Hot Springs Tour Overview: Lexus RX-400H Hybrid Road Test
We decided that the BC hot springs tour would be a great way to do an extensive road test for our new Lexus RX-400H Hybrid SUV.
Our Westjet flight from the Island landed in Calgary at 2 pm and we were met by Jim Borhot (our salesman from Bonnybrook Auto) who helped us complete the formalities in record time so we could avoid the evening traffic jam.
As we backed out of the parking stall, as soon as I hit reverse, the live video feed from the wide angle fish-eye lens of the rear facing camera suddenly appeared on the console display, and the mirrors on both sides tilted down so I could check the ground cover. These are both features that I like very much!
We quickly found Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, and headed straight for the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
We had originally planned to drive through the awesome Kananaskis valley, but we skipped that as a major storm was dumping a huge amount of rain.
Automatic Rain Sensing wipers
This rainstorm actually demonstrated one of the many remarkable features of our new Lexus: rain sensitive windshield wipers. Just as the xenon headlights come on automatically when it is dark, the windshield wipers come on automatically when it rains.
I had seen this feature in other vehicles, but what amazed me was that it wasn't just an on/off reaction to the rain. It was fully automatic variable speed of the wipers, depending on the amount of rainfall - and it worked quite flawlessly, allowing me to focus on the dangerous road conditions without messing with the wipers.
I am starting to like 'Lexi' very much already! Despite the nasty road conditions, the driving was effortless, with plenty of reserve power to get away from potentially bad situations.
Into The Rockies
There is an official hot springs circle tour route marked by Provincial highway signs in BC, and we stopped at most of the places on the map. We didn't actually complete the circle tour as we had to keep reminding ourselves that we were actually on our way home.
After a very pleasant first night in Canmore, the gateway to the Rockies, our first hot springs stop was in Alberta at the beautiful town of Banff. Although it is not actually on the official hot springs route, it is totally worth a deviation when you're on the tour.
Jenni and I had both lived in Banff for a summer when we were in our early 20's, so it was fun to reminisce over those times, back in the early seventies. It hasn't changed all that much; although it has certainly been modernized, the character of the town has been largely preserved, and it was great to see it again.
From Banff we continued on to Lake Louise, Golden, Radium, Invermere, Fairmont, Kimberly, Cranbrook, Creston, Ainsworth, Kaslo, New Denver, Nakusp, Halcyon, Needles, Lumby, Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Keremeos, Princeton, Hope, Harrison, and then home to Parksville on Vancouver Island via the Tsawassen ferry.
A grand trip, one of the most spectacular we've ever done, and Lexi proved to be a great vehicle with flawless performance!
Map of the BC Hot Springs Circle Tour
1 - Cranbrook
2 - Kimberley
3 - Fairmont Hot Springs and Lussier Hot Springs
4 - Invermere and Windemere Lake
5 - Radium Hot Springs
6 - Golden
7 - Rogers Pass and Canyon Hot Springs
8 - Revelstoke
9 - Halcyon and Nakusp Hot Springs
10 - New Denver
11 - Kaslo
12 - Ainsworth Hot Springs and Kootenay Lake Ferry
13 - Creston
details can be found here: Hello BC Website
From Banff we drove to Golden to see the Northern Lights Wolf Centre, as Jenni loves everything wolf, having sculpted wolf figurines from clay.
We didn't know about this place, but she noticed a brochure on the way, and that cinched it because we had never seen a real live wolf before.
We then headed south to Radium Hot Springs to continue the hot springs tour.