Monday, November 8, 2010

Red Deer, Alberta, Canada delivery in August

Difficult start:
All ready to go at 8 AM when made call to see if we could have the unit to Red Deer. It's a "go!"
20 miles down the road and car is making a very-loud-not-good noise! A local mechanic graciously checked out the exhaust system and fixed it. On the road again.
At pick-up had to wait for some paper work before taking off with unit.
Because all Minnesota license plates were in
use, we had to drive a 2 lane state highway to the South Dakota border instead of Interstate--time consuming!
Even with all the delays we did enjoy a partly cloudy pretty day driving through the green Iowa flat farmland into the rolling hills near the IA/SD border and the Big Sioux River. Then instantly we were in Cowboy Country!!

On the road
again after a good night's sleep in Mitchell, South Dakota. Thank-you Walmart for letting us park on your lot.

View through the windshield as we listened to the audio book about the building of the Panama Canal, "Path between the Countries" by David McCullogh, our favorite history author:

Very green except wheat stubble left after harvesting.
Fields of corn, sunflowers, sorghum, hay & pasture.
Stacks of large round bales dot the
Grain elevators & ra
nch buildings can be seen in the distance.
Many, many signs advertising all the places you can stop and see "stuff" or eat or sleep or play--including an 1880 town used as a set for the movie "Dances with Wolves" & Wall Drug!
The edge of the Badlands is visible from I-90 and the landscape becomes sandy grassland pasture.
The edge of the Black Hills covered with pine trees are also visible. In the distance they do, indeed, look like "Black Hills."

Into Wyoming on hwy
#212 shortcut with miles of grass pasture, stacks of bales, cattle & antelope grazing together, occasional ranches are visible or a drive to a ranch marked with a sign made of metal cutouts and long trains in the distance!
Mountain time zone.

Checked with our office at the border and
all papers are in order.

Into Montana. Oops! driving through some road construction with loose gravel over tar. No de
tour. Dealer cleaned off motor home and Jim had a Saturn with tar to clean when we got home.
Sunny, very warm with 99 degree temperature, but no humidity under the big blue sky of Montana today.
Large black shadow of the Rocky
Mountains in the distance as backdrop.
Middle of wheat harvest season.
Combines in fields. Trucks headed to the elevators.
Straw bales lined up like soldiers in formation or stacked in long high piles with a fence around.

Red wheat has a deep red brown color. White wheat is more golden.
One elevator had a huge pile of wheat stacked on the ground.
More metal cut-out signs with interesting na
mes mounted on tall poles to show ranch entrances.
You can see where the river flows by the green trees, shrubs & fields growing along its banks in contrast to the brown grass of acres of pasture.

Life lesson: Deep roots into God's life giving water in His Word will result in recognizable growth even in our dry world culture!!

Very windy and we are driving into it!
Lots of bugs hitting our windshield!

Into Canada: Border crossing went smoothly and l
earned the hard way that we needed to stop at every inspection station even with papers in order.
Mind is calculating kilometers into miles on the road and liters into gallons at the gas stations. We are paying $3.43/gal for gas!

Very hazy almost like a fog with only about 3 miles visibility. Some light rain.
Through car wash, to dealer, check in went smoothly.
Found a Super 8. Relaxed, caught up with book-work, & went for a walk.
We found out that British Columbia was having a series of wildfires. Smoke from the blazes was picked up by high winds an
d driven east into Alberta. Enough to prompt an air-quality warning for the week-end. This also resulted in very poor visibility for sight-seeing. After our walk around the near-by mall we were experiencing itchy eyes and scratchy throat.

Plans changed--no sightseeing in the Canadian Mtns because of fires so headed south back to the US. Because this was prime vacation time we booked a motel for the night with the points we had accumulated in previous trips giving us time for sight-seeing.

The sun is shining through the haze as we near the border. W
e can see the tall peaks of the Rocky Mountains of the park ahead. The tallest have patches of snow shining white in the sun.

While we waited in line to cross the border we ate 2 apples. Okay to bring them across the border in our stomach, but not in the ice chest!! But did have to pay a "commercial fee" because we delivered a motor home into Canada.

Babb, Mt-- A cafe beside the Sinclair station and across the street a locally owned motel. The Babb Cafe served an excellent thick & juicy Swiss Mushroom Burger with a fresh leaf lettuce mixture, tomato, dill pickle & onion on the side. Cole slaw with a creamy
garlic dressing & potato salad seasoned with dill pickles.
Herbs were growing in a window box.

The newspaper clippings on the bulletin board told stories of the winter of 1947 when the town was completely isolated from Dec 16 until Jan 20 due to a blizzard dumping 10 ft of snow in the area. The people had plenty of food, but the fuel for oil furnaces and cook stoves was getting low!

Glacier National Park

We entered at St. Mary and drove the "Going-to-the-Sun" road past two large lakes. Unlike rivers, glaciers erode wide-bottomed, steep-sided, and u-shaped valleys. Deep glacial lakes fill in the bottom
s of the larger glacial valleys.

The clear blue sky was reflected in the lake. A beautiful sunny day. Wildflowers including purple asters, red cardinal flower and deep pink fire weed bloomed along the edges of the ro
ad. Huge sharp mountain peaks in all directions. Magnificent! Awesome!

A walking trail through the forest took us back to the Barring Falls. It was eerie walking through an area where the pines had died from a disease. The branches were black and curled downward with no needles. A walk across the tree branch bridge offered us a view of the falls!
Since this was prime vacation time the park was full of cars and people. We could not stop at the visitor centers because the parking lots were full. If we were doing it again at this time of the year we would seriously consider paying to ride on the white shuttle bus or one of the red buses with open tops. They take you into the visitor center and drop you off regardless of how full the parking lot is!

Also, this is prime road construction time and there is only one road so traffic stops and waits sometimes up to a half hour. This does give one time to really "see" the area.

We drove past areas with sliver threads of water meandering down the slopes from the melting glaciers to the valley floor, a weeping wall!

We could see hikers following trails on the sides of the mountains. The hikers were stopped on one tra
il by mountain goats.

A great day's drive.

Travel Lodge in Kalispell, MT for the evening.
Made a reservation for Super 8 in Livingston, MT putting us just outside Yellowstone tomorrow.

Montana scenery

Headed South and kept passing fruit & vegetable stands that advertised "sweet cherries" for sale. Stopped at one that had an orchard behind it. Bought a quart size bag of them! They are huge compared to what we have back home in the super market. We call them bing cherries! Sweet & juicy! We asked about huckleberries, which are also advertised. They are like blueberries only more tart and at this time of the year we could only purchase them as jelly or jam.

A new sign along the road--"cell phone pullout 1/4 mile." It would be very dangerous to be driving the mountain curves, which require both hands and talking on cell phone!

The highway takes us arou
nd Flathead Lake. Blue with mountain peaks surrounding and dotted with white sail boats today.

Past the National Bison Range. We see more buffalo through our kitchen window than we saw driving past here (-:!

Grant-Kohrs Ranch

The Grant-Kohrs Ranch in Deer Lodge, MT preserves the strongest symbols of the American West. Wide open spaces, the hard-working cowboy, his spirited cow pony and vast herds of cattle. It is free. You can walk around the grounds and at certain times a guide will take you through the house.
  • Conrad Kohrs was born in Germany in 1835, left home at 15, sailed the world as a cabin boy, searched for gold in California & Canada & in 1862 this part of the Idaho Territory that would become southwest Montana. He made his fortune not by panning gold but by raising cattle. He arrived in the territory with only the clothes on his back and his bedroll. He had learned the rudiments of the butchering trade from relatives in New York & Iowa. He worked as a butchers assistant and soon owned his own shops in many gold camps. Johnny Grant sold him cattle to supply his shops and in 1866 sold his ranch to Kohrs.
  • In the 1890's Kohrs' cattle grazed on more than ten million acres of public land in four states and two provinces. In time he purchased 30,000 acres for his home ranch.
  • The Cattle Barons were a new breed of entrepreneur that had to adapt to the problems of harsh weather, disease, rustling, economic fluctuations, homesteaders and the barb wire fence!
  • Their dining room table extended with 13 leaves for entertaining.
  • In one room was a bed that folded up into the wall because the cowboy that lived with them would not make his bed in the mornings and Augusta Kohrs insisted on a neat home.
  • He provided a heated room with a wall of windows for Agusta to grow plants and flowers.
  • Augusta, his wife, and Kohrs were childhood acquaintances in Germany. They dated for about three weeks before they married in Iowa in 1868. (Wonder what he told her about the frontier he was taking her to??) She preserved her heritage and as the family prospered she acquired fine pieces of furniture and art balancing the cultures of the Old World and the New.
  • A fold-up cabinet desk with two wings hinged on a center shaft. About 4 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft when closed and locked was interesting.
  • Because they sold meat, he preferred the Hereford from Europe rather than longhorns. The longhorns do trail long distances but have less meat and could not stand the winter. He built a railroad spur in order to ship his meat type cattle east to the stockyards in Chicago.
  • They had hot and cold running water in the house. A large tin tub insert in a wooden box.
  • It would take three wheelbarrows of coal a day to keep the water from freezing in the 1800's.
  • The kitchen stove had a huge hood to keep the heat collected and vented out. It also had a couple of small pull-down shelves mounted on the back of the stove for warming food.
  • A barn with antique buggys and carts used by the family that included a buggy station wagon used by the family on vacations.
There are some interactive exhibits that the children will enjoy and a chuck wagon with a cook that serves coffee and stories about trail rides!

Back to I-90, past the Pintler Scenic route that we had driven a couple years earlier. You can see the Anacanda copper mining tower from the interstate.

As we wind through the valley the sun is like a giant spot light making "glory" rays between clouds then spotlighting mountain slopes or our valley between the area of hazy blue-grey rain showers. Thank-you Lord for our personal theater production!!

Supper at a super Chinese restaurant in Livingston, bookwork, but no internet connection. We can hear the wind howling outside. A reminder of 2 years ago when we drove through the Bozeman pass in the winter winds.

Yellowstone National Park
This is the picture that you always see and think of when you hear the word Yellowstone National Park--Old Faithful!

Yes, we waited on the benches and visited with the people around us, listened to a rancher speak about it and the animals in the area and then we saw it in person!!!

Walked through the Old Faithful Lodge and it's awesome carpentry! The huge rock fire place, the banisters and railings crafted from natural shaped logs, and the massive size of everything.

In the ranger station we learned that this whole area is the cone of a volcano. Since Jan 1, 2000 they had had thousands of small earthquakes. None could be felt. If they would have happened at one time it would only be a 4 on the Richter scale.

Beehive geyser near old faithful spouts intermittently also.

We were warned by many signs to stay on the board walk because of the fragility of the surface around the geysers. But a huge buffalo that evidently cannot read was walking up beside Old Faithful just as it finished spouting!

We entered the park through the original entrance on the North near Gardiner driving under the rock arch.

Mammoth Hot Springs is a small village with motels, visitor center, shops, Historic Fort Yellowstone and a herd of elk that grazed on the lawns!

The fragrance of sulfur is in the air, steam is visible, the multicolored Hot Spring terraces loom up before us. Signs tell us that the colors are due to microorganisms in the hot water, but when it is done flowing it turns white. It is dangerous to walk on the surface because the acid will eat through the sole of your shoes and the earth crust will break without warning. We walked the boardwalk path. It gets changed as the flow changes.

As we drove through this area of the park we would see steam coming up from holes in the ground along the edge of the road. It sounds like a percolating coffee pot!

Saw a herd of mule deer and a herd of buffalo.

Drove a 6 mile one-way one-lane gravel road through the Blacktail Plateau. Wild flowers and green grass.

Stopped at Tower Falls to walk out on the observation deck to see the falls. Lots of tourists!

Many acres showing previous burns. Dead trees either standing or laying on the side of the mountains with new growth starting.

Lodge pole pines have branches and green needles only at the top of the tree with a bare trunk. Resemble a forest of Christmas trees on top of telephone poles!) Their pine cone is glued shut and needs fire to melt and dislodge the seeds for new growth. Fire is good for that purpose!

Grand Teton National Park

Driving south on Hwy 89 headed to Jackson Hole and our room at the Super 8 we had a magnificent view of the Grand Teton Mountains.

Into the Park the mountains with rugged peaks sprinkled with snow towered above the blue Jackson Lake.

It was the end of the day so did not take time to cruise any of the roads leading into the mountains.

This was a fitting ending to a great day discovering yet another part of God's creation.

Headed Home:

View from the windshield:
  • Beautiful sunrise as we drive in 30 degree temps watching the sun highlight rocky, pine covered peaks.
  • Through Hoback Canyon we watch fog rising from the lake surface.
  • Acres of grassland with mountains in background, ranch & beef country, herds of antelope grazing, stacks of bales surrounded by a "tall" fence in the middle of the hay fields.
  • Past South Pass, a National Historic Landmark. a major feature of the Oregon trail traveled by western immigrants during the 1850's.
  • Many, many Cruise America rental RV's are on the highway this summer.
  • Into Nebraska. Interesting shaped bluffs form a background to acres of farmland and pastures. Brilliant yellow fields of sunflowers accent the gold wheat and green corn & hay.

A good night's sleep in Ogalala, the Cowboy capital!
Back across the Missouri River and into Iowa.
The Prairie does look good!

Thanks for traveling with us via the web!
See you along the way!

Prairie Schooners

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