We got up early, roughly made the bed in our fourth story, lakeside room (photo 1) and headed down to the village. Today we decided to take a boat ride down Waterton Lake on the M/S International (photo 2, 3, & 4), a wooden boat built about the same time as the Prince of Wales Lodge. It was a nice way to kill two plus hours with fantastic views of the lake and mountains (photo 5).
As we headed down the lake, the ranger pointed out several peaks, most of which I don’t remember now (photo 6), and then we came to the international border between the U.S. and Canada, the longest undefended boarder in the world at over 4,000 miles (photos 7 & 8). It seemed odd to see a stretch of woods cut down just so you could see the border, but hey, I guess we need to know where it’s located. The ranger joked that the border continued down under the water, and because of the reflections on the water, it actually looked that way.
We continued on to the end of the lake, which is on the U.S. side, and stopped for a 20-minute break. Some of the views from this end of the lake are quite impressive and can’t be seen without taking the boat trip (photo 9,10, & 11).
As we were headed back, having seen the lake once already, we got to talk to this retired couple from Wisconsin. Since we had told them about our motorcycle trip, they proceeded to tell us about their neighbor who took up riding motorcycles late in his life and enjoyed it very much. After riding for about five years and traveling many places, he was able to buy a Harley-Davidson, which he had long wanted. Only a week after buying this motorcycle, while riding one mile from home, he was killed when an elk decided to jump over him and his bike. He was knocked off the bike, and dragged for some distance. The windshield on the motorcycle wasn’t even broken and apparently the bike wasn’t that badly damaged either. The couple then conceded that this was a freak accident and they didn’t think that anything like that would ever happen to us, but we should be careful. OK, we’ll be on the lookout for motorcycle jumping elk. We pulled into the dock at around 12:30, just in time for lunch (photo 12).
Speaking of the motorcycle, today we just used it to ferry us back and forth from the Lodge. As we headed back to the Lodge for a little rest and relaxation, we decided to spend our last night at the Prince of Wales by having dinner in the sumptuous dining room (photo 13 & 14). Both Linda and I had a variation of Salmon, we’re in the Northwest you know, and both dishes were very good. The bread pudding was good but definitely a Canadian variation on a theme and not as good as my Southern mama used to make.
Being in Canada is an experience when it comes to money. While we were here the U.S. dollar was worth about $1.33 Canadian dollars, then dropped to $1.29. To avoid having to make change in the local businesses, which typically only give $1.25 Canadian, we used our VISA card for almost everything. That way the bank gives you the exact rate on the date they get the bill. Obviously, having money that’s worth about 30% more than the local currency puts you at a real advantage if your inclined to buy ga-zing-ga-pins and such. Gas is about. $.75 per liter or $2.16 U.S. per gallon, which is about the same thing. Actually, in California, that’s even a little cheaper than what we pay.
Anyway, Americans should be aware that Canada is not the fifty-first state and that there is definitely a difference in culture and attitude. Every Canadian we met was friendly to us, welcomed us, and was generally interested in our trip. They drink sweetened tea, do have an accent that you pick up after listening for a while, are proud to be Canadian and don’t want to be American, and have a country larger in land mass than the United States. All in all, a nice place to visit, a beautiful place to ride a motorcycle, and someplace I’ll return to when opportunity allows.
On our last day we had to change rooms. We were moved up to the fifth floor, which is kind of like the attic. We actually liked the second room even better than the first, since it was like being in your rich uncles loft. We broke the rules by removing the protective screen so I could take a picture of Linda waving out the window and some shots of our bungalow (photos15, 16 17, 18, 19, & 20). The view was even better than the first night. Thanks again gang.
Tomorrow, we head for Glacier National Park then on to Montana and South Dakota.