of wine in the room. It was a long day and we are off to Coeur D’Alene ID in the morning.

August 31, 2012

We woke up early again and were off and running around 8am. It was a short ride to Coeur D’Alene but we hit a few detours along the way and didn’t get there until 11am. We stopped at the Info center and check out the bike trails for our ride tomorrow. We needed to get the car and bikes washed before any riding, so we decided to get that done and check into the motel first. The motel was in Liberty Lakes WA, just a short drive from Coeur D’Alene. And they have a bike trail along the river. So after giving the car a bath we took a short bike ride for about 12 miles. It was a very nice ride, mostly level, with nice views of the Spokane River. We are only a few miles from Spokane WA. I think Peter Dawson mentioned some hotel in Spokane that we should check out but that was several thousand miles and many wines ago, and I can’t for the life of me remember. Speaking of wine, you guessed it; happy hour in WA has arrived. Catch you tomorrow.
Bob and Annette

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