Trina Kelly

Road trip begins

The road trip begins

It was a beautiful morning in Calgary for the start of our trip. We set off just after 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, heading west on Highway #8.

The last time that Ruth was in Fernie, B.C. was about 40 years ago and I thought it would be nice for us to take that route to get us from Calgary to Whitefish. I have been down that way many times and have used pretty much all the different routes available to get there, and I like this one the best.

Frank Slide

The Frank Slide

And this route didn’t disappoint! The views of the mountains were spectacular and we saw wildlife too: a moose, a fawn searching for her mom — and at least one hawk.

En route, we stopped in Blairmore, Alberta for a coffee at the Crowsnest Pass Golf & Country Club.  The great weather was reflected by the number of cars in the parking lot; there was a group of six having breakfast in the restaurant. After a quick stop there, we were back in the car, and back on the road again.

On The Road Again

As we neared the border crossing at Roosville, Montana, we could see smoke in the sky as there are, as you probably know, dozens of forest fires burning in the mountains. After the border, we drove past the turnoff to The Wilderness Club (where we’ll be staying and playing golf at on Tuesday) and we started searching for the On the Fly Cafe which I’d found a great write-up about on the Internet and thought we should make a scheduled stop.

Cafe

Trina Kelly’s On the Fly Cafe

The thing is, our GPS couldn’t find it. I searched for it, but couldn’t find it. So we made a rest stop just off the highway to have a bite to eat – a small picnic that consisted of a sandwich and some water that we had packed. As soon as we started driving again, wouldn’t you know it, perhaps just 100 yards further down the road was the cafe! So we stopped the car, and in we went!

We talked to the owner, Trina Kelly, and had an ice cream cone each. We’re going to make a stop here on our way back to Canada on Wednesday.

Ruth with her daughter at the Bulldog Saloon

Ruth with her daughter Anna at the Bulldog Saloon

Ruth’s daughter, Anna, and Anna’s family are have also been down at Whitefish and we met up with them. Ruth, Anna and her family went for a boat ride and while they were doing that, I went and checked into Grouse Mountain Lodge and discovered they have no Wi-Fi – it has been down for TWO days. But I was able to prove to them the rate we’d been promised — which was different from what they were trying to charge us. As you may recall, we’re in Whitefish because of a flyer we found in the paper last week with a stay and play offer at par for the Canadian dollar. The deal gave us a room at the Grouse Mountain Lodge and a round of golf at our choice of 5 different golf courses for the rate of $175 Canadian per person. I’ll update you on this as soon as it’s resolved.

I’ve found a WiFi connection and I am sitting on the deck at the Harbour Mountain Condos writing this at 5:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

I went back to Harbor Mountain, the resort where Anna and family were staying and sat down by the lake for an hour.  Then Anna, Ruth and I headed downtown to Central Avenue to the Bulldog Saloon for a burger and a Rum and Coke.  We had to pay for the burgers in American dollars, but the drinks were all in Canadian!!!  The burgers cost $8 each and we got three drinks for $9.  Crazy.  The bar was full of patrons but we didn’t make any new friends. There’s always tomorrow!

We have a few new golf courses to meet this week, I’m looking forward to it, it should be fun.

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Ian Tyson

Destination: Whitefish, Montana

We plan to leave tomorrow around 7:00 a.m. on our next road trip that will take us to Whitefish, Montana, then back to Calgary via Cranbrook, B.C. Our route to Whitefish, Montana, will take us South and West on Alberta highways 8 and 22, down to the Crowsnest Pass.

I love the drive on the highway past Bragg Creek and Turner Valley, a golf course that I have played many times. We’ll then pass through Longview, where Canadian entertainer Ian Tyson has his ranch — this is certainly cattle country down here. I’ve embedded a YouTube video of Ian Tyson – who’s 81 (a whole year older than I am) singing Four Strong Winds as a tribute to his father who fought in the First World War. That video was released just a couple of months ago, and although the voice is shakier than it used to be, Ian Tyson is still a great performer. A big shout out and thanks to his agent, Paul Mascoli of Mascoli Entertainment Corporation for letting me use the picture of Ian Tyson on my blog.

I’ve been singing along to Ian Tyson since I got my first Ian & Sylvia record, probably back in 1970 or so, introduced to our family by my niece, Deborah Rowbotham. Back then, I’d have a bunch of albums lined up for the record player, including Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian & Sylvia and others, and I’d play them while singing and doing the housework on Sunday mornings. It was always Sunday Morning Coming Down at our house on Sundays!

From Longview, we follow the rolling hills with some surprising elevation changes along a winding creek to Alberta’s highway #3 – the Crowsnest Highway.

Soon we will be driving past the tons of rock that slid down the mountain at Frank, Alberta. The Frank Slide was a rockslide that buried a great part of the mining town of
Frank on the morning of April 29, 1903. It occurred at 4:10 am, when it took under 100 seconds for over 82 million tonnes (90 million tons) of limestone rock to slide down Turtle Mountain. That slide obliterated the entire eastern edge of Frank, the Canadian Pacific Railway line going through that part of time, and Frank’s coal mine. It was one of the largest landslides in Canadian history and remains the deadliest, as between 70 and 90 of the town’s residents were killed, most of whom were lost in the rubble. Turtle Mountain’s formation left it in a constant state of instability, a fact that wasn’t lost on the first nation tribes, who didn’t need seismic data to know better and always called it “the mountain that moves”.

On to Blairmore, the home of the Crowsnest Pass Golf and Country Club. I’ve played that course many times, including with the Alberta Branch of the Notre Dame Hounds Alumni Association with one of their annual golf tournaments. Although from the highway, the holes you can see wouldn’t necessarily compel you to stop and play as they’re rather flat and treeless. But stop and play it is something I recommend: you will not believe how beautiful the holes are that are away from the highway. It’s absolutely stunning. The course offers a challenging layout and spectacular changes in elevation. It’s certainly worth the trip – it was awarded Gold in the Most Scenic category in the Golf West Magazine’s 2014 Readers Choice Award.

The Elk River runs alongside the highway for many kilometres – beautiful, clean water rushing towards the Kootenay Lake. This is such a scenic drive along this highway, especially in the summer months. Trees and mountains on both sides. Awesome.

In no time we will be crossing into the USA at Roosville from Grasmere, B.C. and we will be off to see restauranteur Trina Kelly at her On The Fly Cafe – for at least a coffee. It’s a roadside cafe with a reputation for great food, and we can’t wait. They’ve got a great menu, including a Power Smoothie with fruit, kale, spinach and chard!

Eureka, Afterall!

It won’t be long before we will be arriving in Whitefish. This is NEW territory to me and I can’t wait to discover. We’ve decided to stay just two nights at the Grouse Mountain Lodge and the third night, we’re going to stay and play (once again!) at the The Wilderness Club in Eureka. The golf course has been opened to the public now since 2010 and it’s a Nick Faldo design, and I’ve never golfed one of his designs before, so we’re super excited about that. I need to give a big shout out to Adam at The Wilderness Club’s Pro Shop for getting us the tee times – and the room reservations for Ruth and me!

GREAT JOB, ADAM, I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET SUCH A FRIENDLY GUY IN PERSON!

– Eve

I’ll be setting my alarm and we’re T-24:00 and counting.

More to come.

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