With Ontario behind us we crossed into Manitoba and drove to Winnipeg. Actually we stayed just south east of Winnipeg in a small town called Ile des Chenes about 20 km from Winnipeg. On the way we stopped for a quick photo op at the Longitudinal Center of Canada (96 degrees 48′ 35″). So cool! We did not have a lot planned for Manitoba other then driving through it but with a two night stay in Winnipeg we made our way downtown quickly and toured the Royal Canadian Mint where all of Canada’s circulation currency coins are made as well as coins for over 75 other countries around the world. From Winnipeg we continued on to Indian Head Saskatchewan. The most local claim to fame for this little Prairie town is that it was where the CBC TV show Little Mosque on the Prairie was filmed. We picked this location not because of the show, but because it was about a six hour drive from Winnipeg and it got us about half way through Saskatchewan. We did manage to get a nice cycle in amongst the canola fields there.
After our one night stay in Indian Head we had another long day in front of us. Starting with a stop for a couple hours at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre in Regina which is situated at the “Depot” in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Depot is the training centre where every person who wants to be a Mountie must got through for six months of intense training.
From here we drove to Moose Jaw to tour the Moose Jaw Tunnels. These are tunnels that were built beneath the downtown in the early 1900s and were allegedly used by Al Capone to organize and ship liquour down to Chicago during the US prohibition. The tour was done in a theatrical way as if we were there in Capone’s time.
After the tour and a quick walk around the downtown we hopped back in the RV which we had parked by the liquor store. This liquor store was the old train station that supposedly was used to ship the liquor out of Moose Jaw to Chicago. One of the most beautiful liquor stores we have seen. Oh, did I say that the mercury hit 41 degrees Celsius today!
Our final stop today was just west of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The campground was on Kilton Hill, two kilometers up a gravel road on top of a hill in the middle of a wheat field. What a perfect place to spend the last two nights on the Prairies. The instructions from the campground was to take the Trans Canada #1 Highway through Swift Current and turn right at the John Deere dealership. We have seen many John Deere dealerships in our life but this one was the biggest one we have seen and definitely was a good landmark for directions. You know you are in the farm country when JD is one of the biggest landmarks.
After watching the sun set in a magnificent red ball (might have something to do with British Columbia burning) we turned in for the night. The next day we were going to drive 150 kilometers north west to Sceptre and the Great Sand Hills. Unfortunately, it turned into a Prairie Elevator tour
instead as the final 30 kilometers to see the hills was on gravel roads which is like driving a motorcycle on marbles. So, since we were on a nice paved highway through the wheat and canola fields we drove to Leader and turned around and came home. It was a good 300 km ride on the Harleys, something we had not done in a long time. June saw a deer in the middle of the neon green canola field watch us go by, Larry watched the hawks hunt in the ditches. The main event though was the old dying Grain Elevators of the Prairies. They are being replaced by modern larger cement silos but it was nice seeing some of the iconic ones before they are gone.
Our route the next day took us from Swift Current, Saskatchewan into Alberta, through Medicine Hat and south west to Lethbridge. The drive today was four hours, and June did all of it. She got in the captain seat, raised the jacks and drove from our campsite to the Bridgeview RV Resort in Lethbridge. The only thing that slowed her down was the “combine traffic jam” on the Trans Canada near the western edge of Saskatchewan. One last reminder that life is slower in the Prairie Provinces!