Thursday, July 17, 2014

The South End of North: Random Thoughts

Despite thunderstorm warnings for our last night in Waterton, we didn't get a drop of rain, which was especially wonderful because packing up a wet tent sucks something awful. We walked into town for some ice cream at The Big Scoop, ate it by the side of the lake, played a little Cthulhu Dice on the picnic table, and turned in. The next morning, we managed to strike camp and check out very close to the 11:00 target, despite my insistence on breaking in the new camp stove toaster we had purchased at Tamarack Outfitters in town.

I'm left with only a handful of largely random observations about the trip:

My Royal Netherlands Football Club (KNVB in Dutch) hat proved to be quite the icebreaker on the trip. Shortly after this picture on Going-to-the-Sun Road was taken by a nice fellow from Alabama (after I had taken one of him), another couple asked why I was wearing it. "Well," I replied, "it's not like I can cheer for the Canadians or Irish this time around, and the English went home early, and my wife's family is Dutch, so it seemed natural. Plus they just play really good, offensive football." This pleased them to no end, what with them being proper Dutch tourists, from Holland, who, at the time at least, were looking forward to the next day's game against Argentina.

Waterton's Townsite campground may be my new favourite. Our specific spot could have benefited from more shade, but tenting sites with power outlets are often built on hard clay or packed gravel on the open plains, next to mammoth RVs running their generators at all hours, so we made out all right. The picnic tables are big and non-splintery, and have a metal shelf built on to them for your camp stove. The bathrooms were spacious, modern and clean, and best of all, there were two double sinks out in the open where you could wash your dishes with hot water supplied at a nearby tap. It doesn't sound like much, but lugging a big pit of water back to your campsite and using propane to heat it up prior to washing supper dishes in a tiny washtub is something I will now begrudge every time I have to do it in the future!

Also, what a treat to be able to walk into town and back, especially after having enjoyed a pitcher of sangria during the tragic soccer match.

One of my favourite things to do when visiting the U.S., as we we did briefly, is to look for things we can't normally get north of the border, and usually these are food items. More often than not, they are snacks. Those of us not allergic to peanuts love finding Payday bars when we stop at a gas station, but during one fortuitous break, I came across 4 varieties of Kettle Chips you don't see in Canada:

And they were all delicious; Sriracha was probably the most interesting, but Cheddar & Beer was my favourite (and I could swear I used to be able to get it at Safeway here in Edmonton...). Audrey was also happy to find a tube of Honey Mustard Pringles, and found the empty can made a great receptacle for the shells from her sunflower seeds.

And lastly, In terms of travelling companions, I can recommend without reservation the following:

Sisters that care deeply for each other and help make each other brave when needed.

A wife who knows how important it is to be playful.

And a dog who is a laid back traveller.

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