Day 56 – July 31, 2001 – Today is the end of our eighth week on the road. We are all getting tired of getting up and moving each day but we are enjoying the change in scenery as we move further south through Alberta. Today, we left Grande Prairie and took Highway 40 to Hinton. Highway 40 is a fairly new road. It has been existence for twenty years or more but was only paved within the past two years. We had been warned that this was a bad road, both the surface and the hills involved. But we found it to be a pretty and pleasant drive. There were hills, some of them fairly steep, but the traffic was light and the day was sunny. The hardest part of the trip was the drive up into Grande Cache. The last two miles was a steady climb, an 8% grade in many spots. The coupe only has high and low gears and the climb was longest for Jennifer. When she finally arrived at the top, Ben asked her how her left leg was. (You have to hold your foot on the pedal the whole time to stay in low gear.) Jennifer responded that, “if my leg doesn’t hurt, I’m not pushing hard enough”.
Vic Patterson is a well-known Model T enthusiast because of his frequent postings on the Model T Ford website and we were looking forward to meeting him. We were surprised to learn that Vic and his brother Charles are the only Model T owners in Grande Cache and that they are self-taught in their efforts. Vic had arranged for us to be welcomed by some local residents and by the assistant mayor. We had a lovely lunch and then headed on to Hinton.
Hinton is an entry town for Jasper National Park and the second part of the drive brought us closer and closer to the mountains. Jasper and Banff National Parks lie along the Canadian Rockies, “the rugged backbone of the west” and are some of the most beautiful places in the world. We are eager to start through the parks tomorrow.