Thursday 25 December 2014

Bleriot Ferry, Alberta August 31, 2014

About fourteen miles north of Drumheller, Alberta is the Bleriot Ferry. If anyone is ever in the Drumheller area during the summer I highly recommend taking this short side trip. The prairie scenery is pretty mundane until you get to Drumheller. Then things change to small canyons, hills, and hoodoos. Everything is paved, the roads are in great condition, and this is a perfect trip to take on a motorcycle. All of the ferries in Alberta are run by the provincial government and are free.

I took Highway 837 north of Drumheller which follows the west side of the Red Deer River. There was not much traffic for being in the middle of a very sunny day. About halfway to the ferry the highway climbs up from the river valley onto the open prairie. I had the trusty Suzuki Burgman going at a nice clip when I hit the brakes after noticing the Orkney Viewpoint sign. I hesitated slightly, then turned to check it out. The viewpoint is just off the highway and gives a great view of the river valley. If I had my telephoto lens I could have got some great shots of people rafting down the river. The Red Deer River moves so slow I could tell the rafters were not getting anywhere in a hurry.

View from the Orkney Viewpoint
A short distance up the road is the junction for Highway 838 which takes you east to the ferry. The highway takes a nice descent down into the river valley with some great curves and the road flattens out at the bottom. This ferry is a heavy tourist attraction and gets a lot of traffic. It is easy to see why. The setting is fantastic and the road is a fun drive and paved. The guy who runs the ferry has to have a great job. As soon as people get on the ferry he is instantly asked to take people’s pictures. The operator that was there really enjoyed his job and interacting with all of the tourists. The only real problem with the Bleriot Ferry is the ride is too damn short. I was tempted to ride the ferry back and forth a few times just for fun.

On the other side the highway climbs up from the valley onto familiar prairie once again. The road loops back to Drumheller on the other side of the river and it is a short trip. As an aside, you notice things differently on a motorcycle. I find the air is different from the river valley to the prairie and you have to love the smell of fresh cut hay. I notice more on a bike, and the experience is different, even better than being in a car. The highway is a good enough ride that I thought about what it would be like to have it blocked off for my sole use and go flat out without the worry of encountering any traffic or obeying any speed limits. The road is known as the dinosaur trail. Dinosaur finds are still being unearthed in the area and people stumble across bones here and there. The place kind of looks like the kind of place where you expect to find that sort of thing. Watch out for snakes, there are supposed to be rattlesnakes in the area if you go exploring. I have yet to see any though. 

1 comment:

  1. Now this is on my list of drives I'll have to take someday.