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 Carol and Dick Stewart are full-time RVers from California and have been on the road for over 7 years in a 40 foot Fortravel Unihome. You probably recognize ther names because we have included articles from them in our book, Movin' On. 
Oh Canada---The Wonderful Prairies
part 1

I'm writing from Regina, capitol of Saskatchewan and home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). And these next few days are Buffalo Days here in Pile of Bones, better known as Regina.  It was named after Queen Victoria and her presence is everywhere. 'Tis a fine city on the prairie. As we were driving, suddenly on the horizon a city of tall buildings appeared. But the flatness of the prairie made it still far away. Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself.

From Billings, Montana, we started north and north. Do stop in Winnet for a hamburger and marionberry pie. You can meet the entire town there; it's a county seat, but only an old two-story building with a flag gave any indication of its importance.  Now it is hot, has been hot in this country for days, no rain, but hot (90's hot, maybe even over 100's hot).  Folks are suffering and the fields are a bit bare with hot. 

As we travel north we pick up Montana Rt. 200, the Lonesome Road.  Now Lonesome describes the whole scene. Only a house and farm every once in a while. A few cattle look at us as we go by. The road is well used, but everyone is in a hurry to get there from here.  And it is hotter, now over 105. And I, Carol, am driving. Wow and whoa, Beluga (we name our motorhome Beluga because she is as big as the great white whale we named her after) is a bucking bronco.  She's having fun staying on the road; it's almost curvy, up and down, and around, an undulating with no guardrails, narrow, oh, my gosh narrow and broken pavement and one lane bridges, and hot, and truly lonesome, but beautiful. The dirt is gray and black and golden and where there is water, trees and bushes. But it IS lonesome. The turn north is a good one to Fort Peck.

We had been to this dirt and fill dam before and stayed in the big cottonwood tree campground.  But it is filled with a fishing tourney (the lake is famous for walleye fishing) and a baseball tourney in Glasgow. There was no room at the inn so we went to a boat launch and boondocked. That ol' generator just hummed and we stayed inside and just looked at the lake run off. What a beast we have to keep us so comfortable. 

Glasgow is a wonderful, nearly complete town with businesses up and going and ready for the baseball tourney. We were able to see all of this due to a navigational glitz; while I was the  the navigator I happened to be doing the knitting thing and we missed a sign. We have even done it before. Ahhhh, such is life on the road with the seniors.

Finally, crossing the border was a hoot. We pulled up to a building that looked rather like a defunct gas station, with a gentle fellow in a casual black uniform is leaning up against a post just hanging out. We take pictures and pull up. He slowly walks up; we open the door and say welcome, come in. He's glad; it's cool inside. So he asked us all the questions (stop for a minute and see with me the sun bursting over the horizon; it is an absolute bronze, golden fire ball. The whole sky is on fire, golden, golden. And the other side of the motor home is still cool and dark--oh, the prairie has it's own aura--thanks, back to customs) about alcohol, guns, tobacco. He looks around and admires Beluga, and then says, well, I guess I should look at your bottles. Dick opens the cabinet; he looks, and then Dick pulls out a bottle and says, gosh, here's an empty one.  Man gives up smiles, and says have a nice stay. 

Now here comes the good part. We take off into the farmland, and the road narrows, and narrows, to almost 2 lanes. This is a major road. What's this? Well, they have not mowed this part of the highway for a while and, I'm telling you it is NARROW.  But the driver can see forever, so everyone goes fast, but slows down meeting another vehicle and trucks are rare.  The Canadians favor big boat autos for the long miles. The are no four wheel Jeep like cars here. It's put the big family and Grammy and Pop all in the same car and go to town, two to three hundred miles away. Big and comfortable is good, soft ride a plus. 

Well, we beat the road to Moose Jaw. Now this is a complete big little town with flowers and huge sports facilities and the town of 30 wall murals, some painted, some tile, a good ride around town. But the true gem is the state liquor store. It's the old train station, completely refurbished with original woods, and lovely tile ceilings. Even the lights are the original and glorious. So are the prices! Later we met folks who make their own wine from wine kits.  How about cabernet merlot for $2.00 a bottle? I guess it's a common winter hobby. I liked the peach wine for a cool after dinner treat. Those folks were from Edmonton and into Moose Jaw for a wedding.  In fact, the whole campground was there for a wedding or two; even the band that travels in an old school bus (seems the thing here for bands to travel in old school buses) was friendly and helped us remember some local lingo, like, "eh?" and "grouchy pants" for someone in a bad mood.  Some fun!!!

So it's hot, the garden fries in the sun, we eat lightly, hardly barbecue---too hot.  We look for shade. But the nights are cool, and we sleep well. And it's on to Regina, Queen City of Canada.  It's truly a city, no "town" name for this jewel of the praries. Now the land IS flat; you can see forever, and it's green, green, green. The purple blue of the flax is like Lake Tahoe; the yellow of canola is sunshine on the ground, and mixed in is the green of alfalfa, rye, oats, and golden summer wheat. We know the difference now between winter and summer wheat (because Pop is friendly to the traveling custom harvesting crew in Billings, and they invite us to ride in a combine and we do and I fall in love with an 18 year old driving this monster and he's from Ohio. What a sentence, but I get excited every time I remember that I really did that, and Jeremy and Pop's driver, Steve, were great to us. It was an all time e-ticket ride to match any Disneyland deal. That big wheat hauling truck just ran right along us as we were trucking over the fields and the wheat was pumped out of the combine into the truck as we moved along. No time missed here. The cab was air ride, air conditioned, with stereo, and complete computer showing the amount of wheat harvested in bushels per acre, the dryness of the wheat and the condition of ground. It even had a CB and drink holder. The hardest part, Jeremy said, was to stay awake and miss the rocks. Rocks break the header and then he has to fix it.  He's married to that machine for 6 months. And he works from 9:00 til late, usually 10:00 or 11:00.  Remember the long hours of summer. Our accents went into Texan drawl with the owner who works on contract from the border to Oklahoma for 6 months, cutting wheat, corn, soybeans. The wives cook, and the young men get lonesome for their girl friends. When they return home to college, the guys from New Zealand fly in and take over. Oh, it was a grand day in Billings and we could hardly believe we did it!  We rode in a combine!  Priceless!) 

Anyway, back to Regina. It's Buffalo Days which starts early with the Pile of Bones Day. You see, this town was originally known as Pile of Bones. But the city fathers, once they got some, thought of a more dignified name, Regina, planted 350,000 trees and life here became more refined with tea and all. But the best was yet to come.

This is the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and its academy and the horses and the pomp and lots of circumstances. So today we're off to see Buffalo Days and the Mounties and The Bay Company in about 100 degrees. The folks here don't like it much, but it's expected. It's what makes all that hay and flax and canola grow and grow. Even the town's purple delphiniums are 8 ft tall. 

Well, that's our story, and it's long. But much is happening here on the flats, and we're doing it all. Thanks for sharing our ride.  We'll get back  to you from Winnipeg, the next stop.