Day 5


Mile 1163; 9:30 AM
We finally found a place in Calgary that doesn't go "Eh?" when we ask for "Double tall non-fat latte" although with typical French chauvinism, it's called cafe au lait. And, as an added bonus, we saw our very first Canadian policemen! (In a muffin shop, of course.) They were very nice regular cops. Not Mounties, though. They said they saw a Mountie the other day on the freeway, so maybe we'll see one eventually. Just in case, we took their picture.

We also discovered that the Canadian two-dollar coin is called a "twonie," and of course the one-dollar coin is called a "loonie" (because it has a picture of a loon on it). You gotta like a country that calls its money "loonies" and "twonies."

Actual Canadian Police!

Off to the science museum

Mile 1163; 10:30 AM
On the way to the science museum, we drive through downtown Calgary, where we notice that there are elevated, covered walkways everywhere. This must be so that people can walk around town in bitter weather. This wouldn't be a bad town to live in if it was located someplace sunny and warm, and had fewer Canadians in it.


The Calgary science museum

Mile 1177; 10:50 PM
So, here we are at the cutting edge of Canadian Science, and it's mostly about: animals! Apparently, Canadians spend a lot of time thinking about animals, so they want to find out more about them at the Science Museum.

The exhibit was called "Smell Like a Snake" and was all about the different ways that animals sense their environment. For example, sharks can sense the electrical currents produced by living things, which they use as they close in for the kill. We thought this would be very useful if we're ever attacked by a shark, because we could confuse him (or her) by throwing some batteries in the water. (Robert notes that having a lot of flashlights would also mean having a lot of batteries, so we can rest easy if we're attacked by sharks on this trip.)

We also listened to some Pink Floyd through our jawbones (it's really psychedelic!), and played around with the dolphin sonar exhibit. Robert found a drum machine, which probably had some educational purpose, but of course Robert mostly enjoyed banging away on the drum pads and making cool sounds. Laura now knows what to get Robert for Christmas (including headphones!).

In summary, it wasn't a very good science museum. It's equivalent to about one building of the Pacific Science Center (which has SIX buildings!). Also, Fodor's ("We Make Stuff Up") Travel Guide lied. They said there were holograms and lasers, neither of which we saw. Fodor's owes us.


Rocky Mountain wide

And so we bid a fond farewell to the Calgary Tower (or the "Alberta UFO on a Stick" as we've come to call it), and hit the road south for warmer climes.

Semi-heart stopping

Picnic spot at Okotoks

Black squirrel

Assuming standard orbit around Vulcan

.07336441 nanoparsecs; Star Date:
We know we've arrived at Vulcan when we see the large replica of the Starship Enterprise at the entrance to the town. Robert thought it would be cool to stop in a town called Vulcan, and apparently, the City Fathers were more than happy to accommodate him.

The Enterprise replica (about 20 feet long) was put up last year (June 10, 1995), and has greetings in English, Vulcan, and Klingon (the Klingon translation is "What do you want in Vulcan?"). Next year, they plan to erect a new visitor's center (metric: centre) that looks like Federation headquarters, which means we'll have to come back here.

Robert got to say "Live Long and Prosper" a lot, and although he was disappointed that he couldn't buy a phaser, he did buy some pointy ears and a (genuine) Vulcan coin. [Note: There's a market opportunity here for somebody who wants to build a life-size phaser. Robert would buy one for the office and one for home.]

Welcome to Vulcan

Where no woman has gone before


Robert also got his picture taken in front of the chintzy Star Trek mural, and generally behaved like a Tourist Trekkie (a Tourekkie?). Laura took over the driving chores as we left, as she did not want to find out if The Brick could do Warp 9.

Howdy, Earthlings!

We get picked up in Fort McLeod

Mile 1347; 5:30 PM
We cruise into Fort McLeod, intending to spend the night, so we head for Motel row. Laura notices we're being tailgated by a 1927 Model-T Ford, and she pulls over to let him pass, but he pulls up alongside and motions that he wants to talk to us.

"You looking for a place for the night, eh?"

Um, yeah.

"Well, I've got a Bed and Breakfast in town that's a nice place. You want to follow me and check it out? No obligation!"

Laura suspects he is a vampire luring unsuspecting victims to his lair. Robert says the full moon isn't for a couple of days yet, and besides, anyone who cold calls on tourists from a Model-T deserves a shot. So we follow him, and he shows us his Bed & Breakfast, which is a 1904 house that he (Jerry) and his partner (Dee) have restored. To build up business, Jerry trolls in town during late afternoons looking for people who might want to check into a motel.

Dee does all the interior decorating and cooking. It's a nice place (and cheap!), so we decide to reward his sales tactics. Of course, we're not sure they'll let us rewire their telephone system, so we don't know if we'll be able to get this message out today or not.

But they are nice people, and Dee makes a good pot of tea. Plus, there's a stack of science fiction books (mostly Heinlein) by the back door, so we figure they have good taste, anyway.

This old car

Previous Day Back Home Next Day
Previous Day Back Home Next Day