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).
I was a little bit wary of a bus tour. The last time I was on such a bus tour, I felt the tour guide was making things up on the trip. My basic high school social studies was my main comparison to that tour guide’s comments. I was so put off that I didn’t want to tip that guide.
Thankfully this time, we had a great tour guide and a great bus driver. Our guide was Rocky. What a better guide to have to the Rocky Mountains than somebody named Rocky. Then our wonderful and smooth driving bus driver was Marilyn. A veteran driver who hailed from Saskatchewan. She was great on the road and we never felt like we were being sloshed around on the bus. Even when we had our turn at the back of the coach, everything felt smooth on the road.
This particular tour was a Chinese-language tour booked through a local Chinese travel agency. Rocky had to say everything twice during the tour. He’d alternate between Cantonese and Mandarin throughout the tour. This was personally helpful for me to practice my Mandarin comprehension. I was surprised that I actually understood quite a bit of the Mandarin he spoke. I guess it helps to be familiar with the subject matter of BC geography and history. Marilyn didn’t speak a speck of Chinese, but a few of us on the bus who did speak English would chat with her from time to time.
We encountered almost all the seasons as we travelled through the interior of BC and reached the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains. It was a tough trip to dress for. I had to pack for both winter and summer. It was definitely t-shirt weather in Kelowna, but we needed to bulk up for our trip up Sulphur Mountain in Banff.
All right then. I’ll start the first detailed post on our first full stop in Merritt, BC.