Sunday, 29 June 2008

An hour's drive and a million miles from Ralston

We've done it - we've survived our first night in the RV and what a great adventure it was!

We drove up to Dinosaur Provincial Park, which is an hour from Ralston, but has a totally different landscape. Here the prairie gives way to rocky sculptured terrain, not entirely dissimilar to the grand canyon.... on a much smaller scale!

We arrived at 7:00pm, plugged in and cooked a barbecue, then walked around the RV park as the sun was setting and finished the night off with an open fire.

We both had a great nights sleep (not too hot, not too cold) and even the shower in the RV in the morning wasn't too bad. On Saturday we went for a walk along one of the trails and scaled a huge rock formation. It was hot, but breezy and the mozzies only really bothered us during the evening.

As we were having lunch at our picnic table, the first of two remarkable things happened. A middle aged man who we had spoken to the night before came over to us and gave us a packet of biscuits; "These are my favourites and I wanted to give these to you to say how much we appreciate everything the military does, whether you are Canadian or British." Although moments like this apparently happen quite a lot in Canada, it was the first time something like it had happened to us. We were both extremely touched and couldn't help but guess at the kind of response Jim's job would have received in the UK...

The second remarkable event happened on Saturday night when a group of us went down to Medicine Hat for a rather quirky jazz concert that took place on top of the town's only multi-storey car park.

Some weeks before I had been asked by the organiser to say a few words at the beginning and introduce the acts on stage. As part of my spiel I had to explain what BFBS does and most importantly where it does it. As I reeled off the list of countries that BFBS broadcasts to I reached Iraq and Afghanistan and suddenly as soon as the words were out of my mouth, applause and whooping spontaneously broke out in the crowd. It was extremely humbling .

Aside from the crowd's reaction, it was a really great night. There were eight of us in total, plus Macy and a 7 month old baby and we spread out a picnic on the concrete of the car park and watched a circus performer, a Canadian Idol finalist and a local jazz band.

The laws on drinking alcohol in public in Alberta are pretty strict, but remarkably the organisers or the Jazzfest had managed to get a license to allow us to drink alcohol on the top deck of the car park, which was good news!

On the right are photos of Paul, who very foolishly decided to let Macy have a lick of his lollipop and then found she didn't want to give it back! When he did eventually get it back, she sat and gave him sad eyes all evening, hoping for another lick. Paul's wife was not impressed at her husband sharing his food with a puppy!

Back in Ralston today, the sun is shining and we are forecast highs of 34c, which dare I say it, is almost too hot! Next weekend we're off in the RV again for 3 nights in Waterton. You may remember we went at the beginning of May hoping we'd see bears and instead ran into the last big snow dump of the season! Here's hoping for better weather next weekend and maybe, just maybe, our first bear sighting!

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