Date: September 18, 2010
Tonight’s Location: Lethbridge, AB
Mileage: End - 55027
Start - 54689
Total Miles for the day: 338
Weather: started sunny, ended cloudy, a brisk wind
Temperature: start 29º
High 44º (only hit 44 for a few minutes, most of the day, 41°)
Wildlife count: geese, domestic elk, red-tailed hawk
The drive today was through wheat and canola fields. We knew the wheat field, but were mystified by the canola. However, with a little research, here is what we now know. Canola, which is the producer of canola oil, grows as a green bushy plant, about 2-3’ high with yellow flowers. (In spring, all of the fields would be yellow) All of that was gone by the time we were driving by today. The plants are cut with a “swather,” which gathers the stems containing the seed pods into windrows. That is left for about 2 weeks, and then a combine, which might be used for combining wheat, picks up the windrow and shakes out the seeds. Drying is needed, just like for soybeans, to about 8% moisture. It is then sold and processed into oil. (see pictures) There were also a lot of cattle and horses today.
We also passed the Okotoks Erratic, which is the largest rock deposited by a glacier in the world. The word, Okotoks, which is the name of the town, is derived from the Blackfoot word for ‘rock.’ Next time, we will have to drive up and see it up close.
We traveled through Calgary during the day, and it looks like a neat large city, although we enjoyed Edmonton, and might explore it further on another trip. Also saw a possible circle tour for a future trip to Glacier, Banff and Lake Louise.
We are in Lethbridge, the 3rd largest city in Alberta tonight, and if there are crops here, they are irrigated. Also, some of the land is beginning to look like the badlands of South Dakota. Tomorrow we are back in the USA – yippee!