Saturday, August 10, 2019

We went to the State Fair ...

We were definitely surprised when the most expensive hotel room of our road trip was Great Falls, Montana. Until we discovered that the Montana State Fair opened the day before we got to town. And was located 0.2 miles from the hotel.

Terry had mentioned earlier in the day that while we were in Montana we should definitely eat some steaks. We managed to accomplish it on a smaller scale at lunchtime but had planned a steak dinner. Instead, we ended up with fair food. Cheese curds for dinner? Heck, yeah!

The kids were a little whiny as we went from the goats to the bunnies and pigeons and chickens and mules and alpaca. The 4-H club woodworking displays (chairs, benches, etc) were pretty cool. Then we let them loose at the carnival part, where good parents (us) stood in long lines until our feet hurt.

After the carnival came the meal. Cheese curds for the adults, fast food for the kids, funnel cake and fried dough (called elephant ears in Montana) for dessert. Then the hypnotist, then the art exhibit. Then some overtired tantrums and finally bed.

The next day it was up and out the door for the very last stage in this trip - the Crossover Into Canada!!

We got to the border just before noon and decided to get to the other side before stopping for lunch. Major Fail. We spent three hours being processed at the border, something we hope never to repeat as we should have our diplomatic IDs with us for any future border crossings. I was happy for the snacks I always have in my bag, and there was a water fountain by the bathrooms, and the kids had brought their books inside with them, so the whole thing could have been a million times worse. It was, however, seriously uncomfortable. I even eventually went out to the car for more snacks but there is truly nothing like a meal in the middle of the day. And, tip for anyone who might find themselves near the Montana-Alberta main crossing - on the U.S. side there is a little town right along the border. Seriously, we gassed up one last time about 5 minutes from the checkpoint. On the Canada side - nothing for an hour.

The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. Our fabulous sponsors met us at the apartment and helped us haul in all the luggage. They also left a pile of games for us to play (they seem to be at least as into board games as we are), which has been an enormous help in our downtimes.

The apartment is fine (I keep telling myself). The bedrooms have enough room for the beds and side tables and nothing else. The kids share a room. There is much squabbling from being too close for too long with little else to distract them (how much worse it would have been without the games!)

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