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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What a difference a year makes!

We definitely feel a lot more confident this year driving across Canada in Newman with Jerry along for the ride. A year of RVing, sometimes full-time and in the summer part-time, has given us a comfort level that we never knew we could have with our old beast Newman.

We also are very happy with the weather so far on this trip. Last year as we drove through Manitoba it started to snow and of course we had to pull over in Moosomin, Saskatchewan at the Co-op gas station for the night because the roads were so treacherous.

Moosomin today! This is where we spent a night last year. Quite a difference from snow, ice and treacherous driving! The Tim Horton’s in the picture is where Richard went to buy me a hot chocolate and had to slide all the way back to Newman, taking his life in his hands, for fear he would slip on the ice. Newman spent the night under the Co-op sign as we waited out the storm.

We left Brandon, Manitoba this morning around 7:40am. We didn’t realize how quickly we would be on Mountain time, since all of Saskatchewan is on Mountain time during the summer! So technically in our new Mountain time zone, we left Manitoba at 6:40am! It was dark when we pulled out of the Walmart parking lot this morning, but we didn’t have long to drive before the sun came up.

We saw a lot of these scenes today on our drive. Lots of trains and grain elevators.

And a close up shot of the grain elevator.

If you have never driven across Canada before, the Prairies go on and on and on and on….

We could see for Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles….you know the song! We actually pulled out the blue tooth speaker today and listened to a lot of Canadian artists as we drove through the Prairies. The Guess Who “Running back to Saskatoon”, The Tragically Hip “Wheat Kings”, and a new one for us called “Long Gone to Saskatchewan” by Corb Lund. The Corb Lund song was kind of fun actually so give it a listen if you aren’t familiar with it!

And for a change of scenery we saw a barn with some trees!

Oh and more grain elevators on the side of the road beside the railway line.

A very interesting sight we did see on our drive today between Moose Jaw, Sask. and Swift Current, Sask. was a Lake that looked like it was full of snow! Last year when we had driven by the Lake, it actually was full of snow, so we didn’t realize the significance of the Lake until we saw it today.

Chaplin Lake, Sask. The Lake actually goes on a lot longer, but I couldn’t catch it while we were driving. The white stuff is salt!

Chaplin Lake is the second largest saline lake in Canada. It is divided into 4 sections by a series of dykes and roads that were constructed as part of a sodium sulphate mine development on the north shore of the lake. Chaplin Lake supports tremendous numbers of shorebirds, especially during spring migration. Birds that make a stopover at the Lake are: Sanderling, Baird’s Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Stilt Sandpiper American Avocet and Red-necked Phalaropes. A lot of these birds I have never heard of before so I looked them up so that I could capture their images.

Migrating birds from Chaplin Lake.

We didn’t stop for lunch today so I made Richard a wrap while he was driving to keep rolling. By 1:30pm he was pretty ‘done in’, so we pulled over in Swift Current, Saskatchewan for an hour so he could take a rest on our bed, while I went into the Co-op to grocery shop for a few supplies. We decided against going to Walmart in Swift Current where we spent 2 nights last year in the middle of a raging blizzard with a snowy parking lot. It’s nice to change it up whenever we come through Swift Current!

Parked in the Co-op parking lot in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

We left Swift Current around 2:20pm and we weren’t sure if we would make it to Lethbridge this evening, but we were hopeful Lethbridge was where we would spend the night.

The World’s Largest Tee Pee at 215 feet tall. The tee pee was built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games and moved to Medicine Hat, 3 years later.

The worst part about driving all day until dark on this trip to Western Canada, is the sun setting in our eyes as we are trying to make time at the end of the day. Richard’s electric sun visor does not work. We should have had it repaired before this trip, because it has never worked and its very tough as he’s driving to focus, with the sun shining directly into his eyes.

Sun setting in our front window as we are heading for Lethbridge, Alberta.

The sun has set as we are just about in Lethbridge, Alberta.

For dinner this evening I turned the generator on about 40 minutes before we stopped for the night. I had stocked our freezer with homemade delights from our butcher in Fort Erie. On tonight’s’ menu was lasagne with a Caesar salad. It is so nice to have the oven on when we are running the generator to have dinner cooking before we stop! Of course the smell of the food is so good, knowing that as soon as we stop dinner will be served! We are avoiding all restaurants as we drive across the country given the Covid situation in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Despite being double vaccinated, we know that there are many parts of these two Provinces that have very low vaccination rates, and high Covid rates, so rather than take a chance, we would rather eat at home In Newman!

Our Walmart parking lot for the evening in Lethbridge. We are parked next to what used to be the tire change garage. Apparently they have desks in there now instead of a tire garage, so we are good parked here for the night. It should be pretty quiet in North Lethbridge. We didn’t even pass any houses to get to this Walmart and it was a quick 5 minute detour off our highway to get here.

We have been very happy with the weather and driving conditions as we’ve driven across Canada this year. Day 4 of driving and we are already in Alberta, very close to B.C. We will fuel up with diesel and propane tomorrow before we head across the border as we know the prices will be higher in B.C. We are only 1 day behind our original schedule if we had left last Thursday as we had originally anticipated. We are both very tired, but we know the long boring drive through the Prairies is finally over!

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