From Fastest Ice to The Slowest Drive

Leaving Calgary on Saturday should’ve been a breeze- and it was… until we hit Golden, BC.

Our drive was going to get us home in about 9.5 hours. Not bad. Plenty of time for sleep before working the next morning.

Unlucky for us, there was an accident on the way with no possible detour. This added an extra 4 hours to our drive home. Painfully slow. It’s not common during this time of year to have accidents like this causing massive delays.

We got home just after midnight. Meaning I would only get about 4 or possibly 5 hours of sleep before work. Looks like I’ll be running on fumes. Not much I can do. Definitely a hard way to end a great trip to Calgary to promote my son’s future in Speed Skating.

Fastest Ice In The World

Calgary’s Olympic Oval is the reason we came out here this week. Our son attended a Speed Skating Camp at the Oval. He has his own ambitions and my wife and I want to see him succeed. I’m most impressed by how serious he is wanting to take his training.

Calgary’s Olympic Oval has the world’s fastest ice. Usually our son skates Short Track at our local ice rink and at similar meets in other ice rinks. He decided that he really wanted to get into Long Track Skating, so we got him out to Calgary to try it out. The first four days he wore his Short Track skates and dominated his own abilities.

Sadly, my wife and I ended up buying him his first pair of Long Track boots and blades. I say sadly more for our pocketbook. First these skates cost over $1000 and also the fact that we will be doing more traveling to other Long Track ice rinks in the coming years. There is also a new learning curve for him. But I think it’ll work out.

Our son wants to stand on the podium one day. He has set some lofty goals for himself. If my wife and I can help in any way, then we will. Next month- off to another Long Track for some more practice. In the mean time, lots of workouts and sideline cheering to keep him going.

Unassuming Funday

My day yesterday was filled with meeting up with friends while in Calgary. It was fun and magical in many ways.

First was a lunch with a friend of ours we originally met at the Calgary Expo eight years ago. He and I shared stories of our kids, work and caught up on life. It was different this time around because we weren’t at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo having a weekend of laughs in between sales. It was a condensed, pleasurable, laugh riot meal.

Before dinner, we went to the Skyline Luge again. This time we brought my wife and met up with some other Speed Skaters from Langley. It was a laugh riot, again! My wife really enjoyed it and in the end was upset that I had already done this earlier in the week without her.

Afterwards, we went to visit our other friends again (these were the ones we met up with earlier in the week at Gorilla Whale). This time we met up at the their home. We were introduced to a large stuffed shark that tried the devour two of my kids. Later we fooled around with the Occulus Quest. The first quality VR to not need a big computer or extra wiring. It has a life span of 2hrs, which we fully used up.

It was also great to see my wife immerse herself into the game system. My wife hadn’t tried any VR like the rest of us did three years ago when we went to Silcon Valley (read about it here: Button Mashing). Unfortunately, now she wants one. We’ll see what happens in the future- maybe the excitement will wear off.

Or maybe she’ll be escaping into a whole new environment.

Wandering Calgary

I took our daughters out for the day as we wandered around Calgary. First was a stop at the Olympic Oval to check in on my son’s speed skating camp. (The whole reason we are here in Calgary). Then we went for lunch at an amazing Ramen restaurant that I had been to a couple years ago.

The ramen place we went to was Shiki Menya. Still just as delicious as always. Still just as busy as well. We had to wait outside until a table came available. But worth the wait. So tasty.

Afterwards, we walked into the central part of Calgary. We were hoping to go into the Calgary Tower, but due to a mishap last Friday- (read here: Calgary Tower Elevator ), that means unfortunately for our visit to Calgary- the Tower is shut down for an investigation.

But we saw a really neat sculpture just up the road called the Wonderland Sculpture. It is a fantastically large piece. Looking like a human head made out of metal mesh.

Calgary is a neat city that feels big and small at the same time. Besides the weather changing every 15 minutes, it also seems that driving everywhere takes only 15 minutes. Or there is the public transportation that seems to be widely used. A lot of the ideas and designs should be implemented in Vancouver and its surrounding suburbs that’s for sure.

We only have a couple days left here and a few friends left to visit.

Skyline Luge

Tuesday was originally going to be a write off. The weather in Calgary was so unpredictable- first was rain, then sun, then rain, then sun. All within a few hours. I wasn’t going to let Mother Nature beat me! So at 3pm we headed out in hopes that the rumor of “Don’t like the weather- just wait 15 minutes.”

It worked. The sun began to come out. So we were on our way to a fun filled destination.

Skyline Luge!

Much like the Mountain Pipeline Coaster that we experienced last week in Revelstoke, this was a downhill experience that we had to try.

Like the Skyline Luge slogan says- “Once is never enough.” We had to go down a second time. I will also say, this was a better value and more fun than the Mountain Pipeline Coaster. Though not as fast.

Afterwards, we checked out some of the sights from the Calgary Olympics back in 1988. Calgary has kept the venues as being very useful decades later. Besides the Kart Luge, they’ve made Mountain bike paths and a zip line for use in the summer. As well as keeping the outdoor winter sports active. It’s the sort of thing that many other countries should look at and benefit from. I was thoroughly impressed.

Calgary keeps on beating my expectations of what I think a city should be.

17 Years Old

Our oldest daughter turned 17 yesterday. With it came another turning point into adulthood and a fantastic dinner with some friends of ours.

Starting off the day, she wanted a piercing through the cartilage on the upper part of both ears. So we stopped at a place in Calgary called Tribal Expression. The store was clean; the staff were professional and courteous. They also offered a reference to a piercing location near our home- one province over- which eased my mind a bit more.

During the process I still got to be “Daddy” as she wanted to hold my hand while getting the piercings done. That made me feel good inside. Plus, our daughter is happy with her new hoops she got installed for her birthday. Oh, and I was $148 lighter in my bank account.

Afterwards, we stopped at the nearby Starbucks in order to get the very “Instagram Worthy” Tie Dyed Frappuccino. This gave my girls a chance to share pics online and have a good bonding moment while I recovered from the cost and noticeable perforations that are now in my daughter’s ear lobes.

Later in the evening we meet up with some old friends in Calgary at a restaurant called Gorilla Whale. There were hugs and stories to be shared as we all tried our best to contain our excitement of meeting up again. We love these two and they have been long standing friends of ours since we first started going to conventions.

Not only was the company great, but the food at the restaurant was a fantastic mix of Japanese and Western creativity. I opted for the Godzilla burger- which contained wagyu beef, foie gras and unagi. (Cow, duck liver, and eel). The food was awesome and reasonably priced-ish. (I think I’ve spent more money on a regular excursion for sushi at our regular joint.)

All-in-all it was a good day of our daughter experiencing the joys of adulthood. Treating yo’self, sending time with old friends, and enjoying a night out at a fancier restaurant than usual. I hope she continues to enjoy and experience life to its fullest.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Random!

Calgary Zoo

Just like Drumheller, it’s been close to ten years since we’ve been to the Calgary Zoo. It’s my favorite Zoo in Canada. (But my favorite that I’ve been to in the world is Ueno Zoo in Tokyo). The Calgary Zoo is up there as an amazing place to visit animals from around the world. The Zoo employees also mention after every sale or interaction- “Thank you for supporting wildlife preservation” which made me happy.

As you walk into the Calgary Zoo, the Penguin Exhibit is immediately to your left. When we first came here ten years ago- it was under construction and I vowed to return in order to see it. I’m glad I did. The Zoo has made an incredible interior enclosure that is temperature controlled where you have to walk into an Air Lock to keep it cool. (Also, I think I have an affection towards birds that I never knew about. I get giddy and excited when, in the past, I have met penguins, owls and rescued birds from inside our home.)

After the penguins, we wandered the first half of the Zoo, where we saw tons of animals native to western Canada. Then we were off to “Africa” for more exotic experiences. We had fun along the way making silly poses and making bad puns about the animals.

Since we started our Calgary Zoo experience at opening, we were able to pause for a moment to feed our own beasts. My wife and I sprung for a brunch in the Zoo for the five of us- and we stuffed ourselves silly. The food and service was well worth the extra splurge.

After brunch, we entered into the Zoo’s Butterfly pavilion. We were lucky enough to have a couple moths and butterflies hang out on our hands long enough for some photos. There was one that didn’t mind traveling between each of us, and our son passed it gently on to another visitor. It was serene inside the exhibit and well worth the wait to have a unique butterfly experience.

After the butterflies, it was off to the “Panda Passage” for more cuteness overload. We love these bears. so much so that we had to but some cute panda stuff from the gift shops.

Our day was super successful with a ton of great memories made. We took far too many pictures for me to share here as well. We saw so many animals in fantastic environments. Not cages- but enclosures replicated after their “homes”. All of the staff were knowledgeable about the animals they were near and the zoo was well kept. From what I could see, I think these animals are treated like royalty.

Make sure if you make it to Calgary- you visit the Calgary Zoo. You won’t be disappointed. Especially if you love the animals!

Royal Tyrrell Museum

While in Drumheller, we had to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Actually, it was the main reason we came to Drumheller, even though the day before we had a good time farting around the Hoodoos.

The Museum is educational, well laid out and overwhelming! There is so much to see and learn. Even out around the museum is more of the Badlands. We took a “Dino Site Tour” early in the morning and hiked out to learn about the processes involved in searching for clues to the past.

Once the tour was over, we went into the museum again and enjoyed the interactive exhibits. Lots of information and cool sights. So many exhibits and information overload.

Seeing the dinosaurs and all those fossils in one place is so worth the visit to the museum. I was like a kid again, goofing around taking selfies. Trying my best to share my version of the dinosaur’s expressions and emotions. Not too bad.

We broke up our visit to the Museum with a departure up the road to check out the Small Church and Horse Thief Canyon. It was so hot outside that we needed to cut those visits short in order to enjoy the AC in the car.

Our last activity at the museum was for the two youngest to assemble a Velociraptor. Once that was completed, we were off to the hotel to rehydrate. We ended the day with a fried chicken picnic and a cool down at the water park. A great adventure full of education and fun.

AND DINOSAURS!

Royal Tyrrell Museum

While in Drumheller, we had to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Actually, it was the main reason we came to Drumheller, even though the day before we had a good time farting around the Hoodoos.

The Museum is educational, well laid out and overwhelming! There is so much to see and learn. Even out around the museum is more of the Badlands. We took a “Dino Site Tour” early in the morning and hiked out to learn about the processes involved in searching for clues to the past.

Once the tour was over, we went into the museum again and enjoyed the interactive exhibits. Lots of information and cool sights. So many exhibits and information overload.

Seeing the dinosaurs and all those fossils in one place is so worth the visit to the museum. I was like a kid again, goofing around taking selfies. Trying my best to share my version of the dinosaur’s expressions and emotions. Not too bad.

We broke up our visit to the Museum with a departure up the road to check out the Small Church and Horse Thief Canyon. It was so hot outside that we needed to cut those visits short in order to enjoy the AC in the car.

Our last activity at the museum was for the two youngest to assemble a Velociraptor. Once that was completed, we were off to the hotel to rehydrate. We ended the day with a fried chicken picnic and a cool down at the water park. A great adventure full of education and fun.

AND DINOSAURS!

Drumheller

This afternoon, we made it to Drumheller, Alberta. The journey was through the mountains and past farmer’s fields.

We stopped for gas partway through and the kids were visited by Prairie Dogs. So they fed them some bread pieces. Then it was on to Dinosaurs!

Drumheller loves their dinosaurs. There are Dino statues everywhere. Including the “World’s Largest Dinosaur”. This town is a Dinosaur lovers haven. But there’s more to check out than just fake reptilian creatures.

The Hoodoos in the Badlands are breathtaking. It was neat to wander around the land formations. Respecting the natural beauty is paramount in order to keep this place attractive.

Up the road from the Hoodoos is a town called “Wayne” with a population of 29. We stopped at the “Last Chance Saloon” for a bite to eat. We were treated like family which was awesome. Inside was one of the most unique attractions I have ever seen. (I used their write up, because why not). The “Band Box” was an old school animatronic puppet show while 1940’s music played.

Click to see: Band Box Video

So far Drumheller is a neat little town. Next is a visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum and really get our Dinosaur knowledge upgraded! Check out what our adventures will be tomorrow.