Washington Road Trip Journal

"Goin' on a Field Trip"


Day 4 - Lethbridge, AB to Vulcan, AL to Great Falls, Montana

by David "Sumoflam" Kravetz

September 1, 2007: It was refreshing to kind of have a break today.  We woke up a little late after staying up late visiting with Crafty Jack and Debbie.  After a nice breakfast, Crafty did the driving and took us on a small tour of Lethbridge and then onto Vulcan, Alberta.

From Crafty's house we went over to the High Level Bridge.  With the growth of coal mining in the city, the population of Lethbridge continued to grow.  Need for rail line access for the mines saw the construction of bridge.  Beginning in August of 1908, the bridge was completed June 22, 1909 and officially opened on November 1, 1909.  It cost nearly $1,334,525.00 to build. This bridge is still the longest and highest of its kind in the world reaching 5,327.625 feet long (1.6km) and 314 feet high (96 meters).  This bridge was an awesome site and matches some of the other amazing bridges I have visited in the past....


High Level Bridge in Lethbridge, Alberta


After our visit to the bridge we drove an hour north to the town of Vulcan.  This was a fun little trip with Jack and we saw some interesting things in town.  Wikipedia has a nice write-up about Vulcan, which I am excerpting here.  The town was named by a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1915 after the Roman God of Fire - Vulcan. Originally all the streets of the new town of Vulcan were named after gods and goddesses of the classical world. In 1926 a major tornado destroyed many homes and the new curling rink of the town. At one time in the 1970s the town could also boast of having more grain elevators than any location west of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Due to the changing economics of the agricultural industry one by one the original elevators were taken down. Today Vulcan has only one of the original "prairie skyscrapers" left that once could be seen miles away.  In fact, we saw these "prairie skyscrapers" in almost every town we passed in Saskatchewan and Alberta had these.


Here is one from Vulcan:



I think an interesting site about these elevators deserves a visit. See http://www.grainelevators.ca/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/1055


Once in Vulcan, we arrived at the visitor's center, which had a large Starship Enterprise in the front and all sorts of Star Trek stuff inside.  Afterwards, we drove around the town and there were other Star Trek related signs and things.  It was actually a lot of fun...



The sign as you enter town.                                                    The Vulcan Visitor's Info Centre.



Greetings in English, Klingon and Vulcan languages.  These are around the base of the Starship Enterprise statue.



The starship....Sumoflam and Crafty Jack in Vulcan, Alberta



Sumoflam and Solomon with some Star Trek icons


and then there are all of the signs in Vulcan...everywhere







Of course, I cannot go without mentioning Crafty Jack's guitars.  He has designed some Trailer Park Troubadours guitars and they are pretty cool...



Crafty Jack and the 'Trailercana Doublewide" two-necked Guitar/Mandolin combo

Sumoflam with the "Trailercana" guitar, patterned after a teardrop trailer.  Notice the hitch on the right!!


At the end of our visit with Crafty Jack we visited one last spot in Lethbridge...the Wind Gauge:



The gauge is a play on Lethbridge's reputation as Canada's "Windy City".  The sign above says it all!! 


The Wind Gauge was designed by Carly Stewart.  It stands 18 feet tall and the ball's diameter is 50 inches.  It was built in 1985 to celebrate Lethbridge's 100th anniversary. When the wind gauge was originally built, it was located over by the High Level Bridge. Buried underneath it were three time capsules. These were done in conjunction with the wind gauge project. People were invited to purchase envelopes to place in these capsules to be opened in 25, 50 and 100 years. The 25 year time capsules are due to be opened in 2010, the 50 in 2035 and the 100 of course in 2085. The time capsules remain at the original site at the top of the coulees on the east end of the High Level Bridge.


Finally, we left our good friends Crafty Jack and Debbie behind and headed to Great Falls to see my two beautiful grandsons and their parents.....


Sunset in Alberta on August 31, 2007


Day 1  Day 2  Day 3  Days 5-8  Day 9  Days 10-12  Day 13  Days 14/15  Day 16


Roadside guidance provided by......


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