Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saskatchewan Tour

After spending the night near Vilna, AB, we crossed into Saskatchewan, and immediately encountered rough roads – which is the norm.  I hear that Sask. is enjoying an economic boom right now – so fix the roads, already! (I can say this as I am from Sask. originally. GO Riders!)


Actually, some of the roads at the border were undergoing construction, so I guess there is progress, and I did encounter some pretty rough roads in some sections of Alberta, namely the south end of Jasper Park on a recent trip.   I drove through some areas in Meadow Lake Provincial Park where I used to work as a Conservation Officer many years ago.CIMG1949CIMG1950 CIMG1951 CIMG1955 CIMG1956 CIMG1960 CIMG1961

Here is a cabin I lived in for two or three years at Howe Bay on Pierce Lake. CIMG1963

I carried on eastward through the park, then through Meadow Lake and Green Lake before surprising a college classmate when I pulled into his yard to camp the next night.CIMG1984 

Then it was on to Prince Albert National Park.

CIMG1986 CIMG1987 CIMG1988 CIMG1989 I had hoped to camp at the Narrows, but the road was closed while highways crews replaced a culvert :-(.CIMG1991

So I drove around and checked out the young bull elk in the area.

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And toured around some of the deserted, but scenic park roads displaying their fall colours.

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I hiked a couple of short trails.CIMG2008 CIMG2011


Here’s a shot taken over my shoulder while driving!  Hailey was entertaining herself on the backseat headrest!


Later the next day, the road did open to the Narrows, but they were still working on the culvert.CIMG2026 CIMG2029 CIMG2020

After attending a retirement party in Prince Albert, and visiting with more friends and relatives along the way, it was back to Alberta.  I was listening the the football game between the Riders and Hamilton.  I was disgusted and almost turned off the radio when the home team was down 15-0 at the end of the first quarter.  But, to their credit, the green machine turned it around and surged back to win the game.  It was close right to the last play, but I was almost out of range of the radio station, and considered pulling over so as not to miss the final plays.  Through the static, I could hear that we had pulled a victory from the jaws of defeat.  Lookout Calgary, here we come! 

Back at home, the last couple of loads are being hauled from my house as I plan to vacate by month end. After a couple days stacking boxes in the ‘new’ house, I think it will be time to hit the road for a month!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Out on the Prairies

The fresh snow on the ground in Lake Louise made it wise to have a late departure – and to give them time to clear up the two semi-truck collision near Banff.  Most of the snow had melted off the roads and they were merely wet.

We caught the Queen Elizabeth 2 northbound towards Edmonton, but avoided the city by heading east through Beaumont, Sherwod Park, and Fort Saskatchewan. 

It was great to be out on the open prairie again, and soon large V’s of geese were winging their way across the sunset, while the smell of fresh hay and crops in the fields filled the air.

I had not driven this road for many years and wanted to see most of it in the daylight, so opted to stop for the night before reaching the Saskatchewan line.  A nice little deserted campground on a small lake filled the bill very well.

Stepping out of the truck on arrival, I was greeted by the rush of feathers as a flock of geese descended to the lake directly over me at very low elevation.

A night, an apparently healthy population of coyotes announced their presence around the lake, and the goose chorus began well before daylight as a pleasant wake-up call.CIMG1927CIMG1929 CIMG1926  CIMG1928

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The weather has certainly taken a turn, and now has a definite fall, if not winter flavour!

So, before it decides to get worse, I have been spending my time moving!  CIMG1904

I’ve been living in a government house for the last 14 years, only visiting my own house on occasional weekends, usually to mow the grass.  CIMG1907

Now it is time to cut the expense of two houses and get all my ‘stuff’ into one.  My truck camper is already out squatting at the new house (got it winterized just in time, I hope), and the fifth wheel waits patiently in the driveway for it’s chance.


I booked off all the rest of the month to give lots of time for the switch.  Of course, last weekend was spent in Jasper camping out and visiting with lots of old friends up there.

Next weekend, it is time for a short road trip (!) to Saskatchewan for a buddy’s retirement party – and to do a bit of camping of course.


    Took a shortcut on a couple of the ‘moving’ trips, which involves a bush road that at times seems to be more like boating than driving.  One deep water hole after another.  At least the bottom is solid and there is no real danger of getting stuck, but the front bumper did start a tidal wave crossing one of the deeper ones.

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Oh, and I booked off all of October as well for some vacation time ;-)  I’m thinking I might spend a lot of it on Vancouver Island and area – where the weather is likely to be a lot more livable than here on the continental divide.  After reading about the Bayfield Bunch planning for a southern departure in a few weeks, that has me getting itchy to head south as well.  The weather reports show that it is still pretty hot in some of my favourite spots, so perhaps there is no rush to get that far south right away.

Perhaps I should just decide to pull the pin and retire, and not have to worry so much about the timelines!  Any way it works out, I can’t wait to get back on the road.

Hailey is patiently waiting as well.CIMG1921

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Of Bears, Wolves, and early winter.


My little grizzly bear (that is if you consider 270lbs little) seems to have put his recent poking and prodding by humans behind him and is once again a busy bear doing not much but sleeping and eating berries day and night.  Unfortunately, most of the berries are roadside, which creates a kind of spectator sport among the countless humans who endlessly parade by in their vehicles, often failing to respect or acknowledge his personal space.  His patience is wearing a bit thin at times as idling buses and cars continually crowd around for the best look or photo.  Many do not realize that he is actually a wild grizzly bear with long claws, lightning speed, and a bad temper.

He’s trying to ignore this bus and car while dining on his berries.


He figures maybe they don’t see him here in the bushes!  Or up this high bank.

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The high country along the continental divide is already looking a bit winter-like, even though autumn still has yet to arrive, if you believe the calendar.

(Click on any photo for a full size view)

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Frost is a regular occurrence at night now, and some of the snow blanketing the upper elevations will remain till next June or July.  Some snow banks never did melt this year, challenging that global warming theory!  I’ll have to be winterizing or heating the rigs pretty soon to prevent any damaging freeze-ups.  I’ve asked Al from the Bayfield Bunch to send me some of the hot humid weather he has been having, but so far have received none.  Guess it might be time to head for the coast or south!  Brrr.

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With many of the bears feeding roadside, I guess it is a sad but inevitable reality that occasionally they suffer the perils of the roads.  Today was one of those days, when this big adult male black bear got hit on the Kootenay parkway – famous for it’s high speed Calgary commuters headed to their weekend retreats, without much regard for anything that does not set off their radar detectors.


Similarly, the regular big truck traffic has effectively killed off all but a few of the elk in the park.  Now, only smaller animals remain, but are little threat to the big rigs, so they don’t slow down that much either.

Of course, some of the wildlife does not appreciate the hazards, and will stand on the roadway watching the traffic stop around them.  There is a good chance that this wolf has received illegal handouts from passing motorists, and is hoping for more.  No doubt he will be hit and killed eventually, unless we can convince him to change his ways.

CIMG1851CIMG1850  CIMG8674 CIMG8673  CIMG8669 CIMG1847 CIMG1848 Taking the rest of this month off from work, and planning a few short road trips.  Everyone at work is wondering if I plan to come back at all  ;-)

Guess they will just have to wait and see …

Either way, I can’t wait to get back down south to – Borrego Springs, Slab City, Sierra Vista, Zion, Quartzsite, Kofa mountains, Lake Havasu, Baja, Roosevelt Lake, and wherever else the whim takes me.  But first, I have to get young Hailey to the vet and get her all approved for international travel!image See you down the road!