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Travel: Mountain UTVing Calgary

September 19, 2018 |  by  |  Photos, Travel  |  No Comments

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

Mountain UTVing in Calgary

What? Yes! I know it’s a bit odd, or perhaps out of character for us, yet this is what we did on Tuesday, September 4. For Bryce’s birthday I put together a little scavenger hunt and the end prize was a day of UTVing in Ghost (a public land use area outside of Calgary).

First – it took me about 6 hours of research to find a place to rent a decent UTV, find an area where we could legally ride, and find a location with all-terrain trails. That’s the reason for this post – to hopefully help out another non-utver or a newbie looking for a place to ride.

Alberta is full of Public Land Use Zones (I had no idea!) and you can ride UTVs, horses, and even camp there for free. Here is the Government site.

The site above has a lot of info and is a little tricky to navigate. If you want the quick map to where we rode – by Ghost River – then download here: GhostPLUZMap-May2018

Where to Rent

I could only find a handful of places that rented UTVs and in the end we selected All Season Rental Adventures out of Calgary. Here are just a few things to be aware of, if you’re renting.

  • Large damage deposit – our’s was $4500 – on top of the rental
  • Only third party liability insurance
  • All Season holds the damage deposit for up to 72 hours
  • You need to clean the UTV before returning it

Those few things would have been awesome to know before hand. When we rented the person told us the UTV was brand new, the last renters had totalled the pervious one (basically, they bought a wrecked machine). Ya, that sounds like a great investment! Also, Cochrane, which is on your way back to Calgary from Ghost, has 2 places you can bay wash your UTV. Worked out well.

Trails to Ride

Okay – this is where we started our ride: South Ghost 4×4 Staging Area.

If you check out the Ghost Map, we rode the following trails:

  • 47 – 13, 13 – 7, 7 – 3, 3 – 1, 1 – 4 – then we did it in reverse (total time, about 2 hours)
  • 47 – 45, 45 – 49, 49 – 51, 51 – 53, 53 – 95 – then in reverse (total time, about 2.5 hours)
  • We played a lot (just racing back and forth) south of 45 and between 53 – 95

Okay – time for the adventure!

This is the brand new Polaris RZR 900. We got it up to about 105 KM/Hour. I say about because we stopped looking at the speedometer past 90 KM/Hour and concentrated on the terrain instead. We for sure broke 100. It feels so fast, like really really fast.

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

This is Bryce, all smiles, in the staging area. We are ready!

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

I got to drive, too.

Funny note – there is a handle bar (you can see it above) on the passenger side which reminders me of bar you’d see on a rollercoaster. When we picked up the machine I laughed to myself, thinking – who needs that? Well, let me tell you – you’ll fly out if you don’t hang on (yes, they have seatbelts).

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

Funny Story

Another funny story? I was nervous about getting mud and debris in my eyes so I brought an old pair of Bryce’s ski googles. After about 8.4 seconds of riding I was screaming “there’s dirt in my eyes – I can’t see!” Bryce, without goggles, was like “no, Ali – there’s no sand or dirt.” He slowed down and I wiped my eyes. Good to go. Peddle to the floor.

“Stop – stop!” “Seriously?” “Yes – I can’t see!” So, we got out of the UTV after having been in it for 1.4 minutes at this point, and I took off my goggles and my helmet. My face looked like it was seasoned with pepper. Clumps and clumps of disintegrated foam from the ski goggles were all over my face and in my eyes! Yuck.

Bryce couldn’t stop laughing on the inside, yet held it together long enough for me to wash my face with one of our water bottles. Needless to say, I was fine without the ski goggles, which, by the way, are in the trash at the Cochrane bay wash.

Here’s a photo of an unimpressed Ali. Bryce wanted to take a photo of the mud on my face – I, having gone through the goggle incident, was now hypersensitive to anything on my face.

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

Ah – helmet off, now I can wipe my face – much better!

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

Views

I couldn’t get over the views, so beautiful and we only saw about a handful of people on our adventure. We actually saw more cows than people.

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

There you have it – one muddy UTV leaving the playground of Ghost.

Mountain UTVing Calgary: 3ten.ca

Overall, we had an awesome experience. We spent 5 hours riding trails and racing across open land. Had lunch, enjoyed the sun, and the company.

If you’re looking for a little adventure, then check it out – it’s fun (just don’t wear old ski goggles).

Travel: Elk Island National Park

September 8, 2018 |  by  |  Photos, Travel  |  No Comments

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

Camping! Yes – we went camping again. This is our fourth trip of the season and we’ve got two more left. I’m excited since fall camping is beautiful. Okay – check out our photos.

Elk Island National Park

The best part about this park is that it’s only 55 minutes from our driveway to the campsite. That’s it – less than an hour!

Ah, the hazy ski is from all the recent wildfires in BC – makes for pretty photos.

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

Meet Lexis – she’s a sweet pup that we keep an eye on when her family is off exploring the world and catching up with other members of their family. Remember Lexi Girl from an earlier post? She’s so sweet and was a true camping pup.

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

Lexis even paddleboarded with us. Life jackets are important – safety first.

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

We love dinner (or any meal, for that matter) over the open fire. So delicious.

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

The perfect mallow.

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

And, we spotted a whole heard of Bison on our way out.

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

Elk Island Camping: 3ten.ca

Elk Island, you were blew our expectations – with lakes, hikes, and wildlife – we had a blast. Our campsite (number 26) was the best. Secluded and tucked in from all the hustle and bustle going on around us. You can certainly hear other people, yet the visual privacy is nice.

Overall, we recommend camping at Elk Island National Park – just be sure to get out and see the park.

Thanks for visiting – and who else loves fall camping?

Travel: 5 Days in Chicago

August 25, 2018 |  by  |  Photos, Travel  |  No Comments

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

Chicago! Here you’ll find where to stay, how to get around the city, where to eat and what to do. First, we bought CityPasses – and I’m a celiac, so all placed we visited are gluten friendly. Total bonus, right? Let’s go.

5 Days in Chicago

Where to Stay

Freehand Hotel

How to get Around

L-Train

What to Do

Street Art
Shedd Aquarium
Art Institute
Adler Planetarium
Sights

Where to Eat

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Eats

Okay – there you have it, a full packed 5 days in Chicago. Read on for additional travel tips.

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

5 days in Chicago: 3ten.ca

Well, I’ll say this – our 5 days in Chicago were pretty full, yet we did have some downtime. In fact, we got through the whole series of Netflix’s Worlds Fastest Car. That’s one tip I don’t think ever gets old. When you’re travelling, regardless of for how long or short, build in some downtime – especially if you’re like me and use that ‘alone’ time to recharge. You might end up doing less, yet you’ll have more fun.

Another little tip – don’t be afraid to check out local markets, grocery stores and keep your bag stocked with a few snacks and water. Some places, like Museum Campus, are filled with over priced cafes which don’t even have gluten free options. I kept a few Lara bars in my bag which were great go-to snacks if we were getting ‘hangry’ – yes, that happens.

Last tip – plan ahead especially if you know there are some things you’ll be disappointed if you miss. As an example, the Art Institute is far too big to for one day (well, 7 hours). So, we planned to spend a fair bit of time there and prioritized on which sections to see. Some we burned through at a speed-walker pace, while other sections I sat and read every card. This works on a larger scale – will you be sad if you miss the Bean? Don’t see Wrigley Field? Or don’t eat at an Iron Chef’s restaurant? Be honest with yourself and let it help shape your trip.

Thanks for visiting and happy travels!

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