T – We had a nice lay in until 8am today! The sun was beating down and warming the tent up so nicely that it was hard to want to get up. There were gorgeous little birds singing outside and all!
I could have laid there for another hour. But if I didn’t get up and go to the bathroom I would surely have wet myself.
We were heading south pretty well in a straight line now and already we were noticing a rise in the temperatures. It was glorious!
C – This morning was most definitely a picture perfect morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and we were not in a hurry. I ventured out to make coffee and breakfast and was pleasantly surprised by how warm it was outside. I decided to be a complete daredevil and leave off one thermal layer today! I smiled and hummed as I packed away my wool thermal, asking the weather gods to let me leave it tucked away for the foreseeable future!!!
After breakfast, I went for a little walk to the bathroom. I passed a few other camps on the way. On the way back from the bathroom, I noticed a dog standing outside one of the camps and could tell he hadn’t seen or heard me, so I scuffed my feet as I walked to make some noise. The dog turned, wagged his tail and started to head towards me. I said ‘hello puppy’ as I kept walking, not making any move to touch him at all, but obviously ‘hello puppy’ is a war cry in this dogs language and he lunged at me, barking, teeth bared so I yelled at him to get away and he ran back into his camp. Phew! His teeth were literally centimetres from my calf!
T – Today would take us across the state border and into Alberta for the first time. We have loved BC so it was a mixture of sadness to leave it behind and excitement to see the next part of Canada. Alberta has the Rockies and the Icefield Parkway though. So that is going to be awesome!
By the time I got back from the bathroom Chantelle had packed up camp and was ready to go. So we checked the bikes over and off we went! Mabel still without indicators or a horn, Rosie smelly fuely and about 500kms over due for an oil change. We shall sort them both out today!
First stop was a place called Beaverlodge where we took a photo of a large beaver! A cool little town and just a taste of what we hope to encounter along the way once we get off these highways.
Then we were into the outskirts of Grande Prairie. Wow that place was huge! We were expecting a small town and were shocked when we saw that it was quite a large, very busy, very industrial city!
We found a Tim Hortons to do the blog and have a coffee before meandering south again. We took a smaller highway, which turned out to be very busy with trucks and roadworks. There was a lot of oil/gas plants all the way along it and so many trucks. There was a constant smell in the air, a mixture of cement dust, oil and mud.
C – After the unexpected size of Grande Prairie, we were really looking forward to travelling what looked to be a minor road on our maps. We were surprised when the traffic didn’t thin out much after leaving Grande Prairie and the trucks kept coming. We basically didn’t leave the shoulder for what felt like hours!
I noticed a sign on the highway for an Alberta Parks provincial campground and as it was only 6km off the highway, we decided to check it out. We assumed it would be a paid campground, but thought it was worth checking out, as some of the BC Parks and the Yukon Parks turned out to be great camps. We turned down a dirt road that had been seriously damaged by the rains, with big ruts and a really rough surface to negotiate. We had lots of fun getting the 6km down this road!!! Todd in particular as he was following a caravan which was spewing out masses of dust!
The campground was just ok, nothing special, with no facilities other than a pit toilet. We were blown away by the fee though – $27 a night! Whoa!!!! We can get a site in a RV park for this amount, which includes wifi, showers, flushing toilets and generally free coffee. We turned and ran back to the highway, Todd stopping to giggle and take a photo of a portable toilet labelled ‘honey bucket’!!
T – We went through a large section of road works. Big chunks of the road torn up, leaving behind a grooved wavy road that made us wiggle and wobble along, our narrow little tyres biting into the grooves. Mabels front wheel in one rut, her rear in another, crab walking down the highway. The road workers staring, laughing, pointing. I even heard one guy say “What the hell types of bikes are those?”. They are amazing machines my friend, amazing machines!
The road climbed high, then dropped, then climbed higher still. We had glimpses of lovely views, and mountains in the distance.
“Mountains Mable! Look!” I shouted at her. She ignored me. She hates mountains.
Soon we started to look for somewhere to camp. We checked a few spots out. None quite right. We found one that looked perfect but as soon as we entered it both Chantelle and I felt there was something very wrong with it. We couldn’t pin what it was but both our guts said ‘GO, GO NOW’. So we did.
A little ways up the road was some camp spots in the trees next to a river. It was perfect. While Chantelle cooked up some chicken strips for dinner, I found and fixed Mabels broken wire. It was easy.
Then we laid in the tent and watched Friends. We are up to season 10 and don’t want it to finish! What to watch next?
Tomorrow we shall go to a town called Hinton. Then its just a short jaunt the following day and we are onto the Icefields Parkway!