Saturday, September 11, 2010

Edmonton blog day 3

Jasper to Edmonton

Date of trip Mon 23/08

Distance travelled 355km

Edmonton day 1

Since we'd already been to Jasper, albeit 11 years ago on our honeymoon, it was exciting to be heading for the first time into new territory. The last leg of our journey would take us from Jasper to Edmonton, and is about 4 hours along the Yellowhead Highway (AB-16). First though we decided to retread some old ground, and take a short drive to Pyramid Lake, just 10 minutes from the guest house in Jasper.

From Edmonton day 1

I wanted to go for a horse ride, but it turned out the stables near the lake were closed, but luckily the canoe rentals were not. While we considered whether to try it or not, another family with two young boys hopped into boats and paddled into the distance with little effort. Next to the lake is an up-market hotel and restaurant, which takes care of the boat and bike rentals. We rented a big canoe, put on life jackets and paddled into the lake.

From Edmonton day 1

There were some scary moments as the canoe was very sensitive to tipping, and Jamie, wanting to help, kept leaning right over the boat to stick his oar in (literally). So it was that the Heyes-Jones family made it's way, neither effortlessly or quietly, into the centre of the lake. Making pretty good progress we paddled around corner out of view of the hotel (and any chance of a rapid rescue) and towards a small island. Despite the sun, the morning was cold, and once around the corner there was a strong breeze trying to turn the canoe. So it was, that after an hour we arrived back at the boat rental with dirty hands and bright red faces with the effort of paddling.

From Edmonton day 1

Leaving Jasper, we stopped in the Petro Canada and spent a small fortune on chips, gas and coffee, realising by now that you can't eat too much on a road trip (you somehow burn calories just sat there in the driving seat). Although we were now in Alberta so gas was about $0.86 per litre, compared with about 30c more back in Vancouver.

From Edmonton day 1

Not long after leaving Jasper, the mountains suddenly fall behind you, and in their place is a giant blue sky. There's not much between Edmonton and Jasper, as far as I could tell, except for farm land; wery much like the England green hedge lined countryside I grew up in fact, except scaled up to fill this vast flat area.

From Edmonton day 1

There are a couple of small towns you can stop in along the highway but we had plenty of supplies so stopped only in a rest area. On the way I was delighted to see what looked like a large grey fox running along the median. Jamie and Corbey were less delighted as they didn't see it time.

We arrived in Edmonton in the early evening, and I used my smartphone with GPS and google maps to drive us to the wrong part of the city in rush hour (I guess it's not smart enough to know when the user doesn't type the post code in correctly), so we spent 30 minutes touring the road works on Whitemud Drive. We also incidentally drove to the campus of the University of Alberta, instead of the West Edmonton Days Inn Hotel.

On reaching the right area for the Days Inn, we couldn't see it anywhere, and I, not trusting my smartphone any more, decided to use it as a dumb phone and call the hotel for directions. Unfortunately I'd used up the battery almost completely, and the hotel put me on hold. Still they came back on the line just in time, and were friendly and helpful despite the fact that we were getting tired and our brains were mush.

After checking in to our hotel room, which was really nice and a 5 minute drive from the West Edmonton Mall (WEM), Jamie and I hit the pool which we had to ourselves. It was deep and pretty big for a hotel pool, with a hot spa on the side. After that we showered and went for dinner. It was about this point I just gave up on navigating in Edmonton and let Corbey take care of it. The maze of one way streets were a puzzle I was not quite in the mood to solve. We had dinner at the Olive Garden which is a family favourite; the service was good and friendly which was a distinct pattern we were noticing with Edmonton folk.

That evening we were itching to check out WEM, so even though it was due to close any minute we drove over there to investigate. Looking through the windows at a giant rollercoaster got Jamie super excited. We were able to wander through the mall, even though the stores were closing, and plan out our next couple of days. Jamie was blown away by Galaxy Land, Water World, and the fact that there is a full size ship right in the mall.

From Edmonton day 1

Finally we went back to the hotel and settled into the giant comfortable beds.

No comments: