Enroute to Jasper – NOT!

We started out this trip on the August 1 long weekend and ended up spending our first night in a Walmart parking lot because we were in a major tourist area and there was no “bed in the inn” so to speak.  Well it has happened again.  We are coming up on the last long weekend of the summer.  We thought that we would arrive in Jasper on Friday night and spend at least three nights there.  Again there are NO campsites to be had anywhere within Jasper Provincial Park for the long weekend.  Even though some of the campsites have 300 – 400 spots and one has about 800 sites, all throughout the trees.  It sounds lovely but it won’t happen.  After spending a couple of hours on the internet and on the phone we have booked Friday night and Saturday night in a town called Hinton which is about one hour from Jasper.  We will drive into Jasper for the day on Saturday.  It isn’t quite what we wanted but things like this happen occasionally when you just don’t plan ahead of time and just go where the wind takes you.  Hopefully some people will leave on Sunday instead of waiting until Monday.  If that happens we will find somewhere to stay in the parks between Jasper and Banff Sunday night and then drive on to either Lake Louise or Banff.  I spent a couple of weeks in Lake Louise about 20 years ago and haven’t been back since.  It has probably been 30 years since Mike and I have stayed in Banff.

The town we spent last night in is called Whitecourt, Alberta.  They call themselves the snowmobile capital of Canada.  I think many other towns might dispute that title.  According to the internet the population is around 12,000 but it is a much bigger town than that sounds like.  The one thing that I won’t do in the RV is wash my hair, the shower is just too small and the water pressure is not high enough for me.  Mike thinks it is fine.  Mike and I drove into town and went to SIX different hairdressing salons.  No one could fit me in that day!  This was Thursday, one salon said possibly next Tuesday.  I couldn’t believe it.  Does nobody in Whitecourt wash their own hair?

While we were in town Mike stopped at an RV supply store and bought a small eye (circular) level that he had been looking for.  The price sticker right on this tiny level said $9.87.  The cashier charged Mike $4.15.  When Mike pointed out the higher price sticker the girl said that ten dollars was absolutely outrageous for that so she charged us the 4.15.  I can’t imagine that conversation at home.  Like Fort McMurray this area also has pickup trucks lining both sides of the streets but the roads are a little wider here and can handle them better.  This drive and trip is a lot about seeing the scenery and people across the country.  I am looking forward to retiring some day and taking the RV to Europe where we would spend much more times walking around the towns and cities.  Drives like the one from Slave Lake to Whitecourt with so many stunning vistas along the route remind me how beautiful this part of the world is.  Mike says that we had to take this trip first to see if we kill each other living in close quarters for three months before we try for one or two years.

The picture above was taken from our campsite in Slave Lake.  The sunsets over the lake were spectacular.  It was late in the evening so the picture is a little dark.  I have no photo touch up tools on my laptop.  The really long days have been interesting.  In one town in Northern Ontario (near North!) at 10:20 PM in the evening it was just dusk.

Hinton is coming up.  This writing while Mike drives is great.  Thanks for the emails and phone calls from everyone.  A special best wishes to our niece as she leaves for university in Halifax on her eighteenth birthday.  Bye for now.

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