With our destination of Calgary programmed into our route, we were heading due north on May 31st, until we received an email from a friend telling us where to go. (Not an uncommon occurrence.) The highlight of her trip to Alberta was a visit to Drumheller, so a quick right turn onto a small road and away we went to take her advice. The map promised us a scenic route, and while any route passes many scenes, we had higher hopes for this route. At least it was a flat, straight, untraveled road, easy to drive, but with not a single place to stop for lunch, or a scene worth photographing…until we got to Drumheller, an old mining town surrounded by hoodoos. Finally, scenery worth seeing. It was now 3:30pm and we were starving, so we stopped at the first place that seemed to serve food although everyone else was just drinking. Perhaps that was because it was a tavern that incidentally served food. The menu was surprisingly large, which would have been more impressive if they weren’t out of our first and second choices. Our third choice was not as bad as we expected but it left us feeling like we deserved a really good dessert. Luckily, next door was a shop selling great fudge, which filled the bill.
At last we were ready for Drumheller’s attractions, but first we checked into an RV Park and then finally set out for the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Having visited so many dinosaur museums on this trip, we wondered if this detour was really worthwhile even though we were told it definitely would be. Well, not only was it worthwhile, it was a high point in our journey as much as it was in our friend’s. The enormity of the collection of fossils and the skill with which they are displayed was, and probably still is, stunning. The Royal Tyrrell by far surpassed anything we saw on the dinosaur trail. Even though the museum was open late, we didn’t have time to see everything, so we returned the next day.
Trying to figure out where we had left off the night before, we came across this helpful sign. Never would have known! And then we continued to find more and more amazing specimens of local dinosaurs.
Had we been younger and more agile, and had the weather been cooler, we would have signed up for a field trip and gone into the field to dig for fossils. Given the actual circumstances, we enrolled in a class on making plaster molds of bones and small fossils. Beginning with basics, we mixed the plaster with water until it achieved the correct consistency, poured it into molds and ended up with casts that we will take home and paint to add to our collection of Southern California fossils. Thank you, Debbie, for suggesting this detour and now we are back on track heading to Calgary again.