Canadian Rockies
A travelogue by Evelyn C. Leeper
Copyright 2007 by Evelyn C. Leeper

Table of Contents:

We started this trip with about 50 movies (and additional television shows), 150 hours of radio drama on audiotape, another 100 hours on MP3 discs, and a 48-lecture audiocourse on Books That Made History; Books That Can Change Your Life. Oh, and music on tape and MP3 discs. Think of it as a "Magical Media Tour".

(We say that one reason we are driving to the Canadian Rockies was that we had so much radio drama on tape, and the only place we listen to tape is in the car, that we had to drive that far just to catch up.)

(Some measurements I have converted, but since our car odometer has only miles, daily distances will be in miles even though the Canadian ones should be in kilometers. And temperatures based on the car's temperature will be in Fahrenheit. You can do the math(s).)

June 27, 2007: Not much to report. We drove to Youngstown, Ohio, and listened to two lectures (the introduction and the Iliad), a dramatization of C. S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew, "Time After Time" (a BBC play), an episode of "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again", and Mark Steel on Beethoven.

The AAA listings for restaurants in small towns in Pennsylvania along I-80 have a certain sameness to them: "There was an old building. It was turned into a restaurant. It has food."

The temperature was 92 by 10:30AM and got up to 97. But it fluctuated wildly, as we drove through several thunderstorms, including one so heavy we had to pull over for five minutes because we could not see the road.

The evening's viewing was an episode of "Perry Mason" and The 300 Spartans. (The Quality Inn in Youngstown gets points for having televisions with front jacks for connecting a DVD player, and a remote that lets you access them.)

Miles driven: 421

June 28, 2007: It was much cooler today (high of 84, low of 72). We drove to Toledo, where we stopped to visit the Toledo Museum of Art, which we had not seen for three decades. It is not an enormous museum, but has some very nice pieces.

The first famous painting we saw was Jacques-Louis David's "The Oath of the Horatii". The subject of this painting (the Horatii vs. the Alban Curiatti) was made into the Italian film Duel of Champions. (I brought fifty films with us, but not this one, darn it! :-) )

The non-Japanese Asian galleries have maybe a dozen pieces, but even these few have their points of interest. The Gandharan Buddha, for example, looks more South Asian than East Asian. Most Buddhas we see seem to be of East Asian origin and have, for example, more Oriental eyes. But this one looks Indian, which is more accurate to the Buddha's origins. A sign explained that the Sadhanas (scriptures) mandate the dimensions, expressions, number of heads and limbs, and symbols of the Buddha statues, but obviously facial characteristics are harder to dictate. The curator just happened to be giving a training tour to some docents as we were going through and was describing some of these rules: the Buddha is always shown on a lotus and has a topknot, elongated earlobes, specific hand gestures (mudhra), no jewelry, bare feet, and a serene expression. Bodhisattvas (those who could have become Buddhas, but chose to stay on earth to help mankind), on the other hand, have jewelry or sandals or something else of this world to show that they are still in this world.

There was also a statue of Vasudhara (the Buddhist goddess of abundance) and a Garuda balustrade.

There were several Hindu statues. Narasimha was a very interesting-looking demon I had not seen before. There was a statue of Varaha (Vishnu's third avatar, a boar forty miles wide and four thousand miles tall, which would be very strangely proportioned). The Ganesha had the missing tusk, but no mouse.

I had described these as the "non-Japanese Asian galleries". The Japanese Gallery, on the other hand, was quite extensive, with a very large collection of netsuke and inro--so large that three-quarters of it was in drawers under the display cases. Parts of it could have been better lit, but it was fascinating to look at it all. (The drawers were not at all obvious. A docent pointed them out to us, or we never would have seen them.)

After this, and a few more galleries of European painting, we took a break for lunch in the cafe. Everything is named for artists. We had a Van Gogh sandwich (smoked turkey, brie, avocado, and a honey mustard). We did not have ice cream, but their offical flavor is "Pablo Pistachio".

We then went to the Near East Gallery (also referred to as the Islamic Gallery. This is one small room with a couple of dozen pieces, mostly ceramics. There was a sample of Iznik tile, and an example of a European copy of it, which had a washed-out orange color where Iznok tile had a bright poppy-red. We had seen Iznik tile in a tile museum in Turkey, but I had not mentioned in my log. Now I find that it was one of the more memorable sights of that trip, one that I keep being reminded of. The gallery also had an Indian "miniature" painting--well, not that miniature, but of that incredibly detailed style. I swear some of the paint must have been applied with a needle point or a brush consisting of a single hair--it is that fine. And there are very subtle color effects, such as a pattern in pale yellow on a lavender gown. I could look at these for hours.

We saw a lot of Dutch paintings, but none such as Howard Waldrop is sure he saw once: a 17th-18th century Dutch interior scene with a dodo. (Howard Waldrop is the author of "The Ugly Chickens".)

The Classical Gallery had Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman pieces. The Egyptian Canopic Jars represent the Four Sons of Horus: Qebehseneuf (hawk, intestines), Hapi (ape, lungs), Imsety (human, liver), and Duamutef (jackal, stomach). Duamutef looks a lot like Anubis, and indeed there are some pieces that archaeologists are not sure whether they represent Anubis or Duamutef.

We spent about four hours here. While parking costs US$3, the museum itself is free, but we did make a donation. We never even got to their famous glass collection, now displayed in a separate building.

We continued on to the Detroit area. First we drove through Southgate, where we lived thirty years ago. The apartment complex was still in good condition, and the tall office building across the street was still there, but everything else had changed. All the restaurants were national chains, as were most of the stores. I think Farmer Jack was the same supermarket that we had shopped at, but everything else in its strip mall was different, and in fact the mall nearby had been torn down and replaced by another tall office building.

Then we drove to Warren, where we checked into the Comfort Inn. We had picked Warren because the friends we were meeting had picked a restaurant in Warren. Well, the restaurant turned out to be one block away from the motel! So we walked over and spent an enjoyable dinner with someone whom we had met at Wayne Third Foundation in 1975 and had not seen for thirty years. (We had been in email touch since then, of course.) And we met his wife, whom he had not even met when we lived in the area.

Traffic was terrible, probably even worse than it had been. River Rouge still looked ugly, but did not seem to smell bad, so maybe they have cleaned it up after all.

The motel offered free Internet access at a PC in the lobby, so I took the opportunity to read my mail. (I was curious how a friend's move had gone.)

Our drive-time listening was Mark Steel on Hannibal, The Rainmaker (L. A. Theaterworks), and the lecture on Marcus Aurelius. Our (late) evening viewing was The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. (The television required an RF modulator, but at least we could unscrew the coaxial cable. However, the television also lacked a sleep cycle.)

Miles driven: 264

June 29, 2007: More hellacious traffic, even though we were going around Detroit rather than through it. The summer is the season for the most driving, and also the most road construction. (Oddly, no matter how much construction they do, the roads still seem bad. In fact, some of the streets in the Detroit area are even worse than those in New Jersey. At one spot, they fixed a pothole by dumping enough material in it to make a small hill instead!)

We drove towards Chicago, but stopped in Indiana for lunch and gasoline, because gasoline is much cheaper in Indiana than in Illinois (about forty cents a gallon less). Lunch was at Taqueria Chapala, a small place a mile off the interstate down a side street. We found this by using our GPS, and it was much better than what one finds by just seeing what is right off the interstate. They had combination plates with three items each, rice, and beans for US$5.50. I had a steak tostada, chicken enchilada, and quesadilla; Mark had a soft beef taco, a chile relleno, and a cheese enchilada. (This was a lot easier on my stomach than the ribs I had the night before, which I am sure would not be most people's prediction.)

I should mention that two technological developments make this trip a lot easier. (Well, three if you count air conditioning--our first couple of cross-country trips were done in summer without it.) One is cruise control. The other is the GPS. It is not the positioning so much, or even the routing (that is very handy, but it occasionally wants to route you through downtown metropolitan areas thinking somehow they will be faster). What is handy is the ability to locate restaurants near you, or gas stations, or ATMs. (Of course, it cannot tell you which restaurants are good.)

We drove around Chicago and more awful traffic, this time with tolls as well. We eventually got to Janesville, Wisconsin, where we stopped at a Microtel.

I conked out early (because the ribs had kept me awake almost the entire previous night), but was awakened about 9:15PM by fireworks going on about two blocks away. We had a good view from our motel room window, and the fireworks were much more extensive (and continuous) than the "fancy" displays back home.

Our listening was an episode of "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again"; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; "The Value of Names" (L. A. Theaterworks), "The Big Bow Mystery" (BBC), and the lecture on the Bhagavad Gita. We watched the second half of Custer of the West and then the 2004 version of Phantom of the Opera. (TV report; needed RF modulator, had sleep cycle)

Miles driven: 380

June 30, 2007: We woke up early, so watched a movie Gun Crazy) before breakfast.

We drove to Watson's Wild West Museum in Elkhorn, but got there a half hour before it opened. We thought it looked a little kitschy anyway, so we decided to skip it and proceed directly to Madison...

...which turned out to be a wise choice. First of all, by going by way of Elkhorn, we got to pass a some really well-done "junk sculptures"--that is, sculptured fashioned out of old farm machinery, automotive parts, and such. These were a dinosaur, a chicken, and a motorcyclist sculptures on CR-N. There was no indication of who constructed them or anything--just three sculptures by the side of the road.

But more importantly, it turned out that there is a farmers market in downtown Madison around the Capitol, which is right opposite the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. We started to walk around the market, but decided to see the Museum first, because then we would be walking around the market at lunchtime and could get lunch there.

The Museum was fairly small, and emphasizes Wisconsin's role in the various wars. Still, it manages to cover the military history of the United States from the Civil War on fairly well. A lot duplicates what one finds at other museums, but that is to be expected.

One section that was a bit different was the section about various veterans organizations. The Grand Army of the Republic was formed for Civil War veterans and was the major organization to promote the flag and inform people about its history, usage, etc. This was done in large part to unite the country and get people to see themselves as Americans rather than as various nationalities. There was also the United Spanish War Veterans. But not until the Veterans of Foreign Wars did an organization form that lasted more than one generation (because it did not restrict itself to a specific war). The American Legion was the successor to the Grand Army of the Republic and is now the largest veterans organization in the United States, with over three million members.

One other note: The Philippines War was actually bigger than the Spanish-American War, but if it is mentioned at all in schools, it is as an adjunct to the latter.

The market was starting to break up even by 12:30, with some of the smaller stands having sold all their stock. We bought some fresh "squeaky curds" (cheese curds that squeaked when you bit into them) and some fresh pea pods (which are great raw).

The stalls sold just about any farm products. There were several selling meat: emu, ostrich, red deer, and bison, as well as beef, pork, and chicken. But all of it was "organic", "free-range", "no hormones", etc. And the produce was "organic" (although some added that it was not actually certified organic), "no herbicides", "no pesticides", and so on. Some things were more expensive that store-bought, but a lot was as cheap or cheaper, and it was certainly all fresher. The weather was much better for walking around than a few days ago, sunny with a high of 85.

We dropped into Shakespeare's Books, a used bookstore of long standing in Madison, which was moving very soon to a new location on State Street, more in a bookstore district, I think. They had already moved the majority of their books, it was very dim in the old store, and we were not really looking for anything, so we did not buy anything. I suspect the new location will not be as classicly "old bookstore"-like as the old one, with its high ceilings, old wooden shelves (at least in the front room), and bookstore smell, but that is progress, I suppose.

We left Madison and drove to Minneapolis/St. Paul. On the way we drove past Wisconsin Dells and Devil's Lake State Park. When I was young, my family lived in Illinois, and one year we camped at Devil's Lake State Park and went to the Wisconsin Dells. (I think there may be a town called "Wisconsin Dells" with the whole area called "the Wisconsin Dells".)

We first went to a Budget Host Inn, but they had no non-smoking room with two beds, and it looked a little run-down anyway. So we went to an America's Best Value Inn, which was considerably newer. We got a refrigerator (which we wanted), but no microwave. AAA rates it two diamonds, but I would give it only one diamond. It is more like a Motel 6. For example, there is no clock or radio, and no complimentary shampoo. However, there is a shower-tub combo instead of just a shower. For US$73.53 a night (including tax), it is okay, but a trifle Spartan.

Our listening was "The Hordes of Things" (BBC) and lectures on "The Book of Exodus" and "The Gospel According to Mark". We watched Gun Crazy and Juggernaut (a 1936 Boris Karloff thriller). The television was better than some in more expensive places, with stereo input jacks and a sleep cycle.

Miles driven: 396

July 1, 2007: Since Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) did not open until 11AM, we had time in the morning, so we watched a couple of television episodes ("Brisco County, Jr., and "Perry Mason").

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts not only is free, but provides free parking, How incredibly civilized!

We started in the gallery of art of the American West. Several pieces were out on loan, but there were still pieces of interest. There was an Albert Bierstadt; I was sure I had seen his work at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, but my log does not indicate it. There was a wonderful bronze called "The Stampede" by Harry Jackson, about four feet long and very complex, with a maelstrom of cattle, horses, and cowboys.

Almost every room had a surprise in it. One had a William Hogarth--"The Sleeping Congregation". There do not seem to be a lot of Hogarths in museums in the United States. There was a Rembrandt in another, and so on.

Somewhere around 1PM, we realized that there was no way we would see the entire museum in one day. In fact, we figured we could just about finish the third floor (European and American art) in one day, leaving the entire second floor (ancient, African, and Asian). So we changed our plans to add a second day here on Tuesday. The State Capitol may have to be skipped (even though AAA categorizes it as a "gem").

We had just gotten to one of the modern galleries and learned that Precisionism was Cubism combined with Futurism, and seen Morris Kantor's posthumous painting of his mother (which indicates he had real issues with her), when they announced a free docent tour of art from 1850 to the present. The docent was Susan Tasa, who chose a few works to illustrate various styles.

We started with Sir John Everett Millais's "Peace Concluded". It was painted at the end of Crimean War, and was in the Pre-Raphaelite style. Tasa pointed out some of the symbolism in the painting, including the fact that the toy animals the girls were playing with were a lion, a polar bear, a gamecock, and a turkey; these represented the combatants England, Russia, France, and Turkey, respectively). There was also a dove (peace).

The next work was a sculpture, Raffaello Monti's "Veiled Lady". Tasa described it as "trompe-l'oeil", with the fabric looking real even though the entire piece was carved from a single piece of marble even though it gives the impression of two layers. As far as symbolism, the wreath of morning glories symbolizes impermanence. (This piece has been voted one of the top four favorite pieces in the museum by visitors.)

The next piece was Berthe Morisot's "The Artist's Daughter, Julie, with Her Nanny". This was an example of Impressionism, with its unconcealed brush strokes. One characteristic of a lot of Impressionist paintings is that it is unclear close up, but moving away lets the eye fill in the subject. (In fact, the Impressionist sub-genre of Pointillism is like atomic theory--if you get close, apparent solids lose their solidity and become individual atoms in an empty background.)

One reason for the rise of Impressionism was that the invention of photography made realism less nescessary for paintings. However, there is not a great deal of feeling in Impressionism in general. The Post-Impresionists wanted to capture moment and express emotion. Vincent Van Gogh's "Olive Trees" was an example of this. (Tasa said that in St.-Remy there is a "Van Gogh Walk" that has placards for many locations where Van Gogh stood to do his paintings, and a lot of the scenes, including this one, remain virtually unchanged.) Van Gogh paints nature as filled with energy and vitality, with vibrant color and lines. There are very evident brush strokes, an unrealistic yellow sky, and the contrast of orange ground and blue shadows. Van Gogh's brush strokes are circular for the sun, but diagonal for the ground and shadows. The lines do not let your eyes rest.

In passing, Tasa pointed out Claude Monet's "Grainstack", one of their most valuable pieces. (It was also the only one that did not have a label.) This contrats with Van Gogh by having less feeling, but more setting.

Franz Marc's "The Large Blue Horses", a classic Fauve work, was in the Walker Museum for years. When the Walker switched over to entirely more recent works, it was put in storage for five years until the MIA convinced it to loan it to the MIA. It is Expressionist, done between 1905 and 1908. The Fauve Style was not concerned with realistic color, but with the use of complementary colors. According to Marc, the blue of the horses represents the spiritual and intellectual forces in the world, the yellow represents sensuousness and cheerfulness, and the red represents materialism and consumerism. Mark asked if it came with an explanatory booklet. I do not see it either.

The next piece was Constantin Brancusi's "Golden Bird", bronze on a marble and wood base. One problem was that to fully appreciate it, you needed to realize thta the base was part of the work, not just something provided by the museum. It represents the myastra bird of Romanian myth. If you heard the bird's song, it would restore your sight, or health, or even life.

James Ensor's "Intrigue" had quite a story behind it. He always made two copies of every work, and this was the second version of "Intrigue". The faces look awful--blotchy with green and blue hair. It turns out that they are wearing (Mardi Gras) masks showing Ostend's reaction to his sister Mariette's engagement to the Chinese art dealer Tan). Mariette and Tan look just as bad, but the claim is that their masks are to protect them. In life, they married, but were never accepted in Ostend and eventually divorced. A skeleton figure appears only in this second version, painted after the divorce. Mark suggested also that the skeleton is the antithesis of masks, with every covering removed instead of added.

George Roualt's "The Crucifixion" had a very thin Jesus, with the hands and feet outside the frame, making the figure seem closer than usual. It is very dark and depressing from the colors (especially the background). (I asked if it was supposed to represent the darkness at moment of death, especially given the peaceful expression on the face, but Tasa said no.) Roualt studied as an apprentice in a stained glass company, and it shows in his painting style.

Joan Miro's "Head of a Woman" is a Surrealist work. Surrealism is the "art of dreams, fantasy, and the unconscious mind". Tasa described this as an intuitive Surrealistic piece, done in part with automatic drawing. Asked for our reactions, one woman found it scary and frightening, while I thought it looked humorous and festive. Someone else thought that the artist was making fun of the woman. Tasa said that it was painted as a reaction to the Spanish Civil War, with the woman's arms thrown up in joy or despair or surrender.

The last piece covered was Pablo Picasso's "Baboon and Young", made with "assemblage" with a toy automobile for the head, a ball for baby, a pot for the body (with the handles as shoulders), and an automobile spring for the tail.

During the tour, we passed several major works, so when the tour was over (and we had eaten a small snack), we went back through these galleries. We saw such works as Maxfield Parrish's "Dream Castle in the Sky", another example of the use of the complementary colors of blue and orange (Van Gogh used them in "Olive Trees").

We also saw Rene Magritte's "The Promenades of Euclid", a wonderful work. Now, I had always seen this as having the painting on the easel accurate to the scene behind it, except with the tower added in. But the description suggested that what is on the easel could be transparent, and merely showing you what is really behind it. And Mark suggested that it could be a painting completely different from what is really behind it.

We took a quick look into the ancient galleries. The mosaics looked like Impressionist paintings such as Paul Signac's "Blessing of the Tuna Fleet"--both were made entirely with rectangles or squares of color.

We finished as the museum closed at 5PM. We were not hungry so we went back to the motel for a while. On the way to dinner we stopped at Cub Foods and got some yogurt, cheese, crackers, and juice for breakfasts. (Another way the America's Best Value Inn seems more like a Motel 6 is that "continental breakfast" is coffee and a small Danish. (Well, Motel 6 does not even give you a pastry, just coffee.)

Dinner was going to be at a Laotian restaurant very close to our motel, but it closed for vacation the day before we arrived and will re-open the day after we leave. We were going to go to a "Mediterranean grill", but saw the Boba Cafe, which advertised pho, noodles, and curry, so quickly changed our plans to that. We had a spicy chicken and peanut stir-fry (but Thai-style, not Kung Pao) and a spicy golden tofu dish--total under US$20. (And it turned out that the Mediterranean place must have been inside the mall--which was closed already.)

Our listening was very limited--the lecture on the Koran (or rather, the first half of the lecture. We watched television episodes of "Brisco County, Jr., and "Perry Mason", and also Restaurant.

Miles driven: 34

July 2, 2007: Breakfast was habanero cheese and crackers. We then watched another episode of "Perry Mason" before leaving for the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM).

We parked at a lot about a block from the Museum, because Museum parking would have been between US$7 and US$10, depending on how long we stayed, and the lot was $4 for twelve hours.

The SMM was US$10 each, or US$8.50 with the AAA discount. The AAA book gave US$8.50 as their regular price. I mention this because I have found that this year's AAA books seem to be out of date on a lot of things: admission prices, hours, etc. It is possible that there has been more change than usual--higher costs could result in decreased hours as well as increased prices, but I would think that AAA should try to keep up better.

We started with the Mississippi River display. This included information about the Ice Age flora and fauna. While the Museum is accurate in its word use, not all the patrons were. One parent was talking to his son about the "dinosaur beaver", meaning the Pleistocene beaver shown. There does seem to be a general mis-use of the word "dinosaur" by a lot of people. For example, pteranadons and ichtyosaurs are not dinosaurs. This is particularly ironic, since in its prehistoric life gallery, the Museum says that most children can name at least one dinosaur from each of the seven families (sauropoda, prosauropoda, theropoda, ceratopsia, stegosauria, and ornithopoda).

The Mississippi River is 2348 miles long, of which more than 700 are in Minnesota. (Well, it is the twelfth largest state.)

The biology gallery had a variety of interactive display (take your blood pressure, examine your skin cells, etc.). It also had a lot more lengthy interactive exhibits than one used to find in museums (e.g., performing a medical diagnosis, which took 15-30 minutes). The lab sections lets visitors extract DNA from wheat, study enzymes in saliva, identify microbes, etc. This is considerably more involving than just looking at the previously prepared slides and such that we had when we were kids.

There were also a couple of human body slices--real human body slices. There were signs warning people that there were body parts, but it was still a bit disconcerting. (The signs also said that these people had donated their bodies to science for educational purposes. I wonder if they thought this meant to medical schools, or realized that it might include public display in a museum.)

They also had a clip from the Bell Labs film, "Hemo the Magnificent".

The most interesting part in this area was "Perception Theater", which examined optical illusions, and tricks of visual and aural perception. There were some illusions which had to do with background/figure issues, others with perspective, and others with more complicated biological issues. They had the classic "Is it a vase or is it two profiles?" illusion, with the addition of a slightly irregular pattern of horizontal ridges, such that when they rotated the vase, the mouths appeared to speak. When sound was added, the faces become stronger than the vase. This lasted about twenty minutes, and was good enough that we went back at the end of our visit to see it again.

There was a section more about how museums work, with a history of the SMM, a section on birds and how they are studied (including the Armstrong Egg Collection), and a "Collectors Corner" where people can bring finds in to swap.

There was a Hmong house which had been constructed by local Hmong, along with a display of Hmong objects and crafts. I suppose ethnography is a science, but it is still very iffy in a science/natural history museum.

There was the story of the Siems Safari of 1927. The display of the lion family that it resulted in had a male, a female, and a cub. But lions do not live in family groups--the males live apart from the females and cubs. The display said that the 1929 display of the lion family "says as much about contemporary American social values as about lion behavior." Someone on the safari said that they were shooting a rhinoceros so that they could be displayed for the benefit of those who "will never see this stately beast in the wild." And I added, "Because hunters shot them all."

The exhibit went on to say that the animals displayed are now all "salvage specimens"--animals that had died, been killed in accidents, or shot for reasons other than collecting specimens (e.g., a bear attacking campers). It also asked, "Which exhibits that seem appropriate to us today might offend museum visitors 75 years from now?"

One of the highlights for me was the display that had been the (separate) Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, and is now labeled the "Quackery Museum". This was founded by Bob McCoy in 1984, when someone gave him a dozen Psychographs, and was donated to the SMM in 2002. MCCoy was both a minister and the founder of Minnesota Skeptics--an unusual combination. McCoy donated over three hundred devices; the ones on display included a Fluoroscope, an Electreat, an Electro-Metabograph, a Prostate Gland Warmer, a photograph of the Battle Creek Sanitarium (described in the movie The Road to Wellness, a Vibratory Chair, a Phrenology chart, a Psycograph, an Orgone Energy Accumulator, an Electropoise, an Oxydonor, an Oxygenor, and Oxygenator. There was also an ad from a 2006 Saturday Evening Post for the "Exerciser 200 Oxygen Enhancer", proving that this sort of thing still goes on.

Another exhibit showed a tree trunk slice. This used to have labels showing which rings were grown during the Battle of Agincourt, the death of Cromwell, the death of Joan of Arc, the Declaration of Independence, Columbus discovering America, the Battle of Waterloo, the landing of the Pilgrims, and the end of the Civil War. When the SMM was being renovated , the Native Americans on the consulting board objected to having entirely European-based labels on a North American tree, and in particular the 1492 one. The problem I have with this objection of an "exclusively European version of history" is that the Europeans were the only ones who kept track of dates, and dates are what tree rings are about. If the SMM had dates for North American events (and of course 1620 and 1865 were North American events anyway), I am sure they would have used them. (Actually, they may have some dates from the Incan and Mayan civilizations. I wonder if they would have been considered better than European ones.)

There was a much more extensive mathematics section than one usually see, called "Interactive Calculus", and including "Motion Tracker", "Math Tracks", "Take It to the Limit", "Slope Rider", and "Flow Integrator".

A Seismofon filled the atrium, making music based on seismic tremors. While it is fine at first, the sheer persistence and randomness of it got annoying after a while.

We saved the prehistoric section for last. Their prize specimen was a diplodocus. Every museum with any sort of dinosaur exhibit seems to have a dinosaur "mascot" of sorts. For example, the the American Museum of Natural History in New York has their "brontosaurus" (now relabeled "apatosaurus").

There were several displays using Charles Knight paintings, and an original oil sketch by Knight of a stegosaurus.

One display claimed that because of their mouth and jaw structure, duck-bill dinosaurs could taste small amounts of vegetation, hence they could avoid newly evolved toxic plants better than larger herbivores such as diplodocus (which simply shoveled large quantites of plants in their mouths. (Mark says they may also have changed the balance of plants for diplodocus, meaning that diplodocus had to eat more toxic plants than otherwise.)

One displays said that all dinosaurs have two skull openings behind their eyes. I have never seen this as a defining characteristic of dinosaurs before.

Another display emphasized that dinosaurs, crocodiles, and birds have one type of skull structure, which differs from the skull structure of lizards, snakes, and champosaurs. This certainly helps support the idea that the term "reptile" (as commonly used) is extremely imprecise, since it includes all of one skull type and but only part of another.

Another example of this is the term "stem reptiles". This was given to an early form that led to later reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals. "But," the display said, "animals should only bear names in common with their specialized descendents," and "a valid group name cannot describe a set of organisms that, later, gave rise to more than one specialized group." But what does one call the first life form that led to all others? And just what is a "specialized group"? The first primate led to both apes and monkeys--is that a problem?

We got early enough (3:45PM, having arrived at 10AM) that we could walk over to the City Hall and Ramsey Courthouse. This is a beautiful Art Deco building constructed around 1931 (similar to the Empire State Building). We had to go through a secuirty check to get in, but it was worth it. The most striking feature is the gigantic onyx statue "Vision of Peace", but the Art Deco detail is also well worth studying, down to the door handles and water fountain niches.

One strange note: signs here (such as warnings) were in English, Spanish, and another language I did not recognize at all. "Tsis pub haus luam yeeb hauv lub tsev no" meant "no smoking in this building" in this langauge. My only guess might be Hmong. (I checked later--it was Hmong.)

We then drove to Uncle Hugo's/Uncle Edgar's Bookstores (co-located science fiction and mystery). They are both impressive, though difficult to shop at. They are both so over-stuffed that some authors are not on the shelves, but in cartons stacked on the floor. The cartons are numbered, but if you want to see the bottom box of a stack of six, and are not young and strong, it may be a problem. (I also could not find the Agatha Christie anywhere, but I suspect there must have been a large separate section that, had I asked, they would have pointed out.)

Even over-stuffed, though, the selection had gaps. There was only one Barry Malzberg in the used book section (and probably none in new books). The emphasis in Uncle Hugo's was more on "traditional" science fiction and fantasy so, for example, magical realists would not be well-stocked.

We did not go to the other science fiction store (Dreamhaven), in part because we were tired, and in part because there was currently street work being done in front of it, and traffic was awful.

Dinner was at Las Tapatias, another restaurant found by Hairball (our GPS). I had thought that the large Mexican population in New Jersey was a function of the location, but apparently there is a large enough population to support authentic Mexican restaurants for Mexicans in Minneapolis, in small towns in Indiana, and so on. I had pozole (posole), made with pork, which included a large ham hock, or pig's knuckle, or something vaguely inedible. However, there was plenty of meat without it.

Our listening was the rest of the lecture on the Koran. Our viewing was an episode of "Perry Mason" and Planet of the Apes (2001).

Miles driven: 50

July 3, 2007: We watched episodes of "Brisco County, Jr." and "Perry Mason" before leaving for our second day at the MIA. We drove down Xerxes Boulevard and listened to the lecture on Gilgamesh, so our visit to the Classical galleries at the MIA fit right in.

While the MIA is very large, their Classical galleries are quite ... well, one hates to say "mediocre", but that is the word that comes to mind. Or possibly "skimpy". There is one small room for Egyptian and Ancient Near East art, three rooms for Greek and Roman, and one for Islamic art. And most of the Roman sculpture is heavily damaged.

We tried out the Interactive Learning Station for the Assyrian sculpture, "Winged Genius". A genius is a "winged and bearded male spirit who protected the king from harm." This was from the period of Ashurnasirpal II (883 BCE-859BCE), who built the palace at Nimrud. The system allows you to choose overview (which describes the object), explore (e.g., "look for the duck on the tablet"), map, history (general timeline), glossary, and tour (e.g., "The Female Form", "Death and Burial"). (If only the software were more robust--we clicked on "Go" without having entered an item number at one kiosk and ended up dead ended at an error page.)

Eqyptian portrayals were very stylized and unchanging over centuries: the proportions were fixed and the figures shown half-frontal, half-profile,

Regarding the kylix, the system said, "During a symposium, or drinking party..." Somehow, when they gave a software symposium at work, this description would not have fit.

They had only two examples of Indian miniature painting. Deccani painting is much more detailed than similar Persian or Turkish painting, the latter two being detailed only in parts (such as a floral border or background), with the people's clothing and such very plainly painted. (Actually, they had a half dozen more examples, but in the India gallery in the Asian section; the first two I saw were in the Islamic gallery in the Classical section.)

Some of the items in the Africa galleries (and others) were not well-labeled--it was hard to tell what label went with what figure in case because there were no numbers or indicators), and there was no explanation given for many items.

The "Americas" galleries are with the Asian and Classical galleries, rather than with the American paintings and sculpture. It is not as though only earlier works are featured, as the "Americas" galleries include works by current Native American artists.

Their Japanese collection had a lot of modern pieces, but no netsuke on view. (According to the interactive system, they have at least eight. Why they would not display any is a mystery to me.

On the other hand, their Chinese collection is considered one of the major Chinese art collections in the world, and is indeed quite extensive. This is because when the MIA started, their received major donations of Chinese works from a couple of sources, and so had a large core to build upon.

I particularly liked the statue of K'ieo-hsing (a.k.a. Wen Ch'ang, a.k.a. Wen-ti), the God of Literature, with a fierce expression and standing on a dragon.

We watched a long video on Bronze Age China, saw the "largest piece of historic carved jade outside of China," and finally finished up around 4PM.

Dinner was at Tariq, a "Mediterranean" restaurant, but more what I would describe as Middle Eastern. There were posters for gyros, but the menu was things like suqar, goat curry, and other more Arabic dishes. Mark had beef suqar, and I had a marinated and grilled fish steak which was delicious. Both came with salad, jabati (chapati), and banana. We were the only non-black people there (out of over a dozen), and I was the only woman, but this didn't seem to be a problem (even though the waitress was wearing a long gown and headscarf, and I was not quite that covered up). However, it probably means this place was reasonably authentic.

After dinner we went back to the room and did some of our packing, then went to see Hot Fuzz at the local discount theater. Normally it charged US$2, but on Tuesdays it is only US$1 each!

Our other viewing today was an episode of "Brisco County, Jr." one of "Perry Mason", and The Amazing Transparent Man.

Miles driven: 36

July 4, 2007: Today was a "not" day. First we drove to Alexandria, but could not see the Kensington Runestone, because the museum was closed for Independence Day. (This was not indicated in the AAA book, and I had not called to check because we had originally thought we would be coming through on July 3.) We did get a picture of the thirty-foot-tall Viking statue that carries a shield saying "The Birthplace of America". This is based on the Kensington Runestone, which pre-dates Columbus, but I do not know whether it pre-dates L'Anse aux Meadows, and it certainly does not pre-date the native population.

Then we stopped at Wal-Mart for sodas, but could not check out at the first register we went to because it froze up when we got there.

We continued to Grand Forks, but could not eat lunch at "G. F. Goodribs" because (you guessed it) it was closed for Independence Day. We almost could not mail back the one Netflix DVD we had finished because we could not find a mailbox, but eventually someone said there was one at the truck stop. (The postage is pre-paid, but only in the United States.) Note: I suspect most truck stops have mail boxes--I should have thought of that.

We crossed the border between Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. They did a more complete than usual car check at the border (well, more complete than when we crossed at Niagara Falls to go to Toronto). Whether that is normal here, or a function of the (attempted) bombings a few days before in Great Britain I do not know. Even so, it took only about twenty minutes.

It has been getting warmer; the high today was 92 degrees.

Listening was The Horse and His Boy, the lecture on Beowulf, "Adam's Rib" (L. A. Theaterworks), and Mark Steel on Isaac Newton. Watching was "The A.B.C. Murders", the first of the Masterpiece Theatre productions of the "Hercule Poirot" stories. Unfortunately, the disc was scratched, and some of the key section would not play. We also watched the beginning of the restored version of 1776, but fell asleep before it finished.

Miles driven: 452

July 5, 2007: We drove into Winnipeg and parked the car. This was a cause of some confusion, since there were two lots adjacent to each other (or it may have been one lot with two sections, since the name seemed to be the same). We parked in one, but then paid in the other. Luckily we realized this, and moved the car over. Payment in one was the new "Smart Meter" system, where you put in the money at a central meter and get a ticket with an expiration time on it for your dashboard. Payment at the other was a flat C$5 a day, which you put in a paper envelope with your license plate number and drop in a box. (Since we did not know how long we would be, we would have ended up paying C$5 either way. This is still a lot cheaper than places like Seattle or Portland.) Finding a lot was a bit tricky, though, as most seemed to be only reserved parking between 6AM and 6PM.

Note: while I will still be using miles and degrees Fahrenheit, money in Canada will be in Canadian dollars. The rate we got was one Canadian dollar for US$0.9456, or conversely, one United States dollar is C$1.0575. Since sales tax in Canada is 13%-15% (7% Canadian, and the remainder provincial), one might as well consider the two currencies equivalent. It makes it easier, but I must admit I miss the days when the Canadian dollar was about 67 United States cents.

We walked along (around?) The Forks/La Fourche. This is the area where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet, and has been a settlement and trading area for thousands of years. And, no, I do not know how to pronounce "Assiniboine". I think it may be "a-SIN-i-bwan" or be "a-SIN-i-bwan-eh", but I never learned French. And speaking of languages, many of the historical information signs had English, French, and Cree on them. The latter alphabet looks very artificial, and indeed was invented by missionaries in the 19th century. (By artificial, I mean it consists of letters that look like triangles, loops, etc. See for details.

(Later I discovered it is pronounced "a-SIN-i-boyn".)

There were many references to Métis. These are the descendents of French trappers and Ojibwa, Cree, or other indigenous women. Note: I am trying to use current terminology, but it is difficult. "Native American" is a United States term; in Canada they are call "First Nations". So for this log, neither is universal enough. "Indian" seems wrong, and "native" has some negative connotations, as well as being somewhat inaccurate. So I will try to list the particular tribes, or use "indigenous". In any case, it is all a trifle ironic, since the signs also talk about "English 'half-breeds'"--which would definitely be objected to in the United States. (What is odd, I suppose, is that in the United States the term "mulatto" is non-PC, but "Creole" is okay.)

Recently constructed at the Forks was the Oodena Celebration Circle, "a monument to the cultural and natural forces that have drawn people to the Forks for thousands of years." It is a series of sculptures/carvings representing the various constellations in various cultures. So one gets the Hindu legend associated with one constellation, the Chinese with another, and so on. It is a sort of astronomical park, but more focused on legend than on science.

There was a group of young teenagers from a "film camp" with their teacher, filing (or rather taping) a fantasy film with an ancient Egyptian setting using this location. Back when we were young and film was expensive and cumbersome, they did not have this sort of thing. But with videotape, it is a lot easier and cheaper.

This area was the focus of a trade war between the Hudson's Bay Company and North West Company. and as in the United States, the various tribes got the short end of the stick. When Manitoba was eventually established, they (and the Mé ended up on "reserves" of the less desirable land (although many moved west to what is now Saskatchewan and Alberta to avoid this). One does not here much about a reservation system in Canada, but there appears to have been one.

We walked across the pedestrian bridge to the area of St. Boniface, where we sat for a while and had a soda. (It was pretty hot, though in the shade it was comfortable.)

We walked back along the Riverwalk, or something like it. The actual Riverwalk is by the water's edge, but because of heavy rains, the river was much higher than normal, and parts of the Riverwalk were under water. This meant that at a couple of spots we had to walk up and cross the streets for the bridges instead of being able to walk under them.

We walked down to the other end, at the Manitoba Legislature. This building is topped by a statue called "Golden Boy", but this is not the same as the "Golden Boy" that was an AT&T symbol. The one here (by Charles Gardet) carries sheaves of wheat and a torch. The AT&T symbol (created by Evelyn Beatrice Longman in 1916) was originally called "The Genius of Electricity" and later "The Spirit of Communications", and carried bolts of lightning.

More modern sculptures in the areas included dozens of concrete polar bears, individually decorated for the theme "Bears on Broadway". (Broadway is a main street in Winnipeg, but not all the bears were actually on Broadway.) This is a new urban art form. In Minneapolis they had "Diggin' Dinos", and other cities had used moose, cows, etc. I wonder who first had this idea.

There was not much in the area in the way of interesting restaurants, so we drove to Ellice Street, where they had quite a few. However, we thought of just getting a pint of sherbet and eating it. By the time we found a Wal-Mart and discovered we would have to eat a half gallon (or possibly some metric equivalent), we were out of the ethnic areas and hungrier, so we ended up at Montana's Cookhouse Saloon, a chain featuring steaks, burgers, ribs, chicken, etc. We shared a large burger and a half a roast chicken.

However, while at Wal-Mart we discovered a 5-DVD set of 1950s television drama for only C$12.50. So this evening's viewing was Treasure Island (from "DuPont Theater") with Boris Karloff and a stellar cast. Then we watched the "Brisco County, Jr." two-part finale, and finished with Bad Day at Black Rock.

Miles driven: 19

July 6, 2007: We started towards Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP). We stopped in Neepawa for gasoline. (We had to turn around, because we passed one station on the left and I figured there must be one on the right ahead. However, two blocks later, the town ended and the fields began.) Gasoline here is about C$1.129 per liter, which works out to about US$4 per gallon. But for this they also pump it for you and clean the windshield. There is some self-serve, but not much, and no cost savings.

It may be called Riding Mountain National Park, but there does not seem to be much of a mountain involved, at least from the south. At the north end, one does seem to be looking down on the fields.

There was some confusion about the pass. I asked for an annual pass and got one for just RMNP. Luckily, I noticed in time and exchanged it (and more money) for one for all the Canadian National Parks--the equivalent of the United States Golden Eagle Pass. Actually, we bought two, because park admissions and passes in Canada are per person, not per car (though there is a family rate). An annual pass for all the parks is C$61.90 per person. (The individual parks are C$6.90 to C$8.90 a day.)

RMNP gave me the impression that National Parks are different in Canada. It may be because RMNP contains the "historic resort town of Wasagaming." Or it may be that all National Parks are more like resorts with motels, stores, and so on.

These also seemed to be less free information on trails and programs. Whether this is true at other parks remains to be seen. This park, in particular, probably assumes people come for several days at a time.

And one advantage of staying is that you can be around at dawn and dusk to see more animals. Unfortunately, we were there mid-day, and saw hardly any. (Since sunrise is about 5:30AM and sunset is almost 10PM, it is pretty much impossible to be out then unless you stay overnight.) We walked through the marsh, and saw two birds (one a Red-Winged Blackbird [Agelaius phoeniceus]), a snail, some leeches, and some very small fish. Oh, and flies, dragonflies, and water-walkers.

Driving to Agassiz Tower, however, we did see a blonde brown bear just south of north shore road. It was wandering along the edge of the trees, but went into the woods fairly quickly.

We stopped and ate a picnic lunch (cheese, crackers, nuts, and dried fruit). We then drove to the Agassiz Tower and climbed up four stories. The view was nice, but nothing spectacular. I suppose to people from Winnipeg or other plains areas, the forest and view is at least different.

We drove to the bison enclosure, but there were no bison we could see. It is not as if they are small animals that could hide behind a tree or something, so I have no idea where they were. (At the Visitors Centre, they mentioned the bison enclosure, so they did not seem to know of any recent mass escapes.)

After this we drove to Brandon, where we ended up at the Trails West Inn. This had a new television, with multiple, accessible inputs and a sleep cycle! And they had a PC available in the lobby for checking email.

We were tired and so ate at the hotel restaurant, Tigger's, where we had mediocre spaghetti and Greek salad.

Today's listening was Prince Caspian and the lecture on "The Book of Job". We watched Born to Kill.

Miles driven: 327

July 7, 2007: We watched Gigantis the Fire Monster before leaving, because the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum did not open until 10AM. We went to Husky's Restaurant for breakfast, where it took almost forty-five minutes to get served! It seems the computer printing the orders ran out of paper and our order got lost. Luckily we were not in a hurry, and there was a telephone in each booth, so we used the time to get make reservations for the next motel and check our answering machine.

The Commonwealth Air Training Plan (CATP) Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of the training of the World War II flying crews. They had all sorts of equipment, some of which was around after the war. For example, they had flare pots, which were black spherical containers about six inches in diameter with a hooded opening on top. There were filled with kerosene and lit to provide emergency lighting. We both remember seeing these at road construction sites in the 1950s.

There was an explanation of why there was a "target" painted on the sides of the planes. This was actually a roundel, with concentric red, white, and blue circles, and was developed as part of a World War I battle flag, when it was discovered that the British and German flags looked too similar. Just in case the Germans decided to use it as a target, though, it was painted on the least susceptible part of the fuselage.

As background for all this, the Museum was playing World War II songs such as "There'll Always Be an England" and "The White Cliffs of Dover". I could not help but see those being sung in the setting of the Windmill Theatre in London (see Mrs. Henderson Presents).

In one case they talked about the various wrenches (not spanners). There was the North American System (SAE) which used the distance across the hexagon, and had sharp threads at a sixty-degree angle. The British Standard Whitworth System (BSW) used the shaft diameter and the length of the flats on the hexagon, and had rounded threads at a fifty-five-degree angle. It is amazing they ever managed to get the planes to work.

They had the poem "Lord, Guard and Guide the Men Who Fly" by Mary C. D. Hamilton. Though it has exactly the same scansion (and theme), it does not seem to include the line "those in peril in the air."

The guidebook at the Museum said it would take thirty to forty minutes, but we spent two hours.

Then it was more driving, a little over two hundred miles to Regina (reh-JIGH-nah), Saskatchewan. This was on the Trans-Canada Highway, which would be the equivalent of our I-80, except that there are long stretches where it is only two lanes, and the "exits" consist of cross streets with stop signs on them. There is so little traffic, and it is visible for such a long distance in either direction, that this is sufficient even with traffic going 110 kilometers per hour (about 70 miles per hour). It is not as good for the wildlife at times--I saw a couple of dead coyotes (Canis latrans) by the side of the road. (I assume they were coyotes rather than wolves, but it is hard to tell at 70 miles an hour.

When we stopped for gas, we saw what I though was a Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis) running across the lot, but it was probably a Richardson's Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii) or a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) even though those are tunnel dwellers and I would not normally expect to see them running around a gas station.

We arrived at the Comfort Inn in Regina and got a room with a refrigerator and microwave, but only one bed, and a terrible television. Well, the television might have been okay (though without input jacks), but the motel has decided people are not to be trusted and has put cylinders on the coax such that one cannot disconnect it to hook up a DVD player. So we ended up listening to old-time radio and watching movies on the DVD player itself.

Using the GPS, we located a restaurant nearby named Angkor. When we followed its directions, it was not there, and the street number was quite a bit off. So we drove down the street and did find it. (This has happened before--I wonder why?) We had Coca Cola Hot Pot Chicken and Cambodian Rice Noodles. The menu covered several Southeast Asia cuisines, so I asked the waiter which country the Coca-Cola Hot Pot Chicken was from. "Canada?" he suggested. Well, it is definitely something we do not get at home, and it was pretty good--spicy, and not really tasting of Coca-Cola.

Listening in the car was Mark Steel on Mary Shelley, "The Mystery of Charles Dickens" (BBC, but with the last fifteen minutes missing for some reason), and "Dr. Who: The Chimes of Midnight" (BBC). In the room we listened to "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Crawling Thing" (both from "Hall of Fantasy"), and--in keeping with the theme of the CATP Museum--watched Mrs. Miniver.

Miles driven: 227

July 8, 2007: We awoke and went downstairs, where the clocks all seemed to read an hour early. It turned out that Saskatchewan does not use Daylight Saving Time, so we had gained an hour earlier than we expected. (We expected to change our watches when we crossed into Alberta.) What is odd is that Rogers Wireless, which is my cell phone provider in this part of Canada, thinks it is an hour later! (And also that the desk clerk in the motel does not know what the time difference is between here and Winnipeg, the next largest city along to Trans-Canada Highway.)

So we spent the extra time listening to a very good commentary track for Born to Kill before leaving for the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, which opened at 9AM.

In the Museum, the first gallery was Life Sciences. It began with an overview of the various ecozones and egoregions in Saskatchewan. Going in, I thought the sign said there were four ecozones, but there seemed to be a lot more. (And an ecozone is merely a subset of an ecoregion, I think.) Motion Sensors seemed to control the lights and audio descriptions as you walked through the Museum.

The first room was the northernmost, the Taiga Shield ecozone. This talked a lot about lichens, which are a combinature of fungi and algae. They come in three basic forms: fruticose (branching), foliose (leaf-like), and crustose (crust-like). The moose (Alces alces) is the largest member of the deer family. A diorama of bog insects and a sundew at twelve times normal size made them look pretty impressive, though. ("They grow 'em big in Canada!")

The Athabasca Sand Dunes with its antlions (Myrmeleon sp., a.k.a. doodlebugs) that dig pits to trap its prey was next. Then came the Boreal Shield ecozone. (They never really defined "boreal"--I assume it means forested. One display noted, "Bears are not true hibernators, since their heart rate and body temperature drop only slightly during their winter slumber." There was also a lot on ravens (Corvus corax). The ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.) is the only bird to change the color of plumage to match its habitat.

A display on snow made clear why the Inuit have lots of words for snow. Snow keeps the ground temperature from dropping below about -7 degrees Centigrade, but it can trap grouse who burrow in it if the top freezes over. Caribou have problems if the snow becomes more than forty centimeters deep, because they cannot get to the lichen on the ground otherwise. And finally, not all snow is six-sided flakes; some is needles, some is prism-shaped, and some is pellets.

Another display talked about how "super-cooling" insects (e.g. Goldenrod Gall Moth) use sugar alcohols to lower their freezing point to -38 degrees Centigrade. And some frogs (e.g. Wood Frogs) let themselves freeze--or at least let fluids between the cells freeze.

The display for the Boreal Plain ecozone talked about food producers (photosynthesizers and chemosynthesizers) and food consumers (sarophytes [which eat dead organic matter], parasites, herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores). It also noted that horsetails first appeared 400 million years ago (in the Silurian or Devonian Age) and that they were the first plants with vascular tissue.

If all the entrances to beaver lodges are underwater, why don't the children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe get wet when they go into one?

The cougar/mountain lion (Felis concolor) is Canada's largest wild cat.

The next area was the Aspen Parkland ecoregion (a transition zone to the Prairie ecozone). This talked about how we see trees as individual life forms, but Aspen Poplars reproduce by "vegetative growth," sending up clones from long, shallow roots.

The Moist Mixed and Mixed Grasslands ecoregions display had a bullsnake (Pituophis melanoleucus sayi), the largest serpent in Saskatchewan.

In the Cypress Upland ecoregion section we learned (again) that antlers are (seasonal) hair and horns are (permanant) bones. The one semi-exception are the pronghorns, which shed the keratin covering of their horns, but retain the bone itself.

After these came a section on extinctions: Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic, and Cretaceous, and "The Sixth Wave" (as some are calling what is happening now). A distinction was made between extinctions and extirpation (the latter is when a species no longer exists in parts of its historic range). Examples of extirpations are the Greater Prairie Chicken, the Plains Grizzly Bear, and the Plains Wolf.

Then came the large "Human Factor" section, which was the most didactic of the museum. The "Time Tunnel" again showed the extinctions: Ordovician (70% of all marine species vanished), Devonian, Permian (90% of all species), Triassic, Cretaceous (65-70% of all species), and "The Sixth Wave". "The Living Planet" had a film on beaver society, which emphasized that the beaver uses local materials, and then to meet only basic needs, that all beaver lodges are equal in size (over time), and that beavers are tolerant of bio-diversity. All this may be true, but beavers also run around naked and have all the entrances to their homes underwater. One cannot just blindly imitate other animals. (For people so concerned about biological niches, they do not seem to recognize that humans evolved in a very different way in a very different niche.)

The next section listed "Causes of Stress": holes in the ozone; extinctions and introductions; garbage, poisons, and altered flows; and poverty, disease, conflicts, and hunger. In 1995, the average ecological footprint worldwide was 2.4 hectares, the average Canadian ecological footprint was 7.2 hectares, and the average USA ecological footprint was 9.6 hectares. (We took a very simplified quiz which said ours was 7.6 hectares, divided into 2.4 for food, 2.4 for shelter, .7 for mobility, and 2.1 general support.)

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed." --Gandhi

"A garbage dump near New York is now the highest mountain on the east coast of the Americas." (Get a Life, 1995) Is this true? What is meant by "on the east coast"?

"The saddest aspect of life . . . is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom." --Isaac Asimov

As far as "Solutions", these were somewhat implied in the "footprint" quiz: eat less manimal products, drive less, fly less, live in a smaller house, and so on.

That was the top floor; the bottom floor was paleogeology and paleology.

The display for the Late Cretaceous had a mosasaur, which they were careful to say was closer to lizards than to dinosaurs. (This did not prevent the CBC from referring to a newly found mosasaur skeleton the next day as "dinosaur bones".) An elasmosaur is a long-necked pleisiosaur. (After seeing The Land That Time Forgot, to this day I cannot hear the word "pleisiosaur" without thinking, "Does one serve white wine or red with pleisiosaur?")

Remaining relatives of mosasaurs include sharks, rays, sturgeon, bowfin, and gars.

There were the usual dinosaurs, but I actually find the Cenozoic (Paleocene/Eocene) mammals more interesting, and very neglected. There is the Genus Megacerops (brontothere/titanothere), the Genus Archaeotherium, and entelodonts (giant pigs). Later came mastodons (arriving in North America 14 MYA), gomphotheres (arriving 14 MYA), and mammoths (arriving 2 MYA and going extinct about 11,000 years ago). There have been five glaciations in last 2 million years, the latest being 125,000 years ago. And let us not forget the megatherium (giant sloth) or the giant bison (Bison latifrons), which arrived 21,000 years ago.

The last major section was "First Nations". At the beginning they had the "Archaelogists' Perspective": people arrived in North America 30,000 years ago, and were in South America 21,000 years ago. And next to it was the "First Nations' Perspective": basically a Creationist view based on First Nations mythology. Now this brings up an interesting point. If a natural history museum in the United States displayed a Biblical creationist view, people would surely protest. But if they displayed a Native American creationist view, I suspect people would not protest as much. So is that because Native Americans are more politically correct? Or because people figure that hardly any people believe in that mythology (and hence it is not considered a threat to the scientific view in schools)? (And, yes, I know this is Canada, where all the rules are different anyway.)

(It turns out that this "First Nations' Perspective" is something a lot of museums have added; I saw them at the Glenbow as well.)

One display claimed that individual tipi poles represent obedience, respect, humility, happiness, love, faith, kinship, cleanliness, thankfulness, sharing, strength, good child rearing, and hope. This seems to imply there are always twelve poles, but it seems to me I have seen some with fewer.

There was a display on pipes, but I realized that none of these ever said what was in the pipe. Was it tobacco? But I do not think that was a local plant, so it would have not been used before the trappers brought it. What did they use before then?

There was a lot on the First Nations, but for some reason I did not find this section very interesting. Maybe it is overly familiar or something.

The last display was "Megamunch", a mechanical Tyrannosaurus rex head of the sort that Wall Drug and other places have.

Our plan after this was to go to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre. But they had just finished building a brand-new one to replace the old museum, and (as with all museum expansions), the price had gone up considerably. Somehow, neither of us was interested in the RCMP enough to pay C$12 for the Centre. (Mark later referred to museums with admissions above $10 (Canadian or United States) as having "hyper-admissions". The classic example these days is the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at US$20.) So we decided to see the Government House Museum and Heritage Property instead.

We had just missed one tour, but they run every half hour. Our guide was a young woman in Victorian dress (but with a somewhat anachronistic nose piercing). The house was occupied by the Lieutenant Governor from 1891 until 1945, when it was converted into a hospital, and then later into an educational centre. When it was made into a museum, they had to replace all the furnishings with others from the same period, as the originals had been auctioned off in 1945. (A tapestry decoration had been painted over and destroyed, but they were able to uncover enough to reproduce the pattern on wallpaper.)

One interesting item was rocking horse, used not by children, but by the first Lieutenant Governor's pet monkey Jocko.

A place setting in the dining room included fish, meat, salad, and fruit forks; dessert fork and spoon; soup spoon, fish knife, dinner fork, and fruit knife; and dessert, red, champagne, brandy, white, and water glasses.

Mirrors in the drawing room were placed up high to reflect light. Also, it was considered vain to look into mirrors. Another mirror was aimed low so that women could check that their petticoats were not showing.

Electricity and indoor plumbing were installed when the house was first built.

The skylight over the central hall has a brick roof a few feet above it, but has space between the skylight and the roof to let light in.

There were both curtains and doors. The curtains would keep out drafts and provide some privacy, but servants could pull them aside to come into a room. If the door was closed, it meant the servants should not enter.

Taxes were based on the number of rooms, and closets were considered rooms, so armoires were invented to avoid building closets and hence increasing the tax.

There was a day nursery and a night nursery, because the Victorians believed that playing and sleeping in the same room would make children sick. In any case, children were sent to boarding school at the age of six.

Terminology is different here. It still seems to be an elevator, not a lift, but the man at the front desk is referred to as a commissionaire, not a guard.

There was also a display about the history of Saskatchewan and the Crown. (The Lieutenant Governor is the Crown's representative to a province.) They had several possible etymolgies for the pronunciation "lef-TEN-ant" rather than "loo-TEN-ant"; none seems entirely convincing. My suspicion is that during the Napoleonic Wars the English wanted to avoid anything French-sounding.

For dinner, we drove to an Ethiopian restaurant named Selam, but it was closed. So we ended up at Saigon by Night, where we shared pho and a combination plate of grilled pork, chicken, and shrimp with rice noodles. In seems that in all but the biggest cities (e.g., Toronto or Winnipeg), the name of a restaurant may be Thai, or Vietnamese, or even Cambodian, but it is probably a good bet that the menu will include all the Southeast Asian cuisines.

We watched the director's commentary for Planet of the Apes (2005), and Star Odyssey.

Miles driven: 30

July 9, 2007: Our breakfast was a combination of leftovers from two nights ago with what the motel provided. That is, we sliced a hard-boiled egg from the continental into the noodle dish, and also had juice and coffee.

It was raining, at times very hard. We headed north to Prince Albert National Park, hoping for the best. On the way we listened to the lecture on the "Oresteia". The lecturer for this series, Professor J. Rufus Fears, is quite irritating at times. First of all, he has a definite Christian agenda and tries to shoe-horn works like "The Iliad" into delivering a basically Christian message, or at least supporting Christian ideals. Then in this lecture, he pronounces "Oresteia" as if it were spelled "Orestaia", and "Orestes" as if it were spelled "Oriestes". He also keeps prefixing the definite article to titles. "The Oresteia" is fine, but "The Othello" or "The Prometheus Bound"? He also makes slips that did not get corrected, such as saying Desdemona is a senator's wife (rather than a senator's daughter), or that Athena is Kronos's daughter (rather than Zeus's). And lastly, whereas everywhere else he sees Biblical connections, here he completely avoids them. He talks about how Agamemnon was told by the gods (whom Fears often refers to as "God" in other lectures) to sacrifice his daughter before sailing to Troy. Fears makes a big point of how Agamemnon did not have to do this; he could have said, "No, this is an immoral act and I will not do it." But he never draws any connection between this and the story of Abraham and Isaac, perhaps because it would put Abraham in the wrong. Mark is even more annoyed at Fears's agenda than I am, I think, but it does give us something to discuss as we drive.

We arrived at Prince Albert National Park and almost immediately saw a unicorn--or at least an elk (or deer?) with one long antler towards the center of its forehead.

Once again, a National Park has a small town in it, with businesses, motels, etc.

The nature interpretive centre defined "boreal": having long snowy winters, short growing seasons, and repeated naturally occurring forest fires. Up until now, we thought it was just another term for "forest".

In North America, the boreal forest has only eight species of trees: jack pine, tamarack, balsam fir, white spruce, black spruce, trembling aspen, balsam poplar, and paper birch. (The boreal forest actually forms a ring around the entire earth at high latitudes.)

We ate lunch at a pizza/burger place in town, and had a "Big Kahuna" pizza, which had (among other ingredients) ham and pineapple. I still do not think pineapple belongs on a pizza.

We were going to walk on the short Mud Creek Trail, but as soon as we got out of the car and started walking, we were attacked by BUGS! Not just bugs, but BUGS! and lots of them. We immediately decided that this was a bad idea. We got back in the car (with about a dozen of them in there with us) and escaped, finally chasing those few out the windows. We could have applied bug spray and tried again, but the ground was very squishy, and the sky still threatening, so we decided to skip the trails. (And it did in fact start raining heavily again.)

So with everything we brought, the one thing I did not bring that we will miss are our insect netting hats. And the really annoying part is that they take no space at all to speak of to pack.

We saw several more elk (or deer--it is hard for me to tell). Before leaving we went back to the village and stopped in the bookstore. As a bookstore it had very little to offer, but it did have a reconstruction of Grey Owl's "Beaver Lodge" (his cabin). Grey Owl lived first at Riding Mountain National Park, but moved to Prince Albert National Park after a couple of years. He was an early conservationist who worked to save the beaver of that area, and an early spokesperson for the Ojibway and other tribes. He wrote several books and was probably the best-known Indian of the time. Oh, and one other small detail: he was English, from Hastings, and his real name was Arthur Belaney. This was not revealed until after he died, and to this day there is controversy about him. Was he a genuine spokesperson for the Native and conservationist movements, or was he a complete fraud? To me it seems as though he chose to re-invent himself, but lived his new life honestly.

More information about Grey Owl can be found at (I have to say that I am distressed to see that many typos in an official website.)

We left the Park around 5PM and drove back to Saskatoon.

The day's listening was "Anna Christie" (L. A. Theaterworks), "The Surprise Symphony" (BBC), and the lectures on the "The Orestia" and "The Bacchae". The Super 8 Motel's television had input jacks and a sleep timer, but seemed to have too low a maximum volume for most of our DVDs. We watched "Spielberg on Spielberg" on TCM, second half first (because it was in progress when we turned on the television, so we watched the rest, then caught the first part on its "encore" three hours later). We also watched a couple of television dramas: "The Bells of Cockaigne" (from "Armstrong Circle Theatre") and "The Wild Bunch" (from Four Star Playhouse, and completely unrelated to the movie of the same name).

Miles driven: 404

July 10, 2007: We called to reserve a motel in Calgary. We had wanted to arrive there Saturday, but the Stampede lasts until Sunday, and so the room rates for Saturday were about twice the usual rates. We decided to do some stuff south of Calgary Saturday and then go to Calgary Sunday.

Mark strained his hand carrying luggage up the stairs in one of the motels and it was bothering him quite a bit. So we went to a drug store to get heat rub and an elastic bandage (which is what he used in England for a similar problem.

Then we drove to Saskatoon to see the Musee Ukrainian. It was closed--this is becoming standard for us. Apparently someone bought the old building and there is just a sign on the other sign of the church saying that that lot is "The Future Home of the Musee Ukrainian".

So we went to the tourism office for suggestions, and ended up at the Western Development Museum. There are actually four separate Western Development Museums throughout Saskatchewan, each devoted to a different theme. This one was "Boomtown 1910", a typical frontier town in the boom times of Saskatchewan settlement.

We spent a lot of time in the drug store, talking to the docent (or whatever he would be called). We talked about the various drugs used over the years, such as pennyroyal as an abortificent. (I noticed that the list of typical fees in the doctor's office listed an "accidental abortion" fee. I assume that is what we would now term a "miscarriage".)

Canada had something very similar to the United States Homestead Act, and also had some very similar restrictive laws regarding their First Nations. The Canadian Peasant Policy (1889-1897) restricted First Nations peoples to using only hand tools, and allowed each family one acre for wheat, less than an acre for other crops, and perhaps a cow or two. After the Resistance of 1885, the Indian Act of 1885 implemented a system of passes and permits. Indians needed a pass to leave the reserve and a permit for just about anything of a commercial nature. It cost more for a permit than the cost of a cow, for example, so there was no point in trying to sell a cow. These laws were enforced into the mid-20th century, even though the pass system had no real legal validity. The Indian Act of 1951 finally enfranchised First Nations people. (One wonders how mixed-race people were considered in terms of voting, etc.)

Displays talked about the various groups that came from Europe to Settle: Doukhobors, Ukranians, Mennonites, and Jews. I do not think a large Jewish population remains on the prairie. The Doukhobors were a Russian sect (I believe) who recognize only bread, salt, and water as religious symbols, and I think Leo Tolstoy was a defender of them against persecution in Russia.

There was a large section on how badly off women were in early Saskatchewan (or indeed throughout Canada). Women got the vote in 1916, but whether this was just in Saskatchewan or throughout Canada was not clear. And there was Prohibition from 1916 to 1924, but again, whether this was just Saskatchewan or Canada-wide was not made clear.

In addition to the town, and the centennial exhibit on western settlement, there was a farm machinery gallery, a gallery of classic cars, some model trains, and an ornithopter.

When traveling across the United States, we discovered that we could eat authentic Mexican food almost everywhere. In Canada we have been eating Asian food, so for dinner we tried a Tex-Mex place, Cactus Jo's. We will be sticking to Asian food in Canada in the future.

Listening was "Odd" (BBC, possibly inspired by the Harlan Ellison story "Wordplay", which appeared on the old "New Twilight Zone"). We watched "Fight for the Title" ("Four-Star Theater" and The Americanization of Emily.

Miles driven: 100

July 11, 2007: Before going our we watched an episode of "Rat Patrol", the short "Crime Does Not Pay #29: Women in Hiding", and Frozen Alive.

Today's activity was Wanuskewin ("wa-new-SKAY-win") Heritage Park, a park dedicated to preserving the Wanuskewin area as a First Nations heritage site.

We decided to start with the Trail of the Peoples while we were fresh and before it got any hotter. We began with the traditional religious ceremony of annointing ourselves with bug spray. (Mark calls it "bug repugnant".) The trail was more of a nature trail, though a couple of heritage sites were marked (e.g., a buffalo jump). The trail itself was not well marked, however, and we found ourselves a bit confused about which path to follow. In some cases, it turned out not to matter too much, as the path would fork and then rejoin. Other times it was important, but luckily we could figure it out from the rather minimal map provided.

The Park, and the displays, emphasize the "living at one with the earth" philosophy that the First Nations supposedly had. It is reasonable in general, and even reasonable as a philosophy that should be more considered today, but is not an accurate description of native history. A buffalo jump is not exactly conservationist.

The film talked about "medicine circles", but then said that no one know what they were used for: ceremonies, astronomy, or what. If no one knows what they were for, why are they called medicine circles?

I think I have narrowed down why I do not find Native American/First Nations cultures as interesting as other cultures. I privilege cultures with a written history, particularly those I might have had ancestors in. Neither of these apply.

One plaque said that in spite of the rivers in the area "strong beliefs kept many Plains people from eating fish." They did not explain these beliefs, but it sounds like a North American version of kashrut or halal.

On the prairie, we did not see any animals. In the trees we saw a lot of insects. But by the stream, we saw yellow canaries and a red-winged blackbird.

At some point, Mark had bought a polyurethane cap, which is great when it is raining, but when it is hot, one sees sweat actually dripping from the cap, instead of being absorbed by the material and then evaporating to cool the wearer.

When we got back from the trail, we went to the cafe and had a slushie and a bison smokie (sausage).

The displays here said that Metis could be half-French or half-Scottish, and were recognized in 1982 as aboriginal peoples. There is also some distinction between Status and Non-Status Indians that I did not follow.

The inside displays were minimal, and the trails also could have had more explanation. I understand that the native people of the area want to maintain the site, but I am not convinced that this is the best way to do this. They want to attract Euro-Canadians (and others), but there is very little to appeal to them compared to either a more complete museum or a more explanatory park. And yes, I understand that sticking a bunch of signs in the park might seem disruptive of nature, but since there were sites with some tipis made with machine stitched cloth (with warning tags still attached), it is not absolutely pristine anyway.

We skipped the "creek dipping" (which seemed aimed mostly at children) and the dances (because they would be outdoors and the weather looked threatening).

After this we decided to investigate the Canadian health-care system. Mark's hand was not any better and was somewhat swollen (though we thought that might be from winding the elastic bandage too tight). We called our insurance company, which said that out of the United States, only emergency room visits were covered, at 90% if it was eventually deemed an emergency, and at 70% if it was not. The woman on the phone said it sounded like an emergency, but that did not really mean anything. If the diagnosis was that it was just a sprain that required more time, then it was not an emergency. A simple doctor's visit was not covered.

Well, we decided to see how much a visit at a drop-in clinic would cost. It turned out to be C$27.90. Our co-pay back home for a doctor's visit is about this (US$25), so we decided to start with that, since it seemed that a visit to an emergency would be considerably higher. The doctor diagnosed tendonitis and prescribed a pain killer and the use of a finger splint.

We took the prescription to the Wal-Mart across the parking lot. We were a bit concerned about the cost of the prescription for fifty pills. It was C$14.67. (And the pharmacist at Wal-Mart was quite diligent about going over how to take the prescription and what the possible side effects might be. In the United States, my experience is that they just hand you the pills and you are on your own, unless you actually ask for more information.) The splints were easy--adhesive tape and a stop at the Dollarama for a package of popsicle/craft sticks.

The other thing we bought at this Wal-Mart were bug net hats (C$1.49 each), which the other stores we tried were out of.

This all reassured us that this was not a major problem. So next was dinner. We asked our GPS for nearby restaurants. It listed Taste of Ukraine, which would be different, and probably authentic (given the large Ukrainian population in the area). However, we will never know, because it was closed (for vacation, I think). We settled on the Red Rock Grill across the street from it, when Mark had fish and chips and I had pan-fried trout. The meal was just okay, though the chips (fries) were very good.

The evening's viewing was Grey Owl and Code 46. Grey Owl is a movie with Pierce Brosnan as Grey Owl which we had seen a few years ago. Our copy was on videotape, so we had not brought it with us. But while we were in Wal-Mart we found it on DVD in the $5 bin--and it includes two commentary tracks and two shorts about Grey Owl from the 1930s. The latter were worthwhile to let us see what Grey Owl actually looked like, although how truthful as documentaries they were is not clear.

(The "$5 bin" seems to be the same in both the United States and Canada, probably because the dollars are so close in value.)

Miles driven: 32

July 12, 2007: We drove from Saskatoon to Brooks, Alberta. The GPS wanted to route us over a lot of secondary (and tertiary) roads several stretches of which AAA indicated were gravel. We decided to follow the map and stick to more major roads, but of course in rural Alberta this is all relative. The roads were paved (mostly), but only two lanes and without a lot of traffic--except of course the two-lane-wide house that we ended up following for several miles. Mostly it was miles and miles--sorry, kilometers and kilometers--of nothing.

When we got to Medicine Hat, we ate lunch at a Vietnamese pho shop, and then continued to Brooks, whose appeal was that it was the town closest to Dinosaur Provincial Park that was also on the Trans-Canada Highway, and hence had several motels, restaurants, etc. We stayed at the Travelodge rather off the highway. I did a laundry, managing to jam the coin slots somehow. (Not my fault, according to the man who ending up trying to fix it.) He did start the machine so I could do my laundry.

Dinner was at Wendy's, there not being a lot of choice even here.

The day's listening was "A Tale of Charles Dickens" (BBC), "Prelude to a Kiss" (Los Angeles Theater Works), "A Dream of Armageddon" (reading of the H. G. Wells story), and "Mike Shayne: The Wandering Fingerprint". The evening's watching was "A Christmas Carol" (a short 1949 version narrated by Vincent Price, "Bang the Drum Slowly" ("U. S. Steel Hour"), and Pan's Labyrinth. The television had front input jacks and a sleep cycle, but the crazy "motel-style" remote made them very difficult (though not impossible) to access.

Miles driven: 373

July 13, 2007: On our way to Dinosaur Provincial Park, we passed a lot of oil pumps. We also saw a herd of Black Angus cattle being driven by a tractor with the help of a border collie, and a mule deer (with big ears, they looked very different from New Jersey deer).

We were now in the Canadian Badlands, which was hot, dry, and somewhat bug-infested. I put my net hat on (though ironically there were more insects in the parking lot than on the trails).

There is a new interpretive centre which has replaced both the old centre and the old Royal Tyrrell Museum Field Station, so a single admission of C$3 gets you in both. The interpretative centre has displays explaining the geology and current flora and fauna of the region, as well as some information about First Nations and the fossil hunters. For example, there are estimated to be a million tipi rings in Alberta alone.

The two major fossil hunters were Charles H. Sternberg and sons (for the Geological Survey of Canada) and Barnum Brown (for the American Museum of Natural History). They started the Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush (1910-1917) (though both were American). The first Canadian dinosaur find was in 1845 on Prince Edward Island. Then George Dawson discovered duckbills in 1874 in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Joseph B. Tyrrell made major discoveries in 1884 along Kneehill Creek. In 1887 Thomas Weston became Canada's first official fossil collector. In 1897 Lawrence Lambe first gave scientific descriptions to fossil finds. But Brown in 1909 and Sternberg in 1911 really got things going.

In a mock-up of Sternberg's camp, a voice is heard asking "How's that Centosaurus skull coming?" Mark's response: "It's giving me real headaches."

The Tyrrell section is a small sample of the sorts of displays that the Museum in Drumheller has: Dromaeosaurii attacking Lambeosaurus, an Albertosaurus as it was found, a Centrosaurus skull. They had a champosaur skeleton, and a small child said to his mother that he had seen a champosaur in Ice Age: The Meltdown. There was also a Chasmosaurus (which has openings in its frill).

"Palaeo Art is a synthesis of scientific interpretation of the fossil record by palaeontologists, in collaboration with artists who specialize in the reconstruction of ancient life. The resulting imagery is an attempt to momentarily 'suspend disbelief' and allow the viewer a glimpse through distant time of the amazing history of life on earth." The paleo artist here was Michael W. Skrepnick. (Charles Knight was the Willis O'Brien of palaeo artists.)

I should say something about hoodoos. These are rock formations caused when a standing column with a harder layer on top of a softer layer is exposed to erosion. The lower layer gets narrower faster, leaving columns in a mushroom-shaped form (or other fantastical shape). These can be found various places--the place we saw them before is Goblin Valley State Park in Utah.

The easiest tour of the Park is the Badlands Bus Tour, which goes through the natural preserve, where only guided tours are allowed. There is also a 2.5-mile driving loop, within and around which are a few trails one can do on one's own. (The interpretive guide called the inner area a "free-scramble" area, which I guess means you do not even need to stay on the trails there.) There are also several guided tours one can sign up for--the Fossil Safari one in the morning is considered quite good, but it is over two hours long and we are looking mostly at shorter hikes these days, especially as the temperature today got up to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. One difficulty is that one really has to sign up in advance for these tours. When we called a week ago, there were still a few slots on a few of the bus tours, but these run every half hour. The most popular hiking tours were already full, partly because each runs only once per day.

In the preserve area, fossils and their locations are protected. (Actually, I think this is true of the entire Park, at least theoretically.) For that matter, flora, fauna, and the entire environment are protected in the preserve. This is a semi-arid environment, which is somewhat fragile anyway, and with 100,000 visitors a year it can be hard on the environment and the visitors both. There is no water or shade away from the riparian area near the visitors centre (which has "shade, water, ice cream--all the things you need to survive," according to our guide).

We passed an ephemeral pond and two mule deer. There are also 165 species of birds in the preserve, and four species of snake (two of garter snake, bull snake, and prairie rattlesnake). All these depend on the cottonwood trees and the riparian (riverside) zone with its annual flood cycle. However, the Red Deer River has not had a regular flood cycle for forty years (because of the Dickson Dam). Not cottonwood is a threatened species in Alberta, and the riparian zone is a threatened zone (this is actually the first reason for Dinosaur Provincial Park's status as a UNESCO World Heritage site).

Geologically, the area has sandstone formed by flowing water, covered by mudstone from sitting water. Water filtering through the sandstone and mudstone creates ironstone.

To be a fossel, something must be greater than 10,000 years old, and must be from something alive (though apparently footprints count).

The guide explained the "touch test" for bones. Lick you finger and press it again a small piece of something. After a couple of seconds, lift it. If the piece comes with it, it is bone (which is porous); if it does not, it is ordinary rock (which is not).

Forty species of dinosaurs have been found in this area. One problem is that hadrosaurs (which are very common) are all the same from the neck down, and skulls are very rare, so they do not always know which hadrosaur bones have come from.

Roy Fowler, the first park ranger, was walking in 1964 when he saw a skull sticking out of a ridge. When he walked to the top, he saw the toes sticking out on the other side! He asked Sternberg to look at it, and it was dug it out, and put in a shed, where we got to see it: corythosaurus, named for Corinthian helmet shape. It even has ossified tendons and skin impressions as well as bones. However, because this was the best preserved corythosaur skull ever found, the one on display is a copy.

There are twenty-one known ceratopsian bone beds in the park.

We also saw a hoodoo formation known as Phred the Camel and His Pyramid. (Mark asked, "Hoodoo you think you're fooling?") This was used on the cover of the application for UNESCO status, and since the meeting that year was in Cairo, it was thought this might have helped.

I have to say that the children on this tour were not very well-behaved. There were two boys who were at least interested in the subject, but kept interrupting the guide. And there were three girls were were completely bored, running around, throwing tantrums, etc. (And of course, none of these were following the rule about not picking stuff up.)

After the two-hour tour, we stopped at the concession stand and had slushies, then drove around the two-and-a-half-mile loop, which had beautiful views, and a few display pavilions of dinosaur finds. We also walked the Trail of the Fossil Hunters, which was a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting that the signs along the trail would be something like "Here was where so-and-so found a hadrosaur skull in 1915," but they were just accounts of the fossil hunters and had nothing to do with the locations. The trail did end at one of bone quarries, but there did not seem to be a sign there.

The centre had environmentally friendly toilets. If you push down on the handle, it uses a minimal amount of water; if you pull up, it does a fuller flush.

When we returned to Brooks, we tried calling a couple of motels in Drumheller, but there was no room at the inn(s), and it sounded as though our other idea (of staying in Fort MacLeod or Cardston) might be a problem as well. We decided to stay another night in Brooks (which luckily was not a problem), and to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum from there.

The reason that the motels in Drumheller are full is a combination of tomorrow being Saturday night (the most popular night for tourist motels), and the Stampede, which one motel said was why there was not a free room between Edmonton and Calgary. While that may be excessive (it is almost two hundred to Edmonton), the fact is that the room in Brooks was much cheaper than a room in Calgary (even at non-Stampede prices), Drumheller was about equidistant from the two, and staying in Brooks meant one fewer motel change. (There is much debate about whether hotels are price-gouging during the Stampede. Rooms that normally cost C$120 are C$200 during the Stampede. The hotels respond that the C$200 is their regular rate, and the lower rates are when there are off-season discounts. Of course, what they are saying is that the off-season lasts 355 days, which is a bit disingenuous.)

Drive-time listening was music from 1950s science fiction movies. (Mark also thought up the idea of movie music for people living in Phoenix, such as music from "The Thing from Another World" and other Arctic movies.

The evening's viewing was in keeping with today's theme: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Godzilla Raids Again, and Jurassic Park, along with "Playmates" ("Pepsi-Cola Playhouse").

Miles driven: 63

July 14, 2007: The Travelodge in Brooks is one of the better places we have stayed (at least for our purposes). For example, we can park right outside our room, which has one door to the parking lot and another to the interior hallway. There is a refrigerator and a microwave in each room, and two bath towels are left for each guest. There is a continental breakfast (smaller than many places, but at least there is milk, juice, cereal, and bread). and a coin laundry. It shares a parking lot with Smitty's, a basic restaurant.

The television could be better, of course (as noted above), and it does not get a wide range of channels. (For that matter, there are not many radio stations either, but there is a clock radio.

One problem is that there is a shortage of people for the Alberta work force, so that service in restaurants is very slow and often lackadaisical. (This does not seem to be the case at the motel.) Apparently people have discovered that they can make more money working up north in the oil fields.

In New Jersey, if you stop at a train crossing, the train will be only five or six cars long. In the Canadian west (and also in the United States west), that is off by at least a factor of ten.

We got lost on the way to the Royal Tyrrell (TEER-ell) Museum (RTM), because for some reason our GPS did not have it in its list of attractions near Drumheller. Now it is true it is six miles outside of town, but even so, I would have expected it to be in the twenty-five closest. (And Midland Provincial Park, in which it resides, was listed, though we did not realize this until later.) So when we had gone several miles on the wrong road, we thought to ask it for directions to Midland Provincial Park. The routing took us to it over some of what is called North Dinosaur Trail, which turned out to be a good thing--but more on that later.

Because we had gotten lost, we entered the Museum grounds from the northwest instead out the southeast, and ended up parked in the overflow lot. Luckily there was a shuttle we could take, which saved us climbing up the stairs uphill.

The RTM costs C$10, with a C$1 discount for CAA/AAA members--and a note on the sign to ask for the discount! Even at full price, it is a terrific deal, particularly when compared with museums in Calgary.

There were four sections which had opened just this year. The first was the Cretaceous Alberta walk-through diorama, which tends to be a traffic blocker, as everyone stops to take pictures of it and of each other in it.

Next was a temporary (traveling) exhibit on Ice Ace mammals and current excavations being done in Strathcona Fiord. One informative display was of a painting made depicting a Pleistocene landscape. The artist first made a sketch based on the scientist's notes and drawing, and then the display showed the scientific corrections made between the sketch and the final painting (e.g. "The beaver should be holding a larch stick (not birch or alder as in your sketch).") There was a mastodon skeleton and Bucky, the Giant Beaver. Mastodons are the earlier form with straight tusks, bigger and bulkier body, a flat back, and no dome on the head. The mammoth has curved tusks, a sloping back, and a domed head, and are closer to elephants.

(At this point my list of what films I should have brought included Ice Age, Unforgiven (partly filmed in Dinosaur Provincial Park), Valley of Gwangi, and Lake Placid).

We watched a video about some of the research being done at the RTM, and also watched some of the staff preparing fossils. A display explained the various types of fossils and fossilization: carbonization, moulds/casts, trace fossils, amber, petrification, replacement, permineralization, and concretion. Another display showed how Eomania scansoria gave rise to the manatee, the bat, the dog, and the human. All have five distal digits, but they appear very different.

A display showed the earth's age as 4.6 billion years, the age of life on earth as 3.9 billion years, and Pangaea Ultima as 250 million years ago. Unfortunately, this display was interactive, but designed in such a way that you cannot learn about the geologic ages without being able to play Tetris, which I do not know--and the buttons did not work in any case. All I could get was that in decreasing length were eon, era, period, epoch, and stage. (In fact, there were several other displays that required game playing or using unexplained push buttons, sliders, or other devices.)

A display on climate change quoted Dr. Wallace S. Broecker as saying, "The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks." Another part explained Beringia (the Bering Land Bridge), as well as the Medieval Warm Period (800-1300), and the Little Ice Age (1300-1850).

A "Behind the Scenes" presentation had "John Acorn, The Nature Nut", who must be a local television character or something. He explained (among other things) that the use of casts (rather than the heavier actual fossils) allows you to mount skeletons in lifelike positions. The RTM has the biggest fossil collection in Canada, and one of the biggest on the world. By number, only a third of them are from dinosaurs, but by weight it would be 90%.

The next hall was another new exhibit, "Lords of the Land" (therapods). This has the first Albertosaurus skull discovered by Tyrrell in 1884. A Tyrannosaurus rex skull is named "Black Beauty" for its color, from magnesium. There is the holotype of Atrociraptor. Other displays are labeled "Fierce Lizard" (gorgosaurus libratus), "Death Pose" (Ornithomimus), "Bird Mimic (another Orinthomimus), "Tyrant Lizard King" (Tyrannosaurs rex, with a discussion whether it was a predator or scavenger), "Running Lizard" (Dromaeosaurus), "Lizard Bird Robber" (Sauronitholestes), and samples of traceways, as well as comparisons of several examples of claws, teeth, and feet.

This area has very well-designed Braille signs, with a bas relief of the exhibit as well as the description. Still, it would seem as though most of the Museum would be lost to the visually impaired. Everything in this hall was displayed as though it was in an art gallery, with well-lit wall cases, gold frames, etc.

The next room had samples of recent acquisitions, including some pseudofossils. Sponges were described as "the tallest animals that ever stood on the bottom of the sea" (being sixteen feet, or five meters, tall). They talked about Fossil burrows; I guess if footprints can be called fossils, so can burrows.

The rest of the RTM is arranged as a walk through time, so I will label my descriptions with the various eras and ages. "MYA" stands for "million years ago".

Paleozoic Era (550-195 MYA), Cambrian Period (550-480 MYA)

This era was the beginning of invertebrate sea life. The display focused on the Burgess Shale. A video with John Acorn talked about it, and a large wall had a list of the life forms found, as well as large drawings of Opabinia, Nectocaris, Marrella, Anomalocaris, Hallucinigenia, and Pikaia (our earliest known relative). The centerpiece, however, was a reconstruction of the era at twelve times actual size. There was a narration identifying each form, but it was almost impossible to hear it because of the large numbers of people coming through who were talking. In some cases they were talking languages other than English, so it might have been a tour getting information from a guide, but if so they should have done this either before or after. And most of it was just people being inconsiderate and deciding that since they did not care about the narration, no one else needed to hear it either. (This includes parents who did not feel the necessity to quite their children.) I find the Burgess Shale particularly fascinating, so this was particularly annoying to me. We stayed through two cycles and did manage to hear most of it.

The room after this had several actual samples from the Burgess Shale, as well as more drawings and explanations. Many of the creatures were so peculiar that it took a while to even begin to understand them. And at first, scientists tried to classify them all in existing phyla. Eventually, they realized this was wrong. They also realized that two animals they had identified were actually two separate of a large animals. And even later, they realized that Hallucinogenia's "struts" were not for locomotion, but were actually defensive spikes and that its flexible appendages were the ones used for locomotion. (You can read all about the Burgess Shale in Stephen Jay Gould's book, Wonderful Life.)

(I re-read Wonderful Life as part of this trip. One reason that Gould is so readable is that he is not a narrowly focused scientist. He can write about the translation of Milton's Paradise Lost for a German opera, and use the poetry of the Bible to illustrate a point: "The sources of [evolutionary] victory are as varied and mysterious as ... the way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid." [Proverbs 30:19; Wonderful Life, page 236]

Ordovician Period (480-439 MYA) and Silurian Period (439-418 MYA)

These eras saw the first fishes, as well as scorpions, millipedes, and centipedes.

Devonian Period (418-354)

The next big exhibit was the Devonian Reef, a large, complex diorama showing the proliferation of sea life from that era. The reef, and the accompanying video, were sponsored by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, because most of the oil comes from that era (and not from the dinosaurs).

I heard one person passing the reef ask, ""Are they real fish?" (I resisted responding, "No, and when you see fleshed-in dinosaurs later, they are not real dinosaurs later either."

We kept hearing announcements over the public announcement system, reminding people of the starts of hikes, etc., but they wer largely useless because the acoustics were so bad. All they did was interfere with what you were trying to hear from a video or explanation.

There was a Dunkleosteus, a giant fish with what looks like giant teeth, but are actually bony plates. And there were some spiders, whose very similar ancestors appeared around now.

The next section was the Carboniferous Era (354-248 MYA), "Life Invades the Land". This is the period of the first land plants, as well as insects and amphibians. This was illustrated by a progressive diorama--as one looks from right to left, one sees the progression from Early Carboniferous to Late Carboniferous. Live specimens of current animals very similar to their Carboniferous ancestors included the beautiful (to us, anyway) Giant Tropical Cockroach.

Permian Era (290-248 MYA)

This era had the first reptiles, mammals, and turtles. The display had various skulls (such as Eryops) and a diorama with dimetrodons. These are perhaps the first prehistoric animals familiar to people, since they show up in such movies as Journey to the Center of the Earth. Of course, since dimetrodons are extinct, what you really see in the movies are lizards with giant fins glued to their backs.

Mesozoic Era (248-60 MYA), Triassic Period (246-206 MYA)

Now we are getting to the heart of the RTM, and certainly what most visitors are coming for. The entrance has ichthyosaurs and other marine forms on one wall and land forms on the other, so as to make at least some distinction between the dinosaurs and the non-dinosaurs. (Most people seem to want to include ichthyosaurs, pteradons, etc., as dinosaurs, but they are not. Dinosaurs probably descended from a thecodont ancestor, and are divided into saurischian and orithischian groups. They are all land animals, and are not lizards. By the way, this also means that when it is said that birds descended from dinosaurs, they do not mean that they descended from flying reptiles. Those were an evolutionary "dead ends."

There was also a case on the coelacanth, which dates back to this time and was thought to be extinct until a fisherman pulled one up in 1938.

Jurassic Period (206-144 MYA)

This is the time of the rise of the sauropods, as illustrated by a giant diorama of a Camarasaurus, an Allosaurus, a Camptosaurus, and some Ornitholestes.

(The dioramas and skeletons are not behind glass, and I heard one parent telling his child, "It's very important that we don't break the dinosaurs so that other people can see them.")

There is a very nice Stegosaurus skeleton. There are also skeletons of crocodiles and alligators from this period.

Cretaceous Period (144-65 MYA)

This is the peak of the dinosaur era, the title "Jurassic Park" notwithstanding. In fact, except for the Stegosaurus, all the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are from the Cretaceous.

One unusual exhibit was the Cretaceous Garden, where one walks through a display of the sorts of plants that existed then, and a few animals somewhat representative of the time. One starts to see flowering plants in this era.

Back in the main area were bird footprints from 130 MYA. They are very similar to dinosaur tracks, and a note said that the first dinosaur footprints discovered in North America were thought to be the tracks of Noah's raven. I love the use of the passive voice here--my question is, by whom were they considered this?!

Another new section was that of the Ceratopsians. These include the psittacosauroids as well as the neoceratopsians (more advanced) and protoceratopsians (the most primitive). Some scientists think that ceratopsians might have sprawled front legs, but few trackways are available to test this theory. The featured skeleton was an Albertaceratops, but there were many others as well, of both types of ceratopsians: centrosaurines (with longer nasal horns, shorter orbital horns, and shorter frills) and chasmosaurines.

I suppose I should say that though I have not listed every skeleton or skull, there are a lot of them.

There was another large section on Lambeosaurus and other hadrosaurs. (The hadrosaur is the state dinosaur of New Jersey, having been first discovered in Haddonfield, New Jersey, so we have a special connection to them.) Hadrosaurs had 1200 teeth; ceratopsians had "only" 600 teeth.

We took a break at 2:30PM to see "Dinosaurs in the Movies" (details at the end of the Museum description) and then had a snack. When we returned to the exhibit at 4PM, we noticed that it had started to empty out. The tour groups and families tend to head back to motels and dinner around then, so it is much easier to see and hear things. If you are going, I would recommend that you plan to stay until after 4PM.

In addition to dinosaurs, there are lots of displays of other Cretaceous animals. There is Quetzalcoatlus, the largest known flying vertebrate, with a wingspan of 36 feet (11 meters), and a weight of 220 pounds (100 kilograms). There was a fossil Basilemys (turtle). There was a darkened room representing an undersea scene with mosasaurs, which are related to monitor lizards. There were skeletons of long-necked and short-necked plesiosaurs. There was a comparison of marine reptiles to marine mammals (for example, dolphin tails move vertically, while that of the ichthyosaurus goes horizontally). This is an example of what is called "convergence".

Marine reptiles include sea turtles (aren't these amphibians?), mosasurs, plesiosaurs, and ichthyosaurs.

The displays are very well designed, by the way. There are even mirrors to let you see the back of skeletons. But the undersea display does not use the fluctuating light I have seen used to such good effect elsewhere to reproduce the way light comes through the water.

By the way, a lot of the skeletons are found with the head arched back; this is from the drying-out of ligaments and muscles along the backbone after death.

Some live creatures illustrated the marine life of the period. The axolotl looks Lovecraftian, or at least alien. The lake sturgeon, on the other hand, looks like a normal fish.

The educator there was saying that a psittacosaur was found with in a nest with thirty-four eggs and juveniles. Since dinosaurs did not lay that many eggs at one time, the theory is that she was probably a nanny.

We talked about the question of warm-blooded versus cold-blooded. The educator said that these terms are rather imprecise. Warm-blooded animals produce their own heat and maintain their body temperature; cold-blooded animals do not. But hummingbirds produce their own heat but let their temperature fluctuate, so insome sense fall between the two. And some animals start out life with a high metabolic rate, then switch to a lower one as they age; this is called "poikilothermic".

The noun form, by the way, seems to be "Albertosaurus" (capitalized), while the adjective form is "albertosaur" (uncapitalized).

Then of course came The Big One, 65 million years ago.

They had a rock sample that showed the K/T Boundary better than any others I had seen. When Chicxulub hit, there were huge extinctions. While 100% of the frogs and salamanders, placental mammals, champosaurs, and sharks, skates, rays survived, only 85% of turtles survived. Only 80% of crocodiles and alligators survived, 60% of the ray-finned fishes, 30% of the lizards, 10% of the marsupial mammals, and none of the non-avian dinosaurs.

Other suggestions for the extinction were discussed. Mammals eating the eggs? But they had 150 million years to do this. Too big and stupid? Unlikely. As part of the extinction event, the sea level dropped, various species migrated, and there were ecological changes that all contributed. In addition to the asteroid, volcanoes contributed to this, and ultimately most animals over 25 kilograms did not survive.

Cenozoic Age (60-0 MYA), Tertiary Period (60-1 MYA), Paleocene Era

The era was when the first non-marsupial mammals appeared. The two basic types of mammals are montremes and placentals. But there are very few monotremes left; basically, placentals won the game. (The only monotremes are in Australia, where they did not have to compete with very many placental mammals. In fact, I think the only native placental mammal in Australia is the bat.)

I would like to see an exhibit showing the different methods of propulsion in water, and which species use them.

This was also the period of the emergence of hardy grasses.

Eocene Era

This was described as when amber appeared, and the first bats. If true, that means that we are not going to find dinosaur DNA in dinosaur blood in mosquitoes in amber.

They had the usual display on the descent of the horse from Hyracotherium (Eocene), Mesohippus (Oligocene), Merychippus (Miocene/Pliocene), and finally Equus (Pliocene/Holocene). I had just been reading Stephen Jay Gould about how this is a rather poor example of evolution, since it implies to many people a directed progression, rather than (for example) the diversification of Darwin's finches. Gould sees the single descendent of the Hyracotherium as an example of failure, not success.

Oligocene Era

This area had ungulates, ruminants, brontotheres, uniatheres, and Mesonyx. Mesonyx was a wolf-like carniverous land-dwellers which led to pakicetus which in turn led to prozeuglodon, which was an ancestor of the modern whale.

Miocene Era

Mammoths, mastodons, gomphotheres, moeritheres--you know the drill.

Pliocene Era

This is the era of protohumans. There was a "Mammoth Steppe" diorama, but also a wall display of early hunting weapons, noting that mammoths now had a new danger.

Pleistocene Era

This era had early humans, but the skeletons were of the ground sloth, the mastodon, the short-faced bear, the giant bison, and the dire wolf. There was a mention of "The Great Extinction" (of North American megafauna) but they did not use the mnemonic of the suggested possibilities: chill, kill, or ill.

Holocene Era

There is the historical period (5000 years ago to the present). They had a modern bison skull in a prairie setting with the note "Now, bones and a few rubbing stones are all that remain of their existence." Well, this is just wrong. The bison are still roaming around, perhaps more in the United States, but some in Canada as well. (In the United States, the largest herd is about 10,000 in Custer State Park in South Dakota, with another herd in Yellowstone, and quite a few ranches raising them for meat as well.)

After we finished the route, it was 6PM and things had quieted down considerably. So we decided to walk the whole route again, and had a chance to hear things we could not hear before, take a few pictures of things that had been too crowded, and so on. We only took an hour this time through.

"Dinosaurs in the Movies" was a slide/video presentation with narration by one of the RTM staff. We spent the time before the presentation trying to identify the pre-show slides, which all turned out to be films in the presentation.

It began with "Gertie the Dinosaur" (1914), which was a cartoon drawn by Winsor McKay, apparently as part of a bet with George McManus that he could bring dinosaurs to life. It was made in the midst of Canadian Dinosaur Rush, which undoubtedly fueled its popularity. However, I do not think that making a cartoon about dinosaurs constitutes "bringing them to life." This was followed by "The Dinosaur and the Missing Link" (1917), done in stop-motion by Willis O'Brien. the narrator claimed this was the "first ever cinematic example of natural selection," because the less intelligent caveman gets killed by the dinosaur.

Then came The Lost World (1925) based on the 1912 novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This had an apatosaurus and an allosaurus, and was a milestone because the dinosaurs were very active, even though conventional wisdom at the time was that the large dinosaurs were very sluggish. This was also the first film to show dinosaurs in a modern city.

King Kong (1933) was, according to the narrator, not just one of the best dinosaur films ever made, or even one of the best special effects films ever made, but one of the best films ever made. (No argument here.) It even has a Canadian connection: Fay Wray was from Alberta. The narrator noted that the apatosaurus comes out of the water and runs, but still drags its tail, and for some reason eats meat. (He also asks the same question I have: if the sailor is trying to avoid a tall dinosaur, why climb a tree the height of the dinosaur's head?)

Then he skipped all the 1950s films to jump to Godzilla vs. King Kong (1963). Godzilla is a cross between a dinosaur and a marine reptile. The film was in many ways the least technologically advanced of all of these films: up until 2000 Godzilla was always a man in a suit. (Mark observed to me that one can identify which Godzilla movie it is by Godzilla's dentition and ears, or lack thereof.)

The Valley of Gwangi (1969) combines dinosaurs and cowboys; the narrator described it as "an extreme version of the Calgary Stampede." The special effects were stop motion, done by Ray Harryhausen. From a scientific point of view, the narrator noted that the therapod's tail still rests on the ground.

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970) has different dinosaurs than those we had been seeing in earlier movies. For example, it featured a chasmosaurus. It was also the first dinosaur film to be nominated for best visual effects. It does have cavemen and dinosaurs together, though. This was done as stop motion by Jim Danforth. The narrator claimed it was a sequel to One Million Years B.C. but Mark was skeptical of this.

The Land Before Time (1988) was a cartoon that we did not remember very well. For a scientific viewpoint, it was notable in that it showed a dinosaur family group and nests.

Jurassic Park (1993) was probably the only one a lot of people knew ell. It used digital animation. Unfortunately, according to the narrator, DNA decays after 10,000 years, so the method used to bring back dinosaurs shown in the movie would not work. (But how does he know this is always true?)

Walking with Dinosaurs (2000) was a BBC television production using both digital animation and full-scale puppets. In the interests of scientific accuracy, it had no humans, and it tried to portray dinosaurs as dinosaurs, not some anthropomorphized, cute, or even mammalian animals. It used the new posture scientists had come up with for Tyrannosaurus rex. It also had an Edmontosaurus and and Ankylosaurus.

Chased by Dinosaurs (2003) was a sequel to Walking with Dinosaurs. However, it added a time-traveling scientist to add a human interest. It did try to keep up with the latest discoveries, and featured Mononichu, a feathered dinosaur based on the Chinese discoveries.

There was not much new on the movies included, though the comments on scientific accuracy were something we do not often hear.

After this, we left and drove a kilometer north to see The Little Church. This claims it can seat 10,000 people, but only six at a time. There was a history of the church. It seems to have been built by prisoners from a nearby facility, and it was claimed that it was not built as a tourist attraction, but as a place for meditation and prayer. I would have an easier time believing this were it not positioned just a kilometer away from the RTM, on the Dinosaur Trail.

We ate dinner at Sizzling House in Drumheller, because we would not get back to Brooks until 9:30PM or so, and the choices in Brooks were pretty limited in any case. It was pretty good Chinese food, and it does seem as though the service in Asian restaurants is better than in others, possibly because so many of them are family operations that the work shortage has not hit them.

On the way back we saw a lot of magpies around the fields. The drive-time listening was "The Silent Scream" (BBC).

Miles driven: 217

July 15, 2007: We drove around Calgary a bit trying to find parking for the Glenbow Museum. Everything near it was fairly expensive, but luckily we decided to go to the Tourism Office about four blocks away and ask about parking, etc. Well, it turned out that the office was closed on weekends (!), but it was on the other side of the railroad tracks, and street parking was free on Sundays, and available.

The admission for the Museum was C$14. The ticket seller said he could remember when it was C$2 (twenty years ago). There was no AAA discount because, he said, AAA never put the correct information in the books. I have certainly found this to be true this year, both on this trip and on our earlier one to Washington and Oregon. The admission prices are frequently from a year or more ago, the dates and hours are often wrong, and the motel rates seem to bear little resemblance to current rates. (However, sometimes the motel rates are actually lower than what is listed, so at least occasionally it works in our favor.)

We began with "Treasures of the Mineral World", divided chemically (rather than geographically) into native elements; sulfides and sulphosalts; oxides and halides; carbonates; nitrates, iodates, borates, and sulphates; sulphates, phosphates, and arsenates; phosphates, arsenates, chromates, and vandates; molybdates and tungstates; and silcates. Most minerals were labeled with their chemical names, though they did note that silicon dioxide was quartz. They explained fluorescence versus luminescence. Fluorescence is shining only while in ultraviolet light, while luminescence retains the energy and continues for a while afterwards.

Oxides and halides included minium, and Mark and I looked at it and simultaneously said, "And if you make it with potatoes...." ("Aloo" is the Hindi word for potatoes.)

They also had fossilized tree sections and ammolite--Canada's official gemstone. Ammolite is the mineralized remains of a Late Cretaceous fossil, Ammonite Planceniceras, found only in southern Alberta (at least in this fossilized form). They also noted that complete fossils are not destroyed to form gemstones; only partial fossils are used. There were also precious and ornamental stone carvings. Jade is apparently not a single stone, but is either nephrite (calcium aluminum silicate) or jadesite (sodium aluminum silicate). And they had gem crystals.

"Where Symbols Meet: A Celebration of West African Achievement" talked (not surprisingly) about symbols: birds, frog (fertility), spiders (wisdom), crocodiles (messengers), turtles (trickster), horse and rider (strength and authority), leopard (power and leadership). It observed that masks had exaggerated physical features, and asked whether they should be considered art or historical objects. "The mask and the costume contain the spirit, and the dancer is only the carrier." It described Africanized Christianity and the role of diviners. There was the usual collection of stools, thrones, drums, and masks.

"[Dogon] meeting houses are deliberately constructed with low roofs to ensure that everyone remains seated."

There were supposed to be additional cards of explanation, but most of them were missing.

The display distinguished among traditional, transitional, and contemporary art, but then added urban art as a fourth category. (Well, I suppose it could be considered a subset of contemporary art.)

The display was filled with folk sayings, such as "Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse."

Another exhibit was "Warriors: A Global Journey Through Five Centuries". It began with the statement "Warrior classes developed in complex societies in which a small elite controlled all of the resources." The first section was "The Warrior in Society" about the citizen soldier vs. the professional, the commoner vs. the knight, the volunteer, and the samurai vs. the daimyo. "The Way of the Warrior" covered training, uniforms, discipline, flags, music--all of which were used for identification, hierarchy, and bonding. It asked the question "what makes a warrior?" but Mark noted that it did not answer it.

"The Castle" had several typical castle settings, and said of a squire, "When he completed his training at the age of twenty-one, a squire was not only a capable warrior, but a cultured gentleman as well." Well, that is one view, but he was all ready to go out and kill the infidel in all sorts of brutal ways in the Crusades. Even the Museum realized this, and later had a sign saying, "Despite the chivalric ideal, many knights were little better than brigands and mercenaries."

"Body and Spiritual Armour" said that the average weight of 15th/16th Century armor was between thirty and fifty pounds, which is less than the weight of a World War I doughboy's kit. Knights never needed cranes to lift them on to their horses. In fact, part of the training was to learn to mount a horse without even using the stirrup. (I think the whole crane myth may have come from Henry VIII, wo was very overweight, and not a knight either.)

They had a 20th century steel-covered Bible that the military said could protect both the body and the soul.

"Technology & Tactics" had large models of the Battle of Crecy (1346), the Battle of Waterloo (1815), and the Charge of the Light Brigade (1854). A small section on "Women as Combatants" had Jeanne d'Arc, Molly Pitcher, Minnie Hollow Wood, and Flora Sandes, as well as woman fighters from Bosnia, El Salvador, Polish, and Dahomey.

The final section, "Reflections" had a 1933 quote from General George S. Patton saying, "Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men." Well, I am not sure that with nuclear and biological weapons this is true anymore.

"Stop--Look--Listen: Finding the Meaning in Art" was one of those exhibits of contemporary art that does nothing for me.

There was a major new section on "Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta". This was divided into Exploration & Fur, Uninvited Guests, Mounties, Building the Railway, War and the Home Front, Newcomers, Oil & Gas, Ranching, Politics, and Post Haste. They were testing a new audio guide system, so people got to try it for free. You entered the number on the exhibit case, and you got an audio description, sometimes also with photographs or video. It certainly made the exhibit more informative.

In the "Newcomers" sections were dozens of photographs taken by the Gushals, of immigrants and daily life in Alberta. We also talked for a long time to the wife of petroleum geologist who had lived a lot of different places because of that. The "Ranching" section talked about Tom Three Persons, who broke Cyclone (a horse that had thrown 129 riders before him). There were old posters from earlier Stampedes. In 1923, railroads offered reduced passenger rates for the Stampede--a far cry from today's practices.

We skipped the "Nitsitapii: Our Way of Life" display about the Blackfeet, as being too much like other ones we had seen.

We then had to rush through the Asian art. There was apparently an audio guide to go with it, but the woman who gave us the guides for "Newcomers" said that the regular audio guides do not really say much about each piece that is not on the signs.

And just when we thought we were done, we discovered a temporary exhibit, "A Joyful Harvest", about the history of Jews in Alberta. Most of the display was text, and not very interesting, but I still wish we had known about it sooner so we could have made more time for it.

One set of statistics: In 1841, there were 154 Jews in Canada. In 1881, there were 2443. In 1911, there were 75,000.

This evening's watching was the commentary on Gigantis the Fire Monster.

Miles driven: 234

July 16, 2007: We were thinking of walking around downtown Calgary a bit, but parking was outrageously expensive, (and driving around miserable because of all the construction and one-way streets). Eventually we drove out to the Inglewood area, a small area of trendy shops. They did not interest us, but we did stop at the main branch of Fair's Fair (for Book Lovers). This is a very large used book store, but what we discovered was that used books in Canada were expensive. Books that were US$6.99 new were marked C$4.50. Wordsworth Classics that sell for US$3.99 back home were C$4 here. A hardback book club edition was C$10; a non-book-club hardback was C$18. This turned out to be partly because new books were expensive as well. In a Chapters later we saw that books that were US$7.99 were C$11.99 here, and Dover Thrift Editions (which are certainly US$3 or less) or C$4.99.

I did find a book of essays about Sherlock Holmes that I did not already have and that was reasonably priced, so I treated myself to it.

One difference between Canadian used bookstores and United States one (and for that matter between the new bookstores as well) is that Canadian stores often have an erotica section (and not behind a curtain somewhere). Chapters had one; the equivalent in the United States would be to find one in a Borders.

We then drove to the Chinook Centre (fairly near our motel). This is decorated with some fascinating Russell Zeid sculptures, at least as interesting as some museum exhibits.

We had a snack of ginger beef and then a cinnamon bun in the food court. I got a cup of Tim Horton coffee and commented that this was almost like being at the Toronto International Film Festival: I was sitting in a mall drinking Tim Horton coffee and waiting for a movie to start. In this case it was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which we decided to see in IMAX 3-D. (At C$11.95 for a regular ticket and C$15.95 for IMAX, one might as well, plus IMAX is a Canadian invention.) The movie was good, and the 3-D well done (they concentrated on depth rather than things jumping out of the screen at you). Mark will provide a full review.

This evening's watching was "Doctor Who: Daleks in Manhattan", which turned out to be the first half of a two-parter. We gave up on "I Beheld His Glory" (from "Family Theatre").

Miles driven: 16

July 17, 2007: We decided to see the Calgary Zoo and Prehistoric Garden. The admission was C$19.80, but we used a two-for-one coupon. Everything seems so expensive here. (Actually, since parking is included, it might be considered a bargain--but not by me.)

The Zoo opened at 9AM, but the kiosks, and some of exhibits were not open at 9 (e.g., Eurasian Marsh, Elephant Crossing). We did get to see the tiger cub that was only a few months old. And we saw a Red Panda, which is either a bear or raccoon, but scientists cannot agree which.

They had a model from the original "Dinosaur Park": Dinny, the largest dinosaur model ever constructed, built in 1937. (They had built eighteen models, and by 1956 thirty-two more, which had been reorganized by chronology.) Dinny is not quite a brontosaurus (which would have an apatosaurus body and a camarasaurus head).

The Andean condor was eating a dead sparrow right by the front of the enclosure. In United States zoos they would probably put the carrion further back in the area so as not to gross out the visitors.

We also saw very pink flamingos, peacocks, and gulls. The latter were just taking advantage of all the amenities provided to the actual zoo residents.

We returned to Elephant Crossing for the presentation. They claim the new exhibit is open, but it is not done, and so the elephants had to stay inside while they spray-painted part of the building.

The elephant presentation did not include elephants for most of it, because there was some group getting a tour of the compound and the elephants could not be let out for most of the time. We learned about Spike, the elephant with capped tusks (whom we did get to see). According to the Guinness Book of World Records, his are the largest dental caps ever.

The wrinkles in an elephant's skin are a side-effect of square-cube law: they are an attempt to provide more surface area to dissipate internal heat.

Only ten percent of Asian elephants in the wild have tusks because poachers have killed the tusked males, leaving mostly untusked ones to reproduce.

Elephants need a very strong enclosure. This was built when Spike was moved from Miami after Hurricane Andrew. He weighed 12,000 pounds so was very difficult. For examples, the truck carrying him could not go over some smaller bridges, or under some low bridges or power lines.

The presenter showed some of the paintings done by one of the other elephants. She said that elephants draw in the wild, and also that the sale of these paintings helped pay for the new elephant building.

Elephants have only four teeth, but they get six sets of them. The length of their life is determined by the teeth; when the last set falls out, they die of starvation.

Elephants are one of the few animals that self-recognize (the others are apes and dolphins). They have determined this by putting a dab of something on an elephant's forehead and putting it in front of a mirror. The elephant will wipe the dab off of themselves. It will then use the mirror to see its sides or ears or other parts of its body.

African elephants have five toenails on their front feet, while Asian have only four. (Oh, and elephants are the only animals with four knees.)

Elephants are also very intelligent. In Asia, they use elephants for work. At night, they cannot pen the elephants up very well, so they let them roam free and graze, then recall them in the morning. They do not want them in their fields though, so they put elephant bells on them so they can hear them. This works most of the time, but at least one village discovered that the elephants were stuffing the bells with mud to prevent them clanging, then rinsing the mud out in the morning before returning so they did not get found out!

A statue of Ganesha in front had a description that (accurately) says that Ganesha only possesses one tusk, but the sculpture has two.

The zoo was quiet at first, but by 10:30AM was very noisy.

The presentation on bears explained that grizzlies (brown bears) climb with the pads of their paws and have a dish-shaped profile, long claws for digging, and a hump on back. Black bears have short claws for climbing, a flat profile, and no hump. The Kermody bear is a black bear, and polar bears and grizzly bears can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Bears are described as carnivores (along with cats, dogs, and weasels), but will eat plants as well. They have teeth, not fangs (fangs are hollow teeth attached to a poison sac), and carnasial teeth as molars which act as scissors. The woman described the Banff Wildlife Crossings (overpasses), which were built to help the wildlife there avoid getting hit by cars on the Trans-Canada Highway (and which we did later see).

In regard to zoos, the woman said that cats are wired to eat and sleep, and need very little space if they are fed. But bears are wired to eat and search, so they need more space and enrichment even if they are fed. In particular, extra smells are good, so handlers can wear perfume, etc.

The gorilla presentation talked mostly about mating habits. Gorilla females choose the males, and when young males mature, they must leave (for other zoos) since there are no suitable mates for them, because females won't mate with familiar males. If an old male dies, and a new one is moved in, though, the females may not like him. There is something called the Species Survival Plan, sort of like an on-line dating service for gorillas. Zoos generally try to keep the animals in same country for paperwork reasons. For some unknown reason, most babies born in captivity are male, which is not as good for species growth as vice versa.

Gorillas are very smart, and easily trained. For example, they have learned to clap after this presentation because they have seen the audience clapping! They see people wearing hats, sunglasses, and cameras, and they will try to take them away and wear them themselves. We are watching the gorillas, but the gorillas are watching us.

At the current rate, gorillas will be extinct in the wild by 2025. And the number one killer of gorillas is cell phones. Cell phones require a coltan chip, and coltan is found only in Australia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the mining in the latter is resulting in the destruction of their habitat. In addition, new roads have made poaching easier, and because the miners are underpaid, to make enough money they sell bush meat. All phones made after 2003 are certified "gorilla-safe" (similar to "dolphin-safe" tuna), and there is a program to recycle the coltan in phones (Eco-Cell). (I am not sure what constitutes "gorilla-safe"; even if the mining companies are careful, the miners will still try to supplement their income. And if all the new phones are gorilla-safe, how does the recycling help the gorillas?)

The Zoo does not sugar-coat death. The food left for raptors includes recognizable male chicks, and the staff talk about how gorillas kill young males, bush meat, elephant deaths, etc.

All this travel through the Great Plains and we finally saw a bison. And it was a wood bison rather than a plains bison.

The final section was "Prehistoric Garden", which has life-sized dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals in a (somewhat) Mesozoic setting. I say somewhat, because obviously all the trees, shrubs, and other plants are modern, and the setting is in part the sort of Badlands area where dinosaur bones are now found, even though they did not look like Badlands then.

Dinner, after getting stuck in traffic, was at Tokyo Garden. Sushi is one thing that is cheaper in Canada, even in Calgary.

This evening, we watched the producer commentary on Grey Owl.

Miles driven: 19

July 18, 2007: The day started rainy and rained most of the way from Calgary to Banff. But as we got close, a few things happened. One, it stopped raining. Two, the sun came out. And three, we drove around a curve and WHAM! there were the Rockies. It is not clear how such massive mountains managed to hide so well. (Mark says that the low-lying clouds covered them until we hit a clear spot.)

We were going to be staying in Banff, but drove past there to Yoho National Park (which is actually in British Columbia). Here in 1886, "stone bugs" were discovered in the Mt. Stephen Trilobite Bed. Then in 1907 and 1912 Charles Walcott discovered the strange creatures of the Burgess Shale. (I described these in my write-up of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, so I will not repeat it here.) There have also been follow-up expeditions since then.

The interpretive centre had some samples from the Burgess Shale with explanations. The gift shop even had a wide selection of books about the Burgess Shale and Permian life, though only one postcard (and that of a fairly ordinary trilobite).

After this, we drove along the glacier-fed Kicking Horse River. We saw the natural bridge, which the explanatory panel said had been a waterfall. But when? Fifty years ago, or fifty thousand? Driving further, through a couple of switchbacks that actually required three-point turns, we saw the Takkakaw Falls (or possibly the Takakkaw Falls, since some signs had one spelling and some the other). This is 833 feet (254 meters) high; a fifth of a mile (350 meters) back from it is the Daly Glacier, part of the Waputik Icefield. The falls themselves actually freeze during the winter, in part because the heavy flow that makes them so dramatic now slows to a trickle by fall. (Is Takkakaw Falls singular or plural? I guess there are a couple of stages on the way down, so they are plural.)

On the way back, we stopped at the "Meeting of the Waters", where the Yoho River (milky from the silt) and the Kicking Horse (clear at this point). After they join, the milkiness of the Yoho predominates. According to our GPS, we were at 1400 feet, while the sign said 1366.

We also saw the Spiral Tunnels, or rather the openings to them. These were "figure 8" tunnels built into the mountains to allow the trains to have a much gentler grade to descend.

We are staying at Irwin's Mountain Inn. This is one of the cheaper places in Banff, at about C$170 per night (C$190 including taxes). There may be cheaper places, but they may also be more spartan than we want, and are also hard to find from a continent away. We might have been able to find something cheaper when we got here--there are a fair number of vacancy signs out--but gambling on finding four nights in Banff in July did not seem wise. The motels in Detroit, Banff, and Hinton (Jasper) are the only ones we reserved before leaving, though some others we did a day or two in advance as our plans firmed up. I really prefer just driving somewhere and getting a motel on the spot--you can tell the neighborhood and upkeep a lot better that way, and your plans can be more flexible.

Our room is quite nice, with refrigerator, microwave, kitchen sink, coffee maker, table with two chairs, desk and chair, and expanded cable, input jacks, and a sleep timer on the television. The downside is that the air conditioning is not very strong, and was having problems cooling the room down from the unseasonably warm weather. (Leaving the balcony door open overnight solved this. Oh, yes, we have a balcony with a view of some mountains. But then, there are mountains no matter which way you look from Banff.)

And everything is expensive. Laundry is C$2.50 per load (as compared to C$1 in Winnipeg). There is a computer in the lobby, but it is not free; it is C$2 for 10 minutes (even the mall nearby gives you 15 minutes for C$2). I suppose that is to be expected in a resort-tourist destination. A lot of people who really want to save money probably use the campgrounds rather than the hotels, and even in the hotels, the kitchen facilities mean you can save some money that way. (Most restaurants charge about twice what we pay back home.)

We did find a real bargain for dinner (courtesy of our GPS, not the AAA book): the Old Spaghetti Factory. (This is a Canadian chain, so it was even local in some sense.) Their pasta prices seem a little high until you realize that they include soup or salad, garlic bread, dessert, and coffee or tea. Then they seem like bargains. Our dinner (including a glass of wine for me) came to about C$30 including tax and tip.

(Oh, speaking of tax, about three months ago Canada discontinued the GST rebate program. We used to get back about C$150 after the Toronto International Film Festival, mostly on accommodations, and probably would have gotten that this trip as well. Now they have some program to rebate tour packages and conferences, which does not help us at all. Bleh! With the stronger Canadian dollar, more expensive gasoline, and this non-rebate, this trip is more expensive than it would have been even a couple of years ago.)

The main street of the town of Banff, I should note, is a mess. They decided that this was the year to replace the hundred-year old pipes, so the entire five-block downtown stretch of Banff Avenue has been dug up, and the dry air means the dust and grit get blown around. Driving through town involves detours, and even walking around is a problem. They say they are doing this so that we can enjoy our next visit more. Well, I am sure there are people who come here more than once, but we will probably not be among them. (It is, however, slightly more likely than our returning to the airport at Guayaquil, while was also under renovation while we were there in 1986 "to serve us better.")

We finally finished an episode of "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again" that we started a few days ago, and also "The Heidi Chronicles" (L. A. Theaterworks). We watched the commentary on Pan's Labyrinth.

Miles driven: 216

July 19, 2007:: There had been thunderstorms overnight, but they cleared up as we drove along the Bow Valley Parkway. Even so, it was raining on and off. We saw some elk along the side of the road; they did not seem to be bothered by the rain.

We were thinking of walking on the Johnston Canyon Trail to Johnston Falls (1.4 miles, or 2.2 kilometers) but what with the rain we decided not to. Instead we drove past Castle Mountain to Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. This is a beautiful lake in a semi-circle of ten peaks. It is also the home of some pretty civilized Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels; one kept darting into the gift shop to see if he could find any food.

One of the things they were selling in the shop were bags of coffee. They looked large, like they might hold 350 grams, but only held 100 grams. Part of why they looked large was that the high altitude made them puff up, because the air pressure inside was greater than that outside.

We then drove to Lake Louise itself. There was a bit of a line to get into the parking lot, because here was where many people bought their Park passes. The lake itself is beautiful, with towering peaks topped by glaciers on the far side. (Of course, the glaciers are not what they used to be.)

(By the way, while for most National Parks you buy a one-day pass for that Park, or an annual pass for that Park, or an annual pass for all the Parks. But for the four contiguous Rocky Mountain Parks, a one-day pass covers all of them. (Supposedly, it is also good until 4PM the following day, making it a sort of two-day pass, but that is mostly to accommodate overnight campers and such.)

A lot of movies were filmed here. Sometimes the landscape stood in for Switzerland or other Alpine areas, but some movies actually took place at Lake Louise. The one that comes to mind for us if Springtime in the Rockies, which we saw a while ago as part of the "Silver Screen Classics" at a theater near us. (The first matinee the first Monday of each month, you get a movie, a small beverage, a small popcorn, and a large chocolate chip cookie, all for a dollar!) The film had Betty Grable and John Payne in the leads, but we remember it best for Carmen Miranda and Edward Everett Horton.

We decided to use the time we had left to drive through Kootenay National Park, sort of the poor step-sister of the four contiguous parks (Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho). It has only two real points of interest: the Paint Pots (bubbling minerals pools similar to what one finds in Yellowstone, only here fewer in number and requiring a fair hike), and the Radium Hot Springs. The latter might have been interesting had they not turned them into ordinary looking swimming pools and built a whole centre around them with massage, spa, etc.--and requiring admission, of course. One thing about the Canadian Rockies is that there is a lot of commercialization. Some of it no doubt pre-dates the Parks formation and was grandfathered in, but it also seems as though Canadian Parks is less worried about (for example) a company running boat tours on Lake Minnewanka than the National Park Service in the United States would be. I suppose the real difference is that in the United States, the NPS would be running the tours, while in Canada CP just out-sources it.

We passed some long-horned sheep by the side of the road on the way. By the time we got to the town of Radium Hot Springs, we had gone over two hundred miles since our last fill-up, yet the gas gauge still read half full. I decided it must be broken, so we filled up. No, it was not broken--we had gotten about forty miles to the gallon on our last tank. (This was almost exactly what had happened to me one time forty years ago in my family's old Volkswagen, and it was forty miles per gallon then as well.)

Radium Hot Springs is called that, by the way, because there are traces of radium in it. At least that is what the ranger said. I wonder if it was named that back in the early 20th century when everyone liked radioactivity, and shoe stores took X-rays of your feet, because the owners/managers thought that would drum up business.

We read a plaque explaining how the pine beetles are killing the lodgepole pines, and have been doing so since 1983. The one that were recently killed still have brown (reddish) needles, but when they fall off all that is left is a bare trunk. I got the impression that regular forest fires might have kept this in check, but until very recently National Parks on either side of the border would try to put out even naturally started fires as soon as possible. It has only been after several disastrous fires that they realized that letting the dead trees accumulate longer meant that the fires would be much larger, more destructive, and harder to contain.

We returned to Banff and tried several places recommended by AAA. But all of them were much more expensive than AAA listed (out-dated again!). We are trying not to be cheapies, but paying more than C$10 for a burger still seems unreasonable. We eventually settled on a hole-in-the-wall called Barpa Bill's, where a lamb donner ("lamb donair") or lamb souvlaki on pita was only C$6 and sodas (pop here) were C$1.50. And they were tasty.

We listened to lectures on Plato's "Phaedo" and The Divine Comedy, as well as a reading of C. L. Moore's "Shambleau". We watched the 1998 version of Mighty Joe Young and My Favorite Wife on television. Mark noted that the former got the "let's play" expression right for gorillas: wide eyes and mouth open with lips covering the teeth.

Miles driven: 219

July 20, 2007: The morning was clear, so we drove back to Johnston Canyon and walked to the Lower Falls. (I guess "Falls" is used even if it is a single drop.) This was three-quarters of a mile (1.1 kilometers) each way, along paved path and (very sturdy) catwalk. The catwalk was solid concrete planks on a framework of steel girders fastened into the mountain. The river seemed noisy until we got to the Falls, but the Falls completely drowned everything out. There was a catwalk across the river so we could go into a small tunnel that opened up in the cliff face right next to the Falls. It was amazing! The Falls were probably only about thirty feet high, but the volume and speed made up for it.

We did not walk up to the Upper Falls--too much hiking, and in particular too much climbing. (The Lower Falls involved some climbing, but not very much.)

When we were walking, we were bothered by bugs (mosquitoes) even though we sprayed ourselves. So we put on the mosquito nets. The people passing us had two different reactions. Some thought it strange because they had not noticed any mosquitoes. Others said they wished they had had something like them.

On Bow Valley Parkway on the way back, we passed some more longhorn sheep by the side of the road.

We then drove up Mount Norquay, which is just across the Trans-Canada Highway from the town of Banff. This is a ski area in winter; in the summer one drives up the switchbacks to see the view of the town of Banff and its setting. (It is very confusing having the town and the entire Park have the same name.) There was a woman there painting the scene. There were also ground squirrels (or prairie dogs), and a noisy crow.

After this, we drove to Lake Minnewanka, which has been artificially raised twice (16 feet in 1912, and 65 feet in 1941) covering the old village at Minnewanka Landing, which "preserved underwater" and can be seen on the glass-bottom boat tours. The lake is one of the reservoirs for Calgary's water, and so other people at the view point were surprised that they now allowed boats besides the glass-bottom boats. (Of course, those might have been registered naturalists or something.)

Across the lake were two mountains which were completely deforested. They had been covered with lodgepole pines, but were now entirely covered with dead pine trunks.

We drove past the Vermilion Lakes, creatively named Vermilion Lake One, Vermilion Lake Two, and Vermilion Lake Three. We decided not to walk the wetlands trail, because we suspected a surfeit of mosquitoes.

We then went to return a few soft drink bottles. In Saskatchewan and Alberta there is a deposit on soda (pop) bottles. But unlike in the United States, in Canada you cannot return the bottles to the store. You need to return them to a bottle depot. I think each town or city has one. In a town as small as Banff, it is not very far away, but for people who live in Calgary, the bottle depot for them could be quite a ways away. And it is not just plastic pop bottles and aluminum cans, but apparently glass wine and liquor bottles as well, and those can be heavy. Anyway, I thought I would be getting 65 cents (20 cents for the 2-liter bottle and 10 cents each for the smaller ones), but it turns out that while the Saskatchewan deposit on small bottles is 10 cents, in Alberta it is only 5 cents.

There are recycling bins around for people who want to recycle, but do not want to drive to the depot. But there is no "curbside recycling" (home pickup), making it a nuisance for some people. For all the stuff in museums (and motel rooms) about saving the environment, the government does not seem to be doing much to encourage it. (I will probably just recycle the few bottles we have left, but I was curious about the bottle depot. And they were probably curious about me. Most people bring in cases of bottles and cans, not a plastic bag with five bottles.)

In New Jersy, there is no deposit, but there is curbside recycling. In Massachusetts, there is a deposit, and the supermarkets have giant machines that you feed the bottles or cans into, and they crunch them up and give you a voucher for the total which you can redeem inside. (Theoretically, of course, nothing prevents one from bringing bottles and cans from non-deposit states into Massachusetts and getting the deposit amount for them.)

I should add that while on this trip we have acquired a lottle of plastic grocery bags. At home I use a couple of re-usable canvas bags, but they are currently our food bags for the trip. At least we will recycle the plastic bags instead of throwing them out.

The motels seem to have adopted the environmentally sounder (and also cheaper) policy of not changing the linens every day and only changing towels when requested. Irwin's has also changed from individual soaps and shampoos to a dispenser for each on the shower wall and near the sink. They say it is to save the environment, but I am sure it is cheaper for them as well, especially since people cannot take soap or shampoo with them.

And while we are talking about the environment, it turns out that the gasoline needs to carry two people a mile in our car is just about equal to the amount of fuel needed to carry two people a mile in an airplane. So driving is no less economical fuel-wise than flying. (Of course, one can argue that doing neither is better than either.)

We walked along the Hoodoo Trail overlooking the town of Banff and the Bow River. This had a nice view of the river and some islands in it, but the hoodoos amounted to four strange-looking pillars--certainly a few steps down from the sort of things one sees in Dinosaur Provincial Park and the surrounding area. Hoodoos are called "fées" (fairies) in French. (And Texas gates--those grated sections of road designed to keep cattle out--are "pasages a rouleaux", even though the cylinders do not actually roll.)

We drove past the historic Banff Springs Hotel, an 11-storey "castle." We had planned to walk around inside, but parking anywhere near it was pretty much impossible. So we drove on to Bow Falls, a very shallow falls (almost a rapids--is there some definition as to when something is steep enough to be a falls or shallow enough to be a rapids?). It is, in fact, shallow enough that at some point today, two people went over it in a canoe and survived. It was not when we were there, though.

We sat there for a while working on our logs. A Mountie in full (red) dress uniform showed up, and just about everyone there posed for pictures with him. I asked if that was why he was there, and he said yes, pretty much. He was there primarily in a public relations capacity; Mounties do not wear full dress uniform when doing general law enforcement.

We went back to town and got a quick snack at McDonalds. They do not have a "Dollar Menu" in Canada, but in Banff they do not have even the "Value Picks Menu". The only way to get just a hamburger is as part of a "Happy Meal"; the smallest stand-alone burger is the "Quarter Pounder with Cheese"--and this in a metric country (though I should note that produce still seems to be sold be the pound in a lot of places).

Walking back to the car, we stopped in Sgt. Preston's Outpost, which sold RCMP stuff. This was a bit of synchronicity, because the plan for the evening was to watch "Cereal Thriller". This is a Canadian documentary about the "Big Inch" promotion by Quaker cereals, where they gave away in cereal boxes deeds to one square inch of land in the Yukon Territory. Quaker Cereals was the sponsor of "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon". Mark was one of the people interviewed by the filmmakers for this, and while his footage was not used, he was listed in the end credits as assisting them. (The filmmakers had discovered his article "Free Inside" about cereal and other give-aways when they searched the Internet. It can be found at

We listened to a dramatization of "The Servant" by Stanislaw Lem (from the L. A. Theater of the Ear), and watched I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang and "Cereal Thriller".

Miles driven: 73

July 21, 2007: There were lots more "No vacancy" signs for Saturday night, though not everyplace.

It continued to rain as we left Banff and headed up the Icefield Parkway, the highway connecting Banff and Jasper. This is a scenic route, and also has many points of interest along the way for stopping and seeing, or even hiking. It can be driven in a day, so theoretically we could have left Banff and driven all the way to Jasper, staying one fewer night in Banff. However, we had already booked our hotels and could not change them, and spreading it over two days gives us a chance to be more leisurely, and to see a lot of it from two different directions--which does make a difference.

There was a line at the entrance. People can drive the Trans-Canada Highway through Banff without paying for a Park pass, but they need to buy one to drive north on the Icefield Parkway, so they buy them here. With our annual pass hanging on the rear view mirror, we were just waved through.

We stopped first at Hector lake, and then at the view point Crowfoot Glacier. This was relatively empty when we arrived, but very soon we were joined by mosquitoes (so we quickly sprayed ourselves) and five big tourist buses (no spray for this, alas). The glaciers all seem to be a strange blue gray color--I think the grayness may be caused by dirt, etc. Crowfoot Glacier was named because it looked like a crow's foot, with three toes grasping the mountain. But now it has lost one toe (or most of it--I thought I could see a remnant, but maybe I was looking in the wrong place) and is losing another. From a distance, one cannot tell, but it is one hundred sixty-five feet deep at the edge.

The next stop was just a little ways further, to see Bow Glacier and Bow Falls. This glacier is also retreating but the retreat has slowed. At this stop, the crows were fearless, even landing on our car while we were standing next to it. It felt a bit like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock. We talked to another tourist there, a man from Oregon who kept insisting we should get a certain book about trails and hikes even though we said we were not going to be hiking.

The next stop was Bow Summit, which involved a short hike up to a viewing point. This would not have been too bad, but we were at 6965 feet, and we found ourselves short of breath a bit. At the top they had a speaker system to explain what you were seeing. Because this was so far in the wild, there was no electricity, so to play the recording, you have to turn a crank. (You do get a choice of English, French, German, or Chinese.) In the background of the explanation they played "The Moonlight Sonata".

We stopped at Sunset Pass and ate a small lunch (dried fruit, nuts, etc.) The rocks here were even more like the Southwest than in the southern parts of Banff, maybe because they were a bit more barren.

We then reached the Columbia Icefield and the Columbia Icefield Centre. This is right across the road from the Athabasca Glacier, the glacier that is closest to the road, and the one most accessible to tourists. There are "snocoach" tours of the glacier from the Centre (for about C$40 per person), and there are also guided walks on the glacier. (It is strongly recommended that you do not walk on your own on the glacier, because of the crevasses, many of which are hidden by a thing crust of snow. Athabasca Glacier is 325 square kilometers (84,000 hectares), and 30 stories deep at the end.

The Centre had information about the Athabasca Glacier, and about glaciers in general. In 1849, during the Little Ice Age, the Athabasca stretched all the way to the Visitor Centre. Now it is across the road and quite a ways back from the road; it has retreated a mile (1.5 kilometers) since 1849.

A glacier is defined as larger than a football field (or maybe it was four fields), older than one year, and something that forms on land and moves slowly downhill. As it moves, it grinds the rock below it and creates something called rock flour, which causes the run-off to be very silty.

They had a tree trunk slice with the rings labeled with events such as the founding of the Ming Dynasty, Hideyoshi, Champlain's exploration, the landing of Pilgrims, as well as others. Is this because of First Nations' complaints about Euro-centrism, or an attempt to placate Chinese and Japanese tourists?

Another display states that the world is warming up, but will not commit to saying it is because of human activity. (However, they are concerned with environmental impact--the snocoaches are designed to minimize their effect on the ice.

Driving back it kept raining on and off. There were two "bear jams", with people getting out of their cars and getting way closer to the bears that they should have.

We had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory again. I had the Chorizo with Penne and a "pear cider" (a.k.a., a perry). These are impossible to find in the United States,, and pretty difficult even in Britain. I was glad to have a chance to try it, but I think I will stick to the standard Granny Smith apple cider in the future.

Listening was a reading of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. We watched "Playhouse 90"'s version of "The Comedian" and Gorgo.

Miles driven: 233

July 22, 2007: It started overcast and raining again. We filled up the tank and talked to a couple from Britain who said that gasoline costs twice as much back home.

We drove back to the Icefield Parkway and up to the Athabasca Glacier again. This time we pulled into the parking lot on the glacier side of the road. There are actually two lots, one for access to the glacier (many people will just walk up to the glacier to touch it), and another for "car access." But even though the latter is closer, it is situated in such a way that when you pull into that lot, the glacier is completely obscured by the surrounding rock field!

It was raining fairly steadily, and we had been on a glacier in Alaska, so we passed on the opportunity to walk up and touch the glacier.

The main attractions along the Jasper Park section of the Icefield Parkway are waterfalls. (Well, glaciers also, but the waterfalls you can get a lot closer to.)

The first was Sunwapta Falls, which is in two levels. There is a bridge across the lower falls which in fact somewhat obscures that there is a lower falls. However, the fact that there was a long fenced-in view point higher up was a clue that there was something they could see that we could not while we were on the bridge.)

We then drove to Athabasca Falls, deemed the most powerful falls in the Rockies. I assume that this is a combined function of volume and height. (While I am thinking of it, I will note that with very few exceptions, most of the major sights are wheelchair-accessible, though there may be a few steep stretches at times. However, this one has steps after the first view point.) After lunch, we drove up Mount Edith Cavell, taking a nine-mile winding road to get there. When we got to the top (or at least as far as the road went), there were several hikes suggested, but at six thousand feet, we decided to skip them. Even without the hikes one could see Angel Glacier, and Ghost Glacier, and the enormous rock face of the top of the mountain.

We drove to Hinton, about an hour east of Jasper. While there hotels in the town of Jasper, it is even smaller than the town of Banff, and the hotels are hence even more expensive. Hinton was considerably cheaper and in fact some of the sights in Jasper National Park are as close to Hinton as to the town of Jasper.

We pulled into the lot of the Holiday Inn where we had reservations, and saw several fire trucks at the far end. It turned out that there had just been a chimney fire at the Dairy Queen. It was a bit of a mess, with a couple of inches of water on the floor. They were going to be shut down for a while, so they were giving away all their frozen confections. Obviously locals (including the firefighters) were taking most of them, but we also got a box of creamsicles and a box of fudgesicles. There is a limit to what one can put in a hotel room freezer, and also what one can eat in only two days.

Breakfast was not included in the room, so we went to the Safeway and got canned chili for dinner tonight, instant Korean noodles for dinner tomorrow, and orange juice, yogurt, and cheese for both breakfasts. We were going to check Walmart, but it was already closed at 7:30PM on a Sunday.

Dinner was Stagg's chili, which we bought in part because it had a pull-tab lid. (We had brought a can opener, but this made it easier.) I had brought a couple of microwavable containers, so we used those to heat the chili in microwave. (My list of what I brought but did not used grows shorter bit by bit.)

We listened to the BBC productions of "Woman in Black" and Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods". We watched the BBC "Mystery!" adaptation of Agatha Christie's Nemesis, which bore astonishing little resemblance to the novel. Oh, Miss Marple was actually in the novel. (Don't laugh--the "Mystery!" adaptation of By the Pricking of My Thumbs added Miss Marple to a story that did not originally have her in it.) But hardly anyone else in the production is from the novel, the situation is greatly changed, ... even the size of the legacy has shrunk considerably. In fact, the only things retained are the motive (although somewhat modified) and the name of the killer.

Miles driven: 263

July 23, 2007: Today we drove down the other main scenic route in Jasper, Maligne Valley Road (mah-LEEN). The first stop was Maligne Canyon, where a two-kilometer loop path over two bridges gave good views of the very deep, very narrow canyon. The river is 165 feet (50 meters) below. The falls at the beginning of this stretch are 75 feet (23 meters) high and very strong, but in winter they slow and freeze, and hiking tours are led up the canyon.

We talked to the ranger for a while. The tree with the horizontal branches that we had been noticing was the white spruce. This is the tree which, when planted in large numbers, makes the whole section seems out of focus because of the almost-meeting horizontal lines.

Ground squirrels, gophers, and prairie dogs are all different animals, but the names themselves migrate over species boundaries. Similarly, the mountain lion has lots of names.

The ranger was wearing a vest that had all sorts of items attached as teaching aids. For example, a large plastic beetle represents the pine beetle. The ranger said that they need two sustained cold spells of -35C degrees to kill the pine beetles. The first one would use up the cryogenic fluid (see the Royal Saskatchewan Museum for details), and so the second one would kill them.

Then we drove to Medicine Lake. This is one of largest "sinking lakes" in the Western Hemisphere, by which is meant lakes that disappear over the winter. It disappears because a large network of underground tunnels drain it in the off-season. In the spring and summer, however, there is more water coming in from glaciers and melt water than can be drained off, so the lake forms, This is one reason for World Heritage status for the parks.

At the end of the road was Maligne Lake and Spirit Island. One can take boat cruises on this lake, but other than that it is just another beautiful lake.

We returned to the town of Jasper and ate lunch at Coco's Cafe. Mark had a buffalo meat pie and a raspberry-mango smoothie, and I had a lox/havarti melt foccacia and coffee. The lunches came with salad, but not a lettuce salad. Instead it was a black bean and rice salad. In spite of serving meat, this place seemed to focus on "healthy" cuisine.

We returned to Hinton with a brief detour on Miette Road to walk along the Pocahontas Mine Interpretive Trail. There were no booklets remaining for this trail, so it was a little less interpretive than it might have been.

We stopped at Wal-Mart to try to get some soda, and found that Crystal Light (and Nestea) now came in individual foil cylinders, each of which was the right amount for a 500-milliliter bottle of water. This was a much better plan than buying lots of (deposit) bottles; we could just re-use the bottle we had, and save the bulk, the weight, the deposit, and the environment in the process.

We got back at 4PM and discovered that the room was still unmade. They had a large tour group the night before and must have decided to do all the rooms of guests who had checked out before those of people who were staying. They did eventually get to our room, about 5PM.

Dinner was boil-in-the-bowl noodles, prepared by running water through the coffee maker without coffee and using that in the bowls.

We listened to "Twelve Angry Men" (L. A. Theaterworks) and "Cemetery Confessions" (BBC). We watched the second half of the "Doctor Who" we watched last week, "Evolution of the Daleks". (For some reason they give different names to each of the two episodes in a two-parter.)

Mileage driven: 149

July 24, 2007: We drove to Edmonton and stopped at a Costco. We picked up more Crystal Light, cashews, chocolate chip cookies, Maui chips, and a case of Nong Shim instant noodles.

We wanted to go to the Telephone Historical Centre. The AAA book listed an address for this in the Prince of Wales Armouries. We found the Armouries, but could not actually get to it, because all the streets around it were being dug up for some sort of repairs. Eventually, we gave up and decided to go to the West Edmonton Mall (WEM) ("The Best Indoor Show on Earth") instead. (I think that the Calgary Stampede bills itself as "The Best Outdoor Show on Earth".)

The WEM had two movie theater complexes. One was a first-run one similar to that at the Chinook Centre (except with gargoyles and movie characters decorating it, rather than Egyptian symbols) and the same prices (C$11.95 for a movie, with no matinee discounts). The other was a second-run theater with admission prices of C$3.50, but only evening shows.

There are over a hundred eating places in the WEM, but the restaurants were fairly expensive by mall standards, and the fast-food places mostly boring. We ate lunch at Hoãng Long Noodle Shop, having lemongrass pork and grilled prawns on rice noodles.

We stopped in the few shops that interested us: HMV, Chapters, and Coles. This Coles was more like a small B. Dalton or Waldenbooks, not like their main store in Toronto, known (somewhat inaccurately) as the World's Biggest Bookstore. (Powell's is certainly larger.) We are not that interested in most stores in the malls back home, and having a mall twice the size just means there are twice as many boring stores.

We got a bit lost leaving--the mall has a few twists that make orientation difficult. We drove to our motel, the Rosslyn Inn & Suites. This had a very substantial AAA discount (a room that was normally C$129 was C$80 with the discount), but the room itself was quite Spartan. It had two double beds, not queen. There was no refrigerator (that was C$10 extra). The television had lots of channels, but was locked out from having a DVD player attached (and bolted down as well). There was a coffee maker, and a decent bathroom with extra amenities like mouthwash and lip balm. We had planned on staying two nights, but we decided that there really was not enough of interest in Edmonton for us, so shortened the stay to one night.

This was definitely a day of synchronicities. We listened to "Columbus--The Bones" (BBC) and then saw a replica of the Santa Maria in the West Edmonton Mall. We drove down a street that had the secondary name of "Arthur Hiller Street" and later listened to Hiller's commentary for The Americanization of Emily. We also listened to "Being Mussolini" (BBC) and the commentary on Bad Day at Black Rock and watched "Little Mosque on the Prairie", which is a typical sit-com, with people doing some pretty unlikely things. (For example, if a Muslim restaurant owner refused to cater a gay wedding because that was forbidden by Muslim law, how likely is it that she would change her mind just because one of the couple said they would use her competitor instead?)

Miles driven: 197

July 25, 2007: We drove around Edmonton a bit, but the GPS was often useless. The street system is a grid, with streets in one direction called "streets" and in the other direction called "avenues", but all numbered. So you may want to find something at the corner of 72 Avenue and 106 Street. Unfortunately, the GPS does not let you distinguish between "street" and "avenue", so you can end up at 72 Street and 106 Avenue. And the grid system itself falls apart in the center of town, so you cannot rely on it there.

For that matter, the GPS was not as useful in much of rural Canada. It may known that a small town existed, or even the map of the roads in a National Park. but if you ask about restaurants or gas stations or accommodations, it does not always list anything in the nearby small towns.

Looking at the AAA Triptik, we discovered that the Telephone Historical Centre was now apparently located in the downtown area, even though this year's AAA book still lists the old location. Had we known, we probably could have seen it, but we were too early this morning and did not want to sit around for a couple of hours. As I have noted, the books seem to be much more out of date than in the past. [When we got home, I checked the Internet and the Centre does seem to be in the (inaccessible) Prince of Wales Amroury as of 2005.]

We finally left town and drove south. We saw a coyote walking along the side of the road, and later llamas and burros on a farm.

Our main event of the day--such as it was--was the town of Vulcan. We started at Tourism and Trek Office, in a building that looked like a spaceship (though not a starship). This town had been around for decades with this name, but in the mid-1990s they were looking for a way to improve their economy. Someone came up with the idea of tying in to the whole "Star Trek" phenomenon, and it worked. (Hey, we went there.) The main Trek features in the town are a replica of a starship on a pedestal by the highway (with welcome plaques in Vulcan and Klingon), a mural of the farmland with a shuttle and a starship in it and another mural of the five "Doctors of 'Star Trek'". But there are other touches. All the directional signs feature the "Star Trek" logo shape--and Roswell-shaped aliens, indicating either that Paramount put its foot down on using their make-up designs for commercial use, or that the people who designed them did not know the difference. (I assume that the murals fall under some sort of "fair use" doctrine, since they are non-commercial.)

But there are a lot of other "non-official" touches. The bookstore had a regular named, but also called itself a "Bajoran Bookstore." The library had a starship with glasses reading a book painted on the outside wall. There was the Enterprise Family Restaurant. And so on.

They also have a convention every summer. This year they had 2500 attendees, with 300 at the "meet-and-greet" (which the woman in the Tourism and Trek Office kept emphasizing was due to fire code limitations.

The office itself was decorated with lots of "Star Trek" items, photographs, mock-ups, etc. You could buy various "Star Trek" souvenirs, and evn dress in a "Star Trek" costume and have your picture taken on a replica of the bridge. (I should add that this was not a money-making idea--it was free, but you have to supply the camera.)

We drove on to Lethbridge for the night. We stayed at the Pepper Tree Inn, rated lower than the Rosslyn Inn by AAA, but better as far as we were concerned. It was still only two double beds, but had a refrigerator. Best of all, they actually provided a DVD player and a VCR! (They would also rent you movies at the front desk, so this probably helped defray the cost.) This was C$74.80 a night (including taxes), while the Rosslyn was C$88.

Listening included "The Martian Chronicles", a compilation of "Escape: The Earthmen", "Dimension X: There Will Come Soft Rains" (?), "Dimension X: The Martian Chronicles", "Dimension X: And the Moon Be Still as Bright" (or possibly the "X Minus 1" version), and "X Minus 1: Mars Is Heaven". We also listened to "Lost in Yonkers" (L. A. Theaterworks) and an updated version of Thea Von Harbou's "Metropolis" (BBC). We watched the 1968 Planet of the Apes, Tycoon, and "Woman's Work" (from "DuPont Theater").

Miles driven: 339

July 26, 2007: The Rosslyn Inn had not included breakfast, but the Pepper Tree Inn did--of a sort. There was coffee or tea, and roast. Of course, there was a sign saying there was a limit of two slices per person. Given that the Rosslyn gave you a coffee maker, there was not really that much difference. (For breakfast at the Rosslyn, we had Korean noodle soup. Here, I had toast, but Mark made soup with the hot water for the tea.)

Another advantage of this place is that we park right outside your door instead of having inside corridors. (In winter, this might be less desirable.) This meant that unloading and loading the car was really easy.

We had excess Canadian cash at this point (partly because we had expected to be in Canada a couple of more nights than we are), so we paid the motel bills yesterday and today with cash. It turned out that this left us with about C$7, which was conveniently small. It is a nuisance to change money back (and one loses value), so one tries to come up even. If one has stayed several days in one place, this is usually fairly easy: you take your remaining cash (less enough to get you to the airport) and ask the hotel to apply it to your bill, and then put the rest on your credit card. (We suggested this to a friend at the Toronto Worldcon when he mentioned needing extra time at the airport to change money, and he had not realized that hotels would do this.)

We filled the tank at high Canadian prices for the last time. The station had a posted price of C$1.129, but self-service was only C$1.094. I assume that the law says they cannot charge more than the posted price for full-service, but can discount for self-service.

We drove to Cardston. Our destination here was the Remington-Alberta Carriage Museum, but we made a quick stop when we came upon a silhouette sign of a giant ape. It was the sign for the Fay Wray Fountain. Fay Wray was born at Wrayland southwest of Cardston in 1907, and the fountain was built/named during her visit to Cardston in the 1990s. The "King Kong" connection here has not been exploited as much as Vulcan's name has, though, and there is no Kong Kong statue, or Skull Island Restaurant, or Carl Denham Movie Theater.

The Remington-Alberta Carriage Museum has a large collection of carriages, early cars, and so on. There was a display on John L. McAdam and graded roads. "Wheels of Change" quoted some as having said how Canada could make carriages "the equal of anything south of the border", and others as being sure that cars were a passing fad and that the 20th belonged to the horse. Another film explained that the "American Method" is the assembly line, with one person doing one task.

In 1908 one manufacturer, Sam McLaughlin, started selling car bodies to Buick, because they realized that over time cheap carriages cost more than cars, and they eventually became General Motors (Canada). (His brother, John J. McLaughlin, invented Canada Dry Ginger Ale.)

Carriages were always driven from the right seat for consistency with the horses, hence the first cars were that way as well. The change to left-hand drive only came about with traffic laws. (The first traffic lights in North America were in 1914, in Cleveland. In 1917, Edmonton adopted the drive-on-the-right rule.)

The horse models here were done by the same artist as the models at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

We took a docent tour, which added a lot to the museum. For example, we learned that on elegant carriages, the horses had to match each other. (In the carriage rides given here, they are not as concerned about matching horses.) The carriage might have cost $12,000 (the equivalent of $60,000 now), plus the same again for the horses. On the Victoria and other English-style carriages, the drivers (who were servants) have no roofs. In the "Democrat" style, the drivers have the same conditions as the passengers. When phaetons became sports cars, the groom's seat became the rumble seat (in the United States, or the dickie seat in the United Kingdom). A lot of terminology, however, continued from carriages into cars.

Men's phaetons were higher and narrower than ladies' phaetons. The Hansom Cab was the symbol of 1890s London, with the driver in back and the driver controlling the door so that passengers cannot skip out without paying. It was also used as private limousines, and the one in the museum was owned by the Vanderbilts. Stagecoaches were the beginning of rule by the clock, and the start of the fast food industry.

Then new stagecoaches represented the good old days before things became hectic. They cost $2400 in 1895, but $100K now, and required four horses. When they became luxury vehicles, the inside was not used.

Cutters were used in winter, because cars were useless, even into 1940s and 1950s and still later to get from the farm houses to main road, etc. (For a long time, there was no such thing as antifreeze.) A cutter is a two-seater with short runners, a bob-sleigh has four short runners that pivot, and a sleigh has two long runners that do not pivot. A caboose is completely enclosed room on runners, has reins through holes, and had s stove and a door in the back.

They also had a bull wagon (actually three wagons: lead, swing, tail wagons), pulled by a team of twenty oxen. These were used to hunt buffalo hides, which were so valuable because they used for leather factory belts. The last herds found in Alberta, and there was no future in it, so people did not care that the whiskey made people blind. Oxen were used because horses and mules could not survive on the dry brown grass in July and August, but oxen could. Also, the oxen were safer, because Indians raided for Horses, but not for oxen.

The Fort Benton/Fort Whoop-Up (Lethbridge) round-trip took five weeks with oxen, one week with horses and five hours now by car.

Sections of the museum talk about traffic, roads, carriage sales, manufacture, and other orthogonal topics to types and brands. There are also lots more vehicles in the storage area, which is even better-lit in some cases than the actual exhibits but has less interesting or less well-preserved or restored vehicles.

Spelling is at times peculiar in Canada. We've seen "pedlar" instead of "peddler", and it seems to be "donair kebab" instead of "donner kebab".

Mark's bad luck continued apace. His tendonitis had subsided, but one of his caps seems to have disappeared along the way (he has several from the Dollar Store so it is not a big problem). Also, at some point he had a major problem with his spreadsheets, but luckily was able to go to a very recent backup to fix it. Now while at the Museum, one of the ear pieces on his glasses detached itself. He taped it up, but it probably needs something more.

We drove on to our last sight in Canada, Waterton Lakes National Park. This is yet more mountain-and-glacier scenery, with some rolling prairie around the edges. Had we seen this right after Yoho, Kootenay, Banff, and Jasper, it would have been just another day, but we had a few days of flat prairie since then, so Waterton was a change.

We drove down the two main roads in the Park, Akamina Parkway to Cameron Lake, and Red Rock Parkway. This is a smaller park, with more emphasis on hiking and so on than on driving.

We then took the last real parkway in the Park, Chief Mountain Parkway, which leads to the Chief Mountain port of entry to the United States. Other than telling us than the chocolate chip cookies and instant soup we were bringing back were not very healthy, we did not have any problems crossing back into the United States. There was no line, and in fact I suspect they do not get more than two or three cars an hour during the busy times. (They are also closed between 11PM and 7AM.)

Our plan had been to stay in East Glacier Park tonight, and then see Glacier National Park tomorrow. So we drove along the edge of the Park, along some truly scary roads (steep drop-offs and no guard rails--not even warning posts) to East Glacier Park. Scenic, but scary. However, when we got to East Glacier Park, none of the motels had any vacancies. Okay, well probably Kalispell (on the other side of the park) would have vacancies. But since that was a ninety-minute drive, we decided to call first. We tried a couple of places, but they had no vacancies, and thought that pretty much everyone in Kalispell was full.

Well, at this point our option seemed to be to travel east, away from the Park, to find a motel. But then driving back to the Park the next day would take a couple of hours (each way), plus we would be driving that scenic, but scary, road three more times. Add to that that we had just spent a week in the Canadian Rockies, seeing glaciers, lakes, etc. And top it off with the fact that the admission to Glacier National Park has recently gone up to US$35 per car. (This is for a seven-day pass, which is the minimum. This is part of the National Parks Service's attempt to get people to spend more time in each park than to dart from park to park and just drive through.)

Now, the fee itself was not really a deterrent. But added to the massive amount of driving we would have to do to say what is basically more of what we have just seen a week of, it was the final straw. Scratch Glacier National Park.

We drove to the next town, and pulled into a motel that had a "Yes" light on their "Vacancy" sign. Except when we went in, they had no vacancies. Why is the "Yes" light lit? The answer was that they had to leave it lit until all their reservations showed up. But it was after 6PM, the traditional time for freeing up un-prepaid reservations, so this sounded completely flakey. It clearly was not worth arguing, though.

The next town was Cut Bank, where we got the last room in the cheapest section of the Glacier Gateway Inn complex. This was a smoking room with only one (queen) bed, but then again it was only US$40 a night. It was actually nicer than some of the more expensive rooms we have had, having a refrigerator and a microwave, and a relatively new, large bathroom. The reason for the latter seemed to be that this was the handicapped-accessible room, so the closet rod was much lower, the bathroom door wider, and the bathroom itself big enough to turn a wheelchair around in and equipped with a lot of grab bars and a height-adjustable shower.

We had dinner at the Bon Apetit, which was one of the two places open after 7PM that was not a hamburger stand. Mark had fried chicken; I had a pork chop. These came with soup, vegetable, potato, roll, and dessert, and the bill with tip for the two of us was US$22. We're not in Canada any more.

We listened to an episode of "Johnny Dollar".

Miles driven: 244

July 27, 2007: When we woke up, we noticed that the train tracks ran right under our window. However, we heard no whistles during the night, so they may have repealed the rule about trains having to blow their whistles at every crossing.

Breakfast was not really included with the rooms in the cheap section, but the woman at the desk said to go ahead and have it anyway.

By 9AM it was 82 degrees.

We drove to Great Falls to see the C. M. Russell Museum. Russell is one of the great artists of the American West, but he also has a New Jersey connection--he went to military school in Burlington, New Jersey. The Museum gives you a chronological tour of his work and has mostly watercolors with some oil paintings. There are also wax/plaster/paint sculpture studies. He seems to have been inspired later in his career by Japonisme and Maxfield Parrish, such as his use of a high-keyed palette in "Salute of the Robe Trade". There are also traces of Impressionism in "The Fire Boat".

Sometimes the spellings are peculiar: "Jockies" for "Jockeys", "Adiose" for "Adios", and so on.

Other artists are also displayed here. O. C. Seltzer was a contemporaneous artist, in fact a friend of Russell's, and also shows an influence from Parrish. His drawings are notable in part for having illustrated mattes. W. Steve Seltzer shows more influences from Impressionism, but Walter W. Seltzer is more back to basics. (Yes, they are all in the same family.)

A large number of Russell's paintings are not here. For example, the Mint Collection (from The Mint Bar), consisting of 10 oil paintings, 26 watercolors, 7 pen-and-ink sketches, 21 wax molds, and 11 letters, was purchased by Amon G. Carter for his Ft. Worth museum.

The Museum also had a display of contemporary works for sale/auction, "Masters in Miniature". The auction pieces here had all different styles, which provided a welcome change.

More contemporary artists were on display on the lower level. Notable was the large "Glacier National Park, Iceberg Lake, Romeo Glacier, Heavens Peak" by John Fery; the Bob Scrivner bronzes, and works by Gary Schildt, Winold Reiss, and Jay Contway.

Another room had the Aschenbrenner Collection of Dale Ford Wagon Miniatures. Also displayed were Frederic Remington's "The Bronco Beater" and a painting by Richard Lorenz, "The Last Glow of a Passing Nation". This is a portrayal of Custer's Last Stand, but with the Indians in sunlight, and the soldiers in shadow.

We picked a good day to come to the Museum--on Fridays, they serve root beer floats on the lawn.

After this, we drove to Billings and had to point out to the Quality Inn that they had quoted us a higher AAA rate than the book indicated. They lowered it--to the maximum allowed. One should not have to keep watch for this. There was no refrigerator, and the television required an RF modulator.

We listened to a reading of Philip K. Dick's "Minority Report", and the production of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and also listened to Richard Attenborough's commentary on Grey Owl.

Miles driven: 330

July 28, 2007: Our room included two hot breakfasts (eggs, pancakes, that sort of stuff), but you placed your order at a window, and they cooked them for you--slowly.

We drove straight across North Dakota on I-94. In 2001 when we went to Rapid City, South Dakota, we drove up to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, to see it but also to say we had been to North Dakota. Now we were back again--who would have thought it?

North Dakota has very little in the way of tourist attractions, so they have to create them. Along I-94 first there was the World's Largest Holstein Cow, listed in various books we have. After that (one assumes, since they are not listed) comes the World's Largest Sandhill Crane and the World's Largest Buffalo. All of these are giant plaster (?) statues, not actual animals. However, one of the other tourist attractions seems to have disappeared: the Casselton Can Pile. This was a giant pile of oil cans that had become a giant bird house, and was supposedly on the service road along I-94. I am assuming it is gone, because I did not see it, and given that the terrain was flat for miles in both directions, it is not as though it could have been hiding behind something.

We ate lunch at Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que in Bismarck. We drove past the nineteen-story State Capitol building, known as "The Skyscraper of the Plains". It looks like a Hartford insurance building.

I can think of only one state capitol (city) not on an interstate highway. What is it?

We stayed overnight in Fargo. We had listened to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, "She" (BBC), "This Happy Breed" (L. A. Theaterworks), "Radio Detectives: Gideon Fell", and the lectures on The Gulag Archipelago and "Julius Caesar". We watched Sleepy Hollow.

Miles driven: 605 miles

July 29, 2007: We had an hour-and-a-half power failure overnight. With the air conditioning off, it was impossible to sleep until it came back.

We drove through Alexandria again, but it was too early for the Runestone Museum to be open, so we missed it again.

We stopped at Marley's in Wisconsin Dells for lunch. It bills itself as a Caribbean/Jamaican experience, but it is more like the experience of going to an isolated, protected resort on Jamaica rather than going to Jamaica.

When I was young (about twelve, in 1962), my family went to Wisconsin Dells for vacation. We camped at Devil's Lake State Park, and I can remember going to the Deer Heritage Park (which has been around since 1952), and the Lost Canyon (for the pony cart ride). But it has gotten much more built-up and kitsch than it was, with whole themed water parks in addition to the "Castle of Terror" and other more traditional attractions.

We stopped again at the Microtel in Janeswille. This time we got two beds in the room, and it was considerably larger than before. Listening was The Silver Chair, "An Ideal Husband" (L. A. Theaterworks), "Chess Wars" (BBC), and the lectures on 1984 and The Aeneid. We watched the BBC "Mystery!" adaptation of Agatha Christie's At Bertram's Hotel. It had all the same problems that the adaptation of Nemesis.

Miles driven: 536

July 30, 2007: More driving. There was bad traffic through Chicago (no surprise there). We ate lunch at Si Señor in Lagrange, Indiana. Now that we are back in the United States, we cannot count on good Asian restaurants in every small town, but there are good Mexican restaurants.

The GPS directed us off the main road towards Wapakoneta, but the road was closed. We asked directions from the women directing traffic, and she commented that "everyone is going to Wapa today." Well, where else would they go if they got off the road at this point? We went a ways further down the main road and went through Lima, but even there we had to take a detour as the street we were on was closed for a stretch.

Why Wapankoneta? Well, while we wanted to get home, we did not want to do nothing but drive for a week. While we had seen the attractions along most of the interstates in Ohio on previous trips, there were still a few sites not on the main roads we had missed. One was the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta. Two others were the President Harding Home and Museum in Marion and the President Rutherford B. Hayes Museum in Fremont. The Harding Museum is only about a hour away from the Armstrong Museum, and on the way home from it, so we decided to do these two and leave Hayes for another trip.

In Wapakoneta, the Travelodge turned out to be right across the parking lot from the museum. It is not that the town is that tiny, it is just a coincidence. The Travelodge had no refrigerator, and requires a deposit before they turn the phone on. On the other hand the television looks like it is only a year or two old (and has front jacks), and the room costs only US$39.75 a night (including tax).

The McDonald's across the lot has some display cases of Neil Armstrong and Project Apollo memorabilia. (The street is Apollo Drive.) It is sort of a "home town boy makes good" thing. Included is a coffee mug with a reproduction of the Wapakoneta newspaper with the headline "Neil Steps on the Moon". McDonald's has added their own touch, with a wall mural of a zero-G McDonald's in a spaceship.

We listened to The Last Battle, finishing the Narnia series. I was also reading a collection of essays about the series, which I will sum up by saying that there is a lot of questionable theology throughout Lewis's books. We also listened to "Three Days That Shook the World" (BBC, about the attempt to depose Gorbachev) and the lectures on Pericles' Oration and the Gettysburg Address, and All Quiet on the Western Front. We watched The Blackboard Jungle.

Miles driven: 384

July 31, 2007: Since the museum did not open until 9:30AM, we listened to the commentary on The Blackboard Jungle before going over.

The Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum is built into an embankment, so it is impossible to tell how large it is. But more to the point, it means that it is mostly underground, and hence protected from tornadoes. (The same was true of the Cosmosphere in Kansas. I suspected that many museums now being built in tornado-prone areas are built as least partially underground, but the woman in the Museum here said that no, it was to make the Museum look like a lunar outpost.)

A wall at the entrance listed Ohio astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Jim Lovell, and Judith Resnick. Plaques at the beginning glorify science fiction as a way to explore the possibilities of space, even now. Mark thinks this is becoming fairly common in science museums now, but I still find it unusual to see much more than a passing mention of early science fiction (usually to make fun of how they got it wrong).

In response to all the comments on Ohio connections to flight and to the space program, Mark said, "A lot of space exploration came out of Ohio just from the mere desire to get away from it."

They had Armstrong's high school yearbook, opened to the page with his picture. Other people on that same page as Armstrong in the yearbook have achieved a sort of fame by association, with millions of people seeing their pictures when they look at his.

The sections on Werner Von Braun and on the Korean War ("America helped a friendly government in South Korea fight against communist forces in North Korea") tend to present a very bland and sanitized version of history. There is no mention of Von Braun's use of slave labor, nor any notion that the war in Korea had any basis in the politics of China.

The very early days of rocketry are abbreviated, and the Museum really starts with Space Race. In fact, while it covers some of the quest for space before the Space Race, and some of what followed the Apollo program, it is very much the Neil Armstrong Museum of Air and Space, and pretty much sticks to his era.

The Russians had the first satellite, the first animal in space, the first man in space, the first man in orbit, the first multiple-man spacecraft, and the first spacewalk. So the Museum has to laud such events as "the "first docking with another satellite," by Armstrong in Gemini VIII.

The Museum noted that the free enterprise system provided NASA with technology that the USSR had to pay for in government programs, which made our space program more viable. (The Museum seemed to use "Russian" and "Soviet" interchangeably.) The Soviet lunar lander was designed for one cosmonaut rather thna two. Talking about Apollo XI, Mark said that "Aldrin was an also-walked."

There were some design problems. The wind table (to demonstrate orbital mechanics) was right next to a quiet video, which you could not here, and the theater was in the "critical path," i.e., there was no way to walk around it if you wanted to skip it, so people kept walking through during the presentations.

Other Ohio connections were emphasized, particularly the "Buckeye Shuttle" (STS-70) of July 1995 with Kevin Kregel, Nancy Sherlock (Currie), Donald Thomas, Mary Ellen Weber, Tom Hendricks. All but Kregel were from Ohio.

Shuttle tires have no treads.

They had astronaut Janice Voss's copy of Stranger in a Strange Land that was in space during February 1995.

Current height requirements for mission specialists are between 5'0" and 6'4". Pilots must be at least 5'4".

Alas, we had not brought wither The Right Stuff or Apollo 13, but we bought a copy of the HBO mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon". However, we bought it at WalMart across the street, where it was $25, rather than at the Museum where it was $130.

At this point we would have had to spend another half day doing nothing to see the Harding Museum, which was not open today, so we decided to skip it and go directly to Akron.

We drove through Findlay, the "Flag City". Apparently at one time pretty much all American flags were manufactured here. We got to Akron, and tried to eat lunch, but found most of the restaurants in our GPS were gone or closed. We eventually had lunch, then tried to find a motel. The motels were almost full, and what rooms were left were going for rack rates (no discounts) because of a golf tournament in town. We eventually found a room at a Red Roof Inn.

We then drove to 1049 Whittier Street, the address where Mark's grandmother lived when he was a child, and a house he remembered from many summer visits. He took a couple of pictures from the street, and then he heard a little girl run into the house yelling, "Mommy! There's a man taking pictures of the house!" So Mark explained to the mother how his grandmother used to live there and so on.

Dinner was at Sushi Katsu, and was only so-so.

Listening was "Radio Detective: Raymond West", Ice (BBC, by James Follett), and lectures on Confucius and "The Prince". Watching was the commentary for Gun Crazy.

Miles driven: 180

August 1, 2007: Breakfast was instant ramen.

We decided to visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Finding the parking garage for it was quite difficult (we circled the area at least three times), but eventually we found it four blocks away and went in.

This is a museum that could have mostly been done in a book (and in fact it has been). The majority of space was dedicated to plaques for all the inductees. They did have some patent models from 1834 to 1880, the years when the Patent Office required working models with all patent applications.

Various odds and ends:

A sample of the inductees would include:

There were several Bell Labs folks. Harold Rosen seems to have been granted a patent for the geo-stationary satellite, even though it was first suggested by Arthur C. Clarke. (However, Clarke had the idea before it could be implemented, which is a key factor in patent grants.)

There were also special sections for some inductees. The one for Charles Proteus Steinmetz quoted him saying, "No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions," and "The man hard to satisfy moves forward. The man satisfied with what he has done moves backward." And the widow of the inventor of television said, "When [Philo Farnsworth] saw the first man walk on the moon, he said, 'It's been all worthwhile.'" And Harold Edgerton said, "If you don't wake up at three in the morning and want to do something, you're wasting time."

In the section on super-high-speed photography by Edgerton, we learned that cats lap up milk on the *under*side of their tongues, sort of curling them under like elephants do their trunks.

All in all, there was a lot of pictures and text. The lowest level was a hands-on area designed mostly for school-age groups.

Mark observed, "Yesterday's museum [the Neil Armstrong Museum] admitted what they owed to Verne and Wells and others. Not one mention here of Tom Swift."

After this and lunch at Belleria Pizza, it was basically just a very long drive home, with a brief stop in Leeper, Pennsylvania. Now, we have no real connection to this town. Mark's family adopted the name Leeper after arriving in this country. The name Leeper is English-Irish and means basket-maker. Mark's Leeper family was Jewish from Ukraine. So a Mr. Loebsker once left Ukraine and came to America. He did not lose his name at Ellis Island. He was still a Loebsker in the United States. He was a barber and one way was shaving a Dr. Leeper. Dr. Leeper asked him what he thought of the United States. Mr. Leeper said it was fine, except that people made fun of the name Loebsker, calling him "Lobster" instead. So Dr. Leeper said (probably jokingly), "Gee, maybe you should take my name instead." So Mr. Leeper did, and suddenly what had been and English or Irish family got a big Jewish branch they had not heard about before. It was the English-Irish family that founded Leeper, Pennsylvania.

We explained all this to the woman in the General Store where we bought some ice cream cones. I asked if there was a discount if we were named Leeper, and she said not, but was wondering if we were related to the founder. She was a bit disappointed to learn that we weren't.

Our final listening was lectures on The Republic and On Liberty.

Summary: As I always do on long trips, I looked for license plates for all the states. This time I saw all of them except the District of Columbia (not a state, but I still count it) and Hawai'i. I also saw all the Canadian provinces except the Maritime Provinces (Labrador, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island), and the northern reaches (Nunavut, Northwest Territory, and Yukon Territory).

Expense Summary:

Food                        1014.84
Motels                      3428.71
Gasoline, tolls, parking     858.98
Souvenirs                    174.89
Miscellaneous                433.91
TOTAL                      $5911.33

We used 218 gallons of gasoline to go just about 8000 miles, averaging 36.7 miles per gallon. Not bad for a car with 120,000 miles on it! (On some tanks of gas we averaged as high as 42 miles per gallon!)

This was lots of fun, though I think that five weeks may be our limit for trips like this. Originally we had allowed six weeks, but what with one thing and another, it ended up as five. In part, that's because I over-estimate the time so that we do not have any appointments or anything that we have to rush back for. (Driving is a lot more flexible than flying, or at least than flying with reasonably priced tickets. Changing a return date for an airline ticket is no longer free, or even cheap.)

I would definitely recommend the Canadian Rockies to anyone looking for gorgeous scenery. If you do not want to do as much driving as we did, you could fly into Calgary and rent a car there.

T H E   E N D