Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Holy Hoodoos!

Crossing the border into Canada or the U.S. always brings with it a certain amount of anxiety. Not because you are afraid of them finding something you are hiding or trying to smuggle across, but because you are not in control of the situation. Most of us like to be in control of our own destiny and not rely on the opinion or actions of others. 

We were about 10 or 12 back in line before they opened up another lane and we moved over. It seemed like every 2nd or 3rd vehicle was being pulled over for a detailed search. 

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have a routine that I go through every time we cross the border; pull up, roll down both drivers side windows, remove my hat, sunglasses and turn off the truck and hand them our passports. We never offer any dog paperwork unless they as for it.

Then the questions begin. Usually with "What brings you to Canada?" He asked the usual questions, tobacco, alcohol, do we have over $10,000 CAD, when are we returning. The last few times however, they got in depth regarding my use and ownership of firearms. "What kind of firearms do you own?" I wanted to tell him it would be easier to list the firearms I did not own but doubted he would appreciate my attempt to expediate the situation. He went on to ask what I used them for, do I ever carry them with me.... all of which he seemed to accept my answers. Then he asked one that I was not expecting; "Why did you drive and not fly?" What kind of question is that? The obvious answer is "We like to camp" but I did not think of that one immediately. "The dogs" I said. There were more questions; where are you staying in Alaska, how long will you be in Alberta, do you know anyone in Alaska, do you know anyone in Alberta, are you leaving anything in Canada. There were more but I forget them. 

In the end, he handed us our passports and told us to have a nice day. With that, we were on our way to our first stop in Alberta, just a few miles kilometers down the road; Writing on Stone Provincial Park. What a cool and interesting place!

Talk about Hoodoo city! We set up, took the girls for a walk around a couple of loops, put them away and Barb and I headed out to walk the hoodoos. The cool thing about this park is that you could walk anywhere you wanted in the main hoodoo section. Nothing was off limits. 

There were trails between, around, on top of all the hoodoos. The park is also right along the Milk River which made for even a more picturesque backdrop. 

Sorry for the picture overload, but it was so cool I could not decide which pictures to include and which ones to leave out. The next day we headed north towards Calgary. We stopped in Lethbridge at Pavin Park where we had lunch and walked the dogs for a couple of hours. It was right along the Oldman River and a great place to take a break on our journey. 
I have no idea what the bird on the left is, the one on the right is of course, a killdeer. 
Oh, I did not include this picture below because it is a spectacular picture of the swallow, I included it because the camera captured all the bugs as well. They were not biting, but they certainly were annoying!
We carried on and drove a couple more hours north to our Harvest Host destination for the night High River Brewery in .....High River, just a bit south of Calgary. If you are ever in High River, keep on driving and don't bother stopping. I doubt this poorly run brewery will be in business much longer. The beers, service and atmosphere were mediocre at best. 
The next day however was a hit! Ever since Barb had planned on our trip going through Calgary, she wanted to visit the zoo. And so did I until I discovered it was $100 for us to visit! But, as my Canadian friends would say, that is $100 CAD so in U.S. money, that is practically free. Hey, that is their words not mine!

So, in we went. We spent 6 hours walking the grounds visiting each and every one of the exhibits. Besides the diversity of animals, the diversity of people was equally incredible. I do not know how many different languages we heard, but it had to be over a half a dozen. Here are some of the highlights..... in no particular order....

I included these for Debbie in N.J. Do you know how hard it is to take pictures of flying butterflies?!?! There were more varieties, but they just did not cooperate. 

Have you ever seen a deer with fangs or canines? Well, now you have!

Did I mention the kids? Bus loads and bus loads of kids everywhere. Not to mention the countless parents with kids in strollers, wagons, harnesses, backpacks, frontpacks, you name it. There were kids everywhere! This short video of the polar bears (which were quite entertaining) will give you an idea of the kid factor. 
I wish Barb would have let me take pictures of some of the people there. That was as, or even more entertaining as the animals. We definitely got our $100 worth!

Our last stop of this post was in Drumheller, located within the Red Deer Valley, also known as Dinosaur Valley due to the number of dinosaur bones found in the area. While we did not find any dinosaur bones, we did find some very cool formations at Horseshoe Canyon, similar to our Badlands in South Dakota.
The girls stayed in the camper while Barb and I walked along the top ridge and down into the bottom. They say these formations were exposed 10,000-15,000 years ago when the glaciers melted in the area.
They have a very nice, graveled walking path down on the bottoms or you can take one of the many less traveled trails through the different cutouts.  We did both. 
Once we got to the end of the trail we were on, I pointed straight up and said, "I am going that way". "Have fun" was her response and we went in our separate directions. I am the white dot in the picture below, headed up. There was a trail, but it was a deer trail, not a human trail. 

From there we carried on into the actual town of Drumheller to a suspension bridge on the far side of town. Our first thought after stepping onto the bridge was that there was no way our B.C. friend Dianne would ever do this. It was pretty swayey (that right there is a new word!)
There were some hoodoos in the area as well, but after our last hoodoo adventure this one just did not measure up. 
There were a couple of free spots listed on We opted for Freson Brothers grocery store that came with its own T-Rex coming out of the building!
In the last post, Nancy had asked for pictures of our camper with the slide out so here you go. One from each angle. 
That is pretty much it. That is where we will be spending the next three months. How many of you think you could spend 90 days in a 100 square foot area with your spouse without killing them? Dakota spends most of her time under the table but does come up and lay on the bed occasionally. Nancy, if you look very carefully you can see the bottom edge of a familiar quilt in the left picture. The right picture is Barb making one of her "one pot" dishes. This one was called Italian Sausage Pasta cooked in the parking lot of the brewery in High River. 

We took a little unconventional way out of Drumheller when we took the Bleriot Ferry across the river a ways north of town. This cable ferry was free of charge. We were skeptical of whether or not it would take a truck our size, but we need not have worried, the ferry was plenty big!

It was a cool end to our time in the Drumheller. Oh, if you are looking for a dump station and water in the area, the Co-op on the east side of town has both.

We are now just south of Edmonton in LeDuc. The real reason we came this way. We are going to spend the next few days with our friends Dave and Leslie. I am guessing, this too will prove to be quite entertaining!