Sunday, July 9, 2006

Day 9: Calgary to Fort McMurray

Today's trip is one of the longer stretches, so I DID REMEMBER to take a picture of the odometer just after I left the hotel this morning.

Onto the Deerfoot and Highway 2 northbound... a drive I have probably done 100 times or more in every conceivable kind of season/weather/time of day/etc.

Nothing really worthy of a picture between Calgary and Edmonton, but I did think I should get a shot of one of the refineries in Fort Saskatchewan. The row of plants like these is where we send all that black gold from McMurray. Amongst other things, these nice people make it into the gas that is probably in your car right now.

Well alright, I lied... there was some photo worthy stuff between Calgary and Edmonton, but I didn't take a picture of one until I was past Fort Saskatchewan. Canola fields like these are all over the province and make for a very nice colourscape (if you like yellow, anyway).

Downtown Grassland, Alberta. This is about 250km from Fort McMurray and is THE place to stop if you're driving to the oilsands. Your best bet is Wally's Grill... good food, clean washrooms.

Apparently there are more than a few people who miss this turn and end up in Lac La Biche. I, on the otherhand, could probably make it blindfolded.

Once you get past Wandering River (200km from McMurray), any semblance of agriculture ends and the drive pretty much looks like this from here on in.

In the vicinity of Mariana Lakes (100km from McMurray). This was the site of a pretty nasty forest fire about 10 years ago. The fire blocked the highway for a few days, making the Fort McMurray accessible only by air.

Thanks! The trip was fun, but its nice to be back for a while (well, a week anyway)!

Downtown Fort McMurray, Alberta.

My hometown :)

The odometer reading upon the triumphant return to my driveway. That puts today's journey at 755 kilometers.

Remember, the reading when I left last Saturday was 10081km. So that means...

Total Distance Travelled: 4803 kilometers
Total Trip Duration: 8 days, 11 hours, 3 minutes.
Number of Ferry Trips: 3
Number of Border Crossings: 4
Nights in Hotels: 4
Nights with Family/Friends: 3
Nights in my new Apartment: 1
Number of songs sung along to on the radio: Too many to count.

Finally, THANK YOU for coming along! As i've said, I am amazed at how many people have followed this blog. I think i'll make a point of photo blogging my vacations and other stuff like that in future.

We now return you to your irregularily scheduled political commentary!


  1. Thanks for the travel-log.

    I'm not sure about the route though - lots of backtracking. Not suprised that the customs guy had questions about it ;-)

    If you went to Kelowna on the way down, why not continue down the Okanagan valley into eastern Washington? It's a nice drive that I have done a couple of times when going from the Shuswap to Portland, Oregon. There is a great Mexican restaurant in Yakima and a nice tavern in Goldendale - well, there was in '84...

    Let me know when you are back on the big island, maybe we can get together for a beer or three.

  2. Nice travels Blake!

    Victoria will suit you I think :-)

  3. If there was any doubt in my mind as to who posts the best travel-logs (or trip reports or whatever you choose to call them), this particular one sets those lingering doubts aside.

    Well done Blake, very interesting read. It's nice to see that you managed to stop and see the sights on your road trip.

    Regards, and keep up the good work!