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Friday, July 13, 2018

Two Cowboys: Learning Why Little Things Matter for Tiny House Builder, Finished Right Contracting, in Morinville, AB

The Little Things

When you consider living in a Tiny House, you know that the little things matter. 

It matters because space is limited in your living quarters. Everything has its place, and everything must have a purpose, or it is in the way. It also matters because you recognize how precious space is in your mind that you dedicate to the things around you. 

When you are conscious of your physical and mind-space limitations, you discover how little meaningful time you have and how much of this precious resource it can take to truly dedicate to “belongings”. There are only so many hours in a day, days in a month, and months in a year. Keeping something for "in-case" or "sentimental" value quickly becomes something in the way or another thing that needs storage, maintenance and care. It merely occupies space you may no longer have.


The same applies to the people with which we surround ourselves. If we choose to have them in our lives, do they honestly matter? Should they matter? Does your employer really commit to your wellbeing like you commit your precious life hours to theirs or will they let you go the moment you are no longer needed, useful, nice, or “a team player”. Do clients really care about your welfare or are they merely focused on extracting as much as possible for as little as they have to offer? 

Should you care to whom you hand over your money? Do the people from who you buy have your health and well-being in mind when they sell you that highly preserved meal, lousy coffee or device that will stop working or break in 18 months. Who makes, grows or crafts the items that fill your life? Are you with a partner, parent, or is your older child with you because they build you or because they use you or even worse, abuse you?

This is probably why minimalism and living tiny go hand in hand. Both are contrarian outlooks in today’s fast-paced consumption driven life. Both require a lot more thought about the things we have, the time we spend, and the people we have around us. It is anti-hoarding. It is less that is allowing for more. It is living with purpose.

We’ve discovered that it has the power to create space for more meaningful living. That is why we like it. We’ve also found that it doesn’t come easy, though. It requires firm resolve and dedication. Every decision made, item used, hour spent, and person loved needs to made conscious of the real value, role and purpose it plays in your life. The little things matter because that is where you find meaning.

A lot is said and produced online about Tiny Houses, tiny living and the motivation of people that choose the lifestyle. At the outset, it sounds bohemian to be able to live in a space that is considered small by North American standards ( Europe and Japan with their space limitations, even our tiny is considered big). A home you can move with you if you choose to live in another part of the town or country. It comes with a philosophy of possibility. It also comes with a perspective of quality which is different from what you get in a mobile home, RV or a motorhome.


We were fortunate enough to meet Steve Zaleschuk of Finished Right Contracting who shares in our philosophy. He is a tiny house builder just north of Edmonton, Alberta. Steve has been doing carpentry for over 34. You can see his keen sense of accomplishment when he takes a stack of lumber and turns it into something beautiful and useful that can stand the test of time. This is precisely what he does when he builds his customers’ small homes. Everything Steve makes is scrutinized by that little voice inside his head, “Would Grandma be happy with this?” If not, I do it better!  

Steve Zaleschuk is a true craftsman and maker. He prides himself in making a tiny home that will be enjoyed for the next eighty years by all who walk through the entrance. Everything is hand-finished and done custom to the client's satisfaction. This takes a lot longer and costs more at the outset. However, as we know with things that are well made, over time it's better.

Steve “overbuilds” his tiny houses. He thought of everything. Every last detail is done with care and consideration. Nothing is too much. Just right. We’ve discovered that the fit out of a tiny home can be a minefield of options. It is a marriage between a conventional building and an RV. Traditional buildings last longer and is more comfortable during bad weather but is heavy, more expensive and less mobile. RV thinking ads mobility, less cost at the outset, but quality and durability are usually an issue. Should you do solar? Do you really need water tanks? What heating should you use? How do you cool down in hot weather? All these questions come up, and Steve has an answer for every one of them and more. He did his homework and will guide prospective customers through a build that is perfect for their needs.

We have not seen the amount of care before that Steve puts into constructing tiny houses for other people. Steve can rightly call his houses, “homes”. If there is a little home we want to live in, Steve’s is at the top of our list. Who knows? Maybe we will get a chance to do it.

Hendrik van Wyk 
Minimalist Cowboy

 We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode to promote a local business or event.             


Quality Control
Quality Control


Really Tiny
Small Home


Monday, June 25, 2018

Two Cowboys: The Spice Must Flow with Alberta Steak Spice in Canmore, Alberta, Canada

It’s the Spice

Someone once said that you can never have too much spice in your life. We agree. As we get older and our palates develop, some would say mature, we definitely lean towards discovering new and bolder flavors for cooking. Spice is one of the go-to options to add more flavor. It allows us to broaden our culinary repertoire. We have our favorites but we are always open to discover new ones.


There are a lot of places in the world known for spice production and its use in specific cultures and cooking. Mexico for chilies, India for curries, and Asia immediately come to mind with a mind-numbing array of bold spicy flavors. We didn’t think that the Province of Alberta was one of them until we discovered that it is the New World’s main producer of mustard! This opened our eyes to the adventures of Alberta’s spice masters.

We were fortunate enough to have met one of them, Larry Gale, at the Canmore Uncorked Food Festival a couple of years ago. Today, he is the inventor, proprietor and general cheerleader of Alberta’s newest and most adventurous journey into spice production - blending spice. According to Larry, Alberta has a unique demand for a  foundational spice that goes well with its world-renowned Black Angus Alberta beef.

However, he didn’t stop there. Once the foundation was laid he discovered that it worked with a lot more than Beef. It spiced up chicken, ribs, seafood, vegetables. In fact, Larry will canvas for the use of his spice even on Ice Cream!

The real opportunity came for Larry’s product when he hunted for a name for his spice. At first he settled on the unassuming and generally accepted convention for plain and simply referring to it as Alberta Steak Spice. Alberta’s people are Prairie farm folk. Simple folk. It is better to make it clear what the stuff in the bottle is for.

Then it struck him. Larry invented “ASS”! Or, more commonly referred to as Alberta’ ASS. The acronym for (A)lberta (S)teak (S)pice is ASS. This opened up all kinds of wicked marketing possibilities which he hasn’t even started to explore.


The novelty of the name may be the first thing that attracts someone to ASS. However, once you tried ASS you want to use it a little more in your daily cooking. We’ve used it on our steak and we’ve liked it more and more.

The blend is course, yet versatile, and a little on the peppery side - the way folks like it here in Alberta. It is a base blend which allows you to add more of your own adventures like a little more cyan pepper, mustard for pork, all spice fr chicken or even brown sugar for caramelization. Larry mentioned that he is adding to the ASS repertoire with a finer version of ASS (Alberta Seasoning Spice). He is doing it because folk have been using ASS on so much of their food and so many different kinds of food that there is scope for something with even more use.

We can see this only the beginning for this novel idea. It has our support. Where will you be able to get your own ASS, I hear you ask.

You can buy it online for worldwide shipping, in your local supermarket in Alberta (soon British Columbia and the rest of Canada). It is also available in the Two Cowboys Store. (

Hendrik van Wyk
Spice Cowboy

 We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode to promote a local business or event.            



Ribs and ASS

Larry and ASS

Amongst Friends

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Wing Night With the Two Cowboys in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Waterton Wing Night Wings

"Wing Night is a ceremonial and sacred evening during which many chicken wings will be eaten by a gathering of gluttonous friends. Each step of the preparation and consumption of the wings is carefully orchestrated and held holy. Deviation from tradition (i.e. inviting your girlfriend, not eating til breathing is difficult, leaving early, not toasting the first wing, not getting everyone a beer when yours is finished or you get up, bringing non-wing food to the gathering, de-winging during the meal) is strictly and violently forbidden. The only consumables other than chicken wings welcome at wing night are blue cheese dressing, celery stalks, and beer - lots and lots of beer."

We checked in with three establishments in Waterton Lakes National Park's Town Site to find more out about their wing offerings. We were spoiled for choice in what is essentially a really small town. Here is what we found.


Zum's Eatery and Mercantile 

Zum's is an institution when it comes to southern-style fried chicken in Waterton. As a result, their chicken wings didn't disappoint. They know their chicken. It was lightly breaded, well cooked and succulent to the bone.

The sauce didn't have the kick we were looking for. Instead, it had the flavour that complemented the wing nicely. The challenge with southern-style wings is that it is a rich wing. You will have to pace yourself not to fill up too quickly.

Is it a typical Wing Night wing? For the Cowboys, it needed more heat and we will probably not run out of beer, as you should when having Zum's hot wings. It is more your Sunday lunch kind of wing. Add the restaurant's amazing patio and scenery and you have a must-do stop in Waterton where you can take the whole family for fried chicken.

Thirsty Bear Kitchen and Bar

The Thirsty Bear is the Bar and a favourite hangout in Waterton. All bars need hot wings on the menu at the Thirsty Bear didn't disappoint.

The Cowboys would have liked to have a few more than three choices of wings on the menu. Considering the gourmet-feel the rest of the menu offers patrons, it may have made the choices too hard. We usually get distracted by the Truffle Mac n Cheese. If there was a way to dip our wings in that we may just have gotten ourselves into trouble.

For this particular occasion, we tried the hot wings. It came with a unique Dill Dip (get the Aussie to say it ;-)) that was almost as good as the Mac n Cheese. Go for the dip when you visit! The wings needed more heat to be classified Cowboy hot, which is probably acceptable given the delicate flavours of the dip.

The Thirst Bear stands out for its excellent selection in craft beers. If Shameer's cook can make the wings hotter, they may just get us to drink (a lot more) of the delicious local beer.

Trappers Mountain Grill

If there is one place that spared no expense in laying out the red carpet for the Cowboys it was Steve West and the crew at Trappers. Here comes the disclaimer: You will probably need a VIP access pass to the Trappers' inner circle to get the buttery smokey gourmet wings laid out for us during our visit. What we tasted was from Trappers' test kitchen. We took one for the team and every bite was worth it!

I think we convinced Steve to put the new flavour wings on the menu if he can manage to repeat the feat and make the food cost work. A lot of labour and love went into making these wings and it was the most flavourful wings we've tasted thus far.

Steve is not going to like what comes next. Sorry, Steve, we needed more heat. Not burning heat. Rather, more flavour heat. Something that made us thirsty. The beers were huge and icy cold and we were dearly looking for an excuse to have even more beer. We didn't get it. We ended up looking for more wings instead!


Waterton has a variety of food establishments and a great community of people. While chicken wings may not (yet) be a good reason to make the trip, who knows, it may become one in the future.

Please support Waterton's businesses. Say hello to the people of Zums, Thirsty Bear and Trappers. Tell them the Two Cowboys sent you and ask for parmesan with your wings.

We thank them all sincerely for indulging us while we are trying to find the best Wing Night wings in Canada and hope they will have us back after seeing and reading the above.

Hendrik van Wyk
Winging Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode to promote a local business or event.


Zum's Wings

Trappers Wings

Thirsty Bear Wings

Winning Wings!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Seeing the Light with Dark Sky Guides in Waterton, Alberta, Canada

Not So Dark

Sometimes you need darkness to appreciate the light. This is indeed an opportunity in Waterton National Park as the residents of the town reinvent themselves after the devastating Kenow fire of 2017.

One of the ways they are doing it is to offer a new experience that is well suited for the literal darkness of the destination - stargazing! You can now have a guided stare at the breathtaking heavenly night sky of Waterton with Dark Sky Guides.


The four Robinson Brothers were lucky to grow up in Waterton Lakes National Park, and over the years they explored all areas of the National Park, both in daylight and after dark. As third-generation tourism service providers (they also operate Waterton Shoreline Cruise Company), sharing Waterton Park’s abundant human and natural history has always been a part of their lives. Now they are starting at the heavens and they want to take you with them.

After the Kenow Mountain Fire burnt a significant portion of Waterton Lakes National Park in September 2017, the brothers knew it would be more critical than ever, to show people that there is more to Waterton that just daytime hiking through (the once forested) mountain landscapes. And so, Dark Sky Guides was born.

Between the four of them, the Robinson Brothers officially have 40 years of experience acting as tour guides in Waterton Lakes National Park. And over the years the brothers have travelled to many destinations around the world, picking up best practices from other tour guides and companies across the planet.

Dark Sky Guides offers small, personalized tours that will open peoples’ eyes to an entirely new area of Waterton Lakes National Park – the night sky above. The brothers hope to encourage every single tour participant to connect on a personal level with the National Park, in their own particular way.


We were lucky to be invited to the dinner kick off and Dark Sky Guide launch night on the 29th of May 2018.

Keith, his brothers and their team surprised us with a fantastic meal while we waited for the sun to set and the moon to shine. At around 22:30 we were treated to the new experience of having our own local guide - one of the brothers - from Dark Sky Guides showing us the heavens above Waterton Lakes National Park.

The moon was full. With the telescopes they provided, we were given a chance to see it in a whole new light. We were left with a renewed appreciation for the area and for our own small place in the vastness of our Universe thanks to their expert guidance and commentary about the heavenly bodies.

Keith noted that while the summer nights in Alberta doesn't provide a lot of dark hours, they hoped to offer the experience year-round. Winter in Canada is a stargazers dream, and there is no better place to dream than amongst the beauty of Waterton Lakes National Park.

This is a recommended Two Cowboys experience, and we wish the Robinson brothers all the success they can have with their new venture!

Hendrik van Wyk
Moon Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode to promote a local business or event.


Maiden Voyage

On Tour


Big Gun!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Two Cowboys: Smoking Meat, Cold Beer and BBQ is a Lifestyle at Trappers Mountain Grill in Waterton, Alberta

A BBQ Lifestyle

I once asked a competitor at a Canadian BBQ Society sanctioned competition how long he's been grilling and smoking meat. He surprised us with his answer. Two years, he said. Truth be told, my question was meant as a joke! We didn't know there was another way to cook meat. We've been doing it for all our lives.


BBQ, smoking and grilling meat is a lifestyle for the Two Cowboys. Five out of seven days, at the close of the day, we are outside doing our thing with steak, chicken, pork and whatever we can find to cook on the grill or in the smoker (including vegetables like pumpkin, asparagus, potatoes etc.).

We've done it in rain and sunshine, in blazing summer heat and when it is -30 C in Canada. To us, it is a sacred, primal, right of passage as a reward for being at the top of the food chain. We cherish the opportunity. The rite that plays itself out alongside our grill, fire or smoker is as old as humanity itself. It is who we are. We love every moment of it and are always looking forward to it. In the same way, we are always on the scout for fellow comrades with a similar passion and commitment to the lifestyle.

We meet many during our travels and we love telling their stories. This is how we've come to know Steve and Debbie West from Trappers Mountain Grill in Waterton, Alberta. Steve shares our love for BBQ and cold beer. He is also an innovator and a passionate entrepreneur that makes Waterton his home for six months of the year when he is not fishing in Florida. Steve likes to do something unique that allows him to share his passion for good food, BBQ, Gin and Beer.


This is how Trappers Mountain Grill is launching something new in Waterton this season. Steve calls it his Backyard BBQ. The plan is, once the rush of the summer days subsides and the lines for food and ice cream are over, to do a delicious smoked meat sandwich. It will be available at the back-door of his restaurant on main street Waterton Avenue.

It promises to be an excellent sandwich that will go down well with your own crispy cold beer (sorry folks, you have to bring your own beer). For Steve and his team, it is another way of sharing their passion for cooking meat in one of the worlds most picturesque locales. He is doing it with his new US$35,000 smoker!

Apparently, he's been practicing all winter to get the recipe locked down, and it is finally ready for the "big time". In his own words, "It is a mean piece of equipment with the single purpose of delivering the best-smoked fair available in Waterton town" - authentic Southern-Style BBQ.

Steve's venture promises to deliver a hearty meal and great fellowship when most food establishments in the town close down for the evening. It is the way it should be done, simply and deliciously with good friends. The Two Cowboys were there to give it a try. Enjoy our experience with us.

Hendrik van Wyk
Trappers Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode promoting a local business or event.


With Friends

Backyard BBQ

Southern Pride


See You There!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: It is Summer 2018 and Waterton is Open for Business Again in Alberta, Canada

Now More Than Ever

Waterton is a place dear to our hearts. Its scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. But, we are most fond of its people. Waterton is open for business in 2018!

The tiny seasonal village adopted us, the Two Cowboys, as their own. From our start in 2016, they gave us an opportunity to showcase their natural beauty, the variety of food and intrigue, to the world. We cannot start a Summer in Canada without our annual visit to Waterton. This is our fourth year.

Open for Business!

Waterton After the Fire


At the end of May, the snow melted, and the remaining trees were green. The flowers were out all over Waterton's grasslands, and in the town, the baskets were in bloom. We made our way to our favourite camping spot unsure of what 2018 will hold for the destination. During the last couple of years, we've worked with Waterton to promote the town, the destination and its businesses.

This year we were even more committed than usual to show the world a little of our Spring paradise, because of the recent Kenow fire. The disaster destroyed a lot of the natural attraction of Waterton in 2017. The good news was that the village was saved, except for the Parks Canada Information Centre (which was slated to be moved anyway), and nobody got hurt. We found Waterton open for business.

At the townsite, many of the faithful pilgrims returned to pick up the pieces after the disaster, with the hope to continue where they left off, before the fire. The big question on everyone's mind this year was if Waterton would recover from the incident. Will the visitors return and will patrons again come to enjoy the beauty and the people of the community?


With every significant and sudden change in people's lives, such as what happened in Waterton, there is a sense of loss. However, such a move also provides ample opportunity for reflection and renewal. Some may regard the event of a massive forest fire in Waterton as a disaster and a loss. We make the case that it need not be the case.

It is not a loss for nature. Instead, it only a step in the continues cycle of renewal. It's a natural cycle that been playing itself out in the forests and on prairies of Canada, over and over for millennia. It will continue to do so long after humanity left the planet. Waterton's forests and animals didn't lose something. It gained necessary renewal.

The question that remains is if the event will translate into a loss for the town and its businesses. Will tourism return in 2018 like before and will the businesses suffer if they don't? People will be aware that what they came to expect from Waterton's Park landscape is no longer there. Instead, there is something different, and equally spectacular, or will they drive by towards the other natural attractions of the Province?

The opportunity now, for the visitors to the Park is to discover this natural process of renewal and experience the unique ways that trees recover, new flowers blossom and animals return to a rebirth of a region.

With it, the businesses in the town have an opportunity to renew and refresh. The tourists are unlikely to return to previous numbers in the near term. It will put pressure on revenue and force a rethink for a complacent few that got too accustomed to the visiting masses. For others, it will open opportunities to try something new, upgrade, or for new businesses to step in where some may decide to throw in the towel.

Waterton's businesses and its people are as much an attraction for the destination as its natural beauty. They are all given a chance to renew, rebuild, attract and grow. The ones that take this chance will be the folks who prevail and flourish and who we will promote in years to come. Those are the people you will find in Waterton this, the next and the years thereafter.

We are glad that Waterton is once again open for business.

Hendrik van Wyk
Waterton Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode promoting a local business or event.


On the Water of Waterton




The Locals

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Traveling in Style and Getting Our Espresso Fix on the Road with a Rocket R58

Good Coffee on the Road

It is incredible to realize just how bad coffee can be on the road. Some establishments give themselves out as coffee shops that should rather stay away from espresso machines.

We only feature positive stories, and we have to confess that it is difficult to find positive espresso coffee stories on our travels. 


The real gems are when we find a lost master barista operating a hole in the wall espresso stand, for a few discerning customers. We wish there were more of them in the world. They are the morning coffee heroes that should be celebrated. In their absence, we had to make our own plans.

We invested in a Rocket R58 Espresso Machine, a little Rancilio grinder and fresh beans as we travel. Now we can make our own coffee on the road when we cannot find a good local spot with a barista in the know.


The biggest challenge with espresso on the road has enough electricity to operate a higher-end espresso machine. The Rocket works with 110V power, which makes it ideal for mobile operations. It has a little water tank that we fill as we go. It is a heavy machine, so we had to be sure that we have the right spot for it. You are not going to unpack it every time you use it. It needs a special place in our rig.

We've found our coffee solution for when we can not find good coffee in the destinations of our travels. Tell us about your favourite coffee spots, and we may just pay them a visit when we pass through.

Hendrik van Wyk
Rocket Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode promoting a local business or event.


Mobile Espresso

Hole in the Wall



Good Coffee

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Two Cowboys: Smoking Prime Rib and Learning to Line Dance at Lynnwood Ranch Feast and Frolic, Aldersyde, Alberta

Ten Times Better

Some things get better with time. For others, you come back time and again because they cannot get any better. One good example is the succulent, flavourful, smokey, savoury, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, prime rib that Gus Leduc of Lynnwood Ranch perfected over the many years that we've known him.

It made us wonder why the BBQ people from the Canadian BBQ Society, of which we are dues paying members, go through all the effort to make brisket and pork butt palatable, while there are better cuts to cook, like Alberta Beef prime rib? 


Don't get us wrong. There is mastery required in every cooking challenge and some like it more desperate than others. To make a piece of leather taste like bone marrow takes talent and decades of dedication to perfect the method. We are reminded by the BBQ fraternity, every time we call them out on choosing the tougher meats for their well-seasoned smokers, that there is no challenge in using the more exceptional cuts.

We beg to differ.

A well-respected butcher in New Zealand once deboned a well-aged lamb shoulder for us. As he handed over the cut, he asked how we planned to cook it. Without listening to our reply, he interrupted with a strong word of caution. This is what he had to say: "Son, remember God made it perfect. Don't you go f*&ck it up now."
It is sometimes harder to not mess up an excellent piece of meat than it is to make anything taste like something. Ask any red seal chef. He knows what we are on about!

Whenever I savour Gus Leduc's perfectly cooked, seasoned, and melt-in-your-mouth buttery prime rib (yes, I know this sounds lyrical), I remember the sage's advice. God made it perfect. However, I am convinced that Gus makes it better.


If you ever, ever get a chance to have a meal at Lynnwood Ranch, then jump at the opportunity. It doesn't matter if it is for Ducks Unlimited, Rebels Without a Cause, Lions Breathe, Breast Cancer, Proctologists Unite or SmokinQ. Find a reason to have Gus' prime rib dinner. It is one for the bucket list. Your maker will be pleased.

P.S. Time is running out. Gus and Wendy are not getting any younger. Grab the chance and tell them the Two Cowboys sent you.

Hendrik van Wyk
Prime Rib Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode promoting a local business or event.


A Legend

A Master

A Disciple

A Man With A Beard

Traveling Cowboys: Hot Sauce and Dirty Poutine on the Alberta Prairie with Motoburrito, Turner Valley, Alberta

Travel is a Drug

Travelling is not a vacation. For a start, you don't always know where you are going and what you will be doing, seeing, who you will be meeting and how you will be experiencing. The unpredictability of travel turns it into a must-have drug for some, and a terrifying prospect for others.

We are self-confessed travel-junkies. We continuously hear the siren call of the open road. A week in a place is sometimes too long. We don't know where we will be next week or next month. All we know is that we won't be here anymore. We've sold our soul to unpredictability, opened our hearts to adventure and we are ready to be surprised by the fantastic people we will meet and the places we will explore on our journey.


We don't like the world traveller, even if it is part of our name - the Traveling Cowboys. The word wanderer has more appeal.

The urban dictionary defines wanderer as someone that travels aimlessly. In contrast to wandering, some people are in a place for life, or at least for a predictable time. They are comfortable with intimately knowing their surroundings and familiar with everyone around them. Every day, month and season have predictability and a routine for them. They have goals like graduating, getting married, having children, building a house and ultimately retiring wealthy with lots of grandchildren.

The Wanderer is out place. I will contend that his or her travel is anything but aimless. Instead, it is a journey of wonder. Far from leaving or moving away from the familiar, the wonderer is drawn by the adventure of the unfamiliar. Some prefer a particular style of surprise, through the window of an RV, with a backpack, continent-hopping or Couchsurfing. Everyone has their favourite destinations. Alaska, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, bush or city. However, all travellers have one thing in universal - absolute awe for the grandeur of the world around them!

Wanderers cannot get enough. The world is too big to explore in one lifetime. The more you do it, the more addicted you get to doing it.

On one's journey, you inevitably make friends with fellow travellers. We've made friends with Claudette and her team at Motoburrito in Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada. When Spring breaks on the prairie, they return like swallows from their travels, for a short three months, to serve the most delicious Mexican food from their food trailer. It is their way of financing their next journey and a surefire way to lure us back each year to catch-up, hear about the last trip, and find out what the plans are for the next.


Claudette introduced us to her homemade hot sauce. She finally revealed the secret to why a Dirty Poutine and a Taco at Motoburrito taste so much better than from any other attempt we've sampled. The secret is in the sauce. It is absolutely delicious. Kids have to be warned. This one is for adults only. It has a kick to it that will make you wish for ice cream in the morning.

Claudette's hot sauce is like the travel drug. Once you've tasted it, you want more. Once you have more, you are hooked and scheduled for an annual pilgrimage back to Turner Valley. We usually cannot wait for our next taco and poutine at Motoburrito and is always on the lookout for an excuse to do the next one. Apparently, they also do a Dirty Sanchez Burrito. I will let Claudette tell you more about that one...

Hendrik van Wyk
Wondering Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode promoting a local business or event.


Muchos Soldados! 
Biker Stampede

That Hot Sauce!

Taco Ladies!




More Cheesy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Small Plates and Big Flavour at the Grande Brunch of Uncorked 2018 in Canmore, Alberta

Nine in a Row

For a town of fourteen thousand people, Canmore has so many restaurant choices that even if we eat at a different one every day, for a month, we still won't be able to try them all.

That is why we love our annual appointment with Andrew Nickerson and his team at Canmore's Uncorked Food Festival. The festival makes it easier to discover and enjoy the best Canmore's dining scene offers - restaurants we didn't know existed and dishes we haven't tried before. When we say the best, we don't only mean the food. We also suggest the people committed to promoting this great destination for culinary's sake. We applaud their effort.


It is our third year of involvement in the event. Spring is always a great time in the mountains. The Uncorked food festival seals the deal for a visit and an appointment with this lovely destination.

Canmore Uncorked is a multiple award-winning food festival that returns each May for eleven days of remarkable dining experiences. It is the opportunity for restaurants of the town to showcase what they have to offer and to entice diners to try something new. For patrons, it is a flavour gauntlet that stretches the imagination and the waistlines. It is a must-do!

One way we make the most of the experience is to attend the Grande Brunch. Nine restaurants come together in one location to offer delicious taster morsels. The newly opened Grande Kitchen and Bar hosted the event this year which took place the first Sunday of the festival.

We tried everything, which proved to be an overly ambitious task. The portions were just enough to entice us to do another visit at participating restaurants. Together, it made for an amazingly delicious and very fulfilling meal.


Food festivals are for patrons. Patrons come with friends to celebrate, eat, explore, experience, meet and have fun with plates of food, mugs of beer, and glasses of wine. It is a familiar promotional drawcard used by destinations to entice new customers to visit and discover more about local businesses partaking in the celebrations.

Vendors are given an opportunity to reach new customers, fill their restaurants and move their products. It is a great marketing opportunity - when done right. The organizers of food festivals have the delicate balancing act of assuring there is enough variety, volume and value for attendees to make it worthwhile attending, and for participating businesses and the destination to see a return in the short and longer term.

Here in lies the crux of a successful food festival. Participating businesses and the destination, as a whole, must go all-out or risk being relegated to just another irrelevant mee-too food event of which there are far too many already. Businesses should make the most of the chance and strive to out-do each another. Not just each other in town, but other festivals, elsewhere.

We all know that with the demise of Canmore's destination marketing organization the Canmore Uncorked festival was left on shaky ground. Cudos to Andrew and his team for seeing it through and keeping the festival going. Unfortunately, herein lies the problem. We are of the opinion that Canmore's establishments overall are still not getting that this is their opportunity. It should not be just an event that continues. It should be the pinnacle food event in the Rocky Mountains!

In 2018, a few die-hard businesses and some newcomers remain committed to the festival's success, and they are reaping some of the potential rewards. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Canmore's food scene remains missing in action, and as a result, the town risks losing the opportunity.

It is no longer the "great" festival it once was. A celebration is not, and should not be for immediate profit or gain. If it was, it would be called a market. A longer perspective and commitment should prevail. The festival is there for the purpose of building marketing and promotional momentum for the times of the year when there isn't a festival. Profit follows from this momentum, and the awareness, excitement and the discovery drawcard it lit in customers. Participating businesses should commit their resources to building momentum like they would have done through any other marketing or promotional effort.

Canmore should be lucky to still have Uncorked. We hope to see it grow again to the grand festival it was once before. Andrew has our commitment and our vote to make it work. Now, all we need is for more of Canmore's food establishments to realize that this is their opportunity and get behind it. We are hopeful that it will happen before it is too late.

Hendrik van Wyk
Uncorked Cowboy

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Yum, Yum!




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