Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

We had a good night at the rest area--very restful.  There was one tractor trailer rig who kept us company.  One other rig came in during the wee hours.

The border crossing went smoothly.  There was a very long line of semis, but only a few in the other lane.  We waited maybe 10 minutes and then had our three minutes with the border agent.  She asked a few questions, most of which we anticipated--where are you from, where are you going, how long are you staying, what’s your purpose for being in Canada.  They always ask about tobacco, alcohol, and firearms.  Crossing into Canada they also always ask about pepper spray and mace.  It’s fine to bring in something like bear spray, but not a product designed for use on humans.  We expected them to ask about fresh produce, dairy products, and meat, but thy didn’t.  Instead they surprised us by asking if we had any firewood.

At the end of questioning we were allowed to continue on our way. We were lucky, I guess, because while we were sitting there for that relatively short time, they pulled three RVs over for inspection.

After the border crossing, our first stop was at the Milk River Travel Information Center.  They were still closed for the season, but their large, empty parking lot offered a great place for a short break.  Besides, they had this cool dinosaur in front of the building.  Why a dinosaur?  Apparently, dinosaur eggs and fossilized fish and reptiles were discovered near this location in 1987.

Our first stop in Lethbridge was the Travel Information Center where we picked up several brochures about attractions which are on our “see” list.  The attendant also pointed us in the direction of the casino--our home for tonight.  The Information Center parking lot served as our lunch spot.  We ate inside our motor home, but there were picnic tables available.  There was also a dump station and fresh water.

We got over to the casino and were surprised to find the parking lot full of cars.  It seems a local business is having some construction done and the employees are parking at the casino.  We managed to find a spot large enough to park along the curb.  I’m happy.  I can put our the bedroom slide.

We learned all this information from a gentleman we saw standing near a 5th wheel.  He told us where we could park and that we could stay as long as we wanted to.  It seems he came here, ask the management if he could park over night, they told him to stay as long as he wanted to.  This is his second summer here.

After we got parked and unhitched the car, we drove over to view the High Level Bridge.  This is a railroad bridge--the highest and longest trussel bridge in the world--a mile long and 307 feet high.

We continued on down the hill below the bridge to take a look at Oldman River.  Oldman River, gathering water from the streams and creeks of the eastern Rockies, feeds the Saskatchewan River which eventually empties into the Hudson Bay.  There is a very nice park at the edge of the river with picnic tables and several miles of walking trail.  It is also the site of the reconstructed Fort Whoop-Up, a trading post during the late 1800s.  It’s primary trade good was whiskey and it soon developed a reputation for being the most notorious of all the trading posts in southern Alberta.  Whoop-Up is actually a nickname.  The official name is Fort Hamilton.

Oldman River

This drive around gave us a pretty good view of the city.  Lethbridge has a population of about 80,000 making it the fourth largest city in Alberta.

GAS REPORT:  We stopped in Shelby, Montana to get gas figuring it would be cheaper than in Canada.  It was by over a dollar/gallon.  We paid 3.86 for mid grade.  Diesel was 4.16.

CRITTER COUNT:  We didn’t see many critters today--about a dozen pronghorn and a few prairie dogs.

That’s plenty for today.  Thanks for tagging along.

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