Thursday, August 29, 2013

Banff Adventure- June

Greg had a work meeting in Banff National Park in Canada so I arranged for my mom to watch my kids so Lily and I could join him on the trip.  Tuesday night my mom picked up the kids and I started packing for my flight the next morning.  I got Lily's birth certificate and my passport all packed.  We had been to Canada a few years earlier and had only needed birth certificates for the kids so we figured we were fine.  But Greg decided to check just in case.  My to our horror we learned that by land or sea you only need a birth certificate, but when flying everyone needs a passport.  We weighed our options as best we could at 11:00pm and jumped in the car.  We were going to drive as far as we could that night before we got tired.

We called Orbitz to cancel our flight.  After nearly an hour on the phone we were told that we didn't need a passport for Lily.  We were over an hour from home trying to decide wither or not to trust this information from a call center employee in India.  Lily was crying, and I was exhausted.  We drove home and  went to bed at 2:30am.  Waking up 3 hours later was hard but we headed to the airport.  Here we were met by surprised Delta agents.  Apparently, there was no 8:00am flight to SLC.  The flight had been canceled and orbitz had not informed us of the change.  We asked about the passport...Lily would not be flying to Canada.  Again we found ourselves in the car driving to Canada.  The good news? - Orbitz gave us a full refund due to their misinformation.

The drive turned out to be a good thing.  I forgot how much fun road trips are.  When flying I just pick up my book and zone out.  In a car I get car sick if I read, so instead we talk.  It was a much needed chance to talk without the distraction of TV, Internet, house work, or kids.  Lets not forget, it also increases your odds of seeing wildlife.  Thirteen hours later we were in Banff enjoying our comfortable hotel and watching it rain.

That's our hotel at the top of the hill in the middle of the fog.
And it rained and rained.  Our first morning our group tour was canceled because of road closures so we went off to look for animals on our own, only to find that all the roads out of Banff were closed.  We were stranded but lucky.  So many towns around us were flooding.  We watched the river in town splash over its banks as it rushed through town.

Our Hotel
Elk on the Golf Course
As more areas flooded we began to worry that we wouldn't be headed home very soon.  But we were so lucky to have our car.  (I wrote the previous paragraphs in Banff.  Now, nearly three months later I figure I should try to finish up...)  During a break in Greg's meetings we got gas and diapers and settled in with no idea how long we'd be hanging around.  I wasn't brave enough to take Lily out in the pouring rain but we did explore the historic, beautiful hotel.  It was big enough that it kept us pretty busy.

The tour of the hotel was fun but there were so many people, because of the rain, that they asked us not to take pictures so we could keep the group moving.
The full river from the hotel balcony during a break in the rain.
The meetings ended and so did the rain but there were still no roads open.  We went to be Friday night not sure what the morning would bring.  Beautiful blue skys and one road out of Banff was a welcome site.  While packing we got a call from another couple we'd met during the meetings.  Apparently, the open road went toward Vancouver, not Calgary, where everyone was flying out of.  So they were loading buses for a 14 hour drive to Vancouver so everyone could get home.  This couple lived in Salt Lake and figured they could get a flying out of Spokane if we didn't mind them tagging along.  It was a bit of a squeeze to get all the luggage in but we were on our way.  On our way out of the hotel we realized there was another road closed along our road home.  The new road turned our 13 hour drive into more like 21 hours, but at least we weren't stuck on a bus headed to Vancouver.

On the drive home we had to stop and see some of Banff.  The Rocky Mountains and glacial lakes are so amazing.

From start to finish our trip was an adventure.  But what started as an unfortunate oversight ended as a blessing because we were able to get home to our kids just a day later than plans.  Most of the other couples in our group weren't as fortunate.  I enjoyed the time with Greg, the time away from kids, and the beauty and power of Gods creations.

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