For the first time in what was probably over 10 years, my family has been together for Christmas! What great fun it was, with food provided by Pascale and I. We decided to make a nice Gluten Roast and a Christmas Log for dessert. All vegan obviously and all extremely delicious. It was tough cooking for the 9 people that were present but I think we handled it pretty well!!
On December 22nd we needed some sunshine and fresh air so we decided to go for a hike. We went to the top of the little mountain in the middle of Grand Forks, Observation. It was pretty steep going up, and cold enough for patches of icy, frozen mud. We were blessed with an awesome view from the top though so that made it all worth while. We thought we would go down the service road instead of the trail on the way back, but little did we know it would be MORE sketchy and way longer. Oh well, that’s what a journey is eh?
Here is some of our first adventures!
Here we have an old Phoenix mine. Apparently Phoenix was a pretty booming city back in the day, and now it doesn’t even exist!
Next we went to check out the Kettle Falls. I don’t really know my way around there so we explored a bit. It was kind of icy and dangerous so we didn’t stay too long.
And today we went for a drive up the North Fork. Some 40km later we found a bunch of snow and some nice views.
Day 5, a week or more late, oops. Well you know, we’ve been settling in and just generally relaxing. It’s nice, and I think we deserve it.
BUT, day 5 still needs a blog post because day 5 was EPIC. The views were just WOW and we had been in 3 different states and popped out back in Canada all in one day. What a perfect end to our adventure, and what a flawless adventure it was. Again at the border we had ZERO problems, just goes to show what a bit of research and planning does for you.
Well here it is, a pile of photos taken from the passenger seat:
Thanks for following along, and don’t forget! The fun doesn’t stop here! SAME BAT CHANNEL, SAME BAT TIME!
Day Four, one day more:
- Montana = hunting
- Montana = beef
- When watching distance, miles descend much slower then kilometres
- The gas stations are fewer and further apart
- There’s horsies
Today was one of the nicer days. We left the WORST motel of our journey (expensive, dirty, no free wifi, smelly, etc) in some pretty cold temps (-15) and headed for our new destination of Bozeman (some 950ish KM away). Today the time would change again and mountains would come into view. Ahhhh mountains, that’s what this journey is all about right? Well we finally left early-ish (9:30), which really helps, and with a ~10 hour day ahead of us we were hoping to be settling in tonight before too late.
First things first, it’s coffee time. I’m really liking my set up here; quick to boil, fresh, and delicious. The Aeropress makes a delicious brew and with the new GSI hand grinder I got I’m pretty much set. There’s never enough coffee though, so after about an hour we decide to top up the tank and head to the local McDo for some free wifi and mediocre coffee.
These funny little sand “mountains” (as Pascale says) start popping up. That sure does make the drive more interesting. It’s like all those western movies; I can just imagine robbing trains and riding a horse up to the secret hide out. Its perfect isn’t it? The other thing we start to see are oil pumps, trains, and large tanker trucks. I guess there’s oil around here! Sure enough, it’s time to enter Montana.
Home On The Range is an actual place? I just thought it was from that classic western song: “Home, Home on the range. Where the blah blah blah whatever”, you know the one. Well we didn’t visit it, screw that!
Now that we are in Montana there’s a lot less vehicles on the road, and when there are some they are usually a big pickup trucks with gun racks and “proud hunter” bumper stickers. This isn’t a place for vegetarians! But it is a place for OIL! All the small towns we pass end up being bigger then we expect when they have an oil refinery or five. It smells weird too… or is that just the gasoline Pascale spilt all over her hoody when she was trying to fill up the Beep Beep.
Well this is getting to be TLDR, so I’m gonna hit the hay. It’s too bad we didn’t make it to Butt(e) today, but it wasn’t even the plan. You know, I’m tired and it seems funny now…. I guess it’s not. Just one more day ahead of us and we’ve got leftover pizza for the road.
Oh, here’s the map, Its missing a big section. That was a fail. I pasted a file over another file and deleted the original, what a n00b mistake! But it gets us to where we are now anyway.
Another long day, 960km, another tired bunch. Pascale is working really hard with all this driving, and I feel bad. I wish I could help, but other then cutting up carrots and dipping them in hummus I’m not that useful.
A few notes:
- There are A LOT of semi trucks on the high way when you’re only going 95
- Americans seem to think we always have our high beams on?!?!?!
- Or Americans flash high beams to say hello to strangers
Also, I’m tired of sitting in McDo so this post is fini!
I’ll leave with a few notes from Pascale:
C’est plutôt drôle de monter des côtes sur l’autoroute, j’essaie toujours de rester en 5ème, mais lorsque je vois mon aiguille indiquer 85… Grrrrrr down shift en 4 et on pousse la machine! Parfois j’arrive même en haut à 110km, Yahoo!! C’est plutôt vite dans notre cas.
Je tiens souligner que Dayne a dormi que 10 minutes, Yay 🙂
J’essaie de m’occuper en conduisant… Ouais, pas grand chose à faire, donc je mange!!!!! pis Dayne aussi…..
Ça l’air qu’on doit y aller.. Je sens que Dayne veut partir.
Plus my windows partition is not booting so I’m on linux. That means less photos for now. Booooo, but you get the map!
Day two was supposed to be our longest day at around 1100km. Ouff, with the trailer and an average speed of around 95 km/h it’s tough going. We are starting to figure out the gas stations, how to use the stupid pay at the pump that only works sometimes; I don’t understand why they don’t have chip cards at those things???? Half of the time it doesn’t read the damn card. Anyway, it’s a long day and we aren’t going to make it to Minneapolis
As we leave our motel we head through the city and things are getting more ghetto. The roads are a bit rough and “open” businesses are becoming scarce. The closer we get to Detroit the more it’s dead. So many boarded up buildings in the town we stopped for gas, I guess this what it’s like in Detroit. We saw two Car Assembly Factories around here too. I guess that’s where all the economy was, and that’s why its gone.
One of my favourite things about the USA is Vanilla Coke! yummy!!!
Everywhere you look, factories of sorts with smoke bellowing out of their smoke stacks.
Around Chicago things opened up, I couldn’t even count the number of lanes, let alone the number of trucks! and they were ALL passing us! OH CRAP, there’s our exit! VROOOM there we cross 4 lanes to make our exit. It was well executed by our pilot, Capitan Pascale.
You can see by the map, we took a smaller highway to find our place to stay. Ouff that was a bit of a nightmare. Max 55 and everyone we passed kept flashing their high beams at us? what’s with that. We were trying to figure out what we were doing wrong, or was there some danger ahead? No danger ever showed up so we started to flash back. That’s our new thing, if you flash your high beams at us then we will BLAST our high beams at you. Fuckoff, that’s no way to say “hi” to a stranger! Anyway, Pascale is tired and a bit grumpy, so she’s not taking ANY shit.
We left pretty late, you know, last minute stuff. 10:30 I guess it was. We had to pump up the tires on the trailer, argh I totally spaced on that, they were only half inflated! Yikes! But the start of our journey was good. We said goodbye to Luce and Raymond and headed west.
The trip went fairly smooth along the 401 most of the way. Our first gas stop came earlier then we had hoped, but that’s how it’s going to be with the trailer, we are LOADED. The was a huge accident around Bowmanville which closed the highway. Lucky for us Google knew the fastest way around. There were a lot of people backed up and we only had to wait around 45 minutes and then some slow going, not so bad for a closed highway.
BUT, we aren’t home free yet! Imagine Toronto at 5:30pm, DO’H! we should have left earlier I guess. More traffic in Toronto means now we are a few hours behind schedule. Our 10 hour day turns into a 12h day.
The border, wow. A little preface, we are crossing at Sarnia, the border is over a bridge, and we have a trailer PLEIN DE STOCK. We’ve prepared the best we can, we have a list, and we are ready. First we head to the Canadian border to have our list checked. The robot (human?) that works there checks our list, asks us if we have weapons, then stamps our list and says good luck… WHAT? too easy. Ok, lets head to the US. First theres a booth, hmm what is this, so we stop. A man with 4 fingers sticks out his hand and says “$7.50 with the trailer”. OH its a toll, and we have to pay BEFORE we cross the border. Puzzled we press on. Over the bridge and to the border stop. This makes more sense, I think, as the cameras flash. We stop and roll down the window prepared for the worst, and a young gentleman asks us “How are you two tonight?”, it’s the end of his shift and hes obviously in a good mood. We hand him our passports, tell him we “want to visit his beautiful country as we move to the other side of ours”, he looks at our list and says “Ok, but what about things you can eat”, Pascale replies “we have some honey, maple syrup, a bottle of wine, two yogurt… OH and a bottle of ketchup”. The border agents looks at our list for a few seconds longer, then hands us our papers,”Have a good one” he says. WOW!
With 1 hour of driving left we are both getting a bit tired… DING there’s the damn fuel light again and oh crap we missed the last exit with GAS. Pascale is getting worried we will run out of gas. I tell her to be calm, we are in the US, there is gas EVERYWHERE! Boom, the next exit has 5 gas stations to choose from and we are 30 minutes from our planned stop.
We made it, day one is a success.