Week 4 ~ Sunday, June 21 to Saturday, June 27

Day 19 ~ Sunday, June 21 - The weather did not look good first thing in the morning. We left our campsite in Tunnel Mountain Campground, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada, with overcast skies and some sprinkles. We pushed on up the Trans Canada highway 1 toward Lake Louise, our next stop. We zipped right along at 90 kilometers per hour, the maximum posted speed (about 55 mph) and we were passed by everyone, even a little girl on rollerskates. The traffic was light to moderate and the scenery was a whole lot awesome as usual. So far, we just love Alberta.

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Driving on the Trans-Canada highway (freeway/interstate in the US) heading north out of Banff toward Lake Louise. The lousy low-hanging clouds obscured our view of the mountains.

We arrived at Lake Louise park and campground where we dropped off the trailer and motorhome and headed to the visitor information and a bunch of small stores in the Samson Mall. We really burned up a lot of time sitting and talking to other travelers. Interesting stories from everyone. We found a pretty good internet Wi-Fi spot and I managed to upload everything up to yesterday. We also have the MagicJack App installed and working on our cellphones so we can make VOIP calls from the cellphones; a savior kinda technology since the regular cellphones don't work in Canada. Sprint doesn't work anywhere. Anyway, calls were made to loved ones. It is Father's Day.

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The small Samson Mall had everything that we needed including an internet connection so that we could make VOIP phone calls.

The little shopping area was the nicest. The small stores sold a variety of tourist stuff and there is a liquor store, small grocery store, candy and ice cream store (my favorite), and others, all of which had the nicest signs and the whole place was neat as a pin with outside tables and places to sit. We spent way too much time there. The weather was fantastic all day as you can see from the pictures.

We pressed onward to Lake Louise which was very close to the campground and shopping mall. Then we visited Lake Moraine and capped it off with a stop at an old railroad station that was converted into a restaurant which seems to be the thing to do with old railroad stations all over.

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Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada - On the boardwalk there is a boat rental and a hotel - The Fairmont Chateau-pricey. This is a very busy place. No wonder. It is a gorgeous lake setting.
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A short drive south of Lake Louise is Moraine Lake. If you have a beautiful mountain lake, build a lodge on it and they will come. Just another place we could "spend a week".
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Where did all the mountains come from? You hear stories that they were pushed up by forces deep down. You know, plate tech whatever. But, I discovered the truth. Here lies a mountain kit that has not been assembled yet. I don't know how anybody could put it together when the pieces aren't numbered. Once assembled, they are pretty spectacular. Imagine the man hours involved.
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Moraine Lake - Pretty is a good word for it. A couple of tourists enjoying the moment.
Hi there, Gregg and Gail!
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The old Lake Louise railroad station that is now a really cool high-class restaurant.
There are a lot of railroad cars on display that are all locked and we couldn't go inside. Rats!
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Interesting double-wide campsite at Lake Louise campground. Still the price of two individual campsites. No deal. Ya gotta like your neighbor. In this case, we do, kinda.

Back to the campground and a good night's sleep. All of the Canadian campgrounds have been totally different from each other. Everything was designed and built by different contractors. Townsite in Waterton was the best. This campground is old and a bit shabby and in need of outside maintenance, but it's okay and the price was reasonable. We'll survive. Two fingers of Glenfiddich single-malt Scotch tonight.

Day 19 Summary ~ We drove about 66 miles today which puts us at 2885 total miles into our journey.
It is 45 degrees outside at about 11:00pm mountain time.

Day 20 ~ Monday, June 22 - I got up about 4:00 am to take care of some personal biological business and checked the outdoor temperature. It was a very cold 35 degrees. We went from cool to cold. The daytime temps have been in the upper 60's. No shorts again today. The weather was very nice all day; sunny and high-sixties warm.

We headed toward Jasper today. Drove, stopped to take pictures. Drove, stopped to take pictures. Drove, stopped to take pictures. With all the stopping, we didn't get as far as we planned. A couple of the stops involved some hiking on steep trails going way back into the forests to see nature's goodies. Lakes, rivers and waterfalls of course. All around the bases of mountains. Oh, those mountains. Always a bit different than the other mountains we saw in earlier days. And yet they are all part of the Rockies. We are seeing the process of the mountains turning into big tree-covered hills, a process that takes thousands of years and yet we see many of the different stages of the transformation that has taken place already. Pretty cool.

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The Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. We hiked in 15 miles to get this picture. Okay, we stepped 15 feet out of the truck at a pull-out. Whatever, the 15 mile thing sounds more exciting. Looks like Alaska.
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Here we are, 39km from Lake Louise, looking at Bow Lake in Alberta, Canada. Highway 93 runs right on the edge of the eastern shoreline. The Num-Ti-Jah Lodge sits on the northern shore for tourists with too much money. We are still in Banff National Park.
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Oh, look! Another lake way down there close to the road. Peyto Lake is about 10 miles northwest of Bow Lake and has a creamy blue color as seen from the highway pull-out. As you can see, the view is absolutely spectacular. Two thumbs up for Alberta scenery.
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Another shot up the Alberta highway 93. Now that's a pointy mountain there. Must be new. There is more traffic here closer to this highly attractive touristy area of Alberta, Canada.
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We just had to stop at the Mistaya Canyon river and falls on highway 93. A half-mile walk from the parking lot got us down to the river and canyon. Spectacular!
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They are not lacking pull-outs along the road. And we did do a lot of pulling out.

So far, our trip thru Alberta, Canada, has been absolutely stunning. Gas is expensive, but the scenery is eye-popping and jaw-dropping and we all look like freaks from a circus with popped eyes and dropped jaws. We need to see something ugly to re-adjust, but that's not in our schedule at all for the next 70 days. We'll see ugly when we get back home or watch TV news and there is NO TV on this trip. Of course, we could always look into one of the pit toilets. Gross. Don't drop your keys or cellphone in there.

Too much fartin' around today and we were running out of driving day and needed to find a campground. The campgrounds we wanted to stay at in Jasper were still an hour or more away so we drifted into a rustic Jasper National Park's roadside campground and Wilcox Creek was its name. This was a good decision. $15.70 for the night and absolutely wonderful scenery with a beautiful view of the nearby snow-topped mountains. Perfect. Keep it coming Alberta!

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Our rustic campsite in the Wilcox Creek campground right off the highway. What a view!

I think it's going to be cold tonight and we don't have any electric to keep us warm. We'll survive. Rum and Coke tonight.

Day 20 Summary ~ We drove about 82 miles today which puts us at 2967 total miles into our journey.
It is 49 degrees outside at about 10:00pm mountain time.

Day 21 ~ Tuesday, June 23 - I was right about expecting cold last night. It dropped down to 39 degrees and was only 10 degrees warmer inside the trailer so we had numerous blankets keeping us warm. Good sleeping in the fresh mountain air. Very quiet here. We have bright cloud covered skies this morning. No sun, rats.

The weather was up and down today; the temperature and the precipitation. We drove toward Jasper, Alberta, Canada, stopping along the way several times and snapped a lot of pictures. Our next stop was at the Columbia Icefields Discovery Centre across highway 93 from the Athabasca Glacier.

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The Columbia Icefields Discovery Centre is at the next right exit.
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Columbia Icefields - Athabasca Glacier - a true river of ice right next to highway 93.
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Highway 93 A.K.A Columbia Icefields Parkway - seems like we've been on it forever! At this point, we are about thirty miles northwest of Athabasca Glacier.
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Highway 93 gives us another reason to pullover and go for a short walk. Sunwapta Falls. And we are still in Jasper National Park.

Sunwapta Waterfall Video

This video is 46 seconds long

The roar of the water as it cuts
its way thru the rock.
It is loud!
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More kick-ass Highway 93 scenery about fifteen miles up from Sunwapta Falls.
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A short drive more and we are at Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Just a short walk from the parking lot and Wow!
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Athabasca Falls and River cut quite a cool little canyon out of the rock.
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Well, well, welcome to Jasper. This is a beautiful Canadian National Park. Lots to see here.
This is the official entrance even though we've been in the park for quite a while now.
About four miles up the road is the town of Jasper.
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At Wapiti campground, they call this the "Parking Lot" area and they are right. It is literally just a parking lot with electric hookups. We just needed a place to park for the night. This is what we were stuck with because we got here so late in the day. Late? Well, it was about 2:00pm and this place is popular. The restrooms were close to us and nice.
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Here's the Tourist Information Center in downtown Jasper. This is a very busy place.
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Oh, look! A bear close to the road. Her baby scrambled up a tree and then quickly descended. Aren't they cute? So soft and fluffy.
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Maligne Lake - rent a canoe or go for a walk. The walk is free and so is the scenery.
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Jasper National Park is lousy with animals including this elk right next to the road! We were at the right place at the right time. Maybe ten feet away.
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It was after 10:00pm when we were blessed with this amazing sunset across the parking lot campground in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. The days are very long.

We toured Maligne Canyon, Medicine Lake- a huge lake that "disappears" in the fall and winter when the lake empties like a bathtub without a plug and continued out to Maligne Lake-the regions longest and deepest. Then a quick tour of the town of Jasper and it's now in our back pocket. We had some crazy weather today, but in the end, all is well and a good nights' sleep is in order. Cool temperature, good sleeping again.

Day 21 Summary ~ We drove about 192 miles today which puts us at 3159 total miles into our journey.
It is 55 degrees outside at about 11:00pm mountain time.

Day 22 ~ Wednesday, June 24 - We bailed out of our parking lot campground with sunny skies above and headed toward British Columbia, the Canadian Province to the left of Alberta on the map. That's west if you have the map with north at the top.

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Before we left the parking lot campground, we walked out our backyard to the Athabasca River. We watched rafters braving the very cold, white water on the far side. The current here was strong. Don't fall out of the raft!
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About fifteen miles west of Jasper, we saw the Welcome to British Columbia sign. We are excited and making progress! We are about 37 miles away from Mount Robson which is 3954 meters tall. Let's see-a meter is 39.6 inches and that makes the mountain how tall? Never mind-no one cares. It's big and it's supposed to have mountain goats!
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We are driving westward on highway 16 along Moose Lake in British Columbia, Canada.
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Mount Robson is 12,972 feet high and is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies.
Smile for the camera Gregg and Gale.
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British Columbia - still on Highway 16 heading north by northwest or whatever by whatever.
What's that up there in the middle of the road? Oh, nothing, nothing, nothing...
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A really old forest with a Universal Boardwalk? I guess it means it's for wheelchairs and foot traffic, but no parking on the boardwalk (as if you could get a car thru the opening.
Yeah, I know, it means no parking in front of this entrance.
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Well, the Ancient Forest has Ancient cedar trees. It's a rain forest with lots of ferns and mosquitos. Keep moving Diane.
"If the skeeters don't get you than the gators will" (Kingston Trio).
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On Highway 16 to Prince George, British Columbia. Don't hit a moose. These signs are all over - very good marketing for the tourists. We haven't seen a moose yet. Or a mountain goat. Is that sign a warning or a suggestion? Maybe the moose is high on moose grass.

We drove a lot today and we made it to Prince George. Well, we actually hung a left at PG and headed south on highway 97 for a few miles looking for our destination campground that Diane researched before our trip started. This highway is pretty busy and there's a railroad track right here. Perfect place for a campground. Lots of highway noise and an occasional train to shake the ground at three in the morning. Well, it could be worse. We checked into the Bee Layzee RV Park and Campground for a couple of nights because Diane has to work tomorrow and this place has a good Wi-Fi signal. The restrooms here are one of the cleanest we have seen on this trip. The old gal that runs this place is a real hoot. We like hoots.

We set up all the computer equipment for Diane's work and verified a good internet connection. Dinner was ready in a flash and we had a relaxing evening before bedtime. The weather was nice and the sleeping was good with the traffic noise and all.

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Here we are in Bee Lazee RV Park. A nice, private campground - very clean and the owners are so helpful. They sell Nestle's drumsticks for two bucks in the office. Yum!
Day 22 Summary ~ We drove about 249 miles today which puts us at 3408 total miles into our journey.
It is 68 degrees outside at about 10:00pm mountain time.

Day 23 ~ Thursday, June 25 - We are staying in the campground almost all day while Diane works her job. The weather is driving me nuts. It started out with 70 degrees and sunny, then overcast and just a touch of sprinkles so I migrated into the back seat of the truck for a while. Then it got quite warm with lots of sun and a nice breeze as I write this at about three in the afternoon. Then it got cloudy and cooled off and rained enough to make everything wet.

In the evening, we drove to downtown Prince George in search of a laundromat. That was a bust. Speaking of bust, We all noticed a clunking sound coming from the front of the truck every time we hit a bump. So, I pulled into a parking lot and peeked under the front of the truck and found that the long bolt on the end of the anti-sway (torsion) bar had snapped and was banging on the frame. Not critical, just annoying. We'll find the part locally tomorrow. Should be an easy fix.

This campground is very nice. Old, with the cleanest and most spacious restrooms ever. It is also the noisiest with the very busy highway 97 about a football field away. We've been so tired, we don't hear the road noise...or noisy neighbors...or trains anymore.

Day 23 Summary ~ We drove about 30 miles today which puts us at 3438 total miles into our journey.

Day 24 ~ Friday, June 26 - We took a little time today for laundry so we got an even later start than usual. Wash at the campground was $2.00 per load and dry $2.00, but they also warned of iron in the water which will turn your whites orange. Hmm. We checked out of the campground and drove into Prince George to Spotless Dry Cleaning and Laundromat – sounded good. Yes, the place was clean, but wash was $4.00 per small load and up to $10.00 for the larger machines. Drying was $2.00 for 12 minutes. We spent $20 and our clothes still weren't dry. We used the inside of the trailer as a laundry drying room by stringing a clothes line from front to back three times. The clothes had time to finish drying as we drove. It worked pretty good.

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Our way to dry laundry on the road. Can't do this kind of stuff with a pop-up camper.

Leaving Prince George at 3:10, we have about a 4 hour drive to Smithers on Highway 16. The road is hilly through Spruce, Cedar and Aspen forest – very much like Michigan's U.P and undeveloped. There is not much use of the land for ranching or farming. All we see are trees and an occasional lake. Nice and easy drive with beautiful weather.

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On the road - Hwy 16, going toward Smithers, British Columbia, in rush hour traffic.

By the way, remember the old Sinclair Gas Stations – the ones with the green brontosaurus? Well, those stations haven't died; they just moved to Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. They are everywhere! Sinclair and Cennex is mostly what we saw.

Note: Canadians have absolutely no respect for the speed limit. Posted 100 km is about 62 MPH and we've been passed by boat trailers going at least 120 km. We had the camera ready for a big disastrous crash, but nope-somehow they all made it.

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Our campsites in the Riverside Municipal RV Park & Campground, Smithers, British Columbia, Canada. Some of our laundry needed more time to dry, so up goes the clothesline. Looks like a real redneck campground now.

We spent the night in Riverside Municipal RV Park & Campground in Smithers, British Columbia. Nice place on the river with basic restrooms (with showers) and free firewood. I took advantage of the free wood and built our first campfire of this trip and cooked my fish on it. Great! A game of cribbage, a beer and our first roasted marshmallows to finish the day. It's warmer this evening so no heater tonight. Good sleeping weather.

Day 24 Summary ~ We drove about 247 miles today which puts us at 3685 total miles into our journey.
It is 59 degrees outside at about midnight pacific time.

Day 25 ~ Saturday, June 27 - We enjoyed a morning campfire with the free firewood and polished off a good, simple breakfast. Then I fixed the truck with the over-priced parts that I bought yesterday from the Ford dealership in Prince George. It's time to mention that everything is over-priced in Canada and nobody is interested in giving us the exchange rate (about 80 cents Canadian to one US dollar). So it is complete BS marketing when everybody says that we get more for the dollar here. No we don't. They charge us 20% more. Of course the trick is to use a credit card for every purchase and let the credit card card banks retrieve the exchange rate.

Well, it's a little after noon Pacific time and time to hit the road. Heading west of course, or rather northwest to Meziadin Lake Provincial Park very close to the Alaskan panhandle. This drive is very easy and scenic if you like trees. Like driving "up north" on old 27. Hardly anybody on the road and little towns are few and far between. Just driving today with a few small stops to stretch and go potty. Basically, boring except for the crazy, terrifying one-lane, wooden bridges servicing two way traffic (they couldn't afford a whole bridge). We knew we'd have days like this (momma said).

About forty-two miles from Smithers on highway 16 is New Hazelton and the Skeena Valley Information Center. This place is an excuse to tell a rather boring story of the Indians who lived in this valley for 10,000 years and the gold and silver miners who came here prospecting in the early 1900's. They were rather unsuccessful in their mining ventures. Some of them hung around because they were broke and stupid. Not much of a story here. The best part of this place is the pink ice cream trailer. The most interesting part is the half-bridge over the river a quarter mile up highway 62. See the pictures below.

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As the sign says, this is the Visitor Centre. The Canadians keep misspelling center.
I'll have to admit, this is a realy cool log cabin with a second floor.
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Who in their right mind would buy ice cream from here? Well, we did and it was good stuff.
The guy who scooped it was a real character, retired and lived only a block away.
He has his pink trailer parked in the parking lot and made the stop worthwhile.
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Where the hell is the other half of the bridge?
Well, we did drive across the other half a ways down the road. Yes, there were two of these half-width bridges. One half here and the other half there. A great way for the road commission to save money. It works. Traffic seems to yield the right of way.
Anyhow, we crossed over this highway 62 bridge on our way in and out of Hazelton. There is absolutely nothing in the old Hazelton. We thought there might be some cool gift shops of something. Nope.

We stopped for the night in yet another one of Canada's fine Provincial Parks, Meziadin Lake. The camping is 25 bucks per night and we are staying for two nights for 50 bucks. A park employee by the name of Diana came around collecting the fees for newly arrived campers. We paid her $50 US and, of course, there is no exchange. Here's the kicker: she gave us a receipt for $40. What the hell? Where's the $10 exchange rate and where did the other $10 on the receipt go? Okay, I understand. The $40 on the receipt is what we should have paid in US dollars. But, we handed over $50. I think the rule here is screw the Americans because they have lots of money. I don't think they like us here. The US should have just taken Alberta and British Columbia years ago and made them states. Everything would be cool, aye? Certainly cheaper. We should have taken Mexico as well. We have most of their people, might as well have the country. Oh, well.

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Open road - Hwy 37 going toward our campground in Meziadin Lake Provincial Park

And another thing. There are no banks way up here. We have heard this from so many people and it's true. Many of the towns don't even have a gas station or post office, let alone a bank. There's usually a bar, a grocery of sorts and a gift shop. Anyway, no banks and they use that as an excuse to not get involved with the whole exchange rate thing. They plead ignorance. "We don't know what the exchange rate is." Bull, they know and they're not stupid. They'd certainly know if the Canadian dollar was worth more than the US dollar. They are all crooks here. But, they do smile a lot when they take our money. Just sayin'.

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Our Meziadin Lake Provincial park campsite is certainly one of the best campsites we have stayed at in Canada. It is absolutely beautiful here and quiet.
We are only about 40 miles from that skinny strip of southern Alaska next to the ocean.
We will go there tomorrow - just because we want to go to Alaska.
Check out the concrete picnic table. It'll last forever and nobody is going to steal this sucker.

I'm sitting in our beautiful lakeshore campsite writing this with a Jack and Coke close by, hence the sharp comments about the wonderful Canadians I wrote above. Get me drunk and I'll tell you what I think of Obama. Anyway, it's absolutely beautiful with mucho sun and the temperature is 71 degrees at 8:40pm. The sun does set late here - around 10:30 but it's light until midnight or after. God blesses us all each and every day. We need to make the best of it - and have a cigar. What a great way to end the week.

Day 25 Summary ~ We drove about 175 miles today which puts us at 3860 total miles into our journey.
It is 63 degrees outside at about 11:00pm pacific time.
This is the end of Week 4 ~ Tomorrow is Sunday and start of a new week, so you'll need to Click Here to Go to Week 5