Sunday, July 10, 2011

Odds and Ends

On the last post I forgot to add the photos we took at the mint. Actually, photos aren’t permitted on the tour, so I don’t have any images of coins being coined. However, the gift shop has on display a 28 pound, 24k gold bar, chained to a table and guarded by a guy with a gun, and we were permitted to take pictures there.


Visitors are permitted to lift the bar off the table as far as the chain will permit, which isn’t very far. I’m not sure of the purpose of this display, since Canada doesn’t make gold coins. But it was fun to heft more than a million bucks of precious metal. With the price of gold through the roof and fluctuating almost by the minute, the exact value of the bar when we heisted, er, hoisted it, isn’t known, but it was fun anyway.DSC_0323

After Winnipeg, and after a one night stop in a partially flooded campground in eastern Saskatchewan, we spent a day in Moose Jaw, another of those exotic sounding towns that turned out to be nothing special. However, Moose Jaw has a tunnel system below downtown that an enterprising entrepreneur has turned into a tourist attraction. There are two tours, and photos aren’t permitted on either, so no pictures here. The first tour starts in the basement of a laundry of the late 1800s, and depicts the deplorable working and living conditi0ns for Chinese “coulee” laborers of the period. The second tour is a bit of a spoof related to Moose Jaw’s role in bootlegging during prohibition. The town was known as Little Chicago, and Al Capone was reported to run a bootlegging operation there.

Tonight we’re at a campground in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and tomorrow we’ll be in Calgary. I was able to get good tickets to the Calgary Stampede, which is something we’ve always wanted to see. After that, we’ll be off the the Canadian Rockies, and we’ll be on the lookout for bears.


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