After a good night’s sleep in the dirty but cheap motel, we again began our journey with perhaps a bit more enthusiasm than the first day. I was still very apprehensive and was a bundle of nerves heading toward Chicago. Fortunately the flat roads of Ohio and Indiana were a much easier drive except for the frequent construction zones in Indiana that were a little sample of what was to come later on the Alcan highway. We made it through Chicago by Sunday afternoon and continued into Wisconsin where we found a resting place at the Orange Moose Motel. We were going to do a family picture with the big orange moose statue but it was cold and rainy, and we were anxious to keep the wheels rolling.
Monday found us rolling through Wisconsin, Minnesota and into North Dakota. We enjoyed the many lakes along the highway through Minnesota and North Dakota but after several hours of exclaiming over all the waterfowl the scenery all began to become a bit mundane. The rolling hills and lakes I can enjoy, but the long stretches of flat farmland had me bleary-eyed. I guess I am not much of a farmer.
The grain elevators are the most striking pieces of landscape with the exception of the tractors. The farmers out here use tractors and implements that could barely turn around in the eastern fields!
We stopped in a small town of Harvey, North Dakota at a little motel that we later found was very near the railroad tracks. I heard a train or two but after battling the rig all day I probably could have slept through a tornado.
The next day we drove for a bit and entered the town of Portal, North Dakota. This is where we planned to cross into Canada. We were a bit unsure of how border crossing would go with such a tightly packed trailer and no passports. Our passports had not yet arrived in the mail by the time we left so we went anyway hoping to make it through. You do not need a passport to enter Canada but you do need a passport to enter US.
We were pulled into the inspection bay and we had to answer lots of questions – mainly regarding the handguns that I didn’t have along. They inspected my long guns and ammo which I carefully declared and filed the correct paperwork and about an hour later they left us in. We continued nearly through Saskatchewan before stopping for the night.
Saskatchewan is mostly flat as well with lots of grain elevators, trains, and tractors.
We found another motel that was cheap enough, that is if I made my calculations right from Canadian to U.S; and continued on bright and early the next day. Soon after we entered Alberta we discovered that one of the trailer tires had a hernia. There was a small bubble beginning to protrude from the sidewall. We continued on to a larger town where we found several tire shops but only one that had the time to change our tire. They had a new 10-ply tire in stock and promptly went about changing it. As I was watching the mechanic struggle to lift the trailer with a 10 ton floor jack I became very thankful and apprehensive. Thankful that we were replacing this tire here at the garage and apprehensive regarding the other tires and my inability to even get any of my jacks under the squatting trailer. The young mechanic asked where we were from and I said we were from Pennsylvania. I knew I was far from my previous home when he asked, “Where is that? Is that in Canada?”
This picture was taken along the road somewhere in Alberta.
After a few more prayers of praise and even more of intercession for the tires we headed for British Columbia. We pulled into Dawson Creek later in the evening and stopped for the night at a motel that was nearly full of oil & gas workers.
Tomorrow we begin to travel the Alaska Highway!