Day 6 – Calgary, AB

No travel today!

Started the day by sleeping in (kinda).  I’m a sun-up/sun-down type person and, well, the sun rises around 5:30am and sets around 10:00pm.  As for the weather, its a little warm for this time of year, but, that means lows around 50 and highs in the high 70’s/low 80’s.  There’s a cool down expected this weekend but I should be in Alaska by then.

Anyway, started the day at the local Cabela’s.  Stores are more like what used to be Gander Mountain but with Cabela’s gear.  The really cool thing is that the prices are about the same but with the exchange rate I basically got a 30% discount.  They are just transitioning to their “summer” gear so they had there spring gear on sale.  Needless to say, “spring” is more like our winter, so, I got a couple of nice “winter” shirts.  I still can’t get over the friendliness of the people here.  One of the staff asked me if I needed help and we ended up talking for an hour about differences between Cabela’s (US) and Cabela’s (Canada) and a lot of other stuff.  I also stopped by the gun library and was amazed at the amount of information and helpfulness the lady was able to provide.  A totally different experience than you would have in Buda.

I then drove south to Fort Calgary and spent some time in the museum and walking on the trail along the Bow and Elbow Rivers (the fort is built on the confluence).  Overall, I am really impressed by the city and its people.  So much different than at home.

Here is the confluence of the Bow (muddy water) and the Elbow (blue
water) rivers.

Here is a picture of downtown Calgary 

Here is a picture of General McCleod (basically the person who founded Calgary) and a chipmunk outside the museum.

Tomorrow, on to Grande Prairie, AB, Canada.

Day 5 – Great Falls, MT to Calgary, AB (Canada)

Miles today – 325

Total Miles – 2021 (approx)

Started the day in Great Falls, MT and made the last 118 miles in the continental US to the border crossing at Sweet Grass, MT/Coutts, AB (Alberta, Canada).  The picture below doesn’t do a lot of justice to the area, but basically its all wheat fields as far as you can see.

Next was the border crossing.  Not sure if I was supposed to take a picture, but here it is.  After a 20 minute wait (the yellow car in front of me didn’t have a license plate and only temporary tags), the border guard asked a few simple questions, reviewed all my documents, handed them back, wished me a good trip, and, off I went.

Next was the province of Alberta, Canada and my first practical exposure to the metric system.  Luckily, math is my friend and I know enough to do some simple conversions from metric to US imperial.  Speed limits are 110kmh (about 66mph) on the open roads but all of the distances are in kilometers.  Fortunately, my GPS stays in miles.

Here are a couple of pictures along the road from the border to Lethbridge,  AB – The first major town on the way to Calgary.

Someone had a little fun with the barn windows!

Arrived Calgary without too much trouble and will be here two nights.  I was able to find a Toyota dealer with an express lube service and had my truck serviced.  Hard to believe that I’ve travelled a little over 2,000 miles and I’m not even halfway there!

Day 4 – Sheridan (WY) to Great Falls (MT)

Miles today – 440

Total Miles – 1754

This is a picture from the hotel in Sheridan, Wyoming.  Pretty little town at the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains.

Didn’t get a picture of the Montana border sign.  I was on I-25/90 and didn’t see the exit.

There is so much history along the interstate and one day I’ll come back to see stuff like Custer’s Battleground and Memorial; the Crow Nation Museum; and some other things I can’t remember right now.  Stopped for gas in Hardin, MT and ran into a guy from San Antonio headed to Kalispell, MT for the summer.  He even knew the general area when I told him where I was from!

In Billings, I decided to leave the interstate and follow US87 north.  Again, some great, great scenery and a reminder how much open country exists in the wester U.S.A.  Drove through the Bull Mountains and Roundup, MT which, at around 2,000 people, is a pretty big town.  Turned west at Grass Range, MT (about 100 people from what I could see) and followed the Lewis & Clark trail through Lewistown, MT and on into Great Falls, MT.

Great Falls is on the Missouri River and is running full due to the snow melt.  In fact, I had 92F on the thermometer in my truck and just missed a large, severe thunderstorm that passed just to the east of Great Falls.

Tomorrow – on to Calgary.

 

Day 3 – Fort Lupton (CO) to Sheridan (WY)

Miles Today – Roughly 400

Total Miles – Roughly 1300

Today I saw some new parts of the country.  Instead of traveling I-25 the entire way, I took US-287 from Dacono (just west of Fort Lupton) to Laramie, Wyoming and then continued from Laramie on US-287 to Medicine Bow, Wyoming.  In Medicine Bow, I turned onto Wyoming State Highway 487 for approximately 80 miles until it
deadends into Wyoming State Highway 220.  WSH220 brought me to Casper.

 

If your interested in big country,
this is a trip for you.  US287 from Fort Collins, CO to Laramie, WY hits the “Flat Irons” part of Colorado and, not the Rockies, but to me, just as scenic.  The trip to Casper from Laramie traverses very wide open spaces and I was amazed at the grass and the semi-mountainous terrain. 
Lots of cattle and very few people, but, every once in a while, you could see a ranch
bunkhouse or central house in the distance.  The problem is that, “in the distance” is often 5 to 10 miles away!

 

Casper is about halfway and where I had no choice but to take I-25 north.  Surprisingly, there was VERY little traffic until I got to Buffalo, WY and I-90/25.  40 more miles and I was in Sheridan.

Sheridan is at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains and I managed to find a road that dead-ended into a atv/bike trail.  Turned around and then drove through the little town of Big Horn.  Had a great meal at the Wyoming Rib & Chop House in downtown and then avoided all the folks in town for the annual horse sale.

Day 2 – Dumas (TX) to Denver (CO)

Miles today – 400

Total Miles – 975

Driving into Oklahoma.

Shorter drive today and nothing all that exciting.  About the most exciting thing today was trying to find dry ice.  Tried three place in Dumas and finally found some in Lamar, CO.  All the meat was still frozen solid when I arrived.

Driving into Colorado.

The prairie grasslands in southeastern Colorado were in full wildflower bloom but the two large trucks swapping places in front of me made taking a picture not all that important.

Slight change in plans as I am now going to drive to Sheridan, Wyoming tomorrow to make Sunday and Monday easier drives.

Day 1 – Fedor (TX) to Dumas (TX)

Miles today – 575

Total miles – 575

About 9 hours today from Fedor, TX to Dumas, TX.  I tried to take some video/pictures, but, apparently I should have read the instructions.  That, and I’ve done the drive enough times that nothing really stands out anymore.

For those wanting a kinda neat day-trip, TX Highway 36 is a nice drive.  I found out there is a Leon River west of Temple (and intersects Hwy 36 numerous times) that forms Lake Belton.  Like all limestone bottomed, hill country lakes, its really pretty from the road.

Off to Denver tomorrow for a couple of nights and a rest day.

 

First things first…

Alright, if your viewing this you likely are here to see where I’m at or what I’ve done on my trip to Alaska in 2017.  Well…I haven’t left yet!

Planning to leave on June 1 and return no later than July 4, I will do my best to update at least every couple of days, but I can’t make any promises.  If you know me, I’m not the best at detailing what I’m doing while I’m doing it, so be patient.

I will do my best to post messages, pictures, and short videos (if I can figure out how), but again, no promises.

Philip

Starting out…

So, here I am, traveling to Alaska by way of Canada and back home.

Because many of you wanted to follow my journey, I will use this as a way to capture some of the day-to-day events and sights along the way.  I will also, if I can figure it out, post short videos of some of the more scenic portions or neat stuff along the road.

No plans, except fishing in Homer (Alaska) and maybe a trip to Deadhorse (look it up).  As someone put it, kind of a “walk about” trip.