July 16 - 17 (19)
We are really pushing toward home now - almost at the same clip that got us out west two months ago. But there are still things to explore and new things to learn. Many of the fields are planted in canola. This yellow flower covers thousands of acres in Alberta and Saskatchewan and its seed (with a yield of 40 bushels per acre) gives us vegetable oil. We also saw parts of this region where petroleum was being pumped from the ground right in the middle of a canola field. Now we understood the need for the railroad that seemed to follow us where ever we traveled in Canada. We were in a region of this nation that supplies many raw materials and trains are the means to transport these materials to refineries and processing stations.
We stayed in the Saskatoon RV Park where we were tempted at the park's store into buying a frozen, unbaked Saskatoon Berry Pie. We popped it into our convection oven and in 45 minutes we had this unique berry treat. (Saskatoon berries are somewhat like blueberries, but are unique to the area.)
This was our last night in Saskatchewan. We liked both Alberta and Saskatchewan for their vast, flowing fields. These provinces seemed to be more of a "civilized" wilderness than the Yukon which still belongs to nature alone and which we still like the best of the provinces.
Our drive into Manitoba took us past a dirt road where there was the promise of "pick your own raspberries." We bounced over the 6 kilometers, made a wrong turn, but persisted and found a farm with the most abundant and beautiful raspberries. For $20, we picked 8 liters in an hour and we also got to see the farmer's huge trophy taxidermy collection from Africa, the US and Canada.
We were headed east into Manitoba where there are countless lakes - some of which rival the Great Lakes in size. This region of Canada is just above North Dakota and the western part of Minnesota. We were about half way across the continent.
We took a break from driving and camped for two nights at Rainbow Beach Provincial Park on Dauphin Lake. This was a quiet place to rest with only a few other campers near a very large lake. Tom grilled the Bison steak that we had obtained at the Vilna farm market. It was excellent. There were many signs along the road in this part of Canada advertising Bison meat for sale.
We headed out the next day in a south-east direction to near the border of Manitoba and Ontario as we entered the eleventh week of the trip.