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WESTERN CANADA
1991

Friday, July 5, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 113400

We left Duluth at 7:00am with our caravan leader, Bus Maynard, on the early crew, relieved to be leaving the city of rain and mud. I drew dump duty on the first day, which meant I had to see that 45 trailers got their sewage tanks dumped as we arrived at our first stop, Crookston, Minnesota. As it turned out, most had dumped before arriving so we had little to do. Ken and Donna Austin from Alma, Michigan were our co-dumpers. I was happy to have that chore done with early. My other duties will be confined to parking and deparking on three occasions. Assignments of necessary chores like this are spread around so that nobody has to work too hard.

The fellowship part of our "fun, fellowship and adventure" caravan began at Crookston with a hamburger and baked bean cookout on the grounds of the local livestock arena where we parked. We're trying to get to know one new couple at each function. At the cookout we sat next to Jean and Wayne Killian from Topsfield, Massachusetts. Wayne played trombone in the band at Duluth.

Saturday, July 6, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 113645

We continued west through the northern plains on Hwy #2 for 363 miles to Williston, North Dakota. Along the way we drove through the little town of Rugby which claims the point calculated to be the geological center of the North American continent. The landscape was mostly wide open flat countryside, similar to the plains of Kansas, planted mostly in wheat with scattered plots of potatoes, corn and flax. Looking at the flax was like looking out over a sea of blue. This was the longest of four straight driving days to get to Glacier National Park in time to spend a few days there before the Calgary Stampede. At Williston, we were treated to an excellent catered dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, cold slaw, and dessert, served on the open grounds near our trailers.

Sunday, July 7, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 114010

We drove another 330 miles through the hilly and broken country of North Dakota. The route took us through reservations of the Sioux Indians. Topping the rises it was possible to see for miles through the unpolluted air. We quickly crossed the line into Montana and not far along saw the outline of the Bear Paw mountains in the distance. Our stop for the night was the local rodeo grounds at Havre, Montana. Again, we were treated to a delicious meal, this time served inside at the Havre VFW hall. This is lonesome country, many miles between houses and more between high priced gas stations. Minus fifty degree winter temperatures explain the scarcity of people. Havre is the location of one of the cliffs where Indians stampeded buffalo over the precipice and gathered the meat for their sustenance.

Monday, July 8, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 114240

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA

From Havre we drove some 230 miles to Babb, Montana, a small village on the edge of the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. Our campsite was at the Chewing Blackbones Campground, owned by the Indians. We were parked about 8 miles from the Many Glacier Lodge in Glacier National Park where we stayed in 1976. We drove over there on Monday afternoon and made arrangement to take a boat and hiking trip on Swiftcurrent Lake the next day. So, early on Tuesday the Schumakers, the Smiths and the Bergs drove over to the lodge, boarded the little boat and proceeded across the lake. From Swiftcurrent we hiked a short distance over to Lake Josephine and caught another boat to the other side of it. From there we hiked about a mile to Grinnell Lake and to Hidden Falls. At the end of the four hour round trip we ate a hearty lunch at the lodge. The weather was nice and the scenery was unbelievable. These mountains are massive and seem to touch the sky. Since we were later in the season than our last trip, there was not as much snow, but the mountains were still snow capped. We had a naturalist guide along explaining the various features of the terrain. On the walk to Grinnell Lake we startled a bull moose and he bolted across the trail right between the hikers, but it happened so fast that I didn't get a picture. Leaving the Many Glacier area, we saw a young grizzly bear at the side of the road that posed for pictures.

After lunch we drove over to the "Going to the Sun" highway and then up to Logans Pass. The beauty we missed last time because of the bad weather, we saw this time tenfold. This road is without a doubt the most scenic in the country. The Visitor Center at Logans Pass is right on the continental divide and not far from the pass is Triple Divide Peak where water flows off in three directions, eventually reaching three oceans, the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Arctic. Snow was still banked 8 and 10 feet high along the walkways leading to the Visitor Center. A group of mountain goats was reported to be about two miles away and people were hiking in the snow up to see them, but it was getting late and by then we were too tired to try it.

On Wednesday we awoke to rain and an overcast day. We had to make the complete trip across the mountains on the "Sun" road, but postponed that a day hoping for better weather. Instead, we drove up to Waterton in the Canadian portion of this international park. At the border, something must have looked suspicious as the customs men searched the Suburban thoroughly for anything illegal. That was a first in our experiences of going into Canada.

Waterton was the same as we remembered from our '76 trip, except that we saw no
animals in town. Before, there were deer and bighorn sheep roaming the streets of
the town stopping traffic. We found the little handcrafted leather and wool shop
that we bought a sheepskin from before. We had lunch at the old Prince of Wales
Hotel overlooking Waterton Lake, then strolled through town for awhile. The weather cleared as we returned to our campsite.

On Thursday the weather cleared, and we spent about 9 1/2 hours on the 50 mile length of the Going To The Sun road, driving both ways, stopping several times to get better looks at the incredible scenery and to take short walks to unusual rock formations and waterfalls. At Logans Pass we walked three miles through deep snow to see mountain goats feeding near a still frozen lake. It took twelve years to build the "Sun" road at a cost of $80,000 a mile back in the thirties. By supper time we were more than ready for the chuckwagon style meal our caravan leader had arranged for all the group at Johnson's Lodge in St. Marys.

Friday, July 12, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 14930

CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA -

On Friday, the caravan moved northward across the Canadian border to Calgary for the last few days of the famous Calgary Stampede. We parked the rigs on the campus of Mount Royal College.

The Stampede has been going on for almost eighty years, an event that lasts for ten days in mid-July every year. It's like a huge fair with carnival and concessions,
sideshows in tents, pig and duck races, and crowds of people. The rodeo events take place in front of very modern grandstands with four levels of seating. We made our reservations back in February for the chuckwagon races and the final competition of the rodeo. Having never before been to a rodeo, I didn't know what to expect. There were nine heats in the chuckwagon races with four wagons in each race. Each wagon was pulled by a team of four horses. Besides the driver, a team of four outriders loaded each wagon and raced on individual horses around the track. At the starting horn the wagons had to be loaded with a cookstove and canvas, make sharp turns around two barrels and take off around the half mile track. Altogether in each heat, there were thirty-two horses pounding their way around the track in organized confusion, pushing and shoving to gain advantage while the crowd went wild. The winning team was the one with the best time and least penalties.

An incredible outdoor stage show followed the races. For two more hours literally
hundreds of entertainers put on an extravaganza performance, climaxed by fireworks and patriotic songs of Canada. Mixed in, there were individual acts including a comedian, a ventriloquist, acrobats, and Roger "King of the Road" Miller. The whole thing is appropriately billed as the "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth."

The final rodeo competition took place on Sunday afternoon. This turned out to be a much better show than expected. There were five competitive events each with a
$50,000 prize for the winner. Several other performances were in between. Calf
roping, bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding
were the featured competitions. Wild cow milking, wild horse racing, acrobatic
riding, and clown acts were thrown in. The detailed rules for the judging of these
events was very sophisticated. Scoring was based on time, endurance, skill and
avoidance of penalties. It was a grand show.

Calgary is a beautiful city of some 750,000 population. Buildings downtown are
modern, streets are wide, parks are numerous and well tended, and the people were
unusually friendly. There were several instances where the people went out of their
way to make visitors welcome. Calgary was the site of the winter olympic games in
1988, and many of the modern buildings were built for use with that and have since
been converted to something else. The college campus where we are staying was built as part of the Olympic village.

On Monday we toured Heritage Park, a restored turn of the century village. As these restorations go, this is a very good one. On 66 acres of land within the city of
Calgary, the buildings are authentic from the period, but were moved in to the park
some 25 years ago. There are 105 separate buildings or exhibits, most of which were staffed by costumed interpreters who were friendly and willing to discuss life as it existed on the frontier. Following the park tour we did some shopping, then went to the top of the sky tower for an exceptional view of the city.

Our last night in Calgary was spent in the classroom enjoying ice cream. In the
driver's meeting to set assignments for the next day's trip to Fort McLeod, Bus took some ribbing about getting us lost, but was forgiven. While the rest of us were
enjoying Calgary and the Stampede, Bus and Rosie were out scouting the routes to our next two stops, Fort MacLeod and Morley.

Tuesday, July 16, 1991
Mileage at Start: 115200

FORT MACLEOD, ALBERTA, CANADA -

We're really in the West now! Not too very long ago this was the frontier. At one time Fort MacLeod was equal in size with Calgary, but the decision to locate the railroad further north changed the history of the town. Located on the Old Man River, it was established as the first police outpost in western Canada in 1874 and named after the commander of the troop, Colonel MacLeod. Western Canada's destiny was shaped by these first troops of the North West Mounted Police. They were the first effort at establishing law and order in a territory beset by Indian fights, murders and serious trouble between whiskey traders and the native Indians. The history of Fort MacLeod is well preserved in a restored old fort
and museum in town. A corps of eight red-coated horsemen provide live entertainment as they perform the famous "Musical Ride" of the mounties. The NWMP has become the RCMP, or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Our admission to the old fort was paid out of the "kitty" fee, but we each chose our own time to go.

We also attended a show at the historic Empress Theatre, the oldest operating theatre in the province. The theater remains much as it was when it was established in 1912. The musical comedy was about the relationships of a high school graduating class and the anxieties faced when it was time for a tenth year reunion. Called "True Confessions of Wild Boy Wonder," the play was unusual. The cast of seven not only acted their parts but were the musical accompanists, shifting back and forth from scene to scene. The music was the type which would appeal more to the younger set, but the show was nonetheless entertaining.

About twelve miles west of Fort MacLeod is the "Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump." This is an archeological site of the world importance. It has been designated as a World Heritage Site by the U.N. along with more well known sites like the Egyptian pyramids and Taj Mahal. There are many places in North America where the natives stampeded buffalo over a cliff as a mode of hunting, but this one is probably the largest and oldest of them all. Carbon dating has proven that the cliff was used as a jump for at least 6,000 years, and there is other evidence that it was used perhaps as long ago as 10,000 years. The very existence of the native tribes depended on this harvest of buffalo during the short spring season. The pile of bones and soil around them is at least 30 feet thick over about a 1,000 foot long area at the base of the cliff. The archeological dig for bones, tools and weapons was going on even while we were there, and more is being learned all the time about the early native customs. One reason this site is more significant than other jumps is its relatively recent discovery and remote location. At other locations the valuable pile of bones and arrowheads was looted or processed for fertilizer before the scientists had a chance at them.

On Wednesday evening all ninety-four of us ate together in style at the Scarlet and
Gold Restaurant in Fort MacLeod with white table cloths, candle light, prime rib
buffet, homemade apple pie and icecream, and more. The proprietor and his family,
the Dave Coutts family, did an outstanding job of feeding us and making us feel
welcome. A city official was also there to give us a warm welcome and some
interesting commentary on the history of the area. Not far out of Fort MacLeod was a barn with a prominent "smiley face" on its side. That seemed to be properly
representative of the friendliness of the people of Alberta. Everywhere we've been
the people have gone out of their way to welcome visitors.

We drove through about 200 miles of some of the most gorgeous mountain scenery yet to get to Morley, Alberta, just east Banff. What a contrast it is to come from the plains into these awesome mountains almost instantly! Our altimeter read 7940 feet at Highwood Pass and we were looking up another 3,000 feet to the tops of the peaks.

We are camped on the Stoney Indian reserve about halfway between Morley and Canmore, Alberta and about 30 miles from Banff. Indian reserves in Canada are the equivalent of Indian reservations in the U.S. The early white men called these people Stoneys because of the hot stones they used to cooked their food. The Stoney people are descendants of the Sioux Indian family and call themselves the Nakodas as distinguished from the Dakota and Lakota Sioux found in the U.S. In 1877 they signed a treaty with Canada unconsciously giving up most of their land in return for a peaceful coexistence with the white men. This treaty established the reserves, and for 75 years the Indians were essentially prisoners on their own lands. Today however, they are Canadian citizens with the same legal rights as other Canadians. In fact they have additional rights and privileges as members of the tribe that other Canadians do not share such as an exemption from income tax, free education, and an individual oil royalty twice each month. This information came from a lecture on the Stoney people arranged for by our caravan leader. It was given by a local archivist who has become expert on the local Indian history and culture.

BANFF, ALBERTA, CANADA -

Banff is quite a place! Tucked in these massive snowcapped mountains alongside the Bow River, the most prominent building is the Banff Springs Hotel on the mountainside overlooking the valley downstream from the Bow River Falls, and that's where the caravanners had lunch on Friday. The hotel, built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 1888, is a island of elegant living in the midst of the wilderness. We ate in the Alberta Room and had a delicious buffet spread with every imaginable meat dish, vegetables, fruit, soup, and dessert. The waiters and other hotel employees wore Scottish kilts. Outside was a 27 hole golf course laid out along the Bow River. It would be hard to concentrate on hitting a golf ball amidst all that beauty. This is all within Banff National Park.

After lunch we rode further up into the mountains and were rewarded with seeing a lot of wildlife, elk, bighorn sheep, buffalo, deer, a wolf, and hundreds of prairie dogs. We failed to spot any bear, mountain goats, or moose, but were told that they are plentiful also. This is all in Banff National Park.

The peaks of these mountains are not as high as the Colorado Rockies. but they appear higher and more massive. There is more bare granite extending above the timber line. Around Banff, the highest peak is around 10,000 feet (2,998 meters by the map.)

Everything in Canada is on the metric system - gasoline by the liter (our tank holds
about 152 liters), speed by kilometers per hour, altitude by meters, temperature in
degrees Celsius, etc. It gets a bit complicated trying to compare prices when the
units are different and a Canadian dollar is worth 14% less than ours.

On Saturday, we drove up the old parkway from Banff about 15 miles to Johnston
Canyon, then walked a 3 mile trail (round trip) along a clear mountain stream through a deep canyon to some beautiful waterfalls. At places the walkway was cantilevered out from the sheer canyon walls to allow passage. We got a little damp from a passing shower, but enjoyed the hike and unusual scenery. There were more bighorn sheep and some near the highway.

Back in town, we drove into the gardens at the National Park Headquarters, parked and walked around. These well kept gardens were full of Japanese tourists posing and snapping pictures at all the key places. Back in the car, we drove up to the hot springs (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sulphur Mountain. The crowds there were too thick to stop, but the views from the road were spectacular.

Sunday, July 21, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 115825

LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA, CANADA -

Following the Trans-Canada Highway northward from Banff, the caravan moved to Lake Louise for one night. Lake Louise is about 45 miles north of the town of Banff, still in Banff National Park. What would probably have been a beautiful drive turned out to be a very wet one as the rains came. We parked in the Lake Louise Trailer Village. Most of the caravanners were rejoicing over getting electric hookups for a change. Our solar panels kept us going pretty well, so we didn't miss it. Soon after settling in, we drove over to the Chateau Lake Louise where we all had lunch together. This is another old and elegant hotel and the lunch was really first class. The hotel is in the most gorgeous setting on the
edge of the lake with a view across the lake at the mountains with several glaciers
in sight. The lake is fed by water melting off the glaciers and contains what is
called glacial flour. This gives the lake a bright aqua color and a translucency
instead of absolute clarity. After lunch we walked a short way along a trail at the
lake's edge.

About six miles away is another glacial lake called Lake Morraine. This one is a bit
smaller than Lake Louise and more intense in color. A pathway led up into the rocks and afforded a magnificent view of the lake and mountains behind. No pictures could ever portray the beauty. It just has to be seen to be believed.

These lakes were just east of the Continental Divide which is the boundary between Alberta and British Columbia. The Trans-Canada crosses the divide at Kicking Horse Pass using an old railroad bed. The original Canadian Pacific railroad through the pass was on too steep a grade, and many accidents occurred when trains careened down the grade out of control. In 1907 that was remedied in a unique way. At tremendous cost, spiral tunnels were blasted through the mountainside to stretch out the track by about four miles and thereby reduced the grade. As we stood there a train came and entered the first tunnel. When the front of the train appeared coming out of the tunnel at a higher level the rear of the train was still visible going in. The train actually crossed itself twice in these spirals before making it over the pass. This train was 135 cars long and was pulled by 5 engines. It took 1,000 men 20 months to bore out the spirals using 75 boxcar loads of dynamite, quite an engineering an construction feat.

The British Columbia side of the Divide is called Yoho National Park, and the first
thing of interest was Takakkaw Falls. What an incredible sight that was! Bursting
out of sheer cliff almost 1200 feet above the canyon floor is an unbelievable
waterfall. About 200 feet down the water hits an outcropping of rock and explodes
outward in a shower that appears to then float downward in slow motion. About 200
feet above the canyon floor it hits another shelf, then flows rather sedately the
remaining distance. When it finally reaches bottom, it is surprising how small and
tame the stream became, but the show getting there was spectacular.

Our leader had arranged a second meal for us atop Mount Whitehorn. To get it we had to ride a two mile long gondola up 1680 feet to the Whitehorn Lodge. In the winter this all becomes a ski resort. The ride up took about 30 minutes, we spent an hour and a half there eating, then another 30 minutes down, so by the time it was over we were ready to call it a day. We had packed a lot into the one day in the Lake Louise area. I think everyone on the caravan wished we could have stayed longer.

Monday, July 22, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 116000.

After hooking up to leave for our next caravan stop, it became obvious that the
Schumakers were in trouble. Dave was having trouble breathing and was too weak to drive. So, we piled him in his van and drove him over to the one doctor in Lake
Louise Village. That doctor ran an EKG and some other tests but could not determine what was wrong so he sent us to Banff to the hospital. After an hour drive and three hours of more tests, the doctors still had not found the answer, so they ordered us to Calgary. There it was determined that small blood clots had collected in his lungs reducing his capacity to absorb oxygen. Our trailers were back in Lake Louise so we had to return and pick them up. Ann drove our rig and I drove Dave's to Calgary and checked into a campground a mile or so from the Foothills Hospital. Treatment for the problem required a five to seven day hospital stay. The doctors though were encouraging, stating that Dave should be as good as new after treatment. Ann and I saw that Mary Love was settled in and everything was under control, and on Wednesday, after a final check at the hospital, we took off to try to catch up with the caravan, planning on calling back for daily reports.

For the fourth time we drove back through Banff and Lake Louise, then took the
Icefields Parkway northward into Jasper National Park. This took us through the
highest, most rugged mountains of the Canadian Rockies. After three hours and one of the longest steepest grades we have ever had to pull, we arrived at the Athabasca Glacier in time for the last tourmobile run out on the glacier itself. The glacier is receding each year because the summer melt is greater than the winter snow fall, and the debris and rubble left in piles where the glacier had been looks like a huge wasteland. The tour bus with its huge wheels and snow tires crept over the rough terrain for perhaps a mile before driving out onto the glacier surface. We then drove out onto the ice for several hundred feet to a point where we were able to get out and walk around for a few minutes. The ice is crisscrossed with little streams of essentially pure water running off as it melts. We were given cups to collect a sample for tasting. Naturally, it was cold, and there was no discernible taste. The setting sun made the ice surface sparkle with thousands of tiny points of light.

The icefield at its greatest depth is estimated to be 1200 feet thick. The Columbia
Icefield is the largest body of ice in the Rocky Mountains, and the Athabasca Glacier is but one of many fed by the icefield. With action unrelated to the seasonal melt, a glacier actually flows downhill while still frozen. The ice at the bottom is under so much pressure that it becomes somewhat plastic. This flow takes with it whatever rocks or boulders are in its way, and these rocks scrub and grind away the bearing surface like a giant piece of sandpaper. The resulting debris is caught up in the ice until it is left exposed when the glacier recedes.

When the sun settled behind the mountain the air temperature dropped noticeably.
Surprisingly though, it was not as cold as we had expected. The driver had a
thermometer which read 50 degrees F. Daytime temperatures otherwise have been very warm, although at night we sleep under blankets. It doesn't get dark until 9:30pm or 10:00pm. Failing to find a campground with sites large enough for our trailer, we spent the night in the parking lot of the Tourmobile Center with a dramatic view of the Athabasca Glacier framed perfectly in our front picture window.

As we progressed northward, the terrain took on subtle changes. The streams, fresh from the glaciers, were now milky white with silt and "flour," and they seemed to be having problems establishing a set route to follow. At several places, particularly where the valley widened, the river seemed to be meandering all over the place. We were told that this is caused by the underlying frozen ground. Any channel the river cuts one year will be gone when everything freezes over in the winter, so the water may seek a new course the next spring. But for a few aspen trees, the forests are filled only with evergreens - pine, fur, and spruce of several varieties. The mountains too have a slightly different look. They are much taller with steeper sides, and a lot more bare rock showing above the tree line.

We rejoin the caravan at our next stop, Jasper, the northernmost point of our trip.

Thursday, July 25, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 116295

JASPER, ALBERTA, CANADA -

Our first stop on the road to Jasper was at Sunwapta Falls.
This was the first of several examples of water plunging violently through narrow gorges. At Athabasca Falls a short distance further, we really saw an explosion of water cascading over rock outcroppings. Here we walked through a narrow gorge that at some time in the past had been the path of the river. At points in the gorge, the water is trapped in small crevices where it swirls endlessly. At some of the swirls trees had gotten caught and were tumbling about around and around. At both Sunwapta and Athabasca we parked in the parking lot with our trailer.

We pulled into the Wabasso Campground about 10:00am and rejoined our caravan friends who had been there for a day already. They had also made a two day stop at Kootenay Plains. We were warmly greeted and had to repeat the Schumaker story several times as everyone was concerned about Dave.

We took a site near George and Christine Jones, who promptly invited us to join them to drive over to the Jasper Tramway. This was one of the excursions paid for out of the caravan kitty. Two gondolas carried about thirty people each up about 3,000 feet almost to the top of Whistlers Mountain. The two cars are supported on one cable and propelled by another as they go up, then reverse to go down. The two pass at the mid-point. At the top is a restaurant and gift shop and platforms affording a panoramic view of the Jasper and the surrounding peaks and valleys. A trail leads on up to the snow at the peak of the mountain. It is called Whistlers Mountain because of the whistling marmots that inhabit the rocks. We had lunch at the top, then descended and drove over to Maligne Canyon.

The Maligne River crashes through an extremely narrow and deep crevice in the rock to form the canyon by the same name. Following the trail down the canyon rim provided some outstanding photo opportunities and some good exercise. Each one of these places where water plunges downward is spectacular, but after a while they begin to all look alike. The Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls were both violent, but the Maligne River rushing through this extremely narrow canyon was incredible.

Maligne Lake is the one most often pictured on postcards, place mats, calendars and other souvenirs of Jasper. The beautiful blue-green lake was clearly visible from the top of the gondola lift, but with overcast skies our view at lake level was not a nice as it might have been.

Edith Cavell Lake and Glacier was located off the road a bit between our campsites
and Jasper, and it was worth the drive and the short hike to see the unusual sight.
At the front edge or toe of the glacier a lake had formed with ice floating around
that had broken off. A mountain, also bearing the name, Cavell, towered over the
pool of ice. At the near edge of the lake, water flowed into a rapid flowing stream
which plunged over the rocks and down the mountainside. Small trees and greenery
are beginning to grow here and there in the pile of rocks left by the receding
glacier. Edith Cavell was a British born nurse who was martyred by the Germans in
1915 for helping refugees trying to escape the war zone.

Jasper townsite is a small place with one gift shop after another intermixed with
several restaurants and fast food places. We replenished supplies, bought gasoline
and prepared for the next leg of our journey.

Saturday, July 27, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 116365

CLEARWATER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -

Except for seeing a black bear on the side of the highway, the drive down the western slopes of the mountains past Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, was decidedly disappointing because of wet weather. Yet when we arrived in Clearwater the skies cleared and the rest of the day was gorgeous. The drive was not that unpleasant, but it would have been nice to see some of the things we had been reading about. We have had very few bad weather days. Clearwater is on the Clearwater River, and the river is true to its name in contrast to the milky white rivers that we had been seeing on the Alberta side. Raft riding is popular on the river, particularly in areas of rapids. Our reason for
stopping here was to tour Wells Gray Provincial Park in the Cariboo Mountains.

We had beef stew, salad, bread and apple pie at a cookout in the campground after a "gam" earlier on Saturday evening. Gradually we were getting to know more of the group. The gam was at the trailer of Elsie and Jim Wardron. He is the oldest member of the caravan at 84. He and Elsie have been married for over thirty years, and they both have families from previous marriages. He was a real estate broker in Oklahoma and Texas during his working career. Elsie has a huge white cat that travels with them.

The entrance to Wells Gray Park was about 25 miles north of Clearwater. We tripled up in Suburbans (six to a car) and then divided into two groups for the tour. Eachj group had a local guide in the lead car who kept a running commentary going via CB radio.

Thursday, July 25, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 116295

JASPER, ALBERTA, CANADA -

Our first stop on the road to Jasper following our few days away from the caravan with the Schumakers in Calgary was at Sunwapta Falls. This was the first of several examples of water plunging violently through narrow gorges. At Athabasca Falls a short distance further, we really saw an explosion of water cascading over rock outcroppings. Here we walked through a narrow gorge that at some time in the past had been the path of the river. At points in the gorge, the water is trapped in small crevices where it swirls endlessly. At some of the swirls trees had gotten caught and were tumbling around and around. At both Sunwapta and Athabasca we parked in the parking lot with our trailer.

We pulled into the Wabasso Campground about 10:00am and rejoined our caravan friends who had been there for a day already. They had also made a two day stop at Kootenay Plains. We were warmly greeted and had to repeat the Schumaker story several times as everyone was concerned about Dave.

We took a site near George and Christine Jones, who promptly invited us to join them to drive over to the Jasper Tramway. This was one of the excursions paid for out of the caravan kitty. Two gondolas carried about thirty people each up about 3,000 feet almost to the top of Whistlers Mountain. The two cars were supported on one cable and propelled by another as they go up and then reverse to go down. The two pass at the mid-point. At the top was a restaurant and gift shop and platforms affording a panoramic view of the Jasper and the surrounding peaks and valleys. A trail led up to the snow at the peak of the mountain. It was called Whistlers Mountain because of the whistling marmots that inhabit the rocks. We had lunch at the top, then descended and drove over to Maligne Canyon.

The Maligne River crashes through an extremely narrow and deep crevice in the rock to form the canyon by the same name. Following the trail down the canyon rim provided some outstanding photo opportunities and some good exercise. Each one of these places where water plunges downward is spectacular, but after a while they begin to all look alike. The Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls were both violent, but the Maligne River rushing through this extremely narrow canyon was incredible.

Maligne Lake is the one most often pictured on postcards, place mats, calendars and other souvenirs of Jasper. The beautiful blue-green lake was clearly visible from the top of the gondola lift, but with overcast skies our view at lake level was not a nice as it might have been.

Edith Cavell Lake and Glacier was located off the road a bit between our campsites
and Jasper, and it was worth the drive and the short hike to see the unusual sight.
At the front edge or toe of the glacier a lake had formed with ice floating around
that had broken off. A mountain, also bearing the name, Cavell, towered over the
pool of ice. At the near edge of the lake, water flowed into a rapid flowing stream
which plunged over the rocks and down the mountainside. Small trees and greenery are beginning to grow here and there in the pile of rocks left by the receding glacier. Edith Cavell was a British born nurse who was martyred by the Germans in 1915 for helping refugees trying to escape the war zone.

Jasper townsite is a small place with one gift shop after another intermixed with
several restaurants and fast food places. We replenished supplies, bought gasoline
and prepared for the next leg of our journey.

Saturday, July 27, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 116365

CLEARWATER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -

Except for seeing a black bear on the side of the highway, the drive down the western slopes of the mountains past Mount Robson was decidedly disappointing because of wet weather. Mount Robson is the highest of the Canadian Rockies. Yet when we arrived in Clearwater the skies cleared and the rest of the day was gorgeous. The drive was not that unpleasant, but it would have been nice to see some of the things we had been reading about. We have had very few bad weather days. Clearwater is on the Clearwater River, and the river is true to its name in contrast to the milky white rivers that we had been seeing on the Alberta side. Raft riding is popular on the river, particularly in areas of rapids. Our
reason for stopping here was to tour Wells Gray Provincial Park in the Cariboo Mountains.

We had beef stew, salad, bread and apple pie at a cookout in the campground after a "gam" earlier on Saturday evening. Gradually we were getting to know more of the group. The gam was at the trailer of Elsie and Jim Wardron. He is the oldest member of the caravan at 84. He and Elsie have been married for over thirty years, and they both have families from previous marriages. He was a real estate broker in Oklahoma and Texas during his working career. Elsie has a huge white cat that travels with them.

The entrance to Wells Gray Park was about 25 miles north of Clearwater. We tripled up in Suburbans (six to a car) and then divided into two groups. Each group had a local guide in the lead car who kept a running commentary going via CB radio. By this point on the trip we had seen numerous water falls and were not particularly excited about seeing a few more. But what a surprise it was to see the Spahats, Dawson, and Helmcken Falls! And our expert guides turned out to be a mother and daughter, Ida and Tina DeKelver, both of whom had grown up in the area dedicated to preserving its history and natural beauty. They added considerable interest to the trip.

Entering the area we were cautioned that we were going into a wilderness area, with little travelled gravel roads, and with not even a trading post for miles around.
The terrain was heavily forested, to some extent with old growth trees, huge cedars, firs, and hemlocks. We were in the mountains, but it was not the rugged types we had seen in Alberta. Then we came to the Spahats area and quite suddenly we were overlooking a wide canyon rimmed with 700 foot high walls on each side. Walking down the rim we gradually reached a point where we could look back and see a most unusual waterfall. Back out of sight, the water fell to a pool recessed into the head wall. We could only see some of the splashing at the far side of the pool. Then at the outer edge of the pool, the water spilled out and down about 250 feet to the canyon floor below. Each waterfall we come to has its own character, and they are all a little hypnotic. In this one the violence was there, but it was more a thing of grace and beauty.

Dawson Falls is locally known as Little Niagara and appropriately so. The Murtle
River is a large river, probably 500 feet across. When the river reaches the falls
area it plummets down about 100 feet with a mighty roar. Looking into the face of
the falls, they look similar to Niagara because of the width.

Helmcken Falls were the most spectacular of the three. Again, there was a wide, deep canyon with the falls at the head coming out of a crevice in the rock. These were wider and higher than the Spahats, and much more dramatic in their descent. There was a pool near the bottom that was almost obscured by the spray and mist, then the water fell further over a series of ledges to the canyon floor.

We also visited an old farm called the Ray farm that had been hewn out of the
wilderness a hundred years ago and had been abandoned when the owner died in 1947. During the last few years, efforts have been made by the local people to restore some of the buildings on the Ray farm and preserve the example of how life was handled in an earlier time. Our guide and her family have spearheaded this effort.

Our guide also led us to a pile of shale at which point many of the group busily
attacked the pile with hammers and chisels looking for fossils.

To complete the day, we visited the unusual Yellowhead Museum. Mrs. DeKelver has
collected thousands of artifacts, records, pictures, bones, antlers, skins, tools,
and has them on display at her private museum. The showcases were crude, but
obviously represent a labor of love. She had prepared blueberry muffins, cakes,
lemonade and coffee to treat us. She, her daughter, and her grandson had many
stories to tell about life in the British Columbia mountains. Hopefully, a more
modern and substantial museum can be built someday to protect her valuable
collection. This needs to happen, but when it does it will lose some of its
uniqueness.

LILLOOET, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -

On Monday, the caravan moved from Clearwater to Lillooet, British Columbia. Lillooet is an old gold mining town near the floor of a canyon. The road leading into town was steep and curvy, but the scenery was striking. With 10% grades, the drivers had to keep their eyes on the road. The water in the lakes and rivers was remarkably clear. The landscape changed to a more barren desertlike appearance with sage brush and a lot of dust. At one point there was a sand slide in the distance with great clouds of dust behind it. We parked on the banks of the Fraser River near an old gold panning site.

Bus had arranged several tours of the area - one, a ranger guided forestry tour;
second, a tour of a local lumber mill where logs are turned into 4' x 8' sheets of
veneer for the making of plywood; and three, a tour of a honey operation. I chose to tour the mill, and was amazed at the automation and speed of the plant. They produce over a hundred million square feet of veneer each year, all to very precise
measurement, 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and .100 inches thick. The logs were unloaded from the loading trucks, debarked, cut to 8 foot lengths, cooked in hot water, and shaved to the .100 inch thickness on a high speed lathe until all that was left was a 4 inch diameter fence post. The waste material was chipped and loaded onto rail cars and eventually used to make chip board. The finished product of this plant then
went to a plywood manufacturing facility where the veneers were glued and pressed together in various thicknesses. There was very little saw dust, but what they had was burned along with the bark in a cone shaped furnace.

We also visited a museum where the Lillooet story was told. Beginning as a gold rush town in the 1850's, lumber soon became its chief product. A story was told about an entrepreneur in the Gold Rush days who brought in 23 two-hump camels from Mongolia to serve as pack animals on the Cariboo Trail. Camels could carry heavy loads and live off most anything. They were such an unusual sight, however, that they spooked the horses and oxen pulling the heavy freight wagons. The other animals just didn't like the piteous cries and appalling stench of the camels. You have to see these roads to appreciate the problem, but when the drovers lost control of their teams, the result was a plunge over the cliff and into the river. So the camels quickly lost favor and were put out to pasture.

Apparently this area is subject to tremendous changes in temperature. Although the temperature while we were there was moderate, the week before it was 115 degrees, and -20 degrees in winter is not uncommon. The elevation was below 800 feet, but just a short distance out of town, driving 10% to 13% grades, it didsn't take long to get high into the mountains where snow was still visible in the crevices.
Many of the Cayoosh Indians who inhabit the area were taking advantage of a sockeye salmon run in the river. With nets attached to long poles, they were pulling out fish that looked to be about two feet long. Crude racks were set up where the fish were being hung for drying after cleaning. We also heard stories of six foot long sturgeon being caught out of the Fraser.

On the last day of July we moved south and west toward Vancouver, stopping for a
night at Minter Gardens less than 40 miles from the U.S. border and about 75 miles
from the coast. The drive out of the Fraser River valley was along some precipitous
roads. At many spots the mountainsides consisted of loose gravel and sand lying
along a steep face. Building highways along these gravelly slopes where slides are
common must be a challenge. At one point nature seemed to be winning as there was abundant sign that the road had recently slid away. What we drove over was a
temporary one lane patched in place, and it was a bit scary. With no signals we had
no way of knowing whether we were going to meet oncoming traffic. Had that occurred someone would have had to back up. As we progressed further south, the mountains became thicker with trees and the color green again prevailed.

Minter Gardens is a beautiful garden spot at the foot of 7,000 foot Mount Cheam. The twenty seven acres of gardens were developed here by Brian Minter about ten years ago and have become one of the most beautiful in Canada. The best thing about our stop there was that Mary Love and Dave rejoined us. Dave was discharged from the hospital on Monday, and they took two days to drive over from Calgary. He is feeling good and is ready to go again.

From the descriptions of beauty and of fun that we had, it might appear that there
were no difficulties on the trip. Such was not the case, but as each problem
occurred there was someone handy to help out. The Gibbs, the Bergs, the Finkes, and the Duffs all had flat tires. The Hutchinsons and Pughs had to get new transmissions. The Joneses had to find a new radiator. Dave had his stint in the Calgary hospital. The Lynn's trailer tangled with a tree. The Jasper mosquitoes had a field day. A picnic table toppled on the Merritts, and there was an assortment of other things. Tempers even flared on a few occasions, but as each problem was solved we grew closer together as a family of friends.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -

The short drive to Vancouver over the wide Trans-Canada highway was a good one except for our flat tire on the trailer. Luckily, the flat was noticed before any damage was done to the tire, so it only required patching where a nail had penetrated the lining. As we moved further west the mountains thinned out and the traffic got heavier. Vancouver is a major city. We parked with the caravan on the campus of Simon Fraser University atop Burnaby Mountain which afforded spectacular views in all directions. The snow covered peak of Mount Baker ninety miles away in Washington state dominated the skyline.

We'll begin the next version of this travelog with our explorations of Vancouver.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -

Using a visitor's guide we mapped out a route to explore the city. We started in North Vancouver at Capilano Suspension Bridge, touted as the world's greatest suspension bridge. The bridge is wide enough for two people to walk and is about 450 feet long, suspended 250 feet above the Capilano River. Across the canyon was a forest of huge douglas fir trees, some over 200 feet tall. Dave demonstrated his recovery by accompanying us across the bridge and back.

Next we drove out to a place on the north side of the Fraser River called the Cypress Bowl in Cypress Provencial Park where a high viewpoint afforded a good look at the skyline of Vancouver across Burrard Inlet. The haze obscured the view somewhat, but it was nonetheless impressive. Burrard Inlet is the main shipping channel for the cruise ships and other ocean going vessels that come to port in Vancouver.

We then followed the coastline back toward the city to Amberside Beach, a very
exclusive neighborhood of condominiums near the foot of Lion's Gate Bridge. The
bridge looks very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Crossing the
bridge we entered Stanley Park, the place where everyone we asked said was a must to see. The park is on a high bluff overlooking the harbor and is full of the same types of huge evergreens that we saw two years ago on the Olympic Peninsula. We stopped at Prospect Point, the most popular overlook of the harbor and one beautifully decorated with a huge floral display near the walkway.

From Stanley Park we drove through the downtown area of Vancouver, down by the
waterfront, and through Gastown, the oldest section of town that has been renovated to now include many sidewalk restaurants and shops. People were thicker than flies on the streets, and it was impossible to find a place to park so we drove on to the suburbs and spent an hour in a big mall before heading home to the trailers.

On Saturday we drove with six other carloads on a tour of the city. Starting at
Gastown, we stopped at the statue of "Gassy Jack" a colorful figure in Vancouver's history and at the old steam clock. Fed by the underground steam system, the clock runs off a small steam engine and whistles a signal each quarter hour. From Gastown we went to Stanley Park for a ride through all the roadways and stops at a display of totem poles, the zoo and aquarium, and at the Pavilion Cafeteria for lunch. This park is the crown jewel of the city. The l,000 acre park is full of both natural and cultivated beauty. A forest of huge western red cedar trees provides a cool, shady atmosphere for the miles of roads and trails. The well maintained gardens overlooking the harbor and the city are as nice as those anywhere. The zoo was not too impressive, but they did have penguins, harbor seals, and a polar bear.

After lunch we walked around the gardens for a while, then piled back into the
Suburbans and headed toward the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. This museum houses collections of artifacts from cultures around the world, but specializes in things from the aboriginal people of British Columbia and the northwest. Totem poles, wood carvings, baskets, ceremonial headgear, shields, tools, weapons, pottery, ceramics, musical instruments, and many other things demonstrated the advanced art and culture of the early people. The museum is located on a high bluff overlooking the entrance to the harbor of Vancouver. This was once the site of an old fort which in times past was the chief defense of the harbor and city. Some of the gun emplacements were still there.

From the museum, we went to the Bloedel Conservatory. This was a domed indoor garden with many plush and healthy plants, flowers and birds. Located on a high bluff above the city, the Conservatory was a popular place for wedding parties to come for pictures. While we were there, at least six parties came and went with their fancy dresses, tuxedoes and decorated cars. The weather was excellent and with the scenic backdrop, it was easy to understand the location's popularity.

On Sunday evening, Bus treated us to ice cream and cake to welcome the Schumakers back from their hospital stay and to say goodbye to the Sandalls and Walkers, who had to leave us early. Despite expressions of wonder, the great slabs of ice cream quickly disappeared.

PORT ALBERNI, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -

On Monday evening, August 5th, the whole caravan, now forty five rigs, drove in convoy the forty miles to Tsawwassen where we spent the night in the parking lot ready for an early departure on the ferries on Tuesday. Six ferries were required to get us all across to Vancouver Island. We landed at Nanaimo while others landed at Swartz Bay. We then drove overland to the Port Alberni Fairgrounds. I was surprised how mountainous the island was. Some of them still had snow at the tops. At times the road wound around beautiful lakes and through high mountain passes. We passed through an area called the Cathedral Grove which contains the island's only old growth forest. It was reminiscent of seeing the large trees on the Olympic Peninsula two years ago. Port Alberni is near sea level at the head of a miles long inlet that penetrates far into the island and calls itself the salmon capitol of the world. It appears to be a very progressive city. Work was in progress to build the site of the 1992 B.C. games, a track and field event that is a big thing in the province.

On Wednesday morning we left camp for a car tour to the Pacific Rim National Park and the little town of Tofino on the southern coast of the island. We were invited to join Bill and Patty Griffin, Sid and Sarah Watters, and Ed and Shirley Morine for a party in the Griffin's motor home while Bill did the driving on the tour. Despite rain the trip was enjoyable as we drove about seventy-five miles through the mountains to the Pacific Ocean. It was a break to let someone else do the driving for a change. A storm was brewing as we reached the beach and the waves were crashing on shore and against huge boulders, but we were comfortable in the motor home. Some of the other caravanners donned raincoats and ventured out for a better look, but we were content to see what we could through the windows of the coach.

Three of us, Ernie Cottrell, Roy Pugh and I, went salmon fishing on Thursday about
ten miles down the Alberni Inlet. It turned out that we were at the tail end of the
Sockeye run and at the beginning of the Chinook run, and neither variety was in
abundance. I caught one Sockeye that weighed about five pounds. The Sockeyes are said to be the best eating of the salmon varieties, but never get much bigger than five pounds. The life cycle of this fish is an incredible story. After a two year,
thousand mile circle around the Pacific Ocean, they return to the exact upriver spot
where they were hatched to spawn and die. With so many rivers and streams emptying into the vast Pacific, it is nothing short of amazing how they find their home territory for their last cycle of life.

Also while at Port Alberni we carpooled back to the Cathedral Grove for a walk in the old growth forest. Those magnificent trees were awesome. The largest was a Douglas fir which was about ten feet in diameter at the base, was about 300 feet tall, and was said to be 800 years old. From the Grove we drove to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park where another trail through the woods led to the upper and lower falls. While not as spectacular as some we had seen earlier, they were nice in their own way. Every water fall is different and has its own character. The water here was crystal clear while the water at the next stop, Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, was a brownish color. Those falls were different again. The upper falls funnelled into a narrow crevice and almost disappeared before again spreading out and proceeding on to the more viewable lower falls. After all these hikes, most of the caravanners were seen stopping for ice cream cones at the first shop on the road home. This was at Coombs where goats were living on the sod roof of a produce market nearby.

Several of our group stopped to see the Martin Mars water bombers. These World War II seaplanes are the largest flying boats in existence and have been adapted to fight forest fires in this area. They swoop down to a convenient lake and while on the fly scoop up 6,000 gallons of water to dump on a problem fire. If the supply lake is close enough, they can deliver a water load every fifteen minutes for a period of up to five hours.

The major event of the Port Alberni stop was the all day boat ride on the M.V. Lady Rose. The Lady is a small packet freighter that has been serving people in the remote areas around the Alberni Inlet for fifty years. We sailed the twenty-five
miles down the inlet to the little fishing village of Bamfield, making a number of
stops along the way. We stopped at one floating house to deliver just a newspaper
and a quart of milk. At another house the delivery was lumber, and at another it was propane fuel. We stopped at Bamfield for long enough to eat lunch, then headed back to Port Alberni. The boat had seating for about 100 passengers in addition to the cargo. Many were backpackers heading for the forty-five mile West Coast Trail from Bamfield along the Pacific Rim. Mountains came right to the water on both sides of the inlet. We saw a variety of birds including several bald eagles perched at the very top of their chosen trees. Some saw killer whales, others saw bears on shore, and we all saw some very beautiful scenery on a most unusual trip. The Lady Rose is the only supply line to the people who live around the mouth of the inlet. Even Bamfield is accessible only by boat or plane.

On our last night in Port Alberni, the Kinsman Club prepared a barbecued salmon
dinner for the caravan. With their dining hall conveniently located at the
fairgrounds, we only had to walk a short distance for the meal. Twenty sockeyes fed the whole crowd and there was enough for seconds.

Monday, August 12, 1991
Mileage @ Start: 117800

VICTORIA, (VANCOUVER iSLAND) BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -

Then we were off on Monday to Victoria for a five day stand to wind up the trip. The Webbs, the Duffs, and the Salvesens all joined the flat tire club on the way in. Actually, we parked the trailers at the Saanichton Fairgrounds on the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria. After a boisterous buffet lunch at the Waddling Dog Pub in Saanichton, we carpooled to nearby Butchart Gardens. And what a showplace of flowers that was! Conversations were all a bit subdued as the crowds were in awe of the beauty, and cameras and camcorders worked overtime.

The gardens were begun in 1904 by Mrs. Butchart, the wife of a wealthy industrialist, as a project to reclaim and beautify her husband's mined out rock quarry. Management is now in the fifth generation of the family. There are fifty acres of gardens and another fifty acres of greenhouses, roadways and parking lots. The profusion of flowers is so magnificent it is impossible to describe. It is a remarkable accomplishment and a good example of how ugliness can be turned into beauty if there's a will. The gardens employ 45 full time gardeners and a total of 450 people during peak season. If there were any flower varieties missing from the brilliant displays, we surely could not tell it. After a leisurely stroll we were entertained for two hours by an Australian musician and comedian who did a fine job of getting the audience singing along and participating. At one point eight of our people became a bell choir and, as the "Ding-a-lings," did a hilarious rendition of The Bells of St. Marys. Then when Woody played New York, New York, Rudy Richter just couldn't contain himself and jumped up to dance the tune. The lights in the gardens were turned on at 8:30pm, and as it grew dark we had another "walk through" to see the gardens at night and the fountain spectacularly lit with many different colors.

Victoria was an enchanting city, very clean, neat and full of flowers. The
traditional symbol of the city is the five-globe lamp post with its two swinging
baskets of flowers. Each of some 1100 of these lamp posts has nine varieties of
flowers, and they all have to be watered every day! The city is very British in
both appearance and practice. Double decker buses like those in London transport
tourists and locals around town, and there are many interesting pubs and tea rooms
for the traditional afternoon English tea. These places have such unusual names as
The Blethering Place, The James Bay, Point-No-Point, The Blue Peter, The Waddling Dog, The Latch, etc.

Facing the harbor in elegant style, the most prominent building in Victoria is the
Empress Hotel, built around the turn of the century. Nearby are the Parliament
Building and the Royal British Columbia Museum. The legislature meets in the
Parliament Building annually. The building is a massive stone structure designed by
a twenty-five year old architect in 1894. On the huge lawn is an unusual flag pole
over 200 feet tall made from a single Douglas fir tree. There is also a redwood tree
on the lawn that was given by the state of California. It seems a bit odd for the
capitol of British Columbia to be out on Vancouver Island, but in the mid 1800's when it became the capitol there were very few people living anywhere else in the
province. A few blocks away is the home of the Lieutenant Governor, called
Government House. Only the grounds were open for touring, but it was worth the free drive through to see the nice landscaping.

We spent several hours in the museum, and I don't ordinarily like museums. They do a fantastic job of presenting both the natural and political history of British
Columbia from the ice age to the present, and from the beginnings of the native
people to the coming of the Europeans. And it is done in an unusually realistic
manner. Even fish cleaning tables look wet as though the fish had just been
processed. The four industries depicted in displays were lumbering, fishing, mining,
and farming. In modern times tourism has become equal in rank to the others.

There were many fine eating places in Victoria, including the quaint tea rooms and
traditional English pubs. We all came to agree with our leader that for a city of
this size, it rivals any city on the continent for fine dining. We had lunch in the
Bengal Room of the Empress one day, tea at James Bay Tea Room another, and lunch at The Latch on Harbour Road in Sydney. All were quaint and elegant in their own ways.

On August 16th, after four days of wandering around town, we capped off the trip with our final banquet. Bus engaged two young Japanese sisters, Miya and Kaori Otoka, to come over from Vancouver to entertain us after dinner with their harp playing. They have been learning and playing the harps since they were little girls, making a weekly trip to Victoria for lessons at the university. All agreed that it made for an enjoyable evening. Bus and Rosie did a fantastic job of leading the trip and arranging activities for our enjoyment. Our club is fortunate to have people with their dedication to caravanning. He stressed again his conviction that caravanning is what WBCCI is all about, and that trips like this one should be made while we are able.

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