Featuring Connor Mockett
Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another week of The Weather with Connor. This week’s column will finally be about the final 9 days of my Western Canada chasecation. When I wrote about this a month ago, I last left off at the end of Day 9, which was me taking a day off to relax at our downtown Holiday Inn in Saskatoon after Day 8’s storms. Let me continue…
After Day 8, there actually weren’t any storms to chase at all, so we used Day 9 to rest. The rest of the trip was basically the same, an actual vacation to just rest. Day 10, we woke up in Saskatoon and knew we had to be checked out of our hotel by 11:00am that morning. Without any storms to chase, we figured we’d go to another city that we’ve never been in, and stay for a couple of days again. I found a great deal for a hotel right in Downtown Edmonton; it was the Fairmont Macdonald, a beautiful, classic, old school hotel. The place was massive, and had so many things. Thankfully, breakfast was included in the hotel room, because breakfast for Zoe and I came to $77, which is simply unfathomable for two regular plates.
We stayed at the Fairmont, as I said, for two nights, with the second day/night being Day 11. We just hung around the hotel all day, going down to the pool and spa area for 4 hours, and spending the rest of our time ordering Uber Eats for fun, because why not? We can’t do that in Winchester!
Day12 was a bit of a travel day, but first we hung around Edmonton for a little bit and went to the West Edmonton Mall. Let me tell you, that place is unexplainably huge. We were there for 3 hours, maybe 4, and barely even touched the place. We found the hockey rink that’s inside the mall (where a minor hockey league game was being played, which was super cool), walked through some stores, and realized that we hadn’t even found the water park, food court, or anything else. It’s completely insane, and if you want to see the whole place in one day, get there at like 6:00am or something so that you can leave by 9:00pm. Maybe then you’ll see the whole place! After the Mall, we traveled back south on HWY 2 towards Airdrie, where we went to Montana’s for supper, and then just went back to our hotel to relax for the evening and night.
On Day 13, we decided that we’d go to the Calgary Zoo! The zoo was massive. So many areas to visit and sit, with obviously super cool animals. That was a hot day for that much walking though, and I made the mistake of not wearing sunscreen. My face wasn’t too bad, but I burned my scalp which was the itchiest burn I have ever had. Never again please. After the Zoo, we traveled a little further south on HWY 2 to the small town of Nanton about an hour south of Calgary. This town is a cute highway town, one that I actually really like. It also has a completely ridiculous candy store which is impossible to not spend like $70 inside of it per trip. So that’s what I did. And I got ice cream too! After the candy store, we went to Medicine Hat and stayed there at a beautiful brand new Best Western Premier.
Day 14 was a rest day at the Best Western before making the trek home. We spent a lot of the day at the pool, and indulged for supper at Little Caesars for fun.
Day 15 was the first travel day back home. It was a long and at times tiring drive. We went from Medicine Hat, Alberta, to Dryden Ontario. We were in 4 provinces in 1 day. It was about a 15 hour day, which is generally the maximum that I do because I do NOT want to drive in the dark up north in Ontario (I did anyway the next day and broke my own rule).
Day 16 was even longer than Day 15. We woke up at 5:00am in Dryden and were on the road by 5:30, just as the light was coming out, as we were in for a super long day. We went from Dryden to North Bay, which is about 16 hours (maybe a little more with stops for gas and whatnot). We drove in the dark on HWY 11 for an hour before getting to our hotel in North Bay. I told myself that I’d never drive in the dark up north just because of the danger of moose. Thankfully, I didn’t see one, but I did see a deer. I won’t be doing the arriving in the dark thing again, that’s for sure. Once was enough.
On Day 17, we decided to take a little bit of a detour home. Instead of taking the logical and shorter way home on HWY 17, we went towards Hunts-
ville on HWY 11 and got off there. Then we went east on HWY 60 towards Barry’s Bay and Killaloe, as that area is forever stitched into my heart since I spent every weekend of my childhood there. After Killaloe, we checked out one of my favourite spots on earth, Bonnechere Lodge on Golden Lake. We had a trailer there as a family for many, many years, but also rented cottages there for years before having a trailer. We went back just to see the place as I hadn’t been there in 5 years, and Zoe hasn’t been there at all. It was nice to go back. After that, we got back on HWY 60 and went towards home, which was only 3-ish hours away at that point. We arrived home at about 6:30pm, capping off our trip across Canada.
Day 18 was just a rest and do nothing day before heading back to work the next day.
And that ends the story of our Chasecation turned Vacation! Luckily no car issues, or any issues of any kind this trip. The 3rd straight year driving across our beautiful country of Canada!