We left Saskatoon on December 11. It was about 34F (1C), but in a couple of hours it had climbed to 43F (6C). The little Chinook was living up to its reputation of being a snow melter! Before we had reached Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, all the snow was gone. The roads were dry the whole way to Lethbridge, AB. Driving this late in the season is a surreal experience. It looked like fall, but the sun was low and glaring. Just past Medicine Hat, we were both blinded by the sun and neither of us saw a big wood pallet on the highway. Eek! We ran over it. What a lot of noise! Paul pulled over when it was safe, but there didn’t appear to be damage. After a few more miles, he pulled over again, just to be sure. We think all is well.
Lethbridge is a gorgeous city with coulees all around. Unfortunately, it is also incredibly windy. It certainly lived up to its reputation again. I barely slept. The wind was so noisy. It sounded like it wanted to break in. We’ve experienced plough winds before when camping, so I am cautious. Lots of small branches came down, but nothing major. Phew.
The sunrise was spectacular. La vie en rose?
What a lovely pink morning! It was already 45F (7C) by the time we left. It must have been the Chinook.
We crossed into the US at Coutts AB – Sweetgrass MT. I had special International Health Certificates for the girls, but the guard did not ask for them. He also didn’t ask to see their food. It was a pleasant crossing, and the Duty Free shop had excellent prices, so we stocked the liquor cabinet (basically, it’s crammed where it fits — space is at a premium). 4L for $49.
The wind stayed with us all day. Paul was exhausted keeping the Chinook going straight. We pulled into the rest stop past Shelby MT. What a treat that was! It was a new facility. Outside, there was a street sweeper cleaning the parking lot. Inside, there was a wall of doors — each one leading to a private WC, complete with toilet, sink, and a little strap-in chair to hold small children while mom took care of business. However, upon our arrival, the air conditioner shroud blew off! We had just got out of the vehicle when the wind took it sailing! Thank goodness we weren’t on the highway. Fortunately, I had seen an RV dealer right where we pulled off, so $200 US later, we have a new shroud.
Poppy wore her Thunder Shirt most of the way. I think she had a breakthrough this time. She was still so nervous, but she left us for a while and climbed up on our backpacks and pillows and hunkered down for a few hours.
Too bad the last picture is blurry, but she almost looks happy up on the back of the sofa, wedged between the Thermarest mattress, pillow, and sheepskin. Maybe she’ll almost start enjoying the ride. We can hope.
We are staying the night in Helena MT. It’s surprising how many campgrounds stay open year round. We have hot showers and electricity. Life is good.