Tagged with " Regina"
May 25, 2011 -

A Saskatchewan Education, Or Not So Humble Humboldt

This past weekend, I joined Gary and Jody on a road trip to visit some members of Gary’s family who live near the small town of Humboldt, SK, which is a little under two hours north-eastish of Saskatoon.

Gary and Jody have done this trip many times and know the Saskatchewan road quality, or lack thereof, very well. So, they decided that the less bumpy way to get there would be going through Swift Current, Moose Jaw, and skirting Regina, and we would come home by way of Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.

Mid-afternoon Friday I loaded my stuff into my car and headed to Jody’s workplace. There, I moved my gear to her car and we took off for Gary’s workplace. There, we loaded up their rig, a 20′ travel trailer and truck, and headed east. We were on the road towards Medicine Hat by about 6PM.

The drive to the Saskatchwan border was pretty uneventful. I looked forward to doing the bit between Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw on the TransCanada since that was the only section of it I haven’t done, except for whatever’s in Newfoundland. I have to say that south-east Alberta looks a lot like southwest Saskatchewan. 🙂

Back to Saskatchewan!

Jody ran the deli Friday night and I was so hungry by that point that I didn’t think to photograph my dinner until I was halfway through:

the remains of my Friday dinner

It was coming onto 9PM when we hit Swift Current, and Gary was beat, so we pulled into the Walmart for the night.

Jody made up for the previous night’s late dinner with this breakfast:

breakfast Saturday!

Complemented by oranges, coffee, and yoghurt. I have been well fed since landing in Lethbridge! 😀

Gary and Jody's rig; much shorter than mine!

We pushed on eastward through Moose Jaw, the Qu’Appelle valley, and then we skirted around Regina before heading north. The roads were so bad I thought we would be launched into orbit!

I was put on deli duty and discovered that is not easy to make a sandwich in a moving vehicle. Notice how smooshed my lunch is:

lunch Saturday (made by me!)

We passed through the town of Engelfeld, which hosts an annual pig roast to raise money for charity.

the Englefeld pig

I really enjoyed this drive; there is just something about the Prairies that awes me.

We arrived in Humboldt in late afternoon where I was introduced to my hosts and was settled into a guest bedroom. We were served a very yummy dinner and then my hosts took us out to see the sights. I think that might actually have been more for my benefit. I’m very thankful!

The first thing we saw were pelicans! I had no idea you could find pelicans this far north! Unfortunately, they were super off in the distance and even my trusty zoom wasn’t able to get a good shot of one.

pelicans!

We then went to Waldsea Lake. Saskatchewan has been very wet the last few years and there has been a lot of problems with flooding and rising waters. So, this lake, which used to have a nice day use area and lots of cottages around it, was allowed to spill out from its berm. The cottages were all moved to a temporary holding area and will be relocated. The road to the lake just… ends.

Waldsea Lake

Waldsea Lake

cottages pulled from the shores of Waldsea Lake

We then drove around Humboldt a bit so I could get a feel for the layout, seeing some of the major stores, the schools, hospitals, etc. The town is almost full-service and has a population of 6,000.

Before heading back, our hosts pulled into the drive-thru at McDonalds to treat everyone to shakes. This drive-thru has to be unique since it has an alley cutting right through it!

We ended the evening with a dice game that was very quick to learn. Beginner’s luck was not with me!

I was the first one up Sunday morning and I took the time to get some work done. I had internet through my USB modem, but it was a very sloooow connection. It seems like Dawson City has better cell coverage than does rural Saskatchewan!

Once we were all up we had a HUGE brunch. I didn’t even want to think about food until early evening!

The afternoon was a bit lazy and I caught up on my reading.

Late afternoon, friends and family showed up for a bonfire and wiener roast. What a perfect day for that; we’d hit the mid 20’s, with sunshine!

Before dinner, I was taught how to play a gruesome Saskatchewanese game of Russian origin called Bunnock, or Bones. Originally played with horse hooves, this cross between bowling and curling is now often played with plastic bone replicas. I was quite good!

After that, a little boy wanted me to go with him to check out the barn cat’s hideout. There, he discovered tiny kittens no more than a couple of weeks old. They were so cute; no bigger than a mouse, with eyes still shut.

For dinner, I learned how to roast hot dogs over an open fire. Or, rather, how not to. The first one was a tad burnt. 😀 I also enjoyed some burnt marshmallows, but that was on purpose. Marshmallows just aren’t worth eating if they haven’t been set on fire first.

We ended the night chatting around a campfire. One person showed up with a mini marshmallow thrower and I got to learn how to use that. I was a natural, hitting my target (Gary) with my one and only attempt.

The evening wound up around 11. Everyone seemed intent on sleeping in Monday, so I stayed up late to finish a book. Of course, everyone else changed their mind and I was the last one up!

Our hosts live on remote lake-side acreage that is partially flooded right now. Access to the house is through a narrow causeway. When Gary awoke to rain, he was worried we’d get flooded out, so that propelled the early start to the day.

my hosts' causeway

We were fed another ginormous brunch and then it was time to hit the road, sometime in mid-morning. We drove straight through to Gary’s workplace, stopping only to get fuel and use the bathroom. We were all stuffed from breakfast and only lightly snacked all day.

This was an awesome weekend. Thank you!

LOTS more pictures below!

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Alberta, Boondocking/Dry camping, Canada, Nice Folks, Saskatchewan, Social, Travel    2 Comments
Sep 24, 2008 -

Where I’ve Stayed

I haven’t given too many details on the campgrounds in which I’ve stayed because I don’t think it’s wise to give too much information on exactly where I am at the time of posting, so consider this a bit of a catch up edition. 🙂

So, my first campground was the Ottawa Municipal Campground in Ottawa, Ontario.

I maintain that the OMC is Ottawa’s best kept secret. The park feels like it’s deep in nature, but it’s just minutes from the Queensway and from shopping centres in Nepean and Kanata while being about ten minutes from downtown (as long as it’s not rush hour!). Staff is friendly, rules are lax, there’s wi-fi at the laundromat, and the electricity and water are good.

I found this campground using Google.

My second campground was Stillwater RV Park in Nipigon, Ontario.

For the night that I stayed, this place was fantastic. It had 30A pull-thrus, good water, a cheap laundromat, and wi-fi. Even though it’s located right on the highway, the sites are removed enough from it to be quiet. But I’d hate to stay here in the high season as the sites are packed very closely together. Thankfully, the place was practically empty when I stayed.

I found this campground in an old Trailer Life directory the POs left me.

My third campground was Shady Oaks RV Resort & Campground in Sidney, Manitoba.

This was a really nice campground, if you like being in the middle of nowhere (60km to the nearest grocery store!). I had a beautiful spot overlooking the Manitoba prairie and shaded by oak trees that rained acorns the whole time I was there! Water quality wasn’t very good here (too much iron), but I wasn’t drinking it, so I didn’t mind. The staff was very friendly. There was wi-fi, but it wasn’t free, and this new service needed a lot of tweaking.

I found this campground by driving down the Transcanada highway and following the signs advertising a park offering full 30A hookups and wi-fi.

Then, I moved on to the Dyer Straits Campground and Cabins (great name!) in Whitecity, Saskatchewan.

I adored this campground. Even though it’s right on the Transcanada and just twelve kilometres from all the shops and services, it feels like you’re in a natural setting. It’s quiet and the owners are friendly and laid back. The water here had the same problem as that at Shady Oaks, but, otherwise, the services were good. Wi-fi isn’t available at all the sites, but the owners are okay with laptop owners coming up to their house after dinner and stretching out on their lawn chairs.

I knew that I wanted to stay in the Whitecity area and was looking at another campground found in my Saskatchewan Official Campgrounds Guide, but Dyer Straits was cheaper.

Next, I stayed at the Gordon Howe Campground in Saskatoon.

This campground is very well located. It feels private and rustic, but is close to downtown and several Saskatoon attractions. I found that there were a lot of rules and I was disappointed to learn that you can only dump during the week! That said, staff was friendly, laundry was cheap (and change for it was given with a smile), and the wi-fi was free (even though they had a service interruption most of the time I was there!). Water pressure at this park is very high, so you need a regulator. They warn you about this several times.

I had planned to stay at another campground right on highway 16 west of Saskatoon, but didn’t have specific directions to get there. So, upon arriving in Saskatoon, I followed little brown signs showing a trailer until I got to what looked like a dead end as I wound up at a sports arena parking lot. Just before deciding to cut my losses and try again to find the other park, I saw rigs off in the distance behind trees and realised that the road forked out to the left to the campground entrance. I’m glad things worked out this way as this campground was a much better choice for my purposes than would have been one several kilometres out of town.

Which brings me to here, the Rainbow Campground in Edmonton.

Meh. This campground was obviously my best choice for Edmonton, but it’s ludicrously expensive for 15A service with no water! And you have to pay 10.50$ per day for internet access! The gates close at 11PM sharp, so this isn’t the place to stay if you want to experience Edmonton’s nightlife. That said, it’s fairly conveniently located and fairly quiet. I’m right at the entrance and in front of the men’s washrooms, positioned here because I have a toad. They only allow one motorized vehicle per site, so I have to park my toad somewhere else. This is the only site where there is a ‘somewhere else’ close by: right across the way in front of the men’s washrooms. 🙂 I do find that getting here is a bit of a pain. My GPS is of absolutely no use and being ‘off Whitemud Drive’ is of only limited use. Depending on where you enter and exit Whitemud Drive, it runs north/south or east/west! So, I always have a hard time figuring out which direction to go to get home.

I found this campground in the Official Alberta Campgrounds guide, and decided on it with a bit of research done in Lloydminster on a limited internet connection.

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Alberta, Campgrounds, Canada, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Travel    2 Comments
Sep 21, 2008 -

Saskatoon

I wish I had time to share all the pictures I took of Saskatoon, but I have to be out of this site by 11! 🙁 Every other place I’ve stayed, checkout has been a much more civilized 12 o’clock.

At any rate, let me take you back to Regina one last time, to the set of ‘Laundry Day On the Prairie’.

Even though I haven’t blogged about it since I bought it, I’ve been using and absolutely adore my Wonderwash. I use it to keep on top of the cleaning of small items like dish cloths. The machine cleans things beautifully. I should have taken a before and after picture of one of the cloths I cleaned; it was so filthy after washing a BBQ grill that I thought it would have to become a rag. My Wonderwash got it back to brilliant white! At any rate, I woke up Thursday to discover that Ms. Tabitha had been sick all over the bed. Yay. Not. I decided to wash the sheets in the Wonderwash. This was not as tedious an endeavour as one might imagine even though it took about an hour. The sun was shining so hard that I barely had to wring anything out; within an hour everything was bone dry.

The owners came by at one point because someone had told them that a tenant had strung a clothesline, an apparent no no. They laughed when they saw I’d strung the line from one of Miranda’s mirrors to a utility pole. That was fine; the no no is to string a heavy line between their precious tiny poplars. I can’t believe that I can believe that some idiots would have done that. Me, I’m good at improvising. 🙂

Croft will be happy to see a white hose in this picture. I had to use my green hose for black tank related matters back in Manitoba, so since I needed a new hose anyway, I made it a point to look for a white one. I hate it, it leaks at the connection where it screws to the tap and Canadian Tire won’t take it back. I’ll have to fix it next time I stop; thankfully I have the parts to do that.

So, Saskatoon. I’m going to have to move here since it hosts my dream home!

I decided that the only thing I absolutely had to do in Saskatoon was the Western Development Museum’s ‘1910 Boomtown’.

It’s fantastic!!! The museum is a recreation of a street in a circa 1910 Saskatchewan town.

You can go into each building and see a typical commerce, service, or home from the period.

That took up the entire morning. As I was coming out, the lady at the admissions counter ‘had’ to introduce me to her other colleague as ‘the gal RVing across Canada with her two cats.’ Without prompting, she then told me I had to visit the University of Saskatchewan campus and pulled out a map showing me a walking route I could take. That sounded fantastic. I needed the exercise and I wasn’t in the mood for more museums.

The walk was quite long, about 7.5km, if I reckon correctly, and was breathtaking. I started at the Saskatoon Weir (dam) and climbed up to the CPR Bridge.

I discovered here that there is no way I am ever going to be able to make it up the Eiffel tower. The stairs are metal mesh that you can see through. I barely made it to the top, and that’s because I finally had the smarts to close my eyes. The view from the top was breathtaking, but I couldn’t get off that bridge fast enough. If a train had come by as I crossed, as one did an hour later when I was safely on the ground, a rescue crew would have been needed to get me moving again!

Once I got across to the U of S campus, the daring bridge crossing was all worth it. I got some fantastic shots of Saskatoon.

It was past lunchtime when I got back to my car, so I decided to head to the ‘trendy’ Broad Street area to scope out a place for a nice lunch, which I found at the Broad Street diner, where they have some amazing fries. Just off Broad Street I found a used bookstore with an owner who is quiiiiiite the character. He talked my ear off about how people today, especially politicians, know nothing about our history. I’d picked up a book on ancient Egypt and he told me I could have it free if I bought the autobiography of Nellie McClung, a suffragette, which he had seen me pick up (and put back down because it was pricey). I hesitated just long enough for him to offer me an even better deal, so I walked out with both books. In my defense, there were so many books on my ‘wish list’ in that store that if I was still living in a real house I could have easily bought a couple dozen!!!

Since I still have that nasty cold (better today, thank you), I was pretty exhausted by this point, so I went home to do laundry and come up with something fun to do in the evening.

The Saskatchewan activities guide mentioned boat tours, but that these tours stop on Labour Day weekend. That said, I’d found the launch for these tours on my walk and a sign there seemed to indicate that there would be a tour at 7PM. A quick phone call confirmed that, so off I went after dinner for a 1 hour cruise up and down the Saskatchewan River. It wasn’t a particularly good cruise in that we had to get any information we wanted from a brochure that was given to us. The brochure was great, but it’s hard to read and look at the scenery at the same time! That said, it was a lovely hour on the water and the weather was mild. Unfortunately, my pictures didn’t turn out.

I have to be off within the next hour. I’m Alberta bound! Tonight’s destination: the Walmart in Lloydminster, a border city of which one part lies in Alberta and the other in Saskatchewan! Tomorrow, I’ll get to Edmonton.

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Alberta, Canada, Cats, Homemaking, Itineraries, Laundry, Nice Folks, Personal, Plumbing, Saskatchewan, Social, Technical, Travel, Weather    3 Comments
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