Monday, August 9, 2010

Alberta Fun; Rockies Road Trip Leg 3: Rest Days

After we parted ways with Steve in Rogers Pass, Mike and I headed East in search of a motel for a couple nights of “luxury”. We started out with a quick stop in Golden for some ice cream and then continued our journey to Canmore to look for a place to stay for a couple of nights. We had decided that Friday Aug 6 - Saturday August 7 were going to be rest and laundry days before heading back to the mountains. A chance to re-stock our clothes and food as well as our energy levels. We drove into Canmore at about 7:30 Thursday night and stopped by the Alpine club of Canada’s club house to look for a room (and to check it out), but unfortunately they were fully booked. It was a great building though if you’re ever looking for accommodations in Canmore. And its only $25 per night to stay there! After checking out the prices at a couple more places in town we decided that Canmore was too pricey at this time of year and continued our journey east. We ended up staying in a Motel in Cochrane AB that served as base camp for the next couple nights.

The next morning we got up a reasonable time and after a quick bite at Timmy’s we drove into Drumheller to check out some Dinosaurs for our rest day! Yay Dinosaurs! The drive was quite pleasant thru all the fields, most of which were full of bright yellow blossoming Canola. We started our day in Drumheller with a trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. We spent about three hours there checking out all the fossils, dinosaur exhibits as well as goofing off and playing with the kids interactive exhibits. Hey, why not have a little fun?!?

After that we headed to the Atlas Coal Mine which is an abandoned coal mine from the 1930’s that is now a heritage site. We wandered around and checked out a bunch of the old buildings and read displays about what life as a miner was like and then we joined a couple of tours of the mine. The first tour was of the Tipple which is a huge wooden structure full of conveyor belts that sorted and carried the coal from the gantry into the trains. The Tipple was about 8 stories high and we got to climb around inside of it and check out all the old machines, conveyors and sorters and hear stories about the job that used to be done in the Tipple, along with a few ghost stories for fun. Our second tour was of the gantry. The gantry is a long tunnel then connects the coal mine to the Tipple. The first half of the gantry is a wooden structure that attaches to the Tipple, but it quickly turns into a tunnel through the side of a hill that connects the coal mine. The gantry was cool to check out since got to walk thru the wooden section as well as through the underground tunnels. We even got to wear sexy miners lights to navigate thru the tunnel. The tour ended with a quick walk through the blacksmith shop and a hike back down the hill to the car.

After the coal mine we ended our day with a short walk around the Hoodoos, which were neat to see but not as spectacular as I had expected and then we drove back to Cochrane.

Saturday was spent doing chores like laundry and grocery shopping to restock for the second half of our vacation. And now as I type this we are hanging out at our next base camp at the Tunnel Mountain Campground Banff, AB. Its raining on and off right now, but hopefully it’ll improve tomorrow so we can head out on some more adventures!

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