The final two days in Cochrane and Aidrie

Day 42 of my RV trip – Wednesday, May 6th – was our last full day in Cochrane and Airdrie. The next day, I had an appointment to get a repair done on the Tracker and then we began Part 3 of the trip – a 3-week wander back to Whitehorse.

The map below is the draft plan, but it will change according to weather (the Prince Rupert detour in particular is weather-dependent), what catches my interest along the way, and other unknown factors. Click on it to open an interactive version in a new window.

RV trip map - Calgary to Whitehorse, the wandering way

On Wednesday morning, I left the dogs in the RV and was away just after 09:00. They’re going to miss their leash-free plays at the Bow Riversedge Campground, but I’ll find other good spots along the trail north.

Bow Riversedge Campground, Cochrane
My destination on Wednesday morning was one of the Tim Horton’s in Airdrie, where my riding partners were involved in a charity fund-raiser for Tim Horton’s kids camps. The ride to Radium Hot Springs was such fun, we chatted about getting together for a multi-day ride through the Kootenays in the near future.

RCMP motorcycle officers in Airdrie, Alberta
I of course had to try one of their Harley-Davidsons on for size. It wouldn’t be my choice of bike for that job, but if someone else is paying the bills, sure, I’d take that job πŸ™‚

Murray trying on an RCMP motorcycle for size
I got my pin and sticker for attending, then passed them on to a kid at the playground back at the campground in Cochrane πŸ™‚

RCMP motorcycle pin
Driving back to Cochrane, I decided that it was time to check out a rock that’s intrigued me every time I go by on Highway 567. It appeared to be a memorial, and I expected it was for car crash victims.

Highway 567 west of Airdrie
It is a memorial, but it’s for the victims of the crash of an RCAF de Havilland Moth here in Simon’s Valley on November 10, 1941. Flight Officer James Robinson, who served with the Royal Flying Corps in World War I, died in the aircraft, and 18-year-old L.A.C. Karl M. Gravell, who had gotten clear of the aircraft, died of burns suffered when he went back and tried to extricate his pilot from the burning wreckage – he was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his actions. Local teacher Mrs. Frances Walsh was awarded the George Medal for her efforts to save L.A.C. Gravell. Often, the sites that draw in me like this one did, turn out to be very special places.

Memorial for the victims of the crash of an RCAF de Havilland Moth in Simon's Valley, Alberta, on November 10, 1941
From there, I made a detour to the end of the Calgary LRT train line, where a large 1950s sign has also been intriguing me. Was “Eamon’s Bungalow Camp” still there, out of sight from the highway? It turned out that Eamon’s is history. Built several miles outside Calgary in 1952, it was advertised as a “One-stop Tourist Service Centre.” The sign, noted as a high quality example of Art Moderne design, was integrated into the Tuscany Station property when it was built in 2014.

Eamon's Bungalow Camp sign at the Tuscany LRT Station
At the current end of the design spectrum is a pair of large sculptures entitled “roger that, 2015.” Created with galvanized metal and solar emergency lights by Bill Pechet, it is “a meditation on how movement, position, and distance influence our perception of a given situation.” A descriptive plaque continues: “The orientation of these lights was generated using the brilliant geometries of physicist and philosopher Roger Penrose. His investigations into the nature of consciousness illustrates that we can see the universe as both chaotic and ordered, depending on how we choose to view it.” Okay. Well, I understand Eamon’s sign, and 50% is not bad πŸ™‚

Sculpture 'roger that, 2015' by Bill Pechet
I also appreciate the design of the LRT station itself, which is both functional and beautiful.

Tuscany LRT Station
I spent quite a while at Tuscany Station, watching trains and busses and people come and go while the traffic on Highway 1A (which was very light around noon) roared by below me.

Tuscany LRT Station

At the Cochrane Farmer’s Market, Cathy and I had met Rene and Romy Jansen, who lived in Dawson City for 37 years, during which time they owned the Wild and Wooly shop. I was immediately attracted by Romy’s paintings, and by the photographs that both are creating. On Wednesday afternoon, I joined them for dinner at their home on the ridge above Cochrane. Rene is as skillful in the kitchen as he is with a camera, and we had a wonderful evening. They return to the Yukon every year, and we’ll no doubt see each other again there.

With a 08:00 appointment for the Tracker in Airdrie on Thursday, I broke camp early, and was on the road just after 06:30. My 9-night stay at the Bow Riversedge Campground was by far the longest I’ve stayed anywhere in the motorhome, but it was a particularly wonderful visit, and I’ll be back next year.

Bow Riversedge Campground, Cochrane
Tucker would like to be a farm dog, I think. Cows fascinate him, and if he isn’t already watching for them, I always let him know when he needs to get up and look. Whenever possible (which isn’t often), I stop for a few minutes and let him and Bella get the smells.

Along Highway 567 west of Airdrie
I parked the motorhome at the Airdrie Walmart, unhooked the Tracker and drove it to Davis Chevrolet a few km away, and their shuttle took me back to Walmart to wait. Tucker and Molly (and Bella) are very good at waiting πŸ™‚

My dog Tucker and cat Molly asleep on the RV couch

We ended up having a final family get-together at the motorhome. Andrea showed up, then Kylie and Kaitlyn came over on their school lunch break, and Steve took a break from his highway patrol duties to say goodbye. It was a wonderful way to end this visit. I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but it won’t be very long.

The service at Davis was excellent, and with the Tracker hooked up to the motorhome again, we were westbound on Highway 567 just before 1:30. I avoid freeways whenever possible, and Highway 22, the Cowboy Trail, was going to be my primary route north to Rocky Mountain House.

Highway 567 west of Airdrie
The countryside transitions from rolling prairie to rolling forest land as you drive north on Highway 22, and by 3:00, an hour south of Rocky Mountain House, the prairie expanses were long gone.

Highway 22 north of Cochrane

That afternoon and part of the next day would be for exploring Rocky Mountain House – the community and the historic fur trading posts site.


The final two days in Cochrane and Aidrie — 1 Comment

  1. It’s funny you bring up the Eamon’s sign. It always drew my interest when I am in Calgary. When I learned about the history, I appreciated it a lot more.
    And the Cowboy Trail is probably one of my most favourite drives in the country!