Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 29: Herbert SK to Virden MB, July 29

We've been pushing to get an earlier start to our days, but lost a half-hour looking for my bus keys this morning. I eventually gave up and left a note for the hotel owners, and used my spare keys to drive off with. Fortunately there is a spare fuel cap key too, or we wouldn't have gotten far.

The view of Regina from the west; those buildings in the middle are 20-30 stories tall.

In Regina we stopped for lunch at the Willow, a fancy restaurant on the shores of the Wascana River in town. Everyone there looked like they were on an expense account, so Will and I in our grubby shorts and sandals asked for a table on the patio. I needed coffee, and fortunately theirs was excellent; so was the "land" chowder, the cucumber panzanella (bread salad) and Will's short ribs, which came with a sweet potato and jalapeno salad and swiss chard.

The Science Centre was only a couple of blocks away, so we could hardly pass up the chance to go, even though we'd gone two years ago. That had us leaving Regina pretty late, and we debated whether to stop in Indian Head for another Where to Eat in Canada meal that day. Will convinced me to do it, although I worried when I realized that it was actually at Katepwa Point, 25km off the main highway, adding more than half an hour to my driving day (depending on the condition of the road). To add to that, the restaurant when we found it was closed; their "spring" hours are only on Friday and Saturday. "Spring"? Is it not the end of July? Is that not summer pretty much anywhere?

Fortunately the view, the scenery, and the beach made up for it. Saskatchewan is flat and a yellowy-browny-green, as you probably know. Fifteen kilometres up the road we found ourselves driving down into the Qu'Appelle River valley, lush and green. It's the same type of valley we were seeing in Alberta, but without the crazy striped layers of rock; it's all grown over with trees and grass. We sat on the beach and ate peanut butter sandwiches, leftovers from lunch, and Fudgee-O's.

I managed to drive for a few hours longer, and we ended up across the border into Manitoba. The night's stop was a Lions campground in the tiny town of Virden, MB. Once again we set up in the dark and didn't end up seeing any of our fellow campers, all of whom seemed to be tucked up in their 30-foot rigs watching satellite TV. You can camp there for $15 a night, or $1550 a year; with flush toilets and free showers, I started wondering why Mike and I didn't just sell the house, retire, and live there. I decided the road was starting to make me crazy.

Total so far: 11096km

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