Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vacation day 6 : Edmonton to Valemount

Date of trip Thu 26/08

Distance travelled 488km

We got up early and spent an hour in the hotel pool, which we had to ourselves, then had cereal before starting the long drive home, which we would do in two parts. The first leg was to Valemount, which we'd already passed through, but today we would be spending the night at the Motel 7

It was the second last day of the vacation and my turn to drive, so Corbey directed me out of Edmonton, and it was her turn to make a mistake with navigation so we ended up driving around random suburbs, not for the first time, before we made our way back to the highway. On the way I noticed some cool place names like Camp He Ha Ho and a big Ranch called Mokoyoko (or something similar).

We stopped at Hinton for lunch which is about a third of the way to Valemount, and is a small town with some big stores and lots of chain restaurants. Sadly it would be our last fill up at Albertian gas prices.

Arriving at Jasper National Park gates we told the cashier we took the option to not pay the park fee, which means you're not allowed to stop in the park at all, but that was fine with us. It takes 40 minutes or so to drive through it and we had no time to visit Jasper again anyway. Although you're not allowed to stop in the rest areas, so this option means emptying your bladder before you enter.

The day was a little overcast, and Valemount was very quiet when we arrived in the early evening. The Super 8 motel was run by a young woman who seemed to do everything there; when she wasn't at the front desk greeting guests she was doing a tour of the rooms with towels, light bulbs and solving other problems. Despite her efforts there wasn't much that went smoothly with our stay. The room had only one bed instead of two, there weren't enough towels, and there was no lightbulb in our bedside lamp. So I took quite a few trips to the front desk. Jamie and I checked out the spa, which was one very old hot tub, a sauna that was marked closed with yellow tape and a steam room that was locked with a "staff only" sign on the door. Bizarrely it was one of the most expensive hotels on our trip, and she congratulated us on getting such a great rate.

Regardless we were comfortable in the hotel, and after a few minutes research I decided we were going to the Caribou Grill for dinner. The restaurant is a giant log cabin a couple of km off the highway, filled with authentic looking Cowboy and Indian knick knacks, including moose heads, saddles, bow and arrows and guns. I had a really good feeling about the place which increased when the waitress was super speedy and friendly. The food was fantastic, probably the best I've had in BC; I had Pork Tenderloin. In fact it was so good I had my arm twisted into having dessert. The NY Cheesecake was also excellent. It was about 9:30pm and dark when we left, happy, rosy faced and barrel shaped.

Happily we drove back to the hotel and went to bed. Next door to the hotel was a tiny greyhound depot, and a couple of times in the night a large bus arrived and backed up right past my window. Being a light sleeper I was wide awake for quite a bit of the night. Waking up about 6am I opened the curtains to find a large old bare chested man looking up at me from the patio, and disturbed I went back to bed for another hour.

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