2-5 July Calgary, Drumheller & Coaldale – dinosaurs and lemons

2 July

Today we spent wandering around Calgary, we went to an air museum, where I had a good look at lots of different airplanes, including a Lancaster bomber, and Brenda & Shari looked at the same things much more than they wanted to. We also went to Spruce Meadows, and Brenda & Shari enjoyed looking at some horse jumping competition & I also saw some horses jumping over stuff. Brenda’s sister Wanda was kind enough to oblige us by having her baby (Blaire Joan Hutton) today, so we could leave on time tomorrow & Brenda could do the proud auntie thing.

Thanks Wanda.

3 July

After a little bit of a wander around getting essential stuff for the trip we left for the dive to Drumheller. Here I began to understand why American cars have the handling characteristics they do. If you put the non-straight bits of road in a vice and squeezed them really hard you would have a slight curve. This also explains cruise control. And we were not in the flat area. After a while we arrived in Drumheller & Met several more of Brenda’s friends.

4 July

Today we went to the Royal Tyrell Dinosaur Museum. This was pretty cool, as somewhat predictably, it had lots of dinosaur fossils. Then we wandered off, saw the hoodoos, which are sandstone pillars that stand up because whoever designed geology thought it would look kind of cool. After that, because it is summer here (hope you are all well back at home), & this touristing is thirsty business, we went to Wayne & stopped at the pub. We couldn’t stop at anything else there, because there wasn’t much. But the pub was pretty cool, similar to Cardrona.

5 July

Today we drove to Coaldale. Where the drive to Drumheller was flat and straight, this was flatter and straighter. Scenery consisted of oil wells. And still I was assured that this wasn’t flat. “You see there, kilometres in the distance, there is a slight rise and kink in the road? See, it is not flat and straight here.”

Brenda, deciding that on a straight flat road, even I should be able to drive without causing any more stress than I do by simply being in the same town, and gave me the keys. I quickly discovered that that cruise control thing is useful. Shari asked me about the international drivers licence thing. “Do you need to sit a test or anything?”

“No”.

“But how do you know what our road rules are?”

“I don’t, but considering that this driving on the wrong side of the road has thrown my left & right off, (not that it was that good to begin with. although I passed an exam to prove I know right from wrong), this is no great loss”. She wasn’t too fazed. After all, whenever I got to an intersection I just asked them “who has right of way here”, to which the answer was only occasionally “they did”. But I found that a more lazzaire faire approach to road rules works fine. Pull up to an intersection slowly. Stop. If there is no one there, drive on, if there is, decide whether it looks like they are about to go, and if not, drive through. There is also the similar technique of being the biggest, fastest & least concerned looking, but Brenda didn’t like that one. She herself did however practice the “sorry I am just a dumb lost tourist” approach to road rules, with as much success as I did.

At Coaldale, we stopped at the birds of prey centre, where I saw a couple of golden eagles, bald eagles (which is mostly a scavenger), owls, some other birds and coolest of all a vulture, aka the skinhead of the skies. They don’t have feathers on their heads to stop bacteria & stuff growing there. So having looked at all of the birds we get back in & drive on.

I am driving on, and decide that there is something funny here, the car doesn’t want to shift up. So there we are driving down the highway with a top speed of about 70km. Brenda is good enough to not go spastic and blame me for breaking the car, but decides that she would prefer to drive it for a while. We limp into Lethbridge, and find the GM dealer there. Brenda explains to them that it is the second time it has broken down in a week, and that we were on holiday. They can’t do anything with it now, “but leave it here & we will look at it in the morning”. So we ditch the caravan & drop it back for them to look at in the morning.

“Do you think they will see it here Pat?”

“Well, considering that you have parked it in front of the workshop doors, under the sign which says ‘no parking’, they probably will spot it”.

The tourist office confirmed that Lethbridge is not the most exciting town in Canada. Major attractions were the really high and long railway bridge “oh, they one on the left heading to our campground?”

“yes”

“seen it”, and the brewery gardens. “Does the brewery do tours?”

“no, the brewery closed, all there is there is the gardens”.