Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Monday, May 30, 2022

Province of Alberta, Canada

 May 17, 2022 - May 30, 2022

Our first full day in Canada. We spent five nights in High River, Alberta, on the outskirts of Calgary. It’s a small town that’s known for many different shows and movies filmed in the area, including two shows we watch currently, Yellowstone and Joe Pickett. The Heartland series on Netflix is also filmed here which is on our to-watch list.
The next two days we are supposed to have pretty crummy weather, so we’ll see what we can find to do.
Jonell and I are perusing the menu of the local diner. It looked good, but we never did make it back there.

There were several murals throughout the town depicting different historical scenes or influential citizens.

The weather has not been very good, rather cold and rainy. So rather than outdoor activities, we spent our time in various museums. The first one is the Bomber Command Museum of Canada which told all about the history of what's called the "bomber command" units during World War II. The museum is a labor of love of many volunteers, finding, refurbishing the aircraft, and donating them to the museum. The second day was the Military Museum in Calgary. I myself did not visit that museum, but Al said it was very interesting.

Our last day we visited the Heritage Village Park, another museum dedicated to the history of the province of Alberta, denoted in several different villages showing different time periods. We learned about coal mining and oil drilling, the pioneer era, the Dust Bowl and Depression eras, even some interesting facts about trapping and trading. Gasoline Alley Museum, a new section, had beautifully restored automobiles, trucks, gas pumps and paraphernalia related to service stations.

Al and Jonell bellying up to the bar in the Saloon. 

In Edmonton, Alberta, the weather had improved a bit, and on our first day of sightseeing we decided to visit the Alberta Legislature Building. Monday was a national holiday, Victoria Day, here in Canada. Because of this, tours were available to the public. We landed spots on the 11 a.m. tour, which was about 45 minutes long. We were given a short history of the building and shown several areas: the Rotundra, the marble stairs rising to the chambers, the upstairs galleries for the public to watch the proceedings, and a special visit to the Premier's office and the cabinet meeting room. Afterward, there was a memorial service on the grounds with a military band and symbolic firing of the cannons. It struck me, listening to the music that was played, how closely aligned the countries of Great Britain, Canada, and the U.S. are. Much of the music is similar, if not identical. We then walked over to the Visitor Center where we watched a short film presentation on the history of the Alberta Province, and an exhibit hall that laid out the history of the legislature. It was very interesting.

There is reno work going on to the outside of the Legislature building. 


Marble stairs leading up to the Legislature chamber.

The Premier's Cabinet meeting room

View from the patio balcony of the Premier's office.

The Rotundra

A quote from one of the "Famous 5," a group of women who led the cause for women's rights in Canada and secured the right for women to vote once they were declared "persons."

The hall where the Legislature meets. We are in the viewing gallery above.

Being Victoria Day, there was a memorial service on the grounds at noon, with the military band playing patriotic music and a cannon salute. 

A plaque I found inspiring in the Parliamentary exhibit hall.

Our last day in Edmonton, we visited the Muttart Conservatory. Composed of 4 distinct biosphere pyramids, they had exhibits on tropical, temperate, and arid climates, and the fourth one is a changing feature which is hydrangeas this month. We really enjoyed wandering through the conservatory.

Walking up to the conservatory

Orchids in the tropic zone

Sculpture named "The Proposal" in the temperate zone.

Two scenes in the temperate zone

Hydrangeas in the rotating exhibit

Two scenes from the arid zone.

Thursday we had departed Edmonton and headed about 240 miles further northwest, settling in Grande Prairie, Alberta. This is our last stop in Alberta. We stayed here 4 nights mainly because the weather was supposed to be cold and rainy all weekend. They were not wrong! But we did manage to do a few things. We first visited the Visitor's Center where we saw the giant sundial- although it was cloudy out so we couldn't tell the time - and there was a very interesting museum on the history of "Peace Country" as they call it - due to the Peace River running through the prairie. We went to a year-round Farmer's Market that had lots of yummy baked goods. It's a tad too early for much locally grown produce.
The big sundial on a sunless day

Grande Prairie Visitor Center

The area is also known for an abundance of dinosaur fossils, some unique to the area, and a world-class palaeontological institution, the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. It was a good way to spend a very rainy day.

The Pachyrhinosaurus is exclusive to the Peace Country area. A huge pocket of fossilized bones was found in the Pipestone Creek area. It is believed an environmental cataclysmic event such as flooding occurred, killing the herd. An abundance of various other scavenger dinosaur bones were found in the area, believed to have been drawn by the corpses of the pachyrhinosauruses.

The lab where teams work on the fossils that are recovered in the area.

A trackway of prints recovered at the Pipestone Creek site.

On our last day here, today, Al and I went to the Grande Prairie "Stompede," billed as the Peace Country's Greatest Show of the Year. It was going on all weekend, but this afternoon the rain finally stopped and was the best afternoon for us to go. And it was a lot of fun. Tomorrow we drive another 90 miles northwest where we will finally reach Dawson Creek and Mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway.

Bronc riding

Singles calf roping. They have to lasso the calf and secure its feet by hogtying it. The winner did it in just over 8 seconds.

Team calf roping. One lassos the head, the other lassos a back foot.

This was a loop of balloon targets that they had to ride in a circle around and shoot out the balloons. It was timed with 5 seconds added for each balloon that remained intact.

The last and seemingly most popular event was steer riding. 

And for the Yellowstone fans out there....it wasn't Jimmy!

Thursday, May 26, 2022

We're back!

 So it's been quite a long time since I last wrote anything here...about two and a half years. Not too much happened in those intervening years. Let's do a quick summary.

Al had heart surgery the end of 2019, a cryoablation for his afib. All went well with that.
January 2020 we went on an 8-night Caribbean cruise for his 60th birthday; yep, getting old, LOL.
February 2020 we did our normal cousins reunion at Disney, and worked at the State Fair for Scootaround. In the meantime, we were finalizing all the plans for our bucket-list trip to Alaska. Departure was set for the end of April 2020, returning back to the lower 48 late September.
And then we all know what happened March 2020: COVID. 

Of course, back then no one had the faintest idea how long the pandemic would last. We held on to hopes right until late May that we'd be able to at least do an abbreviated trip up. Long story short, summer 2020 we postponed our trip to 2021, and ended up back in Wyoming, working another year at the ranch. No elaborations, but it was a long, strenuous summer. Who would have thought it would be a record-breaking year out there for tourism, with not enough help. We got through it, but it was not fun. 
This about sums up the summer!

To cap it off, Al blew out his left knee mid-July. As it kept getting worse, we headed back to Florida immediately at the end of the season in October, and he had a full knee replacement December 2021. 

January 2021 was filled with physical therapy and slowly seeing our plans to travel to Alaska that summer fizzling away due to the resurgence of the COVID variants. The end of January we heard from our employers at the ranch that the impending sale of the business had fallen through. They had decided to continue running it for the summer '21 season and offered us our roles back if we weren't going north. After discussing it, trying to guess what was going to happen with the border, we postponed everything again to 2022. Off to Wyoming again. 

Oh, and Al's knee was doing great. He really worked hard and did all the therapy and exercises they told him to do. He is walking great again. 

The biggest news of the year was the addition of a new member to our family. Introducing Cody, our Irish Setter.

11 weeks old when we picked him up in Oregon.

Mid-September on a field trip in the Gros Ventre, Wyoming

We finished out our eighth season at Luton's, and it was our last. The business has been sold now and new people are running it this year. We have so many wonderful memories from working there, but it is time to move on.

December 2021 we did a 10-day trip to the Everglades and Key West. One of our favorite couples, John and Carol Herr, were staying at the Naval Base in Key West for the month of December and I really wanted to visit with them. We had a fantastic time with them for the week. We stayed at Bluewater Key RV Park, and whereas it is expensive, it was very nice and actually had privacy between sites. And there was nothing that would be considered inexpensive anyway. 
our site at Bluewater Key
The Hemingway House in Key West

The Hemingway House is known for its cats, mainly the 6-toed variety. There's currently 50-plus cats living the life of luxury on property, all descended from the original cat gifted to Ernest Hemingway.

We did a day trip via high-speed ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park. It was beautiful.

Of course, a fishing trip for Al was a must-do.

The rest of the winter was pretty quiet. We did go to Disney a few days. We visited with friends from New York and my sister and niece and nephew in February when they came down during school vacation in February. My brother came down in April and he and Al went on a 3-day fishing trip in the Gulf and caught a freezer-load of fish.

Al with a queen snapper, one of the many types of fish he caught. Happy guy!

The end of April we finally left Florida headed for the Canadian border. And as I write this, we just spent 5 days in Calgary and 4 days in Edmonton. That will be a separate post. We left Edmonton this morning, bound for Mile 0 of the Alcan in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. We'll be stopping a couple days before getting there, so we'll see what we find along the way. In the meantime, the blog is basically caught up! For everyone that's still following along, thank you so much. I hope to have a lot of interesting things to share with you.

Thought to ponder.....