Saturday, July 20, 2013


Growing up I traveled U.S. Highway 395 hundreds of time through the Eastern Sierra Nevada up to Mammoth Lakes, and Lake Tahoe.  I have long considered Highway 395 one of the most beautiful highways anywhere in America that I have traveled.  The Canadian equivalent for me is Provincial Highway 93 in Alberta… runs north and south along the eastern edge of the Canadian Rockies.  The views along PH-93 are stunning, breathtaking, amazing, gorgeous, stupendous, awesome…….after a while one runs out of adequate adjectives to describe what we have seen the past 3 days since we left Beaver Dam Gold and RV Resort.

Our second night in the Icefields was much like the first, except there were a lot more RV’s the second night.  The night was inky black, with almost no sound.  I awoke around 6:30 to clear blue skies, and the sun just gracing the face of one of the many hanging glaciers…..within 30 minutes the clouds had rolled in and it was raining cats and dogs.  That is how fast the weather there can change. 

We planned leave around 9 am to drive south on PH-93 to Lake Louise, the through Banff on Saturday.  Since it was the weekend, and it is the height of the Canadian summer travel season we broke down and got reservations at Lake Louise Campground, just about 8 miles from the famous Lake Louise.

We only had 80 miles to drive, and had decided we would stop a few times on the way south to really take in the scenery.  Our first stop was Bridal Vail Falls, which we had just passed by on our way north on Wednesday.  The turnout for Bridal Vail Falls is just at the beginning of the 9% grade that I had barely crawled up at 14 mph a couple of days earlier in 1st gear.  The saying goes “do down the grade in the same gear you went up in”, so as we left Bridal Vail Falls I put the tranny in first gear for the 2 mile descent to lesser grades.  Between 1st gear and the Jacob’s Brake we kept or speed right around 14 mph going down.

 The view just before I discovered I had no 12 volt power in the coach

We had expected to be traveling mostly downhill all the way to Lake Louise, and we did until just after our second stop.  I had been hoping to find a turnout with a good view, and as we round a corner there it was, so I pulled off and sat idling until Forest and Cindy pulled in along side us, and then I turned off the DD (Detroit Diesel).  My first stop was the bathroom.  I turned on the switch for the house water pump, but the light did not come on…..hmmm.  After finishing my bathroom break I headed outside to check the ground on the water pump.  When I found it was fine, I then started checking the 12 volt fuses in front and in back….all were intact.  As I was checking the rear fuse panel I noticed my closet light was not coming on when I opened the door.  Then I checked the rest of the lights in the rear of the coach and discovered eventually that not one 12 volt light, or appliance was working, including the refrigerator.  Wow…..everything was working when we left the Icefields just an hour earlier.

I went outside and told Forest what was going on, or should I say NOT going on, to be precise.  He quickly got his multi-meter out and we began to check everything from the batteries to the inverter all the way back to the rear panel on the back of the coach.  We had power all the way back there, but it was not getting back into the coach…..what a puzzle.  Next I opened up the right rear engine compartment where there are two shutoff switches that I only use when the coach is in storage….they hadn't been turned off since February of 2011 when we moved into the coach full time.  Forest tested power at both switches, and they were both fine… he was checking the second switch I looked around, remembering the 3.5 foot rule I learned in Spearfish…..don’t just look at the thing you are working on….look around……what caught my attention was a large black wire that was no longer connected to a terminal on the back of the rear panel…..that was it!  I plugged it back in and we immediately had power again.  It’s so nice when it turns out to be something simple, right?  After a little appropriate high fiving we got back in our coaches and continued our slow trek southward….the speed limit was around 55.9 mph (90 klicks).  We were in no rush, and it appeared we would still make Lake Louise by Noon, which, in fact we did……without further incident. 

There was already a long line up when we arrived for early check in, so it took around 30 minutes to get through the line and to our assigned 98 foot pull through site.  We only have 15 and 30 amp power options here, but both Forest and I have a splitter that connects to both the 30 amp receptacle and the 15 amp receptacle giving us a luxurious 45 amps of power into our coaches.

 Lake Louise----very cold and windy

 Along with paying $45 for our site ($33 for the site plus a $12 reservation fee) we then had to run into town after setting up,  and pay for one more day in the national park ($19.00 per day), then we purchased for $5 internet access for one day so we could all update our e-mail, etc.  While we did that it began raining in earnest. By this time it was getting close to 4 pm so we then headed up to Lake Louise.  The drive is a short one from the Village….less than 10 minutes.  We arrived to large crowds of people coming and going…..this is a major tourist trap, as you can imagine.

On top of the crowds, it was a little rainy, as well as quite windy…..where, may I ask, has summer gone here in Alberta?  Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the lack of heat…..a lot of the country is having a heat spell, and we are grateful every single day, even if it rains, we are where we are……not just for the cool weather, but for the amazing scenery.

Due to the cold, windy, rainy conditions we did not tarry long at the lake front area, but once again we were spell bound by the beauty all around us.  I have to say after what we have seen the past 3 days Lake Louise was a little bit of a let down….mostly because it was so crowded unlike all the other gorgeous sites we have stopped to see.  Nevertheless, you must see Lake Louise, but you must also drive PH-93 north to Jasper……please!

 Lake Morraine - less cold....less windy

From Lake Louise we then traveled about 15 klicks up to Lake Morraine….another beautiful glacier fed lake surrounded by sharp pinnacles reaching up toward the sky.

We arrived back home a little after 7 pm, and headed to our individual coaches for dinner, and a short nap.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we continue our trek southward to the town of Cardston where we will sit for a few days awaiting the arrival of Tom and Darlene who have been in Lethbridge these past few days getting their radiator leak fixed.  It appears from the e-mails we are getting from Tom that they have been successful, so we should rejoin our friends in a few days….YAY!

Thanks for stopping by!

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