All of the campsites and nearby hotels were sold out (ugh, weekends), so I was advised by several friends to find a quiet lot inside the park and sleep there for a few hours. However, I was so worried about getting busted by a ranger, I woke up every hour on the hour. Thank goodness for caffeine.

As soon as the horizon started turning that dim shade of yellow, I departed for Whitefish to get breakfast and wifi. On the way there, I caught some pretty crazy morning rays bouncing off of a cross by the side of the road. It’s sobering to think that someone had their last moments there, and I definitely got the chills when I snapped this photo. I spent several hours blogging, and by 1pm I was ready to go. I made my way to Alberta to join my friends, all of whom had left the previous day. While I appreciate the freedom of being able to work remotely, sometimes I do have actual shifts where I’m required to be in front of the computer with a reasonably fast internet connection, so it puts a damper on some plans. Still, not complaining about it...

After an easy border crossing into Canada and seeing some familiar landmarks, I parked my car along the main drag in Banff and went to a local restaurant to meet everyone. I was the last person to arrive, and rather than seeing the 5-6 faces I had been hanging out with the whole week, I walked up to a table of about 12 people, half of whom I didn’t know. There weren’t any available chairs, and for a few seconds I stood there, frozen and feeling like an idiot. I actually would have preferred running into a bear, because that’s how much I hate being in a situation like that. Oh hey, in case you’re late to the game, I have pretty crippling anxiety, and this is pretty much my nightmare. Well, this plus dates, job interviews, etc.

A very nice young main who might as well have had #vanlife tattooed on his forehead quickly grabbed a chair for me, and I sat down and immediately ordered a water. And then some wine, and after 3 large slurps, I was feeling a bit better. And as soon as the fish tacos came, all was well. After discussing sunrise plans and where to sleep that night, we all hightailed it to the only place we knew we could legally camp that night: an overflow lot inside the park where overnight parking was totally welcome. It was a long day and I was exhausted, but happy to have one less thing to worry about...

#Montana #roadtrip #lifeontheroad #sleepinginyourcar #Banff