Eric dropped Dave off at the airport at 5:00AM (thanks, Eric) and we met him for breakfast at 8AM. He was the worse for wear, since, at 12:30AM, the floor fire alarm went off, scaring the heck out of us, and he had to be up at 4:00AM to drive Dave. The worst is the mechanical voice stating. “We are investigating”. You just lay there and hope you don’t die, and listen to the fire trucks come. Then you go back to sleep. Maybe. Turns out Dave went downstairs to meet the firemen, and it was some control system that wasn’t right. Eric couldn’t sleep anyway, and being waken up by an alarm is not good.
After breakfast, we headed off to Jasper. Of course, we have to make it thru the traffic on 97 St and 1, which was so backed up with construction it took us an extra half hour to get out of Edmonton. After the escape, we made good time all the way to Jasper, stooping for gas once in Niton Junction. We stopped at the gate to Jasper National Park and a pleasant woman asked our plans and charged us for two days in Jasper and Banff. (35 CAD)
On the way, we discussed attractions. We wanted to be frugal, but heck, we were on vacation and wanted to see everything. Tina had recommended the Maligne Lake tour in Jasper, and based on the pictures on the Web, I wanted in. We called on the way – no reservations on the phone, and only two slots each in the two cruises remaining in our arrival timeframe.
POINT: From Edmonton, go directly to the lake – they sell tickets there too.
We went to the visitor center first, looking for the Maligne Lake tour. They directed us to the Brewster center down XXX street, but we had trouble finding it. We managed to walk down most of the streets downtown – it is small and very manageable, and eventually found the office, and signed up for the 3PM tour. We first stopped at the hotel, found our rooms not ready, and headed out to the Maligne Lake road, a bit XXX of Jasper. Well, the road is, but you drive at least a half hour to get to the lake from the main road.
We of course missed the big “P” sign and had to U-Turn to get into the parking lot. Ran into the ticket office, exchanged our vouchers for boarding passes and went into the visitor center / gift shop / snack shop to try to eat a bit. Eric needed to eat; I prefer to wait until we have a chance to sit. So he wolfed down a sandwich and we helped eat his fries, and promptly jumped onto the boat.