Monday, 6 July 2015

Western Canada - to Edmonton end of Year 2

We spent one night camping at Midtown RV, as the Airstream expert had not quite finished. While he finished up the next morning we walked around downtown Penticton and had lattes at a cafĂ©.  When Run Around Sue was fixed and ready to go, we headed north along the beautiful Lake Okanagan


The highway runs right beside the lake

shore to West Bay Beach in West Kelowna. We had a lovely spot with lots of room to ourselves until the weekend,


Beautiful site

when lots of other folks arrived. We were a little hemmed in by folks at a family celebration. We had to stay until we could get our prescriptions filled for the second six months of Year 2. We relaxed there for several days, walking around downtown Kelowna along the waterfront,

A beautiful waterfall in the waterfront park


Waterfront  Park beach


The view across the end of the lake to the bridge to West Kelowna

revisiting Okanagan Spirits, and trying out coffee houses. One day John got out his bike and rode up to Myra Canyon and on the Kettle Valley Railway trail around the canyon

Railway route around Myra Canyon

and across the 18 trestles.

Part of the trail between the trestles

Built in 1915, this was the primary transportation and communication route across the breadth of southern BC. This was designated a National Historic Site in 2003, just before fourteen of the trestles were damaged or destroyed in wildfires in 2003. These have been rebuilt by the Myra Canyon Restoration Society.

With the help of local businesses and volunteers the trail was cleared, resurfaced, and trestles rebuilt with handrails. John was so impressed that the next day we drove up so I could see the canyon and trestles too.

A narrow gap between the rock cuts

Signs are at most trestles

One of the trestles

The longest trestle from across the canyon

The road climbs and winds up to the top of the canyon.

The views are wonderful – across the canyon

View from the top across to the mountains

View down the canyon

and up the lake.

View across the canyon and valley to the lake


We left Kelowna, and worked our way north towards Golden.

Road to Golden- Magnificent views

The avalanche tunnels are fascinating.


We were right at the bottom of the snow level

The snow was still right beside the road

as we passed through, and up to Rogers’ Pass.  

Summit of Rogers Pass

We stayed in Golden at the Municipal Campground, backing right on to the river.

The site

The river behind the RV

View out the bedroom window...

The campground little store had cheeses from all over the world- a delightful find!

From Golden, we stopped at the Kicking Horse River,


Kicking Horse River, where rafts are put in

Looking back towards Golden from the parking lot

a favourite place for rafting, then on through the mountains


toward Alberta. Our last stop in BC was Field, in Yoho National Park. We stopped at the Visitors’ Centre looking for Alberta maps. However, we found, instead, fossils





Stone bugs!

found by railway workers in 1912 in the Burgess Shale above Emerald Lake.

The Canadian Rockies are truly magnificent! The snow in the crevices, gave beautiful definition to the mountains.

These mountains are truly Magnificent!

Mountains on both sides of the road

We stayed at the Tunnel Mountain Campground in Banff.

Our beautiful site

Elk just behind us - there were 6 that evening

Tunnel Mountain from the road at the end of our site road


Magpie in Banff - They were everywhere

We walked downhill into town and took the shuttle bus back. We left Banff for Calgary.

Lots of cyclists on the bike trail to Canmore

More beautiful mountains south of Canmore


We drove to Calgary to spend some time with our son and his family.

Karen's beautiful iris

It was amazing to reacquaint ourselves with the grandchildren, 2 ½ and almost 4. They both talk a blue streak. David is at the “Why?” stage, and wants to know the reason behind everything, and how things work. Arianna is little “me too” and copies everything he does, although she is certainly her own person too. We played with them,

David and Arianna -Just learning...

to blow the dandelion fluff!

took them to the park and went with them to the Saskatoon Farm,

View down to the Sasakatoon Berry fields

and to the Annual Lilac Festival- many blocks, closed off from traffic, of crowds of people and kiosks.

Even balloons and a big raft to sit in [and jump in!]

Even the bank ran out of money!

From Calgary, we went to Cypress Hills for a few days. Just at the Saskatchewan border, we saw a pronghorn antelope in the median between the east and west bound traffic. We chose to stay in the Meadows Campground.

Our Meadows site


the first evening....

 It was wide open and there were few campers, only 2 of us once the weekend crowd had cleared out. We drove over to Fort Walsh. The shortcut road through the Gap was closed due to heavy rains, so we had to drive around- a long, but pretty drive. Fort Walsh

2 Red chairs to view Fort Walsh in the valley

The Fort

was constructed by Inspector James Walsh and the men of “B” Troop NWMP [later RCMP], to establish a police presence in a dangerous area. Horse-stealing raids conducted by Native raiding parties led to inter-tribal conflicts, and illegal whiskey trade was still being conducted.. In addition, Cypress Hills was a crossroads and, because its geographical location, near the US Border, and its resources attracted diverse groups, the lawlessness of the era was exacerbated. Fort Walsh was to bring Canadian law and order to this region of the Canadian west.

The fort was abandoned in 1883, in favour of a new location in Maple Creek on the new railroad. The property was purchased by the RCMP in 1942, and, until 1964, served as a breeding and training centre for the horses used in the Musical Ride.

When we walked into the Fort, we were greeted by a “Mountie” in period uniform, who gave us a guided tour.

Sleeping quarters


Carpenter shop- Wall logs vertical as the back wall was part of the palisade

Because there were a couple of school groups there, we got to witness the firing of the 9-pounder rifle gun.

Getting ready to fire

In a battle, a 9-person crew fired 3 times a minute.

From the Fort, we drove up to Conglomerate Point. Driving across the meadow, there were cows roaming and lying everywhere.

Free Range herds

They only moved off the road, [and then very slowly], when John honked the horn.  It was amazing to view the hills to the east.

View across to the Cypress Hills campground

Conglomerate rock of the cliffs

Driving back, we looked everywhere for pronghorn antelopes – the staff at the Fort said they see them daily- but saw only 2 foxes and a mule deer. [We thought it was a Pronghorn, but when I downloaded the picture, it was a mule deer.]

only a Mule Deer!

Before leaving we had to do the one hike we had missed last time. We took a lovely walk around the Lochs, the Highland Trail. One side was through cool forest,

Forest trail

and the other along a sunlit meadow.

View across the end of the loch to the meadow

The meadow trail back

As the sun began to set, the sky was beautiful,

From the Campground....

Sunset from the lookout

so we hopped in the truck and drove to the lookout nearby to see it.

The next day we packed up and drove towards Regina

The land is very flat on the way to Regina


with lots of sloughs in the fields

to visit John’s cousin.


Parked on the street in Regina- all clean

We spent a wonderful week catching up, cleaning the trailer and truck, and just relaxing. I did update the maps on my Garmin GPS. Well, I sort of updated. The update of the program Garmin Express was not a problem. However, when I started the maps, it said it would take 16 hours- yeah right. By 11 that night, it was only 50% complete. The next morning, it was still only 50% complete, and hung up! I emailed the Garmin support, but did not have an answer by the time we were ready to leave, so I just turned it off. I got a reply 4 days later, which told me to do this and reinstall. Well, I need 6 hours, so maybe when we return to Calgary in September!  

We went to Regina’s first Annual “Pile O’ Bones” a ribfest in the downtown square. It was a disappointment for us, as we had been at many ribfests around Ontario and down East. We were used to many large trucks grilling ribs and pulled pork, in competition for the Best Ribs! Line-ups gave hints as to the good ones. But usually we bought from several trucks and shared them, then voted for our favourite. Judges also voted, but the Peoples’ Choice Award was most coveted. There would be entertainment in one section, a beer garden and a section for kids. Some had crafts and other booths too with other foods, butterfly chips, ice creams and drinks. Regina had quite a few in competition, but only for judges, not for sale to the public, LOUD music, a beer garden, and 2 food trucks with long line-ups selling mainly hamburgers, hotdogs, poutine and fries. Although there were ribs for sale too at one truck.


Too soon, it was time to begin to head North.


Coffee Pot Rest Stop on the way to Saskatoon

The Fiddler -a tribute to the early communities in the area

We were booked into the Gordon Howe Campground in Saskatoon,

Gordon Howe Campground

so we could visit with our Airstream friends. This is a beautiful campground. Sites are separated by trees and high lilac hedges, giving lots of privacy. We backed on to the Gordie Howe Sportsfield. Unfortunately, it is not in the best area of the city.

We all went to the Berry Barn on the Saskatchewan River for lunch.

The Berry Barn from the edge of the river


Beautiful flowers and garden sculptures for sale- but I restrained myself!

Saskatchewan River in front of the Berry Barn

Their borscht, salad with Saskatoon berry dressing and their Saskatoon berry pie are amazing, and the Turkey BLT’s on ciabatta buns were delicious. We walked around the restaurant, past the rows and rows of Saskatoon berry bushes.

Tall Saskatoon berry bushes

We had a great visit before heading towards Edmonton.

We decided to go only as far as Unity Saskatchewan the first night. John’s family had come from a small town just outside Unity, and his uncle had been Mayor of Unity in the early 80’s. We found his picture in the Council Chamber, both as Councilman and as Mayor. It is a delightful small town.

View up the Main Street

We walked around town examining their interesting series of murals.




These are on the side of the Funeral Home



This is my favourite - the poem, Flanders Fields is in the bottom left corner

We stayed at one of the three campgrounds. There was just electricity, but it was a lovely large grassy site in a quiet campground.

 We decided to stop in at Evesham, the town the Boxells were from. This is a small village of maybe two dozen houses on quiet streets.

Walking up the first street

The United Church is being painted,

United Church on the hill

and the school still stands, but is the community centre now.

Evesham SD 2338, 1910-1976


School Playground- equipment is freshly painted

We wandered around town, 

The original Post Office- work is being done to clean up  around it

Old tractors and cars sitting in a field. The owner is building a garage for them.

John was looking inside the cars and called me...

This is what he had seen....

and met a lady whose father was the owner of the General Store, and she remembered John’s Grandfather and Grandmother. We had a guided tour of the village, with interesting anecdotes of the villagers, past and present, and the church

Inside the United Church

where there is a plaque of all those who fought in WWII. John’s Uncle and Father are the first two names.

John's Dad is the second name, after his brother 's

We saw the house where John’s Grandparents lived.

John's grandparent's house


We continued our drive to Edmonton,

Flat country as we began our drive into Alberta,

but the terrain soon begins to change.

The first real evidence of oil ...


Changing use of land and buildings

staying at the Leduc #1 Campground [the closest we could get to Sherwood Park, due to the Women's World Cup].

Leduc #1 Campground

our site


It was at this site on February 13, 1947, that Alberta changed. It was the day that the first oil well, Leduc #1, came on line! There is an excellent Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre

We spent a couple of hours exploring the inside...

explaining the history and the oil and gas industry in Alberta.

Click on this to read the story


A model and poster of the original site

 with informative displays

and outside- Leduc #1 Replica- the actual derrick is at the Visitors' Centre

other oil derricks used

A Cable Tool Rig

the Cable Tool Rig explained

One of the early oil 'donkeys'

The development of the 'Oil Donkey"

Signs from all the companies which have worked here


This heralded the shift of Alberta’s seventy-year-old agricultural economy to a resource-based economy.

We had wonderful visits with John’s 95-year-old aunt over the next couple of days, before leaving for Jasper, the first stop on our journey North and Year 3!


















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