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Archive for June, 2016

Another day traveling through Manitoba – sunshine hitting bright yellow canola fields, red winged black birds, a few more trains with cars going on for miles and sitting beside my best friend.  Country & rock music stations kept us entertained today.  We do have lots of our own music on an iPod but we save it for times we’re out of range.

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Before nearing Winnipeg we started to see signs for Kenora.  Another provincial line to cross and one more time change.  We really didn’t get to see Winnipeg but I did get one shot of the Assinoboine River that runs through Saskatchewan and Manitoba near the city.  Chris is pointing to dark skies ahead that eventually turned to black.  We donned  ALL gear before we got pelted with rain.  The lightening and thunder were much closer today.

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Tonight we’ll lay our weary but happy selves down in Kenora.  $111 gets us a room with a door that looks like it’s been kicked in more than once, two queen beds one higher than the other and the modem bolted to the wall.  It’s all part of the adventure and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

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Love & hugs from the road…

 

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In our go with the flow style we decided not to venture into Regina to visit the RCMP Heritage Centre.  Chris spent more than 6 months of his life there so he certainly knows enough about it and I can read all about it online.  We realized that our plan to overnight in Brandon meant we had a lot of riding to do.  Wow, Regina has an enormous amount of roadwork going on.  We must have traveled at least 40km through a construction zone on a very hot day.  Indian Head was a good spot for a leg stretch and a few pictures.  Funny to see the Buffalo rubbing rock — I was just lamenting we never did get to see a buffalo except stuffed in a museum.

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Sitting on the back of the motorcycle I have lots of time to think.  Today I was day-dreaming about my great-grandparents who emigrated to Saskatchewan from England.  Passing the beautiful fields of canola & corn I silently gave thanks to them for being brave enough to leave their family & friends to make a new life in Canada.

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Here we are in Brandon, Manitoba population 46,061.  Our routine is to find a room, unload the bags, then go off into town to find a grocery store, fuel up the bike and head back to the hotel.  Tonight was another great picnic dinner with fresh baked buns, cheese and fresh fruit.  Our hotel has 2 wonderful museum pieces right outside our room and we are delighted to have a functioning air-conditioner two nights in row.

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Tomorrow we are aiming for Kenora, Ontario.  Only a few more days until I get some momma hugs.

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Love & hugs from the road…

 

 

 

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This morning we left the badlands of Alberta (that’s the world’s tallest tipi in Medicine Hat by the way) and crossed the border into the flatlands.  We had a beautiful warm, sunny day and had to actually wear sunscreen after many days of cloud.  Our first stop was Grandma’s Home Cooking Cafe for breakfast.  Homemade bread, bacon, eggs and pan-fried potatoes and lots of hot coffee.  We wished the couple the best of luck in their new endeavour.

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One song stuck in my head today was “Home on the Range.”  More cows, more ranches and trains that were more than 100 cars long.  This conductor gave me a honk when I waved which OF COURSE pleased me to no end.  After two nights of super economy motel rooms we decided to splurge for a room with more than 2 pillows and an air-conditioner that actually blows cool air.

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This is Moose Jaw — not much foliage here on the prairies but lots of history.  Al Capone spent time here and looking for cold beer we found the train station has been repurposed into the liquor store.

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We are not “iron butt” riders and today was about our limit of how many kilometres we want to travel in a day.  Tomorrow I get to finally see RCMP Depot in Regina where Chris got his police training.  It’s been almost 40 years since he marched in the square.  Tomorrow night we’re not sure where we’ll be — maybe Brandon, Manitoba before heading into Ontario.  We are enjoying every moment of the journey !!!

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Love & hugs from the road…

 

 

 

 

 

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To recap our adventure so far:  we’ve been gone 8 days, traveled 2479 kilometers through 2 provinces and been fueled by countless cups of coffee.  Alberta is so beautiful and we pass ranch after huge ranch.  People may call it the smell of money but let’s call it what it really is — the smell of poo !!!!  These things are much more noticeable on the motorcycle.

Leaving Claresholm this morning we headed east to Smashed In Head Buffalo Jump.  This incredible World Heritage Site is possibly the oldest, largest and best preserved of the buffalo jump sites across the Western Plains.  The Plains People used this place as a communal hunting ground for nearly 6000 years.  So much skill was required to herd the Buffalo into drive lanes and then cause them to stampede to their death over the cliffs.  I’d like to think my anthropology professor would be proud that I visited a place mentioned in our textbook.

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Today I saw my first gopher.  I think they’re cute but I know farmers aren’t terribly fond of them digging holes and causing problems.  Inside the interpretive Centre we walked through exhibits of tools & weapons used thousands of years ago.  And learned how resourceful the Plains People had to be using every bit of Buffalo meat, hide, bone and marrow to survive.

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Fort McLeod has definitely a kept its Wild West image and the downtown was almost deserted on this quiet Sunday afternoon.  The bridge is just outside of Lethbridge and was the last picture I took before donning rain gear when we headed into black, scary skies.  I was a bit nervous to see a few lightening strikes but Chris reassured me they were many miles away.  We got wet !!  And both bike and our gear both picked up some road dirt.  Not having a reservation we drove around Medicine Hat until we found Satellite Motel.  Our cheapest motel so far and just fine with a king bed and breakfast included.  Tomorrow we’re aiming for Moose Jaw.

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Love & hugs from the road…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After hugs and a big farewell to John & Marilyn this morning, we set off for Claresholm a mere 1.5 hours down the road.  Taking our sweet time we arrived about Noon.  The plan was to unload the bike, get back on and visit Smashed in Head Buffalo Jump and Fort McLeod.  Nope…that’s not what happened.  We quickly realized we’d left a knapsack with passports and US cash back in Milo.  Thankfully John & Marilyn were still home and met us back in Vulcan.  More coffee, more hugs, more goodbyes and off again to Claresholm (birth place of Chris Stewart).  Chris’s Dad was a pilot in the armed forces stationed here in 1955.  The family wasn’t here long enough for Chris to remember — it’s his first visit back.

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The Bluebird Motel was highly recommended by John & Marilyn and although we couldn’t get a theme room we were lucky enough to get one of their smaller rooms.  There’s high school grad and a lacrosse tournament happening today.  The room may be tiny but it is quaint and has everything we need.  At the moment we’re sitting at the picnic table with cold drinks & a bag of chips plotting out our adventures tomorrow.  We are determined to visit Smashed in Head Buffalo Jump and will most likely spend the night in Medicine Hat.

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This is what the map looks like visiting the same places more than once.  Luckily none of the dark clouds opened up on us.  It was an awesome day of fresh air & absolutely incredible scenery.  If I only had one word to describe the trip so far it would definitely be FUN !!

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Love & hugs from the road

 

 

 

 

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Yesterday we left the Rockies behind and headed into Alberta ranch land.  We were awed by the endless fields and wide open sky.  I’ve never seen so many cows or oil pump jacks. And what a thrill to meet up with dear friends John & Marilyn MacArthur who rode their motorcycles to Turner Valley where we had an awesome lunch at Moto Burrito.

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Our next stop was the Twin Cities Hotel for a cold beer on a hot afternoon.  There was a stage coach for sale just down the road and I’m trying not to stare or point when I see real Cowboys with hats & big silver belt buckles.  We travelled secondary county roads and you’ll see by the map at the bottom we zigzagged just a little.

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I love the story of the couple who run Aspen Crossing — which first started as a tree farm and after hail damage they morphed the property into campsites, train station, greenhouses and gift shop.  And for all you Polar Express fans they offer a Christmas train ride with Santa (our friend John) where he hands out a bell and believer card to every pajama wearing passenger.  We had lunch in a rail car that Prime Minister Diefenbaker used as an office/dining car when he was traveled the country.  I haven’t had a hot hamburger sandwich since I was a kid 🙂

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After lunch we made our way into Vulcan where Marilyn is the manager of business development.  This little town has really capitalized on their name with Vul-Con days, a Star Trek museum and USS Enterprise replica.  I am holding Data’s actual phaser — all the costumes and props in the museum are original.  And I got such a huge kick out of finding “BC Bud Rub” from Alert Bay, BC for sale at the Vulcan Health & Supplement store.

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John & Marilyn live in nearby Milo which has a population of 122 people — what an awesome little community.  Their library is incredible and services 20 other tiny communities in the area.  The reading nook with fireplace & leather chairs are very impressive as well as the kids corner.  And right outside the door there is a “take one, leave one” library.

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Tomorrow Marilyn is getting ready to travel to Trinidad to teach an economic development course.  So we say thank you for two wonderful nights of laughter & conversation and so long as we head to Claresholm where Chris was born.

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Love & hugs on the road…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After a quick cup of coffee this morning we hit the road looking forward to crossing into Alberta where we will be spending time reconnecting with friends.  Chris knows what a five-year-old I am going through the mountain tunnels so honked the horn when there wasn’t any oncoming traffic.  I am so easily amused !!  Having been through the Rockies a few times I decided not to go too crazy taking pictures.  You know what happens — shot after amazing shot and just around the next bend, another breathtaking vista.

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In the spirit of being relaxed retirees we stopped at the Rogers Pass Memory Garden. It honors all those who have worked on the mountain railway & highway.  Chris was interested in the piece of artillery that’s used to cause controlled avalanches and I was drawn to the bell that probably startled a few mountain goats.

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Motorcycles are an instant conversation starter and today we met 3 state troopers from Colorado who are on a week’s holiday blasting through BC, Alberta and back again.  Although we saw signs all day warning us to be careful of bear, mountain goats & moose on the road, the only wildlife I saw were stuffed and on display at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre.

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Chris is sitting on a bench in Field, a tiny little town in Yoho National Park.  We drank a few sips of coffee before rain & wind forced us onward.  The umpteen weather systems today really reminded us of home.  If you don’t like the weather — wait five minutes.  We’ve gotten really good at quickly donning raingear but I do have to be extra careful getting on and off the bike with all those layers.

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Banff is one crazy place.  Traffic and people, resorts and shops as far as the eye can see.  We have a mountain view tonight which will be a fond memory when we hit the prairies.

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Tomorrow we’re off to Milo, Alberta to visit for a few days with friends John & Marilyn MacArthur.  They’re going to meet us on their motorcycles about 30 km out so we can ride together.  Life is good !!

Love & hugs from the road…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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