Tag Archives: Lethbridge

The Walton’s of Temple Hill Cemetery
June 15, 2015
Lethbridge, AB, Six days in Bridgeview RV Resort, #109
Eight year, one months in our bus.
ANDREW JACKSON WALTON & HARRIET BATES NOBLE.

We came to Lethbridge because we wanted to find the cemetery and graveside of Dennis’s father, Charles Herbert Walton. He is buried in Temple Hill Cemetery, a Mormon cemetery located in Raymond, a small town about 25 minutes south of Lethbridge. Charles Herbert Walton was born on 29 Jun 1887 in Scofield, Carbon, UT. He was the seventh child of Andrew Jackson Walton and Harriet Bates Noble.  Charles died on 4 May 1974 in Ogden, UT.

Dennis’s mother , Mary Ellen Barker Chugg Walton, is buried in Ogden, UT next to her first husband, Karl Willis Chugg, who left her a widow in 1935.  Dennis’s father, Charles Walton, wanted to be buried in Raymond, AB next to his first wife, Ida Ann Paxton, who left him a widower in 1930, and also next to their four-year-old daughter, Wanda, who died in 1918.

Andrew Jackson Walton (1835-1905) is Dennis's grandfather.  About 1874 perhaps on the occasion of his marriage.

Andrew Jackson Walton (1835-1905) is Dennis’s grandfather. About 1874 perhaps on the occasion of his marriage.

Dennis’s grandfather and Charles’s father, Andrew Jackson Walton, was the son of Utah pioneers. After their move from Mexico, Oxford County, ME to Sessions, UT, he helped his parents in various settlements running a threshing machine and then a sawmill. He was 39 by the time he met and married 14-year old Harriet Bates Noble, the daughter of Utah pioneers.  Both Andrew and Harriet grew up within an environment of plural marriages and this, along with a 25-year age gap may explain their flexibility in agreeing to divorce 18 years later.

 

 

 

Arthur Hannaford Walton (1802-1807) is the father of Dennis's grandfather Andrew Jackson Walton.

Arthur Hannaford Walton (1802-1807) is the father of Dennis’s grandfather Andrew Jackson Walton.

Martha Madora Walton (1798-1863) was the daughter of Reuben Walton, Jr. and then married Arthur Hannaford Walton.  She is Dennis's great grandmother.

Martha Madora Walton (1798-1863) was the daughter of Reuben Walton, Jr. and then married Arthur Hannaford Walton. She is Dennis’s great grandmother.

Dennis is descended from a long line of Latter Day Saints who were pioneers and settlers in Utah Territory. His grandfather, Andrew Jackson Walton, was the youngest of Arthur Hannaford Walton and Martha Madora Walton’s three sons. Arthur and Harriet joined the great Mormon exodus in 1845 when they left Maine in a covered wagon caravan headed for the Salt Lake Valley. Andrew was ten years old when they arrived at Rock Island, IL on the Mississippi River. The family settled temporarily in Montrose, IA and then continued to Sessions, UT arriving in 1851 when Andrew was sixteen.

After Martha’s death, Arthur married Rebecca Huff who contributed five more sons and a daughter. Father and sons continued to live and work together in various fluid partnerships as a factor of economic success. They lived in Bountiful and then Richmond where they had a machine shop and ran a threshing machine. When the threshing machine business came to an end the family moved to Hardscrabble Canyon where they bought a sawmill. Andrew also prospected for ore and kept a forge to assay ore.

Harriet Bates Noble (1860-1930) perhaps on the occasion of her marriage to Andrew J Walton in 1874.

Harriet Bates Noble (1860-1930) perhaps on the occasion of her marriage to Andrew J Walton in 1874.

Dennis’s grandmother, Harriet Bates Noble was the daughter of Joseph Bates Noble (1810-1900) and his sixth plural wife, Julia Rozetta Thurston (1841-1916). Joseph was 45 when he married 14 year old Julia. Julia was born in New Haven, Seneca, OH and migrated with her family to Utah Territory in 1850 when she was nine years old. Harriet, the second of Julia’s four children, followed in her mother’s footsteps, when she also married at the age of fourteen.

Between 1874 and 1892, Andrew and Harriet had nine children and led a hard life trying to make ends meet. Andrew ran a sawmill in Scofield and when business waned, he built a log blacksmith shop. He was an expert steam boilermaker and a good carpenter. Hattie contributed financially as an accomplished dressmaker.  She increased her financial worth after she completed a course in professional nursing and obstetrics in 1889. This cannot have been an easy task since she delivered Matilda in the same year and her last Walton child, Estella, two years later.

Harriet Bates Noble Walton McKenna (1860-1930) is Dennis's grandmother.

Harriet Bates Noble Walton McKenna (1860-1930) is Dennis’s grandmother.

Early in 1891, the blacksmith shop burned down and Andrew moved from Scofield to Cleveland in Emery County where he bought a steam engine and portable sawmill with a partner. Because of winter hardships in Hardscrabble Canyon, he told Hattie to remain in Scofield with the children. Another reason given for this decision is that the older boys were restless and were attracted to the cash paychecks of the Scofield mines. However, only Andrew, 16, and possibly William Danie, 10, might have qualified for this work. The separation led to divorce a year later. By then Hattie’s oldest son, Andrew, was 17. Her oldest daughters, Caroline and Hattie were 14 and 13. Sons,  Danie, Arthur, and Charles were 11, 7 and 5. Daughters Sara, Matilda and Estella were 9, 3 and 1.

Scofield is located about 150 miles southeast of Ogden, UT where Dennis was born. It is a coal mining town on the east side of the Manti-La Sal National Forest. It sits by UT-96 south of Scofield Reservoir and State Park. The valley had luxuriant growth of native grasses and was utilized by the first settlers as pastures for immense herds of cattle.

In 1875 coal was discovered and a small mine was opened. Most of the first miners were Mormon converts from the coal districts of Wales, England and Scotland. A series of railway companies bought rights as the coal mines grew in magnitude and the supply seemed inexhaustible. On 1 May 1900, an errant spark touched off the fine haze of coal dust deep underground and the Winter Quarters #4 mine exploded. 199 men died making this one of the worst coal mine disasters in history. 105 widows and 270 fatherless children were left behind. Coal mining continued to operate with declining profitability until the 1930s.

Harriet still lived in town at the time of this disaster. The 1900 US Federal Census was taken a month later in June. No one in the Walton family was killed. Harriet is 40, head of household and divorced. She lives with Andrew J., 26, Hattie E., 19, William D., 18, Sarah J., 16, Arthur B., 16, Matilda, 11, Charles H., 12, and Estella, 8. Her occupation is listed as “Hostel Keeper” and there are seven boarders: McKenna, Overman, Isaacson, Smith, Barrett, Green, and Morris.

One of these boarders must have developed into a romance because on 27 Feb 1901 in Scofield, 41-year old Harriet married 35-year-old George Emanuel McKenna (b. 1866 in Ireland). Their daughter, Nettie Melba McKenna was born in Scofield on 9 Jan 1902. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved to Raymond, AB. Sadly, Harriet’s second husband, George McKenna, died three years later in 1904. Their daughter, Nettie, died on 26 Feb 1905 in Raymond.

In the 1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Harriet puts the Immigration Year at 1902. In the census she is widowed and Head of House living with her children, Charles H., 19, Matilda, 17, and Estella, 15. There are four boarders in their mid-fifties: Evangeline, Maud, John, and Robert.

After her children were married, Harriet returned to Salt Lake where she worked in the Salt Lake Temple. She died on 4 Apr 1930, while living with her daughter Sarah Higgs in Barstow, CA and is buried in the Temple Hill Cemetery next to her youngest child, Nettie Melba McKenna and her son, Charles Herbert Walton. Her first husband, Andrew Jackson Walton remained in Cleveland where he died on 7 Dec 1905. He is buried in Cleveland Cemetery.

CHARLES HERBERT WALTON

Charles Herbert Walton was 54 when Dennis was born. He wasn’t a talkative or demonstrative man and there was a large age gap between he and his son. Consequently, there is much that Dennis does not know about the life of his father. There are questions about Charles’s father, Andrew Jackson Walton. Charles never spoke of him. Andrew and Harriet separated and ultimately divorced when Charles was only 5 years old. Given his age, it is likely that Charles knew little of his father.

Charles Herbert Walton was born 29 Jun 1887 in Scofield, Carbon, UT. In 1902 when he was 15-years old he moved with his mother and step-father to Raymond, Alberta, Canada. It seems likely that he remained near his mother in Raymond to provide help after she lost her husband in 1904 and their daughter in 1905.

On 24 Jan 1912 in Salt Lake City, Charles married Ida Ann Paxman, born 20 Nov 1889 in Provo, UT. They lived in Ogden where they had a daughter, Wanda born 21 Oct 1912. On 16 Jan 1915 their second daughter Iona was born in Ogden.  The couple moved to Raymond where Charles farmed with his oldest brother, Andrew. Here Wanda died on 25 Oct 1917 and was buried in the Temple Hill Cemetery. Their third daughter, Lila, was born on 29 Nov 1921 in Raymond.

Charles suffered from epilepsy and their frequent moves were probably prompted by episodes witnessed by employers or clients. Even into the 20th C., epilepsy was viewed with religious superstition and with causes attributed to divine punishment or possession by evil spirits. Such episodes would have prompted a quick removal from the scene.

For “health reasons” the family decided to seek a warmer climate and settled in Los Angeles where Charles enrolled in the Golden State College of Chiropractic. He graduated in 1925 and established a practice in the beach town of Inglewood, CA. Some years later they returned to Raymond. On 4 Sep 1930, Charles lost his wife and his daughters lost their mother. Ida was buried at Temple Hill Cemetery next to her first daughter, Wanda.

Charles returned to Utah and was able to establish his chiropractic practice in Roy UT.  The epilepsy symptoms disappeared.  On 23 Dec 1936 he married Mary Ellen Barker Chugg, a widow struggling to manage four obstreperous teenage boys and a farm on the slopes of Pleasant View above Ogden, UT. The merged family included the four Chugg boys and Lila Walton who was 15. By then, Iona was 21 and married to Jack Mendenhall in Alberta. In 1936 Cecil Karl was 11, Melvin was 8, Glenn was 3 and Orville was a one-year old.

In addition, the couple had two children of their own. Marian Walton was born 24 Aug 1938 and Dennis Charles Walton was born on 15 Oct 1941, both in Ogden, UT. Charles gave up his practice and went back to farming. Although he saved the farm from bankruptcy, the Chugg boys never accepted him and behaved as if he was an interloper who had stolen their mother and their farm. Cecil in particular gave him a great deal of grief and the Chugg brothers followed his lead. In addition to the farm, Charles also worked as a cartographer in Ogden. During WWII he wrote a ward newsletter that was sent to men serving in the armed forces. He received many letters of appreciation from men in foxholes and trenches expressing their thanks for the cheer and news that the paper brought to them from home.

On 16 Aug 1958 Charles once again lost a wife and his children lost a mother when Mary Ellen Barker Walton died of a stroke. She was only 55 and her youngest child, Dennis Walton, was 16 when he lost his mother. After the children were grown, Charles sold the farm.  In 1960 he married Eva Grace Farmer.  He died on 4 May 1974 at the age of 86.

FINDING TEMPLE HILL CEMETERY

By 1974, Dennis was living in California, working as a mason, married with children and struggling to make ends meet. He went to Utah for the funeral but was unable to go to Canada for the burial services. He has never visited his father’s grave. He wasn’t even sure where his dad was buried. His sister, Marian attended the services with her children but they were all very vague about the location saying it was somewhere near Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. As a twelve-year-old boy, Marian’s son, Kevin Christensen, retained very depressing memories. He remembered an empty and isolated prairie with tumbleweeds blowing across the cemetery.

Since I belong to Ancestry.com and do genealogy work, I sleuthed out the exact location years ago. I knew that Charles was buried on Temple Hill in Raymond and I even had row, section and plot numbers. But we didn’t know what to expect. It sounded like Boot Hill to me. I pictured a plain of dried up brown chapparel and a dirt hill with a few boot hill gravestone markers covered with dirt and dust. I told Dennis we should take some cleaning tools with us in case the stone lay flat on the ground and had gotten buried.

I looked it up and Wikipedia was not reassuring. Temple Hill is an isolated hill located three kilometres north of Raymond, Alberta, Canada in the County of Warner No. 5.

‘Temple Hill was so-named by Mormon settlers of Southern Alberta because some thought that it would be an appropriate site for a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ultimately, the LDS Church’s temple in Southern Alberta was built in Cardston. The Temple Hill Motorcycle Track is located on the hill. The sand-based track is used for motocross and BMX races and for recreational users. Annually, the Temple Hill Motorcycle Track hosts the Western Canadian Amateur Championship in motocross.

‘Raymond’s only cemetery, Temple Hill Cemetery, is located on the eastern side of Temple Hill. The cemetery is owned and operated by the Town of Raymond. It contains two Commonwealth war graves, of a Canadian Army soldier of World War I and a Royal Candian Air Force officer of World War II.”

The day after our arrival, we planned to go to Raymond to find Dennis’s father’s grave at Temple Hill Cemetery. I “googled” Temple Hill Cemetery to find an address. I found references to the cemetery but no address or map. Finally on Google Maps I put in “Temple Hill Motorcycle Track” and got a location pin. Nothing of Temple Hill showed on the map but it gave me the intersection of Township Rd 64 (east-west) and Range Rd 205 (north-south). The Township Rd crossed AB-5 and I hoped to spot it on our drive south to Raymond.

Raymond is a small agricultural town. In 2013 Raymond had a population of 3,982 and it is primarily an LDS community. It was founded in 1901 by a mining magnate with plans to build a sugar factory based on locally grown sugar beets and it attracted 1,500 settlers within a few years. Today it is known as the “Sugar City”. In 1902, Raymond held an outdoor rodeo and called it a stampede. It was Canada’s first organized rodeo event and the “Raymond Stampede” is held annually every summer at the end of June.

With complications and delays, we did not actually leave for Raymond until the late hour of 3:00 PM. Heading south of Lethbridge on AB-5 we saw open grasslands from horizon to horizon. This is a big prairie country and all of it is green. I was amazed to see large bands of horses grazing where one would expect to see only cattle. I’ve never seen so many horses in fields as I’ve seen here in Alberta. They look so beautiful grazing in these immense green fields.

We passed the tiny hamlet of Welling and began to try to read the small street signs for the many country crossroads. We could not read them without literally pulling over and stopping. Finally we saw a small sign for Raymond with a left arrow so we turned off on Hwy 52 driving east towards the town. The crossroads all had range road numbers and I hoped to see Range Rd 205 but what I saw was 21-6 and such. We passed Broadway, clearly the main street in town and came to the end of town at Hwy 845. Turning north we spotted a long east-west hill rising above the level plains. (Raymond has an elevation of 3,130 ft.)

It could only be Temple Hill and soon we saw a left turn arrow on a small Temple Hill sign. Turning west we saw a gravel driveway. There was no sign but it looked promising so we turned south. Uphill we saw a large wrought iron fence and a sign: Temple Hill Cemetery. We found it — no thanks to the Town of Raymond.

Much to our surprise, the cemetery turned out to be large area with 12 lanes and 13 wide rows completely covered with grass. The rows are very well filled with gravestones. It may have been a dusty boot hill in 1974 but it has clearly changed since then. It is however, forbidding and unwelcoming. We had the dogs with us for our country outing and a sign clearly said “no pets”. It also said that we couldn’t leave flowers on the ground or in a loose vase. The vase had to be attached to the gravestone. We had not brought flowers since this was an exploratory drive but we had planned to return with flowers. We parked down the hill of Row 1 in the shade of a tree. Leaving our dogs and hoping they wouldn’t bark we walked halfway up to what we thought might be Section 17 and began to look for a marker with the name of Walton.

Soon we found grave markers for Harriet’s sixth child, Charles Herbert Walton, together with his wife, Ida Ann Paxman Walton and their first daughter, Wanda Walton. To our surprise we also found Harriet Bates Noble Walton, wife of Andrew Jackson Walton, mother of Charles Herbert Walton and grandmother of Dennis Charles Walton. We also found Harriet’s last child, Nettie Melba McKenna, the daughter of George Emanuel McKenna.

It occurred to us that the cemetery probably contains many other Walton connections. We went down to a small portico by the entrance where the cemetery has posted a list of all gravesites. It is very well organized and easy to use. We looked up the sons and daughters of Harriet, the brothers and sisters of Charles, the aunts and uncles and first cousins of Dennis. We were amazed at the large number of his relatives all residing in this one cemetery. It was late and we decided to make a second visit to look for the rest of these family members.

We returned on Sunday, June 14th and spent a pleasant hour and a half searching for gravestones.

We found Harriet’s first child, Andrew Jackson Walton with his wife, Floretta Amanda Anderson.

Hattie Elizabeth Walton Heninger (1879-1975) was Andrew's sister and Dennis's aunt.

Hattie Elizabeth Walton Heninger (1879-1975) was Andrew’s sister and Dennis’s aunt.

We found Harriet’s third child, Hattie Elizabeth Walton with her husband, John Taylor Heninger, Jr. Hattie (1879-1975) married John in Salt Lake City on 23 Dec 1903 and the couple settled in Raymond, AB where they had 11 Heninger children. John Taylor Heninger, Jr (1875-1949) was a sheep rancher who owned a lot of land. Dennis recalls that John was a large man and that he flew a plane. The family later moved to Lethbridge. After Heninger died, Hattie traveled and wrote an excellent and very comprehensive genealogy book, “Links of Walton History” that was published in 1969.

We also found other Heninger’s, the children of Hattie and John. They include Hattie’s first child, Ray Taylor Heninger, her sixth, John Walton Heninger, and her seventh, Paul Milton Heninger. Hattie’s ninth child, Beth Heninger Galbraith is there together with Beth’s husband Bruce Galbraith and their child, Paul Heninger Galbraith.

William Danie Walton (1881-1976) is the brother of Charles H Walton and  Dennis's favorite uncle.

William Danie Walton (1881-1976) is the brother of Charles H Walton and Dennis’s favorite uncle.

We found Harriet’s fourth child, William Danie Walton with his wife, Maybell Nunn Crandell together with their first child, Ervin Cecil Walton.

Uncle Danie was Dennis’s favorite uncle because Danie made him laugh. Dennis says that he would come out every morning with a big grin and fool with his hearing aid saying, “Testing, testing. Hello are you there?” Danie and his wife lived in Lethbridge.

Dennis has always felt badly about the fact that his parents were buried separately by their first spouses.  After our visit to Temple Hill Cemetery he felt much better about it.  As he saw how many relatives surround his father and realized how much of Charles’s life was spent in Raymond, he felt happy for his dad and glad that he could be buried at home next to his first love.

A Hard Day’s Drive to Canada
June 9, 2015
Lethbridge, AB, First day in Bridgeview RV Resort, #109
Eight years in our bus.
We encountered major road construction north of Browning on US-89 N.

We encountered major road construction north of Browning on US-89 N.

TUESDAY, JUNE 9. WE DRIVE TO LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA.

This was the drive from a hell — a hard day. I was staggering by the time we checked into our RV park.

It started out well. As navigator, I was prepared. Since Internet in Glacier is dicey, I ldid not depend on navigation help from Co-Pilot or from Google maps on the iPad or my iPhone. In advance on my computer, I looked up the directions to Bridgeview RV Resort in Lethbridge, AB and wrote them down. I also had that good old fashioned tool: paper maps. Thus armed, we waved a fond farewell to KOA West Glacier at 10:07 AM and set out eastward on Hwy 2 towards East Glacier.

We did encounter some road work near mile marker 194 that involved a flagman and pilot car. It looked like they were repairing seams in the road and after a ten minute delay we were on our way again. It was a sunny day with beautiful blue sky scenery and we were excited about crossing the border and bringing our Bus into a Canada. This was a “first” for us. I had our passports ready — for us and the dogs!

A month ago I read up on requirements for the dogs. It appeared that Canada is quite strict about admitting dogs. We could be turned away without proper paperwork. Just in case, I actually bought paper passport folders for each dog so we would look organized. I downloaded the required Canada form, filled in my part and took the forms and the dogs to our vet. We had a well-dog visit and he gave me certificates for their rabies shots (given a year ago) and a well dog certificate and he filled out the forms I brought. While I was at it, I updated our information online for their chips so that if something should happen, the correct phone number would be available. Of course they also wear tags with rabies lot # and ID information.

Rudi has been suffering from allergies and his eye has been half closed with lots of junk oozing out. I’ve treated him with allergy pills and ointment for his eye. By now it’s looking much better and this morning, in anticipation of our entry into Canada I washed the faces of both dogs so they would look as cute and healthy as possible for ten and twelve years old.

Since we did not have a detailed map we ran into problems as we approached Browning. We came to a simple T-intersection where we faced a sign with US-89 and arrows pointing both left and right but with no directions for south or north and no cities to guide our decision. Since we were going east and the mountains were on our left I figured we should turn left to go north but Dennis disagreed. I had complicated directions for going through Browning to get on US-89 N and making a left seemed too easy. I didn’t feel 100% sure and so we turned right. Big mistake.

My directions said, “Follow US-Rte 2 E to SE Boundary St in Browning. Follow Duck Lake Rd to US-89 N. We moved through town and never saw any signs for US-89 N. Nor did we see street signs for Boundary St or Duck Lake Rd. On the south end of town we came to a highway junction with a sign for US-89 ahead bearing right but without a north or south direction. We had a choice to turn left where in the distance I could see signs for Shelby and Cut Bank. I knew we didn’t want to go to Shelby so I figured we’d better get on US-89 although I knew it was headed south. Dennis wanted to go left because he saw there was a junction and a choice to go left. But I didn’t see that and he didn’t say so. If we’d gone left we would have been able to get on US-89 N.

We went forward to the right and then we were stuck on US-89 S speeding on a two-lane highway with no shoulder and no civilization in sight: no inersections, no towns, and no opportunities to make a U-turn. It looked like a 20-mile mistake to a T-intersection at MT-44 or to the first town of Dupuyer. By now we were both yelling at each other and both trying to justify our decisions. Damn!

It turned out to be an eight minute mistake when Dennis found a large dirt turnout that allowed us to make a safe U-turn. We drove eight minutes back to the junction. The signs that I glimpsed for Shelby were for US-2 continuing east. We made our left turn and continued on US-89 N back through town on the exact same streets, which brought us to our original T-intersection at US Rte 2 from West Glacier. If we’d made that left turn we would have immediately seen a sign for US-89 N. In the battle of who’s right and who’s wrong, we were 1:1. Browning has lousy signage.

Our troubles were not over. US-89 N from the T-intersection northward was under construction — major construction! For twenty minutes we drove on dirt or rough paving with construction equipment on both sides and with absolutely no shoulder. One bobble off of our narrow lane and we would have toppled over. I’ve never seen so many machines working in one area. Giant earthmovers worked on both sides of us. This wasn’t the usual save-one-side-of-the-road-and-work-on-the-other-side operation. We drove in the middle of the construction on one of two destroyed lanes. Once we passed a large earthmover in the opposite lane sitting on the divider line. Dennis blew by him with inches to spare and then he laughed saying, “Scared you, didn’t I?”  He turned to me, “The bastard was sitting on the middle line,” he said. Later I asked him if he would have turned aside to miss an obstruction sitting over the line. He said no. He said he’d rather wreck parts of our motor home then have the entire coach tumble over the side causing injury or death. Oh god.

US-89 N approaching Many Glacier and Waterton Lakes.

US-89 N approaching Many Glacier and Waterton Lakes.

About 12:20 PM, we at last left the construction and continued north towards St. Mary and Babb and the Carway port of entry. Unfortunately US-89 remained a narrow two-lane highway with NO SHOULDER. Thank god Dennis is a good driver. Our bus is 8’2″ wide and our wheel base is 8′. Lanes are often 12′ wide but Dennis estimates that this one was 10′ wide and there was never any shoulder. The road curved up and down hills and it took a lot of concentration on the part of the driver. There was no room for error. In such cases I am quiet and I try not to distract. On a few occasions our right rearview mirror swept OVER snow poles and that elicited an “oh my god” out of me. Despite the beauty of the scenery I felt very nervous and I did not enjoy our drive.

We passed St. Mary at 1:00 PM and after that the mountain highway broadened into four-lanes as we swept past Babb and approached the US Port of Piegan and the Canadian port of Carway. Our entrance into Canada was anti-climatic. We waited briefly for three cars ahead of us and approached a window under a high roof. I expected border patrol with dogs standing outside as we always see in Arizona near the Mexican border. But no, there was one guy sitting in a booth and no one outside at all. Speaking to Dennis through his driver window he asked for passports. Dennis handed him four, including my dog passports. He didn’t even open them up! He handed them right back. He never saw nor heard my beautiful dogs who were quiet because they only bark if the door is opened but not if the window is open.

The guard handed back our passports and asked if we had any guns. We said no. He looked doubtful and said, “Well how do you protect yourself?” We both said that we didn’t believe in owning guns or relying on them for protection.

“Well, I believe in guns,” he said.

I piped up and said, “That’s a Montana thing. We’re from the Bay Area in California. Most of my friends do not own guns. It’s not a big deal there.” This sounds obnoxious but it is also true.

After he sent us on our way I looked at our passports. HE DIDN’T STAMP THEM! It’s as if we never came into Canada. No dates! I felt very cheated.

We continued on AB-2 N passing through Cardston. Then we turned right to go NE on AB-509 N to Lethbridge. I had no idea where Bridgeview RV Resort was located. I had a small detail on my map of Lethbridge but it did not show their street address. They told me on the phone that people had trouble finding them. They said not to use the street address of 1501 2nd Ave West because it would take us to a location that was “far away”. However, the hostesses at Bridgeview were unable to give me alternative directions. I asked if I should approach Lethbridge on AB-509 (more direct) or on AB-5 (less direct but a major highway.  She didn’t know the difference between the two highways.

Earlier I noted directions from Google Maps and they said to take the Crowsnest Trail (AB-3 E) to Westside Dr W and then turn on 2 Ave. W. I knew this was suspicious but I had nothing better to go on. From AB-509 we got on Crowsnest Trail. If only I’d known to stay on it! However, we exited on Westside Dr as instructed. Then I saw a gravel road and we turned on 2 Ave W. I was hoping that this remote gravel road would lead to hidden but large acreage of an RV park. No such luck. We ground to a halt at a gravel crossroad, 30 St W. I called Bridgeview RV Park.

The operator absolutely did no know where we were. Apparently no one had ever thought to drive to the wrong address so they would understand where it was and how to explain the way out of there! Worse, she couldn’t tell us where the RV park is located! She said to try to get to University Dr and Bridge Dr. The rest of her remarks were about landmarks that made no sense and left no memory impression on me. I was sitting in the middle of nowhere on a gravel road. I could see University and Bridge on my little map and I assumed from her comments that Bridgeview was located at that crossroad. By this time Dennis and I were too tired bor arguments and blame. We just tried to figure out how to get from here to there. We turned right on the gravel road, 30 St W, with the hope that it would bring us back to Crowsnest Trail. After several miles it did offer an entry onto a highway that brought us back onto AB-3 E. My hope was to exit on Bridge and drive south to University.

We vote the design of this freeway interchange from AB-3 to Bridge Dr and the Bridgeview RV Park as the worst we've ever seen.

We vote the design of this freeway interchange from AB-3 to Bridge Dr and the Bridgeview RV Park as the worst we’ve ever seen.

AB-3 or the Crowsnest Trail freeway in Lethbridge is the strangest and most terrible freeway we’ve ever seen. The signage is too small and appears too late for a driver to make a decision. We passed one exit but couldn’t see what it was. We never saw a sign for Bridge Dr but I thought I glimpsed a small blue sign for Bridgeview RV Park so we took the second exit. We were headed into a canyon that climbed south, hopefully toward University.  As we came down off the exit, I saw another Bridgeview sign saying to make a U-turn to the left.

Say what? Off a freeway exit? For a 63′ bus and toad? Dennis started to argue and I screamed, “It’s an RV park. They know you’re big. They say U-turn.” I saw an entrance into a mini golf course with room for a big dirt path turn-around. I pointed left. “There. There!” I screamed. At the last possible moment, Dennis turned.

 

In the dirt loop, I saw another camp sign saying, “Go left at the Y”. We pulled forward and saw a Y split on the freeway entrance. To the right an entrance led to the freeway going east. To the left an entrance bridge over the freeway led to the freeway going west. We took the left Y up and over the freeway.  As we began to dip back down towards the freeway we saw another sign saying to make a hard right. The Bridgeview RV entrance is literally off the west entrance to the freeway. It is in a river valley below the freeway on the north side of Crowsnest Trail, AB-3 W. This information would have been extremely helpful if the hostesses could have told me that to begin with.

This train trestle crosses Old Man River near the Bridge Rd canyon.  It is a major landmark unremarked  by Bridgeview hostesses giving directions over the phone.

This train trestle crosses Old Man River near the Bridge Rd canyon. It is a major landmark unremarked by Bridgeview hostesses giving directions over the phone.

Dennis negotiated the hard right off the freeway entrance and we descended down into a river valley with a large RV park. It was 3:10 PM and by then I was nearly ready to pass out. We registered and I had to pull out my notepad to remember my address and phone number. I was really wigged out. The Bridgeview gals were sympathetic but clearly they have no sense of direction and no ability to read maps. They literally don’t know where they are. It’s not unusual. I’ve noticed that many times with RV reservation staff. They are completely unfamiliar with their own town and it’s surroundings.

 

The park is large and casual with old paved roads and gravel sites liberally dotted with trees. There is a cliff to the east that is bare dirt and the trees are mostly cottonwoods. It looks as if we drove so far north that we came into southwest Arizona. Where are our snow capped mountains?

We pulled into our site and I put our the slides while Dennis hooked us up. But when I put out the kitchen counter slide I heard terrible noises. I put it back in, tried again and heard more horrid noises. I put it in and waited for Dennis. Then I noticed something missing. Where was the toaster?

On the kitchen wall by the slide is a counter with an outlet where we keep a toaster, loaves of bread and a butter dish. When we bring in the slide half of this bread counter sits behind the wall of the slide. Long ago we discovered that there is a hole below the slide and the gap between the counter and the slide is just wide enough so that the butter dish can slide off. After we smashed a few butter dishes, we learned to store it elsewhere while driving. However, a hole big enough to swallow a toaster? Never before. But after our rock and roll trip — no toaster. Where’s the toaster? Not down in that hole! How could there be room?

There was. Dennis pulled out the drawers in the kitchen slide reached through the drawer gap and pulled out my very serviceable KitchenAid toaster — completely staved in one one side. What next?

After getting settled in we got directions to West Lethbridge Mall. Dennis needed to buy steel tape at a hardware store to hold up a pipe that came loose in the wet bay. We drove up the RV entrance to the freeway west entrance, where believe it or not, we made a left turn onto the freeway exit going over the bridge and down to the exit where we saw the campground U-turn sign. We passed the golf course and took Bridge Dr to University Dr, turned left and found a shopping center a few miles east. Here Dennis found his tape and I bought a new toaster. I couldn’t find Kitchen Aid so I chose a Sunbeam. It soon proved to be a cheap plastic piece of shit. I will have to wait until I can find a better selection and buy another toaster.

It was 5:30 PM and we had skipped lunch. In the same shopping mall we were told to try Mojo’s Bar & Grill. We entered a large, dark sports-bar cave with a circular bar in the center and booths surrounding the perimeter. Everywhere, TV screens showed the latest activity for all sports. We were glad to crawl into a tall booth that put us eye-level with our waitress. She was a dark haired waif wearing a unique top and tights, very young and pretty, anxious to please and covered with tattoos.  She was creative and humorous and it was fun to talk to her.

I would have loved to have a beer but settled as usual on a diet coke. Dennis ordered a margarita. The menu was unusual, featuring odd selections such as “Angry German Sandwich” (a kind of reuben) and there were lots of tempting choices. In the end, we went crazy and ordered four appetizers instead of entrees. We had a delicious if totally fattening and unhealthy dinner by sharing plates of brioche, calamari, spinach and artichoke dip, and “Queen Anne Avocado”, a half avocado topped with chicken salad. Oh my! All very good and very filling. We left feeling happier then when we arrived.