Soon after leaving Jasper we encountered our first problem with our motorhome. We were driving along at a good clip down the Yellowhead Hwy when we heard a strange sound and felt like we had run over something. My first thought was that the bikes or scooters had come off the bike rack and we had lost them on the highway. But it was not the bikes, it was a blown tire!
No problem, my dependable and capable husband took out the spare tire, his tools, and jack and prepared to switch out the tires. Unfortunately, the tire jack, which we bought at a garage sale before our trip but didn’t test on the motorhome, was busted. Hydraulic oil sprayed through the O-rings. As we pumped it up and it would not hold pressure. La-sigh. Luckily we have BCAA (AAA) so we called to get someone out to help us. It ended up taking three hours of waiting on the side of the highway for help to arrive. The tire was changed in 15 minutes. Ugh.
Before we started out on the trip, we knew that we would have to be replacing the tires at some point, however, we were hoping we could make it to the Eastern States before they really needed to be replaced. But after this ordeal, we decided that we wanted them all replaced right away. We phoned ahead to a few tire shops in Edmonton hoping that someone could get us in before closing. Lucky for us, we found a sympathetic ear at Kal Tire on our third phone call. We now have six brand new tires. A few days later, we also got our front brakes replaced. And so we are terribly over budget, but feeling much safer and confident in our ride.
After the full day of driving, waiting for our spare tire to be put on, more driving, waiting for our six new tires to be put on, AND a shop at Costco, we were ready to get the heck out of the city and enjoy a few days of rest at Elk Island National Park. Our National Park pass is certainly paying for itself!
We weren’t sure what to expect at Elk Island. The park is really close to Edmonton which is a huge city. The entire park is fenced to keep in the huge population of elk and bison. I wondered if it would be a bit like a zoo having such a high population of animals and being so close to the city, but it was actually really lovely.
Rolling hills, filled with deciduous trees, wetlands, and even a beautiful (although unswimmable) lake. We scored a great little camp spot and were able to take in the many paved and gravel trails around the lake on our bikes.