RV Banff :: Jasper :: Calgary
May 28, 2004
After two and a half or three months of planning and anticipating our RV in Banff trip, we're finally off. My parents pick the four of us up at early in the morning and then drive us to the airport in the Town & Country. We get there two hours and fifteen minutes early and still almost miss our flight thanks to an extremely long line at the Delta counter and a ticketing agent who didn't seem all that knowlegeable. Delta screwed up our ticketing, made some paper tickets even though they were all supposed to be electronic tickets. The agent walks us half-way through the interminably long security line.
Though the meal is terrible (i.e. great by Delta standards), we do get a second one for free as the flight attendant comes by and says "more pretzels?". I inhale the second little bag. We fly to Denver, change planes, fly to Salt Lake City, change planes and eventually land in Calgary.
It's 5 pm. Shovik, Boudi and a few moments later Shohini and Malcolm all arrive. The weather is in the 40s, but feels warmer. The highs during the next few days should hit 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
We spend the first night with our family and it's absolutely wonderful to catch up after three years.
The next day Shovik takes us to the _______ RV Rentals. Sweet Retreat is giving us a great rate of $90 per night plus an 8% tax; that's the Off-Season Special ($90 instead of $135 per night).
Henriette gives us an excellent orientation tour. It starts to sprinkle and it's getting both cold and windy, reminding us that we're no longer in Atlanta. It's a 28 footer, but it doesn't seem bigger than the 24 footer we had three years ago. It takes me a day or two before I really start to feel the difference and convince myself that I don't need to buy a tape measure to see if we got ripped off or not. Inside we have everything that we would ever need including a microwave, a table that turns into a bed, two other beds that are queen size, a toilet, a shower, two sinks (one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom), many windows and compartments, an oven, a microwave, a closet, a fridge with a freezer, curtains all around, etc. This RV has better visibility and better mirrors.
The compound is chock full of RVs. I drive out slowly, hoping not to break anything on the way out. I'm a bit nervous, but it's not that bad actually. Shovik, Janel, Mena and Amelie follow from in front to lead the way home.
Janel starts to make dinner almost immediately. And so we have our first real meal in Banff.
Monday, May 21
We awake again to muted daylight. In fact, as we take our sweet time to get ready, we notice that the mist is slowly claiming the mountains in the background so that we can barely make them out. And overhead the clouds have started to take on a slightly ominous black color. We shoot a half roll of portraits of Janel and then finally slip out of our wonderful campsite at about 10:30 am. So far we've done pretty much nothing other than relax.
We do another sewage and water dump and also take on potable water. A couple from Rhode Island is also at the dump station doing the same thing. Turns out that they were on the same flight that we were from Atlanta to Anchorage the other night. While we have driven just a few hours over the past two days, they have already been from Anchorage to Jasper to Anchorage and now to Seward. So they've driven probably at least 12 hours in the past two days. They're here in Seward to go kayaking, something that I wished that we had done. We warn them not to take the eight-hour cruise without checking the weather first, and then we push off. The odometer is on 137.
Tuesday, May 22
We went through our usual routine of preparation for take-off which basically involves making the bed and packing away all loose items into various compartments of the RV, and making sure all of its exterior doors are locked. The RV is a truly wonderful thing. It is a vehicle of functional ungainly beauty, kind of the ugly duckling of the road that plans to bloom into a great swan later on even if it does still drive like a squared off over-sized pig.
The trip odometer read 865 at the end of the trip.  Willie's plate reads "Panzer".
I was tired, but we really had no choice since we absolutely had to have some more water and also a place to dump our waste. So we executed an ad hoc decision to drive the extra 70 miles beyond our projected end point in Jasper State Park and to continue on to the real thing: Jasper National Park.
The railroad .
Columbia Icefields, Johnston Canyon, etc.
Today is a preparation day. We got up late as is becoming more and more routine. It's cold outside, perhaps somewhere in the low 40s. We feel it inside and the borders of all of the windows are misted up.
Banff vastness continues to amaze us. And the statistics of size and those that confirm it goes on and on and on.
That got me thinking about how I would improve these RVs and their facilities. First things first! Increase the size of the holding tanks for both fresh and waste water. I would probably double them since we keep running out so quickly. Make the fluid and natural gas level indicators more graduated. [Chassis shake, etc.]
- $1650 Deposit for RV Rental including deposit for damage and cleanup.
- $960 RV Rental. This could have been as low as CAN $661.26 including taxes and prep fee, 100 km/day but 0 convenience kits for a C24 (24' RV) had we booked it in January. That's only around US $450 for seven days. The convenience kit is $65.00 and includes the pots and pans as well as two towels, a bedsheet and comforter and pillow, etc.
- $5 Special RV Toilet Paper
- $75 Plane ticket (2 tickets plus two infants; taxes - there is no such thing as a free frequent flyer ticket any more)
- $240 Safeway Groceries (talk about overpriced; what a rip off)
- $79 Gas
- $8 Books in Banff
- $12 Food court in Banff
- $78 Tunnel Mountain (3 nights camping with electrical hookups only at $26/night)
- $13 Mosquito Creek (1 night camping with no hookups)
- $2 Car Wash
- $-1650 Refund of RV deposit
- $140 Gas
- $20 Taxi ride back to airport ($15 plus tip; ___ RV paid a $15 voucher)
- $18 Food at airport
- $90 Parking at Atlanta Airport