We Love the Prairies
Trip Start Jun 17, 2008
50Trip End Aug 31, 2009
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Greetings from Calgary! We'll start by wishing everybody a Happy Canada Day (and a Happy Independence Day if you're American...see how worldly we are becoming already).
We ended our last entry with a promise of a groundbreaking exposť on whether the prairies where indeed "flat", as has been rumoured for years. And the answer is.....no. Well, yes, they are flat relative to Northern Ontario but there were more than enough rolling hills and interesting landscape to make the journey very enjoyable. ...STOP THE PRESSES. I just read this to Tracy and she said I was wrong. Apparently we have a different definition of rolling hills. I'll get back to you, but somewhere in here is a joke about Tracy's chest and the landscape of Saskatchewan. Okay, enough about this topic. We'll just say we both loved the drive.
Some snippets of Canadiana from last week:
∑ Anyone living within spitting distance of the TransCanada Highway should be thanking us as a not so close inspection of the front of the RV indicates that we have annihilated their entire flying bug population;
∑ One in every four people worldwide with money in their pocket will have a coin made at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg...neat tour;
∑ We have no idea why Wal-Mart has such a bad reputation...great prices, they encourage RV's to park there overnight for free, and you can buy the same door mat in Swift Current as you bought three days earlier in Thunder Bay;
∑ We wish we had a little more time in the RCMP Heritage building in Regina...another neat place;
∑ The GPS unit sure was a great gift but it can be a little depressing to program it at the beginning of the day, and have it say "Go west on Highway 1 in an absolute straight line for 537 kilometres";
∑ Next to a great few nights in Calgary with Zeke, the favourite place in week two had to be camping and hiking in Dinosaur Provincial Park in The Badlands in Alberta...maybe it's because this fantastic, eerie landscape just suddenly appears after two days of driving across the flat (or maybe rolling) prairies, or maybe it's because of the dinosaur history, but this place is a gem. The kids even got starring roles in the Little Dinosaur Theatre alongside the park staffer dressed up as a dinosaur that was in turn dressed up as Elvis...it seemed normal at the time;
∑ Is this a reasonable request from a wife to her husband?: "I'd like to take some nice pictures of the prairies, specifically an older style grain elevator, on the south side of the highway, preferably red, with some rusted farm equipment in front"...welcome to my world;
∑ The first nominee for the cheesiest tourist attraction goes to the Giant Dinosaur in Drumheller. $10 for the family to go up 85 feet to look out of the Giant Dinosaur's mouth...money well spent to see the smiles on the kids faces however. The biggest smile however came from Tracy who found a Prairies picture book in the gift shop that had, you guessed it, about 50 pictures of old red grain elevators...damn!
∑ You can't beat old friends...I need to do a better job to keep connected with them. And on a related note, the kids have voted to rename the RV "The Big Zeke"...they must like our old schoolmate as well (despite him serving them his special "prairie dog roadkill" ice cream);
Later today we're off to Banff for four days before coming back to Calgary to experience the Calgary Stampede, and if the testosterone really starts flowing I'll search out that sasquatch and give him a stern talking to. We'll talk to y'all later.
Where I stayed
Calgary West Campground