Friday, May 30, 2014


Thursday, May 29

We pulled out of the campground in a steady rain and headed for Jasper.  We had originally planned to drive up the Bow Valley Parkway again because the views were terrific and the highway was good enough for our big rigs.  However, because of the rain and clouds, we elected to go on up the Trans-Canada Highway 1.  During the day, the weather came and went--actually, the sun timed its reappearance almost perfectly for the stops we wanted to make as we drove up the Icefields Parkway.  At Bow Pass [elevation 6810], we even caught a few snowflakes!

Canadian Rockies on the way to Jasper

View from Bow Pass on the Icefields Parkway

Break in the weather at Bow Pass
The featured stop was at the Columbia Icefields with a tour up onto the Athabasca Glacier.  We rode a regular bus to a transfer point and climbed aboard a special "bus" to take us up onto the glacier.

Each bus carries a price tag of $1.3 million!!

The wheels are 5.5 feet tall, and the bus features all-wheel drive to manage the route up to the glacier.
At one point, the "road" goes down a 34% grade!  The driver put our chariot in SuperLow to crawl down this steep grade--and had to use it again coming back to the transfer point!!

We had about 10 minutes to wander around on the glacier and take pictures.

Athabasca Glacier

The glacier is receding about 10 meters per year

Jack and Betty in front of Athabasca Glacier

Tam and Ray at Athabasca Glacier

"Bus" returning from the glacier about to climb 34% grade hill up a moraine.

Up close and personal:  the "face" of the Athabasca Glacier

Bundled up against the wind chill at the glacier

The tongue of the Athabasca Glacier
From the mountains just to the north of the glacier, there is a unique feature:  from Dome Mountain, the snow melt drains in three directions--one river flows to the Arctic Ocean, and a second flows all across Canada to the Atlantic (Hudson Bay), while the third flows into the Pacific Ocean.  A very unique triple continental divide!

Updates to Previous Posts

Go back to revisit the last three have been added to all three!

We all hope you are enjoying our blog.  As we drift further north [we are now in Jasper, Alberta, CA] we don't know how much Internet service we will find, but we will try to keep adding new articles and pictures of our travels.  It has been a spectacular trip so far--all of us are "lovin' it"!!!
Rich H.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28

Weather not so great today, but didn't keep this gang from doing things.  Went and walked around the Fairmont Hotel in Banff to see how the 1% live.

Architecturally, the hotel is magnificent.
The Banff Springs Hotel

Built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad

Hotel's main lobby

Notice the stonework and archways

Loved the period light fixtures

We then drove back to town to have lunch at Wild Bill's and go to the Banff museum.
Banff Park Museum

Now we are all using wifi at our favorite spot Rose and Crown bar and grill.  Sure these folks will be glad to see us leave town.

Tomorrow, we head out to the IceFields and Jasper where we will stay for a few more days.  Even with the weather being coolish and mostly cloudy, the mountains are still magnificent.
A rainy start to the day in our Banff campground.

Rain down below but snow falling on the mountain tops!

Getting ready to enter into our next adventure.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wow, how awesome this trip has been so far.  Our move up into the Provincial Park in Banff has been very rewarding.  Yesterday was a tour of downtown Banff, lunch and later a trip back to the restaurant for the use of their wifi.

This morning, we headed out to Lake Louise taking the scenic highway--the Bow Valley Parkway.  A major find along this route - a black wolf ran along side the car.  We then went to the Lake Louise ski area where there was still snow around.
The Lodge at Lake Louise ski area.

The runout on the Lake Louise ski slopes.

The lodge at Lake Louise ski area.

Later a quick visit to Lake Louise village and lunch at the old railroad station.  While there, a park ranger was watching two grizzly bears on the hillside to make sure they didn't come into town.  What a fantastic sighting along with plenty of snow.

24 year old female up on the hillside; her 5 year old suited in the trees.

He makes his move up to her!

"OK, honey, let's do it!"

"NO WAY, you horny goat...I have a headache!"

"Well, shucks, I just nap on this rock waiting her out!"

Then a trip to Lake Louise - how very different to see it still frozen with plenty of snow around.  The lower and upper parking areas were the only ones open.  Missed seeing the beautiful flowers around the hotel, but it was still beautiful.
The North-to-Alaska gang at Lake Louise.

The Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louise

Ice still on most of the lake

The mountains surround 3 sides of Lake Louise

Sure would be a cold swim in this lake!!

We've seen lots of elk around the campground and also a deer.  Wild life sightings are so much fun.  Just get too excited to think about taking pictures.  [But some of our group got some!!]
Well, hello!  Who are you?

Teddy meets his first elk--she isn't too sure of the little fluff ball!

Ever been mooned by 4 elk???

Heading toward Jasper and the IceFields on Thursday.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Corn fields, wheat fields and cattle ranches

Medicine Hat to Calgary

Whew! We have traveled days and many hundreds of miles across prairie lands featuring cornfields, wheat fields and cattle ranches. The scenery changed on Saturday as we neared Calgary, AB. The fields became green and the terrain changed to rolling hills. Calgary is a large city , pop. 1.2 mil and has very high density housing. While on the plains we would see a farm every three to four miles. We are now seeing houses built right next to each other and filling the hill sides.

On Saturday after getting set up in the campground we visited the Olympic Village. Calgary was the site for the 1988 Winter Olympics. There is still some snow on the ski slopes although not enough for skiing. The venue is 26 years old but they are still using it  for winter and summer activities. During the summer they have mountain biking where they haul mountain biles up the ski tows and bikers ride the trails down. They also have a form of luge where again the luge carts are hauled up the ski tows and ridden down a path.
Olympic Park, Calgary, May 24
Note the snow banks on the mogul hills and downhill slopes!

Olympic Park, Calgary, May 24
The tower is the giant ski jump--still some snow piles on the other ski venues

On Sunday we visited the downtown area of Calgary. The city is very modern with high rise apartments and office buildings. The architecture is very modernistic with different colored and surface treatments.
Downtown Calgary, Alberta, CA

Calgary Skyline from Olympic Park

Calgary's "Space Needle"

There is a promenade in the center of town with restaurants and shops.

Stephen Street in downtown Calgary

The guys find some "friends" on Stephen Street, Calgary

The ladies get their chance to pose!

This city is know for the Calgary Stampede that happens every July. We visited the venue for the stampede but were not able to get into any of the buildings.

Mural on one of the Stampede buildings.

Today we are headed North into our first Canadian National Park and continued journey to Alaska.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 25

Wonderful trip from Medicine Hat to Calgary.  Wow, what a huge city Calgary has become since our last visit.  Exciting to see the snow on the mountains and also patches of snow at the Olympic park.  Today we toured downtown Calgary.  Checked out Stephen's Avenue, Olympic Plaza, and the Calgary Stampede park.  Ray and Rich helped Jack do a 'jury rig' on our wipers.  The job was successful and hopefully we won't have to test it too often.  Rumor has it that precipitation tomorrow in the Banff/Lake Louise area maybe something different than what we are used too.  Some of us think a "light dusting" might be fun especially for our traveling companions - Sunny, Teddy and Patti.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Dream is Complete!!


When Rich's kids were youngsters, Rich and Mike and Anne joined a YMCA program called Indian Guides--many of you may have participated in your younger days as well!  Families in our neighborhood all had kids about the same age, so we formed a "tribe" and took Indian names.  Mike's was Otter Tail and Anne's was Flying Squirrel.  Rich decided on Moose Jaw after the town up in Saskatchewan...the kids laughed and said, "Oh right, Dad, you are as big as a moose and you talk a lot!".  I said, "No, there really is a town by that name!".  I got out the atlas and showed them the town just a bit west of Regina.  I looked at the highway coming down to the western North Dakota border, and to my surprise, the federal highway shield on the US side read "52"!!  I thought, "That couldn't be--US 52 goes right through our town (Winston-Salem, NC) and my first McDonald's is smack on US 52 in Mt. Airy!"  So I traced the highway from western North Dakota to Minot to Fargo to Minneapolis to Rochester to Dubuque, Joliet, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Huntington, Winston-Salem, Darlington, and finally Charleston, SC!!  "Wow!", I thought!  "Think of all the different cultures that road passes through and it is a US highway all the way!"  So the thought popped into my head back then, "One day, I will retire and traverse that highway from Charleston to Moose Jaw."
And now, with the exception of a stretch from Rochester, MN, to St. Cloud, MN, I have completed the dream--I made it to Moose Jaw!!  Hoorah!
Rich completes his dream and gets to Moose Jaw!

Don't know his name, but he is a Big One!!

Friday, May 23, 2014


Thursday, May 23

Cued up at the border real problems, just a bit slow!
Today, we finally crossed the border at North Portal, ND into Canada.  Border crossing was without incident.
Crossing into Canada at the border with Saskatchewan

Travel from Minot northward was lovely with ever changing scenery.  From North Portal (at the Canadian/US border) to Moose Jaw (where we are now), it became boring.  Very flat and the normal colors in the fields have not blossomed yet - as previously posted a very late spring.  Tomorrow, we are onto Medicine Hat for the night.  Moose Jaw claims to be where Al Capone had his underground tunnels.  Moose Jaw was also Rich's Indian Guide name back in the days of children's childhood.  Weather has improved dramatically - we are all in shorts.

Friday, May 24

A very interesting drive  to Medicine Hat.  Lots of grain fields, cattle, oil pumps, gypsum being mined and beautiful countryside.  We saw lots of rolling hills and tried straining eyes to see mountains, but still too far away.  For the past 2 nights, we've been able to have Happy Hour outside although the mosquitoes drove us in tonight.  The economy is these towns seem to be doing very well. Lots of new construction and refurbishing of older buildings.   Tomorrow it is onward to Calgary for a few days.