We had planned to visit our good friends, Paul and Karen for the weekend in Calgary, but after my unfortunate accident, I called Paul at work and asked if we could come a couple of days early. Did I mentioned they were really good friends? :)
Saamis teepee in Medicine Hat, AB
The next morning, my shoulder still felt the same. Pain when I moved it, and no mobility save for a few inches to my side. Neda poured me onto the bike and I manually, but gingerly, placed my right hand on the throttle and we were off to Calgary. We passed through Medicine Hat and took a break at the Saamis teepee just off the TransCanada Highway. It's a monument built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Saamis is the Blackfoot word for eagle tail feather headress (or the hat worn by the Medicine Man)
Close up of Saamis teepee
There are informational plaques all over the teepee, and I read up on the history of the First Nations tribes in Canada. All of their stories and traditions centre strongly around dreams, and I found it interesting how devoid it was of the overt moralism and story-telling structure of the fables and folklore of Western culture. In other words, it made absolutely no sense to me...
Paul and Karen and their boys, Kai and Ewan. Yes, Ewan. And a GS...
We approached Calgary in a thunderstorm. Through the pain of putting on my rainsuit over a bum shoulder, I thought how unfortunate it would be to also get struck by lightning now -- seeing how my 1.5m GS was the tallest thing on the open Prairie highway by about... 1.5m...
Paul and Karen moved to Calgary from Toronto over a year ago and it was good to see them again, even though we just saw them in Toronto a few weeks earlier when they came to visit. That afternoon, we rode my GS into Blackfoot Motorsports to see what they could do for me. 2.5 hours and one used GS windscreen later, I rode out with my bike all patched up! Unfortunately they were out of stock of spare rotator cuffs...
Although I loved my big-ass, ugly old Aeroflow windscreen, it was always doomed to shatter in any tipover or crash because of how far it sticks out at the sides. The stock GS windshield is terrible but at least it's out of the way in any fall unless the bike lands upside-down. *knock on wood*
Horse sculptures in the Courthouse Park in downtown Calgary
We spent a lot of time catching up with P&K and playing with their kids. While they were at work during the day, Neda and I rode over to downtown Calgary to walk around the Eau Claire market and do some shopping. We wandered around aimlessly around the Eaton Centre (not sure if it's called that anymore) for a while before we realized that we needed and wanted nothing that the stores had to offer. We weren't interested in any clothing, furniture, household items, or electrical gadgets. We didn't have a home to store them in and they just didn't fit on the motorcycle. We spent more time in the Mountain Equipment Co-Op perusing camping equipment, and even then noticed that we had everything we needed already!
Hiking in Kananaskis Park
Karen took an afternoon off to take Neda and the kids hiking in Kananaskis Park, just west of the city. I heard the word "hike" and suddenly the pain in my shoulder flared up again and I begged off to stay at home to work on the blog... :) I did end up seeing a walk-in clinic, they confirmed my Googled self-diagnosis, I had severely strained the soft tissue in my rotator cuff and it would take a few weeks to heal.
Neda is skilled in all manner of two-wheeled vehicles
Paul makes sure the car is locked before we head into the rodeo
On the weekend, we all visited a rodeo in nearby Rockyford, about an hour east of Calgary. We had missed Stampede (Calgary's largest rodeo party) by about a couple of weeks, but Rockyford's rodeo billed itself as the "biggest little show in Alberta".
Buckin' bronco! 8 seconds never seemed longer
Rodeo clown tells bad jokes between events
Not sure who let these hockey players into the rodeo...
Calgary Ground Pilots and fellow adventurers, Jill and Curtis
I've visited Calgary a couple of times before on a motorcycle over the years, and I've kept in touch with the local motorcycle scene via CGP forum. Curtis and I have exchanged messages on there a few times and we finally get to meet in person! We had a late dinner at Wurst, and had a great time chatting away about bikes and travel. They are also two adventurous spirits and we hope to see them again on our travels.
At Wurst, these guys come out to play Happy Birthday to the customers.
Seems there was a birthday party at every single table that evening!
We spent almost a week in Calgary and we have to thank Paul and Karen for having us over, they were such gracious hosts! The shoulder seems to be getting a bit better, but for now Neda is still hiking up my R1200GS onto the center-stand at every gas stop, bless her soul!