August 18th, 2008: Sunny, breezy, temperatures hitting the 30s – perfect summertime weather. A weather guru was interviewed on radio the other day and the interviewer complained about all the cool and damp days in a supposedly hot, dry summer. The gurus reply was that we are just getting into the best part of the summer. That should be good news for farmers with crops to harvest; unfortunately few of those crops will be ready for a couple of weeks so anything can happen by then. In the meantime, we will bask in the sunshine.
We just got home from a motor home outing with the Saskatoon Sunseeker Sams, the travel club we joined this year. We went to Prince Albert and stayed at the Prince Albert Exhibition Campground, right across the fence from Wal-Mart. There is a long row of very tall black poplars along that fence and they gave shade to all our activities. We had a wonderful time, mostly just visiting with the most congenial bunch of people you could ever expect to meet, but also playing Bocce, Blongo and Whist.
One of our members is a retired United Church minister, so we even have our own non-denominational church service on Sunday mornings. Everybody attends, too. If you read the Saskatoon Sun, you might have read an article about travel clubs, featuring our minister and his wife, Don and Donna Barss. It came out about a week ago and was pretty favourable.
Twinning is under way on Highway 11 from Saskatoon to Prince Albert. It is finished to a few miles north of Osler, and the stretch from there to Hague should be open soon. It sure will be welcome, because that is one busy highway. We don’t like to hold up traffic when we puddle along at about 85 kph, so when we see two or three vehicles backed up behind us, we pull over and let them by if at all possible. All summer, including our Dakotas trip, we hardly had to do that at all, but going to Prince Albert and coming back we did it numerous times on the two-lane stretch.
Feeling the need of a cup of coffee this morning, we stopped at the Trapper’s Cabin, right on the highway north of Duck Lake, across the highway from their museum. It was run by a middle aged Aboriginal lady who appeared to suffer from arthritis, by the way she moved and a painful expression. At first you might feel unwelcome, but then she came and sat with us as we had our coffee and bannock, which is her house specialty. We really enjoyed visiting with her. She even showed me how her twenty four flavour soft ice cream machine worked. She was quite proud of the fact that three years ago the townspeople gave her a year at most, and here she is just finishing up three years. Next time we go by, we are going to stop for a meal. We liked the place.
On our way to Prince Albert, we stopped at Valley Regional Park, just north of Rosthern, and Doreen made us some lunch. The park has a high, man-made hill with a long, serpentine slide. More popular than the slide, though, was a trolley on a cable, attached to a pole on a wooden platform. Kids hang onto the trolley and ride the cable car down. Usually there is just one kid, but sometimes a couple would cling together. It really teaches the kids co-operation, because the trolley is pretty heavy to pull back up to the top. More than once we saw a boy being dragged down to the bottom again because he couldn’t quite make it to the platform. Usually, though there would be two or better yet, three boys around the platform. When the kid with the trolley got close to the top and powered out, the other two would help him get up to where he could hook an arm around the post supporting the platform. Then the two would climb up onto the platform and reach out to grab the tow rope and pull the trolley the rest of the way. They put an awful lot of effort into a brief ride but it must have been worth it because they did it over and over.