We crossed the border into Canada at Piegan / Cardston, having driven from Glacier National Park in Montana (Piegan is on the Montana side in the Blackfoot Nation, Cardston is on the Alberta side). Our first Canada stop was Cochrane, located on the Northwest of Calgary, where we were planning to meet friends.
In preparation, we ate all of our produce, made sure dog food was in original bags, got our Canadian insurance cards (our regular insurance covers Canada but they provide special cards), got our passports and Angel’s rabies certificate out and took inventory of food and liquor in case of questions.
Was there anything we had with us that we intended to leave in Canada?
Where were we going?
How long did we plan to stay?
Did we have guns, or defensive weapons such as mace or pepper spray?
Did we have liquor on board – how much?
Had we been to Canada before?
We explained that we live in the motorhome and told him we had one and a half cases of wine plus open liquor bottles but were not charged duties. This is the third year we cross the border with liquor – the first we were charged duties – but even paying duties was cheaper than buying liquor in Canada. The other years we were not charged any duties on our liquor although we were well over the small allowance.
I am going to include a few statistics on each post during our journey to Alaska, if there are any other ideas or items of particular interest, let us know.
Road Name: Highway 2 and secondary roads for our last thirty miles across Calgary
Road Type: Smooth two-lane for the first 50 miles (border to Fort McLeod), changing to four-lane divided highway all the way to Calgary.
Total Miles travelled today: 183 from Canadian border: 183
Driving Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
As we drove on, the scenery began with green grasslands and lots of rolling hills and changed to pretty flat county – this is the Western end of the great plains. There is lots of agriculture, cattle, sheep, and horses. We did not see any wildlife on this route.
We stopped at the Visitor Center in Cardston, a very nice facility and a good place to walk Angel. There was a very helpful fellow there who informed us about a discount at the Remington Carriage Museum, located just behind the Visitor Center. Instead of paying $11 per adult, you can buy a map for $2 and get two for one – $13 instead of $22 for two people.
To say nothing of the giant volume of poop generated by all those horses that needed to be swept up or stepped in!
The carriage museum really conveys life in that era as it related to carriages, when your class determined what type of carriage you had and even how you handled the horses.
And there are some beautiful carriages. One of our favorites was the Wells Fargo and Company Yellowstone Wagon. And Hector and I especially love the sleighs.
There is also a working stable on the property, and the museum offers rides on some of the carriages in the summer. A worthwhile stop.
A stop we were sorry we did not make was the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump – an area where Native Americans hunted and killed bison. It required a detour and we were running a bit late.
Our four nights in Cochrane went very quickly. We had a lovely dinner at friends Jim and Barb’s house with friends Doug and Trish. We met both of these couples on two different years in San Diego.
Jim just had a beautiful epoxy floor installed in his garage beautiful. Hector was very impressed.
Another night we met one of our blog readers, Fernando, whose father, Enrique and mother, Angeles, from Spain fly to the U.S. and spend months at a time driving around the country in a motor home they keep here. Hector and I met Enrique and his sisters in San Diego. So it was time to meet Fernando the son.
He, his wife, Diana and daughter Helena met us at an authentic Spanish restaurant in town, Las Canarias. I don’t normally write about restaurants, but this restaurant was so unique and lovely. It is owned by a gentleman from the Canary Islands who has decorated it beautifully and serves wonderful food.
We had a great time with Fernando and his family. Their daughter, Helena, is precocious and adorable. Being from the temperate Canary Islands, they told us funny stories about how fierce the winters are here and their adjustment (not!).
On our last day, we went kayaking at Upper Lake in the Kananaskis Provincial Park. It is a reservoir surrounded by stunning mountain peaks. Although the weather was threatening, it was very still so we decided to proceed.
We had a wonderful surprise when we put in. A fisherman standing by the ramp spotted a moose walking on the opposite shore. Then, right as we saw the moose, he walked into the water and swam a long way to the other side of the lake. He was very fast and graceful in the water. It was quite a beautiful sight.