Mike Biggs @biggsstudio and I @21tat just got back from our trip to the Calgary Tattoo Convention up in my favorite country, Canada. What an awesome trip! I never get tired of visiting our friends up there. Nicest people in the world!
We flew up there on WestJet Airlines. Just like everything Canadian, I love this airline. Actually the only unfriendly folks I’ve met in Canada are the guys in Immigration. Ha! These guys must think I look like some hardened criminal or something. There’s always a little side trip for me into one of those spooky little interrogation rooms with some big scary dude in a flak jacket. I was standing in line with about twenty women in burkas when this big, scary guys picks me out of the line and says “Come with me”. I, of course, comply with his request. Hopefully this won’t take long, I think to myself, because I really need to pee after that flight and there are no restrooms before you wind up in the interrogation room! This guy asks the usual questions about what my plans are in Canada. Then the surprise question. “Are you straight edge?”, he asks. That one came out of left field! I told him I am about as far from straight edge as a person can get. He hands me my paper work and gives my passport a stamp. Another interesting Canadian experience! At least there was not a full cavity search this time!
My friend, Collin picks us up at the airport and promptly gives us a ride to the Delta Bow Valley Hotel in downtown Calgary. Thanks Collin! We find our room and then walked over to The Palomino for a pulled pork sandwich. Nice! We both had drawings to work on so we decided to hit the sack early to get a good start on the three days of hard core tattooing we had coming.
The Calgary Tattoo Convention is my favorite of all tattoo conventions. In fact, it is the only one I do any more. The fact that it takes place in October in one of my favorite cities, Calgary, makes it hard to resist. The trees are losing their leaves and the air is cool. A nice contrast to the heat that remains this time of year in Las Vegas.
The people are so polite. If you live in Vegas, you are not used to people being polite!
This convention always draws a huge crowd. Mike and I already had all three days booked, so we couldn’t take any walk-ups, but we were able to talk to some of the locals while we worked. Folks from Calgary and Edmonton seem to love Las Vegas, which is why I always go up and represent the studio. Good times!
After three days of hard work, it’s time to rent a car and head west to the Canadian Rockies. We rented a Subaru Outback for about the price of a Canadian hamburger, about twenty bucks a day, unlimited mileage. Kudos to Budget Auto Rentals on the Outback! That little car was awesome!
We had time to go by and visit some friends at Doug Fink’s shop @horihyo, Bushido Tattoo in downtown Calgary. Next we went by to see our friends at Paul Jefferies’ shop, Smiling Buddah, also near downtown. As expected, we were greeted warmly by the folks at these studios. Always good to see these guys.
First we drove out to Canmore and got a room for Sunday night. Didn’t make it to the Canmore after party at Jesse James’ shop, New World Samurai, Karma Studios. Heard it was awesome! We also stopped by to see Damian Robertson at his shop, Perfect Image Studio. After a really great breakfast at “The Wood Restaurant and Lounge”, we headed out for the next leg of our adventure.
Hopped back in the Subaru and headed on up to Lake Louise. This is still one of my favorite spots on earth. Unparalleled scenery on the hike around this amazing lake.
Mike had never been there, so we had to make it part of our trip. We had lunch at The Chateau Lake Louise Hotel which has an amazing view of the lake and some serious fine dining!
Next, we took the scenic route on our way to Jasper, Alberta where we had planned to spend the next night in a B & B arranged by my friends Andrew and Lynn who co-own Coco’s Cafe there in Jasper. Don’t really know how it happened, but we took a wrong turn and wound up driving several hours in to British Columbia. Wrong Province boys!!
It was such a scenic drive, and the Outback handled the road so nicely, we just had to turn around and head back to Lake Louise for the night! Awesome!
I contacted my friends back in Jasper and told them what had happened. Just wanted to let them know we wouldn’t make it for the night. As expected, they said “no worries”, just glad we had a nice time getting lost. Can’t think of a better place to be lost than British Columbia. Wow! What a place. Aquamarine rivers and snow capped mountains everywhere you look.
The next morning it’s up for breakfast and back in to Calgary for a quick flight back to Vegas. The guys at customs were much nicer to me on the way in to America! Can’t wait ’til next year. Thanks Canada for another great tattoo adventure!
Chas. T. Spencer @21tat
Studio 21 Tattoo, Las Vegas