Destinations: Calgary | Banff | Lake Louise | Icefield Parkway | Jasper | Northwest Territory | NW Alberta | Fort McMurray | Edmonton | Drumheller | Fort MacLeod | Buffalo Jump
We arrived in Fort McMurray late in the evening. Had something to eat then took a short walk around downtown by a small casino and shopping area that was closing. The next morning we drove north to see the huge oil sands plant. By the plant site are stone carvings signifying the Wood Bison Gateway. The Syncrude company has invested in reclaiming soil materials and reconstructing mined-out areas by planting trees, developing hiking trails, and introducing Bison herds to the area. Returning to town we visited the Oil Sands Discovery Center. It was well worth it to hear about the history and technology used to extract oil from the sands.
We tried to get on one of the plant tours but was told that reservations needed to be made at least a week in advance. Our next stop was Heritage Park then to see the float planes that are still in use.
That evening we visited my "cousin" (my maternal grandmother's sister married the brother of my "cousin's" grandfather - got that). We stayed the night at their house and caught up on some of the family history.
It was close to noon before we left to head south to Edmonton. We passed a lighthouse on a small lake in the middle of nowhere and a couple of elk farms.