Anyway, I spent two days with my cousin in Trochu, Alberta. It was a lot of fun and I wish I'd stayed longer, but I hadn't seen this cousin in 30-plus years and I knew that there is no public transportation from where she lives, so I didn't want to stay too long in case I hated it. Turned out I loved it, and now I want to go back. She wants to take me to Drumheller to see the dinosaurs and to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and go geocaching there. However, she is unable to drive due to her MS and Chiari, so her husband has to be willing to drive us to those places. I also have to be careful not to spend all my money because there is an election coming up in two years, and that means no work for as long as six months. I can't go back on disability because they would want to make me sell my house, so I have to make sure I have money to live on in 2017.
I spent two days in Calgary, where I went to the Calgary Tower and the Calgary Zoo. I hated my hotel because my room was right above the very noisy street and I slept very badly. The manager was very apologetic and gave me a discount on my room. I love the trains in Calgary and wish we had a similar form of rapid transit in Victoria.
The trip to Banff and Lake Louise was okay but not great. I loved the scenery, but after a while I realized I had 200 pictures of mostly the same mountains. Banff itself is like Government Street in Victoria multiplied a dozen or so times: multiple stores selling tacky made-in-China "Canadian" souvenirs. I was also disappointed that there weren't more caches in town, because I was reluctant to try to explore any trails in the park, worried I'd get lost or encounter bears. Also, I was there so late in the summer there weren't many hours of daylight left after I was done my touring for the day.
The thing with touring is that while it has its advantages — somebody else is doing the driving so you can sit back and enjoy the views and not worry about getting lost or running out of gas in the middle of nowhere — you are at the mercy of the tour operator when it comes to how long you can spend in one place. Also there were little kids on the bus whom I am sure were very bored and who screamed a lot, and the promised wi-fi on the buses didn't work.
I learned that I probably shouldn't have gone on the Banff Gondola due to my fear of heights. However, I loved the view from the summit and I loved that I got to see a baby bighorn sheep fairly close. The baby sheep appeared to have two mommies, as the two adults that were with him were both females. I wish I'd taken a picture of the sign announcing the "cosmic ray station," because I love the name "cosmic ray station."
I wanted to take Via Rail back home again, but I found that to do so would have doubled the cost of my trip, and it would have totally maxed out my credit card. It is something I want to do in the future, maybe when the limit on my credit card has increased and my income is a big more secure — like when the next election is four years away rather than two years away.