Into the Prairies….

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.


Manitoba grain silo

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.

Fields of grain and a Prairie sky for as far as the eye can see

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.

Missed the 4,000 kilometre roll-over today since leaving NS, but I was driving at the time, and Peter was napping!

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.

Could only fit the engine and front end of this train – but I counted 200 freight cars

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!)

10 Replies to “Into the Prairies….

  1. Have enjoyed rolling along with you all. So glad it has been pretty much stress free! And very free of any major problems. Hope you have another good day tomorrow.

    1. Great to hear from you, Debby. Well, at least we won’t be too far distant for visits, in either direction, post coronavirus, of course. One of these days we’ll perhaps enjoy a game of pickleball, or a return 10-pin bowling game. Our balls and shoes went with us all the way to Mex and back, and thankfully we’ll maybe join a league again in Calgary. We can perhaps Skype or Facetime when we’re settled. Hugs xxx

    1. Great to hear from you Mary. Well, Calgary feels more like coming ‘home’ as it’s already familiar – being our first Canadian home town as new immigrants so many moons ago. Unlike NS where we were always treated as being ‘from away’, we still have friends in Calgary that we’ve kept in touch with over the years – not often, but perhaps a Christmas wish – but reconnecting with them pre-move was like picking up where we left off 20 years ago – so true friendship. I’m sure that’s something that will endure with all the fabulous friends we made in Ajijic. Hope you’re staying fit, well, and safe. Abrazos xxxx

      1. Well, another ‘adventure’ almost done and dusted. Woke up this morning to pouring rain in Regina for the first time since we left home, so can’t complain. Thankfully, it’s sun in Calgary for the next week, so we’re going to run into fine weather at some point today. Arriving in Calgary one day earlier than planned, but we’re both feeling a little jaded and swearing that this is the last ‘long’ road trip we’re ever going to take! Dogs have all travelled well, although crossing time zones has given Ellie more excuses to wake up even earlier. At least it’s put us on the road early every day so we’ve covered a lot of miles without stressing about arrival times at hotels and having no time to relax. Not looking forward to another couple of weeks in hotels, although the owners of our new home are pushing the moving company to bring their date forward by a day or two. At least we’ll be busy car shopping in Calgary, then will enjoy some real down time in Banff. Currently, it looks like August 21 occupancy – although the owners are planning to have the house well cleaned and sanitized from top to bottom before we move in, so possibly August 24 – which is the start of the week when our furniture will arrive, so we may be ‘glamping’ for a few days. We can Skype either from the hotel in Calgary, or perhaps from Banff – will confirm in a day or two. xxx

  2. Well done you two !! What a trip :). Mind you not the first long one you have done 😂. Great photos. Look forward to catching up on Skype when you are ready :)x

  3. You will be much closer to Colorado now and hopefully when the crazy days are over we’ll get to swap stories and a beverage or two. Can’t wait to see your new place. How I love those big blue skies. Stay safe on your last leg…

    1. Arrived Calgary at 3:00 CMT – here in a hotel for one week, then Banff for a week before we move into the new house. It was certainly great weather with big blue skies and the odd fluffy white cloud so typical of Alberta – and other Rocky Mountain zones. A short hop south, when the border reopens – yes, love the idea of getting together sometime, somewhere down the road. Long distance hugs… xx

  4. Your life would make a great movie ! I’m living vicariously through you two. Take care not to get too stressed

    1. I think a movie would bore my socks off, but maybe I feel a book coming on! Arrived Calgary at 3:00 CMT and now safely in our hotel for one week before we head to Banff. Give each other a big hug from us both. xx

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