Archive for August, 2017

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Day 55 – Reno, NV to Bishop, CA

August 26, 2017

I couldn’t sleep at all last night. I don’t know what the problem was, but I was only able to catch a half hour two or three times before I finally gave up around 4am. Since I was up anyway, and I didn’t want to hang around a Reno truck stop at four in the morning, I got back on the road and watched part of the sunrise at Lake Tahoe:

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There’s, like, a lot to do at Lake Tahoe, but I was still planning on covering the rest of 395 today, about 8 hours of drive time, and I had other stops in mind, so I got back to it.

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Days 53-54 – Rossland, BC to Reno, NV

August 24, 2017

I finally got fast forward in gear. In the last two days, I’ve covered 900 miles, bringing me from British Columbia to Reno, Nevada. I didn’t make any stops along the way, so the only photos I have to show for those miles are snapshots fired from the hip while driving (I won’t tell my insurance company if you won’t) or while stopped on the side of the road.

I finished my time in Canada on British Columbia Route 3…

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Christina Lake

…after which I finally crossed the border into Washington. I crossed specifically where I did so that I could catch U.S. Route 395. I have a fondness for the pre-interstate cross country federal highways. They usually cross more scenic country than the interstates and are a more charming way to travel if you have the time.

I’ve wanted to drive one from end to end for a while, and this seemed like a good opportunity. U.S. Route 395 runs 1,305 miles from the U.S.-Canada Border to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. I’ve been on 395 at various times and various places between Lake Tahoe and Death Valley, but the northern half will be all new territory for me.

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Day 52 – Valhalla Provincial Park

August 23, 2017

Today was a good day. After breakfast, I went off in search of Valhalla.

Thankfully, some kindly Valkyrie left wayfinding signage to help me out:

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Valhalla Provincial Park is a backcountry sort of park. Besides some wayfinding signs and a map I found online, which didn’t have any topographical information, I didn’t have much to go on. Looking over the map, I saw a dirt road that would lead 10-15 miles into the park to a parking area, where there was a short trail that might have some good views of surrounding peaks. I thought that sounded like a nice way to spend two hours.

‘Didn’t realize until I was on it that the dirt road in question went up a mountain.

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Day 51 – Yoho National Park to Slocan, BC

August 23, 2017

As expected, the weather was pretty bad today, so I covered a lot more miles.

I still had a bit of the Trans-Canada Highway to drive, and I’d pass by two more national parks on the way. The first up was Glacier National Park (Not to be confused with the Glacier National Park in Montana. I’m still in British Columbia).

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The Trans-Canada Highway in Glacier National Park

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Day 50 – Yoho National Park

August 23, 2017

So much for fast forward. On my intended route, the drive from Banff to the U.S. border should be about six hours. I figured I could easily make that drive in one day, making a few stops here and there.  The first stop was going to be Yoho National Park, immediately to the west of Banff. I was going to spend an hour, maybe two here. Instead I spent the entire day.

I got distracted.

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The Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho National Park

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Day 49 – Banff National Park

August 22, 2017

I started the day on the eastern section of Alberta Route 1N, a bypass route off of the main Trans Canada freeway which provides access to several small communities and large industrial plants. It also provides a few turn-offs where a budget conscious traveler can stealth camp.

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Alberta Highway 1A

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Before getting into the park, I got a late breakfast in the town of Banff…

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…and then drove up to Norquay Lookout, which overlooks the town and the surrounding valley.

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I spent most of the rest of the day on a hike from just off the highway to Cory Pass, through Gargoyle Valley, and back through Edith Pass.  It was only eight miles, but the elevation gain to Cory Pass was over 3,000 feet.  So it took a while.

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Looking up toward Cory Pass.

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At the top of Cory Pass looking south.

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Mount Louis

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Gargoyle Valley

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Back near the trailhead.

Banff is the sort of park where a seven hour hike covers a loop that’s less than the size of a quarter on the map. I could have spent weeks here. Since I didn’t have weeks, I drove the Bow Valley Parkway, which parallels the Trans Canada Highway north, while the sun set.

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I got to Lake Louise, near the park exit and one of the park’s hotspots in early evening.

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At the south end of the lake sits Chateau Lake Louise:

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More out of curiosity than anything else, I asked the gentleman working one of several front desks what the room rates were. He replied, “Our rooms start at six and up.”

I’d never heard a hotel rate quoted as a single digit number before, so it took me a moment to translate that to $600.00 per night and up. I thanked him politely and ran screaming in the other direction.

I stayed in the back of my truck for $0.00.

I should be crossing into the States by the end of the day tomorrow, if I can resist lingering too long at the numerous parks along the way.

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Day 48 – Calgary

August 22, 2017

Calgary was nice.  In temperament, geography, and climate, it reminded me a lot of Denver, only cleaner.

I spent the better part of the day being thoroughly fascinated by the city’s extensive network of skywalks. A lot of cities have these pedestrian bridges that connect buildings (LA has a handful, one of which provides a fantastic view down Flower Street), but Calgary is the first city I’ve been in that has a full network of interconnected buildings. Called the +15 because most of it is 15 feet above street level, you can spend hours walking from one end of downtown and back again without going outside or touching the ground, and that’s exactly what I did.

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