WEEK #1

August 5th    We're outta' here man! Woohoo! We left town about 9:00am, heading straight for Sudbury. Weather was fine, traffic was light...life is good. We hit Sudbury around 4:30, and went straight for the Big Nickel. They close at 5pm, so we got in for free. Good thing it was free, cause it was pretty lame. There was supposed to be a mine exhibit that we could go down into, but it was closed. All that was left was the gift shop and the Big-Ass Nickel. On to the campground. We stayed at Chutes Prov. Park. Nice park, neat rapids, good facilities.

the big stacks of Inco (nickel refinery) / the Big Nickel / Jim following standard tarp tying practicethe chutes of Chutes Prov. Park

August 6th    Woke up to a little sprinkling of rain. Thinking ahead we had already put the tarp over the tent, so no problem. We set our watches to get up and out of the park by 8:00. We left at 10:30...hey! we're on vacation! Crappy day driving, raining off and on, cold. Some interesting scenery as we drove along Lake Superior (Highway 17). After Wawa, hit really heavy rain and fog; lots of fun in the winding hilly terrain. However, also made for some really cool scenery. Got some good pictures. Made it as far as Rainbow Falls Prov. Park (2hr east of Thunderbay). When we arrived, it started raining hard. But again, our trusty tarp pulled us through (plus a couple of make-shift drainage ditches).

 N.E. shore of Lake Superior / can you spot the ground hog? / I want that honey Pooh! / view from tall bridge over Little Pic River / our humble home v1.0

August 7th    Headed out by 9am. Stopped just before Thunder Bay to see very nice memorial for Terry Fox. Then the long haul through Dryden, Kenora, and finally Winnipeg. Finally! We got out of Ontario! If we see any more rock, trees, and moose crossing signs, we will loose it! The sun came out too! We grabbed a campsite right on the edge of town...a reeally nice establishment...not! Quickly we decided not to stay here more than one night. Saw a movie (The Perfect Storm), but missed the last 5-10 minutes because we had to get back to our fine campground before they closed the gate. Can anyone tell us what happens after the funeral scene? Awesome movie! (says AMR). And finally, to top it all off, it rained most of the night, again, hard. Kudos to the tarp. At least we don't have to go to work in the morning!

Terry Fox memorial

August 8th    Slept in a little, (all that driving getting out of Ontario took a lot out of us) then got the heck out of our lovely campground. Checked out the Winnipeg Museum of Man and Nature (very cool, and of course educational), and the RCAF Aviation Memorial. We decided to have a night on the town, so we checked into a hotel downtown. Good thing since we don't seem to be getting any digital cell phone service here. Well, off to dinner!...Well, we're back from dinner. We had some delicious ribs down at Muddy Waters Smokehouse, in the Forks district of Winnipeg (sort of like the Byward Market).

one of many dioramas at Museum of Man & Nature / A-M prepares our lunch outside museum / RCAF Aviation Memorial

August 9th    Got up to a beautiful morning; the sun was shining and the birds were singing. It was a pleasant 21 deg. Celsius. He filled up on gas, grabbed a bite at Tim Hortons (yes they do have a Tim Hortons on every street corner just like in Ottawa), and headed out for Saskatoon. We made a few stops along the way, for food, gas, or a pee break. For the most part we just drove straight through. We stopped in Saskatoon itself to get some groceries, and then off to the closest Prov. Park, Pike Lake. Just before we got out of town, we tried to connect to get our email since we had a digital signal. No luck... oh well, there is always Edmonton. The campground was really nice. The only problem we could see with it was that there didn't seem to be anybody running the place. We pulled in around 8:30 (actually we thought it was 9:30, but we had a little mix-up with the whole time-zone/daylight savings time thing) but there was nobody at the gates. The office was closed too. We just drove in and picked a site we liked. No tarp for the first time. Later that night, on a late-night trip to the bathroom, we saw the Northern Lights...ooooooooo, ahhhhhhh.

field of sunflowers (MB) / another view of that field

August 10th    We finally did pay in the morning for our campsite, when somebody decided to happen by the office. We got out of the campground at around 9:30-10:00. Phew, these early starts are killing us! We headed for Drumheller, AB, again with only brief stops along the way. We made one stop along a big wheat field (around Kindersley, SK) for A-M to call (on the cell phone, cool!) the Ottawa General Hospital about her new job there. We made another stop just after entering Alberta (around Hanna) for a picnic lunch, again alongside a wheat field (what are the odds?) We reached Drumheller around 3:00, and headed straight for the Royal Tyrell Museum. I always liked this museum, it is very well laid out and informative. A-M liked it too, but began to get tired of looking at fossilized bone fragments after 3 hours. We made a quick stop in town for groceries, then headed to our campground, the Dinosaur Trail RV Resort. You soon get tired of everything in the town having a picture of a dinosaur on it or having the word dinosaur in its name. A decent campground none-the-less. We had a quick BBQ chicken supper, and off to bed by 12:00. In the night, another heavy thunder'n'lightning storm. Praise the tarp.

bringing in the hay (SK) / the elusive wheat field (SK) / the Royal Tyrell Museum / mammoth bones / oooo... pointy / posing next to a local / just a few bugs on the truck

August 11th    Again, awoke to a very nice day. Had a shower, packed up, and headed for Edmonton. For the heck of it, we followed the North Dinosaur Trail along the Red Deer river, across the river on a cable ferry, and up out of the valley towards Red Deer (city). A very scenic route through this section of the Badlands. We hit a heavy thunder storm between Red Deer and Edmonton. We arrived in Edmonton (specifically, the West Edmonton Mall) around 3:30. We were starved since we hadn't eaten since breakfast. We grabbed a bite in the food court, then spent the rest of the day walking around the mall. We did a little trinket shopping, planning to do the serious stuff tomorrow. At around 8:00 we left for a nearby campground, the Glowing Embers RV Park. The campground turned out to be very nice. The approaching dark clouds suggested that we again set up the tarp. So here we are, in the tent with our laptop and digital cell phone connection at 10:30pm, typing up this report. Cool.

Horse Thief Canyon (part of Badlands), near Drumheller / another shot of the canyon / central AB, big sky country

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