April 23 – Sunrise 6:15; Sunset 9:39 p.m.
Last year we entered Canada through British Columbia; this year Alberta through Sweetgrass and Coutts. Unlike last year when we were the only ones at the crossing, we had a waiting line of about 30 minutes (not too bad). The huge RV in front of us was pulled to the side for a more in-depth inspection – probably because he had firearms. This was one of the reasons we decided to ship ours north. We didn’t want to give the border patrol any reason to have to inspect (tear apart) the inside of our ‘home.’ The young woman who took our passports asked my husband where we were heading and he responded, “We’re going to Canada.” She said, “Well, you made it, you’re here!” He laughed and corrected himself, “We’re going to Alaska.”
From the border we headed north to Calgary with a short stop in Lethbridge at an EVFree church parking lot for lunch. We also stopped at a Walmart (our favorite place, not) for some DEF for our truck. For those who have no clue (and I’m learning), diesel trucks need DEF in their engine or something in order to meet certain codes for diesel engines. Yeah, I’m very knowledgeable in this area as you can tell. When DEF gets low, even too low, the engine or transmission will shut down so that eventually, the truck only idles. Our DEF said it was getting low and as always, my husband put in a 2 ½ gallon container. The DEF reading continued to say it was LOW and we became concerned – not so low that it would stop the truck, but wondering what was ‘wrong.’ A little search on the internet (cell phones ARE important) said the DEF tank must be full to reset itself though some comments said the reading is sometimes arbitrary to the mood of the truck. We stopped and put in a second DEF and the reading said FULL. Yay! But, we don’t like to travel without DEF so the needed stop at Walmart in Lethbridge only to pay twice the price for DEF as in the states!
From there we took a route around the south and west of Calgary. For a Sunday, the traffic was crazy and it was nice to get outside of that city and back on smaller roads with less traffic. We stopped for the night at Bow RiversEdge Campground in Cochran. It was a sweet little campground and we found a pull-thru and set up for the night. After a curried chicken dinner, we decided to put on warm clothes and walk the path by Bow River.
After hours and hours of sitting, the walk in the clear frigid air refreshed our bodies and souls. There was still ice clinging to the sides of the river and someone camping near us said it was the first day above freezing since winter began. Until last week, the playground in the campground was covered in feet of snow. We had been noticing more and more snow along the roads the further north we traveled. Along with more snow, the day lasts longer. Sunrise this morning was at 6:15 a.m. and sunset last night was 9:15 p.m. Yes, it messes with your mind because the sun sets so slowly it seems like it’s 7:30 p.m. forever.
On the road again heading toward Grand Prairie, Alberta or thereabouts depending on time, distance, moods, and open camping areas. Because spring is arriving later than usual, RV parks aren’t open and if they are, they have no water. So, we’re now hauling water which adds weight to the rig. For those who really want to know, when we traveled from our house in Nebraska to Cheyenne, Wyoming, we had a head wind and got 6 mpg. Our daily average is 10 mpg. We weighed the rig and it’s about 13,200 pounds without water.
We are traveling on a smaller road with non-stop logging rigs that are heading south to Cochran as that is where the saw mill is located. To the west are the Canadian Rockies topped with marshmallow snow and Jasper National Park. To the east, the sun beats through the window making me really hot in this shotgun seat! Snow is melting leaving huge lakes in fields while some smaller ponds of melted snow are still frozen.
New word for the day: meadery – winery that produces wine with honey.
Today was a very long day for driving. The roads in Alberta were bumpier than the frost heaves and our trailer took a beating. Our bike rack is bending out ready to break, the curtain came loose again in the back where the rear cabinets hang (not a good sign for the cabinet) and for the first time, we have a ding in the flooring that will take time to work its way out. Because winter has lasted a long time, most campgrounds aren’t even open as they were last year and we’re not willing to stay in Walmart parking lots. We finally found an open ‘home’ in Grand Prairie at Country Roads RV Park. To date, this is the most expensive place we have stayed and it’s obvious they had four feet of snow only a few days ago.
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