When we made it to Calgary we hung out for the day and although it is a great city, it is a city, so we headed for a quieter setting.... Drumheller. Why you might ask? Well to see the dinosaur bones at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of course.
We had driven from Calgary late in the afternoon, so it was dark on our journey to Drumheller. How dark you ask? Well, I had to find out, so as we drove the prairie roads under the stars I had to switch the headlights off. I suppose I should have let Tracey know that I was going to do that. Have you ever been in blackness so dark that your hand was simply invisible in front of your face. It was a moonless night and the stars blanketed us from above nicely but on ground level it was dark. The sudden yell from Tracey, when the world went dark ended my little experiment.
Drumheller is a small town of dry land but warm people. We had a great chat with the locals...who watched us pull in with Olive, our VW bus. As we drove through the dark we could here a peppering of something hitting us and it wasn't until we reached our destination that we realized what was going on. As we stood chatting it up with some locals we could see the front of our VW and it was repainted with the bodies of about a million mosquitos.
The Tyrell Museum was full of wonderful artifacts and some large bones....did you know some of their teeth are the size of bananas. That's some huge chompers!
After spending one night in Saskatoon and 3 days in Regina....donating blood and not to the Red Cross – they grow big mosquitoes out here! We headed down in the US (side note here...we had to donate some fruits and veggies to the US border guards and I think they were hungry and wanted to make sandwiches) and Montana where we were blessed with some wonderful Montana hospitality.
James was a hard working Flax farmer and the first person we met in this beautiful state. We had stopped for gas happy to pay quite a bit less here in the US. The tiny town we stopped in was Plentywood, Montana. A quite, sleepy little town that you could just imagine Norman Rockwell being inspired by. Our VW seems to attract people no matter where we stop and this was no exception. James approached as I was reaching for the gas nozzle and we fell into a brief conversation, after swapping Westy stories, when I placed the nozzle back, noticing that Regular gas was the only option.
"What seems to be the problem?"
"I only put in the good stuff" I told him.
"Well follow me, then"
James hoped in his truck and led us around the next street to what appeared to be an abandoned gas station. He keyed in some buttons on the pump and said there ya go. So I filled up our green van and turned to ask where I pay.
"No charge" he said - "It's Montana hospitality."
We headed to North Dakota....Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and back into Canada at Sault St. Marie.
Now along the way the plains had been experiencing some of the greatest flooding on record. Thus they called it the year of the mosquito.
The trek across the northern states was filled with detours as we navigated the water covered roads and twisted our way through North Dakota. The Mouse River was swollen incredibly. At one point it appeared that a lake was before us with a paved road simply floating on top of the water. In fact, the water level had risen to such and extent that the river overran it's banks and flooded the shallow plain that it ran through. The small bridge in the middle was almost overwhelmed with the torrent flowing through. It was a bit hair-raising to drive across this sudden explosion of water.
So here we are in Sault St. Marie KOA campsite... a beautiful spot, great hospitality and so very clean! Olive made the trek and we know the prayers of friends and family have kept us safe along our way.
Thank-you. This is a vast and spectacular country and our most used word has been "WOW". God is great....if you get a chance to do this some day...Just do it! Your experience will be full of special memories of wonderful people in a beautiful country.