Goodbye Calgary – Hello Rockies. Tapping the oil reserves. Lunch in a Field. Smokey vistas. Sicamous in the Shuswap.

Today marked the end of The Princess’ summer vacation in Calgary – an almost 8 week stint back in her “hometown”.

With a 5 hour drive ahead of us we woke at a reasonable hour this morning.  We ate a light breakfast, finalised our packing and checked out around 11.00am then drove around to Jill’s to say goodbye.  Jill has been so good to us over the past year and we were a little sad to say goodbye – particularly for The Princess because she has enjoyed being home with Mom for summer.

However, as one book closes another one is opened and so, after a short visit, we hopped into the gas guzzling Sport Trac and drove to the nearest petrol station – about 1 mile away!  This was the first time we had put gas in the tank and I must say that I was quite surprised – it only cost $30CAN.  Not bad considering the amount of city driving we had done.

It was around noon by the time we “hit the road” so the traffic was reasonable during our drive through Calgary and out to HWY 1 – The Trans Canada Highway.

The truck sat on the road like a family sedan and with the cruise control set, my Princess sitting beside me and the beautiful Rocky Mountains filling the windscreen, I had a smile from ear to ear!  Ahhhhhh…., the modern cowboy.

The first town of any size to the West of Calgary is called Canmore and it was here that we stopped for a caffeine fix.  I had been “off the coffee” for about six weeks however, I decided that today was the day to re-introduce myself to it.  I must say that it was nice to treat my taste buds to a hot cup of the freshly brewed liquid – no turning back now.

We decided to hold off on lunch until we were a little further into the drive so we got back on the road and drove deeper into the Rockies as we headed West toward the province of British Columbia.  We passed the resort towns of Banff and Lake Louise before approaching the tiny town of Field.

The trip was going well until the traffic banked up and eventually stopped – summer roadworks.  In Canada, the only time for doing major roadworks is in the summer months (and there are not too many of those!) and the road teams were out in force!  Just prior to arriving in Field the road teams were intentionally creating a rockslide and the road was blocked for around 30 minutes (at least that is the time that we were affected and it had been going a while before we arrived).  Landslides, avalanches and other road blocking events are commonplace here in winter so it is important to make sure the roads are fixed in the summer months.

As it turned out we stopped right near a beautiful waterfall and close to where the famous Canadian Rail spiral tunnels are located.  It is in this area that you can see the front of trains on one level and the back of the same train on another level.  We didn’t get to see this but you can have a look at this video to get an idea.

Field was only a short drive from the area we stopped and our stomachs and bladders were happy to acquaint themselves with this lovely little town.

Whilst the majority of travelers would drive right past this “blink and you will miss it” town, the turn off the highway was worth it.  The town is nestled at the base of a huge mountain and situated alongside a beautiful river.  The townsfolk are obviously proud gardeners because the gardens were stunning.

After parking the car we dined at the only cafe that was open for lunch – The Siding.  We enjoyed a lovely bowl of soup and a sandwich and made the most of being inside – the afternoon sun was a little too warm for dining.

After lunch we walked around the town and took photo’s of the flowers and the mountain vistas before returning to the truck and continuing our journey westward.

Field is around halfway to Sicamous (the town we are stopping in tonight) and it was around 3.30pm when we left there.  However, we gained an hour after crossing into British Columbia so we were not to concerned about getting to Sicamous with “light to spare”.  Indeed, at this time of the year the sun doesn’t set until after 9.30pm.

The post-lunch drive was wonderful.  I had not been this far West on Hwy 1 so the scenery was new to me.  There was quite a lot of roadworks along the way but we didn’t have to make anymore lengthy stops.

We passed the towns of Golden and Revelstoke on our way and eventually arrived in Sicamous around 6.30pm.  A pleasant 5 hour drive through the Eastern Rocky Mountains.

Our dear friend Gary had booked us into the Best Western in Sicamous.  He used some of his accumulated points and shouted us a free night – what a guy!  We were able to get a ground floor unit – a big bonus given the Princess’ desire to collect all things heavy.  Her suitcase weighs a ton!

After settling in to the room we freshened up and went in search of the restaurant that the reception staff recommended – Moose Mulligans.

I am not sure if the restaurant is named after the creatures that inhabit these parts of the town itself (pronounced sick-a-moose) but it is a funny name for a restaurant.

We were able to dine outside overlooking an inlet.  Sicamous is known as the “Houseboat Capital of Canada” because it is located on the beautiful and vast inland waterway known as the Shuswaps (pronounced “shoe-swaps”). Check out the following website for information on this amazing area.

We watched the sunset over the inlet while we dined – a beautiful sight given the nearby bushfires.  Not a pretty sight for those evacuated by the fires but a pleasant experience for us.

We returned to the hotel (not much happens in Sicamous after 10.30pm!) after supper and managed to get to bed at a reasonable hour (albeit that we had gained an hour).

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