Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Road to Edmonton Alberta + Breakfast

Well, our time in the Canadian Rockies came to an end.  It was time to leave Jasper and drive east toward Edmonton Alberta, the second largest city in the Province.  The mountains were beautiful but we’ve found that beautiful and interesting sights and attractions can be found just about everywhere…if you’re looking closely.

We were still in the mountains rolling east along Rte. 16, (the Yellowhead Highway), through Jasper National Park when we came upon this premier bit of wildlife for our viewing pleasure.  Bull elk are always impressive, especially as they near breeding season with their full rack of antlers!   They shed their antlers every year after breeding.

Actually, we encountered a small group of bull elk, 5 in total.  They did have the usual effect on traffic although this is a fairly busy highway.  At over 700 lbs. on average, you wouldn’t want to hit one of these with your car!
The collection of elk velvet antlers is big business!  A male elk can produce 22 to 24 lbs. of velvet antler annually.  On ranches in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, velvet antlers are collected and sold to markets in East Asia, where it is used in medicine.  In some cultures, velvet antler is also considered to be an aphrodisiac.
We missed seeing some of the other premier wildlife during our trip… Bummer!  No moose, grizzly bears or caribou were spotted on this trip.  Such is life!

We stopped for breakfast in the town of Edson Alberta.  There seemed to be a lot of oil people and riggers in this town.
Smitty’s is a chain restaurant, with 34 locations in Alberta alone...and more than 115 restaurants in total.  It is Canada’s largest ‘family restaurant chain’.  The company has many locations throughout most of Canada, including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

FYI… This was our rental car.  It was a Hyundai Sonata.  It was a comfortable ride and we were quite surprised at how well it handled.  More importantly, given Canadian gasoline prices, we appreciated the good mileage per gallon as well! (If I’ve done my calculations correctly, as of the day I wrote this posting, the average cost of gasoline in Alberta per US gallon is $4.15!

This is the dining area of the Edson Smitty’s restaurant… It was quite open with lots of room between tables.  It was a little ‘worn’, much like an older Denny’s here in the USA. 

This was what I had to start out my day!  I sort of went ‘hog wild’, ordering the “Big Country Breakfast”. ($12.99) As you can see, it came with 3 eggs over-easy, a couple of sausage links, some bacon, potatoes and 2 slices of toast… It was a good thing for me that this was a ‘2-meal only’ day for us! 
Smitty’s has an extensive menu and they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Lighter offerings are available for seniors…and those watching what they eat!

Laurie’s breakfast was a better value than mine.  Her standard 2-egg breakfast with plenty of bacon, potatoes and toast was $9.49.  I basically paid $3.50 for an extra egg and 2 sausage links…
Both of our meals were just fine… They were spot on for what we had a hankering for and the quality and service was perfectly satisfactory.
The Edson Alberta Smitty’s is located at 4216 2nd Avenue. (Rte. 16 – The Yellowhead Highway) Phone: 780-723-3180.  Smitty’s Restaurants Company website is at

At one point, as I’m prone to do, I left the main road to cruise along a side road toward Rosevear Alberta.  Laurie photographed these nice looking horses in a beautiful pasture along the way…

This was my objective when I departed from the main highway to Edmonton… Wherever and whenever possible, I seek out ferryboat crossings!
This is the Rosevear Ferry.  It was back in 1914 when the first ferry crossed the McLeod River.  The ferry was originally powered by a water board that moved the ferry by catching the current of the river.  If the current was too sluggish, the ferrymen would use poles to make it across.  The crossing is only 361 feet long, just a bit longer than an American football field.  The ferry itself was built in 1967 and it is 60 feet long.

Our next diversion off of the Yellowhead Highway was to the village of Wabamun on the shores of Wabamun Lake.  (Like most people, we’re always drawn to water be it rivers, lakes or the ocean) The town has a population of about 700 people.  With many cabins in the area, summer tourism is a main source of income.  Previously, the main source of income was a coal-fired power plant located on the western edge of the village.  It is now closed...

We liked this giant metal dragonfly that greeted us as we rolled into town…
Sadly, all is not well with the lake itself.  Intensive exploitation of lake resources and habitat destruction resulted in marked decrease in fish production so that commercial operations were halted.  Recreational fishing is presently limited to catch and release.  Years of construction activity on the Lake Wabamun’s limited watershed has resulted in lowered water levels.  In addition, heavy metals, (aluminum, chromium, arsenic, and copper), dissolved in the water as a result of coal burning and metals in sediment and the resulting mercury found in larger Northern Pike were found to be excessive.
To make things worse, on August 3, 2005, 43 cars of a Canadian National freight train derailed near the lake, spilling up to 343,000 gallons of heavy bunker C fuel oil.  An estimated 194,000 gallons of the thick, dark material was spread by high winds across 5 miles of the surface of Wabamun Lake.

We also liked this repurposed speedboat near the entrance to town… Between the welcoming sign, the dragonfly and this decorative flower laden boat, a positive image for the village of Wabamun had been established.   
Wabamun Lake, (sometimes spelled Wabumun), is one of the most heavily used lakes in Alberta, Canada.  The lake is only 40 miles west of Edmonton.  Wabamun Lake is 11.9 miles long by 4.1 miles wide and it covers 32 square miles.  At 36 feet, the lake isn’t really very deep…
What, no photos of the lake?  In protest, I decided not to include a photo of Lake Wabamun in this posting.  Bureaucracy strikes again…even in a little village like this!  Laurie and I drove through town to the lakeshore by the beach and sailing club.  We spotted a public restroom next to the completely empty parking lot.  I started to park so we could use the facilities when a young girl came out of a little booth and told us that if we parked in the lot, we would have to pay for parking.  We ended up parking a hundred yards away…just so we could use the bathroom… Aggravating!
Oh well… On to Edmonton and further adventures!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I've enjoyed following this great trip. It's sad what we humans continue to do to the planet.

  2. Seems as if nobody wanted to pay to park in that empty lot --just to use their restrooms... GADS!!!!

    Like Big Dude, I have enjoyed following you all on this wonderful trip... I hope we get to go there sometime.


  3. I love these pictures are soooo beautiful ( you had snow at your área David? and the breakfast look awesome!!!!!xxx

  4. What great pictures I cannot believe the prices in Canada though :o ...the breakfast sure looks tasty though :)

    I think the elk and flowery speedboat are so awesome. What a great adventure you guys had. I look forward to the rest :)


  5. Great pics, Dave! But horrendous with the lake. Too bad the people who live there can't enjoy it like they should. We live a block from our lake, they stock it, but it has been catch and release for the last 5 years. Crazy, but at least it's clean, no motor boats, etc.!


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