One thing about traveling without a map is you never know what's going to come up, and you also sometimes end up seeing places you really didn't intend to see.
This can add a few dollars to your gas budget, but it's usually well worth it. But, since we're talking about Canada, I should say it adds a few loonies to the budget, not dollars, which reminds me of a story...
Another trip, a couple of years back, I'd been in Canada for awhile and never yet seen any Canadian currency. That was because I was paying for everything in American dollars, which Canadians are usually happy to take, since the exchange rate isn't in their favor. (It's currently .92, so .92 of a Canadian dollar = one American dollar, meaning they effectively make eight cents every time you hand them a bill and don't get change. And if that doesn't make sense, it's not you, but my sinus infection.)
I was in Drumheller, northeast a bit of Calgary, when I decided it was time for a real shower. (I'd been boondocking with a hoard of mosquitoes that followed me all over Alberta.) I stopped at a big RV park and asked if I could shower and was told sure, it's three loonies.
"What's a loonie?" I asked in cinema-star-quality Ignorant American fashion.
The proprietor just shook his head, asked for three dollars, and gave me three coins in exchange—loonies. And should you ever need to know, a "toonie" is a coin worth two loonies.
(This trip, knowing better, I stopped in Kalispell, Montana at a bank and got some Canadian cash.)
Anyway, I haven't been blogging much, as the closest internet's not very close, and I also broke my camera. But I did manage to get a few photos while in Canada that I'll share, but I broke my camera around Prince George and haven't yet fixed/replaced it. And I still have comments disabled, as I seem to be on every spam list in the universe (1,000 spam comments in a week). I do value your comments and miss them, but the spammers have won for now. More later...
Oh, and I almost forgot. I applied to camp host in Alberta or B.C. next summer and the response was very favorable, so we'll see...
|Sometimes Canada is considerate enough to post maps by the road for those of us who travel without such. I took several of the routes on the above map in an attempt to see the lay of the land, adding a few loonies to my gas expenditures. I was somewhere on British Columbia's Fishing Highway when I took this photo. It was beautiful (the country, not the sign), but I'm still not real sure where exactly it was, in spite of the note saying "You Are Here." But then, the roads were a bit squiggly...|
|Somewhere in the Canadian Rockies, probably Jasper National Park. The Rockies are sedimentary and have many twisted and tilted layers, as seen in the photo below.|
|Part of the region around the Columbian Glacial Fields in Jasper National Park. I'm glad I don't have to shovel the snow off that roof.|
|I like simple signs like this, as they make life easy. Just go left or right, nothing more, nothing less.|
|Part of the Columbian Glacial Fields. The photo below shows what's below the bottom of the above photo. The waterfalls were truly immense.|
|Since I love trains, I had to hang around the rail yards in Jasper. Easy to do since they're right downtown. I would've hopped one if I could've figured out how to get the dogs on board.|
|Fireweed near Prince George|
|I really like the way Canada does their mountain signs. They point upwards to the peak itself, not just in the general direction.|
|The smoke started when I hit Missoula, Montana, and continued all the way to Prince George. I counted the number of fires in the U.S. and B.C. and estimated over 600,000 acres were burning to the west of me, all the smoke floating my way, it seemed. This was taken near Lac La Hache Provincial Park in B.C., where my little Blue Heeler, Cassie, and I sat up late listening to the loons. I've heard them in Montana, but this one was distant and at first we thought it was a wolf. It and its mate woke us at 4 a.m. on the lake right below our camp.|
|A lake along B.C.'s Fishing Highway|
|The best parts of the trip for me were when I could find some little logging road like this and get into the backcountry. British Columbia is a wild and beautiful place.|
|I took this for my little cat, Rowdy. It's in Missoula.|
|Somewhere near Salmon, Idaho|
|The Canadians have some real long-legged skiers.|