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West Day 11 – Travel to Calgary & Banff

It would appear that the previous evening’s activities had extended well into the early hours of Day 11 and long after this particular diarist had retired. There had clearly been a lot of singing, dancing and hilarity as was evidenced by the bleary eyes of one or two. It’s getting difficult to distinguish the party animals from the conjunctivitis sufferers. Recollections of events seem to vary but thanks are definitely due to courier Ralph who covered a chunk of the bar tab.

On the road at 9:15am bound for Calgary. As we left there was a lone coyote standing in a field eating something it had obviously just caught. On the way we also saw a train hauling at least 94 wagons. Tim couldn’t see to the end of the train to complete the count. He’s an IFA though, so probably just made up the number anyway.

We stopped at the Winsport Olympic Centre in Calgary around noon where the 1988 Winter Olympics were held. We were shown around the Arena complex, much of which has been upgraded and developed over the last few decades. Another massive facility with 4 ice arenas. Canadians certainly don’t do anything in miniature. We sat down to a nice buffet lunch in one of the corporate VIP boxes. There was a full bar on offer. It would have been rude not to. Left at 1pm for Banff.

Having gone over the Rockies by air, we now found ourselves travelling back through them again by road. Stunning scenery again. Arrived in Banff at 2:15pm and morning class was then held on the bus. Keith joined us on video call. Given the events of the previous evening, this was a lucrative fund raising session. Cammy got the Tammy – it was only a matter of time. The consensus is that the nickname Sandy “Snake-hips” Nelson will stick for the rest of the tour.

We were given an extensive and informative guided tour of Banff Springs Hotel and it’s history, which took around an hour. It finished appropriately enough in the Strathcona Room with a whisky toast before we were presented with a commemorative gold Banff Springs golf marker.

Dougie Templeton carried out a textbook case of money laundering after settling the $500 laundry bill with his credit card and getting $30 cash from everybody. Where he spends it now cannot ever be traced. The credit card simply says “laundry”.

Out to an Irish Bar for dinner. All was quiet until we discussed how we were getting on with our room mates. We have been reminded that what goes on tour stays on tour. 

10 tourists repaired to the hotel bar to share stories, company and warm spirits. No singing tonight. We asked Ralph what it takes to become a courier at the other end – a few of us are interested.

Itching to get on the ice again now. There’s no way we are coming second in this competition. Wakey, wakey Central and East !!!

Stephen McClymont