Today, we finally saw Ontario in our rear-view mirror, drove clear through Manitoba, and entered Saskatchewan. The Prairies – land of grain silos, thousand-acre fields (guesswork), and two-mile-long trains (true), of which we saw quite a few.
However, to backtrack, the Comfort Inn in Dryden was fabulous, although we didn’t sleep that well because the room’s sliders faced a main road next to traffic lights, so we were aware of noise from braking lorries, also the neighbouring McDonald’s external air-co unit clicked on and off all night, and our bathroom plumbing emitted a strange whistle at various times!!! But, I’m not complaining as we’ve been used to total silence at night in NS, so we’re perhaps not the heaviest sleepers. (Maybe I shouldn’t mention that Pip wanted to go out for a pee at 3:05 a.m.)
I’m now convinced, however, that there are some couples who need to teach their kids and dog how to behave in hotels, because the room next to ours was a nightmare. Thankfully it was late afternoon/early evening, but one child screeching at the top of her lungs every few minutes, accompanied by their dog yapping, and the parents simply shushing child and dog to no avail, sent Peter to ask if we could change rooms. Although it wasn’t possible as the hotel was fully booked, the manager herself was on duty and said she’d deal with the offenders. Well, not sure what she said, but after one phone call it went silent, and that’s the way it stayed and our evening continued peacefully.
A few days ago, in response to my blogs, a good friend and former neighbour in Mexico emailed and said she was currently staying south of Winnipeg, so could we perhaps visit on our way through. Never ones to miss such an opportunity, although our time was quite brief as we had a 9:30-hour drive planned for today, Jeanine gave us directions to a Petro-Canada/A&W rest area right by the Trans-Canada, so we had a really delightful get together.
As it happens, I’d like to relate a story completely at odds with our travelogue, about Jeanine and a rescue mission she and I hatched in Mexico a couple of years ago. Jeanine had discovered a young bitch with six puppies in a derelict building on an undeveloped lot a few hundred yards from where we both lived. Peter and I had seen Jeanine delivering food to them one day, when she explained about ‘mama’ and her pups. As it happens, a heavily nursing ‘mama’ had also caught the eye of some Mexicans working on a nearby property, and I overheard them discussing a pup-napping – likely destined to be sold on the streets to unsuspecting dog lovers. I mentioned this to Jeanine, so she spent a few more days befriending the mother to the point where she could entice her into a dog crate so we could the round up the pups.
The mission was entirely successful, but then we learned that the local shelters were full, and wouldn’t take un-weaned pups in any case. So, Jeanine took them all in, setting up a ‘nursery’ in her backyard – feeding, watering, poop-scooping – a place where they’d be safe until they could be sent on rescue flights to adoption agencies in the US. However, when the time came to say ‘goodbye’ Jeanine couldn’t part with ‘mama’ – renamed Ana – who remains with her to this day. One lucky dog whose life has been completely turned around from being a former homeless, single parent – and Jeanine who is being loved in return.
Today, therefore, it was also great to see Ana, looking very fit and healthy compared to her skinny, bedraggled state when she was first rescued. Sorry Jeanine, I couldn’t resist telling this story as seeing you today brought so many memories flooding back.
Back to the road trip: As we’d made such good time, we decided to do one long day today – although it was an hour longer than anticipated as we’d forgotten that we’d be crossing into another time zone. However, we now have a short six-hour run into Calgary tomorrow.
Before I forget, many thanks to Anne and Wendy, in response to yesterday’s Lake Superior blog, who reminded me about a song written by one of Canada’s musical icons, Gordon Lightfoot, entitled ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.’ So, if you Google it, you can listen to the entire story, in song, and I defy anyone not to get goosebumps!
Other friends have also been commenting on their own memorable road trips through some of Canada’s most beautiful countryside, northern Ontario in particular. (Ironically, one friend also mentioned a poor experience in Wawa during a cross-Canada road trip in 2014.) Sadly, we haven’t been able to explore and really appreciate the grandeur of this country. It’s a road trip which definitely needs more time to follow the paths and waterways less travelled and explore the truly spectacular places of which we’ve only caught passing glimpses. However, we can at least say that we’ve ‘done’ Canada coast to coast.
And, in case some of you are wondering about my music lessons during our travels, they have of course been postponed as we just didn’t have room for my digital piano in the back of the SUV, so it had to be carefully packed and taken by the moving company. However, just before we left I’d reached an exciting point in my lessons as a piece of music that I’ve always longed to be able to play was suddenly at my fingertips: ‘The Entertainer’ from the 1973 movie ‘The Sting’. Not sure why this particular piano piece has always stuck In my mind and, tragically, I only had one lesson with Michael on this particular piece before the piano had to be packed away. Hopefully putting my fingers to good use with my computer keyboard will keep them limber for picking up where I left off with my ‘other’ keyboard.
So, tomorrow we’ll roll into Calgary, although occupancy of our new home won’t happen until August 21 – so we have one week in Calgary (looking for a new car), then a week in Banff – so you can expect the road-trip finale tomorrow, then the blogs will continue, but likely not daily.
Until tomorrow (and more pics taken through the car window!)