Day 12: Edmonton

Waking up in a campground (or anywhere) completely alone in the wilderness is an awesome experience. I look forward to more mornings like this along the Alaska Highway. I did my usual morning routine (feed pepper, make coffee) and loaded up the bus! Today we're headed to Edmonton. But we have a couple of roadside attractions to hit on the way. The first is in St. Paul and it's a UFO Landing Site and the second is the world's largest easter egg in Vegreville.

We like to joke in Colorado (and I'm sure the same is true most places) that there are two seasons. Winter and Road Construction. Well the same is true in Canada, however the summer season is a lot shorter so all the road construction is compressed into that shorter season. I swear every road I've driven on has a construction zone. Not that I'm complaining too much because all that fresh pavement is great to drive on.

So I made my way to St. Paul and found the UFO Landing site which doubles as the tourist information office. It was a pretty typical oddball roadside attraction. The platform was closed for painting, unfortunately, so I couldn't go up there. The Vegreville easter egg was a bust. I looked all over and even referenced three different sites that would tell me where it is, but I couldn’t find it.

Next stop was Elk Island National Park. While not a roadside attraction, this National Park is very close to Edmonton and is supposed to be very beautiful. I decided to make lunch there and walk around a bit. Mother Nature had other plans. When I arrived it was cold, rainy, and very windy. Not exactly outdoor picnic and hiking weather.

So, after a cold lunch in the bus I headed off to the Glowing Embers RV park in West Edmonton, my home for two nights. Every so often in the trip I booked a stay for two nights so that I could have a rest from driving or a flex day in case my schedule got messed up.

I got settled at the RV park, did some laundry, cleaned up the bus a bit and it was getting to be around 5 and I wanted to go out and see some Edmonton sights, but also didn’t really want to take the bus with me, so I checked and Edmonton has Uber! Perfect. I can leave Pepper in the bus to chill at the RV park and I don’t have to worry about navigating Edmonton with the bus. I decided to head out to Edmonton’s #1 tourist attraction. The West Edmonton Mall. It’s like the Mall of America in Minneapolis, but bigger. Water park, amusement park, ice rink, and over 1000 stores. Before you laugh at me for going to the mall, remember the weather was cold and rainy and it was actually pretty close to the RV park. And I needed good wifi and knew there was an Apple store there. FYI if you ever need really fast wifi, go to an Apple Store.

​The West Edmonton Mall is massive. I walked around a bit, seeing the usual shops (most of which we have in Denver) and stopped by the Apple store. I also stumbled across a whole Asian Market and food court in the mall. YUM. I bought two steamed BBQ Pork buns for dinner that were delicious. After that I made my way to the movie theater to FINALLY see ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’. It was nice to have a break back in the real world away from the bus, but after the movie I took an Uber back to the bus and I was really happy to see Pepper and crawl in bed.

Speaking of bus life. I thought I’d share a couple of updates on what its like living in the bus full time and traveling:

  • Even though the ceiling is low, I don’t really notice it except when I’m cooking.

  • The small shower in the bus works GREAT. Michael you did an awesome job on the shower and can’t wait for you to be here to enjoy your hardwork. The 6 gallon hot water tank gets scalding hot and mixed with cold turns into about a 5 minute shower. If I turn the water off while I lather, I can push that to a very comfortable 10 min shower.

  • Sleeping in the bus is amazing. My bed is so comfortable, and being a full sized queen mattress I have plenty of space. There’s even some room for my feet to hang off the end. But I’m definitely not cramped when I’m sleeping, which is awesome.

  • Pepper is settling into a routine. She’s not wild about the bumpy roads, but she deals with it. Usually she lays down on the floor right by the passengers seat, but sometimes will snooze on her bed in the back of the bus (though only on smooth roads). She likes to come up and say hi and sit next to me while I’m driving so that I can pet her. I think she’s really confused why she has to be on a leash and can’t just run around and say hi to all the other dogs. But she’s adapting. I think these days when we don’t drive anywhere are good for her as she can just chill in the bus.

Tomorrow I have a full day to explore Edmonton and I’m leaning toward taking an Uber into town again so that I don’t have to drive (and find parking for the bus). The forecast calls for overcast and scattered showers, so Pepper will be perfectly happy staying home.