This is how we survived the night in Edmonton, without a place to sleep.

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If you’ve read some of the stories from the blog, you have probably noted how my friends and I are unconventional in our decision making. I don’t know why we think the way we do, but it makes for some interesting stories, I guess. I can picture myself at 80 years old, sitting on a park bench, reciting stories from the “good ol’ days” to whoever is listening; like Forrest Gump.

4 am in the Denny’s

This story is brought to you by a lack of money in our bank accounts, the spirit of adventure, and Denny’s all day breakfast.

It is the glorious summer of 2017. We have just endured the 3 day journey trapped in the confines of the VIA Rail explorer train from Sudbury to Edmonton, explored the deep wilderness of Banff national park, and barely survived the Calgary Stampede. Unfortunately, it was time to say goodbye to half of the travelling squad, as they were making their way back to Ontario. It was also farewell to the province of Alberta.

The two of us that remained felt the gloom take over, as we watched the rental car take our friends away. They had left us in the middle of an Edmonton suburb, with bags on our back, and no where to go. We had a train scheduled for 10 am that morning, so we saw no sense in getting a good night sleep at a hotel. By that point, the trip consisted of ramen noodles and sleeping in tents, so why stop that now?

We seriously had no idea where to go, so we regrouped at a local grocery store to discuss our options. We had to survive the night in Edmonton, until our train the next morning, and the option of checking into a hotel room was out of the question. We contemplated hitting the town, enjoying ourselves, but had nowhere to store our 80 pounds of bags and camping equipment. Finally we decided we needed a shower, so we used our trusty GoodLife fitness passes to enter a 24/7 gym. That bought us a few hours of steam room, a quick workout and a shower. The hands on the clock showed midnight, and we had nearly run out of ideas.

We decided there was only one place that we could find shelter, water, booze and delicious all night breakfast — Denny’s diner. The place was rocking the moment we sat down with our enormous bags at a booth near the crane machine. I order an omelet of some sorts and a coffee with Baileys. The clock hit 4 am, as we were running out of things to talk about, and had ordered our 7th orange juice so they would not kick us out. The game plan transitioned to a series of sleeping shifts of 30 minutes.

We adopted the Denny’s as our home ’till about 6 in the morning. We then took a cab to the train station and slept under the stars leaning on the VIA Rail doors, just waiting for them to open up.

After that incredibly long night, we were well on our way to Vancouver, guided by the winding railroad.

(Did you know it only took 10 years to build the railway across Canada? Absolutely insane.)

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/railway-history

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