Canada at Last!

If I hadn’t been there myself, I wouldn’t believe it… But as of this morning I have indeed crossed the 49th parallel!

After spending Wednesday night at the Glenrock rodeo arena, my plan was to drive 300 more miles to Billings, Montana on Thursday. There’s a Cracker Barrel restaurant there, along with the inevitable Walmart, all good options for a free nightly parking spot. But looking at the weather forecast, I saw a flaw in my plan. Billings was expected to top out at 95 degrees, with the night time temperature barely dipping below 70. Unfortunately, I can’t run my air

Montana heat wave

conditioner without plugging in to shore power. And sleeping with the windows open next to an interstate makes for one seriously sleepless night. I decided to toss my principals aside and find an RV park. It was then that I discovered that the very first KOA campground is in no other than Billings Montana, cozily situated on the banks of the Yellowstone River. How could I not pull the trigger on that deal?

Now, as anyone who has been following me knows, I’m not a big fan of RV parks. They’re usually austere, cramped affairs that are inevitably over-priced. That said, I have a special place in my heart for KOA campgrounds. They are so consistent in layout, style and feel that you always know what you’re getting. Most importantly, the KOA brand has captured and retained something special about the old-style family road-trip. KOA means fun. Perhaps pulling in under that familiar yellow sign, seeing kids riding their bikes among the rows of campsites and cabins triggers real memories from my own childhood. Or maybe they’ve simply captured an archetypal element of baby boomer mythology. Either way, it makes me feel good, downright warm and fuzzy inside. And it somewhat eases the pain of forking over $40 to $50 for a tiny plot of earth and a few hours of electricity. The stop was well worth it. I survived the blistering heat and spent the night in undisturbed slumber, all nocturnal noise having been drowned completely by the hum of my little 5000 btu AC.

Marias County Fairgrounds in Shelby, MT
Canadian border at last!
Only five cars ahead of me.

Another long drive the following day brought me just to the brink of Canada, Shelby, Montana and the Marias County Fairgrounds. That’s where I woke up this morning to truck engines, shouts, horse whinnies, and general cowboy mayhem. Yes, as I slept in this morning, they were preparing for a rodeo this afternoon. Needless to say, I quickly packed my belongings and skedaddled down the road. I pulled in to a truck stop to finish my typical morning ablutions and make the requisite pot of coffee. I was only a few miles from the border, so in no time we had slipped through Canadian customs and  made it to Lethbridge, AB. We’ll overnight here and head on to Calgary tomorrow. There we have a campground booked for couple of days in order to take Boots to here scheduled veterinary appointment on Monday.

Mahalo til next time!