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.
Finally, we had the Western-style breakfast I had been hoping for. Eggs, bacon, sausages, waffles, and more – morning comfort food. Breakfast for guests at the Spruce Grove Inn are actually served next door in the Voyagers Inn. I believe they must be part of the same hotel group.
The breakfast really hit the spot for me. It wasn’t the best of breakfasts, but it was good enough after who knows how many meals of constant so-so Chinese food. It was all buffet style. So there was a lot of choice available. There were juices, toast, cereals, and the hot buffet area.
Everything was going hunky-dory for the morning. We all went back to the Spruce Grove Inn, gathered our belongings, loaded the bus and were ready to go. However, there was one group that was missing.
It turns out that one group of our travellers was locked out of their room. Their keycards had stopped working. Rocky, our intrepid tour guide, was busy trying to get the hotel staff to open the room. You’d think that was an easy thing to do. There must be a master key or something to open up the room. However, the hotel staff were just as helpless as we were. I also got the sense that they were less than helpful too. There was no master key that could open the room. That just baffled me.
The rest of us started to get restless. So we went for walks up and down the block. Some of us stood outside the bus and chatted. I got a chance to talk to our driver, Marilyn. She shared how she drove giant machines in Saskatchewan for work in the energy industry. Impressive.
After a half hour of trying to get hotel staff to open the door, Rocky gave up on the staff. We had a schedule to keep and we got back on the bus. He requested the hotel staff to get a locksmith to open up the room and that they call him when the luggage was liberated.
We all boarded the bus and headed to our first planned stop of the morning – Bow Falls. I don’t remember ever visiting Bow Falls. Its claim to fame is that it was featured in the 1953 Western, River of No Return. It starred Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe. There is a scene in the movie where their wooden raft makes a rapid descent over these falls.
The river was flowing, but there was still some ice in parts. We were able to walk a pretty far way out onto the remaining ice sheets until it got to a really thin section. We wandered around the area for maybe 15 minutes before we were corralled back onto the bus. Our time here was probably cut short by the craziness back at the Spruce Grove Inn.
We were back onto the Trans Canada Highway and heading back west now. Banff was as far east as we would be going. We were now heading to Lake Louise for our lunch reservations at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
On the way to Lake Louise, Rocky got a phone call. The hotel had finally gotten into the room. They asked what Rocky wanted to do with the luggage. He requested that the hotel send the luggage to the Chateau Lake Louise. I was sitting a couple of rows behind Rocky and I could tell that the staff were totally hemming and hawing about complying with the request.
“Send it by taxi or shuttle bus. I don’t care. Just send it. It’s the hotel’s responsibility.” That was the gist of Rocky’s message over the phone. What a morning gong show.