Welcome to my Kill to Get Crimson 2008 tour blog!

My name is Isaac, 30 years old from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I have set this blog up for the purpose of documenting the journey I am taking following Mark Knopfler’s Kill to Get Crimson tour in North America, in the summer of 2008.

The North American leg of the tour, as well as my journey, begins June 24th in Morrison, Colorado and ends on July 31st in Miami Beach, Florida.

Even though I intend to write on a daily basis, publishing the stories onto the server would be tricky. After all, we’re talking about vast distances which will be primarily crossed by driving, and there is no way for me to predict the availability of Internet connection throughout the way.

So… make yourself at home and feel free to drop a comment.

Yours,

Isaac

Monday, July 07, 2008

Leaving Calgary to Jasper

Today was a long day as well, even though there was no concert.

I woke up this morning at around 9:00am after some good sleep at Ash’s family’s place in Calgary. First thing I did was to reduce some trouble off my mind, and booked the flights that I needed to book in order to attend the tour’s last two concerts, in Clearwater and Miami Beach.

Jennifer (Ash’s mother) probably heard from Ash that I am an espresso / latte lover. She offered to make me a cup of latte, which I obviously could not deny, considering that this family knows its espresso very well. They have a Rancilio espresso maker along with two (!) Rancilio grinders (one for regular espresso, one for decaf). Plus, they use those espresso beans purchased at the Calgary’s Farmers Market from a place called “Phil & Sebastian’s” which provides some fantastic beans.

It was so good. Then, Jennifer & Rob made us all breakfast. We talked for about an hour about so many things. These are some awesome parents you got there, Ash!

Then we got to talk a little bit about the venues in Calgary. I expressed my amazement of the particularly restrained crowd in the Calgary show. Jennifer then told me what she believes (and I do too now) is the reason: People in Calgary are simply used to, and trained to, behave nicely in events. The Jack Singer Hall doesn’t have an extremely adrenaline‐friendly policy and people who stand, jump and dance are usually asked to either get the hell out of there or sit down. She then went to tell me that things are much, much worse at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary, where you’re pretty much expected to sit down during the entire concert, clap sometimes, maybe shout a few “yoohoo”’s along the show but never, ever get up unless you want some usher to come and bug you about it. Calgary’s Jubilee Auditorium is a replica of the one in Edmonton, where the band’s next show is. I certainly hope that they didn’t replicate the crowd‐handling policy.

I thanked Rob & Jennifer for the hospitality and went on my way. The first thing I did was to go to the nearest Future Shop (Rob printed some maps for me, just in case I get lost again, even though it’s a 4km stretch. Oddly enough, I found it with no problems) and bought an iPod Nano (for a friend of mine) and a GPS. I am willing to pay $300 for a really good GPS if it means that I never ever have to consult any map in North America ever again. Considering what I’m about to go through, driving in some major cities in the USA, I believe it was a good buy.

My next stop was in Harvie Heights, just outside Canmore. Canmore is yet another extremely touristy town very favoured by extremely wealthy people due to its stunning setting and some great golf scene. I went there to meet Gord Antoniuk. Gord is the owner of a B&B in Jasper; I met Gord approximately one year ago, when Karen and I went for a trip in the Rockies. Gord used to be a park ranger for the national parks in the Rockies, and knows pretty much everything there is to know about the Rockies. He is such a great guy and great host. We stayed in touch over the last year, and decided to meet next time I’m in the Rockies, which was today.

I met Gord in his friend’s place in Harvie Heights. We had some beer and talked for about an hour or so. It was so great. The weather was sunny (it started to rain a little bit as the visit was over), birds chirping… an entire lovely scene which is one of the primary reasons for a typical house in Harvie Heights being valued at about $1,000,000.

Here is a picture of Gord and myself:

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Leaving Canmore, I’m in the Rockies already. Still Highway 1—the Trans‐Canada Highway. Speed limit of 110 km/h but you really want to take it slow. Highway 1 takes you through the Canadian Rockies all the way to Lake Louise, about 30km away. I skipped Lake Louise today due to lack of time, however I did make a short stop in Banff.

Banff is one of the two major locations that people speak of when they talk about the Canadian Rockies, the other one being Jasper. Banff is located at the south east, Jasper in the north west.

People sometimes confuse “Banff Townsite” and “Banff National Park”. “Banff National Park” is some huge area that includes Banff Townsite in it. Banff National Park is one of the two major National Parks that contain (some of) the Canadian Rockies, the other one being—you guessed it—Jasper National Park. The two parks are adjacent to each other.

Banff Townsite, which is the tiny little town inside the Banff National Park, is world‐renowned for its ski scene, stunning natural setting, the hot springs as well as some prestigious hotels and restaurants. Banff Springs Hotel is located here, and take my word for it—it’s one of the greatest, prettiest hotels you will ever see. It’s also very expensive, of course.

When you’re walking in Banff Townsite, you may be thinking that you’re walking inside some sort of a fairy tale. This entire town appears as if it was drawn, not built. Very, very fancy. Everything looks so touristic, so sweet, that it’s amazing. Even McDonald’s here looks pretty.

This is also one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of Banff Townsite myself. Way too commercialized for me. But I had to stop there to grab a bite, as 250km of road awaited me before I get to Jasper. From my past experience with Banff Townsite (and I’ve been there maybe 10 times before), the vast majority of restaurants here are way, way overpriced for what you get, in terms of both quality and quantity. Restaurants here look very pretty, I’ll give you that; but it was my stomach that was hungry, not my eyes. And I was in a hurry, too. So a few minutes later I found myself devouring some Subway sandwich.

(Yes, even the Subway shop here looks fancy)

Grabbed some Moccacino from Evelyn’s Coffee Bar (a local favourite) and went on my way.

Shortly after Banff, there begins the awe.

The Icefields Parkway.

Considered by many to be the prettiest drive in the world.

I have made my way through this Parkway so many times before. Today, though, was the first time for me doing it without a roof. What a difference it makes!

The Icefields Parkway starts a few kilometers north of Banff Townsite and takes you all the way to Jasper, some 300km away. The road is such an eye candy that it’s simply a sin to cross it in more than 80 km/h (the posted speed being 90). On your way there, you see majestic snow‐peaked mountains, turquois‐coloured lakes and rivers, thousands of streams, glaciers, coves, valleys and what not. You see nature at its very best.

I made a short stop in Bow Lake. Bow Lake is one of the most spectacular views in the Canadian Rockies. Stunning turquoise‐coloured lake surrounded by phenomenal, snow‐peaked mountains. The weather was sunny (although patches of rain come and go. The Rockies is one of those places in which if you don’t like the weather, all you have to do is wait 5 minutes).

Here’s a picture of Bow Lake:

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And here’s a picture taken from a bench I parked my butt on:

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I had to continue on my way to Jasper as I prefer to not drive the Icefields Parkway at night. But I just had to make another stop at another favourite spot of mine, called Peyto Lake. Here is a picture:

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Heaven on earth.

I sat down to enjoy the view and went on my way to Jasper. The road was so pretty but I had to drive fast in order to beat the dusk.

The reason I like the Jasper area more than the Banff area is that the Jasper area is much less touristy. Much wilder and unexplored, and the scenery is amazing. The picture in my Blogger profile was actually taken at the top of Whistlers Mountain in Jasper.

I got to Jasper pretty late—about 22:00, and it was still not dark. Quickly unloaded my bags into the B&B (thanks Gord!), and went on my usual Jasper dinner—the Jasper Pizza Place. Was very good.

Oh, Jasper. I know that, some day, I’ll live here.

Heaven on earth. So pretty.

Tomorrow I’m expecting a relatively short drive (350km) to Edmonton. I believe I’ll stop by the Miette Hot Springs for some refreshing bath before leaving the Rockies. I can’t believe that I’m leaving the Rockies so soon…

Touch base soon.

--
Isaac

1 comment:

jennifer said...

Beautiful pictures! (though one looks a little scruffy!)
Enjoying the blog, Yes!