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Glacier To Yellowstone

GPS, don’t lead us astray (click on map to enlarge)


We left Glacier National Park on Friday, August 9th.

Almost as soon as we hit the road, it (the road) turned bad. Very bad in spots.

Driving to Choteau, MT



For the End of the Road



After an overnight in Choteau Mountain View Campground, we headed for Helena, MT and discovered an incredibly beautiful stretch of American road . . .


Click on photo to enlarge


Flirt Enjoying the new Helena KOA



We arrived at Yellowstone Holiday RV Campground & Marina on Sunday afternoon August 11th.

Much More on Yellowstone soon

Glacier National Park

We left Banff on Saturday, August 3rd, and arrived at Glacier National Park the same day, about 260 miles.

Banff to Glacier (click on map to enlarge)

All in all we enjoyed our 6-night stay at the St Mary’s / East Glacier KOA (elevation about 4,700′) better than our Banff adventure. In Glacier we slowed down and let someone else “do the driving”.

St Mary KOA


Our Campsite


Nearby St Mary River


We took Flirt out for an afternoon swim the the St Mary River.


We took a boat ride on Lake Mary and a Red Bus Alpine tour up Going To The Sun Road. However, we did our own self-guided tour to Logan Pass and beyond.

Glacier Park Terrain (click on map to enlarge)


St Mary Lake Boat Tour


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Mid-tour we were able to get off the boat and check out a nearby waterfall:



Red Bus Alpine Tour

We spent an enjoyable 2 hours traveling up and down Going To The Sun Road on a 1936 White Motor Company Model 706 tour bus. Classic.

Bus #98 – The “Million Dollar” Bus


Apparently, our bus #98 was the first of the old buss fleet to be refurbished in 2000 – 2002 by Ford Motor Company who spent $1M on the first bus it refurbished — #98.

Jan nabbed the front seat


Driving through part of Glacier burned in the 2015 fires


Yes, Virginia, you can stand up in the bus


Jan & I visited this spot in 1977 (Goose Island of The Shining fame in the background)


Near Logan Pass


Logan Pass Visitor Center


Logan Pass


Trail to Hidden Lake at Logan Pass


Looking at a Black Bear on the beach below

HughesNet vs HughesNet

Or, a Tale of Two Sat Services.

When we arrived in Canada, I was hopeful that I would be able to get Internet service via our HughesNet Gen 5 dish. However, I had doubts since our Gen 5 HughesNet doesn’t “cover” most of Canada.

That’s the rub. The “old” HughesNet (or Ku-band for the geeks) covered wide areas while the newer Gen 5 HughesNet (or Ka-band) uses smaller, focused spot beams.

Ku-band good for Canada, Ka-band bad for Canada


With the older Ku-band (“Your father’s HughesNet”) satellite Internet service, you could get service in much of Canada and Alaska. The only “gotcha” was signal strength. The further north you went, the weaker the satellite signal (measured in dBW). So in the far north you needed a .98M or 1.2M satellite dish — that’s about 39 and 47 inches, respectively. Those are big, unwieldy dishes.

On the other hand, Ka-band HughesNet Gen 5 service pretty much stops at the Canadian border.

HughesNet Gen 5 Spot Beam Coverage


Nevertheless, Banff was pretty close to one of the HughesNet Gen 5 spot beams (Beam 6), so I gave it a try.

I tried to fool the HughesNet software that I was actually in Fairmont Hot Springs (which is just inside Beam 6) and not at Banff.

And I got close to getting a signal, but after several days of tweaking the satellite dish, I threw in the towel.

Almost . . .


One of my forum commenters, Al Morgan, found the same thing about HughesNet Gen 5 Canadian coverage:

Hughes Net should work up to about Fort Macleod in Alberta but as you’ve found out, no further.

Banff Diary

BANFF NATIONAL PARK OF CANADA (Elevation 1,383 m or 4,537 ft)

Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court (Read about how we booked our Banff campsites here)

July 24, Wednesday – Arrived at Banff from Radium Hot Springs at about 1:30 pm after driving THROUGH the town of Banff. Horrid. Our GPS failed us. Should have taken us to next exit (see map below). We’re in Site 145 for two nights.

Set up HughesNet dish. Didn’t work. Put up DISH TV tripod. It worked. Spokane, WA local TV stations!

Take the Red Route!


Mountains Everywhere . . .


. . . and Jan was soon painting them


Saw an Elk herd the first two nights


July 25, Thursday – Day of rest at campsite. Take down both sat dishes as we’re moving to a different campsite on Friday for just one day.


July 26, Friday – Moved to site 845. Day of rest. Put up DISH TV tripod. It worked. Took Flirt on 2.5 mile walk around campground perimeter.

Looking Down on Banff


Drove the Jeep into Banff for groceries at the IGA. Every parking spot taken . . . in all of Canada! Horrid.

Our Local IGA Grocery


July 27, Saturday – Moved to site 141, the dream site, for a week. Put up HughesNet dish. Still not working. Didn’t have to put up DISH tripod as our rooftop Winegard Trailer worked.

The Long Coveted Site 141 . . .


. . . here for a week . . .


. . . with clear views of Mount Rundle


July 28, Sunday – Jan went to the Banff IGA groceries at 8 am. She was actually able to park the Jeep with ease.


July 29, Monday – Filled up Jeep with gas in Banff. Horrid. Then drove up to Lake Louise in early afternoon. Every parking lot full. Turned right around and went back to Banff. Lovely. Drove through Banff thinking we would get lunch. Have we not learned? Cleaned our RV’s inside AC filters.

Glacier on the way to Lake Louise


Your Name isn’t on my Parking List


July 30, Tuesday – slept in. At night we dined out at Park Distillery & Restaurant in Banff. Very good. Took a taxi there and back! We’re learning.

Sure, it’s a nice pic of Jan, but what’s going on in that picture above the bar?


Jan’s drink – the “Cascade”. I went with an Alpine Gin & Tonic. Yes!


Here’s our appetizer, a Brie something – very good


Let’s just skip to dessert



July 31, Wednesday  – up early (for me). Jan & I decided not to drive or take the bus to Lake Louise. It will have to live in our imagination. We both realized that after 4 months and 3,700 miles we’re tired! From now on we’re only going to use park bus service or tour busses to get around. The summer destination spots are full of people to the gills. Recharged our water softener.


August 1, Thursday – took the bus to “The Cave & Basin National Historic Site”. The bus rides to and from were the highpoint. While waiting for the outbound bus, we met a Canadian mother and daughter. The daughter was taking her day off to have lunch with mom and do some hiking. Utterly charming duo. Also met a Dutch couple who had traveled to both US and Canadian parks this summer. Delightful. Met an English couple who failed to make reservations and who made 110 phone calls in a day searching for a place to stay in Calgary. Yikes!

Banff Public Transit – colorful, yes, but in need of some serious simplification


Some Serious Vistas at the Cave & Basin (click to enlarge)


When we arrived at the historic site, I thought they were having plumbing problems. Wrong. Jan thought the smell came from a nearby horse trail. Wrong again. The Cave part of this site is a sulfurous hot spring with the overpowering smell of rotten eggs. As we ventured deeper into the Cave, as we must, the smell allowed for a 5-second stay when we arrived at the end of the cave where there’s a hot springs sulphur pool . . .

Last One in is a . . .


The High Point of our Cave & Basin Excursion . . . the Bus Ride back to the Campground . . .

Over our bus’s scratchy PA system, our Asian bus driver tried to explain all the ins and outs of our bus route. But pretty much everything he said sounded like “I’m taking the laundry to my daughter’s soccer practice.”

However, he was really, really trying to communicate, so kudos Mr Fumi for the attempt.

Best Bus Driver in Banff



August 2, Friday – disinfect RV water tank day, a once every 6 months bleach adventure.

Tried to unscrew the water filter housings, but they wouldn’t budge. So the whole water filter assembly had to be removed. Then the filters could be replaced.

It started simply enough


August 3, Saturday – Bye Banff!



Would You Like More Data?

Internet connectivity can be problematic in Canada. Basically, if the campground doesn’t supply WiFi, you’re screwed unless you brought your own.

We kinda-sorta brought our own. Our Verizon plan includes Travel Pass which doles out 500 MB of Internet data a day in Canada. This amount resets each day. But we usually use much more data than this. However, once we used up that 500 MB, the following message would appear on my iPhone:



I said “Yes” many many times.


Flirt vs Ground Squirrels

These guys would pop out of their numberous holes like Wack a Moles. Drove Flirt nuts. She would plunge her snout down every squirrel hole she encountered.

Come out damit!



Radium Hot Springs

Cranbrook to Radium or Bust

We moseyed our way from Cranbrook to Radium arriving a little after 1 pm. A short, scenic drive.

Our campground, The Canyon RV Resort, is down a long, really steep road. The “prime” campsites abut the Sinclair Creek, a fast flowing, pristine stream that goes through the middle of the campground. We’re in the cheap seats in the balcony row:

It IS in a canyon


We’ve experienced some exceptional scenery during our trip, but Holy Cow is this area of Canada beautiful. Many of the streams we drove past were turquoise and there was still snow on some of the mountain peaks.

A Wayside on our Way to Radium


Our Campsite . . .


. . . and our Neighbors



We’ll be heading to the Trailer Court Campground in Banff on Wednesday, but decided to get the jump on things by purchasing our Parks Canada “passes” . . . actually two annual, over 65, Discover passes . . .

The best bargain for a multi-day park stay


We also investigated part of the mountain road to Banff because we were concerned about how steep it was. Turns out, pretty steep.

In less than 10 miles from Radium, the elevation changes from 808 m (2651 ft) to 1480 m (4856 ft) with stretches of grades staring at 11% (yeow!), then 6%, and finally 8%. While it didn’t seem like too much while driving up in our Jeep, our 18-year-old RV handles a bit differently. Though our motorhome’s diesel has enough torque, you have to be very careful not to let the engine overheat. We’ll see tomorrow.

It’s All About the Grade



There a good chance we won’t be posting anything while in Banff. There’s no WiFi, our Verizon data is limited, and our HughesNet Gen 5 sat dish may not work up here.