Our first Canada Stop

calgary002calgary003We 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.calgary004

calgary005calgary006calgary007It was a fairly uneventful crossing. The officer asked these 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.calgary001

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.calgary033

calgary008There were not many pullouts, and our windshield became encrusted with bugs fairly quickly, so the photo opportunities dwindled.

calgary021We 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.calgary031

We were intrigued by the museum and decided to make a quick stop there. This museum has over 270 19th and 20th century horse-drawn vehicles, many restored to their original condition.calgary028

calgary016There are interactive galleries that provide information about the carriages, horses, and the culture that existed in that era.calgary025

We learned a lot about the different types of carriages and gained a better understanding of ones we knew. A new vocabulary:  buggy, chariot, wagon, sleigh, hackney, landau, phaeton, surrey, tonga.calgary017

There were carriages for ladies, for the fire department, taxis, schoolbuses, hearses, hotel shuttles, and more.  Some sporty, some stately, some sturdy.  Just like cars and trucks today.calgary032

calgary020The museum has displays depicting big cities, where traffic congestion was common before traffic laws were enacted.

To say nothing of the giant volume of poop generated by all those horses that needed to be swept up or stepped in!


Wells Fargo Yellowstone Touring Carriage.

Wells Fargo Yellowstone National Park Touring Carriage.

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.

calgary041We reached Bow River’s Edge RV Park in Cochran in the late afternoon.

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.

The funniest part is that these two couples met each other in San Diego as well yet they both live in Cochrane and both Trish and Jim own 1990’s classic Camaros. It really is a small world.  calgary042

Jim just had a beautiful epoxy floor installed in his garage beautiful.  Hector was very impressed.

calgary043Another 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.calgary044

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!).calgary047

calgary045On 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.


calgary050We 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.


calgary059calgary066calgary068calgary062calgary067calgary061We had a very nice paddle on the lake, while weather systems circled all around us. We finally decided the storms were closing in and we should get back.calgary064

Our timing was perfect – we got sprinkled on but not really rained on. We packed all our gear and got our kayaks on the cars, drove off, and not five minutes later it started to pour.calgary069calgary065

calgary073After this wonderful day we all had dinner together. A great end to a great day and a great stay in the Calgary area.

~ Brenda




14 thoughts on “Our first Canada Stop

  1. Wish we had more time, so glad you came by! Your trip to the mountains looks awesome and your photos and Blog are so well done! Enjoy Alberta, BC and Alaska! Safe travels friends and we hope to see you again this winter down south!
    Jim & Barb M

    • Wonderful to see you again and thanks again for such a splendid dinner and great conversation. See you down south in the winter we hope!

  2. Glad you had a good time with friends:) The kayak photos are so gorgeous! I really enjoyed the reflection photos with the nose of the kayaks. Isn’t it just so beautiful there! The snow on the mountains make all the difference. That’s why we were so glad we they had that very early snow storm in early Sept. Our views were spectacular the whole trip.

  3. I love, love, love your pictures. We bought an inflatable kayak this spring and can’t wait to take it out on those beautiful lakes. Just reading your blog makes me so excited to get going ourselves. 5 more work days for me!

    • Thank you! 5 more days only – they will go faster than you think. Enjoy kayaking, it is so peaceful and gives you access to many beautiful places.
      Happy Trails!

  4. Wow – great pictures! We will be returning to the US on this route and it is great to get information before we get there. I will be adding Kananaskis Provincial Park to our list of must sees.

  5. So glad you got to visit Jim and Barb in their home. We are planning to see them as well later this fall. Safe travels to the two of you. Looking forward to your Alaska travels.

  6. ¡¡ Qué alegría verles a todos en la foto!!!
    Con un poco de retraso por poner esto, pero quería darles las gracias por haber estado con nuestros hijos Fernando y Diana y nuestra nieta Helena en Calgary.
    Por lo que cuentan ustedes y lo que nos ha dicho Fernando fue un cena de lo más agradable.
    Nosotros estamos actualmente por Pensilvania , después de arrancar desde Miami y subir por la costa disfrutando de playas y tranquilidad.
    Les deseamos la mayor de las suertes y felicidad en el viaje y estancia en Alaska.
    Abrazos para los dos.

    • Hemos estado con cellular e internet muy limitado, por eso no me comunique antes. Disfrutamos muchisimo con Fernando, Diana y Helena. Helena es preciosa. Ahora nos falta conocer a Angeles.
      Que bueno que estan disfrutando las playas, no se si llegan hasta Maine, pero la costa de Maine es espectacular. Que disfruten mucho ustedes tambien.

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