As we've ridden west, rolling hills have given way to open prairies. Unfortunately for us, a lot of the scenery earlier in the trip was obscured by the rain and fog on our face shields. But as the weather was a bit more gracious the last couple of days we seen a lot more of the journey.
The way we heard it, Saskatchewan was going to be relatively straight and flat. And to a motorcyclist those are usually foul words. If you had told us we would have enjoyed that bit of the ride as much as we did we would have thought you crazy - but surprisingly, we did.
Rolling, emerald prairies for as far as the as the eye can see may seem like it could get tedious all day on a motorcycle, but something about it was very enjoyable. I've never seen so much green. Beautiful swells of it that went on and on until you were treated to an occasional burst of bright yellow field. It was beautiful in and of itself, but when the landscape doesn't afford much variation you tend to notice the little things that might otherwise escape you. You notice, for instance, the coyote in the field, perfectly still, and patiently waiting for something to move about. The rows of perfectly spaced trees, extraordinarily tall for the landscape, that have become a monument unto themselves, and wonder if the one that had carefully planted them so long ago was alive to see them now. You notice the curious little barns and dilapidated farm houses seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The doe and her fawn far out in the field taking advantage of the long summer grasses. The pond of ducks where the conveniently sunken piece of farm equipment has now become an island. The strategically placed piles of railroad ties along the tracks that take the grain for processing. Dandelions that looked like they were embellished in size by an artist's imagination dot the edge of the ridge along the tracks. Do the tracks follow the road or the road follow the tracks - I wonder.
We grabbed a bite to eat in Saskatoon and made our way to camp for the night - too tired to tell you about all the little things we saw.
Today started out rather uneventful. It was supposed to be our day off or make-up day and we made use of it getting to Edmonton - putting us back on schedule. The prairies of yesterday became rather ordinary and much more flat today. We continued our mission of finding quirky roadside statues and took a few pictures. One break in particular found us in a small town with eastern European roots. We were entertained by the odd ode to sausage making history just off the highway - an enormous reddish-brown sausage (see pics).
Just as I was resting on a picnic table thinking that I might be kind-of tough for taking on an adventure like this we met Andrew and Friedel. Andrew and Friedel are on an adventure of similar proportions. They began their trip in San Francisco and are riding back home to Nova Scotia. What makes them different from us is where we have, oh, approximately 85 horsepower getting us from point a to point b, they're pedaling with two legs. Seems they've done this before in other countries and we are both curious and impressed. Friedel shares tips on what to cook along the way gives the great advice on using Tiger Balm on my mosquito bites. It was a real pleasure talking to them, fellow travelers, and we exchanged information. http://travellingtwo.com/
On to Edmonton - time for an oil change. Five days of camping got me to thinking it might be nice to make use of some Mariott rewards in Edmonton and skip the unpack and re-pack ritual. The plan was to buy some oil, find a kind shop owner that would let us use an oil pan and dispose of the oil for us and find some WiFi to book a room. Getting turned down at the first garage we headed for WalMart - at least we knew we could get the oil there. As it turns out, not only did the oil and lube shop accommodate our request, but set James up with his own service bay in the garage. Just as we were about to set off in search of WiFi we met Allan in the parking lot. He was curious about where we were from and where we were heading. We got to talking and he kindly offered to let us follow him home so we could use his internet. We thought we'd pull up into the driveway, book a room online, thank him and be on our way. He invited us in to meet his wife Gail. I never got a chance to book the room. Instead we were fed grilled cheese sandwiches and offered a bed and a shower. It was hard to turn down and we spent the evening getting to know our new Canada friends over a game of Yahtzee.
More pictures coming soon - having difficulties uploading them all:
Our new friends, Allan and Gail fixed us up with breakfast and well wishes.
|From pics-day 8|
|From pics - day 6|
|From pics - day 6|
|From pics - day 6|