One thing that always catches our eye and looks unusual is the fact dogs are allowed anywhere here. You see them in hotel lobbies, shopping for souvenirs, riding gondolas, in the restaurant, in elevators, in the supermarket, in the mall, walking around museums, hiking, and coming out of motel rooms. Dogs are allowed to go anywhere humans can. People are very dog friendly too leaving out bowls of water out front of their shop or in the lobby.

Two places it looks the most unusual are in the hotels and restaurants. Now you know I am a dog lover and they are our family. But you just dont see this in Australia so it looks out of place. They also have a thing here called service dogs. They wear a little jacket which makes them look like a ranger with a special ID card. These are more than your average guide dog. You can have one for any kind of limiting disability including emotional therapy and support. It can be any type of dog. Like the little Jack Russell we seen hanging out with his parents on the cruise ship. We seen him everywhere, on the pool deck, in the theatre and in the five star restaurant. I am left wondering – where did he poo? We seen in the supermarket you can buy a square of fake lawn for your dog. I guess for toilet training when you take them to hotels. I wonder if this will take off in Australia. Dogs welcome anywhere…
We left Banff and headed towards Canmore. Its just down the road literally, our shortest move yet. On the way we take in more of the spectacular Rockies Mountain views and also the Autumn trees in their flashes of bright yellow and orange.
Canmore is bigger again than Banff but with a similar ski town feel. We pass lots of people training on their roller skiis and poles getting ready for winter when cross country and biathlons start. We drove the main street to check the place out. Then found ourselves a cheap motel. We made our picnic in a park with swings. Then headed to the Ammolite Factory. Ammolite is the Canadian opal like gem stone created on the fossilised shells of ammonites. They tell you it is super rare and mined here only in Alberta. Created by some freak in the fossilisation process of these giant shell creatures dating back millions of years. We would love to take one home, but this right red one alone costs what our house did. $180,000. You can buy a small one for around $300-$500.
imageWe have checked it nearly in every town since Alaska. It is very expensive, such as $600 for a pair of small simple earrings or $2000 for a pendant. It is super interesting. The lady explained more about the process of how its created and mined. Bailey is bringing a beautiful small piece home to add to his rock fossil collection.
imageNow we have heard here the weather changes real quick, and that it did. One minute we were playing on the swings in the sunshine and next a storm rolled in and it started to rain. So off we went to the Geological Museum. This was super interesting aswell. The kids completed a scavenger treasure hunt. Then studied all kinds of rocks and gems under microscopes while Geoff and I watched a movie on Geological formation of the Rocky Mountain Ranges.
imageAgain I wished I were a Geological Scientist. We learnt that thrust faults created much of the interesting ranges and valleys in the Rockies. This explained why they look sidesways and layered. It also went on to teach us about plate collisions, folds in the seabed, tectonic displacement and overturned faults. All of this really cool stuff started 150 million years ago. It happened slower than your fingernails grow so the dinosaurs would not have noticed it happening as they grazed about. It was a fascinating factoid factory. Oh and we also used the plate model to replicate a thrust fault and watch as two mountains were created. Cooooool as.
Just as we are unloading our stuff into our motel room Gracie discovered she left Occy hanging on the bedside lamp in Banff. Some tears, a phone call and car trip back to Banff, Occy from Alaska is now back in the hands of his lucky mummy!
imageSo now we are back in our little motel room all doing our journals and blog. Tonight its beer for the grownups and Ravioli in a can for dinner.

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