|Tue, 08 May: Canada here we come! No reason to tarry any longer in "lovely" Shelby. we outta heah...
We got things ready and went through our checklist. Waste tanks dumped and fresh water tank filled. Bob drove Carpe across the street to the Cenex outlet where we bought 11.8 gallons of propane. Dinkum got hooked up and we were underway at 0915.
We joined I 15 north for the 35 mile drive to the U.S./Canada border at Sweetgrass, MT and Coutts, AB. There was only one lane open and about seven non-commercial vehicles in line ahead of us. Once at the inspection booth we offered our passports and answered a line of questions (mostly, "do you have any firearms?") It took us 27 minutes from the time we queued up to exiting the border station into Alberta.
First (obligatory) stop was a at the photo-op at the "Welcome to Alberta" sign for a photo-op (see pix). Then a sixty mile drive north on Alberta 4 to Lethbridge, our overnite stop. We drove thru town, spying our first Tim Horton in the process. You know you're in Canada when you see a Tim Horton.
We're staying at the Bridgeview RV Park. It is a Passport America park with full (50 amp) hookups. No way we'd pay the C$55 rate, but with PA's 50% discount it's worth C$28.
Today's drive was an easy 104 miles that took us a bit more than three hours (including the 27 minutes at the border). We consumed 12.7 gallons of diesel yielding 8.2 mpg. OK, especially given 27 minutes of idling time.
Following lunch we disconnected the car and drove to the local information agency. There we picked up an Alberta map, Lethbridge map, Alberta & British Columbia camping guides, and a lot of local lore.
Essential stops included: 1) ATM for Canadian cash, 2) grocery to restock our depleted produce supply (we'd heard stories of produce being confescated at the border), and 3) some photo ops of Lethbridge's famous High Bridge.
The first two were accomplished in no time. We found some vantage points and took many pix of the High Bridge. The bridge is the longest and highest trussel bridge in the world. It was built in 1909 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad and spans 1 mile, 47 feet at a maximum height of 314 feet. It took ten months to build and required 12,436 tons of steel, 328,000 rivets (someone actually counted them?), and 7,600 gallons of paint. Today it'd take longer than ten months just getting the necessary tree hugger permits. Very impressive...
Back to the coach for our first opportunity to sit outside and enjoy a mild and (relatively) calm day. We enjoyed our happy hour outside under a beautiful sky. Bob cooked a delicious steak and Sandi prepared fresh veggies. We're now enjoying a quiet evening working on our computers (no Internet).
We're only here for one nite and plan to drive the 130 miles or so to Calgary tomorrow. We're still uncertain where we'll stay there, but we think we want some hookups as a storm is due on Thursday with temperatures below freezing and a rainy, windy, and cold day. A good day to stay put with the heat on...
Miles this leg: 104.0
Total miles since Casa Grande: 1,441.3