A trip to Vulcan - plus a few other places too.
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Saturday was Head Smashed In day, Sunday was rainy, stay in and blog day. So Monday we set off to Vulcan.
Contrary to popular belief this didn't involve any space travel, we went about 65 miles north to the town of that name. Not as you may think, named after Mr. Spock's fictitious home planet but in 1910, Vulcan was named by a Canadian Pacific railway surveyor who had a special interest in Roman mythology.
Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, especially destructive fire, and craftsmanship. His forge is located beneath Mount Etna. It is here that he, together with his helpers, forges weapons for gods and heroes.
In 1911 the rails were laid the first grain elevator built and Vulcan had a population of 28. There are many of these grain elevators all around this area - we passed a number of them on our way.
In the 1990's groups within the town came up with ways to increase tourism and capitalize on the Star Trek connection.
As we closed on the town the first thing to be seen is the Vulcan Starship FX6-1995-A, well, a 31' long, 9' high replica mounted on a concrete plinth with plaques welcoming you in; English, Vulcan and Klingon.
Turn onto Centre street and you have a convenient car park outside the space station, well it's actually the Vulcan Tourism and Trek station.
Inside it's a Trekkies wonderland, you can even dress up and have your picture taken "on the bridge"
Hey after 15 years of Star Trek conventions it's no wonder the whole town joined in. Check out: www.town.vulcan.ab.ca
There are murals, a Vulcan's Space themed Waterpark, many businesses combine the Trek theme in their advertising or name even the post office has a unique cancellation stamp granted by Canada Post in 2006. Let us know what it looks like Steve :)
After what turned out to be quite an astounding morning we set of to complete our circular tour.
East to Nanton - the town, we passed through driving in Bree, with the Lancaster museum. More grain elevators, a model train layout and a great burger bar/drive thru'. We actually parked up and walked over to sit in the sun eating 100% Alberta beef burgers, home made on the premises - Mc Donald's it was not! We have found some of the roadside diners - individually owned offer fantastic value and great tasting food.
After our lunch we wandered over to the airplane museum, had a look through the open hangar doors but didn't venture in. I think we had plenty of air and space info the last six month session :)
We did stroll through the town with more antique shops than you could throw a roadshow at. Plenty of good "historic downtown" buildings and many photo opportunities. I think they must be used to visitors with cameras, even the UPS truck stopped in order for me to take a picture across the road - where else?
Tuesday we set off for Lethbridge, the largest town south of Calgary. Its claim to fame is the huge railway bridge spanning the valley of the Oldman river (the one we are camped by, just a few miles further upstream).
We walked from the tourist information office at the eastern end of this bridge down the "coulee" - a v shaped valley to Fort Whoop Up - hey, we had to go to a place with a name like that :)
Fort Whoop Up was a trading post trading whisky to the Indians - not sure how it got its name though.
Again we spent quite a while here, soaking up the history and realizing we will be off on a similar trail between Fort Whoop Up and Fort Benton in America, However unlike those early settlers it will only take us a few hours, though we may stop for a day or two in between.
Could be even more history to come...
We failed on the multiple map pins but if you zoom into Vulcan then follow our route you'll find the towns :)