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Old 09-29-2013, 12:24 AM   #519
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Originally Posted by Wanderingjee View Post
I was in the service for 12 years. Chances of Me shooting a shotgun in an RV park is very, very slim.
errrrr.......and grrrrrrrrrr.........you never know!

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Old 09-29-2013, 11:02 AM   #520
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If I were to fire a gun not on a shooting range, I would most likely being thanked for doing so.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:18 PM   #521
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The Town of Banff, High Heels, Some Like it Hot....and Marilyn

Heading deeper into the park, I am at the Banff Township exit. I had planned on camping at the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court....

Parks Canada - Banff National Park - Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court

...... but it was booked solid for September. Tip: If you want to stay at the only RV Park in Banff, you had better make your reservations at least three months in advance. (Some RVers informed me they will book six months to a year in advance for the summer season).

I am disappointed, but still want to visit Banff for a day. The upswing is the fact there are many free places to park your vehicle (or rig) and you can hoof it from there, which is what I did.

http://www.banff.ca/DocumentCenter/View/636

Banff is the place for walkers, but I never expected to find dozens of men hobbling around in high heels. I wondered if I had stumbled into a convention of transvestites....



Proceeding further into town where a crowd had gathered, I was soon informed otherwise. It was their annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes – Stop Domestic Violence Event. Way to go guys! Despite the seriousness of the cause – the sight of some of those guys trying to manage high heels was hilarious. It was like being dropped into the movie, Some Like it Hot......


EXCERPT FROM 'SOME LIKE IT HOT" - YouTube
(Ahhhhh.....Marilyn.....more about her later.)

Speaking of hot, it was very warm that day. Over 85F. I peeled off a couple of layers and I made my way to the usual tourist spots: that iconic castle in the wilderness, the Banff Springs Hotel....

Banff Springs Hotel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

......Bow Falls....



....... and the Banff gondola.....
Banff Gondola / Gondolas / Sightseeing & Tours / Summer Adventures / Things To Do / Home - Banff Lake Louise Tourism

The rest of the afternoon was spent on Banff’s mainstreet which has an ecclectic collection of retail stores and restaurants.

Some of the stores are tacky tourist traps with plastic Mounties and cheap snow globes with a grinning beaver inside, but if art and books are your forte, you will have lots to look at. The art stores feature a lot of local Canadiana – prints and photos of the mountains, lakes, and wildlife.
The bookstores feature a lot of those scenic Technicoloured coffee-table books, but I prefer the less-ostentatious books aboutof local history. A bit of research beforehand makes the trip a lot more interesting....

http://www.theviewpoint.ca/My_Homepage_Files/Page8.html

I was intrigued by one book in particular, Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost LOOK Photos.

Monrore had visited Banff in 1953 while filming The River of No Return, where LOOK Magazine photographer, John Vachon, snapped hundreds of pictures of her: Marilyn posing by the Banff Springs Hotel pool; Marilyn and Joe snuggled by a window – when they were still in love.

Amidst the scenic splendor, Marilyn had never looked more beautiful...



It reminded me of the narrative from American Beauty. Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it....like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much....

I spend too much time in the bookstore. The late afternoon glow on the mountain reminds me that I still have an hour’s drive to the RV park on the outskirts of Calgary. I scurry back to the parking lot, but I’m still thinking of Marilyn. Why did things have to turn out so lousy for her? There is a cruel metaphor in those mountains; are those jagged peaks to celebrity really worth the climb?

I am soon back at my truck. I start the engine and carefully merge back into the stream of traffic heading east – grateful for the anonymity.
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:51 PM   #522
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Oops! Forgot to modify font/size from "Word" into forum format as per rules, and now I can't edit because it's too late. (Am assuming mods will fix - thanks!)
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Old 09-30-2013, 06:57 PM   #523
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All I remember about Banff was stopping at a "Mexican" restaurant. It should say "Mexican influenced" in the window. But as bland and wrong as it tasted, we who live in the southwest have to have a Mexican food fix every once in a while, so it sufficed. Most Canadian restaurants are good unlike the US restaurants, but Mexican has not been mastered.

And I do remember the wildlife bridges. And, Marilyn. Someone figured out that Marilyn was not fat after doing some research. Those of us who do remember the '50's, remember that many women were large in those days, but not Marilyn. Round yes, fat no. She even looks good in a potato sack.

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Old 09-30-2013, 07:26 PM   #524
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Gene, I would agree; the Mexican restaurants in Canada are not great. The only good Mexican meal I had here was prepared by my horse vet (a Mexican expatriate).

Interesting observation about size perception, then and now. Marilyn was a healthy size 14. And yes, she looked great....even in a potato sack.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:40 PM   #525
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Hi, as noted in "Bob and Lee's random trips" We virtually never make reservations while traveling. We have camped in Banff several times and never had a reservation. As for the Mexican food, which we didn't order, but never could forget; The waitress at the Lake Louise Hotel restaurant was reading to us the specials and instead of saying Tortias [tortillas] she said tor-tillias. Our last stay in Banff was on our way home from Alaska and in August.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:54 PM   #526
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Robert, a couple of RVers told me they had the same luck - were able to park at Tunnel Mountain w/o reservations. I must have picked a very busy month.
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:31 PM   #527
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Cowtown - The FaN Hits Calgary...or Calgary Hits the FaN?

Proceeding farther east, the Rockies grow smaller in the truck's rear-view mirrors. I am now rolling into the foothills which gradually unfurl into that broad expanse known as the grasslands. Ranch country. Where's the beef? It's all around. Black Angus dot the landscape. Cattle and oil are the lifeblood of Alberta. The oil is farther north, but Calgary is the city where the blue-eyed sheiks make the deals. Canada's "Dallas."

It doesn't take much to ignite the reverie. I start fantasizing about cowboys and -- Whoa! What was that? A gust of wind almost sends the FaN sideways. Without the natural windblock of the Cascade, Selkirk, and Rocky Mountains, those blows can knock you right off the highway. I slow down and grip the wheel a little tighter. I come up with an idea: what these open highways need are windsocks. The kind you see at airfields. They would be invaluable for truckers and RVers.



The ranchland soon gives way to smaller hobby-type farms and the start of suburbia. I keep my eyes peeled for the Crestmont turnoff (and the Calgary West Camprground sign) which will be my home for the next ten days. It is soon upon me - I take the turn-off, but where do I go from here? The way to Shangri-la is not well-marked, so I guess I'll try going right. Wrong way. I am soon climbing another hill (why can't I seem to avoid these things?) and find myself in the middle of a hill-top suburbia. I make another turn right and end up caught at the end of a tight cul-de-sac. I am trapped by a big 4 X 4 on one side, and another trailer on the other. Most experienced Airstreamers could back their way out of this, but I am not in that league (yet). I am at the mercy of the 4 X 4 owner. I hope he or she is home and will move their truck. I am in luck. The guy is home and cheerfully jumps into the truck -- not his truck -- my truck. For a brief moment I wonder if I am $crewed; he could back up and disappear into the gloaming - leaving my royally SOL. Thankfully, he possesses one of those honest Calgarian hearts. He wheels the FaN around, then backs it up into his driveway (which is on an upward slant). Crunch! goes the underbelly of the FaN's rear storage compartment. (Later inspection reveals a small dent on the underside). Oh well. I was relieved to just get out of there. However, there is a bigger scrape on the cement driveway.

My rescue driver soon gets the truck and trailer pointed. I thank him profusely and offer him some money for his effort (and the fact his pristine driveway now has a scrape on it). "Oh," he laughs, "That's not my driveway. That's the neighbour's driveway. You don't owe me nuttin'."

I meekly climb back into the truck and get myself back down the hill. Now I see the campground sign. Instead of turning right, I shudda turned left.

The campground is just a 1/4 mile away, on that same hill overlooking the outskirts of Calgary.

I check-in, find my site, park, plug-in my utilities, grab my camp chair, plunk myself down, and take it all in. An RV room with a view.....



Next: The Exploration Begins.....Starting with the Long-Gone Roar of the Crowd.....and I Wouldn't be Caught Dead Going Down One of Those Things!
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:57 PM   #528
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I think we stayed at the same campground in 2010. It was a month earlier than now and it snowed from Lethbridge to Calgary and then a little overnight—melted off quickly. We missed the turn west and ended up on city streets semi-lost but found our way to the campground. I remember poor signing and being perched on a hill. Only wifi was in the game room where a group of teenagers were playing games on their laptops. Seems like you've got good weather and hopefully better wifi.

We've been to Calgary 3 times and it is a nice city with terrible traffic. One time it was one of those cowboy celebrations and traffic was worse than terrible. Do remember a good Chinese dinner and a meet with a small time oil exec.

You're not too far from the dinosaur museum in Drumheller. We enjoyed it—as good or better than any dinosaur displays I've ever seen (which is not many). Well worth the trip.

My experience in Canada is that signing is not as good as in the USA, but maybe you are smarter and don't get lost. Here we assume everyone is dumb and put up tons of signs—but dumb people surely get lost anyway (don't fight nature).

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Old 10-03-2013, 08:38 PM   #529
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The signage to Calgary West Campground is not good, nor is the site identification. (Canadians are not smarter. Americans are better are procuring customers!)

The WiFi room you mentioned is unremarkable; an unheated space above the office with a few PVC garden chairs and tables. However, they do not charge extra for WiFi access either.

What bothered me about driving in Calgary is the fact you take a freeway exit, assuming you will be diverted onto a main artery, and end up in the middle of a subdivision.

I was planning to make a leisurely drive through dinosaurland enroute home, but my travelling plans are never copperplate. There was a mad dash through the Rockies in the middle of the night instead. (More about that later).

Speaking of dinosaurs, a massive spinal section was found in the same area today. Just heard it on the news.
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:13 PM   #530
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The Exploration Begins....Hey! Where Have all the People Gone?

Unless one was blind or had a bad krick in their neck and couldn't look up, they could not miss the behemoth beside the campground - the ski jump that was erected for the 1988 Winter Olympics.



I have mixed feelings about the Olympics; they cost too much and the host cities tend to overbuild. I decided to swallow my reservations and visit Olympic Park. If nothing else, the tower would give me a good view of what's around me.

A five-minute drive gets me to Olympic Park. The international flags were blowin' in the wind....



I walk into the main building - no one was there but one lonely woman who sold me the ticket to view the tower ($5). She then gives me directions "up the hill." I climb back into the truck, follow a curvey road up, and park at the tower's base.

A glass elevator whisks me to the top.

Alighting from the elevator - the wind is sure howling at this altitude. I have the tower all to myself. There is something Hitchcockian about being that high up and alone, but I try to enjoy the view. The Rockies can be seen to the west. The eastern view gives me a good look at the Calgary skyline. There is a viewing platform at the top of the ski jump. My first thought: you gotta be nuts going down this. (view from simulator later). The spectator stands at the bottom are gone too - as is the roaring and cheering of the crowd. Maybe that helped bolster the ski-jumping verve.

Remember Eddie the Eagle? Short on technique, but long on guts - he became a legend of sorts, as he careened down this exact slide.....

Eddie Edwards, Calgary 1988 - YouTube

After getting my fill at the top of the tower, I take the elevator back down and have one of those artsey-fartsey moments. The underside of the tower reminds me of this.....

Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin Lyrics - YouTube

.....a Stairway to Heaven?.....



Olympic Park is also the site of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, so I decided to pay my respects before heading back. Again, I am the only one there (aside from an elederly, befuddled volunteer. How do these places keep going? Is it the oil money? You bet it is!)

Many of the displays are devoted to the same 1988 Olympics. The ski-jump simulator which gives you a good view from the top.....



Another glass case resurrects a few memories....



....when Canada's Elizabeth Manley, one written-off as bald, fat, and a has been, scored a magnificent performance in the Ladies' Free Skate and earned a silver medal for Canada......

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Old 10-04-2013, 08:11 PM   #531
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If any ofyou having problems in the Banff area Go west to Golden BC my brother in law has a B & B Country Confort there and will be glad to help.Yes good Mexocan food is hard to fined 35 years ago when I was dating my wife in Toronto CA there was only one Mexican food place in the hole area.
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:08 PM   #532
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"There is something Hitchcockian about being that high up and alone..."

Talk about being a little light headed....I kept scrolling down looking for the you-tube with scenes from
"Vertigo" But I guess you had to limit the number of video clips that you posted all at one time.
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