Banff or Bust

Our hotel and restaurant on the Road in NZ
I’m getting ready for The Big Roadtrip to British Columbia with four other wonderful people in a motorhome. Five people, sixteen days, one motorhome—that’s like 22 times the fun. And who says I suck at math?

In 2005 I traveled through New Zealand for sixteen days with one other person in a motorhome, and it was the best vacation I’ve ever had. I cooked all our meals, Crowded House and Brooke Fraser provided the entertainment and New Zealand offered spectacular scenery. Despite a frustrating lack of hobbits, NZ rocked. I can’t help wondering how BC will stack up against NZ.

Canada has more rules than New Zealand, where camping is allowed anywhere it’s not specifically prohibited by a sign. In 2005, we just got in the motorhome and drove, stopped when we felt like it, ate when we felt like it and chose our route on the spur of the moment. For Canada, we’ve planned our route down to the last detail.

I’ve reserved all the camping spaces for our 33-foot motor home. These campsites have lots of rules. Rules. Rules. Rules. No alcohol after 11 p.m. No noise. No eating the bears. There’s rarely a fire pit for grilling them anyway, so what’s the point? Bear carpaccio?

“And are you the person who will take responsibility for any damage?” the call-center woman asked. She was in Toronto and had never been to the national parks of British Columbia, but at least she wasn’t speaking with a chirpy, incomprehensible Indian accent (no offense meant to my sub-continental readers, but sheesh).

“Um, yes, I guess so,” I said. “What damage could we possibly cause?”

“It says here you could burn down Canada,” she said. “Do you want a fire pit?”


Do you know the word bumf? Well, until I saw a documentary on the Banff National Park, I thought Banff sounded a lot like bumf. It turns out that Banff is a near rhyme with the word camp, though. So, excuse me, Banff, you’re not a near rhyme with a slang word for toilet paper.

I’m off to do a bit more research into buying groceries in Banff, which does not sound like toilet paper. I wonder if the woman in Toronto will know if the grocery stores in Banff (snigger) sell gluten-free bread and pasta. I think I’ll call her and ask.

From July 23 to August 25, I’ll be on the road somewhere in British Columbia or in the pacific NW of the US of A. I’m going to try my best to be online some of that time, but it’s unlikely.

Coming up next week at IMBO is my interview with Kimberly Menozzi. She’s in Tennessee right now getting ready to kick off her US book tour for her literary romance Ask Me if I’m Happy and Alternate Rialto, the prequel to Ask Me if I’m Happy. Be sure and stop by next week and give Kim some support.

I must be off,


  1. Banff is beautiful. I grew up and spent over 30 years in Calgary, Alberta. One of my favorite things to do is hike Johnstone (Johnson) Canyon. It's a short hike to the small falls but it's very nice. Also, drive slowly and you may see bears or deers or other large wildlife. My favourite is the Marmot rodent. So cute.

  2. About buying things in Banff, they have grocery marts and many of them are full of natural things. You may be able to find a hemp store or two.

  3. I thought you were going to Banff in Aberdeenshire for a moment there. Thank God you aren't. They have some lovely streets that lead to a harbour, and that's it.

  4. Thank you, Clarissa, for the information. I'm glad to hear there are lots of grocery stores. We'll definitely keep our eyes open for bears.

    Hey, Mark. I wonder if Banff was settled by people from Banff in Aberdeenshire. Hmmm.

  5. I have always wanted to go to Banff, so I will be looking forward to reading about your adventures.

  6. Hey Chris - great idea for a vacation. If you get up near Fort St. john ask around for Bennet Mills. It's an old lumber operation where I worked one summer while contemplating a move to Canada to avoid the draft. Decided to come home and fight the war against the war, but quite an adventure back then for a nineteen year old kid.

  7. I've never been to Banff but have seen a number of photos. What a beautiful place! Hope you have an awesome time and take LOTS of photos! :)

  8. I love Banff, and glad that you made a reservation, it gets really busy there. I'll actually be there in 2 weeks myself.

  9. In two weeks??!! I'll be there then. We have to at least cross paths and high-five. :)

  10. I hope you have 22 times the fun. I enjoyed your post and your sense of humor :-) Better take your own gluten free pasta.


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