Tagged with " Edmonton"
Sep 24, 2008 -

Where I’ve Stayed

I haven’t given too many details on the campgrounds in which I’ve stayed because I don’t think it’s wise to give too much information on exactly where I am at the time of posting, so consider this a bit of a catch up edition. 🙂

So, my first campground was the Ottawa Municipal Campground in Ottawa, Ontario.

I maintain that the OMC is Ottawa’s best kept secret. The park feels like it’s deep in nature, but it’s just minutes from the Queensway and from shopping centres in Nepean and Kanata while being about ten minutes from downtown (as long as it’s not rush hour!). Staff is friendly, rules are lax, there’s wi-fi at the laundromat, and the electricity and water are good.

I found this campground using Google.

My second campground was Stillwater RV Park in Nipigon, Ontario.

For the night that I stayed, this place was fantastic. It had 30A pull-thrus, good water, a cheap laundromat, and wi-fi. Even though it’s located right on the highway, the sites are removed enough from it to be quiet. But I’d hate to stay here in the high season as the sites are packed very closely together. Thankfully, the place was practically empty when I stayed.

I found this campground in an old Trailer Life directory the POs left me.

My third campground was Shady Oaks RV Resort & Campground in Sidney, Manitoba.

This was a really nice campground, if you like being in the middle of nowhere (60km to the nearest grocery store!). I had a beautiful spot overlooking the Manitoba prairie and shaded by oak trees that rained acorns the whole time I was there! Water quality wasn’t very good here (too much iron), but I wasn’t drinking it, so I didn’t mind. The staff was very friendly. There was wi-fi, but it wasn’t free, and this new service needed a lot of tweaking.

I found this campground by driving down the Transcanada highway and following the signs advertising a park offering full 30A hookups and wi-fi.

Then, I moved on to the Dyer Straits Campground and Cabins (great name!) in Whitecity, Saskatchewan.

I adored this campground. Even though it’s right on the Transcanada and just twelve kilometres from all the shops and services, it feels like you’re in a natural setting. It’s quiet and the owners are friendly and laid back. The water here had the same problem as that at Shady Oaks, but, otherwise, the services were good. Wi-fi isn’t available at all the sites, but the owners are okay with laptop owners coming up to their house after dinner and stretching out on their lawn chairs.

I knew that I wanted to stay in the Whitecity area and was looking at another campground found in my Saskatchewan Official Campgrounds Guide, but Dyer Straits was cheaper.

Next, I stayed at the Gordon Howe Campground in Saskatoon.

This campground is very well located. It feels private and rustic, but is close to downtown and several Saskatoon attractions. I found that there were a lot of rules and I was disappointed to learn that you can only dump during the week! That said, staff was friendly, laundry was cheap (and change for it was given with a smile), and the wi-fi was free (even though they had a service interruption most of the time I was there!). Water pressure at this park is very high, so you need a regulator. They warn you about this several times.

I had planned to stay at another campground right on highway 16 west of Saskatoon, but didn’t have specific directions to get there. So, upon arriving in Saskatoon, I followed little brown signs showing a trailer until I got to what looked like a dead end as I wound up at a sports arena parking lot. Just before deciding to cut my losses and try again to find the other park, I saw rigs off in the distance behind trees and realised that the road forked out to the left to the campground entrance. I’m glad things worked out this way as this campground was a much better choice for my purposes than would have been one several kilometres out of town.

Which brings me to here, the Rainbow Campground in Edmonton.

Meh. This campground was obviously my best choice for Edmonton, but it’s ludicrously expensive for 15A service with no water! And you have to pay 10.50$ per day for internet access! The gates close at 11PM sharp, so this isn’t the place to stay if you want to experience Edmonton’s nightlife. That said, it’s fairly conveniently located and fairly quiet. I’m right at the entrance and in front of the men’s washrooms, positioned here because I have a toad. They only allow one motorized vehicle per site, so I have to park my toad somewhere else. This is the only site where there is a ‘somewhere else’ close by: right across the way in front of the men’s washrooms. 🙂 I do find that getting here is a bit of a pain. My GPS is of absolutely no use and being ‘off Whitemud Drive’ is of only limited use. Depending on where you enter and exit Whitemud Drive, it runs north/south or east/west! So, I always have a hard time figuring out which direction to go to get home.

I found this campground in the Official Alberta Campgrounds guide, and decided on it with a bit of research done in Lloydminster on a limited internet connection.

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Alberta, Campgrounds, Canada, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Travel    2 Comments
Sep 24, 2008 -

Fort Edmonton Park

Today was the best sort of day!

First off, the weather was just beautiful; crisp but not too cold, with a bright blue sky that contrasted sharply with the emerald and amber foliage of the park. It was the kind of day meant for strolling outdoors.

As it turned out, Fort Edmonton Park isn’t closed during the week in the fall! It just runs on a very reduced basis: most buildings are open, but there are few interpreters and no concessions are open. There are also wagon rides available that go through the park and give the history of it.

While I was disappointed that the first Rutherford home was not open today, the atmosphere in the park more than made up for that. It was quiet and empty, and it was an absolute luxury to tour at my own pace, unhurried and without having to push my way through crowds.

Normally, there is a train which takes guests from the admissions building to the Edmonton Fort, from which guests can amble back chronologically through the exhibits. I did my tour in reverse and I actually much preferred that, as it felt like I was slowly making my way back in time, from a 1920’s street, to one from 1905, to one from 1885, to the old fort circa 1840.

At the fort, I took the the wagon back to the entrance, then back to the fort again, from which I took a slightly less beaten path back so that I could snap pictures of the few buildings I’d missed which had been pointed out on the tour.

I wound up spending four hours at the park when I had expected to spend just one. Admission for today was just 8.75$!

The entrance to the park is supposed to be inspired by the shape of a boat and that of a fort wall.

I collect(ed?) blue willow dishware and snapped a picture of this enamel piece as I’d never seen one that was so pale. I came close to buying this dish in the gift shop but showed remarkable restraint. 🙂

The first mosque ever built in Canada (and possibly North America) looks Ukrainian; guess the nationality of the architect and builder. 🙂

Private toilet facilities at the fort have only three holes!

The round barn is an original building that was moved to the park. The design (a 20-sided polygon) wasn’t very popular, but made for an efficient use of space as it could hold more cattle per square foot and allowed for a common feed area in the centre that could be supplied by a hay loft on the second level.

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Sep 24, 2008 -

Wild Rose Country

I’m posting from Edmonton, Alberta.

Edmonton

Edmonton

Driving northwest out of Saskatoon on the Yellowhead (16), the landscape begins to ripple and the vast golden expanses of wheat give way to green pastures interrupted by dense poplar copses. By the time you truly enter Alberta, after you’ve passed Lloydminster, you’d think you were back in northern Ontario. But the trees betray your true location, as Alberta along this route has more poplar than it does spruce.

My first night in Alberta was spent in a zoo of a shopping complex in Lloydminster. I was very technically set up in front of a Wal-mart, but, truly, home was squeezed in between a Kelsey’s restaurant and a bank. It was very noisy, crowded, and busy, but provided a good lesson in how far I’ve come in the past few weeks. My first times in such locations, I couldn’t relax and absolutely had to leave the coach. This night, I just got a few groceries to make dinner at home, and then I plopped down with a book for several hours.

I made it to Edmonton around 12:30 on Monday. It had been a miserable morning; rainy, damp, cold, muddy, and windy. Keeping Miranda in her lane had required all my energy. I wanted to go somewhere warm for the afternoon, somewhere I wouldn’t have to think too much, somewhere I could have some exercise.

So, within a half hour of arriving in Edmonton, I was on my way to the West Edmonton Mall.

Now, I have no love for these insane orgies of consumerism. When I went through Minnesota in 2005 I purposely skipped the Mall of America even though I went right by it. But the West Edmonton Mall promised an indoor water park with a wave pool which sounded like just the thing I wanted….

I found the water park and was dismayed by the admission cost of 32$, plus 7$ for a locker rental. I just wanted to swim! I took a chance and asked the lady at admissions if there was perhaps a special fee just for the pool. Not during the week… because access to the whole facility is 17$ since not all the activities are open!

And that’s why I am really beginning to love this life, folks. I woke up Monday in a miserable parking lot, went to bed in a quiet setting surrounded by firs, and in the middle of all that, I spent three glorious hours swimming, body surfing waves, and taking too many exhilarating rides to count down waterslides. Monday was a Good Day.

Yesterday was okay. Everything I really wanted to see in Edmonton is either closed for renovations, closed for the season, or has a drastically reduced program. I did the Royal Alberta Museum in the morning and had mixed feelings about it. The 10$ admission fee felt bloated when I compared the museum to the RSM (2$) and I found the exhibits disjointed and badly organized. But I was able to fall in love with an absolutely adorable little guy (Australian stick bug) and learn about the shipwreck of the Empress of Ireland, which happened on the St. Lawrence River, and which I’d never heard about even though it was comparable in tragedy to the sinking of the Titanic.

I finished up my day early by going to Rutherford House, home of Alberta’s first premiere.

Rutherford House, Edmonton

Rutherford House, Edmonton

Admission was 4$ and got me a private guide who was fantastic. I enjoyed touring this Edwardian home, comparing it to Victorian homes I’d toured before. The Edwardian style is a lot more simple, but the paint colours are shockingly bright.

Today, I’m not sure if I’m doing anything touristy. I had wanted to go to Fort Edmonton Park, but it’s shut down for the season and the only thing going on during the week are wagon rides. Later today I’ll go check out if those are worth doing since the park is just minutes from here. I also need to visit an Elections Canada office to get a special ballot to vote by mail as we have an election coming up on October 14!

I’m very tired and the cold I woke up with last Thursday has hardly abated. So, I’m reconsidering my plans for the rest of the week. I was supposed to go to Calgary tomorrow and stay through to Sunday. I think I’m going to blow off the city and come back in the spring.

So, my new tentative itinerary is to make it as far as the Wal-mart in Red Deer tomorrow, the Wal-mart in Calgary on Friday, and then stop in Canmore for a full seven nights as I found a park there that offers a free seventh night for six paid up (making the average cost per night almost reasonable). From there, I could take a day trip into Calgary (1 hour) and day trips into Banff, similar to what I did in Regina. And then from Canmore, I’ll drive, up and down and through the mountains until I reach the Okanagan valley. It’s getting colder up here (there’s frost on the grass outside!) and the Okanagan Valley is starting to sound like the promised land. 🙂

I must also confess that I’m getting too settled into this semi-retired-type routine of mine and that it won’t hurt for me to start making some income again to remind me that there is still a big old world out there. 🙂

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Alberta, Boondocking/Dry camping, Canada, Driving, Itineraries, Law and Government, Personal, Saskatchewan, Travel, Voting, Weather, Why I Do This    4 Comments
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