After a long day of checkout problems in the morning, lunch in Lake Louise, and an afternoon pit stop with a pig, we arrived in the evening in Revelstoke. Dinner was back at the WK Garden again. It seemed slightly better than the other morning we had the food. Maybe because it was more suited for evening dining.
We were back in Revelstoke with a good deal of time left in the evening. So were left to our own devices to explore what we could of Revelstoke.
Bike shop in downtown Revelstoke
After a pleasant time at Lake Louise, we were corralled back onto the bus. We were heading back into B.C. I thought we’d be making a stop in Golden, like we did on the way into Alberta. However, we just kept on driving. So I wondered where our first highway pit stop of the afternoon would be. We pulled over inside Glacier National Park at Rogers Pass. And that’s where we met a cute little four-legged friend in the parking lot. It was a pig on a road trip.
Met a pig at Rogers Pass
Lake Louise, to me, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It has a beautiful view of the glacier on the opposite end of the lake. On either side, the mountains seem to cradle the glacier, thus creating a natural frame for a beautiful scene.
Lake Louise in the snow
With the morning gong show behind us, we pulled into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for our lunch reservation. We had to pre-order our food on the first morning of our bus tour. I had chosen beef. It wasn’t steak, but when in Alberta, you just have to have beef. That was my thinking.
The next morning, our tour group ran into an unexpected snag. Let’s talk about breakfast before we fast forward to the morning gong show at the Spruce Grove Inn.
Boots on the bed
Banff is not a very large town. It sits within the much larger Banff National Park. The town limits are set and are not allowed to expand beyond its current limits, lest it creeps into the national park.
We had finished our afternoon of touristy cliches, we were left to our own devices to for the whole evening. The stores along Banff Avenue would be closing up soon. It was a Sunday evening, so we had to work quick if we were to get a little window/real shopping in for the day.
Shopping along Banff Avenue
I’ve been to Banff many times in the past. Having been born in Alberta, my family used to make day trips from a small town outside of Edmonton to Banff. This time, with the bus tour, we were here to do some touristy stuff – the Sulphur Mountain Gondola and the Upper Banff Hot Springs. Hooray for touristy clichés!
Sulphur Mountain Gondola
We had crossed the British Columbia-Alberta border before noon time. We had witnessed the rivers change from flowing westward to the Pacific Ocean to flowing eastward to Hudson’s Bay. We moseyed into Banff soon after. Before we headed for all the touristy attractions, we needed to grab food. If you guessed Chinese food (again), you’d be right.
Day 2 started early in the morning. What was it? A 6am morning call?! We dragged ourselves out of bed and cleaned up. We lurched onto our tour bus to our newly assigned seats for the day. Everyone got a chance to sit near the front of the bus, basically.
Revelstoke mountain morning
This morning, we were heading off to breakfast. I was really hoping that we’d be having breakfast at the Sandman Inn. I was really hoping for eggs, sausage, and maybe some awesome hotel waffles. No luck this morning. This morning, we were carted off to Downtown Revelstoke for (you guessed it again) Chinese breakfast.
We arrived in the tiny town of Sicamous just before 6pm. Sicamous is most famous as the houseboat capital of BC. What’s houseboating? It is exactly what it sounds.
photo from Waterway Houseboats
It’s a giant two storey boat that can accommodate 10-24 people, depending on the model. It’s a popular summer activitiy in Sicamous, which sits on the giant Shuswap Lake. Folks rent these boats for days or a week and just take it around Shuswap Lake and sleep on them. It’s essentially an RV on water.
However, we weren’t in Sicamous for houseboating. Houseboating season hadn’t even started yet. We were here for (that’s right) Chinese dinner.
After a few hours of travelling along the Trans-Canada Highway from Surrey to Hope and then the snowy Coquihalla Highway from Hope, we arrived in the town of Merritt. Nestled in the Nicola Valley, Merritt is in the centre of the semi-arid valley that is home to some farmland and ranches. Merritt, to me, is best known for the Merritt Mountain Music Festival. That’s the largest country music festival in BC.
Along the Coquihalla Highway between the summit and Merritt
Well that’s not why we stopped here on our highway tour, we stopped here for lunch. And because we were on a Chinese-language tour, we were stopping for Chinese food.
My next few posts will focus on my travels during the Easter long weekend. My wife’s family, their family friends, and I (all 11 of us) boarded a tour bus bound for Banff early on the Saturday morning of the Easter Weekend. It was a 4 day/3 night tour with stops in Merritt, Kelowna, Vernon, Sicamous, Revelstoke, and Golden on the way up to Banff. On the way back, we made stops at Lake Louise, Rogers Pass, Revelstoke, Sicamous, Kamloops, Merritt, and lastly Richmond (of all places).
Haven’t been on a bus tour in such a long time