700-Mile Drive From Jasper to Helena

Saturday, August 20, 2005 –

Today we have to drive about 700 miles from Jasper back to Helena, Montana. It was a long 12-hour drive without stops, so we left at about 7 a.m. We stopped a couple of times on the Icefield Parkway, including at Big Bend, for the views.

Back down the Icefields Parkway

Back down the Icefields Parkway

Then we passed through Lake Louise, we took the Trans-Canada Highway to the Calgary suburb of Canmore, home of Canada Olympic Park. After lunch at McDonalds, we toured the training center of Canada’s Olympic team. We saw some athletes training for luge and bobsleg. We had the opportunity to ride on the indoor learning bobsled short course, but we opted to save our money and time.

Canada Olympic Park

Canada Olympic Park

As we arrived in Calgary – Canada’s fastest growing city and energy capital – it reminded me of Dallas. It is a modern and booming cowboy city rising from the Alberta plains. We saw the unique Saddledome, where the Calgary Stampede is held and where the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL play.

Leaving Calgary behind, we headed south the American border and then went through customs. The border agent didn’t believe I was from Alabama because he said I didn’t have a strong accent. He was from South Carolina, and you could tell!

After the interrogation, we drove I-15 to Great Falls. I like these Montana interstates with no speed limits! We passed through Great Falls and snaked along the Missouri River on I-15 until we arrived in Helena around 9 p.m. We went to dinner at a steakhouse before checking into the Hampton Inn in Helena. It was the longest drive of my life and I was worn out. It was an amazing trip, and the next morning we would head out of Helena though Salt Lake City back to Birmingham.

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