Tag Archives: Manitoba

Great Western Road Trip, Day 6

Today’s Song: The Last Saskatchewan Pirate, by Captain Tractor

Current Location: Chestermere, Alberta

Today’s song speaks for itself, I think ????

Today had me driving from Regina, Saskatchewan to Calgary, Alberta (Well, Chestermere – close enough). It’s an easy 7-hour drive if you take the TransCanada Highway. I, of course, did not, and so it took me over 9 hours.

I woke up WAY too early (5 AM) and decided to shower and hit the road. After finding coffee and a quick pastry for breakfast I was off, heading northwest out of Regina. After a few hours, I stopped for a true Canadian experience that everyone had been telling me I needed to do.

About halfway to Saskatoon, I turned due west and proceeded overland, through field after field of canola and rapeseed.

Unfortunately, I also experiences what I am told is one of the common pitfalls of driving in the prairie provinces. As I approached Rosetown, SK, a passing truck kicked up a rock, which smacked right into my windshield.


I’ll need to keep an eye on it and if it gets worse, I may need to do something about it. Unfortunately that may mean them asking for me to swap cars, and OH HELL NO.

From there it was a pretty uneventful drive to my destination. I had hopped to maybe stop in Drumheller, AB to see the museum there but between delays, traffic, and construction I had to pass. I arrived at Richard and Lindsey’s in time for Richard and I to go out for dinner and drinks. The rest of the evening was a nice bit of relaxing and unwinding from the day.

Tomorrow: On my own wandering around Calgary!

Miles Driven Today: 469 miles

Time Driving Today: 8:22

Total Miles Driven: 1,725 miles

Total Time Driving: 34:11

Great Western Road Trip, Day 4

Today’s Song: Run, Runaway, by Great Big Sea

Current Location: Regina, Saskatchewan

Today’s song is a fun cover of the classic by Slade. It’s perfect driving music, which I needed because I did a LOT of driving today!

I started out the day with another visit to Fools and Horses Coffee after checking out of my hotel.

After waffling a bit on my route for the day, I made a snap decision to take the scenic route through Riding Mountain National Park. I’m so glad I did! I stumbled across a brewery along the way, so of course I had to stop. The beer was nothing to write home about but shockingly the alcoholic pink lemonade was pretty good, so I bought a six-pack.

From there it was up to the eastern gate of Riding Mountain National Park. When I plotted out the route, Highway 19 seemed like a nice route through the forest. I did not realized that it wasn’t paved. Adventure! Fortunately it was a beautiful drive. The park is the eastern edge of the Pembina Escarpment and rises above the surrounding (very flat) farmland by 300-400 feet. This leads to some absolutely fantastic views. The drive took me through boreal forests and meadows. It was long but definitely worth it.

After a brief stop in Wasagaming (think pretty mountain resort town that is absolutely flooded with people), I turned my attention to getting to Regina as quickly as possible (4.5 hours away). The drive was uneventful, though I am so happy I have audiobooks to carry me through he stupefyingly boring prairie. I rolled into Regina and was welcomed by Lydia, her boyfriend Andrew, her roommates Chris and Jason, and Chris’ girlfriend Desiree. Lydia had prepared an absolutely delicious homemade dinner for us all, consisting of shrimp gumbo and rice, broccoli salad, cornbread muffins.

And for dessert: Berry tiramisu, also made by Lydia!

After such a fantastic meal, and the fact that I woke up WAY too early this morning, I’ll probably be going to bed very soon. Tomorrow: touring Regina and Ukrainian food!

Miles Driven Today: 405 miles

Time Driving Today: 8:30

Total Miles Driven: 1,251 miles

Total Time Driving: 25:34

Great Western Road Trip, Day 3

Today’s Song: Oh Canada, by Classified

Current Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Today’s song is a fantastic take on “O Canada”, Canada’s national anthem. It’s irreverent, funny, and yet patriotic at its heart. (“Our national mascot’s a damn beaver!”)

This was an excellent day, and much appreciated after yesterday’s long day of driving. I stayed in Winnipeg today, getting the Grand Tour from Sarah and Dave. I have found Winnipeg to be a perfectly charming city, with a whole lot of neat things to see!

I had a nice lazy start to the day, which was needed after yesterday’s late night of fireworks and fun. After grabbing coffee and an incredibly delicious maple pecan scone from Fools and Horses Coffee, I met Dave and Sarah at their place and off we went for a delightful brunch at Prairie’s Edge Restaurant, a restaurant in the middle of Kildonan Park.

From there it was off to Lockport, Manitoba. A relaxing drive up the Red River brought us to the St. Andrews Lock and Dam. The dam is a unique structure called a Caméré dam, where the dam has movable curtains that can be raised in the spring to let the river ice pass.

We then headed out to Assiniboine Park, the largest park in Winnipeg. This has many attractions including a zoo (which we didn’t have time to visit). We did walk through the  conservatory featuring a variety of tropical plants, and the Sculpture Garden.

We enjoyed a nice long walk (interrupted by a stop for a milkshake!), then returned to downtown Winnipeg to check out The Forks, which was remarkably less crowded than last night’s Canada Day festivities. An observation: Canada fell on Saturday, July 1, and Monday, July 3 is a holiday for most workers here. If this were America I would expect lots of 3-day festivals and the like. Here it appears that they had a big celebration on Saturday then swooped in overnight, cleaned everything up, and returned to business as usual on Sunday morning. Judging from the picnickers we saw in all of the parks and people with their families, the rest of the weekend seems devoted to personal celebrations/relaxation. I could get behind this.

The Forks is a nifty marketplace with all kinds of shops and restaurants. They have a beer garden in the middle of one of the buildings that we of course had to inspect to make sure it was good enough.

After this we took an interesting guided boat tour up and down the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. It was a wonderful trip, but I got a little distracted in the middle of it (see below). We grabbed a quick dinner at a restaurant that we all agreed was pretty whelming (a BBQ restaurant with a pulled pork sandwich on the menu and the rest burgers and sandwiches? OK then.) I was able to get my first Gin Caesar of the trip, but I think this will require further investigation to make sure that there are acceptable versions. (What is a Caesar you ask? Read this! And all I ask is that you try it before you saw “Ewww!” 🙂 After a walk around the Government House and the Manitoba Legislative Building (aka “The Ledge”), we made one more ice cream stop at a Winnipeg institution, we returned to my hotel room and chatted over the tasty pear eau de vie from Wollersheim Distillery.

Tomorrow, it’s off to Regina, Saskatchewan. I have laid out a couple of possible routes for tomorrow, depending on which way I want to go and how long I want to drive. There’s the straightforward route on the Transcanada Highway, or the scenic route through Riding Mountain National Park. We’ll see how I feel when I wake up (and how late I wake up!).

Miles Driven Today: 10 miles

Time Driving Today: 31 minutes (Getting coffee, then to and from Dave and Sarah’s house!)

Total Miles Driven: 846 miles

Total Time Driving: 15:04

A side note: While we were on the boat tour I got a message from my good friend Dave Stein, who was working at Anthrocon in Pittburgh this year. He told me that a donation of $3,000 had been made to Anthrocon’s charity in Dan’s name. I was completely overwhelmed, and cried on seeing the news. This was such a wonderful gesture, and I thank Kage and all of the good folks at Anthrocon for their kindness!

Great Western Road Trip: Day 2

Today’s Song: Balto, by Enter the Haggis

Current Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Today’s song came about because I associate Minnesota with winter, winter with sled dogs, and the idea of pushing forward on this trip. That, and it’s a damn fun driving song too!

I woke up way too early this morning (after waking up for an hour between 3 and 4 AM), early enough that the free breakfast at the Hyatt Place wasn’t even ready to go yet. Fortunately they were kind enough to let me jump in for a light, simple breakfast.

It was a pretty straight shot up I-94 to Fargo, then turning north on I-29. I was hoping to stay on local roads as much as possible during this trip, but sadly sometimes sacrifices must be made in the interest of time and sanity. I did start up a new audiobook, The Lightning-Struck Heart, by TJ Klune. I’ve read the book before and really enjoyed it – it’s a farcical take on gay romances with knights in shining armor, a clumsy, love-besotted wizard, and a sassy gay unicorn with a serious attitude problem. The narrator, Michael Lesley, delivers a jaw-dropping performance, pretty much the best audiobook narration I’ve ever heard. This is definitely worth checking out!

At lunchtime I was coming up on Grand Forks, North Dakota, so I detoured to a brewery I scoped out the day before: The Rhombus Guys Brewery. They have a respectable beer menu and tasty food (with enormous portions). I had the Dark Matter Imperial Stout, which was delicious!

I also had a chance to walk around downtown Grand Forks, which is right on the Red River. It’s really quite lovely!

From there it was a short trip to the border, where I was waived through after a series of brief questions. Then an hour more brought me to Winnipeg. I checked into my hotel and arranged to meet Dave and Sarah (aka Plonq and Atara).

Dave and Sarah picked me up and brought me over to there place, where we shared a delicious meal of Thia and Italian chicken sausages, fresh tomato salad with basil, and grilled vegetables. Dessert was Vinaterta made with Saskatoon berries by a local baker. Yum!

After dinner we headed downtown, back to my hotel. From there we walked over to The Forks, in the middle of the Canada Day celebrations. It’s a really neat place that I’m told we will be revisiting tomorrow when the crowds have died down a bit. The night was capped off by a spectacular fireworks show that we watched from the other side of the river.

And now I am back in my room and quite exhausted. I can sleep in tomorrow, as we’re not meeting up for brunch until after 10 AM. After that It will be a day of taking in the sights around Winnipeg and spending time with great friends!

Miles Driven Today: 470

Time Driving Today: 7:32

Total Miles Driven: 836

Total Time Driving: 14:33