I left Prince George under rainy skis planning to go through Jasper and Banff. It was still raining by the time I got to Jasper. The weather report called for rain and lower temperatures at the higher elevations so I did not take the Ice Parkway south through the park but continued east on to Hinton east of Jasper for the night. I didn’t want to encounter ice or snow conditions at the higher elevations.
The drive along the Yellow Head in Alberta is beautiful with lots of places to stop. There are many, many trail heads with short trails. I stopped at several. The rest stops before the national park were small, but accommodate smaller RVs and the larger ones looked like overnight parking would not be a problem.
This was one of the falls along the highway towards Jasper
Some rafters were getting ready to launch. Looks like fun!
And off they go.
It rained all the way to Hinton and I found a nice place to park near a great interpretive trail, which also serves as a cross country ski area in the winter. I’m in logging country now. I was also in for a pleasant surprise. Gas was down to 88 cents a liter! That’s almost US prices!
Wednesday morning, I headed towards Lloydminister, which has one leg in Alberta and one leg in Saskatchewan. I figured I could overnight at the Moose Lodge in town. When I got there it was “Bingo Night” and RV parking would not be available until after 9:00 that evening, so I continued on, negotiating through traffic and the big city of Edmonton. The rain finally stopped.
I’m in Saskatchewan now, and it is obvious that this is an area that is just now beckoning tourists. The map showed various rest stops that weren’t rest stops but very primitive private fee campgrounds. The road was flat and straight and definitely prairie country . There are lots of grain fields and farming equipment on the road. I saw a sign for a truck stop and then another sign “free RV parking at the truck stop” near Paynton, so I pulled in to check it out. It turned out to be a good overnight stop. I was treated to a fantastic sunset, something I hadn’t seen in a long time.
This was a truck stop in the truest since, one I haven’t seen since childhood. Remember the old saying, the best food is where the trucker stop? This place had the best cinnamon buns ever (better than any in Alaska or BC)and the cheapest food...Steak for $10.00. I worried about truck noise, but most were grain trucks and those that needed to run all night parked off in one area. It was obvious it was also the local coffee gathering by the number of pickup trucks parked in front of the restaurant in the morning.
I decided to continue on and check out Saskatoon, a large city of over 200,000. The lady at the visitor center was very helpful at Saskatoon, but warned the down town area was not RV friendly. I unhooked my Jeep and explored downtown and the river front. Walked as much of the parkway as I could...no dogs allowed..even on leash. The downtown area is definitely not for RVs. I had a hard time just finding a parking place for the Jeep.
I decided, this would be a city needing more time for investigating on a non-holiday weekend. Streets were being blocked off for the Labor Day weekend fireworks extravaganza. Checked out a few RV parks and they were either full or very expensive. The provincial parks charge an entrance fee of $7.00 per vehicle (RV and towed) per day plus $17.00 per day for dry camping. That's $35.00 including tax. Seems like a lot of money, if I was only going to sleep there, so I headed for Moose Jaw a smaller town.
There are lots of little farming communities right off the highway. I stopped at Davidson, SK and saw this giant coffee pot. I'm not sure what the significance is of the coffee pot, put they sure went to a lot of work.
This nice bronze sculpture was adjacent to the giant coffee pot.
I arrived and got settled at good old Wal-Mart and headed to the the VC which was closed. Apparently the VC in Saskatchewan like British Columbia do not keep extended hours during the summer. When I returned the next day I found out they were closed on weekend. This is Labor Day weekend for the Canadians so I figured most things would be open. There is a Trolly that tours the old town area but the tours quit running the last day of August. Apparently a lot of the Provincial Parks and other tourist attractions close the day after Labor Day and it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is.
This is Mac the Moose. He greets you just as you turn off the highway to Moose Jaw
Moose Jaw has about 50 murals scattered through out town depicting historical events. The biggest attraction seems to be the Tunnels of Moose Jaw. Tours go underground and the days of Al Capone are acted out on one tour. Another tour depicts the hardships the Chinese immigrants went through during the gold rush. Pictures are not allowed.
Moose Jaw also has lots of parks and trails along the river. A great place to ride a bike or kayak.
This guy was lounging on one of the trails along the Moose Jaw river. The shell is made of of tiles local school children designed.