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Oct 07

2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Adventure Tour Westjet Las Vegas Flight
2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Adventure Tour Westjet Calgary Flight

“You’ve been selected to participate in the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Adventure Tour in Canada!” It all started with an email from Ford HQ. Excitement for travel and exploring more of the beautiful vistas and lakes, awaited me in the land to the north.

Disclosure: Ford Motor Company sponsored my travel accommodations during the adventure. However, all of my thoughts, opinions are my own.

Westjet Landing In Calgary YYC Canada
Westjet Landing In Calgary YYC Canada

I said yes and selected my tour leg that began in Kamloops, British Columbia, with a waypoint in Revelstoke, Alberta that finished up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This looked like the best leg to put the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Full-Size SUV through many paces.

Calgary Airport YYC Flying Dinosaurs
Calgary Airport YYC Flying Dinosaurs

My airplane tickets arrived shortly thereafter and the rest of the trip started to come together. Thankfully WestJet has a non-stop flight from Las Vegas to Calgary. WestJet serves many other cities in Canada, so I utilized their quick trip flight on a Q400 Nextgen Turboprop airplane to Kamloops.

Welcome To Calgary Airport YYC
Welcome To Calgary Airport YYC

Score! WestJet allowed me to make alternate accommodations for a window seat for my trips to Calgary and Kamloops. A window view looking over the expansive mountains and many majestic lakes from the airplane was more exciting than passing time by playing games on my smartphone.

Lake From Above Westjet Kamloops Flight
Lake From Above Westjet Kamloops Flight

I saw some of the most amazing country, flying very near the rockies during the entire first flight. The second flight provided a great overview of what my driving experience would include during my epic luxury road trip.


Sandman Signature Room Tour Kamloops

Sandman Signature Hotel Kamloops Canada
Sandman Signature Hotel Kamloops, Canada


Westjet Q400 Turboprop

Flying into Kamloops on a windy day in the Q400 was a ride in of itself! Periscope maven Lizza, was on my flight, so I knew either way, this was going to be fun. We gathered our belongings, caught up and embarked in a Ford SUV to the Sandman Signature Hotel in Downtown Kamloops.

Sandman Signature Hotel Hallway Lighting
Sandman Signature Hotel Hallway Lighting

The Sandman Signature Hotel had cool up lighting in the hallways that made it look like a hip mini W Hotel. I checked in and proceeded out to the traveling Ford Explore More Adventure semi.

ExploreMore Semi Truck Kamloops
ExploreMore Semi Truck Kamloops

Underneath the awning were standup informational signs and a fully equipped 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum Luxury Full-Sized SUV. Each of us in the group took turns checking out the SUV and how its technology would help us throughout the adventurous drive.

2016 Ford Explorer Platinum SUV
2016 Ford Explorer Platinum SUV

Dinner was served and we began to find out driving partners. I had talked with Matt Long, @LandLopers on social media, many times over the years. We had a similar interest in leaving early to maximize what we could see during the adventure.

Chris 24k Selfie BC Wildlife Park Kamloops
Chris @24k Selfie BC Wildlife Park Kamloops

Ford provided us with a full list of previously scouted spots to see along the tour, but we were encouraged to see and experience parts unknown. Little did we know, this adventure would steer us to the top of the world, or at least to the summit, 8,650 feet, of Lake Loraine’s ski resort.

Grizzly Bear BC Wildlife Park Kamloops
Grizzly Bear BC Wildlife Park Kamloops

Lions, tigers and bears oh my? Surely, we saw several types of bears, moose and other animals at various points during the trip. This was the first time I had seen many of them in real life. Curiously, Mount Revelstoke had several signs making us aware of crossing amphibians. I had never seen a sign like that at altitude.

Old Courthouse In Kamloops
Old Courthouse In Kamloops

Our first stops were at an old courthouse, a giant trout with the best view of Kamloops and the valley. People were taking very creative photos of the trout as seen on Instagram. I liked the one where it looked like the fish was jumping over the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum.

Giant Kamloops Trout
Giant Kamloops Trout

Leaving Kamloops lead the way to a wildlife sanctuary that helped injured creatures of the forest. So many of the animals need a lot of help. One creature alone consumes up to 91lbs of meat per week, wow.

We wound through towns Monte Creek, Pritchard, Shuswap and Chase. It was near Chase where we pulled off of the road to record video of Little Shuswap Lake and check in on social media now that cellular signal had appeared again. The use of a Goodspeed world enabled WiFi hotspot helped immensely during the entire trip.

Organic Fruit Stand BC, Canada
Organic Fruit Stand BC, Canada

Our next waypoint was an organic fruit stand. It was suggested we take a tour of the stand and maybe try a few items if they looked appealing. My travel partner tried a cup of coffee and an organic cookie. The coffee was ok, but the cookie was not the best. I have tried organic root beer before and it does not taste the same as what I am used to, so maybe that was it.

Time to move on to the next spot and during the way, I found a great point to pull off for photos. Signal had again returned and it was off to the Internet to check in with our respective Twitter, Facebook and Instagram friends.

Shuswap Lake BC, Canada
Shuswap Lake BC, Canada

The lake below where I had parked the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum SUV spanned several sides of the land around us. Picking the center of the lake is always best for super wide panoramic shots.

Most of the first day had been in the Eastern direction heading towards a final destination of Revelstoke. However, the Trans-Canada Highway 1 worked its way south past Sorrento, Tappen and Salmon Arm. It was in Salmon Arm that it was time to stop for lunch at DeMille’s Market.


High Hill Ranch Fresh Apple Donut Glazed & Covered In Sprinkles! ????????????

A photo posted by Chris Rauschnot (@24k) on

The market is akin to a place I enjoy visiting every fall in Northern California, called Apple Hill. In fact, I went to Apple Hill for a few pies and donuts last week. Along the way, I spotted a fellow on the side of the freeway cutting up tree trunks to make them look like bears.

Wood Carver Bear Statue In Salmon Arm
Wood Carver Bear Statue In Salmon Arm

Figuring out what to get for lunch was difficult. This market had many more options than the fruit stand from earlier and had a small deli in back. I had been to Canada once before, so having poutine again was my fallback option. Thankfully, there were Panini sandwiches available. The tasty chicken, avocado, spinach and cheddar cheese Panini was worth the wait.

De Mille’s Market Salmon Arm
De Mille’s Market Salmon Arm

My travel partner found a picnic bench by the DeMille corn maze and that is where we setup for lunch. Keeping on schedule to see the maximum number of points of interest during the adventure tour was of utmost importance, so lunch was quick. This is where I handed the keys over for the next leg of the trip.

Heading east and then north took us past Canoe, Annis, Mara Lake and finally Sicamous where we found D Duchmen Dairy. I did not have Canadian money on me and the ice cream parlor was not accepting credit cards. Thankfully, my driving partner had a few Canadian loonies on him.

D Dutchmen Dairy Ice Cream Cone
D Dutchmen Dairy Ice Cream Cone

The amount of flavors available was staggering for being so far out in the Canadian wilderness. I asked what their most popular flavors were but found that they had peanut butter and chocolate mousse. I asked for one scoop in a regular cone, but most everyone else were upgrading to the waffle cone, probably for an Instagram ice cream post.

The Last Spike In Craigellachie
The Last Spike In Craigellachie

Continuing on the road trip to Revelstoke took us along the Eagle River and past Yard Creek Provincial Park, Malakwa and Craigellachie. It was a little while later where we found our point of interest, Crazy Creek Falls.

Crazy Creek Falls Canada
Crazy Creek Falls Canada

Located directly off of the Trans-Canada Highway, Crazy Creek Falls had easy parking and friendly ticket staff. After paying a small fee, I walked up a well-marked trail into the Eagle Pass Valley, over a pedestrian highway overpass and then to their exciting suspension bridge.

Crazy Creek Falls Bridge Canada
Crazy Creek Falls Bridge Canada

At first, I was hesitant to cross the suspension bridge. But it had extremely strong-coiled metal cable anchored into the bedrock on either side with concrete. The photos I could take from the bridge would be Instagram gold, so I went for it.

Crossing the bridge with five or six other people definitely kept the bridge moving up and down. I kept my smartphone and camera in my pocket until I was in the middle of it.

This is where I was able to take the best photos and a Vine of the Crazy Creek Falls. Once on the other side, there were facilities and a walkway down wooden stairs to additional look out points. It only took 15 minutes or less to reach the falls from the parking lot. It is a nice place to stop if you are traveling the Trans-Canada Highway.


Three Valley Lake

Driving further along took us past Taft, The Enchanted Forest (good for kids), Griffith Lake and Three Valley Lake. The view I found after we pulled off was even better than an earlier stop in the day. There was a boat launch and large boulders that provided a great place to snap photos and record video.

Three Valley Gap Lake
Three Valley Gap Lake Canada

Not too far away from the boat launch was the Three Valley Gap Heritage Ghost Town. The gentleman manning the ticket booth advised us that it takes many hours to see everything. Each home and building is full of period pieces fitting of a ghost town.

Victor Lake Provincial Park was next while traveling past Victor Lake, Eagle Pass, Wetask Lake, Smokey Bear Campground and into Revelstoke. This is where we spent the rest of the day driving and hiking around in the expansive wilderness.

Up until now, the terrain for driving the 2016 Ford Explorer Explorer was fairly level highway. Entering into the Mount Revelstoke National Park however, changed that in a huge way.

Revelstoke Valley City View From Mount Revelstoke
Revelstoke Valley City View From Mount Revelstoke

Arriving at this Canadian National Park was easy enough off of the Trans-Canada Highway. The road and sometimes trail, Meadows in the Sky Parkway, lead us up to a small ticket booth.

Revelstoke Valley View From Mount Revelstoke
Revelstoke Valley View From Mount Revelstoke

Two tips at this point. Buy the ticket late enough in the day to be able to enter other Canadian National Parks on the next day. The free shuttle van at the parking area atop the mountain stops running before sunset. Give yourself enough time to take the shuttle up and down the mountain but also take your time going to all of the lookout points. The views are colorful, amazing and once-in-a-lifetime.

Mount Revelstoke 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum
Mount Revelstoke 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum

Cooler weather in the Canadian Rockies during this time of year brought a nice chill to the air. It was comfortable for me with a light jacket and beanie. Bring a backpack with snacks and multiple bottles of water; it is a dry climate, unless it is raining.

Mount Revelstoke Summit View
Mount Revelstoke Summit View

Mount Revelstoke Summit With The Wideye Inmarsat IsatHub & TYLT Energi Backpack
Mount Revelstoke Summit With The Wideye Inmarsat IsatHub & TYLT Energi Backpack


Driving Down Mount Revelstoke

The end to the first day of adventures in Revelstoke found us at The Sutton Place at Mount Revelstoke. Dinner was being served in their ski lodge high above the hotel. I was fortunate enough to take my first gondola ride in Canada at the hotel.


Mount Revelstoke Gondola Ride

Entering the gondola from the hotel is convenient and the view going up the mountain during sunset was a winner. The sunset had a deep red bouncing off the underside of clouds.


The Sutton Place Hotel Revelstoke Mountain Resort Room Tour

Inside of my room had many luxuries not seen at other hotels. A washer and dryer, two bedrooms, a full kitchen with cooktop, microwave and oven, dining room table, a large couch, gas fireplace and an area perfect for taking off and putting on skiing gear. A ten-person hot tub is located in the center of the hotel with a view to the mountains. It is open until 10pm.

Mountain Top, Clouds and Trees
Mountain Top, Clouds and Trees

The bed I slept in was comfortable and the view of the mountains the next morning was wonderful. It is a great way to start the day full of sight seeing and driving.

Mount Revelstoke Mountain Top Sunset
Mount Revelstoke Mountain Top Sunset

Rivers were all around us on the entire trip, even out of Revelstoke. We drove along the Illecillewaet River, Hanner Lake, through Mount Revelstoke National Park with Albert Peak on the right, past Canyon Hot Springs and finally into Glacier National Park.


Entering Glacier National Park

World War Two Monument Canada
World War Two Monument Canada

It was at about Roger Pass Summit where a secondary park pass was acquired so that we could continue to visit lakes, parks and take photos. The person who helped us was more than helpful. A fellow in front of us had a lengthy transaction with another visitor, so he decided to come around and help us with our quick inquiry.

Low Clouds, Fog and Mountains With Pine Trees
Low Clouds, Fog and Mountains With Pine Trees

We passed Cheops Mountain, Mount Afton, Avalanche Mountain, Mount Sir Donald, Mount MacDonald, The Camels, Mount Rogers, Mount Hennessey, Heather Mountain and one of the coolest names during the trip, Moonraker Mountain. During the drive we experienced heavy rains, lengthy stops due to road construction and lookout points for awe inspiring photos.

Alberta Side Of The Road In Canada
Alberta Side Of The Road In Canada

We started seeing civilization again as we exited Glacier National Park including, Rogers, Beaver, passing Columbia River, Marl Creek Provincial Park, Donald, Forde, Blaeberry, around Blaeberry River, past Burges and James Gadsden Provincial Park and into Golden. That city name was a nice find, as I wanted so badly to try my hand at panning for some gold.

Banff Alberta Canada With Trees and Mountains
Banff Alberta Canada With Trees and Mountains

Pressing on, we reached Leanchoil and began a trek into Banff National Park. Hearing from my family, friends and co-driver, this is the place to visit when driving through the Canadian Rockies. We passed Mount Vaux, Yoho National Park, the town of Field, Stephen and finally made it to the Lake Louise area.

River and Valley With Glacial Water
River and Valley With Glacial Water

One of the best lookout points in this area was near the Yoho National Park Visitor Centre. It has a small bridge, on Field Access Rd over a river with some of the most amazing blue-green glacier water running through it.

Glacial Water River Side
Glacial Water River Side

Passing through the town of Stephen, we saw the big sign for Alberta. We had finally made our way through British Columbia.

Lake Louise is two parts interestingly enough. If you want to ski Lake Louise, it is on a mountain opposite of the actual lake. I opted to do the gondola ride up the Lake Louise Ski Resort so we could get panoramic views from nearly the top of Whitehorn Mountain.

Lake Louise Ski Lodge Alberta Canada
Lake Louise Ski Lodge Alberta Canada


Lake Louise Gondola Ride Up

The ride up the mountain in the gondola took about 14 minutes each way, give or take eight minutes for when it stops. The ticket price to go up the mountain was $35. There are open seat gondolas and closed gondolas. Stopping while going up the side of a mountain will certainly wake you up! Our gondola was on the Glacier Express Quad trail.

Lake Louise Gondola Ride
Lake Louise Gondola Ride


Lake Louise Gondola Ride Down

I was happy we picked the closed gondola as it started sleeting less than two minutes after heading up the mountain. Looking towards the ski lodge below, it was sunny. We reached the top of this run and found the perfect panoramic lookout point. After taking some video and many photos, it was time to head over to Lake Louise.


Lake Louise Top Of The Summit

Wideye IsatHub Inmarsat Satellite WiFi Hotspot
Wideye IsatHub Inmarsat Satellite WiFi Hotspot Lake Louise

Driving to Lake Louise, over Bow River, reminded me of driving around in Northern California, totally incredible. Parking at Lake Louise was easy and I found parking within minutes of arriving. Walking up to the lake was even easier.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Alberta Canada
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Alberta Canada

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is nestled at the base of the lake. I can only imagine waking up to this view in the morning. Mount Saint Piran and Devils Thumb was on my right while Fairview Mountain, Haddo Peak, Sheol Mountain and Mount Aberdeen were on my left. A small building on the left side of the lake had red canoes for rent, but I did not have enough time to ride in one.


Lake Louise In Banff National Park

Lake Louise Alberta Canada
Lake Louise Alberta Canada

Off in the distance I could see Mount Whyte, Popes Peak, Mount Victoria North Peak and Mount Huber above the cloud layers. Lake Louise with its glacial water, snow on top of the nearby mountains and people riding in red canoes made it a spot I could enjoy looking at for hours.

Lake Louise Red Canoe
Lake Louise Red Canoes

Moraine Lake was next up on the list. The Moraine Lake Rd leading to the lake is typically closed September through May, so we were lucky it was early in the month before snow started to fall.


Moraine Lake In Banff National Park

Moraine Lake with Canadian Mountains
Moraine Lake with Canadian Mountains

There were so many people parking at this lake that they were finding side of the road spots nearly a mile away from the entrance. We decided to pull into the main parking area and with great luck, received a spot at the very front. Walking to the edge of Moraine Lake was even easier than at Lake Louise.

Moraine Lake Green Clear Water
Moraine Lake Green Clear Water

I noticed during my research of Moraine Lake that the best photos were from a higher position to the left of where we had parked. I made my way over, but noticed that I would have to cross logs in the lake that were not attached. I was also carrying loads of tech equipment that would not work well after getting wet.

Moraine Lake Lodge
Moraine Lake Lodge

I did find a canoe and it made for a nice photo opportunity. The Tower of Babel, Mount Babel and Mount Fay on my left were perfectly complimented with Mount Temple, Eiffel Peak and Mount Allen on my right. The Moraine Lake Lodge was a busy place, so we decided to jump back into the Ford Explorer Platinum.

Alberta Side Of The Road In Canada
Alberta Side Of The Road In Canada

On our way nearing Banff, we decided to take a quick break to take video and photos of Sundance Peak, Goatview Peak and Mount Rundle, including Bow River and the Cave and Basin area.


Mount Rundle, Tunnel Mountain & Cave and Basin National Historic Site

Alberta Passenger Canadian Mountains
Alberta Passenger Canadian Mountains

It was on to Eldon, Castle Junction, Castle Mountain, Massive and past Banff as our park pass was near to expiring in a few hours. We exited the Trans-Canada highway and found Lake Minnewanka Scenic Dr.

Lake Minnewanka Alberta Canada
Lake Minnewanka Alberta Canada

Lake Minnewanka is yet another beautiful sight. This is where we tested the backup camera and other technology in the Explorer Platinum backing down the boat ramp to get the best photos. Continuing on, we stopped at Two Jack Lake and Johnson Lake.


Lake Minnewanka In Banff National Park

Two Jack Lake Alberta Canada
Two Jack Lake Alberta Canada


Two Jack Lake In Banff National Park

Johnson Lake Alberta Canada
Johnson Lake Alberta Canada


Johnson Lake In Banff National Park

The scenic road led right back to the Trans-Canada Highway and we were back on course towards Calgary. We passed through Anthracite, Harvie Heights, Canmore, Dead Man’s Flats, Lac des Arcs and Bow Valley Provincial Park. We hit five o’clock city traffic but found our way to the Hotel Arts.

Hotel Arts Calgary YYC
Hotel Arts Calgary YYC


Hotel Arts Calgary YYC

Backing into our spot out front of the Hotel Arts, with the help of the Explorer’s rear camera and large in dash screen, was made easier with the proximity sensing side mirrors. That was the last time I saw my Guard colored Ford SUV.

Good Times Calgary Bar Fun
Good Times Calgary Bar Fun

Those who made it into Calgary before 6 pm were treated to a private event near the Hotel Arts. There we had bar bites and talked with folks from Ford about the trip.

Coca-Cola Explorer
Coca-Cola Explorer

Most of the group was leaving early the next morning, but I had other plans. Calgary was calling my name, so I used the time to explore the city with the time I had left.

Hotel Arts Yellow Door Bistro Tiramisu Pancakes
Hotel Arts Yellow Door Bistro Tiramisu Pancakes

Calgary Alberta Canada Calgary Tower City View
Calgary Alberta Canada Calgary Tower City View

Visiting The Calgary Tower was the highlight of my day. I missed lunch in their restaurant atop the tower, but their observation deck was still open. I enjoyed seeing the city from this height. There were tourists from around the world taking so many photos.

Glass Floor From Above Calgary Tower YYC
Glass Floor From Above Calgary Tower YYC


Tour Around The Calgary Tower YYC

One of the best spots to take photos from inside the observation area is located directly across from the elevator when you arrive. The floor is made of glass and a view of the street below will certainly lend to some excitement.

From The Calgary Tower YYC The Bow
From The Calgary Tower YYC The Bow

Canadian Pacific Railroad Calgary YYC
Canadian Pacific Railroad Calgary YYC

I made my way around other parts of the city, through a mall, across a few parks and under train tracks back towards my hotel. It was time to leave Calgary and catch my non-stop Westjet flight back to Las Vegas.

Westjet Leaving Calgary YYC To Las Vegas
Westjet Leaving Calgary YYC To Las Vegas

Flying to Las Vegas, on a Friday night, at the start to a three-day weekend was quite an experience. The time I spent exploring more of Canada with Ford will never be forgotten.

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