Farewell Nanaimo, Lake Louise Here We Come
As usual we make major life changes in an instant and have little time to make it happen. We had less than a month to pack everything we own and sell off what we didn’t want to move with us. Sell our car, buy winter tires for our van, rent out our condo since we were breaking our lease, buy winter clothes, finish up the last of our painting work for our business, wrap up any loose ends of business paper work, arrange to rent a moving van, cancel and change addresses for everything we are connected to in B.C. and arrive in Alberta in one piece!
Our moving van was through Budget one way rentals. Our belongings fit into a 16 foot cube van and our own Chevy, loaded from floor to ceiling. There is no rental return near Lake Louise so it would have to be dropped off in Calgary. We spent the day loading our furniture and boxes into the van. We were considering sleeping in our empty condo on an air mattress and leaving first thing in the morning. It was just after 9pm when we finished loading our belongings. We reconsidered and decided to catch the 10:30pm ferry from Duke Point to Tsawwassen. That way we could stay in a hotel on the mainland and get on the road first thing in the morning.
Jack was going to be driving the large Budget rental van and I would be following behind him in our van. I was okay with driving the work van around Nanaimo, but I don’t even drive our car over on the mainland, let alone through the Rocky Mountains. So off to Alberta I would go in a van with no side or rear windows at the end of November. I prayed to the snow Gods to hold off until we had arrived safely.
Jack’s mom was kind enough to show up at the last minute with some two way radios for the drive. This would turn out to be my life link to Jack. It was great to be in constant communication with each other to keep ourselves entertained. He would tell me if any bad road conditions or convoys of semi trailers were heading our way. We could arrange pit stops and make decisions about what hotel to stop at for the night.
The first day of driving was going well until we started to approach Kamloops. A strange weather inversion had come into the area. Later we found out it was affecting the whole interior and lower mainland as far west as Vancouver. The fog was so thick we drove right past the first area of hotels, restaurants and shopping. We couldn’t see a thing. It was only 4pm, we didn’t have intentions of stopping this early for the night. However, with the conditions so bad we could not continue to drive.
The next day I was getting a bit nervous as we started to get near the mountains. The temperatures had warmed up and had created a mess of slush and mud. It was getting splatted onto our windshield continuously. The wipers on the van I was driving were barely working anymore. They were doing nothing but smearing the mud around the windshield. We were both having to use our windshield wash every few minutes. We had to frequently stop to fill up the reservoir. We couldn’t believe how dirty the van was!
We arrived at the only gas station around for miles at Rogers Pass. They were completely out of windshield wash and only had one wiper left. It was the wrong size for the van, but Jack managed to put it onto the drivers side of my windshield anyways. It would work well enough until we could get into a city to buy some new ones.
Oh how much you appreciate a Tim Horton’s when you’re traveling long distances.
We Arrive In Lake Louise Safe And Sound
We arrived in Lake Louise in the evening. We would have to spend the rest of the night and next morning unloading our belongings out of the vehicles. The rental truck had to be back in Calgary by 2pm to avoid a late penalty. The motto of the unloading was shove it into the apartment anywhere it will fit. We would have to worry about sorting through the mess later. We managed to get our bed into the bedroom so we had somewhere to sleep that night.
Unfortunately we got lost while in Calgary. One wrong turn and you can end up miles from where you are supposed to be. We accidentally headed north instead of south and were now 20 minutes in the wrong direction. It was past 2pm and we would have to pay a late charge when we got to the Budget rental drop off.
Both Jack and I were more than relieved after dropping the van off and getting into the same vehicle again. I didn’t have to worry about driving any more and Jack could stop having anxiety about my driving.
We stayed in Calgary for a few days to load up on supplies. We knew there was virtually nothing available in Lake Louise and were unsure of what Banff and Canmore had. We hit Costco, Superstore and a few other places. Our cargo van came in very handy to load up on items.
We arrived back in Lake Louise with a few days to spare before we both had to start work. We spent the time organizing and positioning the boxes and furniture so that we could paint. Any extra time we had would be spent unpacking the boxes. We stopped by colleague services to get our welcome packages. It contained a folder with information about the staff amenities available. There was also a set of plastic dinnerware, a small box of tide and bounce, an instant noodle cup, a roll of toilet paper and an STD package. Apparently these are the essentials required to survive in Lake Louise!