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Chronicles from the Road

Day 3

Our travelling team departed Christian’s place early Tuesday morning, rejuvenated for another day of travels. If the latter half of yesterday’s drive through Manitoba had become stoic and predictable, I knew from last year that today’s trek through the rest of Manitoba and Saskatchewan would be even more stale.

Thankfully I convinced Brad and ‘Turtle’ to alter our route slightly. Rather than take Highway 1 through Regina, we ventured up around Saskatoon and came back down Saskatchewan before entering southern Alberta.

This detour added about two hours of travelling time, and though my travelling companions weren’t as appreciative as I was for the scenic change, they’ll thank me the day that they take the entire flat drive across Highway 1.

A cloudy and rainy drive along the Gordie Howe Bridge in Saskatoon

Brad and I have each grown up and worked on farms for most of our lives. To see agriculture on such a mass scale in the prairies made our jaws drop a little. Not only are the fields far larger than in Ontario, but no land is wasted. Hay is cut and baled in the ditches, not bush hogged by the township like it is back home.

The ground is clearly drier in Western Saskatchewan; in fact, there has been a drought in the Regina region this year (opposite to Southern Ontario). As we neared Saskatoon, a large portion of the surrounding farm land was flooded. The contrast was startling! Later we found out that this flooding was from the Quill Lakes in 2012, but the impact was still being felt.

Upon arriving in Brooks, Alberta for our third night, the trend of nothing but flat, repetitive farm fields was evident in this town too. We chose to stay here not for its geography, but because Brad’s friend and teacher’s college colleague Joe Willimsen lived in Brooks. Joe, like Brad, had opted to go West to teach immediately upon graduation instead of spending years working his way up the supply list in Ontario.

Joe toured us around the small farming town in the evening. We made stops at a slightly dingy restaurant for supper that offered generous potions of food, and at the impressive Catholic high school Joe will be teaching at this fall. Brad especially enjoyed seeing the classroom that his fellow Queen’s graduate will be in.

Later we came back to Joe’s apartment and met his parents, who were visiting. After each of us downed a glass of milk filled with crushed up cookies (which Joe convinced us to try) it was time to pack it in for the night.

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