Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Out of America

Tuesday, July 2nd......we are now 2 days into our 18th month of nomadic living.  We have traveled over 15,000 miles in the past 17 months and seen a lot to be sure.....but we have just barely scratched the surface.  It is difficult to believe that 1/2 of this calendar year is now past tense, and here we sit in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada......a place that seemed so distant back in February when the idea was first conceived, and we applied for our first Passports.  Now Canada is a reality.....but, alas, I forge ahead too far into Tuesday's story line.

Just as we did on Monday, we opted for an early start from Great Falls, MT Tuesday as the forecast was for higher temperatures than Monday, and the length of time it would take us to cross the Canadian border was least in my mind.  We have crossed into Canada two prior times in motor vehicles, and the crossing was uneventful, and quick, but you know me......I tend to be a little pessimistic, and was running all sorts of scenarios through my mind as to having to open up the trailer, remove the car, empty all the stuff out of the wall cabinet, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera......well, anyway, we merged on to I-15 around 9 am.....a little behind the 8:30 start we had aimed for, but close enough for Jello.

Before we left Dick's RV Park, which, by the way, I liked a lot...Kathy was a great host....we filled up with propane taking on 31.27 gallons at $3.00/gallon....there is no sales tax in Montana, which now makes it one of my favorite states.

All three of our caravan wished to top off their diesel tanks in Shelby, MT so as to avoid having to purchase diesel in Canada where it is some 70 to 80 cents more per gallon.  We arrived at the Pilot Truck Stop around 10:30 am, fueled up (we took on 91.23 gallons at $3.76/gallon)....from Shelby it was only 37 more miles to the Canadian Border.

As we edged north of Great Falls mile by mile it became more remote, and desolate looking, but as we neared the last American civilization of Sweet Grass, and a few hundred feet beyond that the Canadian border, it changed back to civilization.  And then we entered the long line of cars, trucks and RV's waiting patiently to enter Canada.

 Initially there was only one line of traffic, and it moved slowly.....maybe one car every 3-5 minutes......after about 30 minutes a second lane was opened and things sped up quickly.  I was watching carefully the fate of 3 trucks pulling utility type trailers and watched, in dismay, as all three of them were waived over to a waiting area for more inspection.....I call this the full body cavity search.  So, I'm thinking "Okay, I'm next....this is going to take a couple of hours".  As we came even with the kiosk I was greeted by a Canadian border agent who began asking a few questions......any firearms, alcohol, tobacco products, how long will you be in Canada, etcetera, to which I answered "no" when appropriate, and 2-3 weeks to the latter.  He even knew where Rancho Cucamonga, CA is a small world.  He then looked at our passports......looked up at me and said "Sir, these passports are not valid!" mind starts spinning, and I hear the words come out of my mouth...."wait, what?.....we just got them!".....he then smiles and says "you didn't sign them, sir.....when you park your coach for the night tonight, please take a couple of minutes to sign them and you'll be fine.....have a great time in Canada!".  It's not nice to send me into a mild panic.......don't you love those Canadians?

All three of our party passed through Customs without incident and we were on our way north into Alberta.  There was a lot of farming of canola plant (the yellow in the background) used in making, of course, canola oil.

From the border it was just 67 miles further to Lethbridge, and we covered that distance in about 90 minutes......the traffic in Lethbridge was stop and go, and there was one wrong turn on my part, but we arrived at Bridgeview RV Park around 2 pm.  We had turned on the generator just after we cleared customs, and turned on the front A/C as it was getting hot and.......wait a second.....HUMID.....and here I thought I had escaped humidity.  When I stepped out of the coach to go into the RV park office the humidity had intensified, and the temp was now in the mid 90's (it would get close to 100 a couple of hours later).  Fortunately this is a just a heat wave, and temps will return to the 70's by Wednesday.....whew!!!  

Amanda, who checked us into the park, advised their office had 2 feet of standing water in it just two weeks ago, and they had barely reopened.....the local river had overflowed due to the same storm system that was flooding Calgary up north.  All that being considered the park was in remarkable condition considering the fact it was under water not long ago.

We checked in, and after a little drama getting the two larger Newells into their sites (these other Newells are 46' long, and with cars being towed, they come closer to 65')....some of the turns in this park are very tight and not compatible with larger coaches.  While Tom and Forest unhooked their tow vehicles (we call them "toads) TLE made lunch.  Finally about 2:30 we were able to proceed and slip into site #113.  I quickly turned off the generator, ran outside to hook up to 50 amp, ran back in and turned on both A/C's full blast to cool down the coach.

It wasn't until after dark (around 10 pm) that it began to cool enough to take a short walk.....short, only because the mosquitoes were out in force and drove us back inside the coach...if it is not one thing it's another, right?

Wednesday we will drive the final 147 miles to Cochrane where we will reside for a week before we gaze into the bowl of Jello again and decide what is next.  Life is good.....all systems are "go", and confidence is high......

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. traveling with you and elaine and the olivier's is incredibly fun. we are just worried you will get tired of us and run away.

    this is the bestest way to ease into retirement i could have possibly done or thought of.


  2. Welcome to Canada! Glad you got across the border with only a slight scare. Hope you have a great time visiting.

  3. Just a quick note ... are you aware that you have the dreaded CAPTCHA quiz turned on for comments? A lot of bloggers just give up on comments when confronted by this puzzle.


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