Left Banff National Park yesterday and started driving toward Montana. We went by Calgary and considered visiting but we are not ready to take on city touring just yet. We’ll have to delay seeing Calgary and visit another time. Southern Alberta is a land of one large farm after another. All appeared to be productive with hundreds of rolls of hay ready for market. We did see a train with four road engines for the first time! Didn’t see how many cars it was pulling but if they needed four road engines, commerce must be doing quite well.
Drove back into the USA with no difficulty crossing the border at Sweet Grass, Montana. We’ll kind of ease back into the more hectic life of the “lower 48″ (a name just about everyone we met in Alaska calls it). Must admit that, like all travelers, it is fun to go but it is nice to return “home” where ever that may be.
Montana, the big sky country, lives up to it’s reputation as big and spacious. This state population is around one million which is less than a third the population of the city of Los Angeles. Right now, we’re looking to pretty much avoid the city scene for awhile and that is fairly easy in Montana.
Drove through lots of farm and ranch country and then hit the mountains again. Lovely. Some parts of Montana are dealing with wildfires as they do every year and we could see and smell some smoke in the air. Bad things, in this case it is wild fires, sometimes have a silver lining. With all the smoke in the air, the sunsets are spectacular.
We plan to stay in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming for awhile. We know that a National Park as popular as Yellowstone won’t provide a crowd free experience but we volunteered in Yellowstone a dozen years ago for the summer and know the park fairly well as we used to go out everyday looking for wildlife or to explore an area. This time, we would like to concentrate on seeing as many wolves and bear as possible. Although wildlife is possible to see most anywhere in the park the Lamar and Hayden Valleys are known to be panoramic places to view wildlife in the wilderness. Spring and early summer is really the best time but we’re hoping that this summer the valley will be cool enough to be good for spotting wildlife. We’ll see and adapt as appropriate. When it is hot in the valley, the animals move up to higher climbs and cooler temperatures.
After Yellowstone, we’ll go south and spend some time in Grand Teton National Park another favorite.
Boondock and Tire Problems–
We spent the night in a big box parking lot near town as one of our dually tires was loosing air. We never had trouble with this tire before but there’s a Les Schwab Tires nearby so rather than risk a problem on a mountain road, we stopped. Think the problem was the tire monitor sensor. It seemed to be causing air to escape. Last night, Jerry removed the sensor, refilled the tire with air and this morning the tire was fine. Problem solved and we will continue down the state of Montana.
Internet and communication devices–
We are back to using our Mellinicom MiFi and it’s a pleasure as we can turn it on day or night and it’s ready to go! Also our phones are back on and we have been calling friends and family. We are in the throes of grandchild withdrawal and get some relief by talking to them, Skype is another option but just not the same as giving them a hug! Still, it’s fun to hear their little voices.