Northern Spirit Shakedown Cruise – Decidedly Dull Travel Days

Howdy, folks. I realize I never did do the closing post for Northern Spirit Shakedown, but frankly there really wasn’t much to report and I was tired. The only wildlife we saw between Edmonton and High Level was road kill, and the only wildlife between High Level and Yellowknife was… oh, well, actually, we did see three or four black bears, so that was interesting, but otherwise it was just a lot of bison. Bison, bison everywhere, crossing the road, changing their minds and crossing back…silly beasts.

We have now started our second venture with the Northern Spirit, which will take us actually on the road to Okotoks. Well, technically we have arrived in Spruce Grove and will begin our second venture tomorrow morning.

I would like to be able to report an exciting and eventful two days of travel from Yellowknife to Spruce Grove. I would like to, but I can’t. The title of this post says it all. Really, all we saw yesterday (again) was a whole lot of bison. Okay, I did run into Mennonite (I think) families RVing at Big River and fishing in the Mackenzie. Something you don’t see every day in the NWT. I spoke briefly with one of the women, who confirmed that they had successfully caught some small pickerel, nothing terribly large. I thought that was pretty good considering they were fishing from shore, and told her I thought they’d have to get further into the river to get anything bigger. Either way, pickerel is good eating, so I think they were doing well.

But other than that interesting little visit, nothing actually happened. We eventually saw horses today. A coyote tried to cross the road near Onoway. It rained… okay we apparently did a little bit of hydroplaning at one point, but I didn’t even notice until Dan told me. Clearly he did not lose control of the vehicle. We saw a Class A motorhome towing an Airstream. And an admittedly amusing small vehicle driving on the highway with two queen size mattresses poorly strapped to the roof. It looked like a toupee blowing in the wind.

At any rate, we arrived at our hotel after doing some running around in Edmonton. After checking in we took a short walk across the street for supper to a place called Broadway and Grand. Totally worth checking out! There’s the bright and airy cafe style restaurant and then there’s the speakeasy-styled lounge. They share the same menu, but I think the cafe also has quick cooler options. We checked out the speakeasy, which required actually entering a code into a pad hidden behind a plaque to open the locked door. Hehe. Inside was the lounge, with table seating as well as bar seating, a selection of board games in one corner and a pool table in the other corner. The menu wasn’t very large, but they are in transition after the pandemic and are hoping to expand the menu later in the season with the addition of a larger smoker they have on order. Dan had the Philly Beefsteak, which came with the cheese on the side. He said it was really good. I ordered the B&G Mac and Cheese with Bacon, and honestly I thought it was fantastic. We were really pleased with our experience, so if you get a chance to stop in Spruce Grove give this place a try.

Adelle and Dan

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