You can drive for hours and hours. The lines of the road evaporate and begin to shimmer, becoming watery glass somewhere in the distance. Incredible lemons on steroids yellow canola fields sit beneath skies so vast that you can see separate weather systems vanishing toward the multitude of horizons.
Trains can be measured in miles on the prairie, and a driver can nurse hobo train-hopping dreams for the several minutes it takes to pass just one parked train along the highway.
The lonely wooden grain elevator of my childhood Saskatchewan is nearly gone completely. Distinct and towering over the golden prairie, these sentinels of nostalgia have given way to their concrete and galvanized grandchildren. The name of a town above, and below the elevator affiliation, often Saskatchewan Pool or Pioneer.
Canada is vast, and interestingly each provincial boundary is backed up by a change in landscape. The mountains of British Columbia give way to the rolling plains of Alberta, which in turn become the pure flatness of Saskatchewan.
Canada is vast, and we are like an out of control steamroller, careening across this enormous land. We pick our lovely daughter in Saskatoon. Saskatchewan becomes Manitoba, and we visit small town Minnedosa for an hour to be impressed by country charm and humour.
Tonight we are at Blue Lake Provincial Park in northern Ontario. It seems like after half a year we are hurrying home.
We awoke the next morning and had black coffee and toast. A low dishes breakfast, from a dishwashing perspective.
We drive all day, passing Thunder Bay then the rotting colonnaded cliffs of the Canadian Shield. We stop a couple of times to admire the view.
Tonight we are camped a hundred feet from the shore of the world’s largest lake. The water is a cold steely blue, slightly tinged with tannins where it meets the cobble beach.
Ontario stretches on and on. Days of rolling over the Canadian Shield as we push south. Picnics and sandwiches in the heat. Pickerel fish ‘n chips. Waters paddled by Bill Mason. This is the road travelled often in my youth.
We pack on the miles. The sense that we are heading home to New Brunswick is palpable. Sault Ste. Marie passes by, then the moonscape of Sudbury. We visit family whose warm conversation welcomes us and maybe prepares us for the completion of our grand circle.
Then Ottawa, then Montreal.
We are in Drummondville tonight. In a hotel. Our first in a month. We have camped for the last time on this trip.
We will be home tomorrow likely. I will be sad to have this end, but in a way it feels like a long goodbye already. Finn will love to be free in his own home. It will be good to see those who have followed us on this crazy wonderful adventure. Yet, if you asked me tonight, I would tell you that I would go forever. I do not want this to end.
Below: Wild thing in Canola
A quick stop at Margaret Laurence’s house:
Below: Melies does money.