Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thelma and Louise - The Sequel - Day One

My niece Jenny has a contract nursing assignment in Abbotsford, BC and was wishing she had her car, so my sister Darlene (Jen's mom) decided to drive her little Cavalier to BC. The car is a standard, and while it has air conditioning, it does not have cruise control. I decided to accompany her from Saskatoon to Abbotsford. It took Dar three, 12-hour days to get from her farm in Dundalk to Saskatoon. Her first day she made it to White River, Ontario and then next day she made it to Kenora, Ontario. The third day she arrived at my house. She managed to lose her car keys in Brandon - but luckily had spares.

Friday morning saw Darlene and I hit the road at 8 am. We had planned on going to Abbotsford via Jasper, but, at the last minute diverted to Banff because Darlene's son, Gord was going to Banff that weekend and we could have an overnight visit. The drive through Banff National Park, Kicking Horse Pass and Roger's Pass (over the Rockies) is beauitful, but very slow because the roads twist and turn and the speeds often go down to 60 km or less. Jasper is a much faster drive. Anyway - we had not even been 1/2 hour into our trip - just made it to Saskatoon when Peter calls to tell us that snow is expected in Banff that evening. We wonder whether we should divert once again and go to Jasper (we have to make this decision in Saskatoon because the highway forks) or take a chance and hope that the snow is not too bad and the roads will be ok (we do have snow tires in the back of the car). We decide not to be whimps and head for Banff.

When we get to Calgary, we try to find a garage that will put the snow tires on the car - but everyone is booked. So, we proceed to Banff with our summer tires.

We arrive in Banff around 5 pm. Gord is not expected to arrive until 8-9 pm. We are booked at the Spruce Grove Lodge and because it is off season all the hotel rates are extremely reasonable (lots of vacancies). We take a walk through Banff - it is a gorgeous alpine town - however, there are no mountains to be seen as the weather is socked right in. What a shame - drive all this way to see the majestic Rockies and all we can see are a few pine trees.

After our walk, we decide to have a hot tub and sauna (the hotel has these facilities). The hotel is actually joined by a tunnel to The Voyageur (and that is where the pool facilities are). We have those plastic keycard passes and stand by the pool door - insert the key into the card reader but it does not go green. I try again - nothing. So, I go up to the lobby to complain that our key card does not work. The receptionist tells me we don't need one. OK - duh...we never even tried the door, just assumed it was locked because the of the big sign that said "no trespassing - for guests only" and the fact that it had a card reader on the doorknob.

Dar and I are the only ones using the facilities and after a long days drive a hot tub and sauna are just what we need to relax our cramped muscles...ahhhhhhh. I decide I've had enough and am going back to the room. Dar is still in the sauna and I tell her I will meet her in the room. I have the key. I go into the change room to take a quick shower and put on my clothes. As I am stepping out of the change room I see the door to the hallway click closed. I look in the sauna and Darlene is gone - as are her clothes. I'm thinking...oh oh - I'd better get back to the room as she will be pounding on the door. Instead of using the tunnel, I just cross over the parking lot and get to our room. Darlene is not standing there, nor is she inside. A couple of minutes later I hear her knocking on the door. She's standing there in her clothes and tells me that she couldn't get through the tunnel because she did not have a key (she thought it was locked) and waited until someone opened the door for her (turns out that door was unlocked - once again she never tried the door). The funniest thing though was that she had put her clothes over her wet bathing suit and was standing there with her soaking wet butt showing through her jeans. I am sure the person who opened the door for her thought she was "special".

Gord and his fiancee arrive around 9 pm and we had ordered pizza and wings. We had a wonderful evening. Gord had brought his guitar and we had a little jam session. The most amazing thing of that evening though was watching Gord eat chicken wings. In would go an entire chicken wing - he'd move his mouth around and out would come bare bones. It was amazing! He's an awesome eating machine. We said goodnight and were probably in bed around 11 pm.

Around 3 pm, I heard a BEEP and woke up. I was not sure if I had dreamed it. I looked over at my sister and saw that she appeared to still be sleeping so figured I must have dreamed the noise. I was about to fall back to sleep when I definitely heard a rather loud series of BEEPS. It was the smoke detector. Darlene was now awake and I asked - "Did you hear those beeps?"

She replies "I think I dreamed it".

I retort, "We can't have the same dream".

I see that the radio alarm clock is blinking - so we had a power bump and that set off the smoke detector. None-the-less, I get out of bed and go to the door and open it - and sniff the air. I do not smell smoke. I had a difficult time falling back to sleep because I kept expecting the alarm to beep again (anticipation).

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