Flexibility is something that Fred and I are working on. The accommodations for last couple of nights did not really work out as we had planned (though, in trying not to ‘over plan’ we had decided to leave sections of this trip up in the air.)
After leaving our friends in Iowa, we planned to drive a pretty long day and to stay in a hotel in Minot, ND so that we could get a quick start the next day. The one thing that we had not counted on, was the State Fair- every hotel in Minot and every campground was FULL! So, on we journeyed - another 100 miles and across the Canadian border to Estevan, Saskatchewan – where we found a nice hotel and a delicious supper. We crawled into bed about 10:30pm, but, because they are not on daylight time, it was only 9:30pm- we had gained an hour. We woke up the next morning, refreshed and ready to travel on.
We Headed towards Saskatoon, stopping to sightsee a bit, and have lunch, in Moose Jaw. When we arrived at the Provincial Park just outside of Saskatoon around 2:30pm, we found that the camping area was full. Come to find out…Monday was a Canadian holiday, and the park, which was on a beautiful lake, was absolutely FULL. So… our back-up plan was a campground right next to a city park in downtown Saskatoon. We called ahead, and had them hold a site for us. This campground was nice, but- unfortunately, also crowded. Our site was in the overflow area – no electricity (not a problem) but much more the feel of a parking lot! However, we did have a place to park our camper, and that was all we needed.
Lessons learned: We really do not require much, just a roof over our heads or a place to park and put up our camper, and we are fine. Places to stay WILL turn up, we may just have to drive on down the road a bit. And, it is sometimes a good idea to call ahead.
Flexibility …….It’s a ‘good thing’.
Highlights of the road these last few days------
Crossing the border into Canada- We crossed the border on Saturday around 7pm at the town of Portal. The very name seemed to suggest time/space travel. The border crossing had a strange industrial park feel to it. The security guard was polite, but he did actually check our passports and enter our car license plate # into the computer to check. As we crossed the border and drove on, we were again surrounded by the vast, flat prairie and an evening sky that stretched for miles. Had we crossed through a ‘portal’? We felt a bit giddy with the realization that we were in CANADA – and well into this adventure.
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – We stopped because the guide book mentioned this town. Moose Jaw has a nice, kind of quaint ‘old town’ area with one big attraction –“The Tunnels of Moose Jaw” tours. The tour we took highlights, in a rather dramatic telling, the mistreatment of the Chinese immigrants in Canada. These immigrants were used to provide labor for the building of the Trans–Canada railroad. When the railroad was finished, these Chinese workers, who were mostly indentured workers, were put to work in facilities like the laundry in Moose Jaw which worked and housed these people all underground in what was old basement boiler access tunnels. They were harshly mistreated and discriminated against and the Canadian people seem to see this as an embarrassing blot on an otherwise long tradition of tolerance.
Dinner with Clark (a work college of Fred’s) in Saskatoon- Fun to catch up on work ‘gossip’ and always good to keep up old ties. Lovely walk around downtown Saskatoon and dinner in an old hotel (built by the railroad in the 1920’s) .
Learning that Canola and Flax are two very important (and beautiful) agricultural products in this area. Their flowers definitely brightened our drive.