Road tripping the Rockies

So for the last week or so I’ve been road tripping trough the Rockies with Sam and Bev, who left yesterday. Starting from the beginning we picked up the most manly unlike my actual car car I’ve ever driven, from Vancouver. Two things I hadn’t given much thought to, firstly I haven’t driven on the other side of the road before and I’ve never driven an automatic. So my usual road ragey self (only briefly mind) was replaced by a very nervous me singing songs to myself to remind me to drive on the right… And for anyone who has been in the car with me you’ll know how unusual a sedate driving me is!

Having not planned too far ahead most of this trip was booked a day or two in advance with us choosing to stay in air BnB’s along the way. In hindsight I’m so glad we did it that way because not only was it cheaper, but we stayed in some beautiful places completely off the tourist track and really got to see the real Canada. Our first stop was a 6 hour drive from Vancouver in a little place called Killiney Beach in between Vernon and Kelowna. We stayed at a lovely lady called Martina’s house, and had the whole basement level including undercover hot tub! This was definitely an awesome addition, especially after we decided to swim in the lake in the rain and cold… 

Following on from a couple of nights in Killiney Beach we had originally planned to stay in Banff National Park. Now for anyone who has travelled through the Rockies everyone says Banff is the place to be and stay. Once again booking the night before we soon realised Banff town is very expensive and also you pay an extra fee for staying in the park. So we looked at some other places just outside of the national park and by more luck that judgement found another beautiful place in a town called Invermere. This is definitely not on the tourist route but we had the whole house to ourselves with the views from the balcony you can see pictured. If you travelled through the normal Rockies route you wouldn’t pass through here but the valley the town was located in is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve been.

We never met the hosts Cori and Scott but the kindness and trust in allowing people they’d never met to stay in their home just blew my mind. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that great but we still managed to have a great time here (helped by a lot of Tim Horton’s). On highlight was the radium hot springs pictured above, which are basically a big pool that is as hot as a bath but really relaxing and great for a hangover. We also found a couple of locals to watch the football in, in one of which Sam proceeded to absolutely school the resident unbeaten pool player of the town earning a new respect amongst Invermerians. We also saw the Canadian lake Windermere, which holds the record for the longest skating track in the world. Finally we saw so many golf courses it starts to get silly, who knew that Canadians seem to love golf as much as Tim Horton’s.

So after a lovely few nights here we headed to our final stop Calgary. As we hadn’t stayed in Banff we decided to drop in on our drive through so saw Lake Louise, Morraine Lake and Banff town. Now this may seem controversial but having been spoilt rotten with beautiful scenery that was away from the main tourist routes, visiting Lake Louise was a big change. There are so many people and cars (so my road rage emerged trying to park) and although yes it is stunning it is a bit of a shame that there are so many tourists about. (He says as a tourist…). So this was when we left the Rockies to go to Calgary. I’ve put a bunch of pictures up of some of the amazing scenery and things we saw along the way, which unfortunately didn’t include seeing bears or any moose much to Sam’s disappointment. We did however see a very cute ground squirrel (pictured) who lived under a rock and some mountain sheep.

So after another long driving day we arrived in Calgary in our very swanky condo. We had a wander through down town and 17th avenue which is another bar hotspot sampling various Canadian brews along the way. So if anyone hasn’t been to Calgary firstly it’s pretty, secondly it’s big, I was not expecting high rises and the city to be as big as it was. Justin Bieber even played about 100m from our flat one night, so we got to see lots of ‘Beliebers’ roaming the streets. As we hadn’t seen certain wildlife on our road trip we went to Calgary Zoo, highlights include the Cougars engaging in some x-rated activity, which although sounds kind of creepy was actually hilarious, also seeing a 1 month old gorilla with its mother. Fun fact of the day from Sam was that giraffes can’t make noise apparently.

The whole trip through the Rockies seems to have flown by. Firstly due to the company, it was so nice having Sam and Bev join me. Secondly we were so busy trying to get around and see everything, the Rockies and so big and beautiful you could spend a long time seeing everything. If I were to go back I would love to find somewhere close to water in the Rockies and spend a week biking, hiking, kayaking and immersing myself in the incredible landscape. So next for me after a final night in Calgary, is a 16 hour coach trip back to Vancouver… My plans aren’t set in stone for the next week or two but are likely to include Vancouver Island, Whistler, and staying in some of the beautiful little towns and suburbs around Vancouver. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a fan of the place…

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