Saturday, June 30, 2012

Prairie Travels

Three intrepid travellers headed across the prairies last week. 

The journey, according to Google maps if you ask for directions from Falkland to Winnipeg,  should be 1,885 km.

If, however, there is a mudslide covering the TransCanada Highway at Perry River, the itinerary goes off track from the get-go. One must cross the Monashees via Cherryville, cross Arrow Lake via the Needles Ferry, lunch at Nakusp, take the Galena Bay Ferry and the arrive at Revelstoke. Google Maps tells me the journey is now 2,149 km east.

If I tell you that it was pouring rain most of that day and all of the next two (with occasional episodes of lightning, torrential rain and hail), you'll understand why there are no photos available. 

Lunch at Bassano, AB. Overnight at Swift Current, SK. Winnipeg the following day.

Bryan and I went on a nostalgia tour (for him) of Headingley and area. The road below is returning from a jaunt to the farmstead where the family lived for a few years.

You'll note there's little (no) gravel on this road. Also that the photo is heading east, not west, because on the way out this road, I was too mad to take pics, and on the way back, I wanted proof of where he took his mom's car.

We laughed later - well, he laughed at the time (at me more than the road) and then both of us as mud flew everywhere as the car gained speed on the paved highway.

Manitoba prairie near Headingley.

When it isn't raining, this is the prairie in summer. Beautiful.

Oh, and we didn't get stuck because (a) the road wasn't the gumbo clay we lived with up north for 25 years, which conditioned me to avoid wet ungravelled dirt roads like the plague, and (b) mom carries a luck horseshoe in her car at all times. Truth.

This cairn should be of particular interest to anyone who uses and/or understands the grid survey system used across the prairies and NW BC. It's on the TransCanada Highway just west of Headingley.

While in Winnipeg, Mom stayed with her brother while we bunked with friends Marc and Gail ....

... and Jack (Jacque? Didn't ask the spelling), the inexhaustable Golden Retriever X Poodle.

We spent a few days meeting new friends, like Betty (L) with Gail, and long-time friends (photos to follow).

We took the siblings on a day trip to Steinbach, La Broquerie and Marchand. Uncle Stan sports his jaunty hat while Bryan escorts his mom over the rough terrain, 'visiting' family in a rather obvious location.

Note the sunny blue sky? The weather was absolutely perfect for three days.

Shaw Park Winnipeg. Winnipeg Goldeyes vs Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks

We went to a Winnipeg Goldeyes game with Gail, Marc and Yvonne. What a perfect evening! and to top it off, the Goldeyes beat their archrivals, the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, in classic fashion: top of the 9th with Fargo at bat, two out, full count, runners on 2nd and 3rd bases, and the Wpg pitcher strikes him out in three pitches!

The remarkable building under construction in the background is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It will be a stunning place when done.

The night before our departure for places west, Gail and Marc hosted a great party of old-time friends. Above are René and Marc,



and several others who were either camera-shy or not likely to appreciate the photos I did manage to get of them (not all photos are flattering of even the most attractive people!).

At 2 am Bryan was already long a-bed and I reluctantly informed Gail that I really did need to get at least four hours sleep before it was time to collect Mom and head out!

Saskatchewn: "Easy to Draw, Hard to Spell"

We stopped at Moosomin for lunch with brother James, then Grenfell for an overnight visit with sister-in-law Linda. Too tired for photos, but a nice walk through an area filled with grand old homes.

TransCanada Highway looking east near Tilley, AB

I would say this is a representative shot of the road both - either - way for much of the trip east of Calgary.

Near Tilley, AB

And the landscape. I can with full authority, however, tell you that it's just outside Tilley, Alberta.

And if you think there's nothing to see ... well!

We saw five horse running along a ridge at Jumping Pound, manes and tails streaming behind them, profiled against a dramatic skyline.

We saw four pronghorn sneaking through a wire fence, trying to avoid attention.

We saw three jack rabbits with their giant ears alert, tuning in to the sounds on the air like TV antenna.

We saw two Canada geese teaching their goslings how to swim in line with military precision.

And we saw one long expanse of beautiful open countryside that takes my breath away and can't be matched anywhere else in the world. (I might be a wee bit biased on that last point.)

West of Tilley, then north of Hwy 1, you will eventually come to this lovely location, home of brother Scott and his smokin' hot wife Pam (just ask him, he'll tell you.)

From their home, there is a panoramic view of southern Alberta in almost every direction, and the Rockies straight ahead in this pic (which you won't see well in this particular photo as it was taken very early in the morning with weak light and heavy humidity, but they were certainly visible in real life).

I spent a lot of road time reading, doing Sudoku or working on a quilt. Got the binding done on the way out, then marked the pattern and started the quilting in Winnipeg.

I was asked how small the stitches are (a mark of pride in hand quilters). This shot shows the needle poking through my wedding ring, and stitches already set in a line beside it.

It was great to be on the road, lovely to see friends but it's always wonderful to be home again.

Especially when these beauties great you at the door.

Going to be great when the whole group of them comes into bloom over the next month.

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