Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Alberta Road Trip - Day 1 - Cowboy Trail (Hwy 22)

It's been a while since I've posted; the past couple weeks have been so very busy. But the year is done (!) and I'm taking a few days off to take a road trip to southern Alberta with my mom, who is visiting from BC!

This morning we left Edmonton for a 3-night road trip to Kananaskis, Waterton, and the Badlands. We took a scenic route to Kananaskis today, stopping at some interesting small towns along the way.
The first of these was Lacombe, a city of 12,000 just north of Red Deer. We took a walk through the historic downtown, appreciating the old timey buildings -- both buildings housing operational businesses and back-alley murals featuring the facades of shops and services from days gone by. We stopped by the Flatiron Building to have a look through its little museum.
some of the many realistic murals
Flatiron building
We also visited the Michener House Museum, the birthplace of Roland Michener, former Governor General of Canada (1967-1974). A friendly docent in period dress showed us around the house, which dates back to 1894, originally serving as a parsonage for Lacombe's Methodist Church. It was interesting to check out the pioneering artifacts and learn a bit about Michener's life.
We headed west on highway 12 through Bentley, a little prairie town complete with a saloon and grain elevators, then swung over to highway 22 (the "Cowboy Trail") to check out Sundre, a not particularly noteworthy small town.
We continued further south on highway 22, enjoying the rolling foothills and wide blue skies. Our next stop was Cochrane, a lovely town just west of Calgary. We walked through the historic downtown, stopping at MacKay's ice cream parlour. The little shop was bustling; dating back to 1948 it's one of Cochrane's most popular destinations. Although the extensive ice cream repertoire featured flavours like maple bacon and Nanaimo bar, we settled on trying avocado, coconut, and pistachio almond scoops, which were creamy and delicious enough to explain the line of customers spilling onto the sidewalk.
all the flavours
We headed west out of Cochrane through the Bow River Valley to our destination in Kananaskis, Stoney Nakoda. This casino resort appears a bit out of place, just off the Trans Canada with nothing within a 30-km radius, but really is a nice place to spend the night. Our room has a wonderful 180-degree Rocky Mountain view -- and is west-facing, so should afford a nice sunset.

We'll be heading into Canmore tomorrow!

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