Friday, July 29, 2011

Back in the USA!

We are back in the USA again.  We are camping outside of Yellowstone tonight. Here's what we have been up to for the last 4 or 5 days...

Our Dawson Creek stop was nice because it gave us time to get some groceries, change the oil and catch up on some emails. We headed towards Jasper and saw may fields of gold flowers along the way.  I believe they were used for canola oil, but I can't verify that.  The road into Jasper was pretty.  It was a nice day outside, so it was busy with tourists also. We drove into Jasper and checked out the town for a little while.  There are some stores, like Gatlinburg. We did see a cool looking car called a Figaro.  It was made by Nissan in 1991.  We kept driving and saw some beautiful scenery along the road.  The mountains were tall and the river were very blue.  We saw a few waterfalls also.  One was Athabasca Falls.  It was very powerful and flowed down a canyon.  The Columbia Icefields were up in Jasper also.  There is this huge glacier that pours down from the mountain and you can walk up to it.  There is also a bus that drives people out onto it but we elected not to do that.  I would have liked to do it because the bus has huge monster truck tires, but we really have seen a lot of glaciers on this trip. We camped inside the park and barely found a site that night because it was so busy.  That night was the first night that it was fully dark for us. It has been about a month and a half since we had seen darkness. The next day, we drove South in Lake Louise.  We took a trip up to the lake and took some pictures, but we didn't do anything else around there because there were so many people around.  After that, we drove into Banff. Banff was a nice town.  It's a little bigger than Gatlinburg and has shops, restaurants, bars and lodges.  We parked and walked around the town.  The weather was nice out that day so it was nice to be able to enjoy it.  We left Banff and drove down towards Calgary.  It was a nice drive and it was nice to be on a highway that was smooth, again.  About 60 miles from the US border, we stopped and stayed in a Subway parking lot.  No one was around and we were tired of driving because it was 11:30 at night.  We woke up to rain and wind, but no one kicked us out of the parking lot that night. 

Last original, Alaskan Highway bridge that was built. It was wooden and we drove across it.

Nice Beaver!

Just inside Jasper NP

Athabasca Falls

On the road in Jasper

Goats in a pulloff on the side of the road.

Columbia Icefield

Lake Louise

Another Goat on the side of the road.

Where the Olympics were held in Calgary

Anxious to get to the border, we got moving early…about 11am.  We reached the border and into Glacier National Park in Montana at about 1pm.  We visited the visitor's center and drove into the campground to find a spot for the day.  After unhitching the truck, we decided to take the drive on Going to the Sun Road.  That's the road that takes you through Glacier and over to West Glacier.  The weather was windy and rainy up on the mountains.  We took a hike at one of the waterfall trails and when we got back up to the road, we saw a park ranger fly by with the lights and siren on.  We thought there was a bear mauling!  When we got up to the top of the road they were doing construction and that slowed everyone down.  We couldn't see much because we were surrounded by clouds.  Great day to drive the scenic highway!  Well, after 30 minutes of sitting in traffic, with no way of knowing how long we were going to be there, we ended up turning around.  We decided that we would try again tomorrow…maybe the weather will be better by then.  We drove back and stopped at another visitors center and asked someone what was going on.  Apparently there was a motorcyclist that lost control on the road and laid his bike down. They had to airlift him out of there.  I bet people were stuck in traffic forever!  When we got down out of the clouds and back to the campsite, the weather turned great!  It was sunny, but still breezy.  We took the dogs for a walk and had some good dinner and games (Sequence).

I got up the next morning and took a jog while everyone else was still in bed.  When  we were able to get moving, we started the drive back up into the mountains.  It was a better day to take a scenic drive too.  The clouds were still covering the mountains, but at least we weren't driving in them.  We were able to make it over the mountains and down into West Glacier.  We stopped by a lodge that was built back in the 1930's and had some lunch there.  We toured around the town a little bit and I found a cool looking bottle coolie that was made out of cow hide and it zipped up the side.  We had never seen one of those before so I bought it.  We drove back to the RV's where we left them at the boat ramp for the day, and headed out of town.  When we exited the park, I had a quarter of a tank of gas. There was cheaper gas about 30 miles away in Browning, and I knew I could make that.  Well…that was before we drove up this 5 mile long hill that I had to shift down into 1st gear the whole way.  We were sputtering around the bends and I pulled over to see if Joe had any gas left in his 5 gallon gas can that he used for the generator.  He had about 2 gallons.  That will help, but I'm not sure that will get us to the gas station.  It did, but thank God that the rest of the road wasn't uphill.  We ate at Nation Burger in Browning.  Browning is the Blackfeet Indian reservation town.  It's a small town, with a subway and a burger shack.  The burger was good and the people were nice though.  We stayed overnight in Choneau (Pronounced Show-no) at a municipal campground there.  It was a nice town with an antique shop, thrift store, outdoor store and a grocery market.  The sun was shining and it was 85 degrees!  We couldn't have asked for a better day.  After fiddling around in town and eating some lunch, we drove south towards Yellowstone today.  It was a beautiful drive down highway 89 and 287.  The scenery was awesome and we really liked the area from Choneau down to Helena…and down to Yellowstone.  Montana is just as awesome as we imagined.  The state it gorgeous.  There are rolling hills, mountains, plains and fields of grain.  We must have seen 20 deer last night and then another 10 tonight. We also saw a coyote that was near a deer today. We think he was looking for the deer, but couldn't find it because the grass was so tall. "Marco...Polo" "Come out deer!" We are staying outside the park, on the Yellowstone river at a state campground. We are driving into the park tomorrow and going to check out what there is to see in Yellowstone.  Hopefully the weather stays nice again.  It's late again, so I am heading to bed.  Good night!
Stream in Glacier

Cloudy Cat

Lake in Glacier

On the road in Montana

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