I can’t tell you how great it was for an extrovert like me to have had a companion for the remainder of my trip.
Tanya and I began the next leg of my journey at 4:30am on the 28th of June. This was our “huge push” day. We had 1336 kms to cover that day. The plan was to drive from Winnipeg across all the prairie provinces and end up in Calgary at my friends’ house that evening. Now, besides being my best friend, Tanya is a power-house driver, (driving 500+ kms a day for work) so she was certainly the best driving partner I could have hoped for on this trip.
Besides the obvious advantages of companionship, shared driving responsibilities and great conversation, Tanya offered me another benefit that I had not had up until this point in my journey. The ability to take photos during the trip! We were on a tight schedule that day so we were not able to stop for “photo opps” but this did not hinder me from snapping a few out the window as we raced past.
(Unfortunately, my good camera was packed so these photos were taken and edited on my iphone so they may be a little low quality and crudely edited – sorry about that.)
Here’s something you might not hear often when people speak of their drive across Canada, “I loved the prairies!” Most people dread the prairies; the flat, the straight, the seemingly mundane. They complain that it seems to go on forever and they can’t wait to get through them and on to the Rockies. Now, I absolutely LOVE the Rocky Mountains. It truly feels being like reunited with my own soul each time I see them. Being surrounded by them is nothing short of a spiritual experience but I really do love the prairies and always feel a slight pang of remorse each time I say goodbye to them.
(The people who fly these crop dusting planes are amazing. It’s wondrous to watch them dive and skim the ground and bank their incredibly sharp turns as they protect their fields from pests. I have learned, however, that they cannot get life insurance. lol!)
I love the flatness. I love the big sky. I love how open it feels and that when I breathe it feels like I could breathe in forever. I love that I feel large and expansive like the whole world is laid out before me. I love the little homesteads surrounded by trees. I love the grain elevators. I love feeling my eyes brighten and I find it hard to blink as the primary colours of the green fields of barley, the bright yellow canola fields, the red barns and train cars and the unending blue of the sky unfold all around me.
(Now, the prairies are a funny thing. People who have never seen them expect that they are flat yet could never imagine how truly flat they can be. However, there are some rolling swells once you pass Manitoba (which is unfathomably flat). The three photos above were taken in Manitoba. Here is one from Alberta which shows you that there is some slight variation in the topography.)
We arrived at my friends’ house late but not too late for a trip to my favourite restaurant. It seems whenever I am in Calgary my friends Harry and Eve always find a way to get me to the Open Range. An event which repeatedly leaves me giddy with the promise of the best food and wine I have EVER had! If you ever are in Calgary you must go!!!
Open Range Steak House
And whatever you do, make sure you order the chocolate shortcake!!!!
(Enjoying the lovely company of Harry and Tanya, (Eve was in Italy at the time) savouring my favourite wine and giddy with anticipation for my favourite dessert)