Well, today dawned with partly cloudy skies so Connie ran downtown to check the internet and road conditions heading west while Neil rigged the house for transit. The road east to Calgary is closed; the freeway was washed out by the flooding. Calgary downtown is underwater. He talked to one guy who was going to head up Icefields Parkway to Banff and then over to Edmonton and south; but that road is closed too. The only other way is to head west 40 miles, south 150, and then east right north of the border to a town east of Calgary about 200 miles named Medicine something or other. Trouble is; the river there is supposed to crest tomorrow and surely roads will be closed there as well. This leaves the guy Neil talked to with instead of a 170 mile trip east to Calgary (his home) a trip of probably 900 miles to get around…there just aren’t any more roads.
Anyway; the roads were clear heading west so we packed up and headed out about 1030 or so. We headed slightly east out of the campground to avoid downtown Banff with BAT and the house; but that exit turned out to be closed so we ended up going through downtown anyway. We got on Highway 1 (the Trans Canada Highway or TCH) and pretty much kept up to the speed limit. There were a couple of places right west of Banff where the road crews were clearing minor landslides but no delays there. Another construction area right after we passed Lake Louise for 15 miles or so and we were in the clear. It rained off and on but was mostly a pretty uneventful drive…the only drawbacks were the grades and curves and the river right next to the road with no guardrails most of the time…so it was one of those “really concentrate” days which equates to a really tiring day overall.
We arrived here in Salmon Arms to the Viewpoint RV park on the banks of Lake Shuswap and got parked nicely. There are only about a dozen sites here along with 6 or 8 cabins and hotel rooms. I’ll grab a photo of our site tomorrow…just too tired to go out and get one now even though it’s still light as sunset in southern Canada isn’t until about 2230 or so every night.
Neil did grab a couple of photos today; the first is a view from our campsite while he was breaking camp; he was intrigued by the mist in the valley with the mountain top poking through it across the other side of the Bow River through downtown Banff. The second is one of the wildlife corridors in the freeway portion of the TCH; there are fences on the side to keep animals off of the highway and every 5 miles or so one of these things. They have an undulating top and are seeded with grass and trees…the fences alongside the TCH funnel the wildlife to the corridor so they can get to the other side safely.
We’ll be here in Salmon Arm through Monday morning then will head south to cross the border back into the US and spend the night at Oroville, WA.
Dinner today was leftover chicken curry with some noodles and some fresh baked rolls from the freezer. Pretty yummy, especially for something so easy.
All of us are glad we missed out on the floods and road washouts; it would have really bummed us out to get stuck. Despite the off and on rain today it was actually not nearly as bad as it could have been.
We do have a new favorite place in Canada though; we drove through Canada’s Glacier National Park today and it’s even more impressive scenery than in Banff. Sorry, no photos as there was no place to pull off but with all the rain recently we saw a lot of temporary waterfalls that were cascading several thousand feet down the mountainside…we were bummed that we could not stop for a photo. If we get back up this way we’ll be sure to stop there for a couple of days; although it’s pretty much out in the boonies compared to Jasper and Banff so stepping out for a beer at the pub really isn’t possible. Beautiful scenery though; and well worth a consider if you’re heading up this way.