It was April. The temperatures were already high in Calgary. The trees and flowers were blooming and the grass was green. I felt it was safe to just wear my sandals as we were going south to a hot state – again we were on route to Texas.
Once we got into Montana, it started snowing. My sandals were useless, but I didn’t have anything else. I started wearing my husband’s socks beneath the sandals and know I looked silly. It snowed all the way to Amarillo. We had to go to Dallas. It was icy and cold.
After unloading and loading again (back for Calgary) in a tiny town of Boise City in Oklahoma the roads were shut down. We spent the night in Boise City. There were no places for trucks. The one motel was booked long before we arrived. But in true hospitality, a small convenience store stayed open overnight. We had a washroom and we had snacks. Fortunately most the big trucks had sleepers. Only one trucker came on the CB and insisted ‘he was a trucker and a little snow shouldn’t stop a trucker.’ Others laughed at him and some advised ‘each time you drive in snow it’s different.’
The next morning we had a huge convoy heading towards the interstate and Denver. It didn’t surprise us to hear that same trucker, who had spent the night in a ditch in the middle of nowhere, once again come on the CB when we got onto the interstate.
When we were back in Calgary, again the weather was nice and warm.
Most the country-side in the middle States are similar to their northern Canada provinces. The people are similar too, especially in the farming communities. North Dakota and South Dakota went on endlessly across flat/straight roads with a few differences from southern Saskatchewan. There was an ad for Wall Drug Store that indicated some fabulous landmark would eventually appear. It wasn’t quite what I expected but their sense of humor and guarantee that curiosity would make me stop is to be commended. I also had the privilege of seeing ‘Historical’ Jamestown – the town of my father’s birth. It was a great experience. I really enjoyed driving through northern Michigan.. When I stayed in Marquette overnight – I thought it would be a place I could live – it was peaceful and beautiful on Lake Superior. I reconsidered when I realized I’m not excited about humidity and it was there. Some of the town names were exotic with promise – possibly not met? Escanaba sounded like it should be in the Caribbean but instead it is on the northern tip of Lake Michigan. When we crossed the Mackinaw Bridge the scenery was awesome. It was late and George was tired so even though it was the middle of summer tourist season we tried to find a hotel. Once again the Best Western saved us. Since it was so late they gave us a luxurious room for $57.00 – complete with a Jacuzzi tub where we could watch TV. In the morning we had a free breakfast out on a patio before the heat of the day. It was beautiful. The bridge spans where Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan join. We drove through Iowa and Radar’s hometown Ottumwa. In Council Bluffs I had the experience of a desk-clerk asking me what ‘a’ Calgary was when I signed in to a motel. In Kansas we stopped in a tiny restaurant (unfortunately I forget the name) where they served ham that was identical to the hams my dad used to cure. It was fantastic. I loved Montana – it was so much like my beloved Alberta. In Oklahoma we were caught in the middle of a storm. We had to stay in a small town Boise City with very few conveniences. All the streets were lined with semi’s and a small convenience store stayed open. In the morning we could go again.
Last but not least, I am determined to go back and visit St. Louis. I discovered they have the largest museum and center for Western North American History. I should be able to stay for at least a few weeks of research. I still laugh at the expressions I get when I am asked where I would like to go on holidays and I say St. Louis.