Saturday, September 4, 2010

Road trip to Edmonton day 2

Clearwater to Jasper

Date of trip Sun 22/08

Distance travelled 317km
We woke up to the sound of light rain, and Jamie enjoyed riding his bike around the big car park while we packed. Then we crossed the street to the restaurant attached to the Motel, the Dutch Lake Village Restaurant. In the evenings this is a Chinese buffet, but in the mornings they make great fried breakfasts. In fact in the evening before I had been dreaming of bacon and egg, so I was delighted. The food was good quality, not obscenely greasy, and the waitress super efficient.

From Clearwater to Jasper

Hitting the road again, this time Corbey as the wheel, we drove about 200km before stopping in Valemount for lunch. When we arrived we'd reached that critical level of hunger where you don't want to spend a lot of time looking for food, so we decided to go to a gas station and buy sandwiches. Corbey couldn't find anything she liked in the two we tried, so as a little black cloud grew over my head we got creative. Seeing a little cafe with a sign for sandwiches, I went inside. Turned out the store was actually a launderette, busy with hikers and campers and the air thick with steam and soap smells. As we were about to turn around a little lady came out of a side door, and showed us that she had a little kitchen and dining area (with exactly one table) set up in the other side of the store. So there we sat, the three of us, as she brought out a pretty nice selection of sandwiches and some great coffee. Even better while we ate she entertained all of us with stories of bear encounters with campers in the night. Her eyes even looked a little bit bear-like and I couldn't help entertaining the idea that maybe she turns into a bear at night! Turned out to be a lot more interesting than eating Petro Canada sandwiches in a minivan.

From Clearwater to Jasper

Just outside Valemount we stopped at the majestic Rearguard Falls, recommended to us by the bear-lady, who told us we may see salmon jumping up-stream. We didn't see any, and it looked virtually impossible against the sheer power of the water. But I know from the fact that Salmon are not extinct that they must be able to do it, which is incredible.

Shortly after that we arrived at the Jasper park gates and I paid the $20 for a 24 hour park pass. You only need this if you intend to stop in the park, which also includes pulling off the highway for any kind of break. In our case we were intending to stay the night.

From Clearwater to Jasper

Arriving in the town of Jasper late afternoon we were pleased to find a warm welcome from the lady that runs the Miette Guest House, and even thought it was slightly older and smaller than the other grand houses on the street, it was very clean and nice inside. Built on a slight slope, most of the house was at the back at basement level and hidden from the street. There are about six rooms, and the one we had was big enough to run around in, and Jamie set about doing that right away, possibly to the annoyance of the more grown up and sedate other guests.

Once our baggage was dumped in the room we returned to the main street, which was just a few minutes walk from the guest house. Accidentally I was seperated from my smartphone for the first time since I bought it a week prior, and made more of a fuss about it then I ought to have. Meanwhile Jamie found a toy shop and several desirable purchases there. I told him that since we were going to be in the West Edmonton Mall in just a couple of days, he would have to wait until then for a better selection (and non-tourist priced toys).

For dinner I had a fairly reasonable Lasagne at a Greek Restaurant called Something Else. The service was quick and friendly.

From Clearwater to Jasper

Despite Vancouver still being lit with warm summer sunlight, Jasper was pretty cold, and somehow I'd managed to arrive with no rain coat or even a sweater of any kind. I got cold enough we checked out the local gift shops, but the cheap "Jasper" sweaters were so crappy I didn't think it was worth it and decided to risk dying of cold instead.

There's not a lot to see in the town really, once you've eaten and done any shopping, there's just the bars and movie theatre left. It's strange, but because the town of Jasper is built facing a railway, and the view is obstructed by goods trains, it has a very beach front feel to it. There's a pretty cool train and tourist centre, so we checked those out before returning to the guest house.

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