We woke to beautiful sunny skies in our filled WalMart parking lot. Out behind the rig a dad was tossing a baseball to his two kids and they were yelling at each other like it was mid-afternoon in a park rather than 7am in a parking lot. It was nice to have shopping a few steps away, and a cheap RV dump just down the street at the Husky station. We even had fast WiFi right in the parking lot from the McDonalds located WalMart.
We sent and received emails from our friends in Bonners Ferry, confirming an afternoon arrival when Georgette would be back from Spokane. Since there was time to spare, we decided it would be great to backtrack ten miles for the 10:00 AM opening of the Fort Steele Heritage Town.
The site contains restored buildings from the original town, as well as re-constructed buildings that would have been typical to the area during the period between 1890 and 1905, complete with costumed actors discussing the daily (1895) news as they walk the streets. It turned out to be a great experience and a truly lovely little town. I found myself often slipping back to a time when the streets were quiet except for the clip clop of horses pulling wagons. There was a working blacksmith, and a wonderful bakery where I bought heavy loaves of great sourdough bread for us and for our Bonners Ferry friends.
The glacial lake terrace nestled at the base of the Kootenay Mountains above the Kootenay River is soft and lush. I can see how it would have been a perfect place for a settlement of any kind. The buildings have been restored and furnished with loving care and the setting is beautiful. We ambled along the streets for more than two hours, finishing our wanderings with a cone of home made fabulous ice cream for Mo and I had a root beer float. It was hot, and I do love root beer floats, especially when made with vintage root beer.
Nina and Paul (the folks over at one of my favorite blogs “Wheelin’It” would appreciate the dog friendly atmosphere, with Abby welcomed into the site and bowls of doggie water conveniently placed around for the hot day. It was a great deal for only 5 bucks per person, with a two day pass including all the wagon rides and the vaudeville show available for only $20 per person.
By noon it was about time to amble down the road a few miles to the US border and once again cross into our home country. We were ready with all our papers and passports, having become old hands at this border crossing thing after so many times coming and going on this trip. At the crossing, we stayed well back of the big white line and the stop sign while a few cars ahead of us seemed to be crossing without incident. When it was our turn, we could see at least a dozen cameras aimed at all the strategic points of our rig recording every possible angle. We also know about the scanners that can see the hidden lines in US paper money and let the guards know exactly how much money you are carrying if it is in bigger bills.
The questions were simple, and our border crossing guard was an amiable guy. He didn’t even ask how long we had been away, what dates we left the USA, when we left Alaska, etc, all questions that we had memorized with careful checks of the calendar. He simply looked at us and asked Mo what the license number of the rig was. Now come on! How many of us know our license numbers by heart! Luckily I could answer quickly because I am the one that usually goes inside when we register for campgrounds and after this trip I had it down! He waved away my offering of the animal papers with a friendly smile, and said “Welcome home”. That was just so easy.
In just 30 more miles we were driving up the narrow dirt road to Georgette and Chet’s beautiful spacious log home overlooking the Kootenay Valley at Bonners Ferry. We visited last year on our way out for our trip to the northeast, and now this year on our way back home from Alaska.
Georgette trains Australian Cattle Dogs for herding and is now working on herding ducks, in addition to sheep and cows. Her dog is a great champion, and he thought Abby was just the cutest thing around. We found out that the racoon tail that looks like it was grafted on an Australian Cattle Dog is a sign of their pedigree, and the “lesser” blue heelers (which Abby has a bit of in her genes) have docked tails.
Georgette is a great cook and an even greater talker and we always have a wonderful time when we get together over wine and good food. They have a nice level site for the MoHo with water and electric, and enough power that the AC ran just fine to keep Jeremy nice and cool during the exceptionally warm evening. It’s always nice to spend time with good friends and we laughed long into the dark night before going back to the MoHo to greet a very lonely and vocal cat.
A few photos from this day are linked here
Photos of the Fort Steele Heritage Town are linked here