I think Jim needs to forget almost everything
about today! You'll see what I mean in a little bit.
If the weather prediction for Grande Prairie had been nicer today, we
would have stayed another day to rest. However, 40 MPH winds and heavy
rain were forecast later today so we continued east past Whitecourt and
Edmonton and south to Olds, where we stayed overnight at a Walmart we
visited on our way back to Montana three years ago.
Here's our route
Milepost "East Access to Alaska" maps:
We drove a total of 421 miles from the Grande
Prairie Rotary Campground to the Olds, Alberta Walmart on AB 27 (five
miles west of CA 2 exit 340 north of Calgary).
Jim dumped the tanks on our way out of the campground this morning. The weather
was still beautiful then -- upper 50s F., mostly sunny, not much
ROAD & TRAFFIC CONDITIONS
We left Grande Prairie via AB 43 at 9:20 AM and drove until 5:30 PM
(8:10 hours). Because of some really bumpy roadway it's a wonder it
didn't take longer. We had only two stops for lunch and other rest
breaks, plus a stop for fuel on the west side of Edmonton (AB 44 at
Acheson at a Husky station for .889/liter CA = "only"
$2.55/gallon at our favorable exchange rate of 76 cents to the CA
dollar). That's the best price we've seen in a long while.
We really expected better roads today. AB 43 was a land mine all the way
from Grande Prairie to CA 16 (Yellowhead Hwy.) west of Edmonton. Jim got
soooo frustrated with all the waves in the road that he had to slow down
It was slightly better when I was driving in the afternoon but not much.
We often had to reduce the speed from 62 MPH to 45 MPH or less. People
driving passenger vehicles probably don't notice the bumps and waves
that much but you sure do when hauling a trailer -- especially if
it's your only house and you don't want to destroy it!
Even more frustrating, the northbound lanes -- the other
direction -- looked new in several places and better in most
others than our side. We sure don't remember having so many bumps on the way to Grande
Prairie in June. However, we were more rested then and excited about the
trip to Alaska. Maybe it just didn't bother us as much then??
CA 16 and AB 216 around Edmonton's SW side were better but we still had
to be careful at bridges. AB 2 toward Calgary was much better.
Traffic was moderate to heavy all day. We aren't used to that and we
didn't like it. We're definitely not in Alaska anymore! All the roads
were four-lane w/divides today so everyone could whiz past us.
The only road construction was in Whitecourt. There was also about a
10-minute delay for an accident near Red Deer, the first wreck we've
seen all summer.
I took very few
pictures of the relatively flat, mundane scenery. I miss Alaska.
The Walmart at Olds is a small superstore with a large parking area. We
parked along a grassy median out from the garden center, the same place
we were parked three years ago:
The store is on AB 27 just under 5 miles west of the freeway (AB 2, exit
340). It was sunny all day and still sunny when we got to Olds, with a
After supper Jim rode his bike 4+ miles around town on a bike path and
through nice neighborhoods with Casey. It was the best part of his day.
He really likes this town. When he came back he talked with a couple
walking past our camper and told them how much he enjoyed seeing the
town. They love living here and just returned from a trip to Germany.
They were interested in hearing about Alaska.
Jim unhooked the truck and got diesel at Shell for .939/liter CA, which
was higher than the fuel we got this afternoon near Edmonton, a large city. That comes
out to about $2.70/gallon at our exchange rate, minus our Visa discount.
We're very happy with the current exchange rate of about 76 cents U.S.
to the Canadian loony (dollar). Canadians who like to go south for the
winter aren't so happy! I hadn't thought about that until I heard
someone mention it on the radio this morning. That might mean fewer
Canadians in Arizona and other southern states this winter, which
wouldn't help our economy, either.
Although we have regrets about things we didn't do in Alaska and Canada
the last couple weeks because of the weather -- and Jim was so upset about the road
conditions by today that he says he even regrets going up there this
summer -- we are looking forward to getting to Montana tomorrow
and implementing our tentative fall-winter plans.
We have a long list of things we need to do if it isn't still too smoky
from wildfires in Great Falls. If it is, I don't know where we can do
all those things, like cleaning the camper thoroughly inside and out.
We do have several things that must be done in Great Falls -- get
our mail drop, get the car out of storage and reorganize the things we
left in it, check financial things online with our private MiFi
connection (didn't use it in Canada because of the exorbitant cost), and
do some shopping.
We're hoping we can stay there comfortably for a week to do everything
and get some rest before continuing our journey south.
Next entry: Olds, AB to Great Falls, MT
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil