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Draplin Design Co., North America
November 17, 2005
DDC:GAA:FT: 11172005:L11:D65
Posted at 11:43 PM


Got on the road by 11am out of Regina. The overcast 20 degrees morning quickly turned into blue skies, dry roads and a balmy 45 degrees. Felt like summer after the last coupled day. This sort of fortune made for “making good time” across that Canadian prairie, as we neared those Rockie Mountains.

We pulled into a little gas station outside of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Mom grabbed Gary to take him for a quick potty break. The attendant greets me at the full serve pump and we agree on filling it up. He notices Gary and our exchange begins. “Is that a weiner dog?,” he asks. “Yep. He’s a miniature dachshund,” I offer. Pumping away, he gets a distant look in his eye. “We had one of those.” he says and adds, “Well, part poodle.” “Oh yeah?” I ponder. “Yeah. Been a year since we had to put her down,” he says. “Oh man. Sorry ‘bout that,” is my sad attempt at consoling the guy. He leans in, the scent of gas wafting through the air, “She had a tumor as big as a fist on her belly. That last night, she was crappin’ and pissin’ all over the house. She was doing so bad. And her breath…” “Yeah?” I inquire, as he’s really got me at this point. “Her breath smelled like,” as he looks me direct in the eye, “…it smelled like ten farts.” And made this odd “something wafting out of his mouth” motion with his hands. I look in Mom’s direction, just as she’s walking back with Gary, “Lunchtime, right?”

Colorful folks up here.

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Great names. The province of Saskatchewan has some real beauties. Moosejaw, Swift Current, Outlook, Buffalo Narrow and the ever-wondrous, Fon-Du-Lac. Lucky Canucks.

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280. “Prairie beauty.”
281. “Big roadside moose, outside Moosejaw.”
282. “A bustling downtown Moosejaw.”
283. “The occasional grain elevator dotted the landscape.”
284. “Big Rig Casualty, Median, Highway One, Alberta.”
285. “World’s Largest Teepee, Saskatchewan.”

We made great time across Saskatchewan and then up into Alberta and then, a sobering realization hit me. I had to get back to Portland. This trip was already way behind schedule, as, we had originally planned to roll into Portland today. The weather held us back, and well, you just can’t control that sort of stuff. We got all the way to Medicine Hat (another great, magical name) and decide to head south by southwest. Calgary glimmered in the far horizon to the west and north a spell, but, continuing on through British Columbia’s amazing-but-complicated mazes across those mountains would’ve added considerable time to the haul.

286. “Alberta prairie.”

So we broke off, towards northern Montana. Three hours late, with the night black as pitch, we crossed that big border at the tiniest of border crossings. No problems, either. It was as if the guy was actualy glad to see us. Yeah, right. He could have cared less over our arrival. I think we might have woke him.

We shot down along the east side of Glacier National Park, to a small reservation town called, “Browning.” Small, dusty and run-down, the town consisted of a little IGA store, a homegrown casino, a couple watering hotels, couple hotels and Taco John and Subway fast food stops. Oh, a large pawn shop looms over the main intersection of town. You just can’t help but get a little bummed on the “reservation system.” My experience with passing through them is that of poverty, pawn shops and this odd modernization of so many forgotten cultures. I always get riled up.

287. “Past midnight, looking West into Montana’s Glacier Nat’l Park.”
288. “You’ll be in room 3, which is next to, uh, room 2.” -The Night Clerk”

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