2019 Alaska RVW – AVC Trip

Trip Log, 6/19/2019

Great Falls, MT to Hill Spring, AB, Canada

From this point on, prepare for tons of photos. When words fail… photos will tell the tale.

At this moment, we’re on 15 North driving from Great Falls, MT to Hill Spring, AB. Barb and I are filled with joy and anticipation to be on this journey at last. Seems like we’ve been planning and waiting forever.

All of the RV’s have been inspected by Barb and our tail gunner trainee Mary. Small things fixed, tires filled, safety checks performed and they’re ready to go. Kris, our other trainee, and I did all of the interviews and made sure we noted any medical and dietary issues as well as how excited everyone is to see, learn and do.

Yesterday was a full day of Orientation, welcome dinner and Travel Brief. It was time for everyone to learn about how the trip will go, what to expect, and the responsibilities of each adventurer. Our Wagon Master, Tina, is very engaging and a thorough & informative presenter. Lots of laughs and many questions were answered. After a great Welcome dinner, to bed and everyone checked out in the morning.

Barb and I are tail-gunning along behind everyone, hoping that there will be no problems and that everyone sails right through the border and up to our next stop at the Great Canadian Barn Dance & Family Campground.

Green pastures stretch, rolling and bumping across the country and copses of low trees and bushes are splashed with pink roses of several hues. Acres of azure sky high above cloud banks, ten different colors of green on the ground seem to pull water from the deep gray cadet blue clouds that look like inverted buttes. 

Stopped in Shelby, MT for gas $2.82, last gas in US. Thirty-four miles to Port of Sweetgrass & passport time!

Phew, made it across the border with our two catz! AND we arrived at our terrific campground out here on the rolling plains of Alberta. B and I are parked at the end of a row facing a little lake. Sweet!

We passed swaths of golden fields of yellow flowers and rose flowered fields. Hummm… cultivated. What would be those colors? And on hillsides, pinks mixed in with near black bushes… Alberta is the Wild Rose Province.

(It’s the next day now…) This morning we hopped on our bus to go to the Remington Carriage Museum and up to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump UNESCO Site.

Turns out, the giant yellow fields – many circular and irrigated by motorized sprinklers, are Brassica Rapa (a variety of rapeseed) used to make canola. Canada is the largest producer of Canola, hence the name: Can-ola – ‘Can’ for Canada and ‘ola’ signifying oil.  The rose-pink flowered fields are flax another of Alberta’s star crops. And the pinks mixing in with conifers and short bushes, roses for sure.

Remington Carriage Museum is a HUGE collection of carriages – with emphasis on Canadian carriage companies who helped build and settle the Canadian West. From tiny carriages children drove turkeys to pull to very impressive carriages that would transport groups of friends out into the countryside with picnic supplies, this museum seems to have it all. They have an early car designed and made by a Canadian Carriage company as well.

We toured the museum and took a carriage ride pulled by a pair of lovely blacks called Pepsi and Karma. Karma was a “Canadian” a horse that descends from Arabian, Quarter Horse and Percheron stock. Black’s are used here at the museum and they have 27 horses.


Does anyone else see the dog in the clouds up there?

As we approached the Buffalo Jump Heritage site, the bluffs rose from the plain, rocky and gold against the green. Our driver shared his knowledge of the area: Indigenous peoples here over the years have been repatriated to some of their lands, measured in sections. This area comprises the largest amount of reservation land, in area, in all of Canada.

Photos: the buffalo jump, a Yellow Bellied Marmot, Tail-gunners three (Mary, Liz, Kris)

June 21 is Indigenous People’s Day and we were in the right place at the right time as Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Site is today celebrating. The staff on site are indigenous folk and their community dance to celebrate. Every dance was gorgeous but the Hoop Dance left me… poof, mind blown. 

But wait there’s more…. We had dinner and after that a concert! These folks at the Great Canadian Barn Dance & Family Campground put on a rocking, foot tapping – a bunch of us got up to dance – concert of great tunes. A great end to a very interesting and mind boggling day. 

Hearts full.