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Canadian Border Crossing with an RV

We arrived in Plentywood, Montana on Sunday at our overnight location at the Bolster Dam Campground. Both couples needed to get laundry done, so we took some time in town to get that completed. And fortunately there was a Dairy Queen across the street : ) Later, when we got back to the campsites, Sean presented me with a wood carving he had been working on for a couple of months. He told me that as he was working on it, over time, he came to the realization it was starting to look a lot like "yours truly". It wasn't planned that way, he said it just happened to come out of the wood and he wanted me to have it. What a cool and wonderful gift! What do you think?

At 9 AM in the morning on Monday, June 10, 2024, it was raining heavily as we prepared to leave for Canada. We're prepared for the crossing and hoping we've got all our "ducks in a row" regarding what we can and cannot bring over the border, (Aa). No firearms, no mace or pepper spray, no marijuana (yeah, right), and no root vegetables (potatoes, onions, etc). All the food in the refrigerator is grocery store purchased and original wrapping, no more than 2 bottles of wine, 2 bottle of hard liquor and no more than $10,000 in cash.

The night before we found out that there might be a snag in the plan. Canadian border agents were in contract negotiations and according to press reports, they might slow down the entrance process at the border if they didn't get a new agreement by Wednesday, June 12. So the plan was to not to wait any longer and make the attempt to get over that Monday the rain.

On our way out of town I missed the turn onto Highway 16 towards Canada. It was only 15 miles to the border, but the road we were on, Montana Highway 5, was a good two-lane road with almost no traffic further west into Montana so we continued until we reached Montana Highway 13 to turn north. This indeed worked out great because we showed up at 10AM at this rather remote border crossing station with no traffic and a very friendly Canadian border agent. The fit into the border station for the truck and RV was narrow and tight but we got in without any issues. He asked his questions, I answered his questions and in five minutes we pulled through the facility back into the rain. Sean and Kathy were right behind us and made it through with flying colors.

This was expected to be a longer driving day, about three and a half hours to Notukeu Regional Park in Ponteix, Saskatchewan. When we arrived in Ponteix we decided to stop to get some Canadian currency and check-in with the Town Hall on Main Street. This sleepy little town and its camping facilities were suspect, so I thought we should check out the camping venue before making any commitment. It turned out the sites were on a large grassy field and the rain had made it dicey terrain to park our RV. Not to mention the park was right next to the railroad tracks; oh my! So we wisely opted to pass and continue driving. We tanked up with more diesel and DEF before getting back to the road. Our next campground on the scheduled route was two and a half hours farther to the west and we pressed on.

It was after 4 PM when we finally arrived at the Eagle Valley Campground near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan off the Trans-Canadian Highway 1. This was a long, long travel day, over six plus hours of driving (not a do over). We unhooked, made camp and drove into Maple Creek to eat dinner. This would be a two night stop over to make up for the extended time to travel. We planned to rest up and recharge our minds and bodies before continuing.

It was a good reminder for me to factor in that long day in the saddle. This journey is meant to be leisurely and we still need to find the right sweet spot traveling to Alaska with another couple and their rig in a convoy. Sean and I think two & a half to three & a half hours driving is ideal. Arriving at two in the afternoon is best, so that's the goal for now. We still have four hours to Calgary, Alberta. To give you some perspective, Calgary, Alberta to Fairbanks, Alaska is still over 2000 miles away! We're hoping to make Fairbanks by the fourth of July, so we're looking at 24 days to travel that distance. About 84 miles per day at 50 MPH average speed means about one and three-quarters of an hour driving time daily. This is a very doable schedule that even allows us periodic two day stays along the route.

Tuesday, June 11 we took a quick trip to Cypress Hills Provincial Park to play disc golf. This was Karen and my first attempt at disc golf. Sean plays often, Kathy plays occasionally so we had an instructor, a cheerleader and a variety of different disc options. We played 18 holes in a forest of Lodge Pole Pines under a zip-line in the trees. We all played the short and challenging course together and had fun. We celebrated completing our first disc golf event with soft serve ice cream before returning to Maple Creek.

Tomorrow we have a short two hour plus drive to Tillebrook Provincial Park just east of Brooks, Alberta. The plan is to stay two days and visit the Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated a two hour drive east of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; or 48 kilometers (30 mi), about a half-hour drive northeast of Brooks.

The Dinosaur Park is situated in the Red Deer River valley, which is noted for its striking badland topography, and abundance of dinosaur fossils. The park is well known for being one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world. Fifty-eight dinosaur species have been discovered at the park and more than 500 specimens have been removed and exhibited in museums around the globe. The renowned fossil assemblage of nearly 500 species of life, from microscopic fern spores to large carnivorous dinosaurs, justified its becoming a World Heritage Site in 1979.


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1 Comment

Jun 14

Sounds like a good time to share this trip with friends. Tally-ho

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