Welcome Motorcycle Enthusiasts to the 3rd Episode of
“ON THE BACK ROADS WITH RIDE STOP N GO”
How did this come about you ask? Well over the last couple of years we have traveled thousands and thousands of miles across North America. Between us we have ridden our motorcycles in 45 of the lower 48 states and 6 of Canada’s 10 provinces. We have ridden to Ottawa for Canada day, parked our motorcycles on the White House lawn, Shagged in South Carolina, hit a deer in Quebec, seen a Crazy Horse and partied all night long in Sturgis SD.all the while videoing and documenting our travels.
Riding in our Beautiful Province of Alberta
Early in 2012 we were planning our motorcycle rides for the year. Between us we decided to spend the year riding in our home province of Alberta. What a novel idea we thought. There is much we have yet to see close to home. We proposed an idea to Shaw TV in Calgary to film a six episode series of motorcycling in Alberta to be shown on local TV. They loved the idea and thought it was a great way to promote riding in Alberta. So we spent the whole summer riding, filming, meeting folks and just basically having fun doing what we love; riding our motorcycles.
This week On the Backroads with Ride Stop N Go we tour East Central Alberta
The focus of the show is motorcycling some of Alberta’s less traveled roads and with 40,000km of paved blacktop in the province we had no trouble finding some of them and wow did we have fun. This episode finds us riding the East Central part of Alberta. We left Lacombe Alberta after a family get together and headed east on Highway 12 through the rolling hills and ranch country to the town of Stettler. From here we took Highway 56 south on our way to Drumheller and the badlands of Alberta. Just before you come down into the valley you are in flat ranch and farm country, when suddenly you enter the Red Deer River valley and descend into Drumheller and the badlands. It’s as if we enter into another world.
A little history on Drumheller Alberta
Drumheller is a town (formerly a city) within the Red Deer River valley in the badlands of east-central Alberta, Canada. It is located 110 kilometres (68 mi) northeast of Calgary. The Drumheller portion of the Red Deer River valley, often referred to as Dinosaur Valley, has an approximate width of 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) and an approximate length of 28 kilometres (17 mi).
The town is named for Colonel Samuel Drumheller, who bought land in 1910 and started coal mining operations here in 1911. Drumheller became a railway station in 1912, a village in 1913, a town in 1916 and a city in 1930.
During the peak of the coal era (1920s) Drumheller’s population exploded to approximately 3,000, becoming a city in 1930. Once Western Canada’s largest coal producer, Drumheller now contributes to a vibrant energy sector and boasts Alberta’s second largest natural gas deposit, the West Drumheller Field.
World’s Largest Dinosaur… Fiberglass that is
South of the traffic bridge over the Red Deer river on Highway 9 is the World’s Largest Dinosaur, a 26.2 metres (86 ft) high fiberglass Tyrannosaurus rex that can be entered for a view of the Badlands, including the adjacent 23 metre (75 ft) water fountain, again one of the largest in Canada. Tourist attractions also include the Star Mine Suspension Bridge, Atlas Coal Mine, Drumheller Valley Ski Hill, Reptile World, Canadian Badlands Passion Play, Horseshoe Canyon, Water Spray Park, Aquaplex with indoor and outdoor pools, Horse Thief Canyon, hoodoos, Midland Provincial Park, Rosedeer Hotel in Wayne, 27 kilometres (17 mi) of constructed pathways, Bleriot Ferry, East Coulee School Museum, Homestead Museum, Reptile World (the largest display of reptiles in Western Canada) and Little Church which is capable of seating only six patrons. Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Centre includes such activities as digging for fossils, mining for minerals and rock wall climbing.
Next to Drumheller ski hill is the Canadian Badlands Passion Play site, where, for two weeks each July, performances are held. Companies are composed of actors from all over Alberta. The site also offers small plays throughout the summer and an interpretive centre.
Horse Thief Canyon, Last Chance Saloon in Wayne AB
While Riding around Drumheller, be sure to stop in at Horse Thief Canyon, ride your motorcycle on the Bleriot ferry and ride up to Wayne across the 9 bridges where you will find the Last Chance Saloon. Spend some time here, have a drink or two, enjoy a burger or steak, pitch your tent or stay a night at the infamous Rosedeer hotel.
Atlas Coal Mine, historic site
We left Drumheller heading east on highway 10 where we stopped at the Atlas coal mine historic site and the hoodoos outside of East Coulee on our way to Empress via highway 570. You will find yourself in wide open ranch and farmland on a great paved highway. Crank up the tunes and hit the throttle and Empress will not seem too far away. We entered Empress via highway 41 made a wrong turn and traveled on a couple kms of gravel trying to find our friends house. We made it and were happy to see they already had the BBQ going and cold beer on ice waiting for us.
Riding around East Central Alberta doing a Poker Rally
The next day we had a great breakfast at the local curling rink (got to love small town friendliness). We then met up at the Empress Bar and Motel with a bunch of other riders. Seems our friend Laura organized a poker run and rally, it was awesome to see close to 20 bikes in front of the hotel to take us on our way to Dinosaur Provincial Park. We had never been.
Riding Backroads to Jenner and Dinosaur Provincial Park
We made our way out of Empress via Highway 41 and headed west on the triple nickel, highway 555, this is ranch and farm country. If your music doesn’t keep you awake while riding, the smells of Canola, manure just might. Come to think of it getting hit in the head by all the bees, grasshoppers and whatever else hits you in the head will be sure to get your attention. It was a beautiful day and a great ride. We had a brief stop in Jenner as we turned south on highway 884 on our way to highway 544. We rode west again until we seen the sign for Patricia. We took range road 130 past Patricia and followed the signs along township road 210A until we came upon Dinosaur Provincial Park. OMG what a site, we have never been and it should be on your bucket list. It is a mini Grand Canyon. Our jaws dropped as we looked over the edge down into the badlands as the Red Deer River has taken millions of years to cut this out. We rode down into the park and made our way through the campground. We highly recommend coming down to the site, pitch a tent, rent a cabin and explore for a day or two.
Interesting Facts about Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about two and a half hours drive southeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada or 48 kilometers (30 mi), about a half hour drive, northeast of Brooks.
The park is situated in the valley of the Red Deer River, which is noted for its striking badland topography. The park is well known for being one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world. Forty dinosaur species have been discovered at the park and more than 500 specimens have been removed and exhibited in museums across the globe. The renowned fossil assemblage of nearly 500 species of life, from microscopic fern spores to large carnivorous dinosaurs, justified it becoming a World Heritage Site in 1979.
Dinosaur Provincial Park preserves an extraordinarily diverse group of freshwater vertebrates. Fish include sharks, rays (such as the durophage Myledaphus), paddlefish, bowfins, gars, and teleosts. Amphibians include frogs, salamanders, and the extinct albanerpetontids. Reptiles include lizards (such as the large monitor Paleosaniwa), a wide range of turtles, crocodilians, and the fish-eating Champsosaurus. Mammals such as shrews, marsupials, and squirrel-like rodents are also represented, although usually only by their fossilized teeth, rather than bones.
Mega-plant fossils are rare in the park, but pollen grains and spores collected from here suggest that these Campanian forests contained sycamore, magnolia and bald cypress trees, along with Metasequoia.
Ready to stop at a Waterhole on our ride, Patricia AB
After spending some time at the park we backtracked to the Patricia Waterhole where a cold refreshment was awaiting us. The Waterhole is an old hotel and pub where you can cook your own steak on the inside grill. We then made our way back east following the same route to the Empress motel to get our last poker card. No we didn’t win. Had a great steak dinner put on by the friendly staff and called it a night as we ready for a well needed sleep at Laura’s house.(well after a few drinks and laughs that is)
Hope to see you next year in East Central AB Hidden Treasure
If you’re looking for somewhere different to ride, take a ride to East Central Alberta. The badlands, the farmland and the ranch lands are like none other. As you have saw we have traveled a lot of Alberta so far, we are always amazed at the Hidden Treasures, Beauty and what we learn.
Funny stories from on the Backroads…
Troy was riding along the rally, when a Bee buzzed up his pant leg, fastest in the East to drop his pants, and get ride of the bee!! I MISSED IT!!! LOL
The next day we woke early, made our way to Calgary via the Bassano hospital due to a bee bite on Angela’s brothers ear. What is it with boys and bees… Angela Made it home safe and sound, only a hangover to nurse!!
Next week On The Backroads with Ride Stop N Go
We travel on quite a few Backroads neither of us have rode on, we head to North West Alberta. We go to our Northern Beaches, down past a operational Coal Mine, and back into some of Heaven… Highway 93. You won’t want to miss more of Alberta’s Beauty. Thanks for tuning in November 4th 8pm MST!