The day is finally here!! We are setting out on our adventure west through Canada. Larry pulled the airstream out of the backyard without any problems Sunday morning. He had a challenging time putting “Lucy Love” back thee because of the narrow alley behind his house. He had to remove 2 panels of fence and trim limbs off a tree. It took lots of maneuvering but got it done!
I had been loading up all week so this morning all we had to do was the last minute items. We wanted to leave by 9 am. We planned on meeting his parents in Kindersley Saskatchewan for lunch. They were traveling back from Taber Alberta. They had gone to Pete’s Aunt’s 99th birthday celebration over the weekend. Larry and I shared driving and arrived right at 12:01pm. We dined at the world famous McDonalds!! It was great to see Pete and Eva one last time!!
We made it to our first stop Drumheller by 3:30pm. We had looked up an Rv Park to stay at for the next 3 nights. When we got there, we discovered it was closed for the winter. Oh well, we just tried again. Back to our internet search in the closest parking lot. We found one on North Dinosaur Trail Road called Dinosaur Trail RV campgrounds and cabins. It was a very nice large park right on the Red Deer River. We got any spot we wanted because there were only 6 other campers in a park that might hold 300 or more. They had a store, kids park, a pool and activities for kids in the summer. I’m sure this is quite a lively spot for families. It was only a few miles from the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
We got the trailer all set up and had time to explore. We watched the sun set on the river in our folding loveseat. We ate some peanuts and drank a beer. I probably made an amazing meal for dinner but I can’t remember what. LOL The park host Barry was super friendly and delivered us 2 bags of firewood(at $10 each). Private campgrounds have more amenities but you pay more for the sites and the extras. Many provincial parks have free firewood. I like free.
Larry’s brother Darryl had taken his daughters to Drumheller so he told us the things to do here. We went out driving down W/AB 56/ S/AB 9 highway toward the Atlas Coal Mine Historic Park. It should have taken around 20 minutes. We stopped along the way to see the Star Mine Suspension Bridge. The bridge was free. Love it. It went from a small park across the Red Deer River to the old mine. It was constructed in 1931 for the coal miners. The bridge was metal and very safe. The only really exciting thing here was I almost dropped my phone through the bridge floor. We spent about 30 minutes looking around and taking pictures. It was just OK and if I would have missed it, I wouldn’t have been sad.
The Atlas Coal mine wasn’t too far down the road from the bridge. It was a very impressive site. It had a 3 story structure called a coal tipple and it’s the largest still standing in North America. It was a good attraction They charged $12 to walk around and tours of the mine started at $21 - $27. We spent over an hour walking around, checking everything out. We didn’t do any tours. You could either go in the tipple or ride the cars into the mine. We were happy touring on our own. As we were leaving we saw an old train trestle and explored. Larry walked around the “Keep Out” fencing to get onto the bridge. We have found a bunch of these abandoned bridges on our travels so far.
Next stop was the Hoodoos. This attraction was free. I love that but smaller than I expected. From the pictures I’ve seen, it looks a lot bigger compared to people. I’d say the tallest one was about 12 feet. I had imagined them being 50 feet high. I wasn’t too disappointed and it wasn’t crowded. It’s about a 30 minute stop for most folks. They had fabulous Port o Potties there as well. We went down the road further and found a nice picnic spot in a canyon. After lunch we hiked around looking at the rocks and plants. I was secretly hoping to find a dinosaur fossil but unfortunately did not. There was a small creek that meandered through the valley. It was fun exploring. We actually did see 2 women looking for fossils so my chances were good.
On the way back to our campground, we took a detour road. The sign said 11 bridges road. It went from Rosedale to Wayne crossing 11 metal one lane bridges over the winding Rosebud River. It was only 6 kilometers (3.8 miles) and is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most bridges found within the shortest distance. I had to see them all. I took pictures coming and going as it was an out and back drive. We saw a sign the advertised the “last chance saloon” and decided to check it out. It was closed but it was super cute. I would recommend this drive and stopping at the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alberta. This is the road that I dropped my phone and cracked the face….boo sad!
When we got to our trailer, we still had some time to take out our kayaks on the river. It takes 15 minutes to inflate. We discovered once we were in the river how strong the current really was. We had forgotten to wear our life jackets so after much effort and no progress, we returned to the shore. We only went across and back. I’m hoping to find a nice lake soon.
Our last full day in Drumheller started at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. We spent 3 hours here looking at the hugest exhibit of dinosaurs that I’ve ever seen. It must be one of the largest in the world too. It was very interesting and I think you could spend a week here trying to fully absorb everything this museum has to offer. They had a nice trail walk outside that I was ready for after being inside the majority of the afternoon
We headed down the Dinosaur Trail road toward town. I had seen a bike/walking trail I wanted to check out. The first place we stopped, the parking lot was closed. It looks like they close some of the smaller provincial parks during the winter. We looked at the map posted and found another place to get on the trail down the road. We parked by a cute coffee shop that advertised cinnamon buns, Larry had to stop. We had a snack and got on our bikes to explore the river trail. I enjoy looking at the different homes in the communities we visit We found another abandoned train trestle to climb on. Our ride was short as I needed a restroom.
Halfway back to the truck, we found an interesting place called the Long Branch Saloon. It was across the street and I really wanted to stop. There were 2 ladies in their mid 50’s inside. One patron and one working behind the bar. The bartender Lori was friendly and directed me to the washroom. After, Larry and I enjoyed a beer and conversation with them. They were interested in our story about how we met and our traveling adventures. Lori told me some history about the saloon. It had originally been across the street and was over 100 years old. It had been moved many years ago. They rolled it across on logs. Also during the height of the coal mining the saloon was a brothel. Mining. Saloons and Brothels seem to go hand in hand. We asked them where we should eat our last meal in town, in their opinion the best place. They both said The Vintage Tap House. It was a Grill and Pub that had some micro brews and local beers. The even gave us excellent directions.
We weren’t disappointed at dinner. It was wing night and Larry got a dozen and some onion rings. Our waitress help me with a smashing salad that we added sauteed mushrooms with 2 pieces of garlic bread. We both had a local beer called Cerveza Patagonia which was a delightful golden lager. We were both satisfied with our dinners and the atmosphere was great! Go to the Vintage in Drumheller.
Thursday morning we were heading out to Banff, It wasn’t a long drive so I spent time working on a story by the office at our campsite. The WiFi is free here but would have cost at the campsite. We headed out about 12 noon to our next destination, Banff and Lake Louise.