And They’re Off…

Thursday, August 3, 2017

101 miles to Jasper, then 179 miles to Banff

This photo is from last night when Phil and Jack finally arrived!

After a short sleep in Edson last night, we are up and ready by 6:30am.  The time choice was mine because we have to drive a couple hours to Jasper (they boy’s bike starting point) then I know they will have to mess around getting all their stuff together.  I want to get out of Jasper before 10am.  Hey – I have a spa appointment waiting for me 4 hours south at the Fairmont Banff!

Does this man look ready to ride 800 miles?
Ready to head to Jasper (Jack rented an SUV to drive Phil and himself from the Calgary airport.  He will ditch it in Jasper)

As we drive to Jasper we are encouraged that the air is reasonably clear.  Jasper is pretty far north of Banff and we don’t know how long this clear air will hold out.  Temps are amazing – 50-60F.

As expected, when we arrive in Jasper there is much scurring around to make sure the boys get everything properly arranged.  They have done this before and are pros at getting their gear ready and loaded onto their “steeds.”


Rich takes a test ride in the parking lot
The Tres Amigos

Ready or not – there they go!



C’mon, Jack.  You are already behind…

Time for me to hit the road as well.  When we were pondering why so many people are here (in Jasper National Park and Banff National Park) we didn’t really realize how absolutely gorgeous it is.  Leaving Jasper and heading south is an awesome drive and I know the guys are going to love it.  Hard to take many photos from the car, but I got a few and stopped a couple of times.




The water really is that color.  I believe it is because it is glacier water (Bow Valley Glacier in the background.) Unfortunately, as I get closer to Banff, the smoke has permeated the air.  Visibility is not good.

I finally make it to Banff and the town is a zoo.  I can’t believe how many people are here wandering around.  Deciding not to stop, I make a beeline for the Fairmont Banff Springs. Just when I am wondering if I can find it – she looms super large right in front of me!

Of course this is not my photo, but ain’t it awesome???

Got to love Fairmont hotels.  I chose this one because it is absolutely iconic and with our President’s Club membership I get 2-for-1 golf.  Also with Amex I get room upgrade, late checkout, daily breakfast and one complimentary dinner.  Win-Win.

Due to the hugeness of the property and the plethora of cars checking in, I choose to valet my car.  I don’t plan on leaving the hotel.  Check in is a breeze – I pre-checked in online and they are actually waiting out front with my info and room key!

I am a bit diappointed that I did not get an upgrade.  They are full. Oh well.  My room is very nice and has a great view – which would be amazing except for the smoke…


The Willow Stream Spa is calling my name.  In order to justify my spa experience, I hit up the Fitness Room first.  Seems about right.  The spa is gorgeous with all the amenities you would expect – steam room, whirpool, resting room, sauna, etc.  What sets this one apart is the large “mineral pool” with 3 “plunge pools.”

Smoky view from the spa terrace
A peek down to the mineral pool area (it is coed)

Since I have arrived early for my treatment I make use of all the amenities (except for the cold plunge pool…)

two of the plunge (waterfall) pools in the back


Today I have chosen the Seasonings Total Adjustment – “This wonderful introduction to Ayurveda combines our spa’s six most popular experiences and season -specific essential oils into one divine total-body experience. Includes a footbath and a scrub, a botanical body mask, a herbal exfoliation with dry brush, a massage, a hot-towel wrap and a mini face treatment. It will leave the skin soft, smooth and nourished.”  It is just as amazing as it sounds.  I leave the spa like a quivering bowl of jello.

Before dinner I indulge in a perfect Negroi in the Rundle Lounge and listen to the two very talented guitar players/singers.


Tonight’s dinner is on Amex – with their Fine Hotels program I receive one complimentary dinner.  I have reservations at their premier restaurant – 1888 Chophouse.  I am seated at a great people-watching table and settle in for a wonderful meal.

I know I am going to love it here when my server arrives with the Champagne CART!


He tells me they have some special oysters from Prince Edward Island tonight – for $5 EACH.  (remember, Amex is paying).  I can’t resist and order 1/2 dozen.  They are sublime.


For my entree, my server talked me into the special Wagyu Filet Mignon.  I order it along with the blistered yellow tomatoes and wild mushrooms.  OMG


Definitely the best steak I have ever eaten.

After a fantastic meal all I can do is ride up the elevator and crawl into my comfy bed.  Tomorrow will be golf here at the Fairmont – can’t wait to see what is in store there!


4 thoughts on “And They’re Off…

  1. A champagne cart, PEI oysters, and wagyu filet … Are you kidding me? And that’s on top of an awesome spa-sperience (knew you wouldn’t cold plunge)???? Sign me up!

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