Our main objective was to play with some Grandchildren living in Edmonton (with their parents). Here are a few observations along the way.
The Emily Retro-Rally, as reported elsewhere, unfolded as usual into a fun-filled meeting of old and new friends; 105 units with a turnover of about 20.
We were pleased to discover miles of sandy beaches and dunes on the north shore of Lake Michigan, and gave in to the temptation to linger a day, at a state campground in Hiawatha National Forest.
Wall Drug, of free ice-water fame, is alive and well. Deadwood, SD, was lots of fun, with old-time shootout re-enactments in the street, and animated stories in the library. Selecting carefully from some 21-odd gambling casinos, we left with about $50. in profits.
The Little Bighorn Battlefield, a must-see noted from a previous trip, was a well-depicted, sobering experience. We highly recommend the 7th Ranch Campground, nearby.
With no reservations and having heard horror stories of congested Yellowstone via the east gate in mid-season, we opted for the north gate. No problemo! At Mammoth Hot Springs Campground (no hookups) we were quickly assigned a lovely site with fantastic views. An elk came to visit while we were eating supper. Next day we unhitched, drove the whole 250 km (155 mile?) circut, and back to our own bed. We left via the north gate --no traffic jams, no hassle.
While in that area, (the north-west), we joined 79 other FGRVs for the "Praire Egg Gathering" in Macklin, SK. We're pleased to report that, as expected, western eggers are just as friendly and helpful, and pot-luck-dinner-fabulous as their eastern cousins. We only got silver in the from-farthest-away category, being beat out by a couple from Nova Scotia.
In Edmonton, Alberta's capital city, the Legislative Buildings, are surrounded by extensive grounds, ornamental pools and fountains--as is often the norm. But, instead of uniformed guards chasing kids away, here they are encouraged to use the grounds, to bring bathing suits, to cavort and play in the water! It is a joy to behold Edmontonians picnicing and making full use of "The Ledge", as it is known locally.
A highlight with the grandkids was dry-camping with 30-odd horses in their pasture on the banks of the Red Deer River, for a canoe expedition. At the nearby Royal Tyrell Museum, Drumheller, we saw extensive dinosaur displays; parts and full skeletons, including large skulls from where we put in (Dry Island Buffalo Jump) and where we left the river (Tolman Bridge).
Again, Banff being relatively nearby, we decided we had time to visit. It was great; including a swim in the Upper Hot Springs and a hike down the mountain to Banff Springs Hotel, where we caught a city bus back to our Tunnel Mountain Campground (fine, with electricity).
Finally heading east, crossing the prairies was fascinating, to another area in need of a re-visit, beautiful "North of Superior".
It is as rugged and beautiful as ever but no longer isolated, with towns, farms and service stations all along the way. You can't go wrong staying at Ontario Provincial Parks, as we did: Kakabeka Falls, Rainbow Falls (Rossport side), Neys, Pancake Bay and Samuel de Champlain.
All in all, another perfect trip. Three thunderstorms, but all at night, warm (OK, HOT) up to 42c. (108 f.?) but with air-conditioning in the car -- and it cooled down at night -- all was sunny.
Now, back to a stack of bills, washing, weeding, and scraping our bug collection from the car and L"EGGO.
D & D