Thursday, October 7, 2010

by the shining big-sea-water

After another good day's drive, PEACHY weather, really like summer...and despite having to move the clock ahead another hour, to Eastern Daylight...arrived before the sun went down. Since Tuesday I have traveled through Mountain Daylight, Central Standard (Rectilinear Province is funny that way), Central Daylight, Eastern Daylight...
Started out this morning with quite a good hotel-lobby breakfast (one of the options was waffles, no, real ones, batter in a dispenser and a big fancy waffle iron)...fruit and yogurt and coffee...briskly eastward with a mid-morning break for gas and a sandwich and a refill on the coffee; ate part of my sandwich in one stop and the rest late in the day by a very satisfactory kind of waterfall.
I also took heed of symptoms and stopped for a power-nap in the parking lot of a staggeringly ersatz "trading post", first making a tactful small purchase over the kind protests of the proprietor: "You don't have to buy anything! Honest! You can have a nap for free! Hey! We don't mind!"
And stopped at the excellent roadside sheep-farm and purveyor of all things woolly...always a feature of these cross-Canada drives.
Long theological Facebook chats with various friends.
Pleasant salad supper at a very old-fashioned diner just behind my motel.
It's philosophically interesting, travelling in this direction at this season, to be driving "into the dark" at the end of each day's stage. It's always been my fate, apparently, to live to the west of my work place -- sun in my eyes at both ends of the day, rising in the morning and setting in the evening. So in the evenings I've always been chasing the sun, chasing the light...but now I'm driving eastward, and the dark comes to meet me and my long shadow. A faint sensation of the end game, in all this.
It's a situation that makes the chain motel a very desirable destination. One thing you can say about the "Super Eight" -- it ain't shy. Unlike "Aunt Grannie's Lavender Hideaway Bide-a-wee B and B," it doesn't hide back among the big trees and the caragana hedges. No-sir-ee. Great big illuminated sign in primary colours, 25 feet high, "Come unto me all ye that are weary." And after dark in an unfamiliar town...that's a blessing too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Back in the ever-lovin' pre-Cambrian Shield country.

A shorter drive today, an earlier start, and more stops to move around, stretch, assist circulation and digestion and so forth. Stopped partway along for a consultation with hostelry chain...and accomplished an internet reservation for tonight, in the upper left corner of Far Too Extensive Province...and lo! a nice room was all ready for me.
Feeling quite relaxed with a reservation in hand, I stopped for a proper good lunch, and then went to a major supermarket and bought nice fruit things for my cooler. The little 'bar' fridge seems to be standard hotel equipment these I take advantage.
Excellent weather again. A simple route. Good road -- I made the choice to shift to the REALLY Big Road first thing this morning, or as soon as I could, thereby gaining the advantage of a divided highway.
Lots and lots of migratory geese, hundreds flying and thousands feeding in the stubble. Great happiness. And some little quail by the road down in Scenic Prairie River Valley.
Tomorrow, a shorter drive down to the Gitchi-goomi -- and a meet-up with Inner Dorothy, w00t!~!


Hello possums,

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.