Time of trip: 11 Days, 14 hours, 57 minutes
Distance driven: 3,406 miles
Number of States and Provinces: 7
Number of National Parks: 5
Number of Animals Seen:
Big Horn Sheep: 15
Bison: ~561
Black Bear: 1
Coyote: 2
Deer: 21
Elk: 56
Marten: 1
Pronghorn Antelope: 61
Rocky Mountain Sheep: 39

Hell's Gate

Fraser River Valley
The idea for this road trip sprang from an invitation to a wedding in High River, Alberta. I’d always wanted to visit Banff and Calgary and so I decided to take the scenic route and drive rather than fly. It wasn’t until just a couple of weeks before leaving that I decided to add Yellowstone to the route, another place I’ve always wanted to see.


I crossed the border at Sumas, WA near Abbotsford, BC on a beautiful sunny day. Crossing the border was a breeze. The car in front of me was pulling away as I arrived at the border guard station. Coming back into the US would have been a whole different story. It looked to be an hour and a half to two hour wait to get back into the US. Rather than taking the faster Hwy 5 route directly to Kamloops I chose the slower but more scenic Hwy 1 along the Fraser River. It was a beautiful drive almost the entire way to Calgary.


Banff National Park
Banff National Park is one continuous WOW. We found ourselves repeating, “Wow, look at that” along the entire 130 mile drive from the town of Banff to the Columbia Ice Field. On the way back it was just as good. Having the top down on the Jeep was perfect. That way we could look up and see the hundreds of waterfalls cascading down from high above and soak in the 80º temperatures.

Lake Louise

Columbia Ice Field

  Hwy 40
I found the drive from Banff towards Calgary was rather ho-hum so when Patti and I returned on our way to High River, AB we took hwy 40 rather than the more common Hwy 1 and the wows just kept on coming. It is a fabulous drive with beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife.

Wedding and Family Reunion
It was time to shift gears and head off for the wedding and family reunion at High River. While most people their age are lying back enjoying retirement and playing with the grandkids Bruce and Diane are getting married and flying back and forth between the US and Canada. We had a great time catching up with family and meeting new family. The first night was spent helping with last minute “to dos” to get ready for the wedding the next day. Besides the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception there was other activities like going to the driving range with cousins and a late night board game with new found cousins.


Calgary Stampede
It was a fun change of pace but time to head back to Calgary for Patti to catch her flight home. But first, there was just enough time to catch about 3 ½ hours of the Calgary Stampede rodeo. There were lots of competitors from all over Canada and the US but we were surprised to see competitors from Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia as well.

Hwy 2 & Glacier National Park
After leaving Patti at the airport I headed back to the US the next day. It was another beautiful sunny day heading south but the radio kept telling me that a cold front was hot on my tail coming down from the north. It was still warm and sunny when I crossed the border (15 minute wait) where Canadian hwy 2 meets US 89 and it was still beautiful when I entered Glacier National Park but as I reached Logan Pass the cold front caught up with me. I had to put the top up on the Jeep and I didn’t stop to explore several places that I would have otherwise spent more time poking around. Since the weather had turned bad I decided I might as well beat feet and put a few miles behind and reduce the amount of driving I’d have to do the next day on my way to Yellowstone.

Yellowstone National Park
I decided to take Hwy 191 south off of I-90 to Yellowstone because that map showed it to be a scenic drive. Well it was pretty in spots but mostly just cluttered with a lot of traffic and businesses that made for slow going. On my way home I took Hwy 287 and found it to be much prettier, far less traffic, and more interesting. There was an abundance of antelope to attract my attention.

After many failed attempts to visit Yellowstone I finally made it. It would have been interesting to have seen it prior to the 1988 fire but it still has a lot of charm, wildlife, and of course geysers and hot springs. Nearly 20 years after the big fire are still prevalent in places but that’s not to say its just ugly scars. In some places it’s not so pretty but most places it is healing nicely.


Grand Teton National Park

I cut the trip a little short and blasted back home from Yellowstone. It would have been nice to have slowly worked my way back home exploring ghost towns, sifting for sapphires, looking for fossils, and such but that’ll have to wait for another trip.

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RevisedDecember 15, 2007