Friday, September 16, 2011

Days 31-32: Calgary, Alberta to Great Falls, Montana, then to Gardiner, Montana

We left the Calgary West Campground about 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 7, 2007, which was Day 31 of our Alaska Trip, and headed on into Calgary on our way south. Calgary is a city with a population in excess of one million, and Friday morning traffic was terrific; but we made it through to Fort McCleod, then to Lethbridge, where we stopped at the visitor center to be sure we were on the right road and to take some pictures of the High Level Bridge.

100_0776-High Level Bridge at Lethbridge, AB
High Level Bridge at Lethbridge, Alberta

The High Level Bridge was built between 1907 and 1909, to carry trains over the Oldman River. It is over a mile long and 314 feet above the riverbed.

HPIM1893-Storm Along Canada Hwy 4 Between Lethbridge and US Border
Storm Along Canada Highway 4, Between Lethbridge and the U. S. Border

From there we headed on down to the U. S. border at Coutts, Alberta. We arrived there a little after 2:00 p.m. and found ourselves in a long line of cars and trucks, waiting to be checked through Customs. It took about 45 minutes to get through.

Then we were on our way to Great Falls, Montana. We had considered pushing on a little further; but we encountered some incredibly strong winds just outside of Great Falls. Plus, it had been raining during the last hour of the drive. So we decided to treat ourselves to a night in a motel. This was only the second night in a motel during these 31 days of travel, and Doug deserved not to have to hook up in the wind and rain.

We checked into the Hampton Inn, then went across the street to a Golden Corral for supper. Back in our room, taking advantage of having cell phone service, which had not been available in Canada, I made a few telephone calls to friends and family.

We slept well at the Hampton Inn. It was very clean and nice. The next morning, September 8, Day 32, we left Great Falls and drove to Helena, where we did some shopping at a Walmart Supercenter. From there, we went on to Bozeman, Livingston, and then to Gardiner, Montana, which is at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

100_0780-South of Great Falls, MT on Hwy 15
South of Great Falls, Montana, on Highway 15

100_0782-South of Great Falls, MT on Hwy 15
In the previous picture you can barely see this bridge. 
This shot was taken from the same place but with a higher zoom.

100_0783-Butte, MT
Butte, Montana

100_0790-Devils Slide near Gardiner, MT
The "Devil's Slide," near Gardiner, Montana

When I talked to our friend, Pat, the previous night, and told her that we were planning to visit Yellowstone National Park, she said that Larry and Jeannette, mutual friends, were in Cody and planned to go into Yellowstone on the 8th. Well, she must have then talked to Larry and Jeannette about our plans to visit Yellowstone, because Jeannette left two messages on our phone. They were staying at Fishing Bridge RV Park, inside Yellowstone National Park, with full hookups. So we called and got ourselves a reservation there for the next three days.

We stayed that night at Yellowstone RV Park, a very nice campground in Gardiner. The campsite was so level that Doug didn't even have to put leveling blocks under Harvey. It had been a long time since we'd done laundry, so we took care of that chore at the campground laundromat.


  1. Oh, isn't that a great part of the world?!


  2. I love this area. One of my favorite books is "Big Sky", a tale of traders working in this area.It was made into a movie starring Kirk Douglas.

  3. It really is, Pearl. Thanks for visiting.

    Steve - You mentioned "Big Sky" in another comment awhile back, so I bought the book and read it. It was interesting, but I'm a bigger fan of Louis L'Amour's books. Now, though, I'm going to have to get a copy of that Kirk Douglas movie. :)

  4. Well finally I have caught up on all of your Alaskan adventures and now the trip toward home again. You sure have seen so many beautiful sights and critters. And I love seeing everything through your camera lens. Now, hopefully I can stay caught up. Thanks for your steady visits to my blog while I was away, my friend. :)

  5. Hilary - Welcome back! I've missed you. And I'm very impressed that you took the time to read all my back posts. I'm wrapping up the Alaska travelogue and will probably be back to my normal erratic posting once again. :)

  6. Such a beautiful place! I have never traveled for so many days, and can't imagine how grand it must be to just be able to "hit the road and go" at your own pace. Someday that is just what we'd like to do! I get a tad homesick for the familiar and "my own stuff" but I'm hoping an RV will fill that need for me. After all, it will be "my own stuff." LT tells me that the worst that could happen is that we turn around and head for home after a couple of harm no foul! Did you have any of the "I want to go home to my own house" while you were gone?

  7. Deb - I really didn't get homesick for my "stuff." Doug, however, really didn't enjoy the trip much. He was "in the hunt." He just wanted to get to Alaska and back before the lateness of the season shut down the necessary services on the Alaska Highway. As a result, he was driving almost every day. That got pretty old for him. The highlights of the trip for him were the glacier cruise, the jetboat ride, and the flightseeing trip to Denali National Park...all things that didn't involve his driving. If you and LT can plan a trip that allows stopovers for sightseeing or resting, I'm sure you would enjoy hitting the road in an RV.


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