Day Three, Part Two: Providence

After a morning of quiet melancholy, I really needed to stop and distract myself for a while. Luckily, Highway 22 has a distraction around every corner. 22 runs North-South through some of the most scenic grazing land in the province, so it's only natural that they call it the “Cowboy Trail.” (Much of the scenery in this area was featured in a certain Oscar-contending cowboy movie a few years ago...)
It's strange, though, that out of all the historic ranch sites and cattle-related attractions in the Southwest Corner of Alberta, the only place I stopped was at Marv's Classic Soda Shop in Black Diamond. I found a brochure at a Husky station in Bragg Creek; I was hungry, and Black Diamond is already on the trail, so I made sure to stop at Marv's on the way through. The brochure caught my attention because I was hungry, I suppose, but something about the audacity of a soda shop in Southwest Alberta attracted me like a magnet. My holidays are always strange that way. (Just look at the itinerary I've posted so far: political functions, religious ceremonies, and motorcycle riding... and at this point in the trip I wasn't even 100% certain of where I was going to be sleeping when the sun went down...)

Marv's is a 50's-style soda shop the likes of which I've never seen; which is mostly because they don't exist anymore. Not in Canada, anyway. Marv imported the equipment from far-away and exotic locations (like New Jersey) and runs it all himself. He even sings, if you ask him. (He's got a CD, if you're interested...)
I wasn't there for music or human interest stories, though, so I got right to the point. I was there for food.
  • The McGoo burger is advertised as the best burger you've ever had, and it really is amazing. I can't claim that it's the best hamburger I've ever had, but it kicks the stool out from under any burger I've ever paid money for. Who knew that peanut butter went with Cajun spices?
  • The soda flavour I picked is called “Dragon's Blood;” the taste is in the general area of coconut and cream soda. Yummy! Definitely a compliment for the sweet-salty-spicy taste of the McGoo.
  • To finish things off, I ordered a “Hot Ice Cream Soda.” Not as hot as I was hoping for after a cold ride in the foothills, but I didn't complain.(Coffee, crème brulee syrup, ice cream, and and whipped cream; served with a side of “Christina.”)

I chatted with the waitress for a while, but she was too busy serving hungry customers to get into any real flirtatiousness. There's another side-effect of the motorcycle lifestyle: you begin to assume that any friendly or otherwise talkative woman is flirting with you, especially when they begin conversations with “so, are you traveling alone?”
I still haven't come up with an answer to that question that works 100% of the time, but it'll come to me sooner or later...

After digesting the burger for a while and looking over my map, I finally decided to head for Waterton's Cameron Lake campsite. After a few more hours of driving, I'd be at the site and ready to finish the evening with a quick hike.

The one other really interesting site I came across along the way was this fenceline: someone put hats on each post for almost half a kilometer. That's... well, it's a lot of hats. Probably a few hundred.

When I finally arrived at Waterton, I picked up a trail map to see what looked like fun. The road to Cameron Lake isn't long, and the campsite is right there... but then I noticed something very interesting: there's a back road near the park gate that goes for 16KM up to Red Rock Canyon, a palace I'd been 11 years ago on a 4-H field trip; it was also mentioned in Neil Pert's motorcycle book. I was thinking about making a quick detour and heading to the campsite after I took some pictures... but from the canyon, there's a short trail (5KM or so) up into the mountains to a place called “Goat Lake.” I recognized that name from some backpacking guidebooks I'd read a few years ago, and while I hadn't planned on doing any back-country backpacking, I did bring all of the gear I would need... The temptation was too much for me to resist.

Here's the view after around ~4KM of walking (and ~500M of climbing...)

Hard work with 60lbs of gear on your back, but worth every drop of sweat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it sounds like you are having a gerat time. I love the look and sounds of the diner.