9-10 July Logans Pass to Fernie – cars and caravans

9 July.

Today we drove down to the land of the free, and drove through Logan’s Pass in Glacier National Park. This park joins Waterton Park, but cause it is in the US they have to have their own name, own administration etc. Brenda & Shari neglected to mention that even though it is the middle of summer, there is likely to be a lot of snow at the top of the road. I guess they assumed that I would put the words glacier & snow together. Some people huh? Anyway, I didn’t, so I got to play in the snow in my sandals, which wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Brenda & Shari decide that they will refuse to be embarrassed by the sandaled one running about playing in the snow, which was pretty good of them. Logan’s Pass is very scenic, with lots of impressive mountains & a big valley and all of that sort of stuff. So with stopping every 15 minutes or so too look at the view, it was a pretty easy drive for the Blazer.

But it broke down anyway. This time I wasn’t driving. It decided that dash lights were cool, and 1/2 of them should come one. Ones like “check engine”, “abs”, and lots of others. But to even things out, 1/2 of the gauges stopped working. Ones like the fuel gauge & oil pressure. So we drive on, because we are 1/2 way up a mountain & nothing seems to be actually wrong with any of these things. Brenda was even good enough to let me drive around the bottom of the park through the hills & back home. Probably just to give herself & Shari something to complain about.

Then we get back to the border, where the guy takes the little card that I had got in LA that said “this card must be returned to US immigration on your departure, or bad things will happen when you next try to come in (or something like that)”. In Chicago no one seemed too interested in doing this immigration thing, so I got stuck with the card & a vaguely uneasy feeling that it was going to come back & haunt me. But I got rid of it, without any apparent ill effects.

It was interesting to see the difference between the US & Canadian immigration. The motto of US immigration seems to be “everybody out there wants to immigrate to the US, probably on this trip, and we don’t like immigrants, if you are really aggressive and don’t smile, they will collapse in fear and confess their sins”. The Canadian immigration seems to have the approach that 99.999% of the people who come in are doing no wrong, and you are the first impression they have of Canada, smile & be nice some”. Or maybe it is just that Americans are naturally like that.

Anyway, we make it back, pick up the caravan & drive on to Pincher Creek. We set up in the campground there. It was one of those nights that no-one could get to sleep, so I decide I will go and lie in the hammock outside for a while. Shortly later Brenda comes out and wakes me up, telling me that I can’t sleep outside, because the bears might get me.

10 July

We hooked the caravan up to the car & dropped them both in at the GM dealer (that list of all of the GM dealers in BC & Alberta Brenda got in Lethbridge was pretty useful) and asked if he could please fix it. Then we wandered in to town & did some grocery shopping. When we came back they had managed to find the problem and even fix it. It seems that in a past attempt at fixing something, some dopey idiot had put a screw through one of the wires into the dash.

We then asked them if they would take a photo of us under the GM dealer sign, because we decided we would start to collect them.

Then we drove on to Frank. This is the scene of the Frank Slide. Not a waterslide, a bit of a rock slide. In at about 4am in 1903 or so a bit of the mountain fell off & covered 3 square kilometres at the bottom of the mountain in some rock. The corner bit of the town of Frank was under this rock, as were about 70 people. The aerial photos of the mountain are amazing even 90 years later.

We also went into a coalmine, which was quite interesting & a bit on the dark side when they turned off the lights, and went and saw the worlds largest dump truck at Sparwood. It had a capacity of 350 tons & was quite big.

We then drove on to Fernie and looked for a place to stay. The first place, despite being cheap & having a spa pool was not satisfactory as it was too close to the main road. The next place looked nice, with a whole lot of trees and such, but was full, the third place was the parking lot for Fernie ski field, which also had a lot of construction going on at the time. It also didn’t have a lot of space to turn the caravan around as Brenda “show me how to back a trailer in one easy step”, and “no, I will do it” found out. Eventually we made it back down & ended up at the first place.