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June 17 - Day One

Roll call was by radio at 0730 hours starting with Reveille then each rig calling in their number (we are SMART 15). One couple had to drop out of the caravan already. While shopping for supplies for their Alaska trip, the wife fell and broke her arm. The doctor said it was the worst break he had seen in all his twenty-something years of medical practice. The wife had surgery today and they are hoping to join us afterward. We were assigned to group two for departure (there were five groups of three, five, five, five, and three). The groups were directed to depart 15 minutes apart so that we did not crowd the highways. In Canada, if you have five or more vehicles behind you and don’t pull over to let them pass, you could get a large fine. Don’t want to do that. The stop at the border was interesting. I had to go in to file paperwork to declare a shotgun in our possession. When the couple in front of me moved on, I walked up to the counter and gave the agent the paperwork. The agent was highly annoyed because I had just walked up. CANADIAN LESSON #1: Wait until called forward to the counter regardless of whether there is a sign telling you to wait or not. Today’s trip was 250 miles from Great Falls, Montana, to Fort McLeod, Alberta, Canada. It was 5-1/2 hours to get there. We were advised not to get into the campground before the Wagon Master and got a target time of 4 p.m. When we arrived at 2:30, we looked for something to do to kill time. There was a fort to look at so we parked on the road and spent two hours poking around the place. The fort was very interesting and worth the stop. At our travel meeting tonight, one of the other couples said they spotted a herd of about 200 buffalo shortly after crossing the border. Everyone said all they saw were cows and horses. He told us the buffalo were up on a hill and hard to see. It is possible that we thought they were cows so we ignored them. CANADIAN LESSON #2: Pay attention to ALL animals you see.

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