Highway 41 south of Empress, AB July 19, 2015. Definitely looks like dinosaur country. There are times I think it is impossible to take a poor photo in the Alberta countryside.
Thursday 30 July 2015
Wednesday 29 July 2015
Originally Hot Springs Camp, renamed Ainsworth by George Ainsworth, a steamboat captain who received a land grant and started a town in 1883. Now the population is less than 50. There is a small resort at the hot springs.
The highway leading through Ainsworth. To the right is Kootenay Lake. To the right just up the little side road is the resort. The highway hugs the lake alongside the mountain most of the way north to Kaslo.
A few traces remain of the older days of mining and steamboats. This was a general mercantile business at one time.
The view from the resort. The service was excellent as was the food in the dining room. Kootenay Lake in the background.
It is a small resort.
This is the hot pool where you can walk into the caves right into the side of the mountain where the hot water emanates. It is like being in a natural sauna.
Tuesday 28 July 2015
Monday 27 July 2015
I had never been to Empress, Alberta and I like going to out of the way places. Named in 1913 for Queen Victoria, the Empress of India. The railway first came through here in 1914. From what I understand there once was a roundhouse. The last train came through here in 1997. The tracks have been torn up and removed. Apparently at its high point about eight hundred people once lived here. I would be surprised if there is around one hundred now.
I drove my motorcycle there from Medicine Hat, Alberta July 18, 2015. The distance is about eighty-five miles. The first actual gas station along this route is supposed to be at Oyen, Alberta, a distance of one hundred fifteen miles and is north of Empress on Highway 41. On my way there I had no idea if there was going to be gas there or not. After a couple of short side trips on my way to Empress I was concerned I might not make it back to Medicine Hat. I had previously read on the internet that a business in Empress sold gas as a sideline but I did not know how accurate that was.
I got into Empress close to six in the evening. I found a single gas pump that offered regular or diesel beside a building with the sign "That's Empressive" on the front. I walked in and asked where you got gas. The woman behind the counter, who turned out to be Pat, said you get gas at the art gallery, which is where I was. You cannot argue with that logic. The building was an old bank building, you can see the old steel vault door at the back. I mentioned this and got a history lesson from Pat about the building. It started out as a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, then a residence and boarding house, then a Toronto-Dominion Bank, then a residence upstairs, a business on the main floor.
I stepped out, filled up, and talked to Ross. Pat was elsewhere when I returned. He was heating up some chilli behind the counter, then asked if I wanted any. With no hesitation on my part I told him to add it to the bill. I was invited to join Ross and his friend, who was visiting from Calgary, at their table for dinner. Pat and Ross had retired, moved to Empress, found themselves running a business. They have a gallery, carry some groceries, gas, and promote this town. I had a great time talking to them and Ross gave me information on some sights and ideas for some further road trips.
If you are ever in the area drop in. Or visit www.empressive.ca
The old hospital that has been boarded up for years.
Church. People still live in the houses on this street.
Wild rabbit. You see lots of these in Alberta. I saw antelope outside of town but I was not able to get a photo.
The restored train station.
The inside is empty. I am not sure if more is going to be added to this.
No tracks. This is the old rail line.
Barely north of Empress, on a hill overlooking the town. The Red Deer River is in the background.
Sunday 26 July 2015
I have been trying a little experimenting with a video camera mounted on the motorcycle. These are two short clips going through the Kicking Horse Pass in BC. The road has been widened and made safer over the years. It used to be more interesting.
Saturday 25 July 2015
July 18, 2015 I was just barely north of Empress, Alberta which is right up against the border with Saskatchewan. The sign said I was 2km from the border so I took Highway 562 in search of a sign saying I was in Saskatchewan. I have never been to Saskatchewn and have no idea if I am missing anything. After driving for what seemed too long on a gravel road I checked Google Maps on my cell phone and discovered I was a few miles in Saskatchewan and no sight of a sign.
Not wanting to give up, I headed back and south on Highway 41 until I came to Highway 545 and headed west on a paved road towards Burstall, Saskatchewan. I found the border and my sign. I will take my victories where I can.
Friday 24 July 2015
In 1910 the postmaster named this place Hilda after his daughter. Apparently less than forty people live here now. Interestling enough there was a mud bog competition right on the edge of town. I would have stayed but I was running low on time.
Former commercial building of some kind.
The school stands, it is no longer in use as a school.
Main street. It was characteristic of prairie towns to have very wide main streets.
Thursday 23 July 2015
This is an interesting approach. Driving to the terminal the signs warn you that it is a 10% grade. There are no amenities once you get there. You sit and wait. There isn't even a bench to sit on. Since I was on a motorcycle I sat on the side of the road on a very hot day waiting for the ferry to arrive. The ferry crosses from Galena Bay to Shelter Bay across the Upper Arrow Lake in BC. The ride is free.
While waiting I killed some time with the camera.
Not much of a dock when you think about it.
It is odd how fast these things appear.
Back of the ferry. We were less than half full.
My bike is the one in front.
We passed this ferry which is docked at Shelter Bay. I would guess that it is not needed at the moment.
Approaching Shelter Bay. The highway leads to Revelstoke, BC.