A lake like no other and one distant red canoe
As the Canadian mountain traffic and storm clouds were thickening Francesca fell asleep. I figured, "I'll get through the rain, take a peek, and report back to her".
A spot in a crowded parking lot opened as a cold shower ceased. As I walked down a deep forest trail sparkled with melting hail I approached this "must-see" lake. Suddenly, there it was.
My words were the same as Steve Jobs' last, "Oh wow!".
I trotted back to the car, woke Francesca, and told her, "You've gotta see this lake!". She turned the trail's corner and saw blue water framed by mountains, glaciers, and hundreds of Japanese tourists.
"My goodness", she said,"This is Canada's Mona Lisa!".
And it was, one of America's must-see sights that we had not heard of until weeks before.
Pi was very popular too. None of the tourists had brought their pets from Korea, Australia, or Japan and many were eager to commune with our little dog.
I asked a park ranger if we could camp by Lake Louise (named after Queen Victoria's fourth daughter) and he laughed, "They only allow camping in the Fairmont Chateau and rooms start at $800 a night. You should probably move along if you want to find a place to stay tonight."
I figured we might get a paddle in but their red canoes were renting for $105 a hour. All this was way beyond the Grove Guy's budget (even if $105 was $75 American).
We could afford a walk so we strolled around the picture perfect lake before searching for a campsite down the road.
A half-hour later an attendant in one of the "full" campgrounds let us spend the evening in his parking lot. It was nice, next to a meadow complete with grazing mountain goats. When you live in a van you can camp almost anywhere.
THE BADDEST CAMPER EVER
In the morning we saw this rig parked in Yoho National Park. Clearly ready for the zombie apocalypse, you did not want to mess with it. There might have been a machine gun hidden in the turret above.
Roughing it two days earlier
REACHING THE WEST COAST
We had a schedule to keep. Friends were expecting us on the west coast. We zipped over to Vancouver and took a Sunday stroll on its picturesque waterfront.
Looking out to Vancouver Island
Travelers departing for Alaska
This tall building had these words repeated on twelve floors, "The clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the street".
It wasn't easy leaving the Canadian Rockies
for Trumplandia. Late that afternoon we crossed the border three times in two hours. Try guessing why. If you're thinking, "forbidden fruit", you'd be close. Pi's stay in the border patrol kennel was brief. More on that later.
Not a bad place to be