Regina To Saskatoon To Ottawa To Montreal To Chambly

It was a good flight day, with no delays and a layover that was just the right length.

The first bit of the flight took us northwest to Saskatoon, where I did not have to deplane. I wound up being grateful for the detour because I didn’t have time in Regina to get comfortable for a long flight since a lady who really should have bought two seats made it impossible for me to get my boots off, remove my cardigan, and get my luggage sorted in a way that would give me some leg room. She got off in Saskatoon and I had time to settle in before my next seatmate arrived.

As it turned out, the Tim’s at the Regina airport only makes breakfast sandwiches, so my only options for food were bagels, pastries, and convenience store items. I decided not to bother and satisfy myself with the Cliff bar I got from the b&b.

But by the time food service started, I was feeling nauseous from the carb crash from the morning’s breakfast and no protein to speak of. So I decided to buy an on board chicken wrap and wound up being super impressed with it! I won’t be annoyed by my Visa bill for it at all. πŸ™‚ It was loaded with crisp dark lettuce, a sharp cheese (likely Asiago), and chewy sun dried tomatoes. The wrap itself was lovely and fresh. I paired this with a cup of surprisingly decent (complimentary) coffee and ended up with a much tastier meal than Tim’s would have provided.

The flight was smooth and I was thoroughly engrossed in a novel I bought (used) just for the occasion. My seatmate asked me what the book was about and I told her to read the jacket because I couldn’t discuss it aloud. It’s a John Nance novel about a series of terrorist attacks on airplanes! What can I say, I’m not a nervous flier! πŸ™‚

We got to Ottawa a little early. I wonder if I will ever get the “I’m home!!!” feeling landing in Regina that I have always gotten in Ottawa and never in Montreal…

I had about forty minutes to kill before boarding for the last leg of the trip, just enough time to grab an okay slice of pizza and treat myself to a magazine. I was too tired by this point to keep reading the novel, but the flight would be too short for a nap.

The weather was bad between Ottawa and Montreal and there was turbulence, enough that I was a little nauseated and glad to land when we arrived.

Dorval Airport is one of the larger ones in Canada, so I had quite a ways to go to get out beyond security, enough that there is even a moving sidewalk that surprised me and almost made me face plant!

My mother was waiting inside the terminal and we hurried out to the car. The drive to Chambly felt super fast.

I’m glad to be here and am beat! It’s late here, midnight, but 10:00 my time, which is my normal bedtime, so hopefully I’ll actually sleep and wake up at a reasonable hour.

Waiting For My Flight

I left the Dragon’s Nest at about nine and decided to make a quick run to Walmart for some litre (quart) sized zip bags for my liquids. I had them packed in a gallon bag and was worried that I wouldn’t get through security even though I really didn’t bring much since I can get what I need at my mother’s. I’m a little finicky about sharing tooth paste, like to carry sanitizer gel on the plane, and recently received a sample size of my favourite hand cream so that’s all I have.

I had to drive around long-term parking for a while until I found empty slots, all near the exit and ‘far’ from the terminal entrance. I made sure to snap a picture of the sign telling me what row I’m parked in. πŸ™‚

Regina Airport is TINY, so it was quiet today and there was no wait at security. I decided to use my iPhone as a boarding pass and am not sure yet that I like that. Even though I left the ‘Passbook’ app open, I still had to swipe a few times to get to the boarding pass. The lady at the first security checkpoint said I did it like a pro and thanked me for being organized.

Security people were nice, but I was there a bit and got felt up. Ladies, no underwire at the airport! πŸ™‚ It was also my first time with a belt and I had to remove it as well as my boots.

I find it interesting that computers get singled out for special screening, but not iPads.

I also find it interesting that I haven’t yet had to produce ID.

There’s not much beyond security, just a Tim’s and a convenience store. I grabbed a coffee and will get a sandwich to go before I board.

Finally, I tried to get my new bag into the rack that lets you check the size. There was some smooshing involved, but it’s definitely okay. I also have a tote with my electronics and I stuffed my purse into the tote! If I have to gate check the big bag, I have everything I need in the tote.

So on to Saskatoon (stay on the plane) and then a short layover in Ottawa. No time to go there for a visit this time, but at least I’ll see my beloved city from the air. I’ll be in Dorval in about seven hours from now.

A Saskatchewan Education, Or Not So Humble Humboldt

This past weekend, I joined Gary and Jody on a road trip to visit some members of Gary’s family who live near the small town of Humboldt, SK, which is a little under two hours north-eastish of Saskatoon.

Gary and Jody have done this trip many times and know the Saskatchewan road quality, or lack thereof, very well. So, they decided that the less bumpy way to get there would be going through Swift Current, Moose Jaw, and skirting Regina, and we would come home by way of Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.

Mid-afternoon Friday I loaded my stuff into my car and headed to Jody’s workplace. There, I moved my gear to her car and we took off for Gary’s workplace. There, we loaded up their rig, a 20′ travel trailer and truck, and headed east. We were on the road towards Medicine Hat by about 6PM.

The drive to the Saskatchwan border was pretty uneventful. I looked forward to doing the bit between Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw on the TransCanada since that was the only section of it I haven’t done, except for whatever’s in Newfoundland. I have to say that south-east Alberta looks a lot like southwest Saskatchewan. πŸ™‚

Back to Saskatchewan!

Jody ran the deli Friday night and I was so hungry by that point that I didn’t think to photograph my dinner until I was halfway through:

the remains of my Friday dinner

It was coming onto 9PM when we hit Swift Current, and Gary was beat, so we pulled into the Walmart for the night.

Jody made up for the previous night’s late dinner with this breakfast:

breakfast Saturday!

Complemented by oranges, coffee, and yoghurt. I have been well fed since landing in Lethbridge! πŸ˜€

Gary and Jody’s rig; much shorter than mine!

We pushed on eastward through Moose Jaw, the Qu’Appelle valley, and then we skirted around Regina before heading north. The roads were so bad I thought we would be launched into orbit!

I was put on deli duty and discovered that is not easy to make a sandwich in a moving vehicle. Notice how smooshed my lunch is:

lunch Saturday (made by me!)

We passed through the town of Engelfeld, which hosts an annual pig roast to raise money for charity.

the Englefeld pig

I really enjoyed this drive; there is just something about the Prairies that awes me.

We arrived in Humboldt in late afternoon where I was introduced to my hosts and was settled into a guest bedroom. We were served a very yummy dinner and then my hosts took us out to see the sights. I think that might actually have been more for my benefit. I’m very thankful!

The first thing we saw were pelicans! I had no idea you could find pelicans this far north! Unfortunately, they were super off in the distance and even my trusty zoom wasn’t able to get a good shot of one.

pelicans!

We then went to Waldsea Lake. Saskatchewan has been very wet the last few years and there has been a lot of problems with flooding and rising waters. So, this lake, which used to have a nice day use area and lots of cottages around it, was allowed to spill out from its berm. The cottages were all moved to a temporary holding area and will be relocated. The road to the lake just… ends.

Waldsea Lake

Waldsea Lake

cottages pulled from the shores of Waldsea Lake

We then drove around Humboldt a bit so I could get a feel for the layout, seeing some of the major stores, the schools, hospitals, etc. The town is almost full-service and has a population of 6,000.

Before heading back, our hosts pulled into the drive-thru at McDonalds to treat everyone to shakes. This drive-thru has to be unique since it has an alley cutting right through it!

We ended the evening with a dice game that was very quick to learn. Beginner’s luck was not with me!

I was the first one up Sunday morning and I took the time to get some work done. I had internet through my USB modem, but it was a very sloooow connection. It seems like Dawson City has better cell coverage than does rural Saskatchewan!

Once we were all up we had a HUGE brunch. I didn’t even want to think about food until early evening!

The afternoon was a bit lazy and I caught up on my reading.

Late afternoon, friends and family showed up for a bonfire and wiener roast. What a perfect day for that; we’d hit the mid 20s, with sunshine!

Before dinner, I was taught how to play a gruesome Saskatchewanese game of Russian origin called Bunnock, or Bones. Originally played with horse hooves, this cross between bowling and curling is now often played with plastic bone replicas. I was quite good!

After that, a little boy wanted me to go with him to check out the barn cat’s hideout. There, he discovered tiny kittens no more than a couple of weeks old. They were so cute; no bigger than a mouse, with eyes still shut.

For dinner, I learned how to roast hot dogs over an open fire. Or, rather, how not to. The first one was a tad burnt. πŸ˜€ I also enjoyed some burnt marshmallows, but that was on purpose. Marshmallows just aren’t worth eating if they haven’t been set on fire first.

We ended the night chatting around a campfire. One person showed up with a mini marshmallow thrower and I got to learn how to use that. I was a natural, hitting my target (Gary) with my one and only attempt.

The evening wound up around 11. Everyone seemed intent on sleeping in Monday, so I stayed up late to finish a book. Of course, everyone else changed their mind and I was the last one up!

Our hosts live on remote lake-side acreage that is partially flooded right now. Access to the house is through a narrow causeway. When Gary awoke to rain, he was worried we’d get flooded out, so that propelled the early start to the day.

my hosts’ causeway

We were fed another ginormous brunch and then it was time to hit the road, sometime in mid-morning. We drove straight through to Gary’s workplace, stopping only to get fuel and use the bathroom. We were all stuffed from breakfast and only lightly snacked all day.

This was an awesome weekend. Thank you!

LOTS more pictures below!

driving over the edge of the world?

driving over the edge of the world?

Yup, the earth is definitely flat!

Yup, the earth is definitely flat!

Back to Saskatchewan!

Back to Saskatchewan!

the remains of my Friday dinner

the remains of my Friday dinner

Saskatchewan sunset

Saskatchewan sunset

Saskatchewan sunset

Saskatchewan sunset

breakfast Saturday!

breakfast Saturday!

Gary and Jody's rig; much shorter than mine!

Gary and Jody’s rig; much shorter than mine!

weird 5er seen in Swift Current

weird 5er seen in Swift Current

Jody made me believe that's snow. It's actually salt!

Jody made me believe that’s snow. It’s actually salt!

more salt

more salt

entering Moose Jaw

entering Moose Jaw

the Moose Jaw moose

the Moose Jaw moose

lunch Saturday (made by me!)

lunch Saturday (made by me!)

Qu'Appelle valley

Qu’Appelle valley

Qu'Appelle valley

Qu’Appelle valley

the Englefeld pig

the Englefeld pig

Englefeld

Englefeld

driving over a causeway; there wasn't always water on both sides

driving over a causeway; there wasn’t always water on both sides

driving over a causeway; there wasn't always water on both sides

driving over a causeway; there wasn’t always water on both sides

driving over a causeway; there wasn't always water on both sides

driving over a causeway; there wasn’t always water on both sides

pelicans!

pelicans!

pelicans!

pelicans!

pelicans!

pelicans!

pelicans! (just squint)

pelicans! (just squint)

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

Waldsea Lake

Waldsea Lake

Waldsea Lake

Waldsea Lake

Waldsea Lake

Waldsea Lake

cottages pulled from the shores of Waldsea Lake

cottages pulled from the shores of Waldsea Lake

cottages pulled from the shores of Waldsea Lake

cottages pulled from the shores of Waldsea Lake

cottages pulled from the shores of Waldsea Lake

cottages pulled from the shores of Waldsea Lake

caboose in Humboldt

caboose in Humboldt

Humboldt cemetery

Humboldt cemetery

Humboldt Elementary School (looks like an insane asylum)

Humboldt Elementary School (looks like an insane asylum)

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

home of the local plumber, who apparently charges $10,000 for a toilet :-)

home of the local plumber, who apparently charges $10,000 for a toilet πŸ™‚

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

dramatic sky

my hosts' causeway

my hosts’ causeway

my hosts' causeway

my hosts’ causeway

geese on the road

geese on the road

fog over water

fog over water

fog over water

fog over water

driving into the mist

driving into the mist

in the mist

in the mist

still in the mist

still in the mist

Saskatoon

Saskatoon

Toon Town Tavern

Toon Town Tavern

approaching Swift Current

approaching Swift Current

Somewhere in Saskatchewan

I am writing this post from the backseat of Gary and Jody’s truck as we head northeast to our destination outside of Saskatoon. That’s right; I am online while we’re driving across the Prairies. Isn’t technology grand?!

We spent last night at Casa Walmart in Swift Current in their 20′ trailer. It was very cozy with three adults in there!

Of course, I brought every cable on my desk except for the one for the camera so pictures of this May two-four weekend adventure will have to wait till we get back to Alberta. Wait till you see the shots of breakfast this morning.

The bit from Medicine Hat to Moose Jaw is new territory for me, but after that it’s back to the places where I made my first extended stops on my journey cross-country in 2008. This country isn’t nearly as big as we think it is if we just tackle it in 500 km or so at a time increments…

Where I’ve Stayed

I haven’t given too many details on the campgrounds in which I’ve stayed because I don’t think it’s wise to give too much information on exactly where I am at the time of posting, so consider this a bit of a catch up edition. πŸ™‚

So, my first campground was the Ottawa Municipal Campground in Ottawa, Ontario.

I maintain that the OMC is Ottawa’s best kept secret. The park feels like it’s deep in nature, but it’s just minutes from the Queensway and from shopping centres in Nepean and Kanata while being about ten minutes from downtown (as long as it’s not rush hour!). Staff is friendly, rules are lax, there’s wi-fi at the laundromat, and the electricity and water are good.

I found this campground using Google.

My second campground was Stillwater RV Park in Nipigon, Ontario.

For the night that I stayed, this place was fantastic. It had 30A pull-thrus, good water, a cheap laundromat, and wi-fi. Even though it’s located right on the highway, the sites are removed enough from it to be quiet. But I’d hate to stay here in the high season as the sites are packed very closely together. Thankfully, the place was practically empty when I stayed.

I found this campground in an old Trailer Life directory the POs left me.

My third campground was Shady Oaks RV Resort & Campground in Sidney, Manitoba.

This was a really nice campground, if you like being in the middle of nowhere (60km to the nearest grocery store!). I had a beautiful spot overlooking the Manitoba prairie and shaded by oak trees that rained acorns the whole time I was there! Water quality wasn’t very good here (too much iron), but I wasn’t drinking it, so I didn’t mind. The staff was very friendly. There was wi-fi, but it wasn’t free, and this new service needed a lot of tweaking.

I found this campground by driving down the Transcanada highway and following the signs advertising a park offering full 30A hookups and wi-fi.

Then, I moved on to the Dyer Straits Campground and Cabins (great name!) in Whitecity, Saskatchewan.

I adored this campground. Even though it’s right on the Transcanada and just twelve kilometres from all the shops and services, it feels like you’re in a natural setting. It’s quiet and the owners are friendly and laid back. The water here had the same problem as that at Shady Oaks, but, otherwise, the services were good. Wi-fi isn’t available at all the sites, but the owners are okay with laptop owners coming up to their house after dinner and stretching out on their lawn chairs.

I knew that I wanted to stay in the Whitecity area and was looking at another campground found in my Saskatchewan Official Campgrounds Guide, but Dyer Straits was cheaper.

Next, I stayed at the Gordon Howe Campground in Saskatoon.

This campground is very well located. It feels private and rustic, but is close to downtown and several Saskatoon attractions. I found that there were a lot of rules and I was disappointed to learn that you can only dump during the week! That said, staff was friendly, laundry was cheap (and change for it was given with a smile), and the wi-fi was free (even though they had a service interruption most of the time I was there!). Water pressure at this park is very high, so you need a regulator. They warn you about this several times.

I had planned to stay at another campground right on highway 16 west of Saskatoon, but didn’t have specific directions to get there. So, upon arriving in Saskatoon, I followed little brown signs showing a trailer until I got to what looked like a dead end as I wound up at a sports arena parking lot. Just before deciding to cut my losses and try again to find the other park, I saw rigs off in the distance behind trees and realised that the road forked out to the left to the campground entrance. I’m glad things worked out this way as this campground was a much better choice for my purposes than would have been one several kilometres out of town.

Which brings me to here, the Rainbow Campground in Edmonton.

Meh. This campground was obviously my best choice for Edmonton, but it’s ludicrously expensive for 15A service with no water! And you have to pay 10.50$ per day for internet access! The gates close at 11PM sharp, so this isn’t the place to stay if you want to experience Edmonton’s nightlife. That said, it’s fairly conveniently located and fairly quiet. I’m right at the entrance and in front of the men’s washrooms, positioned here because I have a toad. They only allow one motorized vehicle per site, so I have to park my toad somewhere else. This is the only site where there is a ‘somewhere else’ close by: right across the way in front of the men’s washrooms. πŸ™‚ I do find that getting here is a bit of a pain. My GPS is of absolutely no use and being ‘off Whitemud Drive’ is of only limited use. Depending on where you enter and exit Whitemud Drive, it runs north/south or east/west! So, I always have a hard time figuring out which direction to go to get home.

I found this campground in the Official Alberta Campgrounds guide, and decided on it with a bit of research done in Lloydminster on a limited internet connection.