Calgary and back.

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It rained heavily in the night. We had two rumbles of thunder and  there may have been more, but rain on a motor home makes for a very noisy affair and little else can be heard when it comes down hard. Surprisingly we slept well, particularly Jamie who confessed he heard nothing at all. We woke to a very dismal and dank morning. The hillside above was swathed in cloud and our city view below, which sparkled clear and bright last night was now a sorry misty affair.

After we had showered in the community block we had breakfast and then packed our rucksacks. This was the first site that we had WiFi access so we checked emails etc. before driving down to the dump pit and off loaded our waste. Having done this a few times now we accomplished this rather unpleasant task without mishap. It continued to drizzle.

With the navigation app set on my mobile phone we set off for the RV Centre in the city. It was rush hour, though not to British standards. We made steady un-impeded progress through the commuter traffic and in just 30 minutes we had arrived at our destination.

Cruise America, lived up to their reputation of being one of the largest RV rental companies in North America, during our week we saw hundreds of their vehicles on the road or in sites. When parking our ‘home’ for the very last time we were astounded at the number of units they had.  A week ago, in our rush to get on the road and start our adventure we had somehow missed the hundreds of similar vehicles all parked up. Though it was late in the season there were still people waiting in reception to pick up their vehicles, I hope they have the same superb weather that we had enjoyed. After having the RV checked over we were delighted to be given refunds on the gas and waste. Emptying the tank just half an hour earlier had saved us $35 and it was a surprise to learn that the gas cylinder was still full, that was another $35 refund.

The Centre arranged for a taxi to the airport for us and we were soon being chauffeured to YYC. It was a miserable day, making a short diversion into the city for a last look around seemed pointless, we had 5 hours to waste though another hour was added due to a delayed departure. Our check-in desk wasn’t open so we had our last burger and fries in Canada watching baseball in one of the food outlets.

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After checking in and navigating security we sat in a bar and continued watching the baseball until our flight was called. This time we flew through the night making sleeping a little easier, plus the flight wasn’t full, so after another ‘basic’ meal I found a row of empty seats and grabbed a few hours of snooze. Jamie chose to watch films.

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On our return to the car we reversed our procedure of a week ago, though due to track maintenance we had to catch a bus from ‘Three Bridges’ station to Crawley. With my parking ticket validated by the hotel I drove us back to Harborough. What a difference in the volume of traffic to what we have been recently enjoying!

What a treasure! Sue had a full Sunday lunch (with Yorkshire pudding and apple pie) waiting for us when we arrived. We had our first real intake of vegetables for a while!

Rather tired, I went to bed for a nap while (believe it of not) Jamie and Sue played cards.

Epilogue: The Canadians seem to enjoy a similar life-style to that discovered in our last road-trip to Australia; gentle, laid-back, polite and social. Yes, this is another country I am sure we would have enjoyed and profited in if Sue and I had chosen to emigrate to. Of course the scenery and outdoor life-style enjoyed by the population is a big attraction, but the friendliness and openness of its inhabitants is very appealing as is the ever so slow pace of life. Such a contrast to their gun-toting neighbours to the south.

I moaned at Jamie on one occasion for his eagerness to ‘get on’ with the trail that we were following, stressing that the ‘getting there’ was just as enjoyable, if not more so than ‘being there’. On many occasions we came across crowds of tourists who had slept that night in a comfortable hotel, boarded their air-conditioned  bus, disembarked briefly for photos and then moved on or returned to their luxury. Then there were those who had hiked or cycled to one of the many superb geographical features, camped and truly experienced what it is like to ‘be there’, warts and all.  That is how to do it, but I guess that is for the young or dare I say, the Canadians? I think hiring a motor home comes somewhere in the middle of the ‘experience scale’, and that will do for me at my time of life.

Spending time one late afternoon with photographers (who knew what they were doing) above Lake Moraine  and slowly watching the colours and shadows emerge from what was already a stunning scene into one that was perfection, is a memory that will last with us both.

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