From Canada into the USA

Trip Start May 11, 2008
Trip End May 24, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Sunday, May 18, 2008

-9 am  and we were on the road, heading south from Medicine Hat on Highway 3. This is the first time I have been south of the Trans Canada highway in Alberta. 

-Much of the drive was similar to the area around Saskatchewan-Manitoba. Large fields, cattle, irrigation systems, and big, big sky.  One time I was staring at some browish-grey coloured field rubble and I realized there was a coyote standing in the middle!  He was the same colour as the surrounding countryside.

-At Taber Alberta we turned south on Hwy 36, where traffic was really light. We would follow this until it joined with Highway 4 to the USA border at Coutts Alberta. The closer we got the USA border, the more the terrain began to roll. We were surprised to come around one corner and see a valley with a lake and a large bridge stretching across it - it was Chin Lake

-We crossed the border with no problem and headed into Montana.  For the first hour it was just a continuation of Alberta's landscape. However, as we neared Great Falls, the Rocky Mountains became visible in the distance. Shortly after passing through Great Falls, we were into the mountains. Very impressive. Not as rugged as the Canadian Rockies, but beautiful and majestic nonetheless.

-Just before 5 pm we rolled into Butte, Montana and was impressed by what we saw. The town is nestled in a valley surrounded by snow capped peaks. One side of the bowl is actually the Continental Divide - 8180 feet above sea level.  Butte was once a copper mining town - at one time it had 200 operating mines - open pit as welll as underground mining. Mining stopped in the 1880s and many of hte mining headframes and landscape is still there. 

Gambling  (slots/keno) are legal in Montana and little casinos are everywhere. We went to one - Gold Rush Casino for a steak dinner and a quick try at the slots. The steaks were great, the slots were not. After dinner we checked out the town before calling it a night. 

Tomorrow:  Yellowstone!
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