Day 6: Thursday, September 19

Farewell Drumheller, Hello Red Deer

Today we leave Drumheller and the Badlands in east-central Alberta and move on to central Alberta where my family resides. Time for the family-visit portion of this trip!

We were up in good time today (about 7:30) as it’s a travelling day with much ahead of us to see and do. It started out a dark, rainy day. We showered, then packed our suitcases and all the little treasures and souvenirs we’d acquired during our wonderful Drumheller stint. We loaded up the Santa Fe, locked it, then proceeded to the Econolodge office at about 9:30 to check out. Returning to the vehicle, we drove over to the Yavis Family Restaurant for a hearty breakfast. We’d had such a good breakfast there on Tuesday morning and we hoped history would repeat itself – luckily it did 🙂

After a delicious and hearty breakfast at the Yavis, we hit the road for central Alberta. Heading north out of Drumheller we ran into a heavy rainstorm but quickly drove out of it. Our first stop of the day was Rowley (population 9), the abandoned prairie “ghost town”:

[If you’re interested in the full history and backstory of Rowley, please follow this link.]

We spent about an hour and a half in Rowley, taking our time exploring most of the little hamlet. Great photo opps abounded! There were several feral kitties walking around the town and a bunch of free range chickens were following us around at one point:

The infamous Rowley chicken gang

Leaving Rowley behind, our second stop was the Tolman Bridge Campground, situated beside the Red Deer River. We parked, got out of the car, stretched a bit, admired the relaxing view, took some pictures, then got back on the road:

It was around 1:00 and time for lunch, so we stopped in a small prairie town called Trochu (population about 1,000). We admired the town’s street murals, then went to Wanda’s Restaurant & Lounge for a pizza lunch (I had eaten here last year with my sisters, and can vouch for the delicious homemade, cooked-to-order pizza created at this location). The pizza we ordered took over half an hour to arrive as they cooked it from scratch but when it came it was well worth the wait – delicious!

After lunch we left Wanda’s and returned to the trusty Santa Fe. On the way back to our vehicle I got Vince to take the shot below because we couldn’t believe the leaves in this part of the country were changing colour and falling so early in September (in Toronto the leaves don’t usually change and start to fall until mid-to-late October):

We used Google Maps on my phone to find the Trochu Golf & Country Club as we wanted to see and photograph the World’s Largest Golf Tee located there. We found the tee and were not disappointed:

It’s not just hype – this literally is the World’s Biggest Golf Tee!

We then hit the road again, taking the #27 highway to the #2, moving into central Alberta. We went up the #2 highway and into Innisfail, my hometown and the place where it all started for me. I first gave Vince a whirlwind tour of the town, and we then went to the cemetery to visit the graves of my Mom and Dad.

We left Innisfail and hit the #2 highway north, bound for my family in Red Deer (my sister Karen, her husband Gerald and my other sister Norma who was visiting from the north for a few days). We got to Karen and Gerald’s place at about 5:00. So good to see the peeps!! Karen had prepared a lovely pork chop and potato supper that night, complete with a pie unique to rural Alberta – Flapper Pie!! <oh joy, oh rapture!> True Westerners have a love of pie unmatched anywhere in the world.

After supper (the evening meal is “supper” in the west, not “dinner” as it’s called in central Canada), Vince and I headed over to my nephew’s place for a visit. We left after about an hour and returned to Karen’s place. We had a good evening visit with everyone and, later, retired to our comfortable little room in the basement.

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