CONT’D Trans – Canada dash 5000 km/10 days

Days 5 & 6
Calgary to Swift Current to Regina
Day 5
Fuelled by a terrific breakfast, we are back on the road – albeit briefly as we stop off at Fort Calgary, the original home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Fort originated as a hastily cobbled together construction of log cabins with sod roofs. Only two of these now left standing as the Fort was rebuilt and is now a “happening”, vibrant and thoroughly utilized visitor centre. Chased out of Calgary by swarms of mosquitoes we travel eastwards with our windows firmly shut and the sun glinting off the magnificent Rockies behind us – as my husband remarked – “Sadness is seeing the Rockies in your rear-view mirror”.
Indeed the Rockies are an ever-present fixture in our rear-view mirror for miles and then quite suddenly they disappear from view and we are surrounded by not-so-flat prairie grasslands, plentiful indigenous bird-life, the prong-horned antelope and the odd coyote, Far from boring.
Drive 5 hours east to Swift Current and stay at the Red Barn at Green Hectares bed and breakfast just off Highway 1 and literally on top of Swift Current creek. A neat find in terms of layover as Swift Current itself has nothing much to offer. Had a wrap around porch picnic and sat in the hot tub under swathes of silver birch listening to the unfamiliar sound of ducks and horses and indirectly watching the sunset reflecting off the birch bark
Day 6
Leave Swift Current, again flanked by the by now familiar prairie features and “sealed” Lakes (no way for water to leave except through evaporation) left by glaciation. Cathedral high silos again take over the skyline as Saskatchewan is the “breadbasket” of Canada producing 54% of all wheat grown in Canada. It’s other principal export industries are mining, oil and gas; manufacturing and tourism.
The Cypress Hills at 4000 ft above sea level dominate the horizon to the south (although the Prairies are already at an elevation of 2500 ft in some places), and we catch sight of the southern end of the massive Athabasca dunes which are the most northerly major sand dunes in the world and the largest in N. America.
We completely miss Moose Jaw as we head into Regina– God Knows how and we’re not going back to take a look, we only have 10 days to complete this journey….
Park up at the B & B in the bohemian Cathedral district (The Dragon’s Nest). Wander along this tiny area and drink espresso in the sunshine. Explore the tiny downtown core (surprising as this is the Provincial capital of Saskatchewan and is a relatively low-rise city punctuated by a couple of central skyscrapers. Visit the Plains Museum and learn about the two key events in Regina’s history – The 1929 Tornado which all but decimated the city and the “Riot” of 1935.
Walk across (not literally) the massive multi-track railroad which slices the city in half, to the Warehouse district and the Bushwacker Pub with its vast selection of craft brews and excellent live music in the shape of the Sean Burn band. Spear headed by the effervescent, multi talented and charismatic Sean Burn – www.seanburns.ca who peppered his performance with personal anecdotes from years (he only looked about 20) of being on the road all over Canada Europe and ……cruise ships, very very special.
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