Our first trip to the U.S.A. took us from Aldergrove, BC,  across the border to Lynden and we continued on to Bellingham, located in the Pacific North West, towards Chuckanut Drive. We were curious whether the U.S. would be any different from Canada. But at first glance nothing changed at all; the environment from Bellingham to Lynden was just as rural as on the Canadian side. The 2386 meter high volcano Mount Baker is the highest and most prominent mountain in the area. It looks down  from the southeast on the flat land on both sides of the border. The border connects British Columbia with the U.S. state of Washington.

We have done it for the first time. For six months now we are living in Canada; we’ve visited South Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and often we’ve been driving along the U.S. border. But somehow we never crossed it. Something has held us back. Even after having heard from many people that gasoline and groceries are much cheaper in the U.S. than in Canada. But now we did it! We crossed the small border crossing of Aldergrove/Lynden. It wasn’t exactly a piece of cake.

Finally I’ll write something about grocery shopping in Canada. It's funny; it’s not exactly our first time around in a supermarket but since we live in Canada we’re having a hard time shopping because we can’t unlock the shopping carts. The coin just doesn’t fit in the slot to unlock the mechanism. But every adventurer needs a bit of luck and finally we managed to unlock the cart. It lasted two weeks until we solved this secret of Canada's shopping cart.

Entrance to NK'MIP CampgroundWe stayed at probably our most beautiful campground so far, the Nk'MIP (pronounced in-ka-meep) campground. It is operated by the Osoyoos First Nations Band and is located in a reserve in the fertile Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia. The campground is part of a resort which also includes a 4-star hotel, a winery, golf course and a museum, the Desert Cultural Centre. Here are art, nature, history and present melted together.

The band "The Sunshine Boys" played at the Oktoberfest in OsoyoosOsoyoos is a town of approximately 5000 people located in the southern part of the Okanagan Valley, southern BC. The fertile valley is nationally known for its orchards and vineyards. Osoyoos has the highest average temperatures in Canada, which is one of the reasons why many retirees live here. Between locals, visitors and Canadian campers, who now enjoy this pleasant weather here but will soon move on as so-called snowbirds to the southern states of the US, we attended our first Oktoberfest.

Mouse at work - chewed cereal barsRecently we had an uninvited guest in our motor home. At first we weren’t sure. One morning we found two granola bars were chewed on at one corner. They were in the drawer under the sink with behind it an open space. Our first step was to clean out the drawer and to stow away the food in a different drawer, located under one of the benches. It turned out to be not the best idea.

Creative hot dog with sweet potato fries at Waterton Lakes National ParkThree young Canadians from Waterton turned their vision into reality by selling special hot dogs. They grew up in the vicinity of Waterton Lakes National Park and realized tourists needed something else in addition to the existing expensive restaurants: a place where you can enjoy a good meal for a reasonable price.

Bear paw trace in the muddy groundCatherine Reynolds picks up a piece of a deer's antlers and explains that deer repel their antlers each year. Two small indentations are being identified as traces of deer teeth that have scraped this piece of antler. Females do this to get calcium for milk production; male animals need calcium to build their antlers. Christine leads tourists through the Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and teaches how exciting it is to search for traces of animal piles, footprints, scratches and much more. She goes for it like a detective.

Weite Sicht von der Prärie auf die Rocky MountainsWe’re leaving the impressive Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park in the company of a warm, strong wind. We’re off to Waterton Lakes National Park in southwestern Alberta; where the prairie and the Rocky Mountains meet. The little-used Highway 501 near the U.S. border leads us to this place. Soon the Rocky Mountains become visible. It is still an estimated 100 km as the crow flies, perhaps a little more.

Achtung: Schlangen sind gefährdet. Langsam fahren.Canada is known for its variety of wildlife. For those who spend their vacation here it is quite memorable to spot a bear, caribou, elk or moose. But that there are also rattlesnakes in Canada is less well known. In southern Alberta, where the summers are very hot, rattlesnakes are not unusual. Nevertheless, these animals are at risk.

The Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park signs don’t warn people to be careful because there are snakes around, but the signs warn visitors to pay attention while driving. The snakes like to be on the road and keep themselves warm on the asphalt.

Additional information