Archive for Alberta

Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta

July 26, 2008

This email will probably be blasphemy to some…but I didn’t dig Banff nor Lake Louise.

I totally made the right call the other day by staying in Canmore, where the mountains are right there, and I like the “look” of the mountains, if that makes sense.

Banff is about 30 minutes from Canmore.  You need to enter the Banff National Park, and pay a fee to enter.  Banff is located in the National Park.  I found the mountains around Banff to just be nondescript/“regular” mountains…I wasn’t inspired.  Driving into Banff there is block upon block upon block of accommodations.  At first, I thought that is all there was.  But I did come to downtown, which looks exactly like a typical “hoity toity” ski village – which is what it really is.

It has the pretty turquoise Bow River running thru/next to it.  I was going to walk the loop along it, but realized it was paved…so I got my bike out and cycled.  It is really pretty.

There is a High School with field/soccer yard downtown. That must be expensive real estate to have a school on!

All the street names are named after animals [lynx, gopher, bear…].

Banff is a Planned Community – no unsightly electrical/tele wires.

My addiction was more expensive here than in NYC.

I asked some locals where I should have lunch…a place with character and NOT touristy.  I got the reply: it’s ALL touristy.

On my way to Lake Louise, I took the scenic route and stopped at Johnston’s Falls.  This is a really popular spot to hike up 30 minutes and see the falls. Very crowded.  The falls were cool and one could walk thru a cave and get close and feel the spray from the falls.

After that I drove to Lake Louise.  Where I was staying was “in the village”.  In Lake Louise, they have these big green info/directions signs, but they have little bitty print.  So, there is all this empty green space on the sign that is not being used.  I can only read the signs when I am right there…no fore planning of what I need to do.

I follow the sign’s arrow in the direction of the village.  I can’t find it…however I find a small “L” shaped strip center.  I go back out on the road to look at the sign again…and again I can only find this little strip center.  I ask a guy on a motorcycle where the village is, and he says he just got here, but thinks this is it.  No way.  So I ask someone else, and yep…this is it!  Who knew?

Canada Man had suggested several hikes, but the one he most recommended was the hike to the Six Glaciers.  It was also the shortest [4 hours]…so I decided to do that one.  I was already sluggish from cycling and the earlier 1 hr hike, but really, what else am I going to do here?  So, I drove down to the Lake.  Lake Louise is about 10 minutes from the village.

Before a few days ago, I thought Lake Louise would be this HUGE Lake.  However, when I looked for it on the map, I couldn’t find it.  So, that gave me a clue of what to expect.  And I must say, I was still disappointed.  One can see the end, and both sides of it.  It is the turquoise blue, but I have seen “deeper” turquoise blue lakes and rivers over in Kananaskis and Canmore.  And the mountains around it didn’t inspire me.

It would have been interesting to know what I would have thought of Banff and Lake Louise if I hadn’t been to Canmore and Kananaskis first.  I am sure the initial “shock and awe” of seeing the vibrant turquoise blue left a huge impression on me.

The only buildings around Lake Louise are a public restroom, and the Fairmont Hotel.  I have seen the Fairmont mentioned in every piece of info I have.  I also saw a photo, and it looked castle like.  People emailed me to say there is a big fancy hotel in Banff and in Lake Louise.  Nowhere in any of the 5 info books/brochures that I had for Banff was a fancy hotel mentioned.  So, I just assumed there is only one…and it’s the Fairmont.  To me, it’s just a boxy big building.  I can see with special lighting, at dusk, that it could be photographed to look more impressive. 

Again…disappointed.

I spoke with someone and he said there is a big castle like hotel in Banff, and told me where it was.  I totally missed it.

I did the Six Glaciers Hike from Lake Louise.  A mile around to the back side of Lake Louise, then 2.3 miles up about 1,100′ [approx 110 stories].  It kicked my *ss. 

It is a really pretty hike, and the evergreens near the base of the trail smell real nice. Lots of little water falls.  You can see the 6 or 7 different mountains, and the glaciers.  The entire time you can hear the roar of the [river] water coming down from the glaciers.  The water is a milky color as it comes down from the glacier, and I suppose the milky silt must sink or something and magically the water appears turquoise!  Ha.

After 1.3 miles is a Tea House that was built in 1927.  I thought it would be abandoned, but it is open.  There weren’t that many people on the trail, and I think I spoke to 90% of them.  The Tea House is open!  That will be a good excuse to stop.

Later a woman told me the Tea House has killer chocolate cake.  Well, she sure knew how to motivate me.  Later, someone told me that it closes at 6 pm – 5 minutes ago.  Drats!

As I got closer to the Tea House, the trail was kicking my butt, and I must have looked “strained”, cuz when people took one look at me, they started to offer words of encouragement.  Ha ha ha.

Only 20 more minutes to the Tea House.
15 more minutes.
8 more minutes.
5 more minutes.
Just around the turn.

I make the turn, and can see someone at one time has laid a stone path.  There are lots of benches to sit and watch a waterfall and the stream, and what looks like an outhouse…a one person outhouse at that.  THAT is the Tea House?  No dummy, it IS an outhouse.  The Tea House was way off to the right.

They are closed, but sold me some lemonade.  The women were friendly and told me I could look around all I wanted.  They were cleaning up and also nursing a man who had a bloody nose/mouth or something.  He didn’t look too well.

It’s another mile to get closer to the glaciers.   So, I kept going.

This was the best part of the trail. The fantastic view, the roar of the water, little bitty VERY smelly evergreens, and the path is somewhat flat.

I am then out of the vegetation/tree line, and after a bit I am walking on a narrow, 1’ wide, rocky ridge that goes down steeply on both sides.

I start to “over think”, and was freaking myself out.  I’m tired, I’m wet, I’m cold [my car down below said it was 65’], it’s after 7 pm and most importantly, I think I am the only one on the trail.

MY path ends here.  I am very near the glaciers and felt I had experienced enough of this.  The view was incredible.

I little earlier, I heard a chopper.  I thought that someone was on a tour of the lake.  When I got back to the Tea House area, I sat on one of the benches and enjoyed the water fall and stream.  I noticed off to the right there is a chopper there.  I thought that’s a weird place to house a chopper overnight.  Then I thought that maybe that’s how they get either the workers or supplies to/from the Tea House. I soon realized that it’s a medevac, and they are “rescuing” the man with the face injury. He had an IV in.

The area in general:

* LOTS of French and German spoken here, or French/German accents.  When I was in Jasper, I rarely heard English spoken by people walking around/on the streets.

* Once you exit the Transcontinental Highway 1 towards a city, you have to drive over what they call a “Texas Gate”…what I would call a cattle guard.  You know how before you enter a ranch, you drive over a grid of several bars/tubes/pipes, a few inches apart so the animals can’t get out [they can’t get a good footing].  Well, they have those here at each exit.

* No fatties here.

* There were no miles markers on the Transcontinental Highway east of Calgary.  They start up west of Calgary.

BOTTOM LINE: to me, if you are coming to this area, I would bypass Banff and Lake Louise, and instead concentrate on the hidden gems of Canmore/Kananaskis and driving to/from Jasper.

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To and From Jasper, Alberta

July 26, 2008
I have been encouraged to send more photos.  Of course the attached doesn’t capture the beauty. I needed a panoramic camera.

It is Saturday morning.  Yesterday I made the drive to Jasper and back… you pretty much know how I felt about that.  The remaining 2 hours going south was also “better” than driving north, but it wasn’t as overwhelming as the first hour.

Only comments left to add:
* Slower moving vehicles refused to pull over and let others pass

* The town of Jasper was just ok.  The mountains looked so far away AND the mountains were just mountains, not “pretty” – both reasons why I like Canmore.  The downtown area was bigger than one would think for a town of under 5,000 [but lots of tourists].

* I would have enjoyed the view and drive a whole lot more if I wasn’t on the constant lookout for animals.  I saw 2 deer, 2 white sheep [that blended completely into the mountain], and the guy in front of me saw a black bear cross the road.

* LOTS of cyclists.  Their stamina must be amazing.  None of them had overnight gear on their bikes.

* I did take the tour/trip and play on a glacier.  They take you out in this big bobcat sort of thing and let you walk around for 25 minutes.  It was neat, but unsure if it was $38 worth of neat.  But I couldn’t make this trip and NOT do this. 

* Folklore has it that the glacial water is the fountain of youth, and it’s ok to drink it.  I did……then filled my water bottle up.  It tastes just like melted snow from your backyard.  That may be a “duh” comment.

* They have really small print on their signs [which I’ll comment again below].  I saw a sign that stated “Visibility May Be Low” in print that I could read it just as I was passing.  Sooo, if visibility IS low, there is no way you can read the sign.

* It’s more dangerous to drive at dusk [and at sunrise…but that doesn’t affect me] cuz that’s when the animals are more active.  I asked the ranger what she considers “dusk”.  She looks over to the board and says “the sun sets tonite at 3 minutes to 10”.
So what time do you consider dusk?
3 minutes to 10.

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Drive South from Jasper, Alberta

July 25, 2008

i am at the glacier center 1 hour south of jasper.  i had to stop becuz i was feeling as though i was in a daze and dreaming, and needed to “wake up”.

 

the drive south from jasper IS more spectacular than the drive north.  i know you have read all these words like: spectacular, stunning…

 

but this is out of the world.  off the map re adjectives [i think that’s right].

 

take a single beautiful mountain, with it’s formation/shape in general, the trees vs barren rock, the rock formations.  put a bunch of these together, right next to each other and then throw in a splash of turquoise river/lake water…and you have out of this world.

 

and it’s panoramic.  just fills up your entire view shed.  i am totally overcome.  and i have 2 more hours to go.

 

i have read that this drive made National Geographic’s top 10 scenic drives in the world.  on the way up?  ahhh…maybe the top 50.  on the way down.  yes.  i need to google to see if they mention driving north vs south.

 

this has just bumped Gaspe In October off the #1 spot on my list of beautiful places.

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Columbia Ice Fields Parkway to Jasper National Park, Alberta

July 25, 2008

Today will be a long day. I’m driving 4 hrs up the Columbia Ice Fields Parkway to Jasper National Park, and then back. Near Jasper most likely I will take the bus/shuttle to go on to the glaciers.

Canada Man says this is “the most amazing drive in the world.”

He says the drive back is better as the glaciers are more visible.

Then I head to Field, and to the Takakkaw Falls.

Who knows where I will end up tonight.

I’ll send my thoughts on Banff and Lake Louise tomorrow or the next day …depending upon where I end up tonite.

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Kananaskis & Canmore, Alberta

July 24, 2008

I had the most wonderful day yesterday.

I drive an hour to Kananaskis.  Went to the ranger/info center. The rangers there were 2 young women.  Bears are no big deal.  They are always active…this is their home, after all.  Basically, clap/yell/sing and I’ll be ok.  If I do see one in my path, slowly back up, don’t turn my back, don’t run [they’ll want to chase me], talk softly and sweetly to it, talk softly and sweetly to myself to calm me down.  Don’t make yourself look “big”, unless he’s being aggressive.  Don’t blow my whistle along the trail – instead of yelling – it frightens them, only use the whistle in case it becomes aggressive.  I knew most of the above, but it was nice to hear it again.

A bear attack is rare.  And I know that I have more of a chance dying in a car accident than having a bear attack me, BUT it is the talk of everyone here.

Later, I was reading in the local newspaper that a young woman out jogging at 6 pm got attacked by a bear.  The bear didn’t attack her, but was nearby.  However, she did the ol’ play dead routine, which I find impossible to pull off, and the bear sniffed her, started licking her and then biting.  They note that one should only play dead once a bear attacks you…NOT before.  I suppose he licked her first to see if she tasted good!

Right before the ranger station, I’m thinking it’s pretty here with the mountains, but not outstanding. The mountains are pretty – with green trees up to a point, then barren rock.  30 seconds from the station, the wow kicks in.  In the valley next to the road are lakes/rivers…and the water is a bright turquoise/aqua color, with the mountains right there on the edge.  Simply stunning.

People are driving slowly, taking the beauty in.  Everyone pulled over to let the car behind them pass.  I didn’t listen to music at all, all day.

I hiked along Ribbon Creek, and hour round trip.  The creek is just gushing down with rapids everywhere.  It is sooo clear, with a tint of blue.  Really pretty.

Later I realized that the reason the water has a blue tint is due to glaciers…you know how they look a blue-ish color?  Well, it just makes sense that the water off it is blue-ish also.  Probably most people know this, but I never really thought about it before.

Then I hiked up Scoggins Pass to see the water falls.

I was in dire need of food – no big deal…I’ll eat lunch at Kananaskis Village.  Well, what this is is a ski village.  A ski lodge, with food you’d find at a small airport, and resorts.

So, starving…I was off to Canmore.  And you already know I had the most spectacular salad.  The crimp in my plan to eat there again?  I wasn’t hungry again.  Sheesh.

The other reason I wanted to stay in Canmore, is becuz it is not touristy/commercial…yet.   Lots of building going on.  I haven’t been to Banff, but I suspect it is touristy.  There were 3 older women at lunch and I sought their advise, and without a doubt, stay in Canmore.

In Canmore, I hiked to the Grassi Lakes.  Super aqua in color.  On the way I went by spectacular waterfalls.

I really wanted to hike Ha Ling – which takes you to a peak with a great view.  However, it had been raining all day and too much cloud cover.  I’m NOT hiking up in the rain for no view.

Lots of people here say “eh” and “no worries”.

It is REALLY beautiful here in Canmore.  It seems as though the mountains are right here, and in fact, they are.  Right now it’s 48’, sunny except for clouds “mid air”…one can see the top and bottom of the mountains, but there are clouds in the middle.

Today, I will hike around Banff, Lake Louise, and depending upon the day, head my way to Jasper and the Columbia Ice Fields.

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Canmore [between Calgary and Banff], Alberta

July 23, 2008

I spoke with a woman ranger re places to hike and i am totally lined out.  she suggested i have lunch at the Grizzly Paw Brewery in Canmore [which was the 2nd city i planned on hitting today].

went on a couple hikes, and came here to eat and then hike some more.  i am in love with this little town.  so, am spending the nite and will check out banff and lake louise tomorrow.

and the Grizzly Paw? well, truth be told, THAT is the reason i’m staying.  i walk in and someone is eating this unbelievable looking batch of fish and chips. however, they have a salad on the menu with my name all over it.  it was simply unbelievable.  somewhere in it, it has heroin/cocaine…cuz i couldn’t stop eating it.  so, i decided to stay so i can have dinner there tonite.  AND, i ate so much i’m too full to hike, for now.

i’m staying at a hostel. it’s an old resort that they just re-did.  it is NICE.  seriously nice.  $25.

i am sending this from the only place in town with wi-fi – a coffee shop.

will write more in a word doc later and send out when i can.

however, i will leave you with this…

this is before i got my 6″ $40 can of bear spray.  the guy in front of me was telling me he ran into a cougar on his mountain bike a couple days ago.

i get to a “popular” trailhead and there is a YMCA group and 2 cutie 18 year old leaders.  they smile as i approach to talk to them [for some reason i seem to always have a problem figuring out where the correct trailhead is.  here, i had a choice of 3].  they have full packs and will be in for 3 days.

i start out ahead of them.  i can hear them behind me clapping, yelling and singing [to scare off the bears].

good God.

so…i decide to sing.  what belting song pops in my head without thought?  “well, helllooooo dolllllyyyy…”  sheesh. i have no idea where that came from, or how i know so much of it.  but i went with it.

i must say, that every bird, squirrel, chipmunk…noise, and every black tree or rock, made my heart race. 

i think i lost weight.

am off to hike around canmore.

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Calgary, Alberta

July 23, 2008

 

It is Monday nite.  I am in Calgary.  On the way here to pass the time, I called several B&B’s [talk fast…it’s costing me 60 cents a minute!].  I got this one for $60/nite, which is a steal here…but had no idea what to expect.   I drove thru town and drove.  It’s a “regular” house.  It’s run by a retired couple who built an upstairs on 30 years ago when their kids were home.  Now, they rent it out.  I was going to play it by ear re if I stayed another nite.  They seem very pleasant, but it’s out in the boonies-ish…are we still in Calgary?

 

I asked about how easy it is to get to the city center, and he suggested walking the 12 blocks to the train, and taking the train in.  That way I don’t have to drive in the traffic, but more importantly, pay $3.75/hr to park my car.

 

I told him I’m staying another nite.  Here, I am ok with NOT staying near the city center.

 

AND they have wireless!

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Calgary, Alberta

July 22, 2008

I know a lot of people on my blog have been to Calgary for work reasons – it’s an oil and gas town.

In reading over things to do in Calgary, nothing overly grabbed me re what to do.  I know I want to cycle in a huge park – Nose Hill Park, and cycle along the river to downtown, but other than there, I will go checkout downtown and play it by ear.

Come to find out, the location of this B&B is a good one.  It is a 10 minute walk thru a pretty park to get to the C train.  It is location a block away from a major street.  If I turn left on that street I go to Nose Hill Park, if I turn right, it T’s into the parking lot for me to cycle on the path along the river to downtown.

Back at the C train.  The ticket machines accept exact change only.  A daily pass is $6.75.  After reading all my literature, I’m not sure that I would have known there was a train here.  It is def hidden in the small print.  They have lots of places where they talk about how difficult it is to find a place to park, and the expense, so one would think they would add: TO AVOID THIS, take the train. But no.

In the train station, there is one very small map that shows the route.  Granted, I believe there is only one train/route, but I wanted to see a map to figure out where to get off.  On the train there is only a little map above the door – if you are seated, you can’t see it.

Remember John Travolta’s pose for the movie “Saturday Night Fever”…where he is dancing, and has his finger raised up in the air?  They have an ad here…Staying Alive.  With a man’s hand raised in the air, with the finger pointing up.  It just shows the arm from the elbow to the pointed finger.  On the hand is a latex glove.  It is an ad for prostate exams.

There is a pretty rapidly moving river [I believe Bow River] flowing by downtown.  Lots of statues here [bear, Indian Chiefs…].  There is an amphitheater with a “wading pool” with lots of people picnicking nearby.  They are putting on a children’s play.

I stopped at the ERCOT center for the performing arts and listened to an organ recital.  In my research, I can’t seem to find any live music, or any performing arts events going on in town at all.  I ask about this at the ERCOT, and they give me the alternative free weekly paper to go thru.

I head over to Stephen Avenue, which is pedestrian only during the day. I always like this. I pick a place to have lunch and sit outside to watch people go by.  I open the paper, and the first article is about the homeless in the city.  Just then, the beggers start coming.  So, all thru lunch everyone sitting outside was subjected to beggers begging for money.  One young guy kept giving people money.

And pretty much all day I kept being asked for money.  Later, I discovered a part of town called Kensington [across Louise Bridge from downtown].  It’s an arty neighborhood.  I stopped 2 guys walking by to ask the name of the neighborhood.  They told me…pause…AND????  
And what?
Aren’t you going to ask me for money?
Ha…No.
Wow…EVERYONE asks for money.

And he’s right.

After lunch I got my addiction and sat on a bench to people watch.  Of course, there are either street people on the benches, or people smoking.  EVERYONE smokes.  I found that the locals seem to be dressed up more than usual.  A lot of woman showing “a sense of style”, most not pulling if off very well, in my opinion.  A lot of women seemed to be overly tanned [with fake boobs].  I suppose this somehow happens in energy cities.

Nothing downtown interested me.  I spend 2.5 hours there and did and saw all I wanted to.

I went to Nose Hill Park, which is a huge park here.  I cycled up and down hills, on a windy day for 45 minutes, and I was spent.  I didn’t want to go cycle by the river, but I knew I had to.

I’m so glad I did.  I was told that the parking lot would be very busy due to people getting off work.  And it was.  What that really means is: people park thru car here and cycle into downtown.  The river is really pretty, clear and beautiful green color.  There is a walking path near the river, and then another path for cyclists and inline skater.  The path is just packed with a steady stream of cyclists coming home from work.  And they are hauling it.  THIS is the best part of Calgary.  I cycled downtown [around 20 minutes] and back.

I read that a folk singer was singing at Oolong Tea House, so I went there at nite.  This is in Kensington.  I really liked this area.  There were several acts, so stayed for that.  When I went outside, it seemed as though it was 6 pm, but it was 9.15.  The sun does set later here.

So, then I went over to this live music club that I had read about, that was having Punk Rock Bingo.  Sounds like more fun than what it actually was.  Bingo + loud music + guy heckling you.  I didn’t win anything.

Oh, I met a woman at the folk singer and I told her I’m going hiking over near Banff today.
Have you hike before?
Well, right now my body isn’t in good hiking condition.
No, I mean have you hiked during active bear activity time.
Ahhhh.
Do you have pepper spray?
The border police took it.
Don’t you dare go hiking without pepper spray.  I mean it.  The bears are out.

This morning, the innkeepers said the same thing.  I didn’t bring up the bear issue, they offered it up.  Apparently this is the time of year that they are active.  DON’T hike by myself.

Nothing like bear anxiety to ruin a good hike.

I had planned on going to Kananaskis to hike.  Then over to Canmore to hike. Then to Banff.  Today may go faster than I had planned.

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Regina, Saskatchewan

July 22, 2008

I went way out of my way to get to the Dieppe Memorial in Regina.  I drove and drove, winding thru a neighborhood.  Per the map – and it’s just a dot, with no address, it is on a river.  In my mind, I was anticipating this really cool memorial where the soldiers are getting out of their boats and running ashore or something…that they could have done, since it’s near the river.  But alas, no.  It’s in a neighborhood, next to the Dieppe Grade School.  And it is just a cement block with some words, and the flags.  What a disappointment. [I suppose they also didn’t want to somehow showcase their “retreat” by having more there.]

I drove around downtown.  It is a dumpy downtown…nothing of interest to me.  I wanted to see the Legislative Building, but couldn’t see/find it downtown.  And it’s not on my map.  I asked a local, and she gave me directions and said it is wayyyy across the bridge.  I was gearing up for the long haul.  Come to find out…it is less than ½ mile away.  But there are NO signs…nothing.  No signs saying turn here, no signs saying what it is.  I saw a building, and thought it is either the Legislative Building or it is an art museum.  Later, I found out that Walter Scott [first premier of Saskatchewan] had the building designed to be similar to the Lovre in Paris.  So…thinking it was an art museum was not so far off!

I parked and went into the building to look around.  You walk in, and there is a kindly older gentlemen sitting there.  Just him.  No security guard, no security screening device, no nothing…just him sitting there.  He said that I can’t just walk around, BUT there is a tour every 30 minutes.  I had 20 minutes to wait.

I decided to scam the system and asked him if I could go to their café.  Sure.  He asked my name, and wrote it down in a log book and gave me a visitor’s badge.  That’s it.

Went to the café…annnddddd…I’m back to eating poutine!  Poutine = French fries + gravy + cheese curds.  Gotta love it!

Went back to take the tour.  They give them in French and English.  The gentleman told me that there is a couple waiting for each tour, and the guides s/b out any moment.  I walked up to one of the men waiting, and said “English?”
He responded “Why, yes I am” with a British accent.  He’s probably thinking…how in the world did she know?  Ha.

During the tour I became a 14 yr old boy:
In my mind, when I think of Regina, I pronounce the “I” as eee.  However, the locals pronounce the “I” as eye.  Every time the guide said Regina, I lost concentration to what she was saying and thought back to that Seinfeld episode, where Seinfeld has forgotten the name of his gfriend, but knows that it rhymes with a female body part.  I giggled to myself. 

They call the native people Aboriginals.  Lots of them living in Regina.

Per the guide, most of Saskatchewan is river/lakes and trees. Only the south is prairie and flat.

They have a public library inside.  Anyone can come in and use it.  Can you imagine the White House having a library that anyone can come in and use?

In the legislative chamber, the gov’t party sits on one side, and the opposition party on the other – facing each other.  In the gallery above, people sit so they can see their “side”.  Thus, above the gov’t party sits the opposition party’s people.

The Legislative Building sits near the river.  There is a trail by the river, and lots of flowers and ducks. It seems that a lot of people use the trail, but no one/vessel was in the water.

After the tour, I took off for the 7.25 hour drive to Calgary.

Little did I know that yesterday was the prettier part of the drive to Calgary.  Unsure what the definition of prairie is, but this is probably it.  Reminded me of west Texas.  Towns were smaller [1 or 2 buildings] and further apart.  Most little towns didn’t have a gas station.  It was a really boring drive.  So boring…that I started listening to my learn to speak French cds, which I rarely put in…cuz I’m looking around me taking things in.

When I looked at the route a few weeks ago, it did look like there was nothing between Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary.  But I just assumed that I was an ignorant American and just don’t know better.  There isn’t.  I would NOT recommend this route to anyone. 

There are lots of trains going by – both yesterday and today.

No mile markers.

Before a little town, there are what looks like homemade signs advertising places…and they are ?? probably 3’ high and 5’ long, and close to the ground [not high up].

Remember when a highway went thru a town?   Or I should say, the town grew/expanded around the highway.  Then in the states they built the interstate and bypassed the towns.  You drive on the interstate and think…oh…there’s a town somewhere over there, I wonder what it looks like?  That is why I like to drive the old highways and not the interstates…so I can see the towns.

Here [at least the Trans Canadian Highway 1] they still go thru the towns.  I like that.  There is a sign stating “Important Intersection” and a speed limit change…so you can pull off/on.

It was 95’ at 6 pm with no clouds in the sky today!!  This must be some sort of a record.

Immediately once I entered into Alberta, the landscape changed – baby mountains/hills, short grass and sand.  But this didn’t last too long, and I was back at boring.

Near Medicine Hat were some really pretty scenery but that came and went…and I was back to flat.

There are oil and gas equipment/facilities [pump jacks] everywhere.  There are cows/farmland/pump jacks.  And did I mention flat?

About 1 hour from Calgary the baby mountains/lumpy hills/pretty green pasture land started up.   Pump jacks still all around.

20 km [12 miles] from Calgary there is zero sign that a city is anywhere nearby – just farmland.

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