Wednesday, July 10 Traveling
Well, it was a long day. 14.5 hours to travel 425 miles from Calgary to Spokane. A number of factors come into play.
First, getting out of Calgary. As mentioned earlier, while there are limited access highways in Calgary, the direction we were going only had them for part of the way. City streets with traffic signals were a good portion of the road traveled.
Second, some might be cynical and ask if we chose the most direct, quickest route. The answer would be: Of course not. We chose a route that looked direct, scenic, easy to remember, explored new territory, and went by areas we wished to see. The route did all that.
Third, cynicism might continue when we state that we added time to our travel day since we chose a route with a bridge washed out from the mid June floods and which was not yet replaced. Could we not have checked that out before we left?? Probably. We didn’t. So we got to see additional, new territory as we had to detour around the washout.
Fourth, we were traveling two lane roads with 100 km/hr speed (62 mph) limits, frequently behind trucks and RVs and which roads travel through small towns where the speed is reduced to 50 km/h. There were no 4 lane, limited access highways as an option.
Fifth, we stopped to eat and see.
We left our Evergreen hosts at 9 AM. We drove south to pick up Alberta Highway 3 which crosses the Rockies at Crowsnest Pass, one of the only three passes over the Rockies in Canada. Our drive took us through the foothills of the Rockies, plains to the east, rolling hills where we were and the Rockies to the west. The road was called the Cowboy Trail and is prime ranching territory.
We made our first stop in the town of Longview where we had an excellent lunch at the New York Style Bistro. Longview is a small, ranching town. The restaurant had a log cabin type construction.
Our second stop was at the Bar U ranch national historical site. This ranch was started in the 1800s and was one of the largest in Canada for cattle ranching. In the early 1900s, it was also famous for its breeding of the Percheron horses. Its owner was one of the Big Four-financial backers of the initial Calgary Stampede.
Our third stop was at the Frank Slide interpretive center. The town of Frank located in the Crowsnest pass area had a landslide in 1903 which killed 90 people. While coal mining was occurring here, it is believed the landslide was due to natural forces. In the same geographic area, a coal mining accident killed 189 workers about a decade later.
From Crowsnest almost to Spokane, we were driving on two lane roads in a valley. Usually a river or creek was close to the road. Railroad tracks were frequently in sight. Mountains were on either side although as we drove further the mountains became shorter and more gently sloped. The area was usually forested. A pleasant scene.
Our final stop was for dinner at a restaurant in Sandpoint Idaho. The restaurant is on the shores of Lake Pond Oreille, the fifth deepest in the U.S. at about 1,150 feet. We treated ourselves to a real meal and shared Steak Oscar and bread pudding.
We finally arrived at the Fairfield Inn in Spokane at 10:30 pm, pacific time.
Ed and Chris July 11 10:30 AM