Saturday, 21 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 18


We chose to stay in Moose Jaw for four nights because we knew Regina was close enough for a visit on one of the days. It's only 80 kilometres away - less than a trip to Toronto from our house. Our mission there was to see the RCMP Heritage Centre. A thorough history of the force from its NWMP beginnings to present. The Training Centre known as The Depot is a six month intensive session - not everyone who starts finishes. When I was 18 that is what I wanted to do but in those days they had this silly rule that you had to be able to see without the aid of corrective lenses. My early onset of myopia put a quick stop to that career path.
It was kind of on the way back to Moose Jaw, a mere 70 kilometre detour, to visit Rouleau, known better to all of us as Dog River.
Home of the beloved Canadian sitcom Corner Gas, the set has long been dismantled but there are vestiges of the glory days evident all through town.
The town is a lot larger than we were led to believe on TV and many of the buildings on the show were not sets but actual buildings. They have maintained the fictional names on some but all have plaques crediting their Dog River personas.



Friday, 20 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 17


Despite being a small city (150,000) Moose Jaw is quite fascinating. The Tunnel Tours are a major attraction and rightly so. We took both of them. The city has many tunnels beneath used in Prohibition by numerous rumrunners and even Al Capone according to many and early Chinese immigrants. Many lived underground 24/7 for many years. The sets are amazing and the tunnels are real.
A picnic lunch in a nearby city park was quite nice on this glorious day - the end of summer.
Moose Jaw is home to the Snowbirds stationed at 15 Wing Canadian Air Force Base. It may have been them we saw practising insane 90 degree straight down landings. Surprisingly there is not a museum or display onsite save a few classic aircraft.
The area immediately adjacent to the base is quite pretty in its own right.
You can't visit Moose Jaw and not have your photo taken with Mac the Moose. He is missing his antlers because Norway has a bigger moose and Canada will not stand for that. Mac is destined for a huge rack to take the lead once again.



Thursday, 19 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 16


We had hoped to go to the Great Sandhills near Sceptre a short distance from where we were staying in Leader but it was raining. I did manage to catch the sunrise before we left.
It looked good but did not last. The rain continued. We took what we thought was the road in to the sandhills but after about half an hour and a sign that said "No Exit" we realized this wasn't going to happen. Some roads really do not go anywhere.
We're in Moose Jaw now for 4 nights - not because there's so much to do in Moose Jaw but it's close to Regina and surrounding area and we want to see as much of Saskatchewan as we can. It's a beautiful, much more diverse province than I imagined.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 15


We're on the road again. It was another interesting drive from North Battleford to Leader. This part of the province is a seemly endless expanse of open fields and roads. There was some wildlife though - and we actually saw it! Rare for us.
Once again Saskatchewan had a surprise in store for me. I suppose if the wheat doesn't yield enough revenue maybe there's something under the wheat.
In a lot of ways it was the isolation of the day's drive that impressed me. This photo is the true definition of vanishing point. I love that I was standing in the middle of the highway to take this and just before I did someone coming the other way stopped and asked, "Everything good?" Canada has the greatest people on Earth.





Tuesday, 17 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 14


Every day we spend in this province I am more and more amazed how diverse it is. In my mind I was expecting this and only this...
...but as the twisted trees of yesterday did, today's entry just boggled my mind again. I imagined this must have come about by a conversation made with someone with hearing like mine. "A grain elevator?! I could have sworn you said to build you a light house!"
As out of place and not necessary as it is it provided a good workout for us as we had to climb 152 irregularly spaced and occasionally high steps to get to it. Once there I took one shot and was informed the battery was dead. Did I have another battery? Of course I did, I'm not an idiot. It was in the car - and so was my iPhone I could have used as a backup. So yes, I went back down, then up again because I certainly could not visit such a place and not take photos.
All's well that ends well!

Monday, 16 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 13


Another gorgeous day for our drive to North Battleford. I must say though, there are thousands of small wasps everywhere we go. They are annoying but the biggest drawback is the ones that end up on the windshield and grill of the SUV. I don't know how or if I'm ever going to get them clean. Saskatchewan back roads proved interesting again as we drove leisurely along.
In a landscape that is often devoid of trees this isolated stand of crooked aspen trees is nothing short of amazing. Accessible only by a 70 kilometre trip on gravel roads my only concern was, "Oh no! My new SUV!" No one knows for certain how this happened. One popular explanation involves aliens landing and destroying the growth forcing future flora to be twisted and deformed.
Good enough for me!

Sunday, 15 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 12


Today is our last day in Saskatoon before heading north so a final trip to the rural area surrounding allowed us to enjoy another sunny day. Farm lands and flatlands that go on forever pretty well sums it up - but it's all glorious. The grain elevator with a waiting train seems to be a classic.
Manitou Beach is one of those places I'd never have heard of if not for Jonny Harris and his Still Standing show. He visits Canadian towns that are dead or dying and if nothing else brings joy to the residents even if it is fleeting. This town may very well be beyond revival but as we walked around it was easy to see what it had been in its heyday.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 11


We had a wonderful day of culture at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Fans of the show may remember Season 3 Episode 7 of the Amazing Race Canada where Brent made the best mat appearance ever as he stumbled to the finish line then promptly threw up (you had to see it - it was hilarious). Anyway, that episode was filmed at the Park.
A couple of picturesque hikes and another nice day made it memorable.
We are indeed fortunate to visit this beautiful part of Canada.
The hoop dancer was amazing; the same man who taught the racers on the show. I was very impressed how he summed up his performance saying we are all equal, we share a heart beat with one another and with Mother Earth and should act accordingly.
Before we went to the park we made a brief stop to enjoy Saskatoon along the river. A very pretty city.





Friday, 13 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 10


Today was a lovely drive; still flat as can be but it was sunny all day! Before we left Indian Head we walked from our motel to the Visitor Centre. I don't want to hear any more whining about the Chicago Black Hawks or Cleveland Indians logos - this place makes them all look like child's play. As much as I think this whole politically correct thing is BS and totally out of proportion this does make you wonder. Welcome to Indian Head.
We are currently in Saskatoon for 3 nights. What a fabulous place. It's a suite and costs less than some hotel rooms. It's bigger than some houses I've seen.
Except for the sports team down the hall, I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 9


Another rainy day - it didn't let up until about 4PM. Northern Ontario is trees and rocks, Manitoba was mostly trees and Saskatchewan, at least this part of it is, well, flat.
We are in Indian Head - an awesome western-style town complete with angle parking. When it finally stopped raining we managed a walk through town. It's a little out of the way but that's the way we like it - uh-huh uh-huh.
With isolation comes a very restricted choice of where to stay. I think we've reached a new low with this place. Oh well, it's just one night.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 8


Still no sun but this is all new territory for us so it doesn't matter. We left the Falcon Beach Ranch - what a wonderful place. I'd love to return with the rest of our family some day - they'd love it!
Just east of Winnipeg you cross the longitudinal centre of Canada. It's a little sooner than I thought it would be. This one's for you Mike and Gayle.
We were heading north a fair ways so I decided to take a less travelled route. After about an hour I checked the map and discovered we wouldn't get there until about 7PM so abandoned that route and returned to the TCH. It was further in distance but we pulled into Roblin around 5:30. It was a very pretty approach.
We're not far from the border so tomorrow will find us in Saskatchewan - the only province I have not visited.


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 7


It has rained ALL day. That makes it very difficult to do anything so a drive through Whiteshell Provincial Park seemed about the only thing we could do. Either that or spend all day in the cabin. The park is pretty but not nearly as much on a day like today. This is basically the view we saw throughout the day.
We packed a picnic lunch - lucky thing because we didn't see anything open. The park is full of resorts - a term applied rather liberally. Lots of nice little picnic areas.
We'll sadly be leaving the Falcon Beach Ranch tomorrow morning. It has been wonderful. The cabin is perfect and Devin and Kendra are doing his parents proud running the ranch next generation. This would be a wonderful place to be around Christmas with the kids and grandkids. The horseback trail rides take the form of sleigh rides and sound like they'd be a lot of fun.


Monday, 9 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 6


We decided to go horseback riding today - it's been awhile since we've done that. It was a gorgeous morning but that didn't negate my hips and knees being stretched beyond their comfort limit. In 1967 there was a UFO sighting here. It is the best documented incident of it's kind in Canada and possibly in North America. Though it could not be positively confirmed it has not been possible to categorically deny it in all these years. The ride was to that site.
I spent more time fighting my horse King to stop eating and get going than anything else. I think he paid me back by passing every tree along the trail as close as he could. All in all it was a great time.
I wanted a bottle of wine for our proposed lasagna dinner but liquor stores that are open are a rare breed in a resort area at this time of year. I think they're only open in the months that do not have "R's" in them. To make matters worse they're not easy to find. You know how they say it's always in the last place you look. We found one - in the local lumber/hardware store.
When we returned to our cabin on the hill our canine friend was waiting to lead the way. Devin, the dog and ranch owner, has pre-authorized us to give the dog a bit of lasagna tonight. I thought it was cats that liked lasagna.




Sunday, 8 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 5


What a wonderful day. You have to understand that we have travelled this fabulous country from coast to coast to coast and seen a few deer, even fewer moose but generally nothing bigger than a squirrel so this was nothing short of incredible. About 30 kilometres before Kenora Karen shouted out, I made a U-turn and amazingly he was still there!

Immediately following this sighting I saw a car on the side of the road. Thinking it might be another bear we stopped and realized it was a woman with a flat tire, She had two young children with her so we offered to help. She was a robust woman and probably could have changed the tire a lot faster than I but we were in a good mood. The bolts were frozen so she poked a pile of laundry in the front seat and her strapping older son emerged very bleary eyed. I decided there was nothing we could do so we continued on our way.
Always a thrill when I see the name - and I always wonder what the history is.
We're staying at a ranch just across the Manitoba border from Ontario. Our own little cabin in the woods for 3 nights. It's not as serene as you might think as it is just off the TCH and the traffic noise is horrendous. The nearby village was closed - yes the whole village for the season so we had to head back to Kenora for groceries. While there in downtown we were treated again to another of nature's offerings. The guy who lived in the house just walked inside with that "no not again!" look on his face.
There's no TV here but that's quite alright with us. The only thing I need to make my vacation a success is a BBQ (oh and the wine is kind of a must as well). Cheers!



Saturday, 7 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 4

Another dull, dreary day but it wasn't bad because the drive to Dryden was relatively short made even shorter as we crossed our first time zone of this trip pretty close to the Arctic Watershed.
We wanted to stay in Dryden to give us a little time for some genealogy research. My Uncle Albert (my mother's brother) lived here a long time. The Dryden Public Library was a huge help - spent a good hour with us, We came away with his date of birth and death and marriage details. They also told us where he lived and we were able to stop by and see the house. I wanted to come up with more information...we're so sorry, Uncle Albert. Funny we had originally planned to stay at the Riverfront Lodge but selected a small motel because we're only here the one  night. The lodge was directly across the road from my uncle's house. We traded down to the Hideaway Inn.
Just before dinner we had to rush out to see Max the Moose, He's famous around here. Oh well, Life in a Northern Town (another great song title).

Not sure where we're headed tomorrow - a sunny day would be nice.

Friday, 6 September 2019

SASKATCHEWAN TRIP - DAY 3
Another on again/off again/threatening rain day. We started in Terrace Bay with a nice hike before hitting the road. Down a loose sand and rocky slope to the beach risking twisted ankles, broken legs, insect infestations and the ever-present threat of bear attacks, it was a wonderful start to the morning.
On yet another mid-seventies canoe trip Paul and I discovered the delightful community of Rossport. Sadly the town has died - a perfect spot for Jonny Harris' Sill Standing show - only problem is there are not enough people left to make the show.
The Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay is always worth a visit. His Marathon of Hope ended here and it's a very solemn site. This place will be an absolute zoo next weekend for the annual Terry Fox Run.
We arrived at Kakabeka Falls around 5PM. The motel we're in is called the Telestar Motel. I'm pretty sure it was named in honour of the news of the day and hasn't changed much since - 'nuff said. Fortunately the Falls is rather awesome, though I can't figure out why the water above the falls is very sparse, below is nearly dry yet the falls themselves are raging. I'm sure it has something to do with extraterrestrial aliens.
If you relax and take your time you can stay in Ontario forever. It's like bloody Texas, it just goes on and on. We don't have to be in Manitoba until Monday so will enjoy our home province as much as we can.