Monday, August 7, 2017

Travel Blogging XII

Great Falls, Montana: We never made it to the Japanese garden, but we did drive around the University of Lethbridge campus, checked out the coulee-spanning building which appeared to be a dorm (pix at Nearby we spotted four deer grazing the campus grass.

This is an impressive, large modern campus, nothing there appears to be older than 40 years and most seems much newer. It was pretty much deserted on a summer weekend, the FTE must have been on leave or just off campus. As the other DrC said, it's a beautiful campus but not nice enough to entice us out of retirement.

We did some exploring around town and found the Costco, the Walmart, the Best Buy, as well as a nice Safeway with its own gas station. We tend to feel Lethbridge is close to the border, but it's not. We drove for an hour in Canada before reaching the border station.

As the RV trundles, it's a four hour drive from Lethbridge to Great Falls, and there is no place closer a Canadian would come to shop in the U.S. The U.S. towns between here and the border are quite small and have no shops that would attract Canadians.

There is a real tendency for those Canadian retirees who can afford it to spend winters in the southern U.S. The other DrC chatted up people who own a condo in Palm Desert, a common destination. Other destinations include Yuma, greater Phoenix, Hemet, etc., and that's just for western Canadians. Eastern Canadians head for Florida or perhaps Texas - totally logical choices for them.

A major income stream for the RV park we use in GF is Canadian snowbirds in transit. You could get here from Calgary in a day's hard driving, we take 2 days but then we don't like to drive more than 4 or 4.5 hours in a day. Another overnite stop many Canadians use is in Santa Nella, CA, on I-5.

That's where we heard about Canadians being careful not to spend more than 180 days in the States. If they do overstay supposedly their provincial single payer health insurance goes belly up, something  no senior wants to have happen.

Tomorrow we drive to Dillon, MT, in the southwest corner of the state. It is a prettier drive than today's endless wheat fields on both sides of the border. The first part follows the upstream portion of the Missouri River through a picturesque canyon, later we follow another canyon route between Helena and Butte. This is big, mostly empty country, where you don't feel hemmed in.