Day 20 Drive: Missoula, MT to Swift Current, SK

Well, we thought this would be a tough drive, but things went well except the weather, more about that later. Off to a good start when I woke up two minutes before our wake-up call was due. This was a good thing, because the phone never did ring. Two for two on that one, the only other time we asked, they got it an hour late.

Loaded the car while Caroline showered, and we were fed and on the road before 0700. Made both traffic lights on the way to the freeway, which means we literally didn’t stop the car until we arrived at Customs at Coutts, AB. We ran into no trouble with flooding, but the whole Montana part of the drive was misty, with periods of rain and one interval of snow. Just 3C in the mountains, but no icy patches.

Took maybe half an hour to do customs – we were about number six in the line, and then we had to line up again inside for a cashier, and wait while some guy got on the phone to get his credit limit bumped up so he could pay his duty. Our customs agent was nice, or perhaps she was favourably impressed by our itemized lists of everything with cross-references to our envelopes full of receipts. Either way, she valued our wine lower than I did, so taxes and fees came to under three dollars per bottle of wine. Everything else was under our duty free limit, even when I declared the new tire to replace the one that blew out in Paso Robles.

The nearest Canadian gas station to Coutts is Milk River, 18km further up the road. Dingbat has never heard of it and wanted me to go 84km to Tabor, AB. This would have been tense, as the low fuel light came on just before Coutts, and a hundred kilometers is as far as I have ever pushed it. In theory, 130 might be possible, on fumes.

This was the nice weather.

Rained hard all the way through Alberta, getting lighter soon after we crossed into Saskatchewan. Anyway, we’re in Speedy Creek now, having arrived just before 1600. Although the drive went well, I am not tempted to push on any further. It’s crazy gusty, and the last forty-five minutes my hands were getting stiff and sore, and I was feeling tired, too.


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