Tag Archives: alberta

Great Western Road Trip, Day 9

Current Location: Kalispell, Montana

Today’s Song: Spirit of the West – Canadian Skye

A great song from one of my favorite bands, this evokes to me the wide open prairies, the exuberance I observed for Canada Day in Winnipeg and the Calgary Stampede. I listen to this and I think of the miles and miles of fields flying by under the wide Canadian skies.

With this I complete my swing through Canada, and I can reveal a bit of an easter egg – following Canadian content rules, all of the artists posted while I was north of the border were Canadian.

This was a big day – my last day in Canada and my first venture into the mountains. The more I travel the more I realize I am just not made for the flatlands. Mountains make my spirits soar. I drove the entire way through Glacier National Park with a big grin on my face because I was loving the drive so much! I took an enormous number of pictures even before and after Going-To-The-Sun Road through Glacier National Park – it took me almost 3 hours to go 50 miles because I was stopping so often. I have some excerpts below, but you can see all of the photos in this album or on this handy map:

I was up and out of Lindsey and Richard’s place in Chestermere by 7 AM. After a brief stop for coffee, it was straight down Alberta Highway 2. The tiny town of Pincher Creek turned out to have a wonderful little coffee shop that had the best breakfast sandwich (the bright yellow yolk shows how fresh the egg was, and it tasted great too!).

The foothills gradually turned into small mountains as the landscape rose up around me.

There was about a 15 minute wait at the Chief Mountain border crossing, but I just had a brief conversation with the officer and I was on my way.

Following a light lunch at a little cafe in St. Mary, Montana, that made a fantastic strawberry-rhubarb pie, it was off into Glacier National Park!

Going-To-The-Sun Road is a 50-mile road through Glacier National Park. It is an engineering feat, and the views throughout are nothing short of stunning. At the gate to the park I found out there is a $30 fee to use the park for a day, or for $80 you can get an annual pass good 12 months from purchase. Considering I’ll be going to Yosemite National Park next week and knowing the dire financial straits of the National Park Service, I was more than happy to purchase an annual pass. Even if I never use it again I feel it’s money well spent!

I hate to do this but it’s crazy late and I have to be up early in the morning; I will refer you to my Twitter feed for photos (and videos!) inside the park. The trip was incredible and one that I hope to repeat when I have more time (those lakes beg for some quality kayaking time!).

Tomorrow I am off to Richland, Washington. Not much there, but it’s a good stopping point along the way, plus I will be meeting up with a friend for dinner. It should be a great time!

Miles Driven Today: 331 miles

Time Driving Today: 8:26

Total Miles Driven: 1,718 miles

Total Time Driving: 37:15

Great Western Road Trip, Day 8

Current Location: Calgary, Alberta

Today’s Song: Shark Tank – Out For a Rip (NSFW!)

This song speaks to the quintissential Prairie Province Canadian. Yeah, redneck as all hell, but who cares?

Today was crazy busy, but I had so much fun! I started out the day at an auto glass repair place, where they replaced the windshield on the Mustang in a little under 90 minutes.

Next, I joined Lindsey, Richard, and Lindsey’s father at the Aviation Row Hoedown BBQ to celebrate the arrival of the Calgary Stampede. This took place in one of the hangers at Calgary International Airport, and they had pulled up a Beechcraft 1900D, a BA RJ100, and a Bombardier Dash 8 for everyone to walk around, go in, and check out from top to bottom. It was a really nifty experience! (Love the jet-shaped grill too!)

And then it was time for the day’s main event: The Calgary Stampede!

To crib info from Wikipedia, the Stampede “attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world’s largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions.” Think the Texas State Fair with a bunch of stuff added. To say it’s enormous is an understatement. We spent 6 hours there today and saw maybe a quarter of the grounds. Still, we had a great time! We met up with two great guys from Edmonton, Thallanor and Tiggs, and enjoyed goofing around, eating terrible food, and drinking a bit more beer than was probably wise. Also: a fun dog exhibition that was definitely geared to kids, but it’s always great to see dogs having great fun as they run through their paces.

And now I’m back at Lindsey and Richard’s place. They are en route to the airport for an insane quick weekend trip to Montreal (their flight leaves here at 1 AM!), so it’s just me, the cats, and Kiska (who smells much better after her bath, by the way!).

I want to thank Richard and Lindsey for their wonderful hospitality. I know that they had a lot going on this week between work and other plans and it really meant a lot to me that they were able to take the time to put me up in their oh-so-comfy guest bedroom and hang out. I had so much fun, and I was reminded again that Calgary is a wonderful city, and I am blessed with some very dear friends here.

And so my visit to Calgary comes to a close. Early tomorrow morning I hit the road bright and early, going south out of Calgary and headed back into the United States. Ideally my travels will take me to Glacier National Park and Going-To-The-Sun Road; we shall see how that works out. I have multiple possibilities in mind just in case. From there it’s on to my destination for the day, Kalispell, Montana.

Miles Driven Today: 20 miles

Time Driving Today: 0:51

Total Miles Driven: 1,387 miles

Total Time Driving: 28:49

Great Western Road Trip, Day 7

Current Location: Calgary, Alberta

Today’s song: Life Is a Highway, by Tom Cochran

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

Yeah, this song speaks to me as I drive on this trip.

No long-distance driving today! Instead, I wandered around Calgary and found cool stuff, which is what I enjoy doing in interesting cities.

Breakfast was at a nifty espresso/wine bar. I decided to forgo the wine since it was 9 O’Clock in the morning.

While getting breakfast I got a call from the guy I rented the Mustang from (Budget/Avis in Lake Zurich, IL – highly recommended!). He told me to go ahead and get the windshield crack repaired. This was good since I noticed that the crack was continuing to travel the length of the windshield. My next stop was to the most highly recommended windshield replacement place on Yelp (hey, you’ve got to start somewhere!). There were extremely helpful and ordered the replacement to arrive tonight. I’ll be there at 8 AM tomorrow to have them install it.

My next stop was Nose Hill Park. This is a gorgeous park that rises just to the north of downtown Calgary and offered great views of the city and surrounding area. I slathered on some sunscreen and went for an extended walk around.

From there it was lunchtime. I was in the mood for something light but filling. Pho it was!

A few more stops around town later and it was back to Lindsey and Richard’s place to relax a bit and shower to get all the sunscreen off. I rested a bit in the afternoon and got caught up on social media and laundry.

Dinner was a delicious Mexican dinner at Salt and Pepper, followed by a stroll through the Inglewood neighborhood. We stopped by a lovely little liquor store that had my number: “Oh, that gin looks interesting to you? Here, I have some you can try…”

In case you were wondering, it was astounding. I bought it. And then came, “Oh, if you want to try a really high-end gin, how about this…” I did. It was So. Damn. Good.

So I bought it, of course. Whoops!

And tonight? I see hot tubbing in my future!

Tomorrow is going to be busy. Lindsey has invited me to join her and Richard at a Stampede BBQ at her employer (y’all will love the pics!), followed by meeting up with friends and going to the Calgary Stampede where there will be so-so beer and copious terrifying food!

Miles Driven Today: 111 miles (lots of driving around town!)

Time Driving Today: 2:09

Total Miles Driven: 1,367 miles

Total Time Driving: 27:58