Road, road, field, field, big road side thingy, couple of Great Lakes, and far far too many gas stations, and that sums up much of the first four days on the road. We decided we wanted to put in some big miles and burn across to Alberta as fast as we could, not realizing quite the amount of driving this would be. Rather foolish on my behalf as I had done the identical trip in the reverse direction, but this was years ago on a Greyhound bus and I wasn’t driving, rather I was alternating between sleeping and discreetly sipping the beers I had smuggled aboard.
So we found ourselves happily behind our planned departure time on day 1, making final use of the home comforts Heather’s parents had been affording us for the last few weeks. I have to admit the first several hours felt a little numb and rather underwhelming, especially as we were driving roads that we had driven countless times before. However excitement started to grow as I found myself on roads I didn’t think I had encountered before, that’s right I said “think”, I had to clarify that my excitement was indeed warranted with Heather, I have piss poor sense of direction and furthermore it is my understanding that premature excitement is a little disappointing to all parties involved. The rest of the day was spent spotting gigantic roadside signs/sculptures/thingys, and probably not doing any justice to the towns we were driving through, though it is my strong suspicion that the prevalence of big thingys may well have been compensating for something. The first night found us in Wawa in a rather lovely campsite that we checked into after checking out the high falls. First nights set up went rather well in my opinion and we were soon chowing down on dinner, rather quickly followed by hitting the hay.
The next morning however, revealed to us just how much we had to learn an adapt to our new home, we were nearly an hour later than planned leaving, and spent much of the morning clattering into one another or doing a job the other had just done. About an hour into that days drive Heather said what we were both thinking “we need to get better at that”. The second day was spent driving through some breath-taking scenery along the shore of Lake Superior, lots of stops to enjoy the views, well as many as we could, Ontario seems to put the picnic areas in the most inopportune locations where the views are blocked by trees, either that or the first sign you pass is a 100 yards after where you should have bloody well turned.
Thankfully this was not the case at the Terry Fox memorial, visiting this was something of a pilgrimage for us, Heather in particular, Terry is somewhat of a hero for her, and in the age-old “who would you most like to have dinner with past or present?” he is her answer to that question every time . Now we did not manage dinner but we did settle in for lunch, where we were treated to the oddest sight, a bunny and a squirrel playing with one another, chasing each other around the grounds of the memorial, it was unquestionably very cute. The balance of the day seemed to drag and we were exhausted when we pulled into Dryden, the sight of Max the Moose did lift our spirits, but mental capacity was fried as was evidenced with us driving repeated circles around the campsite unable to make a decision on which was the best spot. We crashed hard that night.
The following morning however we were up and like a well oiled machine, this machine may not have been a Ferrari but was certainly at least something reliable like a Honda Civic. We left bang on time and had even thought to fuel up the night before. This was a non stop driving day mainly spent in the Prairies, where the only real highlight was our lunch spot. Crossing the time zone confused us for the second time in two days, basic math where time is concerned seems to have almost certainly evaded us thus far in the trip.
The final destination for day three was Regina, our accommodation for the night was a little strange and had a Faulty Towers type of vibe. My first trip to the bathroom I encountered a sign stating the following “Uplugged it Uplunge it”, in fact cautionary signs everywhere, the place was actually very clean and tidy so either they are entirely unnecessary or they work. If they do work then they are in fact rather impressive, though in my humble opinion the pink neon paper was not really authoritative enough to sway my actions, the “uplunge” one did make me giggle every time I pooped, and I promise I never plugged.
Onwards to Alberta, day 4 was a short 8 hour jaunt, landing us in Drumheller the home of all things dinosaur and a place I have meant to visit every time I have been to Calgary. After so many near visits it did not, I am glad to say, disappoint. We arrived in good time to hit up the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum. I think I was only marginally better behaved than most of the kids there as I ran from exhibit to exhibit. The simple fact is that dinosaurs are awesome, there is no way anyone could argue otherwise, well unless you are one of those types that doesn’t believe in them, but I assure you those bones looked real, just ask Heather she X-rays people for a living, so she should know.
Finally today was our first non travel day and it was brill, we slept in (8:30), then headed out for some sightseeing. First stop the Hoo Doos, rock formations that look a little like mushrooms, made when soft rock erodes below a harder rock, geology lesson over. I may have bored H a little with all the photos I was taking, so our next stop was something we could both appreciate. We stopped at Horse Thief Canyon, donned our trail shoes and went for a run, in truth it was 60% run an 40% daring scrambles up and down the side of the canyon, just what the doctor ordered after 4 days cooped up in the Hulk.
After all this excitement we headed back to the campsite, via the Last Chance Saloon, downed a cold one and took in its old world charm. Back at camp busted out the cast iron bbq and grilled up some Alberta steak. We are now basking in our post dinner glow wondering what tomorrow will bring.
As a final footnote I am happy to say that we have listened to our 10 min a day Spanish lessons everyday, sometimes even for the full 10 mins.