In brief, made it all the way through the Neatly Rectilinear Province Next Door yesterday, or almost, despite failure to plan ahead, failure to get out of bed on time, etc., resulting in hitting the Big Road East at the crack of noon.
I should have stopped three hours before I did (obstinacy). Wound up in Former Bootleggers' Shangri-La, fully provided with chain hostelries but unfortunately overrun with JUNIOR HOCKEY PLAYERS, and the Rambler was so played out she was glad to get the VERY LAST HOTEL ROOM in town, smokers' room though it was.
Nothing in hotel worked. But bed was clean and firm, bathroom was clean, water was hot (despite air in pipes from plumbing work going on, meaning all taps spat at users when turned on, AAAAAHHHH.)
I drove too far and for too long. Mem to self: quit before dark. I knew the highway was changing direction from time to time, the old Evening Star kept swinging back and forth across the windshield, but celestial navigation was never my strong point, so when I arose this morning and opened the curtains my first thought was, 'WHAT THE HELL IS THE SUN DOING OVER THERE????' Embarrassing. I was 180 degrees turned around.
Rural prairie province not as pitch-dark as you might imagine. Lots of powerful lights. But a curious desolation attached to them; a light at night should indicate, "Here be folk" and these lights mostly said, "Here be nowt -- folk all gone home"...industrial and agri-industrial facilities under blazing security lamps.
And the prelude to darkness was wonderful. All day as I drove -- not one cloud, not so much as the bigness of a man's hand, from horizon to horizon. But the "middle air" was accumulating a great stock of chaff-dust -- YES! There's corn in Egypt yet! and they are a-combining of it! -- so when the sun went down these masses of dust went all pink against the blue and the whole thing was quite NACREOUS if that's the word I want, and I think it is.
And just after sundown, passed through an 80 km stretch of major migratory flyway with huge briny lakes about six inches deep, full of tastiness for ducks and geese. Saw a lot of happy duck-butts along the way. And lots of geese. Snow geese in great clouds. And this morning in the Qu-Appelle Valley, quail by the side of the road also.
Am now in the Very Flattest Province of Them All, still pressing eastward. Expect to enter the rocks'n'trees zone before bedtime tonight.