|Dan with PG Man...|
|Elisse with PG Man...|
|Stops along the way:|
"coffee in, coffee out", and feeding crows...
|Feeding the crows...|
|A "Wildlife Overpgass" on the highway! Cool!|
We stopped in McBride for lunch and had the loveliest surprise- a truly gourmet lunch at Morel's! We walked in expecting a diner, and were greeted with gourmet-level homemade food, excellent wine, a charming ambiance, and lovely service! What a gem! We popped in again at the McBride Heritage Railway Station before getting back on the road...
|McBride Heritage Train Staion|
We arrived in Jasper in the evening, hunting through the AAA guidebook (our Travel Bible) for a hotel with an electric hook-up, as all the stops on our way home will have to be at hotels or motels that have electric hook-ups for our freezer full of moose meat! Our first stop was at an AAA-recommended hotel whose clerk not only told me that we couldn't use their hotel’s electric hook-up because it would constitute “illegal camping”(?!), but called their sister hotel so we couldn't stay there, either, and then started to call the Tourism Information Office to REALLY screw us! (Why are a-holes like this in the hospitality business?!) I told her we were immediately leaving the Park- Jasper is in the middle of Jasper National Park which you have to pay a pretty penny to enter- and stormed out the door. Within 5 minutes we'd found a nice motel at the other end of town which had an electric hook-up for us and made us welcome. We then put on our Dinner Duds and had a lovely dinner at Embers: a "Pemmican” Canadian Indian appetizer of bison, made with cranberries, blueberries, herbs, and pistachios, served with green onion Frybread, followed by butter-tender blue-rare Alberta elk tenderloin (me), and lemon and herb marinated Alberta quail (Dan), with excellent (as always) Canadian wines! We LOVE how Canada promotes their own (truly excellent) foods and wines! We found Embers via a recommendation from the nice and very knowledgeable clerk at the Jasper Park Liquor & Beverage Co. on Connaught Drive (the main drag), which specializes in Canadian Wines; I Had to buy us 3 bottles to take home- somehow we'll find a place for them in our packed-like-a-drum truck... :-) We finally did a little souvenir shopping, and I got us a funny moose wine holder and some Canadian maple butter...
|Railfanning at the Jasper Train Station...|
|Is it Milk Duds or Moose Poo??????|
|Stopping to feed the horses along the way...|
|Stopping to feed the horses along the way...|
|Delicious appetizer at Embers: |
Pemmican, Frybread, & Canadian wine
The next morning we had breakfast with a view of the Rockies at Papa Georges, and then headed for Banff, which entails an Amazingly beautiful drive along the Icefield Parkway. The Parkway bills itself as "the most spectacular journey in the world", and it truly lives up to its moniker! Unlike on our drive down, 2 weeks previous, the glaciers were now topped with snow, and even more beautiful! The Rockies are utterly magnificent- almost unreal in their crisp, picture-postcard-perfect beauty, and the snow-capped mountains make everywhere you look seem like a stage-set out of a production of Heidi... you keep expecting to hear yodeling. LOL
Seriously: If you're only going to do one thing in Canada, this is the drive to do!
We stopped mid-way at the Icefield Center for "coffee in-coffee out", and I talked Dan into taking the bus tour out to the Columbia Icefields, so we could walk on the Glacier- basically so I could say I did- in heels! :-) The trip took 1.5 hours, with about half an hour to walk around out on the Glacier, and it was very interesting as well as fun, and we we highly recommend it! There are, of course, longer treks, that would have been wonderful to be able to do, and seeing all the beautiful lodges along the Icefield Parkway with their magnificent views of the mountains and lakes made us both So wish that we had another week to spend so we could have stopped and stayed along the way... I would have LOVED to be able to do watercolors of the amazing landscapes as the light changed hour by hour...
|The Columbia Icefields Glacier!|
|Elisse on the Glacier- in heels, of course!|
|The Happy Couple on the Glacier!|
|On the road again...|
Banff is a lovely resort town that's bigger than Jasper- more like Vail, I suppose- and I again wished we'd had a few more days (and a few thousand dollars) to really get to know and enjoy it! We did a little window shopping, and then had a delicious and fun wild game hot-stone fondue dinner at The Grizzly House: they had us at the “caribou” sign!
|Elisse with our Grizzly House wild game fondue!|
|Dan at the Grizzly House doing hot stone fondue!|
Before leaving Banff in the morning, we took in a fine exhibition of old and new railroad art at the Whyte Museum: "Picturing the Canadian Pacific Railway," showcasing work inspired by the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline, which went from Calgary to Craigellachie. (This is why I pick up all the little Tourist Magazines along the way... and how our truck developed a carpet 8" thick of layered tourist magazines...)
And the we got on the road for Calgary...