The Saami Tepee

Calgary, situated to the east of the Rocky Mountains, is home to some one million people. It is twinned with, amongst others, the city of Jaipur, or the Pink City as it is sometimes called (see diary entry – Royal Circles 04/09/2008).

We were to stay here for two and a half days and the Calgary MG Car Club entertained me magnificently. They were assisted on Saturday by the Vintage Sports Car Club when I was taken on a Garage Tour to see a number of cars and motorcycles in various stages of renovation.

In the afternoon I was taken to experience the Calgary Highland Games in High River where a number of ex-pats threw hammers and tossed cabers, but they were even worst shots than the Talaban, so I stayed. There was also a pipe band competition that I thoroughly enjoyed and the Scotch Pies were excellent.

On Sunday we went up to Bragg Creek and the scenery is gorgeous, with mountains as a backdrop, the creek and waterfalls.

Our departure came all too quickly and we had to move on Monday morning towards Medicine Hat. We had been invited to stay at the Callaghan Hotel and Convention Centre and have been asked to do a couple of interviews with the local TV station and newspaper. As a bonus I found the hotel and attached nightclub is frequented by many British servicemen that train at a nearby location leased to the MOD for such purposes. I hadn’t expected to meet up with so many of my fellow countrymen in that location.

Next day we were off to Regina on route to Winnipeg. Bridget is running so well it is almost becoming boring. Admittedly we had to change the brake light switch in Calgary, a replacement being supplied by Bob and Resa from their own MGB, but that hardly equates to a major interruption in service. Quietly I am pleased as it is really nice to motor along without having to constantly scan the instruments for signs of trouble and keep listening to the engine beat.

We stopped for a few moments for a photo shoot at the Saami Tepee, which is the Worlds Highest Tepee. This is a tourist attraction in Medicine Hat that was originally constructed in Calgary for the Olympic Games.

From there we continued along Highway 1 East towards Regina. The landscape now changed dramatically and I was faced with the wheat growing plains of Canada. Here were thousands of square miles of cereal growing land, water holes with wildfowl, bison herds, domestic animals and salt flats.

We arrived in Regina a little after lunch and having checked into the hotel I went for a walk over to the local shopping mall to buy something to drink. I had only just entered the mall car park when two guys jumped out from behind a drive-in something or other, one carrying a camera on his shoulder and the other a microphone. They wanted to know “Do you think the use of mobile phones should be banned when driving a car?” When we finished the poll item I explained what I was doing in town and the news editor of CBC asked to do another interview the next day around about our adventure. So we are going to be delayed in the morning whilst they film Bridget.

Following the interview with CBC first thing in the morning we set off for Winnipeg, a distance of some 390 miles. I had checked Bridget’s oil level and added some brake fluid to the master cylinder. During the run I checked the fuel consumption and even though our average speed has increased to 60 mph, consumption has improved to 34 miles per gallon. Bridget really is a delight to drive.

Winnipeg is a pleasant city with lots of recreational areas. It’s very pedestrian and cyclist friendly, something I have noted in several locations in Canada, probably more so than any other country we have visited. However the countryside for hundreds of miles around is very flat and lacks the pleasing vista that hills and mountains give. I must however mention the trains that I saw several times even though I commented when in the States; but these are in another league altogether. I measured one as I passed, it being stationary at a red light, and it was two miles long!! It consisted of around two hundred wheat filled wagons and is incredible to see in a similar vein to the Australian Roadtrains.

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