Angus Pratt's Home  >  Creative  >  Writing  >  Angus Travel Diary

Angus Travel Diary  

This diary was composed on a Palm Pilot as we travelled. I have left some of the stilted grammar and the recording time of each comment for the sake of... Well I just like the raw way it looks and feels.  One comment on the trip.  I vividly remember the sickening feel of the wheel coming off the truck.  It was pretty brutal. The tow truck driver summed it up when he told us that two people had been killed in similar circumstances a week earlier. 

1/8/98 6:53 am

So we have been on the road for a day. After travelling to my folks to drop off the dog (and grease the trailer bearings) we drove through to Vermillion.  

We stayed at Hidden Lake.  It was a private campground. $10 a night wasn't too bad.  Free paddleboats helped with the exercise for the boys. While it wasn't too busy when we pulled in fifteen minutes later it  was full.  Maybe I should explain. We had planned on driving through to Edmonton but as the day wore on I realized that we weren't going to make it.  I suggested that Lloydminster would make a good spot to stop.  After some discussion we went on.  Country vs city.  The free paddle boats cinched the winner but then we never did compare with the museum.

Thursday supper Ham and lettuce sandwiches
Friday breakfast folks
lunch MacDonald's $27
supper chili

2/8/98 9:21 am

What a blast!  It rained like crazy in Edmonton and then when we got into  the campground to set up the trailer it seemed to be moving towards us.  After rushing to get the tent set up and going to bed in anticipation of heavy rain, it didn't.
Lake Wabamun campground $51for three nights
Saturday breakfast bacon and eggs
lunch sausage rolls
supper  ABC Country

2/8/98 8:54 pm

Maybe I'll get back to yesterday tomorrow.  Didn't get much time with the ice cream stop.

Gas $32
Sunday breakfast porridge
lunch skipped $10 for pop at the CASCAR race
supper Family fun at Pizza Hut

3/8/98 7:12 am

The rest of the family seems to be sleeping in for a while so I am going to try bringing this up to date.
We have spent the last two nights in the Wabamun Lake campground. I think we'll spend at least one more maybe two depending on Mike . I have managed to see two Fireballs but neither had anybody around so I didn't examine them closely.  One had a spinnaker chute and its spreaders on. On Saturday we managed to see IKEA and the Mall. Every one seemed to handle all the consumption very well.  A few books and some kitchen utensils were the sum of purchases. With Camper's Village and MEC on for today I'm not sure that we will do as well. 
CASCAR was Sunday's special. The big race got under way at 2:30.  110 laps finished about six.  UAP NAPA car was second with a local driver actually winning. Sandy was pretty disgusted when his Skoal car was crunched into the wall.  My car was six or seven.  Don Shirely, the school teacher from Saskatoon.
The plan for today is Devonian Gardens. And then the Mall again with the outdoor stores.

4/8/98 7:23 am

 Monday breakfast bacon and eggs
 lunch crackers and cheese
supper bread fresh vegetables salami and cheese

After a bit of a crusty start, we were off to the Devonian Botanic Gardens. It was incredible with lots of ideas and plants. Right as we entered there was a wonderful willow love seat with roof.  The sturdy foot bridge with brick laid sideways caught Lavern's eye too! Favourite flowers included Gentiana? Celosia? solid peach portulaca. Other ideas included good deep edging to keep the lawn in check, cone mulch, trimmed hedges, garden focal point, foliage for texture and colour, glimpse of little gardens, red flowers were " Dianthus deltoides ".
On to the West Edmonton Mall, $250 of shoes shorts t_shirts, a stop at Kites and other Delights, Laura Secord ice cream, fill up on food and stuff at Super Store and it was back to Lake Wabamun for an earlier night.  Still haven't managed to talk to Mike and Cathy.

Rock pot bubblers were made of a simple pump (very quiet) coming up through a series of rocks then flowing down into a bed of gravel. It seemed very self contained. $228 _$300 for wall like carvings (wolf)
$26 Gas

5/8/98 8:21 am

gas $26
$80 trailer tire (and the wrong one)
 Tuesday breakfast Muesli and yogurt
 lunch salami sandwiches
supper most excellent steak with noodles and mushrooms and peppers and onions and tomatoes and broccoli
We made it to Jasper.  The trailer tire finally blew and of course at that speed I wasted a rim.  I drove back to Edson to get it.

5/8/98 8:45 am

 Onward to Jasper!  Of course after paying $40 for the four days, and having checked it once to make sure we paid it, Honeymoon Lake was full when we got there.  Mount Kerkeslin wasn't (on the shores of the Athabaska River) so we stayed there. Which proved to be relatively quiet.  The mountains surround us.  One thing I noticed was the difference coming into them.  In Banff they are in your face bang.  One minute they are not there.  And then a few minutes later they are.  Coming into Jasper they are visible from miles away.  You slowly wind your way up into them.  Suddenly after climbing for a while but not really steep hills we found Obed Summit "the highest place on the Yellowhead."
After a cool night and a slow morning I think we will go and explore Jasper. By the way it looks like cream of wheat for Wednesday breakfast

6/8/98 8:41 am

lunch rye crackers and cheese
supper Some had soup others called the evening ice cream good.  
By the time we headed for Jasper it was close to three.  A long tour on Jasper Ave netted a bit of fudge and the aforementioned ice cream.   There were lots of little stores with interesting stuff like books, lots of pewter, curious crafts and  stuff.  The rock store had some interesting amber and Evan bought a pet rock beaver.  There was a skinny bag stuffer that Lavern extracted a promise to build.  After the grocery and ice hunt, we left town.  Unfortunately  distracted by how beautiful Maligne Lake might be, we detoured on the way home.  44 km was a bit longer at 50 or 60 km/hr than at 90 to 100.  The lake is beautiful but I think the glimpse of glacier at the end with the sun setting on will be a highlight for me.  Seeing mountain goats in the high meadows was another treat.  Medicine Lake with its lack of exit is a real curiosity.  There were a lot of fisherman on the way in and on the lake.  For a non-stocked lake there were some interesting regulations.  No bait, practice catch and release etc.. There were two campsites with a limit of two nights in each.  Book up to thirty days in advance.  Then coming down.  We stopped at Maligne Canyon.  50m under the foot bridge the clear blue water had cut a channel through the soft rock.

6/8/98 11:52 am

Thursday breakfast pancakes and sausage

7/8/98 7:36 am

 lunch We snacked on leftover pancakes and stuff.
supper BUSH PIES!!!
We made it to the Columbia Icefields today.  We stopped at several points along the way and took a look see.  There were some spectacular views from the road.  Sunwapta Falls were interesting. A good hike in got some negative comments.  The water though was chocolate!  The glacial melt carries so much silt.  We even saw a mountain sheep in the middle of the road.  Nathaniel got his picture holding up the glacier.  So did Evan.  A little hike up to the toe of the glacier turned into a bit of an adventure when we crossed a stream where the bridge had washed out.  Nathaniel, Evan and I scouted up and down but couldn't find a place to cross on stones so off came the socks and shoes.  Over we went.   (I carried Evan.)  I had wanted to see how far the glacier had retreated since I was here as a child.  It was several hundred metres up and back (about 300.)  We didn't go to the Ice Center because Lavern had us on a deadline for supper.  I think it was a result of most of the crew missing supper the night before. 
We had to stop for a quick picture break at Tangle Creek.  Nathaniel and I had a shout through the culvert too.  This is one of those picturesque little falls that tumbles over fifteen foot drops two or three times in quick succession. 
We did manage to fit in Athabaska Falls.  An interesting interpretation, describing the battle between the rock and the water.  The entire area has been hardened off  with pavement and railings.  Various areas have been replanted with varying degrees of success.

Friday breakfast porridge (apple and cinnamon)

8/8/98 9:03 am

lunch Restaurant sandwiches and fries
supper pizza a la Mike

8/8/98 9:07 am

We made it to Mike and Cathy's place managing to do laundry and explore a little bit.  Mount Robson was spectacular.  The top was shrouded in cloud with just the snow line showing.  After sliding down into Mcbride for lunch ($52) we discovered that they were on evacuation alert.  There was a large forest fire quite close by.  When we arrived at Mike's, Cathy's parents were staying for a while to babysit Steven.

9/8/98 12:07 pm

Saturday breakfast bacon and french toast.
 lunch pretty much missed that.
 supper salmon yum! 
While we headed for the beach in good time, a lost wheel pretty much finished the day.  We survived. 

10/8/98 8:22 am

Sunday breakfast cream of wheat
 lunch skipped again
 supper spaghetti, zucchini, salmon
for some high quality PGX meals.  I spent Sunday lazing around while the rest went off to the Prince George Exhibition.  They saw a heavy horse pull, chuckwagon races and a smart mouthed juggler.  An escape artist wrapped in Saran wrap.  All in all I think fun was had by all.  It looks like Barkerville today and then leave tomorrow. Probably take two days to get to Drumheller.

11/8/98 10:07 am

Monday breakfast Shreddies
lunch HOT tacos
supper Burgers with the Knolls
Well the truck still isn't ready!  Now we are waiting for wheel nuts.  After fooling around with the basketball and hopscotch I took everyone out for lunch and a walk to Staples.  We didn't actually get there, so I am kind of in the dog house.  There were a lot of sore feet .  We finally connected with the Knolls and so we went there for supper.  No girls but the boys entertained themselves with badminton and TV.  We had a good visit.  It was fun figuring out what changes had happened.  All was quiet when we got home at 11.

13/8/98 11:05 am

It actually took two days to get back to bring this thing back up to date.
Tuesday breakfast Shreddies
lunch MacDonalds with Black Forest cake to start.
 supper ham and scalloped potatoes with coleslaw to start 
Wednesday breakfast omelets
lunch bread, cheese and fruit
supper macaroni with bush pies
lost trailer tire on Queensway PG 
truck at noon from Canadian Tire
stayed at Mount Robson gas $40 Jasper
stayed at Eau Claire. Kananaskis
gas Calgary $32

14/8/98 8:07 am

Thursday breakfast  pancakes
lunch  bread cheese & stuff
supper Hamburger Helper lasagna with coleslaw
We got in touch with Daryl at about 8:00pm.  Instead of spending the  day in Calgary, we went to Drumheller.  We got a nice site in the Dinosaur Trail RV Park.  Nice if you like sardine camping.  Once again I am in the dog house.  By the time we had lunch including ice cream it was close to 5 when we got to the Tyrell.  I enjoyed it again.  Sandy thought it was boring though.  I liked a couple of displays in particular.  The glass floored sea is particularly attention grabbing.  The scientific sorting out around a distant relative of the fairy shrimp.  Had the right kind of impudence and humility to totally capture me.  It was done as a series of post it notes and handwritten notes on books and drawings.  The last one was the display surrounding the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Catastrophe or gradualist the theories are interesting.  One point that was made was that a catastrophic event may have thrown the whole theory of survival of the fittest out the window and by implication the theory of evolution.

15/8/98 7:59 am

Friday breakfast variety pack cereal
lunch Wainwright Hotel burgers salad pasta fish and chips pizza beef dip.
supper popcorn and therein lies a tale

We went into Calgary after a leisurely breakfast.  After skilful navigation by Vernie our first port of call was the Glenmore Yacht Club though she thought she was going to Heritage Park.  I couldn't spot any Fireballs so I guess maybe we were going to the Park.  After fiddling at the door for a few minutes, we were in and making time on the "three hour tour" The train cars and the Masonic lodge were the most interesting.  We met Daryl by the zoo.  After viewing the loft (looks like a fun place for one.), we saw Small Soldiers.

The 11:00 gate close was tight.  Daryl has lost some weight and looks good for it. 
On most trips there are little quirks that become a signal for an inside joke:  " Good morning to you  Floop floop" is one such moment.  Coming back to our tent in the pouring rain to "Lake Rubberman" was another.
Saturday breakfast Cream of wheat.
 lunch Finally Tim Horton's
 supper Mom?s home cooking