Last on our agenda for Banff was a trip to the local laundromat; so stocked with Canadian coins and Starbucks lattes we filled three large washers and settled in. Now typically not much happens at laundromats. We did witness drug deals taking place at the one in Austin, and had to put up with the incredible stench of soiled hikers fresh off the Appalachian Trail in Manchester, Vermont, but for the most part you just do your laundry and leave. And for the most part, that’s what we did at the Canmore Laundromat, wash…dry…fold…and leave, except for one small strange conversion with this very nice lady who was having all kinds of trouble getting the correct change for her washer. Several times she asked Robin to watch her clothes as she wandered to the nearby motel office to get change. She would come back from the office, attempt to fill the coin slots, get a bit frustrated, ask for us to watch her clothes and march back to the office. This happened at least 3 times. Finally, after yet another failed attempt to pay for the washer, she walks up to me (this seems to happen to me a lot……must be the friendly face) and asks:
Exasperated Lady (EL): Excuse me, do you have 2 loonies?
EL: 2 loonies……..for a toonie?
EL: 2 Loonies…….. for this. She then shows me her 2 dollar coin.
Me: Oh, um….well, all I have are quarters, sorry.
EL: Oh, no worries. I’ll just go back and get change again.
Robin was snickering happily on her bench watching this unfold and just shrugged her shoulders. Loonies?
Figuring that Canadians call their dollar coins “Loonies”, I googled it and sure enough, due to the picture of a common loon on the coin, they call them loonies. And years later when the 2 dollar coin was minted……..well, you get it….toonies! Oh those clever Canadians!
On to the Sheraton Cavalier Calgary Hotel (where we got upgraded to a great king suite!)
Last year while traveling with my cousin Jill through South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado, the three of us sadly discovered that all the local Western shows, Rodeos, and Chuck Wagon diners were closed for the winter. We had a great time nonetheless, but going to a rodeo slowly became an obsession for us. So when we started planning this mini-trip, we researched all the rodeo circuit schedules and decided to attend the 2015 Strathmore Stampede.
The city of Strathmore is located about 30 miles east of Calgary, and although not nearly as famous and popular as the Calgary Stampede, the rodeo in Strathmore is still Canada’s 3rd largest rodeo and considered to be a great show. And it was! We loved it. We saw: Steer Riding, Steer Wrestling, Bareback, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc, Tie Down Roping, Mutton Racing (hysterical to watch little kids trying to ride sheep), Ladies Barrel Racing, Bull Riding, and Trick Riding. The entire event was MC’ed by two very funny guys, one of which was the rodeo clown. Here are some pictures and a few videos:
We were in awe of how crazy these cowboys must be to ride the broncs and bulls. Even the young ones (cowboys) can barely walk normally; and it is just chilling to see how close many of them came to being kicked in the head. Amazing what some people will do for a pile of loonies!
Today we made the long drive to the town of Drumheller to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. The town is located in the fossil-bearing badlands area of the “Late Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation” and contains over 100,000 fossils from the surrounding area, which once had a climate similar to modern-day Florida.
We spent a few hours walking through the halls whose fossil exhibits were arranged chronologically by Era > Period > Epoch. Of course the big dinosaurs were the most popular and the original fossils and casts were amazing.
It was interesting to learn that Tyrannosaurus Rex did not live during the Jurassic Period. They came almost 100 million years later in the late Cretaceous (as did raptors). Guess “Late Cretaceous Park” is just too difficult to say for a movie title. BTW, did you know we live in the Cenozoic Era, Quaternary Period, and Holocene Epoch? Me either, but now I’m hoping to see an “Era” category on Jeopardy some day.
Tomorrow our time in Canada comes to an end…..and just when I figured out how to buy gas (pay at the pump is not the same as self-serve)!