Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 5 - Neepawa, Manitoba - North Battleford, Saskatchewan


It's time to continue my trek.  I leave the Neepawa campsite and stop downtown for a cup of coffee and a snack.


I had made a mistake on my route the night before and had gone East on the Trans-Canada Highway 16 for a few miles instead of West.  Neepawa is on 16 so all I had to do is continue West and then take the turn I had missed the day before in Minnedosa.  A little later I come upon one of the Canadian Geese at a rest area and pull in for the obligatory photo.


After a few hours of riding I was getting hungry and was in desperate need of some warm coffee plus the bike needed gas, time for a break from the monotony.   I pull in when I see a subway sign and "Beer" store, and NO, I didn't have a beer, only had a subway sandwich and a cup of coffee.  When I walk outside a cruiser had stopped next to my bike.  Nice paint job and exhaust.



The roads through Manitoba are pretty monotonous, just farmland on both sides of the road and little towns along the way.  I think I managed to find the only hill in Manitoba, much of it is as flat as Kansas.


A little later I cross into Saskatchewan and pretty much find the same on both sides of the road.   I ride through Langenburg and find this old beetle parked on the side of the road as a tourist attraction.  I had to take a photo when I saw all the pretty colors. The town was pretty much deserted but the sign says "Family and Friends".



I continue west and start seeing farms with the little red silos/tents, not really sure what they are, they are too far from the road for me to see what they are made of.  I see lots of them spread throughout the farmland.


A little latter as I approach the Quill Lakes I see a sign for Kandahar, I thought Kandahar was only in Afghanistan but there's one in Canada too.   Kandahar is the second biggest city in Afghanistan.


As I continue west I see lots of road work, the winters must be pretty hard in Saskatchewan.  I have to stop multiple times for road construction but soon I'm passing what appears to be flooded areas, I don't think the electrical poles were installed in the water on purpose.




There are streches of road that just go on and on as far as the eye can see.  I don't listen to music while I'm ridding, I like to hear the sound of the engine but on streches of road like these it gets monotonous, but I have no alternative, I have to continue west and try to cover as many miles as possible.



A little later I arrive in Lanigan, the sign says Saskatchewan 1st Industrial town, that may be true but the town is in bad shape, a few dusty houses badly in need of repairs and an old train station that is now a dusty museum.  Wikipedia says population of 1300 but I doubt it very much, that must have been in the town's heyday.   I fill up with gas and then go across the street parking the bike next to an old caboose before entering the station.



The lady inside tells me this station was very busy during the gold rush and when industry flourished but now even the museum is decaying.  Inside I find a display of old artifacts, tools and an old telegraph machine, a piece of technology that has gone the way of the dodo with the advent of the telephone and now the cell phone.




I go back outside and find an old horse drawn road maintainer used in the 30's and early 40's, how things have changed.   I find it interesting to see and read about old machines and technology, life must have been really hard during the early part of the century.


Next to the caboose there's a few artifacts from a long time ago, a few bags and some kind of containers.  I keep thinking what kind of stories could these bags tell us if they could talk, what memories are hidden within the old cloth.




The road in front of the station isn't even paved and across the street the houses are falling apart, time has passed these old industrial towns and I see lots of them along the way.  I can't waist too much time here, I have to continue if I want to ever get to Alaska.



Again I find myself passing farms with the silos/tents but this time they are blue, I keep wondering what the purpose is for these things spread out through the farmland and since I am bored I started counting them but lost count at some point.


I continue west passing Saskatoon, the most populous city in the province of Saskatchewan, but after riding 460 Miles I have had enough of the road and it's time to find a camp site.  Soon I come upon a tourist information stop on the highway and decide to stop when I see the Royal Canadian Mounted Police statue outside.


The lady inside points me to where I can find a campsite down the road in the town of Battleford, I leave the place and head directly to the campsite.  The area is very run down and I have a hard time finding a place to buy something to eat.  After riding around the small town I find a little supermarket and buy a few items for dinner.  I get to the campsite and there is no one at the entrance, I proceed through the gate and ride around the park looking for an atendant.  After circling the park I find one motorcycle with a trailer occupying a site.  I stop to talk to the owner of the motorcycle and find a very friendly gentleman from Quebec that speaks in broken English.  He doesn't know where the attendant is but says I can share his campsite since it's a big site and there's enough space for another tent.  While we talk he is holding a glass of wine in his hand.  I park the bike and setup my tent.


He is riding a Harley Davidson with a cute little trailer across Canada from Quebec to British Columbia.  He shows me his trailer and the 12 volt powered cooler he has inside.  He is traveling in style, if you look careful at the next picture you will see a grill and a full size coffee machine on the table.  Throughout the rest of the night he walks around holding a glass of wine and keeps refilling it from a bottle he pulled out of the trailer.  We chat for a while discussing our trip and where we heading, he tells me he will be making a stop to see an old girlfriend from school in Edmonton the next day.  I boil water for my noodle soup and afterwards have a can of pears for dessert.



The weather had started changing for the worse and I could see a thunderstorm approaching.  I took a quick shower and after chatting a little more with my friend from Quebec, he tells me he is a detective but only in Quebec, we both retreat to our tents.  No cell phone, no wi-fi, nothing to do but sleep.  A little later the rain started and much worse weather was on it's way.  It's not going to be a pretty night for sure, I can hear thunder in the distance already.

My dirty Tenere.


To be continued.......

25 comments:

  1. Riding across the Prairies is very monotonous indeed. I couldn't wait to hit Alberta and something other than flat, flat land. But it's still an interesting experience - to do once!

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    1. Alberta was fun but extremely windy too :-)

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  2. All the flatness looks gruesome to me. How do you manage not to fall asleep at the bars? I quit a well paid job in Winnipeg two year ago because I couldn't stand the non-view and the (winter) weather any longer...

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    1. I entertain myself counting things on the road :-)
      Yes, pretty flat, you guys are lucky, lots of beautiful places to ride where you live.

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  3. Still, the flat, monotonous views still beats starting at a monitor...

    And enjoying your pictures. It looks like you had some nice weather. Looking forward to the write-ups of some of your side trips out of Whitehorse. See you in a couple of days...

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    1. Yes, nothing is better than being behind the handlebars. We leaving on the 4th in the morning for Skagway 4th of July celebration and will be back in Whitehorse late in the afternoon. Thursday we have the end of rally barbecue at the Yamaha dealer. It would be great if you could stop by the dealer on Thursday. My motel is right next door.

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    2. I saw this message while on the road and stopped at the hotel to leave a message for you but they couldn't find what room you were in. I passed through Whitehorse mid-day on the 4th and continued down to the north end of the Hwy 37 junction. Sorry I missed you...

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    3. I was in Skagway until late afternoon, only got back to Whitehorse around 10:30PM.
      What a ride I had, beautiful scenery.

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  4. Like all the snaps you are posting George, keep it up, where are you ending up at ?

    TT

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Alaska and Deadhorse, aka Prudoe Bay

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  5. Getting interesting now George.!

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    1. The boring part is almost over, thanks.

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  6. Alaska and Deadhorse, aka Prudoe Bay
    Wow , now that's some serious mileage mate.
    Only know that area from watching 'Ice Road Truckers'.....

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    Replies
    1. It's going to be probably a 12K miles for me round trip.

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    2. Wicked, you have just answered my next question, how are you getting back ?
      by that answer RIDING, Wow now that's what I call a Road Trip....welll done to you so far George.....TT

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  7. Enjoying your pictures. Western Canada is a place like few others for sure.

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    1. There will be better pictures coming up for sure ;-)

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  8. George:

    I've driven across Canada and you're right, parts of the highway are very straight and boring. With no industry, or jobs you have to wonder how you could live there in the middle of nowhere. Same thing in some small towns in the interior. My friend who lives up there says mostly "welfare"

    Won't be long now before you hit the mountains and the roads start to be more challenging

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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  9. Great pics. It was nice you found someone to share a campsite and a few stories with.

    You know you are in Canada when the signs say "washroom" instead of "restroom". Rumor has it Saskatchewan is so flat you can see your dog run away for three days. If you are bored one day look up the Canadian sit-com Corner Gas on Netflix or Hulu. It is great Canadian sarcastic humor. We love it.

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    1. Ha ha, yea probably, it's as flat as Kansas.
      I will look it up when I'm back home, internet access in the Yukon really sucks.

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  10. Have been following the whole series. You have taken some great photos. Looks like lots of fun.

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    1. It's been lots of fun, nicer photos are coming up, have had problems finding internet access that's reliable. Thanks for following.

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  11. Great Post George! I'm leaving on my trip next week, can't wait. I'm going the opposite direction, Northeast. Love following your post!

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    1. Thanks buddy, have fun on your trip, where to?

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