Buckle up, or pay the price

By Sarah Reynolds | Jun 01, 2016
Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds Glacial Lake Louise, named for a daughter of Queen Victoria, is surrounded by the Canadian Rockies.

Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta — After a long day in the car Monday, we took a while getting into gear Tuesday, so it was early afternoon before headed into Banff to do a couple of errands before driving up to Lake Louise.

Actually, we did go see the nearby Hoodoos – chimney-like formations of rock in a valley below the nearby Rockies. The Bow River below and the mountains above made for an inspiring setting.

In town, we searched for a gas station, and spotted one, just as a large truck pulled in, making it impossible for us to enter. Nothing daunted, Maureen found a parking lot to turn around in, and came back for another pass. Ah, there was another gas station on our left. With a quick and somewhat creative turn, we were in front of the pumps.

One second later, there was a Canadian policeman in front of Maureen's window. He pointed out that our turn had been not quite legal and, in a tone of some shock, noted that “neither one of you are belted.” He and his female partner asked for our identification.

Now, it happens that I am a habitual user of seat belts. I believe I have been saved from harm by them a number of times, and always wear them. I had taken mine off about 30 seconds before the cop showed up in order to remove my sweater. So it was with a sense of the unfairness of life's ironies that I produced my passport.

The man and woman conferred, standing behind our truck, for longer than it seemed a traffic violation should have taken. The woman came up to my window to check my address, and when I started to tell her, she realized it was the same as Maureen's. Later, she came back to ask about my vital statistics.

Eventually, the guy returned to Maureen's window and explained that he and his partner were on foot patrol that day specifically to catch seat belt violators. Did we know that 70 percent of injuries in accidents were to people not wearing seat belts? Were we aware that if we were injured in a crash while unbelted, our vacation insurance would not cover us?

Then he handed Maureen a yellow piece of paper – a ticket for violating the seat belt law, with a “voluntary payment option.” That is, if she voluntarily pays $155 Canadian by Sept. 1 – which can be done conveniently online – she will not have to appear in court. I got a similar billet-doux from the female cop. We were both chagrined, but I will say this: I will not be riding around Canada without a seat belt in the future. Let the reader learn from my experience and avoid a hefty fine.

The drive to Lake Louise took us back through part of the Kootenay National Park we had seen Monday, and it was just as beautiful from the other direction. The glacial lake, with its beautiful blue-green waters, was named for Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. The town bearing the same name was originally a railway construction camp. Both are within Banff National Park. We found a cafe for a very late lunch, and then sat for a while in the sun, looking at the lake and the other people boating on it on taking pictures.

We got back to the camper about 6:30, walked the dog, and started the charcoal grill for the steaks we had picked up a couple of days previously. A pleasant al fresco supper was followed by a return trip to the nearby hoodoos, this time with Cushla, in the late northern dusk.

Hoodoos, chimney-like rock formations, are visible in the valley above the Bow River in Banff. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Just another irresistible view on the way to Lake Louise. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
A black-billed magpie struts its stuff on the lawn of the Chateau Lake Louise. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
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Comments (2)
Posted by: Gerrit Reynolds | Jun 06, 2016 19:08

If Go-Fund ME fails, it's clear the mounties on foot (an obvious indiscretion) committed multiple miscarriages of justice, including evidence of their own voyeurism as well as camper entrapment, and I am prepared to airlift to the glaciers and provide legal representation. I hope you directed the unmounties to the knucklehead wandering around the laundromat tucking his shirt in


Posted by: Ronald Gamage | Jun 01, 2016 14:12

Sarah... Is it time for a Go-Fund ME . appeal to help you both pay those


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