Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Jenn is my co-pilot part 3
So, while I was in Edmonton, fancylady was in Calgary with Elise, seeing many fine sights that she’ll tell you about whenever she gets the time to update. (How about now?) On Tuesday afternoon she got a ride up to the City of Champions, and I left the Pohl compound for the first time in nearly three days to go pick her up across town. Thanks to Adam for driving the pace car and leading me there. Phew, it was sure good to see the belter again.

She was sad about leaving Elise, so I tried to cheer her up with a chorus of “Are You Ready For the Country?” as we approached Greg’s place. Where my Nearly Neil Young didn’t quite cut it, a bite to eat at Greg’s place certainly did, and she quickly returned to top belting form.

On Wednesday morning I called ahead to Golden to reserve a room for the night. We packed up and said goodbye to Greg, Barb, Amelia and Colin and hit the road about 11. I promptly got lost trying to find the highway, but it didn’t take long to get pointed in the right direction again.

We headed down highway #2 to Red Deer, stopped for gas and food, and took highway #11 west to Sylvan Lake (waterslides!) and Rocky Mountain House. The driving was fast but dull until after Rocky Mountain House, where the highway began winding gently through a slightly scrubby, stunted forest. From the road, it didn’t look like much went on in those parts, but the ATV trails along the highway and the number of logging trucks on the road indicated that the forest was a relatively busy place.

Lots of busy road crews, too, repaving big sections of the highway. They didn’t delay us for long, and we cruised into Banff National Park and onto the Icefields Parkway. The Parkway was an incredible drive, with new sights around nearly every corner, and all that olive-brown and yellow bilingual signage that gives the belter and I massive patriotic boners. National Parks are the best. We stopped for a bit at the Crowfoot Glacier, then headed to Lake Louise to mingle with the other tourists taking in the smoke-obscured vista from the shore. The effects of the forest fires were still evident.

From Lake Louise we drove to Field for a stop at the visitors’ centre and the Burgess Shale display, as recommended by Adam. I liked it so much I bought the t-shirt. The display was small but information-packed, with some representative fossils of trilobites, Hallucigenia, and the majestic Marrella (which has a DCR song named after it, I think). It’s interesting to consider these lowly creatures swimming around in Middle Cambrian waters only to be uncovered as fossils on a Canadian mountaintop half a billion years later.

We timed the Field visitors’ centre well, because it started raining pretty hard while we were inside. It was still wet for the drive to the Golden Rim Motor Inn. By the time we checked in the sky had cleared up and we had a nice view across a valley from the walkway outside our room. The Golden Rim was a bit sketchy (though very clean and comfortable) and its name suggested an unhygienic sexual practice, but the view was as good as advertised.

We went into town for dinner, and despite Elise’s warning that Golden is the place where bad things happen to good food (or bad food happens to good people), we ate really well. Then it was back to the Golden Rim for cable TV and some rest for the next day’s drive.

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