Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Great American Road Trip (Including Parts of Canada!) Part 3

Catch up with Part One and Part Two.

We left Crater Lake, its ass Park Ranger and our speeding ticket in the dust.  We cruised through Portland, hit up Powell's and arrived at Washington's Cascade Range late that same evening.  There was no snow, but there was rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Were our tents waterproof?   Nah, who is worried about waterproofing when you live in Southern California?

Not that we couldn't have used a little shower.  This was Day #2 and we all needed one--showers were, ahem, somewhat hard to find in the parking lots of Crater Lake.  But there were showers at the camp ground, right?

Wrong.  Who is worried about showers when you're camping?  (Answer: Girls.  Long hair.  Legs that need shaving.  The "natural look" takes some upkeep fellas.) 

"There are showers at Lake Louise!  You'll love it up there!" the guys assured us.
"Great," answered SSG, willing to take a walk after sitting in the car for two days "Which direction do I go?"
"SSG, Lake Louise is in Canada."
"But we're in Washington."
"Yeah, we'll be at Lake Louise in two days."

Lake Louise was held out like the proverbial carrot on a stick.  "It's the most beautiful place ever!"  "We'll be in tank tops and shorts canoeing across the lake!"  "It's this incredible shade of blue!"  "The color is caused by a glacier blah, blah, blah with rock particles that blah, blah, blah!"  "The campground has showers!"  

I grumbled, but marched on like the ultimate trooper.  And by marching on I mean reading novels while Dan and Co. went to hike.  And by hike, of course, I mean scaling a vertical cliff using nothing but the tips of their index fingers.

We drove all night to get to Lake Louise.  I slept in the car with dreams of the longest shower in the history of showers.  Be damned water conservation, I had saved five days worth of water and I was usin' it!  I even did my part to pitch in to the collective good of the crew by assuring everyone there would be no shortage of oil.  I had plenty saved up in my hair.

"Uh oh." I heard Dana say from the front of the truck.
"Hang on." Dana got out of the car and went up to talk to Wes and Dan before climbing back into the truck to give us the news. 
"Don't even tell me that this camp ground doesn't have showers," I yelled as he got back in the car.
"So, um.  We didn't check the weather."
"Yeah," I said looking around at a frozen over pond and lots of snow.
"And it looks like our campground is snowed in."
"Ok, ok, ok," I said, remaining calm.  "What are the chances that their showers still work?"

Day 5 and no showers.  And where were we going to sleep? Evenings that weren't spent in a wet tent and sleeping bag had been spent sleeping in a parking lot.  What had I gotten myself into?  How far was Lake Louise from civilization and could I get a one way ticket back to San Diego?

"Dan's going to go see what the hotel can offer us."
"Hotel?" I perked up and Dana pointed behind us.

I looked back at the most stunning hotel I had ever seen.  It sat elegant and graceful on the edge of Lake Louise.  It didn't belong on our road trip, but rather in the mountains of Switzerland.  The hotel and its setting looked vaguely familiar, but I had no idea why or how I would have seen it.  It didn't matter, there was no way we could afford to stay there.  I slumped back into my seat and wondered if you could die from disappointment.  It seemed like the best option available.

"We're in!"  Dan called, jogging back to the cars.
"WHAT?!"  We all screamed. 
"Yep, let's go!"

Dan and Digs had relayed our story to the people at Chateau Lake Louise.  Luckily only college kids were working behind the front desk and they had also just started their summers.  We were able to get a huge room that slept four and they were willing to wheel in 4 extra roll-a-way beds.  The  miracle?  They gave it to us for $200 CANADIAN.  We each had to pitch in $25, which worked out to be about $14 US dollars.  Even better?  There were TWO bathrooms and TWO showers.  I literally cried.

We pulled up to the front of this gorgeous hotel amidst BMW's and Mercedes in our two Ford trucks with enough North Face equipment to outfit an REI.  Eight, early twenty somethings who hadn't showered in five days clomped through the lobby that Robin Leach had recently graced.  That's right peeps, the reason I recognized the hotel?  It had been featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

We ended up staying there for three days--swimming in the hotel pool, relaxing in the jacuzzi and taking enough showers to last us for the remainder of the trip.

Things were starting to look up.

To be continued ...