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Millar Western Saw Mill

Day Three. We were assigned to group 4 leaving at 9 a.m. The drive was only 150 miles from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, to Whitecourt, Alberta. The countryside became very wooded at times with pine, birch, and aspen. The weather started out partly cloudy and bright, then gradually got more overcast until thunderstorms erupted. We arrived at noon at the Whitecourt Lions Campground and were parked by the camp host personally. At 3 p.m. we took a tour of the Millar Western saw mill on the edge of town. Wow! We went in a group of 8 and were issued safety vests, helmets, glasses, and ear plugs. The noise was deafening and the floors vibrated as trees rolled along conveyer belts, were tossed around like match sticks, and automated saws reduced them to two-by-fours. The schedule called for pizza with the Mayor of Whitecourt at the local park, but it was cancelled because of the rain. The Wagon Master was able to have the Forest Interpretive Center (which happens to be located across the street from the campground) open for us to use their meeting room. After pizza, we were all able to look around the center. It is a small museum that explains the harvesting and processing of wood. There was also an interesting video about how paper, particle board, and fiber board are made. We discovered that the couple with the parrot who were turned away at the border have a bizarre story. It turned out that they would be able to enter Canada with the bird, but would have a problem coming out of Canada even though the bird was born and raised in the U.S. and they have paperwork to show it is their pet. They wound up driving back 80 miles to Helena, Montana, and after getting nowhere with four different, overlapping government agencies, wound up shipping the bird back home. They caught up with the caravan today.

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