The Big Roadtrip 2002!

Calgary, Alberta, to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

- 26 August 2002 -

From Canada's rodeo city to the jaw of the mighty metric moose, in only one day. The Yansamobile thundered mightily across the metric variant of the Great Plains, from province to province, etc., etc., etc. 

I was going in the right direction on Trans-Canada 1, but I decided to drive a bit around downtown. This picture was taken before I made that decision...  

... and this was afterward. A nice neighborhood, somewhere near downtown Calgary.

Calgary was a clean, spacious, and comfortable city. It felt inexplicably familiar to me, as well.

Not yet downtown, but close. 

(Every time I look at this picture's thumbnail, I keep thinking it's in Winnipeg -- it looks a lot like the part of Winnipeg where I went into the Safeway to buy conditioner. :b But it's not. It's definitely Calgary.)  

Downtown Calgary. 

The bridge over the Bow River in downtown Calgary. 

This picture does two things.

1. You can see some Calgary scenery! (Speaking of Calgary scenery, I was rather surprised to find that the Rocky Mountains were barely visible from town. I had envisioned it being a sort of metric Denver.)

2. Deerfoot Trail (Highway 2) -- as seen on the sign -- is the main route between Calgary and Edmonton.

The Canadian flag waves proudly over the plains here in the outskirts of Calgary. 

The Great Plains, seen here in their Alberta phase.

If you are an Oregonian and you want to see what the Great Plains look like, drive between Boardman and Pendleton (ignoring those pesky Blue Mountains in the distance near Pendleton), and you've seen it all... Well, except for the fact that the median strip and sides of the road have greener grass in Canada than in Oregon's section of the Columbia Basin. (Darned if I know why. It's just another one of the seemingly incomprehensible aspects of the metric world. Either that, or the grass is always greener on the other side of the 49th parallel. *shrug*)

Here's another photo with a typical Great Plains vista. 

The Hat of Medicine: Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Now I just have to go drive past the Halls of Medicine, and I'm all set. 

This is Medicine Hat, Alberta: the chapeau replete with healing goodness! Or something.

More of the mighty Hat of Medicine. The bridge spans the South Saskatchewan River.  

See the hills? (If you're an Oregonian, you won't see any hills, because they are so small. Don't adjust your eyes... just keep looking. The hills are there. ;) ) They're the Cypress Hills in southern Alberta. They have their own provincial park.

This is the view from my car windshield while I was busy getting very lost in the small town of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. (I was very good at getting horribly lost in the darndest places.) 

I think I drove down every street in town at least thrice before I finally found Trans-Canada 1 again. :b

The rest of the picture was a mess, due to my windshield being messy, but this stood out clearly:

Moose Jaw, next 4 exits.


MOOSE JAW! :D :D In SASKATCHEWAN! That big piano-key-shaped rectangle on the map that I never thought I'd ever see with my own two eyes! :)

It's not very often in a person's life when they get to experience a moment like this. I was geekishly delighted. :D 

I told you that my windshield was a mess. :b

But this is the one picture that I have to capture that once-in-a-lifetime moment where I drove into the city limits of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, for the first time. ;) 

*THE* moose. 

(Note its lovely jaw.)

The moose is located at a hard-to-get-to visitor's information center in an industrial/agricultural neighborhood on the outskirts of Moose Jaw. The building in the background -- behind the moose's rump -- is the Saskatchewan Western Development Museum (which, FYI, is the only source of tourist tchotchkes in town).

The visitor information center, the Canadian flag, and the Yansamobile. 

This was the view just across the road from the visitor information center. The road sign in the distance spans Trans-Canada 1.

What the--?!? This hotel room is freaking LAVENDER!

(Latitude 5024'49.7"N, longitude 10532'10.6"W -- if you don't believe the picture, go check it out yourself. :b )

In case you have any doubts what would be the perfect wine to accompany perfect food, consult the MOOSE JAW PHONE BOOK. (Lavender hotel rooms and wine lists in the phone book... there are a lot of things in the metric world that I do not understand. ;) )

They didn't say which sort of wine went best with moose, though. Sad thing, really.

I did not need the wine list; I ate dinner at Tim Horton's. (At long last! I'd been trying to track down a Tim Horton's in B.C. and Alberta, but a series of misfortunes and mishaps kept me from finding one until Saskatchewan.) I got a ham sandwich, and they threw in a (rather good) donut for 3 metric Canadian cents. I sat in my car in the parking lot, listening to the local Top 40 countdown, enjoying my dinner, and experiencing the waning moments of sunlight... and it was 500% cooler because it was happening in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. :)

That "Hero" song (the one from some movie that was popular at the time) was playing... the radio announcer said that it was written by a "local boy" (a guy from some small town in Alberta). Every time I hear that song, now, I think of that moment. :)

Text written 23 February 2003.
Last updated 19 January 2006.