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Going West (in search of the bareback riders)


Dodger

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Never mind the title; that was just a cheap ruse to get some views. I know how your filthy minds work, but this is a family blog.

It’s been more than three years since I last had a vacation, so now the restrictions have eased, I’ve decided to visit my sister out west. She is the third of my five sisters in terms of age and was the oldest of my adopted siblings still living at home when I joined the family as a young teenager.

We bonded quickly, and she soon became my closest confidant. She was the first person to guess my sexuality at a time when even I wasn’t entirely sure, and she helped me to hide it from our parents until I was ready to come out. I even met my first boyfriend through her. He lived further than I could walk, so she would drive me to his house after school and pick me up later in the evening. Everyone knew I was up to something, but they assumed I was meeting a girl, and my sister did all she could to encourage this misconception.

Such loyalty deserves a reward, and in return, I would open the back door so she could sneak in late from her boyfriend’s house. We didn’t have air-conditioning, so in the summer, I used to sleep in the basement where it was cooler, and she would tap on the window by my bed to wake me.

Needless to say, we’re pretty close, and I’m looking forward to seeing her again, four years after she left for the boonies, but it’s not going to be easy. In Canada, everywhere is far away, and my sister lives three time zones from me on the Pacific coast.

For someone who spent most of his childhood living in a city where you couldn’t drive for more than a few hours in any direction without ending up in the sea, it took a while for me to appreciate the sheer size of this country. To visit my sister, I have to endure a five-hour flight to Vancouver, followed by an hour on a small seaplane and another hour’s drive from the dock into the wilderness. I’m told she has a Jeep; I suspect a bull-whip too. Indiana Jones springs to mind, and I can remember watching those movies with her as a teenager and sharing the same unhealthy obsession with Harrison Ford.

Door to door should take about sixteen hours. Of course, it’s quicker and easier for me to get to Europe and only slightly less distance, but it will be worth the hassle to see her in the flesh again. That sentence alone will ensure her favourite sibling is treated like a king. I’m a sly fox; she taught me well.

Until now, Calgary is the furthest west I’ve been, and I shall never forget watching the bareback riding with my brother at the famous Stampede a few years ago. Make of that what you will, but it was an experience not for the faint of heart, and I’ve been dying to get back there ever since. Cowtown is a cool place to be in the summer, especially during the Stampede when the city is thronging with cowboys. If you’re reading this, I hope you appreciate the plug, @wildone. I'll be back there someday.

On a serious note, I enjoy travelling; it’s in my blood. But I’m not irresponsible, and I understand that this virus has yet to be defeated. I’ve followed the rules from the beginning, isolating to the point of depression, but now I crave close family—something I took for granted for so many years. Living on my own hasn’t been easy, but my life is comfortable, and despite often working in areas of high infection, I haven’t been sick. I’m grateful for that and looking forward to finally crossing the Rocky Mountains.

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Good on you, Dodger. I hope you have a great time. I watched every minute of the Calgary Stampede on TV this year, sometimes twice with the re-broadcast. Sportsnet does a really fine production... you feel like you're there. And yeah, the cowboys. Caleb Bennet *sigh*, and can't forget the horses and stock. Top notch all round. :cowboy:

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:gikkle:  As a horseperson, my immediate thought was cowboys :P  :cowboy: I've been watching the Stampede too.  One of these days I'll make it to Calgary to see Spruce Meadows.  Seeing the Stampede would be pretty awesome too.  They usually have a SM tournament during the Stampede, so I can have the best of both worlds if I time it right. :) 

It sounds like you have an amazing trip planned.  Have a great time, but still please be careful.  My brother and nephew just visited us from Colorado and he now has COVID, despite being fully vaccinated.  He thinks he got it at the airport.  :(  

Safe travels!  :hug:  

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Well enjoy the flight over the mountains, Dodger!! If the smoke isn't too bad, you can get some really great scenery from above! Last I heard the coast is not being affected by all the smoke from the fires.

When you land in Vancouver (or maybe Victoria :unsure2: ), it sounds like you won't have much of a layover. Too bad, as it is a beautiful city (cities) right on the coast and so much to see and do. All surrounded by mountains too. It sounds like your sister is way way way out there. Lots of Calgarians take the flight over the mountains, then a float plane to the many fishing camps hidden all up and down the coast.

You missed Stampede by a day or two ;) If you, @Valkyrie or @Headstall ever come out to Stampede, we will need to meet and take in some of what is all going on. I might even buy some assless chaps. Why do they call them assless? All chaps are assless :gikkle: . Okay maybe not that far :P.

Say hi to your sister, I hope this is the one that was represented by Nicola. If she is one tiny bit like Nicola in real life, than she is an amazing woman ;) 

I say take it easy, you sound like you know the best ways to protect yourself and be careful in what you :yes:.

Take a few pictures and share with us what I'm sure will be amazing scenery all around you!!

Bon Voyage!

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2 minutes ago, wildone said:

You missed Stampede by a day or two ;) If you, @Valkyrie or @Headstall ever come out to Stampede, we will need to meet and take in some of what is all going on. I might even buy some assless chaps. Why do they call them assless? All chaps are assless :gikkle: . Okay maybe not that far :P.

You will absolutely be my guide to Calgary if I ever make it out that way :)  Buy all the chaps you want, as long as you don't actually wear them :P  Well, you can wear them all you want over jeans.  :P  If you decide to wear them without jeans, well... I promise to dig out my old chaps and do the same :P  :devil:  

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20 minutes ago, Valkyrie said:

You will absolutely be my guide to Calgary if I ever make it out that way :)  Buy all the chaps you want, as long as you don't actually wear them :P  Well, you can wear them all you want over jeans.  :P  If you decide to wear them without jeans, well... I promise to dig out my old chaps and do the same :P  :devil:  

I still have a pair of show chaps. They're almost brand new. :) 

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5 hours ago, Headstall said:

Good on you, Dodger. I hope you have a great time. I watched every minute of the Calgary Stampede on TV this year, sometimes twice with the re-broadcast. Sportsnet does a really fine production... you feel like you're there. And yeah, the cowboys. Caleb Bennet *sigh*, and can't forget the horses and stock. Top notch all round. :cowboy:

Yeah, I watched quite a bit of it too on Sportsnet. You get to see the amount of work that goes into putting on a show like that and this year, everyone did a great job to make it happen. It's good to see the respect that these guys have for each other in a very tough sport, untainted by mega-dollar television deals. 

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5 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

:gikkle:  As a horseperson, my immediate thought was cowboys :P  :cowboy: I've been watching the Stampede too.  One of these days I'll make it to Calgary to see Spruce Meadows.  Seeing the Stampede would be pretty awesome too.  They usually have a SM tournament during the Stampede, so I can have the best of both worlds if I time it right. :) 

It sounds like you have an amazing trip planned.  Have a great time, but still please be careful.  My brother and nephew just visited us from Colorado and he now has COVID, despite being fully vaccinated.  He thinks he got it at the airport.  :(  

Safe travels!  :hug:  

Thanks, Val. I hope your brother gets well soon. I like going places but the actual travelling bit is always stressful for me, especially the airports. I dislike the intense security checks, although I understand the reasons, and I probably wouldn't board a plane if there were none. Now there's another reason to be stressed and I will definitely be careful. I'm fine with the actual flying part.

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5 hours ago, wildone said:

Well enjoy the flight over the mountains, Dodger!! If the smoke isn't too bad, you can get some really great scenery from above! Last I heard the coast is not being affected by all the smoke from the fires.

When you land in Vancouver (or maybe Victoria :unsure2: ), it sounds like you won't have much of a layover. Too bad, as it is a beautiful city (cities) right on the coast and so much to see and do. All surrounded by mountains too. It sounds like your sister is way way way out there. Lots of Calgarians take the flight over the mountains, then a float plane to the many fishing camps hidden all up and down the coast.

You missed Stampede by a day or two ;) If you, @Valkyrie or @Headstall ever come out to Stampede, we will need to meet and take in some of what is all going on. I might even buy some assless chaps. Why do they call them assless? All chaps are assless :gikkle: . Okay maybe not that far :P.

Say hi to your sister, I hope this is the one that was represented by Nicola. If she is one tiny bit like Nicola in real life, than she is an amazing woman ;) 

I say take it easy, you sound like you know the best ways to protect yourself and be careful in what you :yes:.

Take a few pictures and share with us what I'm sure will be amazing scenery all around you!!

Bon Voyage!

The wildfires are obviously a problem at the moment but I'm hoping they will have the situation under control by the time I leave, which I should have mentioned won't be for a few weeks. I'm travelling mid-August, so there's a while to go yet, and I will definitely be taking lots of pictures.

This is not the sister that I loosely based Nicola on and mentioned in the past. She's the closest to my age and lives on the other side of Toronto, or just around the corner in Canadian distance. She has a busy life, but we see each other quite regularly so I'm not totally alone. I have a brother in Calgary and another who lives just a few miles away who I see maybe twice a year. We don't have a problem and we have a good laugh when we're together, but I've always been closer to the girls in the family. 

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