Let me start by saying that it really surprises me that I enjoy traveling. After all, I was a Navy-brat growing up and we moved from duty station to duty station every 2 to 3 years. That is, until my father’s retirement when I was 10 years old.
The farthest I’ve ever traveled from home, that I can recall, was a vacation with my parents. We drove over 2100 miles [one way] from our home in West Michigan to a booming town in northern Alberta, Canada — Fort McMurray. (Trust me, this gives an all new meaning to the phrase, ” let’s take the scenic route“).
There are so many things I could say. So many things that I saw and experienced. But I’ll choose the two things that intrigued me the most on that trip.
The first thing that just blew me away was entering Fort McMurray. On the outskirts of town, dotted with a few shops & restaurants, was a long, lonely road called Highway 63. Between the small hustle & bustle of buildings, a smaller area of town and the main town of Fort Mac (as some call it), was a sight beyond words.
The highway, at it’s summit, began to curve slightly to the right. Then, as it started to plunge downward toward what seemed to be an open valley & curving back to the left… appears the city, sandwiched between dirt, gravel & rock and the highway on it’s left, and two joining waterways, the Snye and the Athabasca River, on it’s right. Definitely something photo-worthy, but I never got one. (still kicking myself over it).
And the second thing that amazed me about Fort McMurray were the Oil Sands (please see video below). There were 2 major and one smaller oil refinery that I was made aware of while there. It’s amazing how crude oil is extracted from the sands. The most amazing, awesome thing was seeing the HUGE trucks* they used to haul away the sand. (Note: The Discovery channel featured the oil sands & the trucks on one of there programs about a year or two ago. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the name of the show).
If I remember right, the bed of some of the dump trucks were so big, that they could fit 8 Ford F-150s inside.
I made a few friends on my visit as well. The husband of one friend was a mechanic that worked on these beastly trucks.
*Note: I do not claim any rights to the included video. Just wanted to share using a better visual than photos.