Monday, August 31, 2009

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Lake Louise is only 30-35 minutes away from Banff but we decided to leave early to have more time to enjoy the lake and to get to Calgary with plenty of daylight.

Traffic is very light along the way but when there's a slow moving vehicle on the road, cars pile up behind. None of the faster moving vehicles will cross the double yellow line to overtake even if there is no oncoming traffic. They'll wait until there is a passing lane or a turn-out. I wish drivers in Pinas are as traffic obedient.

I missed the turn-off to Lake Louise (what else is new LOL) and we found out we were already at Yoho National Park and have crossed the Continental Divide!

Lake Louise finally!

I don't know them, they were just an added attraction or a distraction to the scene depending on how you look at it LOL.

Must be some kind of a secret ritual or she was signaling her photographer friend to quit fooling around with the controls and just take the damn picture LOL.

That's the kayak rental place in the distance

Caught at the edge is part of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a top of the line hotel with a spectacular view of the lake.

Taken from inside the resto at Fairmont Chateau

Walkway to the lake

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Banff, Alberta, Canada

A day after my nephew's wedding, I planned on leaving Edmonton very early in the morning for Calgary. Since it is only about a 3 hours drive, I figured my wife and I could get there and have enough time for the remainder of the day and the better part of the night to get a feel for the city. I did not factored in my relatives' plan for the day and getting lost along the way. They persuaded my wife and I to stay a bit longer, enough for lunch at their house and to check out West Edmonton mall before we leave the city. The lunch took forever to end and it was almost 4 pm when I checked my watch! I had to tell them we've got to leave for Calgary and we'll stop by the Edmonton mall on our way back.

On the road to Calgary, I missed the junction (thanks to my excellent navigator, my wife) to the city and by the time we realized it, we were already half an hour passed our destination for the day. I tried to turn back but their highway or trailway or whatever they call their freeways (as we in California call ours) is complicated to the unfamiliar and we kept missing the onramp. I saw a casino inn and I decided to call it a night and checked-in instead. What can be a better deal than this place to sleep or rest LOL. Forget about Calgary for now, we'll head for Banff in the morning.

My nephew and his new bride on the dance floor.

On the road to Calgary

The highway signs are less prevalent than we are used to in California and unless your map reader-navigator is good or your gps is working you are bound to get lost......many times over.

At last Banff National Park entrance!

On the way to Banff after we paid the entrance fee to the park

If you feel like trying bufallo or caribou meat, this is the place!

Bow River coursing through Banff


Our lodge at Banff

Pit stop on the way to Lake Louise

Canadian outhouse in the midst of nowhere

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Edmonton, Canada

A nephew in Edmonton was getting married so I thought it was also a good time for my wife to see parts of Canada she has not seen yet. I went to a AAA office, got myself a bunch of maps and a tour book of Canada and inquired about the cost of airfare and hotels. I was shocked when I was told that it would cost me $800 for two roundtrip tickets, LAX-Edmonton. I have seen better rates on the 'net! The agent actually said that if I am comfortable going online, I am better off doing that than booking through an agency. I did just that through Expedia and I got a roundtrip fare for two plus three nights at the hotel where the wedding reception was going to be held for $940! Since we were going to go on a road trip after the wedding, I also rented online a fullsize car with unlimited mileage for $240 per week. Not bad....not bad at all.

A mobile ATM machine!

There is a revolving restaurant at the top floor of the hotel where we were staying so my two sisters, a brother, a brother-in-law and my wife all went there for an early dinner. What food you see on the table plus a couple of beers and a liter of wine cost us $320 inclusive of tip!

I ordered monk fish

My wife ordered a medium well steak

Street market in Edmonton

A peaceful looking street in the middle of the city

That's Saskatchewan River meandering through the city

Ice skating ring inside the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America and supposed to be 5th largest in the world.

Another view inside the mall

Friday, August 7, 2009

USS Benfold, Seal Beach, California

The USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, was at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station last weekend. The public was allowed a tour of the ship (top deck only) so I decided to go there but I ran into a long line of cars entering the parking area, then a long line of people going through the security checkpoint, and finally another long line to board the ship. I did not realize there are that many people interested in seeing an active-duty destroyer!

My step-nephew served onboard this destroyer for three years before he was given a permanent shore assignment.

The ship is capable of arming and refueling helicopters but it does not have a hangar to keep them.

This kid will be riped for recruitment after high school.

The Navy's secret weapon. One look and you are ready to surrender LOL.