Enter the Prairies

August 28, 2015

If I had thought the trip the day before was rough, well my friends, we put some serious road under the tires this day.

It was quite cold when we woke up that morning. The Rocky Mountains…who knew it would get cold. Funny thing was it was still not as cold as that one night in Montana. We went for a short hike then packed up.  I tend to want to just keep waking but we were on a bit of a schedule and would have to get going at some point.

Fortunately Jack seemed to be moving better, but we still kept the walks easy just to be on the safe side.  And if I had stopped at every pretty outlook or stream or view, I never would have left British Columbia.

 

We did stop quickly in the town of Banff. Talk about the polar opposite of Whistler. I could have wandered around there for hours. But a coffee and snack from Whitebark Cafe and away we went.

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This is what I pictured the Rockies to be.

And we went. It’s amazing how quickly the terrain changed. One minute I’m driving along going “Oh look pretty mountains. Look at the snow. Look at the….wait… Where did the mountains go? There’s some big hills. Did I fall asleep or something?”

And then the prairies. The view was severely reduced by the smoke from the fires still burning to the west, so I couldn’t even get the full “I saw my dog running away for five days” effect.  I felt like I was driving in a bubble.

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Would anyone guess we were in Saskatchewan?

I decided to stop for the night around Regina. I thought briefly about a hotel but the cost of the “pet fee” in the hotels I looked at would have almost been as much as the room! The rest were either too expensive or no pets at all.

So when I saw a sign for a private campground just off the highway, I figured problem solved. I mean, it’s just a place to lay my head for the night.

As I was driving up I saw rows of RVs crammed in tight together. Uh oh. I went into the office and spoke to the woman working behind the counter.  They do have tent spots available but they aren’t sites. It’s just a grassy corner of the lot. It was getting late and I was getting tired so I went to set up my tent.

It could have been worse. There weren’t too many people there and the people that were there didn’t seem to be too concerned with me at all. I found it to be a little weird since almost every where I had gone, people at least say “hi” to the dogs. I figured that’s fine. I didn’t stop to make friends.

As I was pitching my tent, the mosquito swarm found us. I hadn’t dealt with mosquitos like that since we left home. And I didn’t want to use any bug spray since I’d be sliding into my sleeping bag soon.

I took the dogs for a walk in the “dog area” which is the only place that you’re supposed to walk your dogs.  The area turned out to be a gap just inside the front perimeter fence of all of maybe two metres.  Or 10 feet.  Whichever you prefer.  Another thing I really wasn’t impressed with was one particular clause in their dog policy.  No aggressive dogs allowed; that I get.  Saying that a dog could be labelled as aggressive based on breed alone, well that boggled my mind.  I am familiar with breed-specific legislature and am completely opposed to it.  This oblique way of saying that certain breeds are not welcome made my blood boil.  Just say what breeds you don’t want and have that posted right in the front office.  If I had seen that before I got my site I likely would have moved on and tried to find somewhere else on principle alone.  I would have rather slept in my car (again) than give this kind of business my money.

But this place did have running water which we had not had in a few days and I was thinking  about a having a shower in the morning. A nice long hot shower to wash away the road grime and then I see a sign that says I have to pay $2 for 8 minutes of water.  Are you  kidding me? Because you know you always spend the first minute getting the temperature right. And not just $2. It was very specific that it had to be two loonies. Well forget about that.

I knew that I’d be at my grandparent’s cottage the next day. One last drive then a chance to relax for a few days before heading home. So I decided to ignore the jingling of change in my pocket for a little bit longer and just go right to sleep.

I remember looking up at the tent above my head and seeing the swarms of mosquitos and thinking “Well…I guess it’s an adventure now.”

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Follow three dogs (and their human) as they roam the open roads.

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