Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Sunday, July 17, 2016

61 Day Alaska and Calgary Stampede Caravan: Day 1-3

July 12-14, 2016

Thanks to Gail and Sherry for catching my mistake in the last blog, we didn't walk 8 miles in an hour it was over the course of 2 hours.  We walk fast but not that fast.

Day 1

Tuesday was the first official day of the caravan, the afternoon was taken up with an orientation meeting. We received our trip logs, Milepost books and lots of information.  Our trip logs have each days travel route in it, broken down in step by step turns with daily odometer readings, Included in the logs are fuel stops, scenic points of interest, steep grade alerts and much more.

A pizza dinner was supplied by the company, we've met lots of nice folks and look forward to exploring with them, some are even as crazy as Dave.
Earlier in the day we received our new canoe rack, on Sunday we decided to add a front receiver and T bracket so we could move the canoe forward on the truck. It didn't install quite as quick as advertised but a couple of hours and help from some of the guys in the group it was all set up. A quick test ride with the canoe, a few adjustments with the strapping holding it down and we're ready to hitch up in the morning.

Day 2

Travel day to Hill Spring AB and our first border crossing. We all carry walkie talkies and as we leave the campground we radio and inform the tail gunners we are pulling out. At our travel meeting the day before we are informed of when the wagon masters will be leaving and what time the tail gunners will be leaving, usually a few hours apart. Our trip today is about 221 miles and at about mile 118 we reach the Canadian border. After a 15-20 minute wait it was our turn, questions were asked and answered, we were a little over the allowed alcohol but it was a non issue, we were soon on our way into Alberta. Another 100 miles or so and we were radioing in to the wagon masters our arrival, soon thereafter we were pulling into the Great Canadian Barn Dance and Family Campground in Hill Spring AB. Sites are pull through with water and 30amp service, there is a dump station on site. With a little tweaking we are pleased with how the new canoe carrier rode, think this was a good investment.

Our travel meeting was cut short because of large thunderstorm that came through the area, most important info was tomorrow morning's early bus departure.

Day 3

Our early, 7:30am, bus departure had us arriving to a quiet Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston AB. The museum houses the largest collection of horse drawn vehicles in North America. Donald Remington was the inspiration behind the museum, all because he was asked one Christmas to find a sleigh for Santa to ride in. He then went on to collect many different horse drawn vehicles which he left to the province of Alberta with the stipulation they build a museum in Cardston AB.

This carriage carried passengers to the Mansfield hotel in Stowe VT, near where we've spent the last 3 summers.

The famous Seabiscuit's rider George Woolf,  a local hero, was from Carston Alberta.

Our next stop was World Heritage Site Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, this is a First Nations park and explains how the area was used by the First Nations people. A well done movie portrays a reenactment of the historical buffalo hunts in the area. In the fall many clans of Blackfeet would come together and slowly (days) drive the buffalo towards the cliff where in one final stampede they would drive them over the cliff after which they would have enough meat for the coming winter. Nothing went to waste as the whole buffalo was used. The name Head-Smashed-In came about when one young child decided to watch the stampede from below the cliff overhang, unfortunately for him he was hit by the falling buffalo and fell to his death smashing his head.

Once back at the rv park our day was not over, a short travel meeting for the upcoming travel day tomorrow and then onto our Welcome To Canada dinner. The rv park holds a buffet dinner and musical show, a great way to end a busy day.

Tomorrow is a travel day as we head north to the Calgary area and experience our first rodeo.

Until next time...


  1. We have never traveled in a caravan before, it will be interesting to see how it works. Do you plan on staying with them the whole time or are you breaking off at some point and going on your own?

    1. So far so good, I really like not having to take our truck everywhere. At this point since we plan to stay with the caravan the whole way, wouldn't be surprised if we find ourselves back up here in a few years with some friends who also want to go to Alaska. We have a meet up in Sept just after the caravan in Banf with some friends before we head east to MN and IL.

  2. That sounds like so much fun! Have a blast.

    1. Thanks Susan, we're off to a good start.

  3. Off to a good start. I visited Head-Smashed-In years and years ago and was fascinated by the site.

    1. Very interesting place that we might not have otherwise visited.


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