Monday, October 14, 2019

Coming Down from a Rocky Mountain High: Moving on to Calgary

Catch up below:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

After several nights of great, cozy sleep and enjoying the natural attractions of Jasper National Park, it's time to move on from the mountains and come down to the big city. While we took all day to make a stop-filled, scenic trek up to Jasper, today we're just moving as fast as we can.

We make a quick, unscheduled stop to take pictures of the magnificent Weeping Wall falls along the Icefields Parkway and to stop for some expensive gasoline at Saskatchewan Crossing.

The lonely highway gets decidedly less so as we come back into the crowds of Lake Louise where a four-lane expressway will take us the rest of the way to Calgary.

For some reason, our car's GPS unit doesn't have our hotel loaded into it's files (other Homewood Suites in the city are) but I know it's just east of City Hall so that is our destination where I can easily find it once we're there.

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This causes no end of consternation from the unit which keeps admonishing me to make a u-turn and go back when I get to the hotel.

I pull up into the valet but no one is coming out to get the car. Letty and Tim disembark. I put the luggage in the lobby and park in the public pay lot across the street which saves me from $13-31 a day, depending on which day of the week it is. Valet costs $35 per day, the lot $22 on weekdays and $4 on weekends.

I take note of the website on the back of the parking lot ticket which let's me keep up on paying for the parking online, saving me a ton of time and money (future travel tip in the making?).

Once inside, the desk agent is a bit off the game not giving me the perks of my Hilton membership but right now, I'm tired and want to get to the room. I make a note to come back later to discuss that.

A gentleman now comes up as I have the luggage trolley loaded up and heading to the elevator wanting to know if I want to valet park the car. I tell him I did but it's a little late for that now.

The room is good. We have a view of the Saddledome Arena where we'll be taking in a hockey game later this week. We all have our own queen size bed to sleep in, Tim's is the sofabed in the living room while Letty and I are in the bedroom (as he's gotten older, Tim really likes to have his own room when traveling).

Looking out and down from the window, I see a little shipping container park has been set up next door. We'll have to check that out.

Once we get settled in, we decide to look over the nearby area of downtown Calgary. The desk clerk tells us that the light rail system is free in the downtown area so we hop a train at the nearby station.

We travel about three stations down. The C-Train, as Calgary's light rail is called, goes along 7th Avenue.

Letty's getting depressed. The buildings here seem to be all boarded up and stray pieces of litter blow coldly along the street. Far from looking interesting, this piece of downtown looks like it withered up and went away.

We walk over to another block and, while the scenery changes for the better, it still looks abandoned (this is late on a Thursday afternoon).

Things are not looking up at the moment so we retire back to the hotel where a light dinner is being served. A salad with no dressing, bread with no butter, and some uninspired pasta to go along with lemonade and tea. Ugh.

This is not how you want to start off a stay at a destination.

"How about a drink to take the edge off?" I ask my wife and Tim.

We go over to the container park next door where a local craft brewery (National Brewing) has set up a little pop-up beer garden.

A couple of cold ones, a relaxing atmosphere...well, as relaxing as you can get with a loud hip-hop group freestyling onstage...and a little laugh at it all help to put a smile on our faces.

We'll go back to the hotel, rest up, and see if we can find a brighter side of Calgary starting tomorrow.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 13, 2019

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: The Festival - San Pedro, California

Another Sunday, another beer festival. Actually THE awesome that it needs no other moniker.

Today, it's in an old warehouse in San Pedro at the mouth of the Los Angeles Harbor. The building has been repurposed as crafter's supermarket and The Festival will be occupying the space at the other end.  A new brewery, Brouwerij West, is turning the building next door into their new headquarters and is helping sponsor this event.

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Over 90 breweries from around the world are here today pouring samples.  Each 2 ounce sample is a buck, or you can buy 25 for $20.  Beers, ciders, mead, and more are representing the U.K., Canada, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, New Zealand, Belgium, and all across the U.S.A, to mention just a few.

Getting our wristbands and digging into the crowd, Letty starts off with the French and English ciders while I start with a tarty lemoncello IPA from a UK brewer.

French ales in the Belgian style are next, as are actual Belgian ales.

An outstanding porter tickles our taste buds from 8 Wired Brewery in New Zealand as does the offerings from Hair of the Dog in Oregon, which turns out to be Letty's favorite of the day.

If you reading this on November 9th, you still have time if you're in L.A. to drive down to San Pedro and take in the festival for yourself. It's a lot of fun and you can walk across the street to 22nd Street Landing for a dinner to let your beer buzz fade away over the waterfront.

For more information, visit the promoters of The Festival, The Shelton Brothers, at this link:

A special thanks to Brian Garrido for his assistance with this report.



Photos by Letty Musick - Copyrght 2014

All Rights Reserved