Day 12: Wednesday, September 25

Star Trek, Buffaloes & Big Cities

It was a rude awakening at 6:45 this morning from the hotel’s fire bells and flashing lights. All the commotion stopped after about 2 minutes, but it was enough to propel me out of bed and attempt to get dressed while still mostly asleep. The alarms stopped and I was able to return to bed and get another hour’s sleep.

At about 8:00AM we got up (for the second time this morning), showered and went for breakfast in the hotel’s breakfast room (buffet-style breakfast). What a nightmare – crowded, lines of people, congestion, dirty cutlery, dirty tables, generally not good. We ate what we could then returned to our room where we packed up our suitcases, which we loaded into the car. We made a final trip into the hotel to check out, then set out from Canmore bound for the mighty town of Vulcan!

After about 2.5 hours we reached Vulcan. For those who don’t know, Vulcan is a prairie town located on Highway 23, midway between the cities of Calgary and Lethbridge. The population of the town is about 1,900. Due to it sharing the same name as Mr. Spock’s homeworld in Star Trek, the town is known as the “Official Star Trek Capital of Canada”. The whole town is crazy for Star Trek and is internationally quite famous for this. There is also a bust of Leonard Nimoy, who showed up a few years ago to endorse the statue. Every year in July, Vulcan hosts a special event called “Vul-Con” where Trekkies come by the hundreds. Appearing at Vul-Con are celebrities who have acted in, written, and otherwise taken part in bringing the iconic Star Trek franchise to life. Yep, it’s one big nerd-fest!

It was about 1:00PM so prior to exploring the Star Trek stuff we first had lunch at the “Sunny Kitchen”, a very small-prairie-town type diner. The food (club sandwich for Vince, a burger for me) was actually very good.

After lunch we started our Trekking at the Vulcan Star Trek Centre/Tourist Information centre. We had a blast checking out the Visitor Centre and the rest of the Star Trek paraphernalia scattered throughout the town:

We then found and photographed the mural featuring all the doctors from Star Trek:

We were running out of time as we still needed to travel to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump which closed at 5:00PM, so we had to hit the road.

Leaving Vulcan, we drove another 2 hours to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Southern Alberta, which is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. In a nutshell, the Buffalo Jump preserves and interprets over 6,000 years of Plains Buffalo culture. Through vast landscapes, exhibits, and diverse programming, the site brings the cultural significance of the Buffalo Jump to the Plains People. It has an amazing history and backstory, so if you’d like to learn more, click here.

Due to our late arrival at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, we were forced to do pretty much a whirlwind tour as they closed the doors at 5:00. It was such an amazing place so it was a great pity to have to cut our visit there so short; we simply didn’t have enough time at this location:

After the Buffalo Jump closed at 5:00, we got in the mighty Santa Fe once more and made our way into Calgary, where we’ll stay for the next 3 nights. It will be nice to settle into the same hotel for a while.

It took another 2 hours to reach Calgary and we came into the city at the peak of rush hour. Crazy traffic, and I got lost a couple of times as the directions from Google Maps were hard to interpret. We finally reached the Regency Suites Hotel and were checked into Suite #504 – it was lovely! Beautiful suite with full kitchen, separate bedroom with very comfortable bed. Very happy with this suite. Quite a change from the dicey lodgings of last night’s room in Canmore.

It was about 7:30PM and well past our usual supper time, so we sought out a place to eat and ended up at a pub-style place called the Pig & Duke, which was very near the hotel. It was extremely LOUD and packed, but we were so hungry and in no mood to wander around an unfamiliar neighbourhood looking for a restaurant. Thankfully, the food was very good there.

We returned to our lovely suite, unpacked our bags, and headed off to bed at about 10:00PM. It had been quite a day.

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