On to Alaska … Or Not.

Banff National Park - Canada

As I mentioned in my last post, I left Calgary to head to Alaska for my birthday. I loaded up the car. I checked everything you’re supposed to check – the fluid levels and the tire pressure, even though my Mini Cooper alerts me if any of those are out of whack. I check them because it is always good to double check. I made sure I had enough food and water and warm clothes with me. Stephanie & I had brunch and said goodbye, and I headed off on the first leg of my journey – in to Banff, past Lake Louise, and on to Jasper.

I kept feeling a hesitation about leaving for Alaska. I talked with friends that live along the route and in Alaska. Charlaine told me how this is her favorite time of year there, how amazing the fall is and how gorgeous the Aurora Borealis is right now. Alisha pointed out that the Al-Can is a trucker route, and while there are stretches with no gas stations, I wouldn’t be alone on the road by any means.

Banff National Park

Even when I left, something still felt off. I was excited to be heading to Alaska though, and decided that maybe it was just because I hadn’t been on the road for awhile. Mike would be meeting me on the other end of the drive there, and I couldn’t wait.

I stopped at Moraine Lake to see it one more time. Something about that lake is just magical for me. It seemed to be sad to see me go – it was overcast and raining. Still magical, but completely different than before.

Moraine Lake - Banff National Park

As I headed back to my car, I spotted something a bit odd about my rear tire. What was that on the side? A line of some sort? A mark? Or what?

I did not have a good feeling about this. All of that hesitation came flooding back to me.

I’ve said for years that I have “The Vibe”. I get that ominous feeling whenever I’m going to be involved in an accident or when I’m going to get pulled over by the cops. I’ve had The Vibe every time an accident has happened. I’ve had it a few times when an accident hasn’t happened, but I always credit it with being more cautious or sometimes even changing my route. Yesterday, I had The Vibe. The hesitation in leaving and getting on the road. My nerves were high. As soon as I saw the tire, I knew.

I was not going to be driving to Alaska.

My Tire - Ruining my Travel PlansI drove the 4km to Lake Louise because I knew there would be better light there, plus WiFi signal at the hotel. I could get ahold of Mike and talk this through. Sometimes, you just need to talk it out – and this was one of those moments. When I got to Lake Louise and parked, the line on my tire happened to be at the top. Then I could see it all.

UGH.

Thanks to the lovely people at the Fairmont, I got my Fairmont number and got on the WiFi network and started talking with Mike & Stephanie. I considered camping at Lake Louise, but it was getting late to set up camp. In the end, I decided to drive back to Calgary.

I took some time to regroup because I was rather angry about it all. I won’t deny it. The beauty of nature has power to help calm me down. Water plus mountains? Yes, please.

Banff - Lake Louise

Lake Louise - Canoe

As I left Lake Louise, I stopped to see if I could see the Milky Way. It was directly overhead. I didn’t want to unpack my tripod, so I opened my sunroof and put my camera on top of my car. Timer set, this was my view.

Banff Lake Louise Milky Way

I stopped once more as I drove back to Calgary to admire the moon rising over the mountains. Just after I took this photograph, I drove to where the mountain ended, and it appeared from the side – I gasped. Literally.

When Mike & I were making the Alaska plans he asked me if I was getting burned out on the amazing views I have seen. No, I definitely am not. The mountains still fill me with such awe and wonder. They amaze me.

All the tire stores in Calgary are closed on Sunday, so I have to wait until Monday to get a new one. We have decided that Alaska just feels forced right now. I could make it there by my birthday, but something still feels off about it all. Instead we are looking at other places and saving Alaska for next year. (Who knows, maybe once I get to Vancouver I’ll still drive up to the Southern border so I can say I made it there on this trip? We’ll see.)

Speaking of my recent post, I’m trying to raise money for Charity:Water and our Camp Mighty Team. Would you be a dear and go and make a donation? Every little bit helps! Visit the Camp Mighty Charity:Water donation page. Make a donation. Be sure to note that your donation to add a note that the funds are being donated in my name – Christine Tremoulet. That way they know to credit me & Team 4 at Camp Mighty.THANK YOU!