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Mon. May 27- Fri. May 31- White Sulphur Springs- Great Falls MT-Lethbridge Canada

Monday– Happy Memorial Day. We have seen everything we are interested in seeing in the  White Sulphur Springs area, so we are just going to hang out today. Last night we had some vicious thunderstorms. The wind was so strong, it took off the drivers side shade. Once the weather calmed down a bit, Bob went out and retrieved it from beside the motor home.

We woke up to spotty sunshine, but black, ugly looking clouds quickly formed and we knew staying inside today was going to be a good idea! The sky became darker and darker, with the  rain coming across the valley. I started laundry and we worked on our plans. Since we have run out of things to do here, we are going to leave on Wednesday. At least that is the plan. We are hoping that Bob’s meds arrive on Tuesday. 

The RV parks in Great Falls, our next stop, are expensive. There are only three of them. The Elks does not allow RV’s, so I looked at the Moose Lodges and they accept RV’s. Bob went on Google Earth and found that the parking lot looks large enough. So we will call later in the day to make sure that we can spend the night, boon-docking. 

From there, we are planning to cross the border into Canada on Thursday. We called Margie and Wayne to let them know our plans and they are going to catch up with us in Lethbridge Alberta, about 120 miles into Canada.

The RV park had cleared out quite a bit, with only about five RV’s still present. At 9:30, the campground owner, Sally, knocked on the door. They have one of the electrical boxes not working, so they were going to have to turn off the electric to the park for the repair. It should be off for an hour. Not a problem for us, as we have the inverter and are able to switch over to batteries.

They worked hard to get the electric fixed and back on, before the rain started. The electric came back on at 10:45 and the rain started at 11. The rain came and went. During one of the down times, Bob put in our new carpet on the steps.DSCN5133

These drop over the steps, are velco’d down and also have screws in them to keep them in place. I had looked for these at Lowes and Home Depot, but friend Susan from the Alfa Roadrunners had told me that she had found hers at Camping World. So we had bought them while in Denver.

We worked a little on our trip, finding where we are going to stay in Lethbridge and looking at Elks and Moose Lodges for boon-docking opportunities through-out Canada and Alaska.

After dinner, we watched Downton Abby. We have gotten hooked on this show! We had purchased, on Amazon View, the first episode of the first season, so that we could check to see if we liked the show. We went back and purchased the rest of the season ($9.99) and finished it off last night. We will purchase the next one tomorrow. At some point we are going to need to put in a wireless TV, as it is not as easy watching TV on the I-pad.

At dusk, the skies cleared and it became nice out, but still cool, with temps in the 40’s to 60’s.

Tuesday- It rained intermittently during the night and we woke to a steady rain. The temp was in the 40’s. We are hoping that the weather clears some when we enter Canada, as the weather forecast for this area is rain the rest of the week.

We spent a quiet day. Bob went to the PO to pick up his meds. We called Verizon to change to a Canada plan, which is turns out they do not have. We would have to change plans and we do not want to do that. so we decided they heck with that. We will just pick up a disposable phone at Walmart in Canada and use that. Will post the number later.

We had discovered that beef is not a problem going into Canada, chicken is! We had cooked chicken, but it needs to be in the original package, so we have been using the two chickens that we cooked, cooking chicken casseroles. Today I made some chicken noodle soup for lunch to use up some more of the chicken. Warm soup was good on a day like today!

Watched more of the Downton Abby.

Wednesday– We drove out of the RV park at 8:45 diving north on Hwy. 89, across the Little Belt mountains, to Great Falls MT, about 97 miles to the north. We crossed over the mountain range in a light rain. There were two road work areas, but no traffic.

Hwy 89 from White Sulphur Springs to Great Falls MT

The drive was beautiful with green trees and awesome scenery! Hwy. 89 is known for being one of the most scenic drives in the US.

Hwy 89 from White Sulphur Springs to Great Falls MT

We reached the Moose Lodge in Great Falls, a little after 11 and set up in one of their four RV sites. We thought we would be boon-docking, but we have 30 amp and there is water, but we did not hook up to the water.

We ate lunch, then went to the Visitor Center. This is Lewis and Clark.

Lewis and Clark statue at Visitor Center Great Falls MT

The nice gal there directed us to downtown. On the way we pulled into a car wash, as the poor CRV was really dirty! Following behind the motor home in the rain is dirty work for the little car!

Downtown, we went to  the historic district, which had some nice little stores. We had a pass from the Visitor Center for free parking at any meter, so we used that. We went to a cute little candy store. They had some nice Black Forest Fudge, so we bought 1/2 lb. There was a tea store next door which was okay, then a little deli.

Downtown Great Falls MT

We went to Walmart from there.  While on the way, I spotted a NAPA store, and we stopped in and bought new windshield wipers. We had really needed them.

When we arrived at the Walmart, we noticed that  the  parking lot was full of RV’s! We think that they are staying there on their way to Alaska and because the RV parks in town are so expensive; they are boon-docking.  We noticed that there was even a relatively new Prevost parked on the side of the lot.

We supplemented our groceries and returned to the motor home. We put the purchases away, and went to Great Falls ( the actually falls, which are out of town). 

The rain had started to become quite heavy. It had stopped when we arrived at the falls, so we walked out, across a bridge, to Ryan Island, where there was a view point. As we approached the top of the view point, it started to rain. I snapped a quick picture, then we ran under the picnic shelter. It poured! When it slowed down, we hiked back across the bridge. The rain seems to be coming and going, but never stopping.

Great Falls MT

We decided to skip the rest of the falls( there are 5), and return to the motor home. During a very short lull in the hard rain, Bob put the new windshield wipers on.

At 5:30 PM, we walked over to the Lodge and gave the bartender a check for a $10 donation to the Lodge for letting us stay in their lot. We  returned to the motor home and Bob took the dogs for a quick walk, then we left for dinner at Mackenzie River Pizza Company. We split the Hot and Spicy Hawaiian. It was very good! Bob also had their summer beer, from the Bozeman Brewery. It was a special, 24 oz for the pint price. We returned to the motor home and had a quiet evening.

Bob with his summer beer at MacKenzie River Pizza

Thursday- We left the Moose Lodge in the rain. We stopped at Walmart on our way out of town because our 12 volt adaptor had died on us and we could not run the GPS and the tire monitor.

We drove north on I-15 to the Canadian border. It took us about 20 minutes at Customs and they sent us on our way! I did not need to leave my 13 bottles of wine back in the storage unit and we did not have to eat all the chicken! Oh well…. and they never asked anything about the dogs.

Entering Alberta

We continued to the South Alberta Visitor Center where we picked up some brochures.

Bob at Alberta Visitor Center

This is Bob either getting eaten by T-Rex or blown away at the Visitor Center. It was still raining and very windy!

We continued north to the city of Lethbridge. We are staying for three nights at Bridgeview RV Park, an RPI park, for $12.85 per night.

We set up in our  50 amp, FHU site and went to Walmart to pick up a Canadian cell phone. In the Walmart in Great Falls, the phone was $9.99. Here it was $58. So we DSCN0316went to a local 7-11( per the suggestion of one of the guys at Walmart) but they only had one phone and no special running. So we returned to the Walmart, but noted one of the phone companies in the parking lot. We were able to purchase the same phone, for $2 more, with 20 minutes of time on it, about all we think we should need! Now we have a Canada phone which we can use each time we enter Canada.

We returned to the park and bought two days of WiFi from them, and settled in for the evening.  Bob attempted to set up the phone, but was unable to do it as they required a Canadian credit card. Also, he was trying to turn off our Direct TV, but could not do that on line.

Friday- We went back to the Telus phone store and the gal put in the address of their corporate headquarters. She was then able to set up the phone. Evidently, when Bob had tried to set up the phone last evening, he had put in our correct address and the computer would not accept it. Now we have phone and text. The number is 403-308-4554. Please don’t call, but you can text.  This is a lot cheaper than using Verizon with the exorbitant roaming charges. 

We went to Walmart, then to a local grocery store, Soba’s. We returned and put the milk into the refrigerator and left to go visit Ft. MacLeod. By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, so we went in search of a restaurant downtown. We did not find any that had anyone eating in them. So we went into the bank to change some dollars for Loonies and Toonies. We asked the gal at the bank and she did not seem impressed with restaurants in town.

DSCN0315

So we went back out of town to the Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is kind of the McDonalds of Canada, except that Canada has Micky D’s also. Tim Hortons does not sell hamburgers. They have Panini’s and other sandwiches. They also sell doughnuts and pastries. It was the only restaurant in town that was busy!

Bob had a ham and cheese Panini and I had the Tuscan Chicken.  Mine was good, but Bob was not impressed with his.

Next, we went to Ft. MacLeod and the Museum of the North-West Mounted Police.

Entrance to Ft. MacLeod, Alberta CA

“The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are one of Canada’s most recognized symbols. The Mounted Police were created in 1873 when Canadian Prime Minister John A MacDonald proposed to the House of Commons that a police force be established to bring order to the Canadian West. His proposal was unanimously accepted and the North-West Mounted Police were formed May 23, 1873. On July 8, 1874, the North-West Mounted Police began their trek west, arriving at fort Whoop-up three months later the MP built their first post on an island on the Old Man River and named it after the man that led them. Colonel James F. Macleod. In 1884 , a new larger post was built west of the original fort to accommodate the growing force ( and because the river kept flooding the fort) and its increased presence in the region. Ft. MacLeod served as the divisional headquarters for the NWMP until the early 1920’s, when headquarters were moved to Lethbridge.”  From their brochure.

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The march to the west was terribly difficult. The men and the horses suffered from starvation and dehydration. They could not find water and ended up drinking from marshes and even mud, resulting in illness. Above you see the info on the march. Severe Gagnon, may possibly be a relative of mine. I have more research to do, but the time frame is correct for him to be someone from my grandmother’s family.

Ft. MacLeod Alberta CA

Ft. MacLeod CA

Chapel in Ft. MacLeod

This is the Chapel.  They also had Indian artifacts.

Real Indian Head dress

Real Muklaks

The original Mukluks.

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We stopped at the Town Hall, as they have a list of everyone buried in the town cemetery.  Severe Gagnon is not listed as being buried in the cemetery, so he might not have made the entire trip.

We returned to the motor home and walked the dogs. I was able to, with messing online at the Direct TV website, to finally have a “chat” icon come up. So we cancelled the Direct TV. I also sent Margie/Wayne and Tom/Marian an email with our new phone number so that we can be in contact with them.

At 5:30 we went over the The Bistro at the park and had a chili dinner for $3.50 each. 

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