Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fillmore, Utah to Red Deer, Alberta

April 8 (Sunday)
We had a stormy Saturday night in Fillmore, Utah. Lots of thunder, wind and some heavy rain for a time. By morning the rain had stopped and we had a very pleasant day. We dumped our tanks, took on some fresh water and headed north on I15 about mid-morning.

Beautiful start to our travel day.

More cloud as we headed north toward Salt Lake City.

The dreaded I15 through SLC. Not too bad today though.

Downtown Salt Lake City

Traffic was busy and of course increased the closer we got to Salt Lake City. It was mid-day and I suppose because it was Sunday we didn't have huge commercial traffic to contend with. We made it unscathed through Salt Lake and kept heading north toward Pocatello, Idaho.

The wind was becoming an issue. Started out as a head wind, then shifting more to a cross wind. Our fifth wheel tracks very well in wind and the truck has the power to move us down the road at the speed limit but the drive hates watching the fuel gauge go down.  Watching other drivers deal with the wind was not entertaining but more concerning. So it was time to get off the road by the time we got to Fort Hall, just north of Pocatello. We had planned to stop here anyway, but it was still mid-afternoon and if it hadn't been for the wind we would have gone further. It turns out that Idaho Falls, just another 50 miles up I15 had tornado warnings and heavy thunderstorms on Sunday so we made a good choice by hunkering down where we were.

Clouds 'hung' on the mountains.

Ominous. It rained on us just as I was finishing fueling the truck.

Impressive cloud formations. Raining (or snowing) in the mountains to our west.

The clouds started to clear in Idaho, but the wind picked up......a lot!

Almost whitecaps in the mud puddles of the Casino.

Our spot for the night. We were soon joined by another half dozen RV's who got off the windy roads

By dusk the clouds had cleared and the wind began to drop.

The campground at the Casino was full but there was plenty of room in the parking areas so we set up camp there. The wind blew so hard the whole trailer rocked even with our jacks deployed and the main slide remained in. The wind started to die down after sunset and we had a good nights sleep.

April 9 (Monday)
It was at the freezing mark when we got up about 5:30. We hadn't seen frost since last October. We wanted to get an early start and we were on the road well before 7 AM. Very light breezes and not much traffic, as well as a mostly clear sky made the travel easy.

Sunrise near Fort Hall

The snow level keeps coming down.

By the time we reached Dillon, Montana the clouds were rolling in and there was a threat of rain, or snow, or something in between. The temperature was just above freezing most of the way to Butte. We stopped for fuel in Butte and a quick bite of lunch then back on the road northeast toward Helena.

The 90 foot Statue of  Mary, Our Lady of the Rockies that overlooks Interstate 15 outside of Butte, Montana.
You can read more about it here.

The trout streams are busy with fishermen.

The skies are clearing.

Not much snow here. Lots of Pronghorn and flocks of geese in the fields.

The winds had picked up and depending on the road direction and proximity to mountains or valleys we had at times the wind blowing on us from all points of the compass. The occasional bit of precipitation added to 'ambiance'.

We kept on toward Great Falls which was our planned stop for the night but it was only early afternoon when we got there and we decided to keep on heading north toward the border. We could stop in Lethbridge, Alberta. The wind was now a steady northwest which meant it was more of a crosswind than headwind. Not good for the fuel economy but not blowing hard enough to make driving a challenge.

I certainly can't complain about the trucks fuel consumption. According to the onboard computer (which I have checked against my own calculations and I think it is accurate to within on mile per gallon) we averaged anywhere from a low of 9 MPG (US miles per gallon) to a best of about 14 MPG (or somewhere between 17 and 20 liters per hundred Kilometers) when towing. In touring mode, staying under the speed limit, we have achieved just over 30 MPG (7.8 liters per hundred kilometers). Not too bad for a one-ton diesel.

We saw signs along the highway stating there were delays at the border due to heavy traffic. We could believe that as there were dozens of cars and several RV's passing us all with Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba plates heading fast to the border. We expected there would be a long wait. As it turned out, by the time we hit the border there were no other vehicles in line. Only the Commercial line had semi-trucks lined up.

The nice gentleman at the gate asked us where we lived, how long we had been in the US, did we have any liquor or tobacco, and what was the total value of goods we were declaring. We knew we were way over our personal exemption limit so he had us park and go inside to settle the matter of duty and tax payable. We were met by a very nice lady who patiently worked with us to determine the type of goods and an appropriate duty or tax. By the time we were done we owed $115 CDN in GST tax. We promptly paid that at the cashier and we were on our way!

We changed our phone service over to Rogers, and changed from US to Metric readings on the truck, then headed out toward Lethbridge. We parked at the south Walmart and went for supper. We had been on the road for close to 11 hours. Longer than we had planned but we shaved another day off our 'time in the US' count, and would have a short 4 hour drive home the next day. After supper we met up with our son who was working in Lethbridge for the week. We then enjoyed a relatively quiet night in the parking lot, except for a couple of hot rodders who decided a couple of quick laps around the parking lot in the middle of the night was a good idea.

April 10 (Tuesday)
We were on the road by 8 AM. We headed west on Highway 3 toward Fort Macleod. We stopped for fuel then headed north on Highway 2 toward Calgary. The forecasted strong winds never developed and we actually enjoyed a slight tailwind today. The only downside was the rough roads. I know it's spring and frost heaves are a problem, but it freezes in Montana too and their roads were fine.

This guy was happy to see us.

City of Calgary in the distance.

The Bow River is mostly ice-free.

Downtown Calgary. I've never seen the smog so bad. They need some wind to stir up the air.

They saved the worst of the roads for the Stoney Trail, which is the bypass around the City of Calgary. The south section and around the east side of the city are just plain awful. And this is a NEW road! We later found stuff bounced around in the trailer worse than we have ever seen.

We got back on Highway 2 north. We stopped for a quick bite at Crossfield and then on the road north to Red Deer.

Lots of snow yet to melt.

Although the trailer wasn't too dirty, it hadn't been washed in over six months and we did pick up some road mess so we stopped at the RV wash as we entered Red Deer. The wand wash cost $25 and it took most of the grime off. Next stop was the Westerner Campground. We arrived about 3PM and they were expecting us.  We got settled into our site, dug out our heated water hose and connected the sewer. The temperature is going to get well below freezing at night for the foreseeable future so we'll be keeping a close eye on water hoses and waste tanks for a while.

Our home for at least the next month.

Our street is pretty full. The sites on the right do not have water services at this time of year.

We went to our other son's house for supper and the first of the Grandkid hugs that Grandma (okay, and me) had been missing for the past six months. Nice to be home!

We had a huge stack of mail waiting for us and it looks like our babysitting calendar is filling up. We'll have lots to do in the next while. I just hope it warms up enough soon to get back to wearing shorts! Ha!
......and that was Our View From Here!


  1. Thanks for the preview of what we will be seeing along the way as we head through Salt Lake City and north tomorrow. Hope to hook up with you again in Red Deer if we have time.

    1. My advice? Stay south as long as you can. Wait at least ten more days.

  2. Welcome Home!!! Glad you made it safely.

    That's a lot of GST to pay.

    The pictures were fantastic, love the views. Thanks for sharing.

    Try to stay warm and hopefully spring comes sooner than later.

    1. We didn't mind paying the GST. We still got bargains. We certainly wanted to declare absolutely everything we brought with us. We learned our won't happen again.

  3. Welcome Home! Glad you have made it to the campground and can settle in. You will at least be warm inside. Loved the pictures and the travelogue.
    Now you can relax!
    Great truck mileage, Bill also keeps an eye on the mpg and notices when we are rising in elevation etc. :)

    1. Thanks!
      The blue flame heater is getting a workout!

  4. Welcome back home to Canada, looks like you made pretty good time.
    Nice to see the family again and collect you mail. Keep your self warm and comfy.

    1. We had some long days but we needed to get through a narrow weather window. Sure glad we did though. Weather sucks again.

  5. Glad you made the drive okay. We hate driving in the wind although the coach is pretty steady, it is the other trucks that drift over that we worry about. Welcome back to Canader eh! :) lol

    1. Thanks Deb! Always nice to see the Canadian flag at the border.
      Yes, some of those bigger coaches just flew by us.

  6. Glad you made it safely Home. Know what you mean about the cross winds but it would have been worse if you were driving a Motorhome.
    Looks like you will be dealing with that white stuff for a while longer as well.
    Be safe and Enjoy spending time with the Grandchildren.

    It's about time.

    1. Thanks Rick! Yep, lots of snow to deal with but the heater is working well!

  7. Welcome back to Canada and I have to say your RV Park looks kind of pretty with all the snow ... I'm just glad it's you and not us :-) Interesting about Stony Trail in Calgary, that road is still pretty new! Enjoy the grandchildren and hopefully you don't have to bundle up for to long.

    1. Thanks Stacie! Looks like another few days of snow coming so I don't expect all the snow to disappear quickly. The new blue flame heater is working well!
      We have a Trail-Aire hitch on the trailer but it still bounces us around pretty good on the rough roads.

  8. I bet it is good to be back across the border! The winds sure can be a bugger. We had a tail wind on our way east but those headwinds can certainly reduce the fuel mileage!

    1. Nice to be home.....but I miss the desert already!
      I guess if there wasn't any wind the weather patterns wouldn't change. That's the bright side I guess.

  9. Beautiful pictures Dave! Glad you made it home safely. I bet Cheryl's day was made getting to see those grandkids. I know I'm looking forward to seeing mine next week! Enjoy your time, and the RV park looks very nice. :)

    1. Yep, lots of hugs the first few days.
      The RV park would look a lot better with leaves and green grass! :-)

  10. Glad to read you made it back to home ground safe and sound. Sorry to see you have snow. Of course, if we were back on our home ground we would be looking at the same white stuff.
    What great pictures of clouds over the mountains. Our Lady of the Rockies looks like a beautiful statue, thank you for sharing. What a cute barn with the smiley face. Even the snow pictures are pretty. Stay warm! Mostly, enjoy the grandbaby hugs...:)

    1. Thanks guys.
      It was a nice drive home, although the further north we got the more we questioned our sanity........until we saw the Grands that is.

  11. Glad you made it back. It’s nice being able to wait out the weather because we don’t have jobs to get back too. 🙂 So now that you guys have a few months under your belt is Cheryl feeling comfortable living the full timer lifestyle?

    1. Well.....we may need a few more months to answer that. :-)
      She does miss the kitchen and her own laundry, but after the past week of snow I think we could head out again on another adventure soon. Maybe if we could take the Grandkids we would be good.!