Monday, July 24, 2017

Travel Blogging I

Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada: We spent the day driving north across a couple of hundred miles of steppe. Northern Montana and southern Alberta must have some the lowest non-desert population densities on the planet - vast wheat fields as far as the horizon dotted with lonely-appearing farm houses every mile or three.

 Every 30-40 miles there is a small town with one or more grain elevators where the wheat is aggregated and loaded onto rail cars for shipment to wherever it is milled into flour. Elevators are the highrise landmarks of this empty land, vertical wooden affairs 4-5 times taller than they are wide, standing beside rail sidings.

 If I've given the impression the region is flat, I need to correct that view. The terrain isn't flat but there are no mountains either. Driving across it one is mostly headed up or downgrade as the prairie undulates downward where rivers have cut what are locally called "coulees."

 Coulees are where the trees survive, along watercourses. They are often very pleasant and even park-like. And being lower than the surrounding terrain, they avoid the worst of the prairie's ever-present wind.

Our RV park tonight is in a coulee that runs alongside Lethbridge, cut by the Oldman River. Really. I'm not making a joke, that's the actual name. As they say, you can look it up. This coulee is quite deep, and is crossed by one of the highest, longest railroad trestles in North America - quite a sight, actually. Living in cities, it is easy to get the impression the world is overcrowded with people. The "world" isn't, but urban areas certainly are. The region we drove across today is an enormous food factory rather sparsely populated.