On the Road Again

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
1
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Trip End Oct 18, 2012


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Where I stayed
Pinters Campground

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Howdy folks,

Well here we are in Drumheller, first stop on a multi city, 2 country, roadtrip spectacular. Team Dan & Steffie are in the land of canyons, dinosaurs, hoodoos and surprisingly hail!

Leaving Banff was hectic to say the least. I was up at 6am to pack my belongings, squash it all into the car and hit the road with Ms Andorfer. At 9am, we took time out to have a last breakfast with Adam, Dave, Hiro and Neil which was unconventual - hot dogs. One last chance for last goodbyes and it was time to hit the road.

The drive towards Drumheller was long and uneventful - 300kms, 4 hours and bypassing around Calgary. I figure given how much driving we have done in Calgary already, there isn't much we haven't seen there. As mountain gave way to level plains, the sun was shining and our first stop at Horseshoe Canyon, just west of Drumheller, greeted us with 27 degrees! A big difference from cool, rainy Banff for sure! The canyon itself was uninspiring, but was to give us a taste of things to come.

Driving down into Drumheller, we entered canyon country with the city lying in the middle of a wide river valley. On opposite sides are walls of different layered earth banks of many colours. We stopped in downtown and visited the information centre which was below a 28m high dinosaur, the world's largest. We paid $3 and had the opportunity to climb into the beasts mouth, which was more touristy than anything else. From there we hit up A&W for a bite to eat before self-checking in at Pinters Campground, the cheapest in the area and we found out why. No running water, drop toilets, no showers and just about nobody around. We spent the next few hours tidying up the car properly before pulling out the camp stove to make some dinner and getting an early sleep. Both of us were tired, stressed and sad from leaving our friends, homes and comforts so at 10pm we hit the sack.

In the morning, the sun was shining and we got up at 6am to have leftovers for breakfast. We were all ready by 8am and given that nothing was open yet, we went to checkout the hoodoos southeast of town. They were different to the ones in Banff, quite small, but much more interesting. We drove back into Drumheller to go for a short walk along the river and send our packages home before heading out to the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

The museum was simply marvelous. It is dedicated to palentology and houses numerous specimens of dinosaur bones collected mostly in Alberta. The place is pretty big with two levels and nearly a dozen different display areas including Black Beauty, the main attraction of a huge T Rez fossil. The weather was supposed to be wet so we decided on going for a drive around the Dinosaur Trail and the next stops were the Little Church and Horsethief Canyon. This one was much bigger than Horseshoe and we went for a short hike down into it. Unfortunately the Grand Canyon has spoilt all other canyons for me!

Looping around the top, we crossed over the Red Deer River on a car ferry named after Louis Bleriot's brother (google him) and drove back along the canyon rim back to town. Hitting up Walmart for supplies, we drove back towards camp with a quick stop at the Suspension Bridge nearby. As the rain set in, Steffie and I decided to take a natural shower because nobody was around. From there the weather really turned south with thunder and lightning, rain and then hailstones! They were only pea sized, but it lasted for quite a while, so we both tried to take a nap. The worst of it lasted an hour, but it is still raining and we are camped out at McDonalds for the meantime!

Next stop, Edmonton...
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