Thursday, May 31, 2012

Alaska --Day 13

My morning walk turned into a nature walk as I took the path around Park Lake. I saw several different kinds of ducks, some White Pelicans, lots of red-winged blackbirds, and quite a few yellowed-headed blackbirds. I used to really like the red-winged variety, but there were so many at Santa Ana NWR that I wasn’t interested in taking pictures of them here. I did like the yellow-headed ones, though. Aren’t they beautiful?

These cute Richardson ground squirrels are everywhere in our campground. They are really cute, but if their numbers keep increasing, the RVs will sink into the ground where they have made their burrows.

After lunch we went into Lethbridge to visit the tourist information center and get some Canadian cash, fuel and groceries. At first, everything went well. The young people staffing the tourist center were friendly and helpful. The bank’s ATM worked fine. We were off to Wal-Mart. Things were the same as we are used to, and not the same. The produce was much better than we had been seeing in Montana and Wyoming. We found most of the brands we wanted. And saw some that were new and looked interesting. Wal-Marts have a definite blueprint. But, when we looked at the customers and the meat and the ethnic food sections, we knew we were no longer in the Rio Grande Valley. I found it helpful to have both meat and produce prices given both by the pound and by the gram. I find the metric system unfamiliar and confusing.

The problem came at the Canadian Superstore Gas Bar. Our credit card didn’t work. And while John was struggling with that, I received a text message saying there was a fraud alert on our account. I called back, gave Card Member Services enough identifying information that they lifted the block on the account, and thought everything was fine. It is nice to know they realized there might be a problem when our credit card was used twice within maybe 15 minutes in a foreign country. But the trouble got worse when we tried again to run the card through and it wouldn’t work. To make a long story short, after a 10 minutes or longer call to Customer Service (at 20 cents a minute on Canadian International Roaming), we were assured the travel note on our account would make it possible to use the card in the future. But they wanted the Gas Bar to check our card and ID, then call Card Member Services, then the charge would go through. We paid by debit card and just hope it works in the future.

Then we went to McDonalds, ordered a snack, and used their free wifi.

Oh, the adventures of travel!

We wondered what this strange building was. When we got up close, we discovered it is a steak house restaurant.

Aren’t these painted barrels a good decoration outside a liquor store?

Canadian Pacific RR stores unused cars on a track near our provincial park. They store lots and lots of cars. This long line is only half of the ones they have there.

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