Rocky Mountain High…….

Oct 8-10

Drumheller – for those that don’t know it, the town and area in Alberta is world renown for the many dinosaur remains found over the past century. On Wednesday morning we toured the Royal Tyrell museum just outside of town. It’s very impressive as it walks you through the various stages of evolution. The first few areas showed recreations of dinosaurs – land, air and aquatic. Later on in the tour the displays showed the real deal. Usually they had to cast certain bones as they weren’t either found or fossilized when making the full skeleton. It was impressive and well worth the visit. Not sure I could ever have the patience to be a paleontologist.

Early afternoon, off to Banff for 5 nights in one of the national campgrounds. Arrived around 6 pm. Dinner and a campfire! There are only a few sites that actually have fire rings which you pay an extra $8.80/night. It’s worth it this time of year when the temps dip to 0 C at night. Firewood is included and there is lots of for nice big fires. The weather the last 3 days has been stunning with day time temps of mid to high teens and full sun. Thursday we headed into town via a town bus that comes right into the grounds, about a 3 minute walk from our site. Service runs from 6:15 am to near midnight. The bus ride is about 4-5 minutes to town. We’ll likely walk into town one day using a trail that follows the Bow River (4.8 km) then take the bus back. We oriented ourselves starting with a look at the Banff Springs Hotel. A hike along the river to town brings into a tourist Mecca of shopping, museums, galleries and lots of places to eat and drink. The town is clean and beautiful, and this time of year with the trees starting to lose their golden leaves makes it look that much more pretty. Jazz stayed behind at the camp to “guard” the RV. We had lunch in town, and then proceeded to the Tunnel Mtn. Trail (2.4 km one way – 240 m elevation gain). It was classed as moderate, but for us it was a little more challenging, especially after lunch. We need more training. Kathy was finding her new hikers hurting a bit, so 1/3 of the way, she decided to sit in a sunny parking lot and allow me to make the summit. I continued the last 1.8 km up and back in 1 hr. Beautiful weather up there and on the way down to dry out my drenched shirt. Awsome views. Thanks for waiting for me dear! We went for a beer at Wild Bills then took the bus back to camp. Continued to soak up the sun then dinner and another campfire (I know Linda, that you’re impressed).

On Friday morning we arose to an early alarm at 6:15am so I could catch the 7:35am bus to pick up our rental car at 8am. I came back to the RV to pick up Kathy and Jazz. Today’s plan was to head up the Icefields Parkway as far as the Columbia Icefields and the Athabasca glacier. After that we would head back to Peyto Lake for short hike. Then we would go to view Lake Louise and Morraine Lake. Yes we accomplished this with a few other stops along the way. The day was about 350 km’s round trip arriving back to Banff at 6 pm. It was 18 deg at that time with many more tourists in for the Thanksgiving weekend. Quite a few were wearing shorts. The day’s tour can be summed up quite simply as “endless breathtaking views”. For some that now me, I became an oriental tourist for the day, snapping pictures often. (Debi – I might have exceeded the number taken at the Grand Canyon)

You can view close to 100 glaciers along the parkway and at the Athabasca glacier we hiked up to near the edge of it. Up at that point, the winds were howling at about 80 km/hr. A couple of pictures then back down. Luckily it was around 12 deg at that point. We then headed back with the next stop at Bow Valley summit that overlooks Peyto Lake. We ate our picnic lunch on the summit (7,000’). What more can I say about the “high” of being in the Rockies. A special photo op was taken for my group of CPC ladies – yes “the hat” made the trip! (see below) Walked around Lake Louise area (the lake) saw the Chateau Lake Louise. It was quite busy with tourists, but you could tell from the size of the parking lots, they we set up to have many more tourists. We then headed UP an 11 km road to Morraine Lake for some more post card pictures, sat in the sun and had an afternoon snack. We then headed back to Banff which is about 55 km’s south of Lake Louise.

Dinner of stuffed pork tenderloin and a campfire! It was still 13 C at bedtime.

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A real T-Rex Skull that has toured around the world
A real T-Rex Skull that has toured around the world – called Black Beauty
A real Tarantula
A real Tarantula

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Alberta pump jacks - money, money
Alberta pump jacks – money, money
Approaching the Rockies as we headed towards Banff
Approaching the Rockies as we headed towards Banff
From the terrace of the Banff Springs Hotel
From the terrace of the Banff Springs Hotel

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Me and my Bride by the Bow River
Me and my Bride by the Bow River
The "locals" - a mule deer and baby
The “locals” – a mule deer and baby

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Banff Springs Golf course below - Bryn, don't you wish you could play this
Banff Springs Golf course below – Bryn, don’t you wish you could play this
Me at the top of the Tunnel Mtn. Summit - can't see the seat can you
Me at the top of the Tunnel Mtn. Summit – can’t see the sweat can you
Downtown Banff from the Tunnel Mtn. I ascended
Downtown Banff from the Tunnel Mtn. I ascended

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Mythbuster – Saskatchewan has hills and mountains!

10/4/14 – 10/7/14

After a relatively short drive from Manitoba, arrived in friend’s hometown of Grenfell shortly after 1 pm. On our way, at lunch we found out that if you want a toasted “western”, the waitress sort of frowned and said “I think you are wanting a Denver”. OK, we have been corrected.

As the GPS brought us to our friend’s(Ross and Linda) friends house(Lynn and Terry) we pulled up along their house with many warm waves. Later in the afternoon we took a tour of the town (approx. 1,000) then hit the local hotspot for happy hour – The Granite! It was tough getting a table (not) and listened to stories over the years of events that have occurred in the Granite. Ok, that bar is off our bucket list!

Sunday, we headed out for more local touring and dissertation about the local “native” bands (4+) in the area and our governments spending criteria. We ended up in Qu’Appelle Valley, proving that the prairies are not all flatland. Lynn and Terry have a cabin on Crooked Lake where you can easily tell that it is “their retreat” to enjoy family and friends by the lake. Monday morning we headed out for a very nice breakfast (and filling) at the local Esso at an attached diner called Vickies.

The weather in Grenfell was cool but the hospitality was very warm and much appreciated since we didn’t have to pack up for two nights. Lynn and Terry, thank you very much!!!

After breakfast we headed up to Ross’s brother’s place (Glenn and Beth) in Kannata Valley were they have a beautiful home overlooking Long Lake. About a 2 hour drive from Grenfell) More hills! We parked with a great lake view and could hear the lapping of the waves all night. Very soothing. We spent a fun evening with them which included a short tour of their area. Once again, warm prairie hospitality was plentiful and appreciated. Thanks guys.

Tuesday morning was an early start for a long drive to Drumheller, AB. Basically we went from central SK to central AB. (approx. 650 kms) Arrived in Drumheller around 5 pm at the tourist center – see the big Dinosaur! Then headed to our camp south of town – Hoodoo RV Resort. Before we went there, we stopped to visit the Hoodoos which are sandstone and rock formations. http://www.traveldrumheller.com/index.php/directory/7-Drumheller-Hoodoos

The badlands and the Hoodoos in this area are quite unique and something to see. Just before you arrive in Drumheller from the north, it’s relatively flat, then all of a sudden you dip into this badland area.

Cheers!

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Ross and Linda's hometown
Ross and Linda’s hometown
Crooked Lake
Crooked Lake
Our Grenfell hosts
Our Grenfell hosts
The Granite - off the bucket list
The Granite – off the bucket list
Kannata Valley - Long Lake
Kannata Valley – Long Lake
Their family in Kannatta Valley
Their family in Kannatta Valley

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The Hoodoos
The Hoodoos

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More Hoodoos
More Hoodoos

 

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Hello Canadian Prairies – Canada has finally flattened out again

10/3/14

The highlight for the day is a picture of Huskie the Muskie in Kenora that sums up the excitement today. Shortly after that as we were leaving town, high winds and big wet snow flurries greeted us as we headed for the Manitoba border. Per the Winnipeg radio stations winds were around 50 km per hr gusting to 70 kph. Believe me when I say the rig was handful driving along the open roads especially when we found the flatlands. Again for those that know Kathy, she was actually more comfortable with the wheel in her hand. She toned her arm muscles for sure. Yes, I drove as well …into Richer, MB. We are staying tonight in MacGregor, MB at the Lions RV Park right beside the local arena and 3 sheet curling rink. No curling for me this year as I take a one year sabbatical from the sport. 4 deg at 8 pm. Tomorrow we spend a 3 night stay in Grenfell SK with good friends, so likely won’t be any “daily droppings” for a few days. After that, Banff…here we come! I’ve inserted in a couple of pic’s of the “Nest”, for those that may want to know what it looks like.

Have a great weekend!

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Boy is Ontario a big province…

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Lunch-Jackfish Lake
Lunch-Jackfish Lake
Lots of Cool drinking water at lunch - Jackfish Lake
Lots of Cool drinking water at lunch – Jackfish Lake
Give her a stick and she's happy
Give her a stick and she’s happy
You betta Belize it - we made it this far!
You betta Belize it – we made it this far!

Today we decided to go beyond our original plan of Dryden and ended just east of Kenora. The Willows RV Park. Very nice. Our good friend Cindy is from Kenora, so we will take a little tour of the downtown tomorrow as we pass through. Louie (Cindy Lou) told us to get a picture by Huskie the Muskie to prove we were there.

Highlights for today were Kakabeka Falls and Jazz becoming more at ease as a passenger.

The Falls along with the fresh northern air was an experience. Spent about ½ hour there then onward we went. Much flatter land for the drive today. Still haven’t seen any northern wildlife along the road yet. We have driven through Algonquin Park many times and each time have seen moose, deer, beavers.

Jazz got a little more comfortable today and actually left the cab area for about an hour and went into the living quarters and slept. A big step for her. She gets a bit spooked by some of the noises coming from the rig. She enjoyed our lunch time stop at a picnic area on Jackfish Lake as no one else was around and she could run and get drinks all she wanted.

Kenora is about 60 km’s from the Manitoba border. Oh, by the way the Central time zone changes just west of Thunder Bay – so our “time” was off by an hour for most of the day. We arrived an hour early! Woo Hoo…Fall back – already?

Cheers!

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T. Bay – Made it to the lake head – Lake Superior

     10/1/2014

We enjoyed having a shorter drive today about 280k. Overcast with some light mist. More northern granite visible as we drove northwest. It was quite hilly again today. 14 Deg C. Not sure we will dip our toe in Lake Superior….

We are staying the night in Fort William Historical Park just outside of the “inland headquarters” of the North West Co. It’s a reconstructed fort beside the Kaministiquia River. ( www.fwhp.ca) Our site is great compared to yesterdays. Last night was basically a roadside camp with 14 sites with the feel of redneck and hunters. Couldn’t get the Wi Fi to work, only 15 amp service, so we considerably drained the house batteries as they weren’t being charged by the lower amperage as normal is 30 amps. Tripped the power in the morning with too much power being used, public washrooms/showers were less than desirable and on it went. For under $20 (1/2 price as we joined a travel club) – you get what you pay for. Websites and books don’t tell the whole story. Live and learn…..which we are!

Visited the Terry Fox monument where his run across Canada ended over 33 years ago. It overlooks Thunder Bay and The Sleeping Giant (see pic). Off to Kakabeka Falls tomorrow about 20-30k then over to Dryden area.

Fins up!

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Kathy thinking about going in one of the big canoes.
Kathy thinking about going in one of the big canoes.

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Jazz and her buddy with the Sleeping Giant in the backgroud
Jazz and her buddy with the Sleeping Giant in the background

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Day 2 – A painter’s palette

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OK, we’ll stop counting the days after today.

Today was a superb day, with bright sunshine and colours all around. The strongest mix of colours (orange/yellow/red/green) was near the Soo and soon after there were varied shades of green from evergreens with rich gold colours from the deciduous trees intermingled. Trees continued to become more sparse and shorter as we headed north to Wawa then on to Marathon, were we are spending the night 20 km’s north of it. We are 270 km’s east of Thunder Bay. 20 deg C when we arrived late afternoon.

We both shared driving duties again today, and for those that know us best, Kathy’s “passenger” mannerisms subsided a bit, but she prefers the control feel with the steering wheel in HER hand. We continue to “adjust” to life on the road.

Today, was quite windy and full of fairly steep roads to ascend and descend, and we went with the flow of the steady stream of truckers using this only northern route. Thank goodness there are extra passing lanes every 10 km’s or so, so the slower traffic can keep right.

Jazz thinks she has died and gone to heaven as she was given a doggie treat at a gas station and also given one when we checked into the camp grounds. She is adjusting to the RV as well, preferring to by right up with us between the cab seats.

Speaking of gas, and I’m not going to speak about it again, we got close to empty today and put in 175 litres at 1.41 per. You do the math; I left my calculator at home! CPC Pumps (my former employer) needs to ramp up production on a couple more petroleum pumps to keep up with this new demand on gasoline. Paul, start ordering the components!!

The first few days have been busy, but we have a goal to be in Banff next Wednesday, October 8th to spend about 6 nights in that area. We’re just trying to keep ahead of ‘ol man winter. The trek will be broken up by a 3 night stay this weekend in Grenfell, SK with good friends (from Burlington) that will be back visiting their home town as we pass through. Supposedly, we are going to learn a bit about life in the Prairies. Clearly, time will tell!

Off to Thunder Bay tomorrow where we’ll spend the night. It will be a much shorter driving day to allow some exploring time.

That’s it from the perch today.

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Our first full day “on the road”

A good first day on the road. 600 km’s (it will be one of our biggest distance days for the next 7 months) Arrived at Lake Lauzon Resort at about 4:30 pm which is 160 km’s east of Sault Ste Marie.
Parked right beside the lake, but cool and raining a bit. The 10 deg weather now is a far cry from the mid 20’s we had the past week.

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Practise for full time RV’ing …. day minus 3

IMG_20140925_131256We took “the rig” out for a two night practice session staying at Rockwood Conservation Area. Located at the north end of Guelph line and Hwy 7. For those that have never been there, it is a local gem with a beautiful lake on the Eramosa River. Once in the park, you would think that you are in Algonquin Park. about 40 minutes from Burlington, check it out sometime.

It was a good couple of days learning about all the “house on wheels”. It’s quite amazing how they pack so many features into it from generator, water pump, HW heater, furnace, A/C, TV’s, 12 speaker stereo (throughout), clip on BBQ,  and plenty of storage nooks.

Everything went well and we’re ready to hit the road full time!

PS: We enjoyed having a campfire one night (on our anniversary eve).

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