On the 26th, I hitched a ride with R&D to Calgary so I could visit my Aunt, from Victoria, and my cousin and his wife who live in Calgary. I usually do the driving when we head in that direction, but on this trip I am just a passenger able to relax and take in the view.
When we left Edmonton, it was still dark. The neon lights were shedding their glow all around. Brilliant colours everywhere. The sun was coming up in the east. As it got lighter, the sky moved through various shades of orange and blue. The orange light glowed through the bare trees accenting their silhouettes. It turned into a gloriously blue sky day.
The land is flat, prairie flat. I can see forever across the landscape. The fields are waiting for spring to grow and thrive again. The occasional cow herd can be seen, munching and chewing. There are rows of trees planted by farmers for wind breaks on their properties. These trees stand, like sentinels, protecting the land.
The highway is a straight grey ribbon heading south. I watched the compass indicator in the rear view mirror and it did not move off “S” except, maybe, a couple of times when the road made a correction. This is the straightest road that I know of.
We made a quick pit stop in Red Deer avoiding Gasoline Alley by taking the 67 St exit. There is a Flying J Shell gas station on 67 St and a Starbucks and a few fast food places just down the street. Next time we have to stop in Red Deer, I am going to suggest to stop here rather that Gasoline Alley, which gets very congested.
Back on the road and just a bit further south, the mountains appear out of the earth in the distant west. Like Murray, I am enamoured with the mountains. My family spent many weekends in the mountains when I was young, I have still love the sight of the majestic peaks and I watch as they appear to get closer and bigger. Once we get to Calgary, they are still a 45 minute drive away, but they look so close.
During the winter months in Alberta, the wind blows the snow off the fields, piles it in the highway ditches and then sculpts it. The formations, lines and shadows of these ditch sculptures are fascinating. We haven’t had much snow yet this year, so the sculptures are in their initial stages. Later in the winter, they will be incredible!
On Tuesday morning, G&M (my cousins) and I went for a walk along the Bow River Pathway. We drove to Edworthy Park and connected to the walking/biking trail that is kept clear in the winter. We walked toward downtown and met up with runners, walkers and a few brave cyclists. The Bow River stays open during the winter with the edges freezing over slightly. In the summer, folks raft, canoe and kayak down the Bow on hot days.
The path travels close to the river and at times it doesn’t feel like we are in a big city. We cannot see tall buildings or hear traffic noise. We spotted an eagle in a tree across the river. My cousin says that they wait for ducks to float by and will grab one for a meal. We walked for about 45 minutes out and turned around to head back. It was a great way to stretch our legs and get some fresh air and sunshine.
Late in the afternoon I hopped on a Red Arrow bus for the trip back to Edmonton. Red Arrow supplies bus service to the major centers in Alberta. The buses are well kept and have leather seats, bathroom, movie, WIFI, electrical plugs, seat belts, and the price is good. The fare for my one way trip on an express bus was $67 plus GST.
We left right on time, just as the sun was setting. I was in the neon glow again. I watched Calgary go by – old houses, small shops, large box stores and suddenly we are on the highway heading north.
As we approached Leduc, outside Edmonton I could see the “urban” glow, the reflection of street lights on the clouds and I knew I was almost home. As we drove into Edmonton, I realized that I left Edmonton in the glow of neon and am now arriving in that same glow.