Trans USA & Canada Week 8, 7/13-7/19

Day 51 (7/13): Well today was a bitter sweet day. I was leaving my favorite national park. I was also leaving my home country. Onward to Canada! The home of the very very nice people. And the Red Green Show.  If you don’t know what the Red Green Show is youtube it. I have not checked but I bet you can find it all over it. It was in my top 5 shows to watch growing up. Well anyways it turned out I left my camera in night exposure mode so I have a bunch of pictures that just resemble the great white north about 3 months ago. As I left Glacier National Park. I quickly returned to the prairies of Montanan and as I headed towards Canada the mountains appeared to e getting further and further away. As soon as   crossed the border into Canada the ranch lands turned into farmland with this beautiful yellow floor covering the landscape as far as you could see. I kept driving on towards Calgary where I would meet up with the T-CAT (Trans Canadian Adventure Trail). About 100km away from Calgary I was driving into what appeared to be a nasty thunder storm. All of a sudden I hit it it started to down pour. Next came the dime size hail for the next 30mins. I kept trekking onward slowly with traffic as it seemed I could reach the other edge sooner than it would pass. I soon reached the other side and was quickly into Calgary. Calgary had worst traffic then I expected and since I don’t have the detailed road maps of Canada for my gps. I was just following a line. After about a hr and a half I was through Calgary and approaching my turn off for the T-CAT. I soon reached that turn off and headed down some nice gravel roads between farm land and cow pastures. For the rest of the day I was in and out of rain clouds. After a few more hour of driving the pasture stared to turn into pine forest.  And I past a sign about a recreational area I was headed into. Within an hour of passing that sign I was reaching my camping spot for the night. As I turned off the main road towards the camping spot the rain let up and I was a creek so I got out and took a look. This is what I saw.

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As there was a campfire ring but signs clearly stating that there is no camping allowed in that area. I headed down the road away from that beautiful spot. I soon reached the area were camping was allowed and found a spot nestled back into a pine forest a short distance from the road. I am calling it an early night since last night was so late and I was unable to get much sleep.

Day 52 (7/14): Today started off as an early one. I guess the sleeping in period is over. So I hit the gravel road. The roads were real nice and smooth with the occasional washboard. For the first half of the day I was driving through the pine forests with the mountains to my right and I was approaching them.

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I soon reached a little town and headed up into the mountains and was surrounded by them.

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I continued down the gravel road through the mountain passes. When you picture the Rocky Mountains or see a post card of them It is from the Canadian Rockies they are so much more rock with little to no plant life on them.

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After a couple hrs of driving I ended back up in the farmlands to the east of the Rockies.

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For the rest of the afternoon I drove through the prairie lands of Alberta with the Rockies off to my west.

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As the day became late, I finally found a camp site for the night on top of this beautiful hill. Thank goodness for the later sunsets as I would have been eating in the dark otherwise.

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As I was finishing up diner, I started to hear noise in the woods to the south of my camp. I could hear branches breaking. And see the top of the small trees shaking. This went on for a good thirty mins. Not knowing if it was a deer, bear, or moose. Or what type of animal it could be I became very alert. All of a sudden I could see an ear or something twitching in the bushes. Stepping to the side I now saw a yellow tag on the ear. Instant relief yet disappointment of not being able to get a picture of a wild animal up close.

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These guys made a beline straight for me. Then stopped. I guess cows have nothing to do since they sat and watched me for a good hour wondering what I was and what my trailer was. They even joined me as I watched the sun set.

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I could see 5 rows of mountain tops from my camp site.

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Day 53 (7/15): I woke up nice and early this morning to the sound of my friends eating just a few yards away. By the time I got out of bed they were on the other side of the tree break. I packed up the few things I had left out and was on my way this morning. Just a few miles down the road I was surrounded by a spectacular view of mountains in front of me and to my right.

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The about 2 hours into the day and where I was a the feet of the mountain. I hit a road block. A bridge was out and under construction. I had two options back track 5 miles and take a main highway to the next intersection which would have been 15miles or follow my map and gps and try to wiggle my way through these mountains passes roads going forward. What type of adventure takes main roads? So I thought I figured out a path which would add 40 miles to my trip to the next gas station. Well I was full on gas and had 3 jerry cans full for backup. So I figured the worst is I would go through ¾ of a tank and turn around. I headed down the road which was very similar to what I have been traveling. I have learned that slow and easy wins the race along with not breaking my wallet. About 45mins down the road I hit another road block. A big mining operations and it looked like they made a make shift road to go around. Well I know my gps map I was using is at least 6 years old. So I took a sharp right and headed down the road. The road was tougher and slower yet. For the first 10 miles or so I was following along a fence that read mining operations do not enter. I continued on and passed a couple of trucks headed the other way which seemed to be work trucks. They gave me a weird look but I was use to that by now. People don’t know what to think of my camper. After another 5 miles or so the road became tougher yet. It was medium size rocks instead of gravel almost looked like an old river bed. All of a sudden it was like the road and this stream joined together. And you couldn’t the  tell it was a big snow melt this last spring as the stream had cut away at the road here and there. Kind of like this stream crossing, I don’t know when the bridge washed away but I did not know there was supposed to be one until I saw the sign from the other directions. And we all no pictures never do anything justice.

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I continued on and did a few more dried up stream crossings and few that were a couple of feet deep. All with rocky bottoms and crystal clear water so I had no worries. As I continued on there were a few points were I had to follow the road and stream together as they would join for one for a hundred feet then go side by side then join again and so forth. I then hit a fork in the road. My map said go right and head up this mountain. But there was one issue. This! About a 6 foot drop on both sides. Defently the worst wash out of the road I’ve seen yet. I was use to the 1-2ft deep wash outs by now.

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Now did I have to turn around? Could I just go left at the fork and continue and add a few extra miles to the route? Well as I continue to the left I noticed the road I was supposed to go on, was a bunch of switch backs up a mountain side. So I did not think there would be another crossing to connect anytime soon. Then I noticed this little trail. It looked like some ATV’s and trucks made a new crossing. I was defiantly not easy but I think it was going to work. I headed down into the river bead and crossed the small stream that the river was. I analyzed the uphill climb I had to do. I figured I could get close. I locked my front and rear and almost got my front tires to the flat surface on top before I started to spin. I eased back down the hill and tried again. And once again I almost made the front go over the top. So I eased it back down enough where I would not slide or roll on its own. I got out and found a perfect winch spot straight across form the climb was a tree on the other side of the road about a ft in diameter. I grabbed my tree saver and uncoiled my winch cable. I hooked them up and wrapped it around the tree.

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Another picture of the old road.

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Together with my winch and me working the clutch I got my truck and trailer up the hill together. Victorious and there was no damage ether. I unhooked my cable and wound it back up packed up my tree saver and right before I continued I noticed another sign I guess there use to be a bridge there. I through it into first and started up the mountain side. After about another 5 miles the road smoothed out and I was back on another gravel road. I knew I was getting closer to civilization when I started to see cabins of to the side of the road. Then my first vehicle in 5 hrs a logging truck! I passed over quite a few wooden plank bridges and as they became nicer so did the road.

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I filled up on gas in this small town and continued on the road for another 15 miles until I found this peaceful camping site along a river. With the mountains on all sides and I found out I was now in British Columbia.

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Day 54 (7/16): Today was another long and slow but steady day on the C-TAT. I drove through rain and muddy roads for most of my day. They were not as bad as what Mississippi was back on week 2 of the trip. But it still makes for an interesting and dirty day. The whole day was also driving through mountains. It was difficult to get a good picture since the forests up here are so thick with pine trees. But I had amazing glimpses of rocky mountain sides all day long. I also crossed over numerous streams and rivers which had crystal clear water head down from the mountains.

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I got to see this 60-80ft water fall as I crossed over a single track bridge.

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As I was driving through the forest I would spot animals over and over and they all kept being cows with the occasional deer darting from the road in front of me. Then I noticed the group of 3 of these guys up on a hill side to the side of me.

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I did find a large enough opening for these great shots.

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Then I found this great campsite for the night. Large open area around me with a slight view of the mountains in the distance though the trees. Now I just have to find a place to fill up on water tomorrow as my camper is dry.

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Day 55 (7/17): Today as a very long day. It started at 8am this morning. I headed down the trail. After a couple of miles the trail became ruff and very slow travel. It was so slow. I was attracting flies to the mud on my vehicle and they would just sit there and enjoy the ride.

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After about 2 hours of travel I hit a closed gate that was locked. It was time to turn around. On the way back I investigated a few bypasses but they all had closed gates. I finally found a route around and it was lunch time. As I made lunch I realized I had backtracked to a few miles from my campsite from the day before. The whole morning was shot. After about a hour of driving and finding a gas station with a water hose and filling up my camper. I was back on the original trail.

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I headed up and down these thick wooded switch backs with almost no glimpse of the mountain peaks around me. By late afternoon I started to look for a camping site. All the sites and campgrounds I came across where full. I was informed that there is a music festival that weekend in one of the small town. I soon came to a Ferry. I got in line to load and as I was about to load I was informed that the captain did not allow jerry cans. I had 6. I could leave them behind if I wanted to. I told the no way. I was not going to be stranded in the middle of nowhere later. They told me I could take the pass instead it was a one and half hour detour. I got some directions and turned around and headed out. I soon put the directions into my GPS and found out it was a three hour detour. It was one and half to the pass and double that coming back to the other side. After the long drive and not finding anywhere to camp for the night I finally reached the other side. The good thing was I got some good photos.

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I kept driving into the night until I found a camping spot at 1am. I pulled over and crashed until early morning.

Day 56 (7/18): I woke up nice and early this morning again and with little sleep I headed on the road. After about 2 hours of driving I hit another Ferry. This one did not care about my Jerry cans. They just had to put sticker on my propane tank. Once on the Ferry I got some amazing views.

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Once I got off the ferry I quickly got back on gravel and headed down a logging road. After about 10 miles I found a camping spot. Nice and early just after lunch. I changed the oil and filter in my vehicle and cleaned the air filter. I then walked down the hundred feet to the beach and cooled down in the cold water.

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Day 57 (7/19): Todays drive was a nice relaxing drive through pine forests all day. They were so thick it was difficult to see through to the mountains around me. Yet it was absolutely beautiful. Once again I saw a hand full of deer. I also saw a fox run across the road and many smaller animals. It was also a slow drive down forest service roads that are mostly used for the lumber industry. Here is one of the only views I had today of the mountains.

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It is difficult to see in this picture but behind the trees is a very large gravel pit or open pit mind that looked shutdown. It went down a little ways but more into the mountain side.

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I found This little opening to call a camping site for the evening. The sun is still so high even though it is 7pm. The sun does not set until after 10.

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Here is another recipe I have been working on:

Grab your Cast Iron pot and pan. Start your camp fire and get it to medium heat. Brown a pound of ground beef in your pan over the fire. Meanwhile fill a ¼ of your pot with water. Add a half stick of butter and a can of beef broth to the pot. Also season the water with salt and pepper as desired. Sit the pot right next to the fire to start heating up the water and melt the butter. Once your beef is brown remove it from the fire and remove or drain the grease. Start building a small fire around the cast iron pot so there is a low steady heat on all sides. Once the water is boiling remove the pot from the fire and stir in instant mash potatoes until it is thick. Put the ground beef on top of the mash potatoes. Put a nice layer of corn, peas, carrots, and mushrooms on top of the beef. Then open a can of cream of mushrooms and layer it over the vegetables. Next slice your choice of cheese and create a layer over everything. By now your fire should be a nice coal bed. Place the Pot back into the low heat fire and let it sit for 30mins to allow everything to cook together. Remove from fire once the cheese is fully melted and serve.