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Day 2 - Dinosaurs, Hoodoos and Bandits in the Badlands
So. Having only just gotten to sleep (or so it seemed), I was rudely awakened by a blaring alert on my phone at 3am from the Canadian government (or at least the authorities in Alberta) were sending out an alert to everyone. I fully expected it to be a terrorist strike and had one leg in my trousers before I realised that it was a message to watch out for a particular car as several children had been abducted by an estranged mother several hundred miles away. Now this speaks well of an nation looking out for each other, but 3am? I mean come on Canada, have a little consideration! [Actually, I don't think Canada could possibly be accused of lacking consideration, its probably the politest place I have ever been and I am definitely liking the chilled out vibe.]
Anyway, being up with the lark gave us the jump on the worm, or at least the greasy fry up equivalent and we set off in search of breakfast. Restored by the power of Denny's bottomless supply of coffee, we set off in search of adventure.
Now whilst we were flying over Canada, it was apparent that vast swathes of the country (and I mean VAST) were filled with absolutely chuffin nothing. So what better way to experience the mind numbing tedium of so much prairie than to drive through it? So off we set into the dusty Alberta Badlands, for quite some considerable amount of this...
Before stumbling across this, which was completely invisible from the road:
En route, we were subjected to a very polite mugging attempt. Pottering along on cruise control, we spooted some flashing lights and what looked like the scene of an accident up ahead. We duly obeyed the stop signs brandished by the uniformed figures who motioned us to the side of the road ... only to find that there was no incident, they were just collecting money for charity. Enterprising I'm sure, but I think that there are other names for holding up traffic and demanding money. We politely declined, playing the no local currency card. They accpeted this amiably and politely motioned us back to the road. Politest highwaymen ever, because well, Canada.
Now it turns out that Alberta is the dinosaur capital of the world. It's not clear why so many died in one place, but I suspect that they spent years trudging across the tundra and then just gave up in frustration when there was no end to the journey in sight. Whatever the cause it meant that they plenty left traces for us to see in the Royal Tyrell Museum, including the (we are told) world famous "Black Beauty".
and one ancestor...
Onwards through the heat and haze to see Hoodoos, before heading back to explore Calgary and the iconic tower.
Missed opportunities of the day:
Didn't make it to the GopherHole Museum. Ethan was horrified that I even contemplated this. But a museum dedicated to dioramas made up from stuffed gophers? Why wouldn't you? Well if it was a 100 mile diversion it turns out.
Also felt that Dinosaur Provincial Park was a little too far. It's a world heritage site but of course the main draw is that it is actually shaped like a dinosaur. No, really.
Best sighting of the day
Sign in a cesspit toilet at Horseshoe Bend. Oh that Canadian sense of humour. At least I think it was a joke, it is a very sporty country, so maybe extreme fishng is a thing?
and of course the world's biggest dinosaur.
Phew, busy day. time for a drink.