April and I went to Edmonton on Monday afternoon. We posted some ads online looking to give a ride to someone else going that direction, but there was no response. On our way out of the city, there was a guy holding a sign that said “Saskatoon”, so I insisted we pick him up. He crammed himself into the back seat of our truck, and we learned he was hoping to get to Calgary! We politely informed him that he was taking an odd route, and he agreed, saying he’d tried all day the day before on Highway 1 West, and no one picked him up! Since we were going to Edmonton which is much closer to Calgary than Saskatoon is, we invited him to join us for the entire trip and he happily accepted our offer.
His, Lyle’s, journey had begun in Ottawa about a week earlier, where he was visiting his brother there. He’d had some kind of falling out with his brother, and decided to leave early before Christmas and head back to Calgary on the bus. He’d showed up to the bus depot about 2 hours early, bought his ticket, and went to the washroom. He’d hung his backpack on the door, put his duffle bag on the floor at his feet, and sat down. Not long later, his duffle bag whooshed away from his feet, while he was literally caught with his pants down and the thief made a getaway.
So Lyle was left with no money, no books, no wallet, no bus ticket, no cigarettes and no THC too. Apparently his fight with his brother was serious enough he didn’t return to ask for a new bus ticket or stay until he could get access to his money in a bank account. So he started hitching rides, going to North Bay, Sudbury, Sault St. Marie, Terrace Bay, Thunder Bay (on Christmas), Winnipeg, Brandon and finally Regina. And standing out on Highway 1 for a day in -15 was not fun I’m sure. He had learned not to walk far out of the city though, because when the sun goes down it’s colder and less likely you’ll get picked up too.
We filled up in Saskatoon, Lloydminster, and then made it to Edmonton. Before we left we filled up at 107.9 cents/L, and learned our oil was terribly low, so we added 1.5L at a cost of more than $12. There was a head wind, so we got terrible mileage driving north west, in the range of 15L/100km. On the way home it was about 12.5L/100km, but the fills cost 91.9 cents/L in Edmonton and Lloydminster, but 105.9 in Saskatoon.
In West Edmonton Mall, where we spent most of Tuesday, I bought some socks, and April got a shirt and sweater, and bought me an ice cream cone.
On Wednesday we went to the Alberta legislature building, where it was really cold outside. Fortunately the tour made use of a long tunnel from the interpretive centre to the legislature building. We heard a ghost story on the second floor. We saw the chamber under construction, with the light bulbs being changed. And we skipped the RAMuseum because it was $10 for an adult, and $7 for a student, and we got the legislature tour for free. Museums are much too expensive in Alberta for some reason.