Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcome To Canada....How did you get here??

Yesterday we drove the last leg of our journey back to Saskatchewan. We spent the previous night in Havre, Montana. Since the border crossing doesn't open until 10:00 AM we took our time in the morning and winterized the 5th wheel, organized and packed some of our stuff and went over our list of items we needed to declare at customs. AT 10:00 we were loaded up and ready to head north. But on the edge of town there was a road block up that said "Road Closed To Through Traffic". As we sat there contemplating our next move, which would have included turning around the truck and 5th wheel on a hill with a slight curve, a vehicle came from the opposite direction. The guy stopped and told us the road would be closed for at least 3 hours, possibly longer. He must have seen the looks of despair on our faces because he then proceeded to give us a set of lengthly directions of a route that would take us around the highway construction and still lead us to the border.
Senor Ping backed the rig up (well, actually down the hill) and turned us around and away we went...."when you come to the corner keep going straight, out on a grid road, past the golf course about 5 miles and then turn right and go another 3 or 4 miles and then you'll come to the highway and that will lead you to the Willow Creek Crossing". The road was not too bad for a grid road, there were some ruts but we slowed down and didn't have any problems and we eventually came to the highway. There was a bit of traffic on the road, so we decided that other people obviously knew about the detour as well.
When we arrived at the US border crossing we had to pull in to the US Customs office first. A big sign said, " Wait for the Officer". There weren't any other vehicles there, but it seemed like it was taking him a long time to come and wave us through. Finally, he came to the window and said "How did you get here?" We explained about the alternate route we had taken and he told us that when the road is marked closed that means it is detours, "do not pass go, do not collect $100"!!!!! According to him, if the state police had seen us they could have fined us! HUMPF!!! No one told us that!!!! He must have been happy to see someone though, because he chatted at length before letting us head to the Canadian Customs office.
Again, we were met by the same question, "How did you get here?" We repeated the story about the detour we took and they were amazed. They had been told that the Shepherd Road (the one we took) was full of ruts and that vehicles couldn't drive through to the highway. We were the first vehicle they had seen and were certainly not expecting to see any more until the road was repaired. While we were there, two vehicles came from the north. The road was blocked and an officer went out and told them the road was crossing into the US for them!! It would be a long drive out of their way to find another crossing open.
After a quick run through of the usual questions, checking of receipts and Abbey's papers, we were on our way. We were back in Saskatchewan!!! The next 3 hours we were bumped and jostled around as we drove the rest of the way home. The detour road, that was supposed to be closed, was much better than most of the highway we drove on for the rest of the trip. But, as
Dorothy said, "There's no place like home!!"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Stop At Zion

Our last stop before heading home is Zion National Park. We settled into an RV park in Leeds Utah on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning we packed a lunch and drove to the park. Vehicle parking is limited within the gates of the park so we used the free shuttle from the nearby town of Springdale. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is accessible by shuttle bus only and visitors can hop on and off the bus as often as you like. It stops at the Museum, the Zion Lodge as well as the starting points for the numerous hikes throughout the Zion Canyon. We rode the shuttle to the Temple of the Sinawava, the last shuttle stop before it begins the return trip. There is a 3.5 km hike that runs along the Virgin River to the Narrows. There was a spectacular waterfall at the start of the walk.

The path follows the river with plenty of areas to stop and enjoy the scenery, walk down to the river and enjoy the wildlife. We saw lots of squirrels along the trail.

There were wild turkeys across the river. The male turkey is much more easy to spot than the females.

On Sunday we went on a "Ride With the Ranger" tour. The 2-hour tour included 4 stops with a short, but informative lecture at each stop and lots of time for photos and questions. There was a light rain shower as we boarded the bus but the sun was shining by the time we made our first stop.

There are beautiful little streams and waterfalls.

A yellow columbine in bloom.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Golf at Johnson Ranch

Yesterday Senor Ping and I golfed at Johnson Ranch at Queen Creek, which is a 45 minute drive from our RV park. The front nine has wide a few rolling hills and longer holes on the floor of the San Tan foothills. The fairways are lined with homes, but they didn't come into play too often!!! The back nine rises and falls in and around the San Tan Mountains and and has some elevated tees and approach shots. We golfed with a couple who were familiar with the course so it made for an enjoyable round.

A view from the top.

A par 3 with an elevated tee.

A long par 5 with a challenging approach to the green. Guess who was in the rough!!!

The cactus was huge!

Water and wildlife on Hole 18.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chicago in Concert

I have been listening to Chicago since their first album back in '68(?). Finally got a chance to see the band at the Encanterra Festival last night. Awesome.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fun Times at Canyon Lake

Our friend Pat has done a fantastic job of retelling the tales of our 5 hour tour on Canyon Lake so I have asked permission to post a link to her blog. If you are a blog reader, you must add "A View from the Edge" to your reading list. Pat writes a wonderful account of their travels as well as a humorous look at their daily adventures.

To get you in the mood for the Canyon Lake tour here's our version of "Gilligan's Island" theme song.

Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a wonderful trip,
That started from Canyon Lake,
Aboard three tiny ships.
The mates were mighty sailin' men,
The Skippers brave and sure,
Thirty passengers set sail that day,
For a five hour tour,
A five hour tour.

And here is Pat's blog:
(Be sure to read part 1 and part 2)