So close and yet so far

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Ya know, we've all said it.  We've all commented at some point how it would be great to be a weather person because they're only right a small portion of the time.  It was only a few days ago when I finally got around to packing my suitcase, so checked Calgary's weather to guide me in my fashion choices.  The entire week was forecasted to be sunny and warm.  Mid to high 20's every day.  Perfect!  So imagine our surprise when we got up this morning to find it raining out.  'Showers' the weather app said.  Humph...rain is what it was.  Steady, continuous, and cold...very cold.  We New Brunswickers are a tough and hardy lot, so no rain was going to ruin our first ever day at the Calgary Stampede.  And what a great day it was.
Let me just say this...when you're traveling to a place you've never been, it's always a bit of a crapshoot as to what your hotel will turn out to be.  We couldn't be more thrilled with this place.  We had a lovely breakfast buffet this morning and it's offered until 11 am.  Fantastic!  Not like some places I've stayed where their free breakfast runs from 6:30 to 9:30 because they're HOPING you'll oversleep and miss it.
I had fully expected to walk to Stampede Park from the hotel because it was said to take about a half hour.  We learned that the C Train runs right behind the hotel and they offer a reasonably priced day pass for Stampede Week.  What a civilized way to travel!  It dropped us right where we needed to be.  The lines weren't too crazy this morning and we were inside the grounds in no time.  First off, I had no idea just how BIG this Stampede is...and by big, I mean geographically.  It covers a lot of real estate!  We took in the BMO Centre first.  There was every Ronco and K-tel kitchen tool known to man in there.  There were products that would take away ALL your wrinkles...and that includes the ones in your clothes.  There were products to sweep, mop, polish, shine, mosturize.  You could get something to alleviate pain...even the pain caused by poor accessorizing of both yourself AND your home.  There was something for everyone.  My something was Catherine Wheels.  For those of you who aren't licorice connoisseurs, you don't know what you're missing.
It was around this time that my good friend and bridge partner Lynda arrived with her husband David.  We had a great reunion and spent some time checking out the livestock before finding our seats in the Grandstand area for the 'really big shoe-w'.  I hope you read that with the appropriate Ed Sullivan accent...and yes, I know that Ed Sullivan has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the Calgary Stampede.  But hey, the Stampede totally is a 'really big shoe-w'.
In spite of the cold and inclement weather, it was a fantastic show.  The only thing that would have made it better would have won the 50/50 draw.  It was in the range of $16,000 and won by a young woman sitting in the row right behind us, and about 5 seats over.  Soooo close, well to where she was sitting, but no so close on the actual number on our tickets.  Oh well, tomorrow's another show and another 50/50 draw.  Looking forward to the famous chuck wagon races too!!
Tonight we checked out one of the several casinos in the area.  The Grey Eagle is quite large, but is no different from any other casino...they don't give money away either!

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