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A long but beautiful drive

I spent 11 hours in the Herald's 2005 Subaru Outback on Thursday driving to Calgary. Once you hit six hours, the rest just seems to go by quickly. The six-hour mark gets you to Cranbrook, B.C., but the one-lane roads can slow your trip, especially if you get behind an RV or a truck and you have to drive 20 or 30 miles for a passing lane. The one-lane roads continue into Alberta, but the scenery is so beautiful, you almost don't mind slowing a bit to enjoy the majestic beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the herds of deer and mountain goats.

Driving through Crowsnest Pass in the southwest corner of Alberta was incredible. The mountains were so impressive with a layer of snow and the Frank Slide is big and kind of scary looking, though it happened in 1903. There are miles of rocks that range from boulders to ones bigger than my car.

Once out of the mountains, I took a turn that led me toward the Black Diamond and Turner Valley area. I was now in the Alberta Prairies and the wind was howling. We have wind in the Tri-Cities, but this wind had tall grass plastered to the ground. In the wind department, the prairies rule. There also was quite a bit of snow across the prairies, but the roads were clear and dry.

A small town moment — I stopped for gas in a town called Nanton, about an hour or so south of Calgary. The man next to me at the pumps asked what I was doing so far from home. I told him. He wished the Americans luck — he's NOT a Hitmen fan. I asked how he knew about the Tri-Cities, and he said he used to be Bob Tory's neighbor along the river (or was that lake) in Cranbrook. Told me to tell Bob hi, but he never offered his name.

I made it into Calgary and to the hotel with no problems. Once I got here and got dinner, I wrote a WHL bantam draft story, watched hockey highlights on TSN. From the opposite side of my hotel, I could see the Calgary Tower, which is really pretty at night when all the lights are on.

It's also Mountain Time here in Calgary, so it's almost 10 a.m. I am headed to the Calgary Tower, which is about a 5-minute walk from my hotel. The sun is shining, though it is a bit chilly. I'll let you know how it is later.

Game time is 6:30 p.m. back in the Tri-Cities, so don't miss the first period. I can hardly wait to see the inside of the Saddledome. I will take a tour around the concourse and try and give you a glimpse of it later.

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