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Our Scenic Tour of 2001

Unlike earlier reports about our vacation travels, this report will be a sequential narrative. Each significant stop during the trip will have a separate story that will be found by clicking on the blue underlined passage. Some stories will be told entirely on this page. Items in blue, not underlined, are indicators for expansion.

Our trip this year started with the Hershey Family Reunion in Earl Park, IN. This is an annual event that ends with the first Sunday in August.  This year 149 participants celebrated Christmas in August. Santa and elf arrived in a red hatchback and gave presents to all the children. Adults exchanged gifts.

After a night with a nephew and wife in Milwaukee, we drove to International Falls, MN, with the intention of touring the giant sized Boise Cascade Paper mill. However, their tours were not available because of changes being made to one of their production lines. They recommended we cross into Fort Frances, Canada and visit the Abitibi Paper Mill. We took their tour. Cameras are not permitted on the tour. Hard hats, hearing protection, and goggles are required. Logs are moved in at one end of the mill. Large rolls of paper are removed at the other end. Hot inside and out today, but the smell was very mild for a paper mill.

We drove west from International Falls to Baudette, MN, for the night. Walleye fishing is really big here. This is an indication of just how big.

This is Willie Walleye.

The drive west continued the next day. This was probably the only day of the trip that we took no pictures. What we saw was miles and miles of grain fields. A strong north wind caused large waves to flow across the fields. Beautiful. We also saw a lot of old, abandoned farm buildings and equipment. The night was in Williston, ND.

A short distance west of Williston is the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. A small park marks the area where Lewis and Clark spent the night. Just a short distance farther west is Fort Union Trading Post. The parking lot is in Montana, but the fort is in North Dakota. The fort is being reconstructed as historically accurate as possible. 

            Next was a night in Havre, MT, with a tour of the Havre Underground the next morning. The Havre Underground was a large group of basement businesses connected together with tunnels in the late 1800’s. A fire in 1904 destroyed most of the above ground Havre. Several businesses rebuilt totally underground. Underground businesses included a bakery, butcher shop, bank, and a bordello. The tour is worth a visit. Cameras are allowed, but the lighting is poor, and wide angle lenses are needed. A video camera can probably document a visit to the underground better than a fixed camera.

Next stop on our tour was East Glacier, MT, and a bus tour of Glacier National Park. Beautiful mountains, lakes, historic buildings, and mountain goats to be viewed. This a giant cedar on the Avalanche Creek trail in the park. 
We drove from the US Glacier National Park to Radium Hot Springs, BC, on 13 August 2001, and took a room at the Kootenay Motel. We stayed here and drove to Kootenay, Yoho, Jasper, & Banff National Parks on 14 and 15 August. Those potted flowers are real, as are hundreds of others in the town.

This page has just been started. Check back soon. The following narrative will be expanded greatly, as time permits.

Our next visit was to Canada’s Glacier NP, with a visit to the visitor center at Roger’s Pass. The visitor center has a video that shows the history of the highway and of the railroad that preceded the highway. Several displays in the visitor illustrate the history also. The railroad abandoned the exposed rail many years ago and built a tunnel to bypass the Roger’s  Pass area because of the expense and loss of many lives in clearing avalanche deposited snow from the tracks. The present highway follows the original rail right-of-way, and the highway is closed as needed to remove avalanches using cannon fire and explosives. Snow sheds cover much of the highway to protect against uncontrolled avalanches. 

After a stop to walk the Giant Hemlocks and Cedars trail in Glacier NP, we drove to the town of Revelstoke for the night. We drove to the top of Revelstoke Peak in Mount Revelstoke NP, and I walked three trails. Great mountain views are available from the fire tower trail, and interesting scenic views are available along the meadows trail. One stop along that trail is the “Icebox”, a hole in the rocks where snow and ice are found year round. The third trail I walked was to return to the parking lot; I missed the last shuttle bus.

The next morning we drove to Lake Revelstoke Dam and toured the dam and power plant. This was our second visit to a dam on the Columbia River. In 1999 we toured Grand Coulee dam in Washington State. Later this trip we toured Bonneville Dam, the dam closest to the Pacific Ocean on the Columbia. We had plans to visit the Dalles Dam also, but the events of 11 September changed our plans. The Columbia River has many streams that might be considered the origin of the river. One of these starts just west of the US Glacier NP in Montana, where we were several days ago, with the drainage to the north into Canada. There are several dams in Canada in addition to Revelstoke. The upper stream dams are very tall and provide water conservation and hydropower generation. The lower stream dams such, as Bonneville and Dalles, are relatively short dams that provide power, but are principally for improved river navigation. They include locks and fish ladders. They are all engineering marvels.

We next drove to Kamloops, passing by Shuswap Lake, and through an interesting looking town named Salmon Arm. The lake is very large and is full of houseboats. The town of Salmon Arm has large sawmills on the waterfront, with large rafts of logs floating in the lake.

Vancouver, BC, was our next stop. Vancouver was our planned departure point for the start of a Princess Cruise tour to Alaska. Before leaving Vancouver, we attempted to see Stanley Park. However, the time for our visit to Stanley Park was a beautiful Sunday morning and half of Vancouver were also at the park. Parking was almost impossible to find, with tow trucks actively removing illegally parked cars.

Our Alaska cruise tour started with a flight to Anchorage, followed by a train ride to Fairbanks with a stop over at Denali NP. From Fairbanks we had a bus ride to Prudhoe Bay with an overnight stop at Coldfoot. From Prudhoe Bay, we flew back to Anchorage, and then boarded the Sun Princess for the cruise portion of our trip. The cruise included stops at Harvard Glacier in College Fjord, ------Glacier in Yakutat Bay, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan before docking and off loading in Vancouver.

There is three more weeks to the trip