© Banff Lake Louise Tourism

The sirens of the open road are calling.

Respond enthusiastically with a luggage set, like the Samsonite Austonia 3-Piece Spinner, in the trunk of your car.  Each piece is easy to maneuver in/out and has plenty of packing space for two weeks’ worth of wardrobe.  Bring everything from pedal pushers to parkas.

The “A” in Alberta, one of Canada’s western Prairie Provinces, could stand for agriculture

Miles of crops such as wheat are seen after you cross the US/Canadian border at Sweetgrass, Montana. So are the flowers that give Albert its nickname – the wild rose. They bloom from late May to early August.

As you travel north towards Lethbridge, gigantic grain elevators stand by railroad tracks to announce the arrival into a small town.

Lethbridge has the distinction of being Alberta’s sunniest city. Take advantage by visiting the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens.  The Japanese influence, in addition to Chinese and other immigrants to southwestern Alberta is continued at the Galt Museum.

Alberta’s first people were Native Americans. Near Fort MacLeod, travel back in time to where the Nitsitapiisinni, or Blackfeet, used the sandstone cliffs to herd buffaloes off of before the arrival of horses by the Spanish explorers.

Built into a cliff, the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Museum’s top level opens to the endless prairie making it easy to imagine the roar and dust created by thundering herds. See the video to the left for a brief overview.

Near Brooks, the Blackfeet and Crow also hunted bison.  Before they and the beasts arrived dinosaurs roamed the land.

In this isolated badlands the Dinosaur Provincial Park Visitor Centre is found. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, like Head Smashed In, it is rich with many fossils from Styracosaurus to Daspletosaurus.

Calgary is home to the world-famous Stampede that happens every July for ten days. 2012 will mark its centennial. Chuck wagon races, rodeos and daily pancake breakfasts are just some of the annual favorite events.

Besides celebrating its rich Western heritage, Calgary is also renowned for its vivid cultural offerings like the Glenbow Museum.  Stunning views can be seen from the Calgary Tower.

Although Calgary is Canada’s third largest city, it is not the capital city of the Alberta. That honor belongs to Edmonton.

With the city bisected by the North Saskatchewan River, a wealth of park land is available for public use. Ride a bike, take a hike or, in the winter, try some cross country or downhill skiing.  If athletics are not your favorite activity – simply take off your shoes and lay down in the summer sun on a green plot of grass.

Shopping is a major activity in the city where for almost 20 years the world’s largest mall was found.

The Canadian Rockies dominate the western part of Alberta. Awe-inspiring seems a trite term, but there are few other expressions to accurately describe their majesty.

You have many places to see Mother Nature’s glories in Alberta. The Waterton Glacier International Peace Park straddles both the US and Canada, and Jasper National Park, the largest Park in the Rockies, is rife with glaciers, waterfalls and sightings of animals such as moose, caribou and grizzly bears.

Feeding eight glaciers, the Columbia Icefield has a parkway that connects Jasper to the magnitude of Banff National Park.

Banff’s Lake Louise is a glacial lake that has been offering vacationers rugged elegance among the peaks since the 19th century, when the railroad first brought easterners west. A stay at the Chateau Fairmount Lake Louise will make you wish you had purchased two luggage sets so you had double the wardrobe.

Then you would be able to stay twice as long to continue exploring Alberta’s wonders.

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