Day 7: Lloydminister to Regina

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Day 7 was the drive from Llyodminister to Regina, via Moose Jaw. The border of Saskatchewan and Alberta is Husky Oil territory. We ended up passing by a lot of oil fields, which were kind of eerie, and a giant smoking refinery plant just outside Llyodminister. The Husky Oil Company has their operations plant in Llyodminister as well, and it stands cold at the end of the city strip, all 1960s modern with a Bauhausian ominence.
Honestly, the Prairies breed a sort of mental break. The scenery is fairly monotonous, the road is mostly straight with the odd gradual curve or small hill. Interesting things to look at are few and far between. The most exciting things we saw between Llyodminister and Moose Jaw were:
– a medium-depth ravine
– the river outside Saskatoon, which gave birth to a discussion about the definition of various river geography
– 2 Moose Crossing signs
– a tumbleweed

Clearly the people of the Prairies are quite humble, not prone to exaggeration. Normally, when you subtitle your city for tourism promotion, you pick something a little grandiose or unique. “Squamish: the outdoor recreation capital of the world”, or “Reno: the biggest little city in the world” are good examples. We passed by a town called Craik, which claimed itself “the friendliest place by a dam site.” Way to shoot for the stars, Craik city planners.
Our main stop for the day was in Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw is a tiny, strange place with a weird mix of modern, brick-and-concrete, dreary architecture and run down, extravagant, almost medieval heritage buildings. It’s also home to a lot of churches. We saw about 7 just on the main drag. Moose Jaw is famously home to Al Capone’s rum-runner tunnels that were used to ferry alcohol to the USA during Prohibition.
Our reason for detouring through Moose Jaw was to see the giant Prairie ship. The Sontiainen. I wrote an earlier post about the ship, but if you want to read the whole story, here’s a good site. Tom Sukanen’s prairie ship sits about 10 km south of Moose Jaw on Highway 2. It’s further than I expected, but it appears pretty clear at a turn off. It’s part of the Sukanen Pioneer Museum, which also includes a little townfront and grain tower. It looked like a quaint place, but by the time we got there it was dusk, and the museum may have even been closed for the winter.
Moose Jaw was about and hour away from Regina, where we spent the evening. We are now on our way to Winnipeg, a 7.5 hour drive away. The next few days will be a lot of driving. We’re shooting to make Ottawa by Tuesday the 10th, and roll into Montreal on Wednesday the 11th.
-W-

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