August 3

August 5th, 2007

We may be driving an old 1978 camper van, but this morning she was born again. Before we even left the Moose Jaw city limits, we watched as the odometer rolled over and became all zeros. I was a bit slow with the camera, though. I caught a shot as it reached kilometer 3. My theory is that since the odometer shows zero kilometers, the engine should now run like it’s brand new, right?


For the younger people reading my journal, you are likely familiar with the rapper, Eminem. It’s interesting to note that he talks about a rough area of Detroit called 8 Mile Road. Well, I think I’ve stumbled across the truth behind the controversy. A short distance North of Moose Jaw, I found the real 8 Mile Road. I even got a picture of it. It didn’t look too rough to me. There were no drugs, gangs, violence or weapons around. In fact, I didn’t even see any houses. Just fields as far as I could see. Although I suppose it could be like Capone’s tunnels in Moose Jaw. There could be an underground life that the public is not aware of. Or maybe it’s just a myth. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that this road is also called 8 Mile Road.


I was skating through acres and acres of nothingness. The flat ground seemed to stretch out in all directions before disappearing into the horizon regardless of where I looked. Because it was still early, there really wasn’t much traffic either. The sense of isolation was very humbling. It makes you realize just how small we all are. But at the same time, it was incredibly peaceful. I took the opportunity to get into my best Superman pose for a photo that really shows how desolate the Prairies can seem. All I was missing was a flowing red cape. I left mine in Vancouver.


As I continued on, I started seeing signs for Qu’Appelle Valley. I couldn’t understand because I could see forever but there was no indication of a valley anywhere. The next road sign I saw was one of those yellow signs with a truck going down a steep hill. Was this for real? And then I saw it. Out of nowhere, a huge gorge with a river running down the middle appeared in front of me. It was a bizarre feeling not being able to see it until I was actually at the edge of it. And the signs didn’t lie. The hill led me down the south side of the embankment to the water below where we snapped a few photos of this natural phenomenon. I then had the pleasure of fighting my way up the other side. It was tough, but only a couple kilometers long. So it was a nice change for me.


It was only 10 am when I reached Chamberlain and I already had over 50 km behind me. I was making great time. But then I had a slight set back. A suspicious, large, dark man was standing near our RV. As I walked up to him I realized he had a gun! Suddenly I was staring down the barrel with my arms high in the sky. With my knees knocking together, I mustered enough courage to make an attempt to wrestle the gun away from him. But that was easier said than done. He had such a strong grip, it seemed like the gun was welded to his hand. It turns out it was welded. And it turns out that the man was actually just a metal statue. And it also turns out that it wasn’t even a gun he was aiming. He was a statue of a Prospector and he was pointing his surveying tools. I must have looked pretty foolish.


When I left Chamberlain and headed up Highway 11 towards Saskatoon, the road quality could only be described as painful. Yup, another stretch of pitted pavement for me to endure. This couldn’t go all the way to Saskatoon, could it? After nearly an hour of torture, I was ready to quit. I figured that Maybe I should just go back to Moose Jaw, hop on the Trans Canada and head for Swift Current instead. It was almost as thought the Road Gods were hearing my thoughts, because they knew I’d been pushed to my limit so they presented me with an apology. A beautiful, newly paved highway. It was a moment of bliss for my tenderized feet. I think the Road Gods felt so bad that they even got a hold of the Weather Gods and convinced them to give me a treat, as well. Now, with roads smooth as glass and winds pushing me from behind, I was barreling down the highway with ease cruising at 40 km/h! When we stopped for lunch in Craik, I had 80 km under my belt.


Originally my goal for the day was to reach Davidson. This is roughly the half way point between Moose Jaw and Saskatoon. But when I rolled into Davidson at 3 o’clock I knew I had to take advantage of the ideal conditions I was having. One neat thing I learned about Davidson is that it is home to Canada’s First Certified Organic Research and Development Farm. It was pretty cool to think that this farm was completely organic and has been going strong since the 60’s. What’s even more amazing is that while we were stopped for a quick break, a man came up to the RV to chat and turned out to be the founder of the farm! What a coincidence! Elmer Laird had started the first organic farm in Canada back in 1963. He’s now 83 years old. He was also telling me that he and his family never go to see a doctor. Elmer said to me that the last time he saw a doctor was when he was 13 years old and that was just to get his tonsils out. So what does that tell us about healthy living? Prevention is the key. We need to work together to help find a cure for cancer, but we also need to focus on prevention methods.


I talked a bit before about the sense of isolation the Prairies give you. You can stand there and be completely surrounded by nothingness. So when I came across an A&W restaurant standing in the middle of a field, I was caught a bit off guard. It was an interesting scene to see an A&W with nothing around it except dusty wheat fields. I’ve been on my skates for almost 3 months now, and I’m still seeing things that are unimaginable. I love this country.


The tail wind was tossing me down the road all day long until I finally decided it was time to stop for dinner. Looking back, I really think I could have done another hour or so, but when I arrived in Kenaston at 5:30 pm, I had finished a whopping 150 km! A new personal best! Part of me wishes I had have continued on for a while longer just to see if I could have hit 200. But I’m still happy with 150. Especially since it took very little effort. This puts me a bit ahead of schedule. Instead of arriving in Saskatoon on Sunday, I’m now going to roll into town tomorrow afternoon.


We sat at our table reflecting on the delicious lamb dinner we had just ate. My parents sipped away at their green tea that they drink religiously every night. I’m not really into it, but as I sat there staring at my Mom’s inukshuk-printed mug, an interesting thought passed through my head. Imagine that teacup could talk. The stories it could tell. The tales it could tell of it’s travels across Canada. I guess they would sound an awful lot like the journal I’m sharing with you.

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