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Saturday, August 22: Banff

Friday, August 21: Boston to Canmore

Travel

We're here in Logan. Our adventure has started with repeated excitements.

We were scheduled to leave home at 6:20am. I set the alarm for 5:45. After getting up, there was the traditional mad scramble getting last minute things done.

Then on the drive to Logan, in a shared van, Michael announced that he didn't have his passport. Amy had given it to him in a pouch around his neck. We looked and couldn't find it, and we were looking at going to Logan, returning home, getting the passport, rescheduling flights, etc.

But then fortunately, Michael found it. I guess it was “annoying” around his neck, so he took it off and put it somewhere in the van, and then he didn't recall doing so.

We got our boarding passes OK, then went through security. For some reason we were “expedited” (maybe because we were a family?) which meant that we could keep our shoes on, and that we could go through the metal detector rather than the full scanner.

After security, we were getting reorganized, and I suddenly realized that I didn't have my netbook! I had to go back out to the unsecured part of the airport. It wasn't where I thought I might have left it, but then I found it at security. I had put it in a bin, but the bin hadn't been advanced to go through the x-ray machine.

So I sent it through and went through expedited security again.

Now we could relax and have breakfast. Sort of.

I thought we would end up in a normal large concourse with a variety of food places. We ended up in a tiny one-room sort of place, with three gates, and one small food kiosk. This is our home away from home for the next hour and a half.

There was a medium-small jet and a small jet just outside. I was wondering which of these sized planes would be ours. Then Amy saw a small turbo-prop coming in. I got a sinking feeling about the upcoming flight.

- -

We're in Ottawa, waiting to board our next flight. Our flight out was on a dinky twin-engine turbo-prop puddle jumper. It was so small that my “carry on” suitcase had to be stowed when I boarded (although I got it back when I left the plane). That wasn't too bad; a lot better than having it checked.

Our plane for the next leg is a small jet, but at least it is a jet. If we're really lucky (particularly if Michael is lucky), they'll have some sort of entertainment on this flight.

On the first leg, there was something making strange noises towards the front of the plane. First I thought it was a mechanical whine. Then I thought it was a dog. Then a parrot. I was joking with Amy that I thought there was a dolphin (or humpback whale) on the plane. It turns out that it was a non-verbal autistic child.

It was somewhat strange landing in Ottawa. After going through customs, they dumped us out into the general ticketing area, so that we had to go back through security to get to the concourses. We had some burgers and then had a few hours to kill before our next flight.

- -

The long (4-hour) leg was on a “normal” jet, with in-seat entertainment/map/etc.

In Calgary, we got our luggage, and got our rental car. They wanted to sell us an upgrade to a small SUV, which we took. We barely got our luggage to fit in that. I don't know what we would have done with a normal car.

The weather here is very cold. It was in the 30's and raining. We were told that it was snowing in Banff. We could see what appeared to be fresh snow in the mountains around us.

When we got to our hotel, we found a very basic hotel. Nothing to write home about. In our room, we found it was 65 degrees, and the heat was not working. When we inquired at the front desk, we were told that the system was confused, because it still thought it was summer and didn't need to provide heat. I'm not sure what is going to happen with that.

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Saturday, August 22: Banff