As we drove towards Winnipeg
we eye-balled the highway signs for shower facilities and finally in a tiny, privately owner trailer park we found 4 coin-operated
stalls. Best dollar ever spent!
Refreshingly clean we continued on our way to visit with our friends Jeff and Michelle, the “Nick
& Jessica” of Korea, minus the camera crew and $1000
panties. With the Asian-aggrevated couple we toured the surprisingly diverse city of Winnipeg-from
its French quarters to its Native American landmarks and Ukrainian cuisine. We even got a taste of the western life at the
Palomino Country Bar – a lot less ‘cowboy’ then you’d think. We saw the university, ‘the Forks’,
the market and Assiniboine Park-a much
appreciated urban green space. And thanks for introducing us to Earls guys!!
We even had some moose-meat spaghetti a la Ray (a friend of Mel’s, who we were sent to track down).
A day before leaving Winnipeg discovered bits of chewed toilet
paper scattered around the van and tiny droppings on the floor - it seemed we had an uninvited guest in our home! And so the
search began! We stripped the entire van, finding more evidence of our unwanted visitor until finally, after removing the
jack storage cover, we found a tiny nest stuffed with cotton, Kleenex, and oddly enough, peanut shells…someone had been
While Sara held the garbage bag I scooped out the sneaky critter’s home and scrubbed the entire area
with every disinfectant known to woman. Problem solved!
be more of a Beast, our van requires a trick turn of the ignition to ensure it is properly shut off and not draining precious
battery juice. And so as we waved goodbye to our friends, we were embarrassed to find the Beast completely dead, not even
a hum. After a boost, a few chuckles and leaving it idle as we grocery shopped, we eventually left the city of Winnipeg
driving north-west on the Yellow-Head Highway towards Riding
Mountain National Park.**
It was our first true taste of the prairies, the endless stretches of yellowing fields
combed by harvesters, the dust enveloping the combines that roared through the swaying crops. Manitoba’s
terrain still rolled and the trees still lined the highway, the mix of farmland and forest creating a unique landscape, another
beautiful piece of this country.
At the park we went about our camping duties with barely another soul’s tent in sight. Riding
Mountain is huge, but with most of its facilities and attractions closed for the
year we settled for a drive around the interior’s tiny tourist towns and the lake-side parking lots. That night we spent
our last night in a tent, even my long johns could not fight the bitter chill of the autumn air!
Connecting the dots on the map we drove north, west, then south along the Saskatchewan
border, arriving at the tiniest of towns, Inglis. We came here to see the grain elevators that break the flatness of the land.
The only tourist within miles, we were offered a quiet glimpse of these agricultural phenomena, in all their reconstructed
glory. One of the construction workers volunteered a guided tour and so for a donation of a toonie we observed the inner workings
and importance of these farming structures. This included a 20 minute video produced some time in the 70’s when theses
grain elevators were still a vital part of the prairie’s economy.
As the road stretched out between the fields of corn and hay, we were nearing the 8th province
of destination, Saskatchewan, naturally.