Update as of May 10, 2021. Canada still won’t let Americans across the border. This is just fine with me. Continue reading to find out why. They say COVID is the reason. But I suspect a more sinister plot. In 2019, Lillian and I traveled to this inhospitable land. Here are our notes from that dangerous trip.
(L) Lillian’s take: Wherever you are, you know you’re not someplace else. By that, I mean that every State or Province is distinct. Southern Alberta Canada looked a bit like Montana or South Dakota, but not quite. Entering Canada, we drove through miles of rapeseed fields so bright yellow you could feel the heat of the sun. Our first town in Alberta was Cardston where we passed the childhood home of Fay Wray of 1933 King Kong fame. Fay Wray was known internationally as one of the first great “Scream Queens.” Her career spanned six decades. She passed away in 2004 at the age of 96!
Driving on, at the foothills of the Rockies, we were introduced to “Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The story goes like this; before they had horses, the Blackfoot Indians used Buffalo runners dressed as coyotes to head off and run the buffalo off a 4-meter cliff into a river. There, other Indians would finish them off and process them. They used every part of the buffalo, for everything from medicine, to meat, clothing, and toys.
The Canadians we’ve met have been super kind, helpful, and most of all cheerful. I could live here … in the summer. Even Sam has made new friends.
(G) Gary’s take: Beautiful and vast best describes Alberta as you enter Canada from Montana. If Montana is “Big Sky Country.” Alberta is even more so. Rolling farmland, well-maintained roads, and just the right number of small towns to round out the scenery. The people we’ve met have been super friendly, helpful, and curious about our travels. A new favorite of mine is to take Sam for a walk around the campgrounds we stay in. Most folks are outside, sitting by a fire and ready to share stories of the road. This way or that, you can always find some interesting local tales. But, but, I’m getting ahead of myself . . .
Written in the original Canadian Dialect. Before I talks aubout the wonderful tingsa aubout rrrrr frozen neighbor to da Nort, I thought I’d cover the reality of entering this strange land. Oh, the confusion of it all. Sadly, after months of foreign language training and emersion, Lillian was not prepared for the conversions, diversions, and confusion. Now with our trip’s official interpreter completely baffled, it was left to me to make peace with the locals, I alone needed to navigate their strange customs and protect us from the indigenous peoples of Alberta.
You should know that back in 2013 during our first excursion into this foreign land I was met with not Canadian hospitality but the hostility of a most cruel and terminal kind. We had barely stepped foot on a maple leaf when one of their vicious attack insects tried to kill me. We’d stopped at a McDonalds to sample the local cuisine. My biggie sized coke in hand, I sipped a big gulp. Little did I know, a hornet the size of a canary was hiding in my straw. Just as I sucked in a mouthful of coke that deadly insect came along for the ride. Faster than you can say spit, he stung me. He jabbed me inside my lower lip. For those of you who didn’t follow us back then, this video is everything you need to know about the evil land to our north.
Since we are just passing through on our way to the United States of America from the United States of America. I thought we could just drive through, retain our culture and customs, no problem. But then, the confusion set in. Did you see that sign? How far is a kilometer? Did you see that other sign? How fast is 100 kilometers per hour? Need gas? How many gallons in a litre? Why do they spell it wrong? It’s going to be 11 degrees today, do we need parkas?
Now, many of you passed my lesson on 12-volt electricity with flying fillings (isn’t it tingly when you touch the wrong wire?). So “hear now, hear now” Here is your short primer on how to travel to Canada and not go loony. They even have a picture of a loon on their $1 coin, how odd is that? Apparently, George Loon was Canada’s first Prime Minister. You see, in Canada, things are the same yet not quite. Yes, they do have dollars and quarters, dimes and nickels but no pennies. Come to think of it, why do we have pennies? None of them are equal to what you think they are, so hence you end up paying more for everything and have no idea how much anything costs. Why can’t Canadians use American money, real money? Canadians are happy to take your American money, but then they make change in Canadian fake money, — you get to make small donations to our friends up north.
So here are the essentials of units-of-measure you’ll need while traveling through Canada. 1 Kilometer equals .62 miles, or 1-mile equals 1.61 Kilometer. 1-meter equals 3.28 ft or 1 ft equals .3 meters. 1 liter equals .26 gallons, or 1 gallon equals 3.79 liters. Got it? There will be a test.
Second semester: You convert degrees Fahrenheit into Celsius by subtracting 32 and then multiplying by 5/9. Seriously, your kids learned this in school, please keep up. So, we woke up yesterday and the radio announcer said that the temperature in Calgary was 11. I mean it was July 8th and the announcer said it was 11. Email us back with the correct temperature in real degrees, not Canadian degrees. Email us back and you might win your own hardcopy printout of this blog. You must have a printer to win.
Lastly, the Canadian interwebs: Staying connected to family and friends is really important to us. Also, these blogs are how I’m paying for all those Canadian speeding tickets (didn’t seem like I was going that fast if you convert Km/hr. to Miles/hr. in your head while you’re pulling out your driver’s license, birth certificate, passport and all the bananas in your trailer. Anyway, our Verizon Beyond Unlimited Plan costs only $150 per month US or $8,748,942 Canadian. Don’t even get me started on what beyond unlimited means. The trouble with unlimited data in Canada is that it is only good until you download your latest junk email. “Like this one,” I heard you saying that. After one or, maybe two emails, voila! No more unlimited. So as soon as you figure out how to log on, your Verizon unlimited data is slowed down to a pace that rivals squeezing a stick of butter through a dirty sock. Apparently, Verizon has an Ultra Unlimited Plan – who knew?
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