02 Sept 2006 Saturday

We drove into the town of Banff.  The park has a town center withrestaurants, bars and shopping, both for Banff Park gifts and high end shopping(furs and such).  It’s a holiday weekend and we can certainly feel ithere!   We asked at a "Locals" liquor store about the highbeer prices we’ve been seeing.  He told us that Canada has a very high taxon tobacco, alcohol and gas.   We’ve noticed that ALL the beer we’veseen has been $11. and $12. per six-pack, even Budweiser, Coors andmicrobrews.  We did get some unfiltered sake to try.  When we hadsushi with Jeannie in Seattle, she ordered some.  I don’t like sake, but Itried this and it was delicious!  It tasted kind of cocoanuty.  

We walked around town some, ate lunch in the food court of the Mall (yes, amall in the National Park!) and then we hit the road again.  We left Banffwithout hiking anymore.  Andrew is still ranting about a TOWN in the middleof a National Park.  

Our next stop is Vulcan, Alberta. This town was originally named for the Roman god of fire and the forge. This town chose to embrace a more extraterrestrial Vulcan, planet home of MrSpock (and others) form Star Trek fame.  This town is ALMOST as cheesy as Roswell, NM.  The Visitor Center is shaped like a space ship and they havea scale model of the Starship Enterprise on display by the road.  We couldeven dress up in Star Trek uniforms for a photo "On the Bridge" (andwe did).  

For dinner we stopped at a lovely place called the New Club Cafe (completelynon-descriptive name) with kind of a Chinese-Chuckwagon theme.  But theydid make a tasty steak.

We drove to find a campground outside WatertonLakes National Park in Alberta, but two different campgrounds werefull.  It was getting very late and we were tired.  We finally found aspot to pull off on the side of the road outside the gate of some First Nation’sland.  We had an uneasy night.  We heard vehicles on the road, pullingonto gravel.  Probably others looking for a campsite, like us.  In themiddle of the night, Andrew woke up with a start (and woke me up) to the soundof a goat "ba-a-a-ing" outside somewhere.  Funny, the sounds ofthe coyotes howling in the desert was always so soothing.

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