Sunday, September 11, 2022

Banff - Over the Prairies We Go

Thursday August 18. Jamestown North Dakota

Lee can finally check North Dakota off his list, the last state he had never been to. This was a very easy day of driving, 5 hours, all on I-94. The sky just gets bigger and bigger as the land gets flatter. It’s not completely flat yet, but it probably will be tomorrow. 

We been driving through and around thunderstorms all day. It rains, it stops, it rains again. The clouds are amazing.

This is a nice campground. Small and quiet, well maintained, full hookup, easy pull through. They have a path that goes all around the campground and through a canopy of lilacs. It must be something else in the spring.

Heather and Harper are doing just fine. I gave Harper a CBD chew about 30 minutes ago and put the thunder shirt on her right before she got in the RV, with lots of treats. She is under the table now, perfectly calm. We have the fan on at a low setting. Here’s hoping this works; I hate seeing her shaking, shivering and panting. We’ll leave the shirt on through dinner at least. If she’s still calm we’ll take it off at bedtime.

Note: Harper has developed an aversion to the air conditioner on the RV. We discovered this when we took the RV to Baker Park earlier this summer. Why? Who knows.

Friday August 19. Williston North Dakota

The northern plains. Miles and miles and miles of wheat, cows, hay. Sometimes flat, sometimes rolling hills. We’ve been climbing, currently at 2100 ft. This RV park is clean and quiet, all gravel though. No good place to walk the dogs. Its beautiful in a wide open spaces scenic vistas sort of way. It’s warm this evening, 81F. Tomorrow we cross into Canada, Saskatchewan. 

Saturday August 20. Swift Current Saskatchewan Canada

Last night Harper was a mess. We made the mistake of not putting on the Thundershirt until she was in the RV, plus I only gave her half a CBD chew to start. One and a half chews later and she was still panting and if we tried to put her on the seat next to us, or on the bed, she started shaking too. The really strange thing is that once it’s bedtime and we’ve done all our bedtime rituals, I can put her on the bed, take off the Thundershirt, and she goes straight to sleep. So tonight I gave her a whole chew about 30 minutes ago. When we got to the campground I took them for a short walk, then I put them in the little dog fenced area and gave them some water. Then I put on the Thundershirt and after about 10 minutes let them both inside. It’s hot out there so I didn’t want to leave them out for long. She is not perfectly calm, she’s panting a little, but she’s def better than yesterday. She’s under the table and she can stay there as long as she wants.

We slept late this morning, almost 7 am. We moved slowly but we still managed to get out of there by 9:30. It was only an hour to the Canadian border. We crossed at Oungre, which is in the middle of nowhere and we were the only ones there. Crossing was simple. Answer the questions, tell him we had filled out the ArriveCAN app, two bottles of wine, 10 cans of beer, no tobacco, less than $10,000 cash (!). Good to go.

About 30 minutes from the border we passed the town of Oungre and a nice looking RV campground. I decided to call them, so we’re going to stay there instead on our way back. Trees and grass!

Miles and miles of Saskatchewan were amazingly flat. Right before we got to Swift Current there were some rolling hills. We’ve crossed the continental divide and we’re now on mountain time.

I mentioned that it’s hot. Indeed, it’s 90F! That’s kind of crazy this far north. It’s fairly dry however so I could take the dogs on a short walk. Now we’re sitting in the RV in the aircon, and in a minute I’ll open a bottle of wine and get a snack. Not a bad life, even if Harper does need a doggie psychotherapist!

Sunday, August 21. Duchess, Alberta

So first, Harper. We’re learning even if we don’t understand it. When we got to our campsite I gave her a whole CBD chew. We put the dogs outside for a little while, but it’s too hot for them to stay outside for long, and there isn’t much shade. It’s even too hot to put the Thundershirt on while they were outside, so we brought them inside and put on the shirt immediately. She is currently under the table, in her little cave, panting, but not horribly. The trick now is to just let her chill until dinner time. No putting her on the bed, no putting her next to us at the table, because it only makes things worse. We just have to be strong!

So today we only had to drive for 3 hours, so we took our time. I went for a run, just up and down the gravel road beside the RV park. It felt good, and at least 2500 ft of elevation doesn’t bother me. 

Next to us was a Mercedes’ conversion van. His battery had died because he accidentally left his lights on all night. He had a battery charger but it wasn’t strong enough to start his battery. While the menfolk called tow trucks and hunted around for someone with jumper cables, the woman and I had fun. We toured each other’s vehicles. Theirs was teeny, of course, but ingenious. They go RVing for weeks at a time, but it doesn’t have much storage, nor does it have a true bathroom, more of a Japanese hotel bathroom, where the toilet and the shower are combined. But of course it’s much easier to drive, and you can get to everything while you’re on the road.

She was a knitter, so she showed me what she was working on and I showed her the afghans I’m currently doing. We talked about traveling, grandkids. It was fun. Then they found someone with jumper cables and they were on their way, and soon so were we.

Really flat today, endless wheat fields, and then just scrubby pasture. Hardly any towns, or people. We are close to the Canadian badlands, but not close enough to make a detour.

This is a nice RV park, small and tidy, with little grass lawns for everyone, ringed by trees. Too bad it’s so hot!

Tomorrow we will be in Banff. Mountains, cooler weather, maybe rain. I’m curious!

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