Northern Spirit Shakedown Cruise – Final Days

Well, two weeks is definitely not enough time…

We killed the afternoon with an unsuccessful attempt to see Fort Calgary when we realized upon arrival at the Military Museums that we had already been there. Diverting to Fort Calgary, we didn’t realize it was closed until after I had paid for parking. Apparently it’s only open on the weekends. Really? That was a lot of driving for essentially nothing. We salvaged the rest of the evening with a Red Lobster dinner followed by a viewing of Top Gun: Maverick. I gotta admit that Tom Cruise does make an entertaining movie. I was a little worried about it because I liked Top Gun, but they did it justice and were very respectful of the original. It was a good flick, worth seeing.

We managed to shave about half an hour off our time for packing up the trailer to check out of Riverbend on Friday. We seem to be finding out groove on that and I’m optimistic we’ll be able to shave another half hour off the next time and actually check out of the campsite on time.

We spent the next two nights at the Wingate by Wyndham – Calgary South (always a pleasure, and close to Eddy and Marie’s place). We helped them get the house and food ready for Cassie’s grad party on Saturday night. Honestly, the prep work for these kind of events is half the fun, working and chatting with family while getting things done. The party itself was pretty great, too, with family from both sides of Cassie’s family in attendance, as well as some of her friends.

Bright and early Sunday morning I drove Dan to the airport to catch his flight back to Yellowknife. He had to catch his flight back to the mine site for work on Monday, so I drove the truck home alone. Remember the deal? Dan’s truck, Dan drives. So this kind of compromise is the best opportunity I’m going to get to drive the truck any significant distance.

I diverted back to DNA Gardens to pick up some Hascap bushes at Dan’s request. I ended up picking up five bushes — one of each variety. Now I have to build another retaining wall to plant them in. I carried them in the back seat, and dutifully kept them watered throughout the trip home.

The Donut Mill

Next stop was The Donut Mill in Red Deer. I asked for one Chocolate Venetian, but the clerk pleasantly gave me two, she said because they were kind of on the small side and she thought I deserved it. It was so sweet of her, but if only she knew how much I didn’t deserve two donuts, lol! Of course I still ate both of them, I mean, seriously.

The drive into Edmonton ended up stalling south of Leduc. An accident (I think involving at least one deer) blocked the highway, causing a traffic jamb slowing traffic to a crawl. Quite literally. Average speed maybe 15-20 km per hour, at least a 40 minute delay. I finally rolled into South Commons to meet Nina for a quick coffee at around 4:00 p.m.

Nina is a friend I’ve known since high school who recently started painting. She posted one of her pieces on FaceBook that I instantly fell in love with, and she agreed to sell it to me. She got it framed and we met so I could pick it up. We had a really nice little visit and reconnected a bit. She has some really positive things going on in her life right now and I wish her all the love, peace, and happiness because she totally deserves it. I really hope we can visit again next time I’m through Edmonton, maybe go do some vinyl shopping…

I stayed at my parents’ place and left the next morning after securing a storage site for September at Camp’n Class RV Park in Stony Plain. I stayed again at the Best Western Plus Mirage Hotel in High Level, and this time they comped me an upgrade to the jacuzzi suite! The only thing missing for that opportunity was Dan. I still took advantage of the jacuzzi all by my lonesome.

The Jacuzzi Suite

The drive home was uneventful, but pleasant. Despite the air conditioner in the truck still not working. I had to drive with four of the five windows open a crack to get air circulating and cool things down in the cab. That really didn’t bother me, I just turned the volume up on the radio. What did bother me between High Level and Yellowknife were the horseflies. What unnecessary, annoying, bothersome creatures that serve no purpose on this planet! None whatsoever, except to annoy and bother and try to painfully suck us dry of our life-giving blood! The plan to stop and stretch the legs every hour and a half was frustrated by the nasty creatures. I did not end up actually getting out of the truck until Fort Providence, and then it was only because I had to. The bathroom was calling, and the washer fluid needed replenishing.

The road home wasn’t bad, but the stretch between the Highways 1 and 3 junction and the Deh Cho Bridge is still being repaired so it’s loose gravel and the speed limit was down to I think 50 km per hour (maybe lower…). I did get a good chuckle while on that stretch though watching a traveller driving a motorcycle with a side car towing a tiny collapsible trailer slowly and carefully (good!) but being tailed by a rig. I wish I could have gotten a photo, but, you know, I was driving, so…

Anyway, I think that’s where I’ll conclude this trip. I wish you all a wonderful summer, and we’ll reconnect again in September for the Regina trip.

Adelle and Dan

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