Pretending it’s home.

They’re nothing that makes you feel more like a local than showing someone around and harping on knowledgeably about how deep the snow is in winter, what the coins are worth and how much to tip your waiter. When Ma and Pa Langfield and Ben’s sister Jackie flitted to our corner of the northern hemisphere recently, it was a great chance to show off our skill at driving on the wrong side of the road and our vast knowledge of all things Canadian. Yes, maple syrup grows on trees!

We spent a lot of time touring around in The Nugget, our sexy gold speedster, complete with a dancing hula girl and a sunroof which actually gave me sunburn one day. The Nugget has taken Ben and I over 10,000km in the past two months and, not surprisingly with a car that now has 340k under it’s belt, she ran better than a Nigerian in an ultra marathon. There was just that little hiccup with the tyres, but we won’t dwell on that. We’ll never recoup the money…

We started off on Vancouver Island and found quite a few spots to enjoy a wine together.

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Ben really enjoyed our company…

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The wildlife across the island was stunning with plenty of bald eagles, seals, otters and the occasional sasquatch to gaze at.

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We hiked across suspension bridges…

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And mum tried to appear at ease while she stood a mere three metres from the edge. Gosh, isn’t she pretty!!

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Ma and Pa took off into the wilderness by themselves on a ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert up the inside passage. It was bloody freezing here, and a great example of the Canadian summer. Mum still took the time to find her tea bags in the rain, which was a great relief to everyone. I was sad to see them go and I felt, for a moment, what my mother must have felt while waving me off me at airports in the past.

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With the back seat empty, Ben and I meandered back to Vancouver to pick up Jackie. We stopped briefly at one of the villages to watch these logs being mustered by boat with an efficiency that would put some horses to shame.

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Ben seemed to really enjoy spending time with his sister. She certainly loved having a brother with long hair, something she’d been dreaming about before she owned her first doll, apparently.

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Jackie trumped us on the local card, pulling a few friends out of her hat who generously offered their spare room and a space in their fast-moving vehicle to transport us around town. Thanks Lin and Steve for the awesome tour! I especially loved the part when we got stuck in the parking lot and Steve did a hand-brakie and Jackie screamed. The beer tastings also stick in my mind.. That was a great two days!

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After a few more hair flicks, we headed east, back to Calgary. I’d been told Kelowna was the place to be in summer with stunning vines and even better wines.

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Ben and I wore our best clothes for the outing, but unfortunately Jackie missed the memo about dress-up road-trip Monday. She also had a selection of clean clothes.

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Jackie and I sampled the produce and Ben took his first ever turn as sober driver. We improvised and committed an almighty wine sin, serving the award winning pinot gris in Pepsi cups with ice. It didn’t dull the flavour. Alas, that’s when the tires decided they’d had enough.

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It was actually really lucky that we needed four new low-profile tyres rather urgently in a small town in the foothills of the Rockies. Otherwise we wouldn’t have got this stunning photo of Jackie at Revelstoke.

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Four new tyres later, and a fair kick-in-the-shins to the bank account and we arrived, safely, at Lake Louise.

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We found these cool cats at the lake, apparently acclimatised to the Canadian summer after their trip on the ferry.

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Then, we turned the corner and there was A BEAR. A REAL LIVE BEAR. CROSSING THE ROAD…

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It’s no coincidence that we bumped into this mischievous trio out in Canmore.

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Dad couldn’t resist testing out the glacier water.

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Hard to know what’s happening here, but Jan and I appear to be in a musical, while Jackie and Ben are waiting for a bus. Jack is watching stand-up.

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This guy thought things were getting out of hand.

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We all settled down and went for a walk up Blue John Canyon, near Banff. It was awesome, although I wouldn’t recommend the walk in heeled boots and a dress…

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After Jackie sailed to Germany, we headed down south in a beast of a camper, stopping in at Head-Smashed-In buffalo jump. It was one of the best tourist attractions/cultural exhibits that I have ever visited. Imagine a herd of bison walloping over this cliff as the local natives ran after them, securing a food source for the winter. Amazing!

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Dad was very taken with the windmills. They’re pretty, eh.

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As we started scouting about for a camp site, we realised that we’d taken off on a camping trip on the first week of summer school holidays and the Friday of a long weekend. This happens every time Ben and I go camping, but it leaves us feeling luckier than a mouse that has outsmarted a sticky trap when we find the last camp spot. Especially so, when it’s a beauty like this one.

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We became accustomed to these stunning vistas – mountains with a small sprinkling of snow and clear lakes that promised a trout or two.

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We shot down to Montana, USA briefly and swam in this glacier lake. It was a hot day and dipped our toes in, preparing ourselves for hypothermia. The cheeky lake fooled us with tepid shore water and an icy middle.

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Here we go again, more stunning scenery…

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Dad was pretty stoked when he realised it was easier to buy fireworks than it was to find a bakery.

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And the pair finished up their time with us at Calgary Stampede.

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