When we can avoid Hwy 2 to get to where we want to go, we do. There are several roads that go south to Dinosaur Provincial Park, our destination for a few days. We have traversed Hwy 21 quite a few times going and coming from Lethbridge so to go to Dinosaur Park we thought Hwy 56 would be something different. As we go south there are recognizable land marks and we both realize we had been this way before. I always remember how straight it is and I draw the driving card for the straight part. There are a couple of bends just south of Stettler then it is dead arrow straight except for one “s” bend 60 km south all the way to Drumheller. 80 km of hwy with no movement of the steering wheel. I remember taking a group of Nova Scotians down this road and they could not believe it. At home, they told us, there is not a straight stretch of more than a kilometre.
Don’t expect to see much wildlife on a daytime trip across the prairies but yesterday we saw 5 deer. They didn’t seem to be in much of a rush to get anywhere. Guess it is not hunting season and humans do not institute much of a threat. They were quite pretty animals. Looked to be eating well. Their fur was shiny and a beautiful tawny colour. Always nice to see animals.
As far south as we were going and we have to head east for 70 or 80 kms. A short stint of 15 kms on Hwy 1 and then onto secondary hwys again. The fields are just turning green and the landscape rolls and dips as we go. Then, in the middle of the field are numerous boxes. Maybe 4 ft high, 10 ft long and 3 ft deep. They are all lined in rows and evenly spaced across the field. Then another field the same, and another, and another. Then a field with some kind of plastic dome structure 6ft in diameter and 5 ft high. All in a line and evenly spaced. We wondered what they were. Speculating UFO installations, deer shelters and really had no idea. I thought we should stop at one of the farm houses and ask. Further down the highway we blew by a shelter with a sign on it that said “Information”. It took a few seconds at 100 km/hr to process but I finally did and since the hwy was not busy I slammed on the brakes, put her into reverse and backed up to the pull off. Seems the folks around here are seriously into Alfalfa Cutter Bees and all those shelters are man made hives. I guess they can use the left over alfalfa for horse feed or beer making or whatever alfalfa is used for.
Arrived at the campground after the office closed last night. There is a self registration kiosk and we knew how to use that but there is a cryptic message about how to find a site and that it may be reserved and there is no way to know and show up at the office at 9am to find out if you have to move. We did. I think it was the only site that was reserved last night that the reservees had not be installed yet we managed to choose it. So this morning we move. Not hard, our tent is self supporting so the move is easy but we get quite a bit of sun mid day, the wind tempers the heat but the sun is still intense.
Moving delayed our ride. We are in Southern Alberta and the wind blows strong. The earlier in the day one can ride the better. 10am start and the flags are drooping. A 1/2 hour in and the wind is pushing us along at a real good clip. A few corners we alternate with the wind and agin her. It really wasn’t that hard to ride into but we sure road fast with the wind. With a little luck our next ride on the trip home will be all down wind.
Here we sit in the shade with poplar snow falling all around us. We note several other types of trees. And the birds, there are a plethora of them and many different types. We have often wondered how we can be so enamoured with the undersea world and there should be just a much to see and observe in the world we inhabit. The trees in some ways mirror the coral and the birds the fish. There are of course a few differences, we can hear the sounds birds make and if fish make noise it is inaudible to us. There are also some similarities. Birds use the fluid of the air to travel and fish use the water. The coloration of fish is what the rainbow has to offer, although some birds can be boring, the sequel to the big silver fish, there are many attractive and colourful varieties as well. Guess I have just gained a slightly better appreciation of ‘birding’, something I have never really understood. Maybe some day soon I will get train-spotting or airplane-spotting two more things that have to be explained to me.
Quiet place this Dinosaur Provincial Park. We have been to many campgrounds with parties at night and getto blasters all day but here we can hear the water in the creek, the birds talking to each other from tree to tree and the wind as it blows through. I think I can remember this type of camping when we were kids raising hell and were probably the noisiest thing in the campground. It is peaceful and it makes one want to do this again.