Three days with very intermittent Internet access and almost no power to re-charge our devices means we have had to delay posting new blogs (Sorry Lloyd, we hope your interest remains keen)
Leaving Russell this morning but not before we do some more Yoga. Just as we’re ready to hit the mats (I’m pretty sure that’s a Yoga…or rasslin…term), our previous existence intrudes. I get a panicked call from ‘The Bay’s customer service (what an oxymoron…The Bay customer service).
We were to receive an exchange for our mattress (now in storage in Oakville) and the earliest date they could deliver was today. I had made arrangements, prior to our move (after many phone calls and some hair pulling…did I mention that The Bay’s customer service is really bad). All that remained was for my sister (Rosemary) to show up at the storage and let the delivery guys into our unit. A couple of minutes at most. I’d arranged it with a senior supervisor so one would imagine that it was a done deal, right? Wrongo bison breath.
Today’s call was an enquiry into what time we would like our mattress delivered to our old and now vacant home. The Bay has absolutely no record of our previous arrangement. It turns out that the senior supervisor has failed to pass along any of the information. Luckily my sister has taken The Bull…sorry, The Bay by the horns and has spoken directly with the delivery driver. Rose tells us not to worry…it’s all good.
We do some quick stretches, eat a hearty breakfast and hit the road.
First stop…downtown Russell. We are looking for a new USB charger for the car (we had a cheap one which stopped working and a large one which is so big, it cuts into my ribs when I’m driving).
The street has been closed off for an antique car show. It’s perfect. The cars are cool and we find a real treasure, an antique 1958 tractor, which we photograph for our buddy (and one of the world’s true gentlemen) Lyle Stokes.
There is 50’s music blasting from a shop, which turns out to be ‘The Source’. Excellent. We pick up the perfect adapter for the car and we also pick up a mount for the iPhone (our GPS).
A quick stop at the pharmacy for some super-duper strength hydrocortisone cream, apparently my new sandals have neoprene in them (to which I have an allergy) and the tops of my feet have reacted with a rash (Dang, I loved those sandals).
A jug of water, fresh buns, meat and cheese at the local IGA and we are finally ready to get onto the highway. Ciao Russell…a great place to visit for sure and, from our experience, also a great place to live.
Highway 16W (out of Russell) to Yorkton is a beautiful ride. The prairies open up before us and the panorama is one of rolling plains of varying shades of green. The horizons seem endless and the effect is startling at first. It is a great deal of space. It’s in no way boring though. Birds of every shape and colour call the plains home and watching them is most enjoyable. There are storm clouds on the horizon and they swirl and churn, much the same way they do over a large body of water. It’s endlessly fascinating and I can hear the constant clicking of Wendy’s camera (so she must agree).
It’s a great place and the coffee is really good. It’s in an old house and every room is filled with customers and friends celebrating its demise. Up the stairs (to the bathroom) and every room holds someone working on their computers (like a Starbucks but with a much cooler and cozier atmosphere). Waiting for the one washroom, I strike up a conversation with the woman at the front of the line. Somehow we discover that not only are we both originally Windsor natives (Windsor ON…not the Castle) but that we actually lived on the same street. Ahh Windsor, ‘The Rose City’.
As we are leaving the coffee house, we chat up a local and get the scoop on those tornado warnings (Day Eight Post). It turns out that yes, there were tornados and one of them touched down on this lady’s property and took out many of her pine trees. Apparently there have been six tornados in the Yorkton area since the May Two-Four weekend. Coffees in hand, we hop back into the car and get back on 16W…as the sky promises that number seven may be on the way and we would rather avoid it if we can.
We’re on the road to Saskafreakintoon and it’s a bit of a pilgrimage for us both. I was there for two and a half months in the winter of ’87, two of our most treasured friends (Uncle Joe Kell and Andrey Fedorov) are from the ‘Toon and Wendy has a deep desire to see the town.
We drive across 16W through the rain. The skies are amazing. Wow, who could possibly think that these prairies are boring. Now that our bodies have adapted to their vastness, we feel expanded and that, as Martha might say, ‘is a good thing’ (I sure hope that’s not trademarked). This country of ours is so fantastic and our hearts are ready to burst from the grandness of it all.
Hey, we just gained another hour. We’ve entered a new time zone and, as Saskatoon is on Central Standard time, we can push our clocks back another hour. By the time we get to Vancouver we are going to be much younger…I might be twenty-eight in BC (LOL)
There are a lot of Potash refineries in this area (apparently because there is a long belt of rich, potassic chernozem in middle-southern Saskatchewan)
We arrive in Saskatoon on the East side of the South Saskatchewan River. This side of the city includes the University of Saskatchewan (Go Huskies). The city was apparently founded by the Toronto based ‘Temperance Colonization Society’ (to escape boozey old T.O. and set up a dry community on the Prairies). This side of the river seems to validate their effort as it is a clean and ‘sunny’ community (The ‘Toon is sunnier than average with 2,380.8 hours of bright sunshine annually).
Driving over to the West side we enter a whole different world. It’s older and a tad rundown (the potholed streets are rim-killers) I’m guessing they didn’t get the temperance message on this side of the South Saskatchewan. Our back teeth are floating by now, so we pull over, park and set out to track down some public washrooms.
As we walk we’re approached by a dude who offers me a mangled old cigarette in exchange for a loonie…hmmm…that seems like a fair trade…unfortunately, we just put our last loonie into the parking meter. Double Dang! He seems pretty upbeat about it and thanks us profusely for even considering the deal.
We walk, and walk, and find no sign of a washroom. There are plenty of great eateries in the area but going into one, just to use the toilet, just seems plain wrong…so we walk some more. Finally, we stumble upon a Subway…eureka…Houston, we have liftoff.
Back in the car, we are searching for The 25th Street Theatre (part of our pilgrimage). Unfortunately this once legendary, avant garde space has moved and we’re having trouble finding it. We go to one address (on 20th Street) and although the theatre isn’t there, a fine looking coffee place is, ‘The Collective Coffee’.
The guy serving us is great. He is bright, hip and friendly and he’s more than a little disappointed that he can’t create a design on the macchiato he has made for me (its already been stuffed into my travel mug…I am such a Philistine). He tells us that there is still a vibrant art and theatre community in Saskatoon and yet, unfortunately, he has never heard of the 25th Street Theatre…until he suddenly remembers that they have an office upstairs (it’s closed). Ah well…we have no more time to spend hunting for it…the siren song of the dinosaur bones is calling to us…goodbye old friend, see you at infinity.
We hop onto Hwy. 7 West and leave the ‘Paris Of The Prairies’, and a huge rainbow, in our rear view mirror. On to Drumheller.
An hour later we arrive in Rosetown,SK. Main Street is the highway we’re traveling on and although the town is anything but scenic, it does have three motels. We’re tired of driving and one of the Motels has a vacant room, so we stop and book in for the night.
Before going to our room, we decide to eat at a restaurant that has been recommended by the Motel owner. We drive down the highway to the ‘Highway Host’ (114 Railway Avenue, Rosetown, SK). We are greeted by Ali (the owner) who we discover is another transplanted Torontonian. Astounded to find an Indian restaurant in the middle of the Prairies, we are even more bedazzled by the food, which is as good as it gets (Butter Chicken for me, Saag Gosht for Wendy and a shared bowl of Aloo Gobi).
Our conversation with Ali reveals that he absolutely loves living in Rosetown. He bought the restaurant and left it much as it had been, so as not to spook the locals. We tell Ali that his story reminds us of The Ruby on ‘Corner Gas’ (which by the way is a great show). Ali relates how nice the people are in Rosetown. They accepted him immediately and are forever bringing over gifts, particularly when his child was born (which was twelve days ago). His food is so good, we feel like we should be bringing gifts too…instead we promise to come for breakfast tomorrow. Ail says that he doesn’t open until eleven to which we reply “That’s perfect, see you then”
The rest of the evening is spent in our cozy (and ultra clean room). I blog while Wendy snoozes on one of the two comfy queen sized beds. Tomorrow we head to Drumheller (after breakfast with Ali of course)
P.S. Just in case you were wondering about the mattress…my sister Rose has emailed us about it. Well, she now hates The Bay. The delivery driver got lost and said he was packing it in. She then had to call customer service and promptly got cut off by a surly service person. The whole ordeal lasted from 8.00am until 2.00pm and Rose (at least at the time of her e-mail) is hot, frustrated and demands my first born as restitution for putting her through this. I send her a very nice email, mentioning that Emily, my dearest first (and only), who is thirty, would probably nix the deal anyway. Lesson learned…we will never (and we do mean never) shop at The Bay again (and we would certainly recommend the same to everyone else)
P.S.S. Rose, Wendy and I love this word (if you’re a young child, or Agent of Destruction…look away now or be forever scarred). From The Urban Dictionnary…
A person of unbelieveable, inexcuseable and indescribable stupidity. (Stupidity being defined as “knowing how and doing it wrong anyway”)
NOT A CONTRACTION FOR “F*CKING RETARD”! Those who are truly “Retarded” are not responsible for their affliction. True F*cktards are 100% responsible for their situation and provide vast entertainment as they are usually blissfully unaware of their own F*ucktardery. Most politicians for example.
Moose and Wendle Signing Off