Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Ticket To The Winter Olympics

A two day layover in Calgary to provide time to change money at the bank, do a bit of food provisioning and set an agenda for the rest of the month, left a little time for looking around the city and taking in a few sights.
The photo below shows the 1988 Olympic Winter Olympic Games Park. Most of the snow and all of the Olympians are gone now. It was hard to even imagine this location was once home to world winter sport. This is the venue that made the Jamaican Olympic Bobsled team international heroes of sport. To this day, they are selling Rasta wigs and hats in the gift shop. But without the games, the snow, the national fervor, the site itself seems lonely and empty and the ski jump towers looked like bare bones against the threatening sky.
But not wanting to waste the moment, I strapped on my skis, took the lift to the high tower and launched myself into the sky. Fortunately Marilyn was quick with the camera and captured the moment for posterity. I had a safe landing and scored all 6's on my jump, but one was enough.
We had to do some basic food provisioning as some of the rest of the Alberta portion of the trip will take us through some very sparsely populated areas, and areas that aren't quite "open" yet. For example, the next several campgrounds will accept campers that are self contained only. The reason is that the ground is still frozen- hence no water, no sewer. But we need to traverse the region and we need to do it now, so managing the situation as we find it becomes job one.

We located a farm supply store and traveled there to get the block salt for the coaches water softener system. The GPS in the Honda doesn't "do"Canada or Alaska, so we needed to pull the GPS from the coach and hold it in the car. Calgary is a city of a million people and growing fast. It is a big city- also a very beautiful one. Like all towns in the northland, the construction all needs to get done when the weather breaks for the better, so there was a lot of construction in and out of the city (the GPS figures detours which is why we really needed it).

On the way back we stopped at a super grocery store that had an absolutely amazing seafood department. We bought some "barbecued salmon bits" that were quite yummy. I always love to see what a store has at their fish counter, but this one forced me to take pictures. The one below shows how all the shellfish were held- spread out on trays that had salt water spraying on them constantly. They were all alive, all fresh, and beautifully displayed: mussels, oysters, several types of clams, Dungeness crabs. Went back to the coach and made some nice sushi for dinner.
I can't resist sharing the "crossing" signs we find along the way. This one was in the gift shop at Olympic Park. Our time in Calgary was too short. I would certainly come back and Id love to see the Stampede, which is probably the number one billing for the city.

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