We woke up to snow - but it was not sticking to the roads. The hotel offers a free breakfast. Well, this one was one of the poorest examples I have ever seen. The breakfast room was reminiscent of a lunch room at some office. No decor what-so-ever. A few muffins, some bread, yogurt, and coffee - that's it. No fruit. No waffles.
Apparently, we were supposed to pay a park fee. Well, we simply drove around the toll gates (following the big trucks). I thought the park fee was only for someone camping overnight - not someone staying in a hotel. Since our parking was underground in the hotel our car was not seen - so we saved 40 bucks! Great because that breakfast was LOUSY!
On the road around 9 am. Still no mountains to be seen in Banff. The drive between Banff and Golden, BC took around 4 hours. It's gorgeous - we did manage to see a few mountain peaks that were floating above the clouds. The passes (Kicking Horse and Roger's) are breathtaking. It is a wonder of technology and the determination of the men and women who toiled through these mountains. We had the most appropriate music playing... Gordon Lightfoot's - Canadian Railroad Trilogy.
Dar decided she would have a hissy fit in Golden. We stopped at a Husky/Mohawk station to gas up. The new thing these days is prepaying at the pump. I had already gone into the store to use the facilities and Dar was trying to pump gas. Well, she had problems. For whatever reason she could not get the pump to work. She had inserted her credit card but still the gas refused to flow into her tank. She got frustrated. She got back into the car and drove away. She heard a CLUNK - wondered what that was. Well,turns out it was the gas nozzle that was still in her tank. Luckily, it did not come off. Me - I am in the store totally unaware of the drama that is going on outside. I see the store clerk run outside. I see Dar come into the store (snorting fire and brimstone). I am still unaware of what happened. All I hear is her saying...I cannot find my gas tank plug.
She stomps back outside and this waitress from the restaurant comes out to tell her that the plug is on the back of the vehicle. Dar snarls at her..."your pumps don't WoRK!". Poor little waitress.
I get in the car and ask her...WTF? What has just happened. She snorts and spurts about how the gas pump didn't work and how she hates the prepay stuff. We find another gas station that offers full service and get our tank filled.
About 15 minutes down the road Dar is starting to calm down and suddenly feels like a big SHIT. She hopes she can find the address for this station and write a letter of apology. She really didn't mean to have a melt down. Me - I just ate my bbq cashews that I had bought and just let her rant and rave until she had worn herself out. (Shades of Legends of the Fall - Dar is Tristan - the rock we break ourselves against).
We finally reach Kamloops, BC and can now travel on the Coquihalla. Oh I forgot to mention - I do not have any money in my wallet. Well, I have 3 American dollars, but no Canadian money. Darlene says all I need to pay for is my plane trip home from Abbotsford. Now, I do not mean to leave home without money but I thought I could stop at some ATM along the way, but so far I've not used one. Now the Coquihalla is a toll highway. It connects Kamloops to Hope, BC. Always 2 lanes - sometimes 4 lanes so one does not get blocked behind slow transport trucks or RVs while going through the mountains. So - I am to pay for the toll.
This highway is one big climb from Kamloops to Merrit, BC. Merrit is in a valley - so down you go and then once past Merrit another big climb (hence all the lanes). Then you reach the apex and it's the biggest downhill slope I've ever been on. Going 110 kmph for over an hour and we are still going downhill. I keep waiting for the toll booth but it never appears.
Dar has brought along her GPS and we have programmed it with the address that we want in Abbotsford. Once we are passed Merrit, I note that Hope, BC is another 133 kms, however the GPS is showing our destination at 120 kms. This is just not right - we have to pass Hope and Chillewack. We are supposed to take Road 3 off of the Transcanada.
We are still descending this amazing hill and the GPS says turn right in 3 kms and there is this exit for Hwy. 3 to Princeton. I know this is not correct but I turn anyway and the GPS then says...."make a legal U-turn ASAP". I love the "legal" U-turn suggestion. The GPS got confused between Hwy 3 and Road 3.
We manage the "legal" U-turn and another hour later find Road 3. We miss a few roads but finally manage our final destination...Bonnie and Al's house. Ding ding! (GPS chirps upon arrival).
We fall out of the car - crouched like pretzels and it takes us several strides before we can walk upright. We greet Bonnie and say...Wine and hot tub please - doesn't matter which order.
Bonnie not only provides us with wine and hot tub but a fantastic supper. What a wonderful home...funky little retreat nestled in the Fraiser Valley. This home is a rambling ranch house with four bathrooms, 3 kitchens and only 2 bedrooms! A wonderful place for weary travellers - I highly recommend it.
And the funniest thing - the Coquihalla is no longer a toll highway. HA HA. I did not have to pay.
PS - no men were shot on this trip, no trucks were blown up and we did not drive off any cliffs.