The Great Canadian Road Trip: The Badlands and Dinosaur Bones
The Badlands are beautiful type of terrain that go back 75 and 70 million years.
If you’re new to The Great Canadian Road Trip series, please click on my name, Laurie Izzy, and it will link you to the page where the previous 13 installments are located. Or, if you would like to take a step back to remember where we left off last week, you can click on Day 13: Castlegar to Medicine Hat before you ride along with me today.
- Medicine Hat, Alberta to Brandon, Manitoba
- Distance: 8 hours, 826 km, Trans Canada Hwy 1 East
- Favourite Song: A Little Love (unplugged), Bryan Adams
- Quote: “Let him that would move the world, first move himself.” Socrates
Medicine Hat to Regina
I woke up starving in Medicine Hat. When I checked in the night before I inquired about room service, to which there was none and the nearest diner was a few kilometres away. I opted to rummage through my cooler in the backseat and settled on a granola bar, a banana, and a box of crackers. It wasn’t the greatest of road trip dinners but at least I wouldn’t go hungry before first light. Besides, when I’d checked in I was taken aback by the group of Stetson wearing cowboys in the lobby who tipped their hats whilst asking if they could buy me a drink somewhere. I thanked them kindly, and after a brief moment of consideration, I declined and ran for the closing elevator door.
Image Source: The Badlands, Canadian Encyclopedia
All kidding aside, if you get to this part of Alberta be sure to take in Dinosaur Provincial Park. Named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, it houses over 40 species of dinosaur fossils and 500 species of prehistoric life from micro to macro organism. This is not to be confused with Drumheller, Alberta which is known as the Dinosaur Capital of the World. Drumheller is located 90 minutes north, and is home to Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Midland Provincial Park.
As you drive The Badlands of Wild Rose Country you can see some of The Hoodoos from the highway. The Hoodoos, named similarly to voodoo for their mystical qualities, are rock formations that take on slightly different shapes depending on which part of the world they tower over. The Badlands Alberta Hoodoos look like pillars, columns, or totem poles made of sandstone and are said to be between 75 and 70 million years Medicine Hat to Reginaold.
Image Source: The Hoodoos, The Calgary Herald
Roughriders in Regina
It was about 1pm on a Sunday when I entered the City of Regina. I didn’t know it was Roughrider Game Day when I pulled in to the Walmart parking lot until I noticed what everyone was wearing. There were scads of people decked out in black and green, green and white or green on green. I needed a pit stop for a few reasons. One: I’d been on the road for 4.5 hours and I was in need of junk food like nobody’s business. Two: my free trial of SiriusXM satellite radio had expired somewhere between Swift Current and Moose Jaw and I was getting mighty tired of Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum. I was really hoping to find a few good bargain bin CD’s to get me through to the next alternative radio station. I was in luck; The Tragically Hip’s “Yer Favourites”, the Foo Fighters Greatest Hits, and Bryan Adams Unplugged were just $5.00 each. The customers in the store created a sea of green and every cash register was lined up six deep as if it were the day before Christmas. What the heck? Once I looked into a few neighbouring shopping carts, it appeared as if I was caught in the stampede for Sunday’s home game tailgate party supplies. It was just 90 minutes prior to kick-off between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Ottawa, the CFL team they used to share the same name with. I was within reach of the Roughrider swag while I waited in line, so I grabbed a few shirts to join in the fun.
Regina to Brandon
Armed with a few bars of Dairy Milk chocolate, a bag of Jalapeno Cheetos and a 10-pack of apple juice boxes, I pulled out of Regina and drove for another 3.5 hours until I reached Brandon, Manitoba.
The drive back east across The Prairies was every bit as enjoyable as the drive headed west. Perhaps it was because I could watch the ongoing sunset in the rear and side view mirror all while driving in the opposite direction. With Bryan Adams’ Unplugged CD as my soundtrack, I blew the landscape a kiss as the sun dipped below the horizon. I felt happy and had been blessed with an incredibly beautiful day but as I pulled in to my small city hotel, I began to long for the quiet of a campground, the fresh night air and the smell of campfire in my hair. I’d stayed in a hotel every night for the last three nights and although the beds were better than my sleeping pad, I hadn’t slept in my tent for a week and I missed it. Maybe I’d slow down for a day or two and find a place to camp between here and Thunder Bay instead of driving the 10 hours and 900 kilometres straight through. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, I thought, as I dialed 7 on the hotel phone for room service.