Friday 28th July – Saskatchewan in a Flash

Not long after I got on the road, a reindeer grazing by the road bid me good morning and I left Manitoba for Saskatchewan. After the sign welcoming me into the new province, farmland stretched for miles in every direction with hardly a mound or non-fenced piece of land to break it up. This was a flat, flat land and they couldn’t seem to grow enough Canola.

A couple of hours later, the farmland was intertwined between lakes and swamps. The road stretched out over one of these big ponds at one point, with electricity poles sticking out of the water. I imagine this area must flood all the time, cutting off access to the road since the tarmac only sits a few feet above the water line. It was a pretty sight that woke me up a bit.

I stopped at a visitor’s centre in Foam Lake, thinking that there must be something for me to see in Saskatchewan as I drove west. When I asked the young girl working the desk, she asked if I was interested in birds. When I said no, she admitted that there wasn’t a single thing along the way that I could stop at. Feeling a little daunted by the prospect of solid driving when there is well over 12 hours of sunlight in a day, a traipsed back to the car, had morning tea, then carried on my way.

I tried out a few new podcasts to keep me company and they worked pretty well until they were sending me to sleep. Dan came to the rescue then, calling me to tell me about how Cleo had taken a shit on his passenger seat, making me laugh at the mental image. It got better when he explained that he was going to donate the seat to a dumpster and replace it with an actual chair until he got back to Phoenix where he had a spare chair.

The high only lasted an hour or so, next I stopped in Saskatoon, the biggest city in the province. On Google, I looked for green spaces and found one by a river that seemed good for lunch. I drove around the park and found myself a shady spot where I could sit on the soft grass. There was a disc golf course that I was tempted by but I wasn’t in the mood for standing out in the sun. I ate some cold pasta and watched some TV before moving on to a Spanish lesson to procrastinate from getting back in the car.

Back on the road again, I stayed on highway 16, listening to “Pod Save America”, “Missing Richard” and some NPR politics podcasts. I got into a rhythm now and didn’t get the sleepies again. By 5pm, I’d driven across the whole of Saskatchewan and was into Alberta. I hadn’t known there was so little between Toronto and Banff, but at least now I understand why everyone goes to Banff, because there isn’t anywhere else to really go!

At 5:30pm, I started looking for camps, but there were no rivers for me to camp by and no land that wasn’t a farmer’s property. Disheartened, I found that there were a few parking lot camps in the next major town of Edmonton. It would mean an extra hour of driving when really I was over it, but it would have to do. Mum & Dad came to the rescue this time, answering my call and keeping me company for the rest of the drive to camp. Dad outlayed all of the jobs he had lined up for when I go home and we talked minis and F1. I had to cut him off when I got to the Centro Casino so I could find myself a spot in a back corner.

I immediately went inside the modest casino to use the bathroom, sure I looked completely out of place amongst the oldies carrying their purses close to their hips. Back in my corner, I made dinner and ate it while talking non-stop, first with Jon, then with Vanessa. I was shattered from the long driving hours and had myself an early night. No one disturbed me, but the rain lashing at the window in the middle of the night surprised me awake a couple of times.

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