Our expectations of what we will see on this journey across the Prairie Provinces, isn’t actually reality, so far. Judi has completed this route many times, but the most recent was 35 years ago, so memory could be a little fuzzy. Andy, however has zero experience, having lived within 25 mls of the coast his entire life. His perceptions were based on what he has read, seen in films or heard others discuss. We both expected totally flat land with crops growing all around, with very straight roads.
Interested in what we experienced so far?
Thursday 24th July 2014
Medicine Hat to Regina
Temps – Increased to mid 20’s throughout the day.
Weather – initially high cumulus, but experience a couple of cumulonimbus and some rain.
Wind – Light and variable, mostly. Bit of local wind in the rain
Distance Today – 288 miles
Total Distance – 1,072 miles
The adventure today commenced with a slight challenge, how to shoe-horn a large rig out of a not overly spacious RV park. Once hooked up Andy went out to scout and quickly determined no way we were getting out without at least our neighbour moving his truck. Wasn’t too early, about 08:45, so we knocked on the door. Nice chap, no problem and happy to oblige a fellow BC’er. Pulled out of the site, but could not make the almost 180 degree turn towards the gate, so had to back up and position the coach so I could make the now 90 degree turn. Yet again we had an audience, but they left disappointed, as I greased it around the corner missing all the parked trucks. BTW, this is one RV Park that we added to the “Do NOT return list”. (Ross Creek RV Park)
Back on the Trans-Canada heading East, but the scenery in Alberta certainly isn’t what we expected. The fields are dry and scorched, guess they don’t believe in irrigation. Certainly not the flat land with abundant crops growing that we expected. Approaching the Saskatchewan border we started climbing into Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. It is the highest point in Central Canada and has Fort Walsh National Historic Site. We didn’t have time to visit, but it is on the to do list.
Into Saskatchewan, the land quickly became greener, no longer the scorched brown of Alberta. We also did see some crops, mostly around the large silos at the edge of the road. Our first stop of the day was a rest area just past the Saskatchewan border. As soon as we entered, I noted it had no exit, you depart from the entrance. Fortunately it had a sufficiently large turnaround for our length. Approaching the small, rural village of Chaplin, we were surprised to see vast salt deposits. The adjacent Chaplin Lake is the 2nd largest Canadian salt water lake. Salt is produced by evapouration and is readily visible from the highway.
The roads are gently undulating, few actual hills, but definitely not flat. They are also not straight, having lots of curves. However, about 30 miles outside of Regina, we started to see our preconceived idea of the Prairies. We experienced a straight road of many miles, with crops growing as far as the eye can see, on both sides. Hopefully, this is a wee taste of what we can expect on Saturday, when we head further East.
We drove through Regina and initial impressions are of a very pleasant city, vast improvement over what we recently experienced. Looking forward to playing tourist tomorrow and visiting the downtown park for a picnic and the RCMP museum.
As we arrived at the RV park, Environment Canada issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, consisting of:
- Thunder & lightning
- Winds of 70 kts – really unpleasant, at least at sea, will find out shortly what it is like on land.
- Heavy rain
- Golf ball sized hail
- Possible tornadoes
Needles to say we got parked and battened down the hatches. The storm started with a few rain drops and then hit with a vengeance. The wind was very strong, rain heavy and the thunder & lightning extensive, especially when passing overhead. The worst of the storm lasted about an hour. We are all safe and sound and no damage, however will do a thorough inspection tomorrow.
We will both be glad to get to Nova Scotia, or at least Ontario, as the Great Lakes might not be ocean or salt water, but are a reasonable substitute. Andy especially, having lived close to the ocean and worked at sea his entire life, finds the weather and surroundings challenging.