Friday, July 20, 2012

Wednesday, July 18: Sunny and cool. Up early and out doing the walking tour of Fort MacLeod. They did a nice job highlighting their heritage buildings during Alberta’s centennial, 2005. We admire how they have preserved them; the city government is housed in the oldest court house building in Alberta. We spend quite a while in an old store/post office that is now an antique shop; the proprietress takes all the items out each fall, hundreds of them, and brings them back in the spring—what a job. Picked up a few groceries, had breakfast, played a hand of cards and on the road to Glacier Park. We’ll stay in a little crossroads town, Babb Montana, at one of the entrances to the park. Ron decides he wants to take a little side trip to Pincher Creek AB where there’s a farm museum; I’ll find a spot in the shade to write and read. As we head out of town we see huge green fields and the ghosts of the Rockies in the distance. Lots of canola--and wind generators! Great idea! Just past a big dam on the Oldman River and a huge lake is the heritage center with lots of old buildings and equipment, including old cars. Ron reports: “Here is another subchapter of a day on the road with Ron and Sue. This was a trip to a place called Heritage Acres, a few miles north of the US-Canadian border. It’s almost 200 acres of farm memories from 1880’s to 1960’s. Horse-drawn to tractor-drawn, enough to satisfy anybody’s thirst for the way they used to farm—even the balanced double tree assembly for an eight-horse hookup! They had a Tennessee Valley Authority situation here in the 80s with a lot of the Oldman River Valley being submerged; the province got their act together and paid for the relocation of a huge old farmstead and a complete grain elevator. Since then, old buildings of note (including a church and a schoolhouse) have also been moved there to create quite a pioneer setting. Had fun swapping some farm stories with the resident old timers. One of the oldest pieces on the property is an 1882 wood thrashing machine they picked up from Wisconsin!” Beautiful vistas as we climb into and among the foothills of the Rockies. Bikers (pedal) sure have their work cut out for them here! Wildflowers are plentiful and colorful in this cooler altitude. Wildlife count is low: one ground squirrel, one black bear and one huge angus—and two “watch for cattle” signs. We are feeling so good, then comes the border crossing. Ron reports (I don’t want to talk about it—they took my tangerines!): “We pulled into a beautiful mountainside border crossing where we were greeted by a couple of wet behind the ears, just out of kindergarten border crossing school graduates who thought we were smuggling the Canadian landscape to Wisconsin. Those little upstart-underachievers took this geezer’s modest rock collection and told us we were lucky they didn’t fine us $1000 per rock ‘cause we couldn’t prove they didn’t come out of a national park. Boy, I got close to being huffy before I heard that! What they didn’t know was only half of our collection was behind Sue’s seat; the real bounty and half the Canadian Shield was behind my seat. Hah!” Just a short ride, and a beer break at a lookout to calm us down, and we are nestled in our room on the highway in Babb. A little cook-out on the second floor “veranda” and we are ready to turn in. Big day!

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