First order of business, smuggle the cats out of the hotel, even though the clerk looked the other way when we checked in – we still had to get past the day shift staff. No problems, only a cleaning lady giving a strange look when she saw the litter box. Boo ended up in the RV by herself for 30 minutes and she wind up hiding in the closet all day and being mad and scared, poor thing.
We got our hot showers and hit the road by 10:30am. Behind schedule again but clean and warm this time.
We found a 12 volt plug in the RV bedroom to charge up the GPS unit, so that was good go to but Dar had to keep going to the back to check it. We stopped in Lethbridge for $100 worth of gas cause we wanted to wait to fill up on the US where it’s cheaper.
***Things we’ve seen: just north of Lethbridge, the wind turbines that generate wind energy. Could be used by Enmax which provides clean, green energy to Alberta***
Got to the US border crossing about 3:30, and noticed we had no radio and cellular signals within 500 meters of the port of entry. Rob’s theory is they jam it there on purpose. The border guard didn’t think twice about any of our answers to his questions, even about what we did for a living and how can we afford to go away for 6 months like this, until he asked about foods. He asked if we had any meat, eggs, vegetables or fruit and Rob said “yeah all the above”. Upon closer examination their concerns were over the bison and ostrich meat and oranges. We got sent inside to wait for an agent. An hour later we were on our way after having to eat the oranges and hand over the Asian apple pear to the agent, and she checked that our bison and ostrich had commercial labels on them. We were able to keep all our meat and didn’t have to show papers for the cats after spending $150 to get them up to date on shots, but you just never know what they’ll ask so you gotta be ready.
The rest of the way to Great Falls was uneventful except for it was really windy. Dar and Pumpkin slept on the couch for an hour and after gassing up at a small town we checked into Dicks RV Park in Great Falls ($24/night), Montana at around 7:30pm. We were going to take a taxi to a nearby restaurant for dinner (we still can’t cook as we haven’t unwinterized yet and have no water) but it was going to cost us $22 (set rate) so we bit the bullet and unhooked the mud soaked car and cleared the windows and headlights with some snow the best we could.
As we took time to get the furnace running (okay it was Dar’s request and Rob did it) we didn’t get going until after 9 and found all the restaurants closed at 9pm. Apparently they roll up the streets here early. We managed to find a hotel/casino that had a restaurant and found something decent to eat. Rob even got a beer bought for him by two local guys after we had an odd interchange with them. Waitress was really nice and interested in our trip and even asked for Dar’s web site to check out her photography.
So first night to sleep in the RV, furnace runs, have electricity – all should be good. Stay tuned. . .
Lessons or things learned:
Always have commercial labels on any meat when crossing the border.
Hills and wind affect a 17,000 lb, 34’ vehicle towing a 10’ car – just as you would expect.
Also learned we don’t have a coaxial cable to plug in to get TV reception.