The story picks up in the Cineplex Odeon, Sundridge Mall, Calgary, Alberta, postal code well you don’t need that much info do you, I mean if you are at home reading this you probably know where your local cinema is and if you are reading this in the hopes of gleaning a little info on how to travel the Americas in a truck you probably posses the where with all to google the necessary coordinates. We however found ourselves here on a gloomy Calgary afternoon as a result of extreme morning efficiency, all errands were dispatched in quick succession leaving us with an afternoon to kill before meeting up with Heather’s cousin Lucas for the evening. It may seem a little sad to spend an afternoon holed up in a picture house whilst on a “trip of a lifetime”*, however we had passes and it was a cheap way to kill an afternoon in an otherwise costly city, even cheaper courtesy of the Dollar Store candy we covertly smuggled in, if Heather’s purse classes as covertly. There may actually be a real point or two buried in my ramblings, first just because we are doing something different from our everyday, does not mean that everyday isn’t fun, and secondly I like a good comedy.
Movie over it was time to venture back out into Calgary traffic and head to Luke’s place. The odd thing about driving in Calgary is that everyone was bloody lovely, almost unnervingly so, tricky left turns across lanes of traffic were rendered innocuous, this could be because they’re lovely people, or perhaps it was a passive aggressive acknowledgement of our Ontario plates, maybe those pesky Albertans just wanted to seem nicer than us. Most likely is that they genuinely are a much more laid back motoring crowd, I barely heard a horn the whole day, a sound that often follows me as I drive in Toronto, so short of a secret radio station broadcasting our presence the only thing I can say is Toronto Drivers 0 Calgary Drivers 1.
Our visit with Luke was a blast, we don’t get to see him all that often sadly. He is a good sort as was evident when he crewed us for the Death Race back in 2011, a thankless task involving waiting for us in random locations for hours on end only to see us for a minute or two while we grumbled about the woes of the race. We are both still grateful to this day in all his efforts to get us around those 125k, sadly we didn’t make it but out of that running season our love of ultra marathons was born and Luke was a big part of that.
We spent the night catching up, watching sports and drinking rather more of Luke’s beers than I had intended. To round things off we were treated to a very Canadian meal, Swiss Chalet. For non-Canadians, Swiss Chalet is a cult specializing in chicken and not as you may logically presume something a little more Swiss, say fondu. To say anything negative about the place is tantamount to treason and the only offence worse is to point out that Tim Hortons coffee tastes like someone dumpster dove for the grinds behind a Starbucks. I was paranoid that during my citizenship process that Canada would unearth my feelings towards Tim’s coffee and Chalet Sauce.** As you may be able to gather I am not the biggest fan of Swiss Chalet Chicken, or their putrid sauce, Heather however cannot get enough of it, fortunately for me they do make a rather good rack of ribs and the poutine is not too bad, though the fact that they offer it made with their Chalet Sauce bothers me. It was a great night catching up and Luke’s hospitality was first-rate. Thanks again for a great night sir, as we said if you want drop in on us at any point on the trip feel free.
We left Calgary full of vim and vigour***ready to climb a few mountains in Glacier National Park. I had even had the foresight to pop into MEC the day before and take pictures of the hikes we might like in the Lonely Planet. Whilst pilfering this information however I should have ventured to the introductory preamble of the region, as I am quite sure it would have mentioned the distinct possibility of the park being closed for business in mid June. Sadly I did not read this, though it became quickly and abundantly apparent as we drove through the park. Hmmm this is not what we had planned, so we decided to plow on for a longer than anticipated day of driving.
That night we hit Kelowna. We were a little crabby from unplanned long drive, and then we landed in our RV park for the night. Things did not get off to a flying start when the gentlemen checking us in asked us to tone down our exuberance as he had an earache, I presume this was directed at Heather as I am of course the very model of decorum. Things got worse/more entertaining as we circled the grounds to find our abode for the night, most of the other RV’s would not have looked out of place in Breaking Bad and most of their owners were right out of trailer park boys, I found it delightfully entertaining, Heather however…..
We did the only logical thing when presented with minor adversity, we headed to the local watering hole, which in this instance just happened to be a craft brew pub. The evening was spent blowing our budget and sampling local brews.
The following morning we laced up our running shoes for a run to and up Knox mountain, pleasant 12k that blew out a few cobwebs. The run back however was interrupted by a stop at the Tree Brewing Company for a couple of flights of samples. The afternoon was spent in much the same way, except the drink of choice was wine, we toured a collection of the local vineyards sampling everything they had to offer, and you know what, all was well with the world.
* Other people’s words not ours, quite sure this will be just one of many more to come.
**If they ever do really become a cult this will be their “Kool-aid”
***Yes vim and vigour are indeed the same thing so the expression is a little redundant, but I think it has a good ring to it.