The Big Roadtrip 2002!

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, to Winnipeg, Manitoba

- 27 August 2002 -

Moose... Yansa.

Yansa... Moose.

Nice to meet you, Moose! (And, my, how you've grown!)

The outskirts of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

More of the edge of town.

Note the circular hay bales; such circular bales were seen alongside the road all throughout Canada's section of the Great Plains. (Well, they were either hay bales or straw huts for metric Smurfs. I couldn't tell, and the Smurfs weren't talkin'.) 

Downtown Moose Jaw!

More of downtown Moose Jaw.

Apparently, somewhere in downtown Moose Jaw there are tunnels that were the scene of a bustling underworld during America's Prohibition Era -- apparently Al Capone hung out in Moose Jaw sometimes. I found this out from touristy postcards. :b

The downtown of the jaw of the moose of the Saskatchewan of the Canada.

Can I stop captioning now? Please?

No?! ... aww, shucks. :b

I was surprised to find such tall buildings in a town of 50,000 people... Canadian small cities seem to have taller buildings than most small American cities do.

An overhead walkway. I bet it's pretty useful in winter around this neck of the woods.  

Saskatchewan license plate! The golden-colored thing between the numbers and the letters is an artist's depiction of wheat.

So I bid farewell to mighty Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and headed east on Trans-Canada 1. This is a picture of the "welcome to Regina" sign, which greets visitors to Regina, Saskatchewan. 

(Regina is not pronounced like the vacuum cleaner brand; the I in Regina is a long I sound which tends to make puritanical Americans blush.)

Naturally, I stayed right -- heading for Winnipeg, Manitoba! :)

(The U.S. doesn't have enough roads named after Queen Victoria, darnit. When I conquer this foolish planet, I shall remedy that situation. Mwahaha!)

Next right: Montmartre and Kipling! An odd juxtaposition of small town nomenclature in rural Saskatchewan.

(That sounded like something from Lands And Peoples. Oi!)

Qu'Appelle! Soulement un kilometre!

I read a lot of books about North American exploration when I was in high school -- it's still one of my favorite non-fiction genres. Anyhow, the name Rivière Qu'Appelle ("the river that cries") stood out in my mind, simply because it's the sort of name that would stand out in someone's mind. It's linguistically zesty!

Local tribal legend claimed that the river had a spirit that cried out from time to time for some reason (probably because of high taxes or something... those spirit world tariffs are a killer, or so I'm told).

This is Moosomin, Saskatchewan, not far from the Manitoba line. You are seeing just about all of Moosomin here. It does make Coburg, Oregon, look like a metropolis. But Moosomin has a Pizza Hut, whereas Coburg, Oregon has no such thing, so: advantage, Moosomin. Also, Moosomin has a cooler name. (Although Coburg's story is interesting -- it was not named after Coburg, Germany. It was named after a horse. But since this picture was taken north of the 50th parallel, not south of the 45th, I'd better return to my pictorial monologue about Canada, already in progress.)

I ate lunch here. In a driving rainstorm, I bravely crossed the Pizza Hut parking lot and ordered for myself a metric Canadian mini-pizza. It was employee training day, and, on the other side of the small restaurant lobby, the manager was teaching the new employees how to handle orders. A moment in time, captured for eternity in my brain, which likes to capture moments in time... my brain is just wacky like that.

This is the Manitoba provincial border. Find the Manitoba in this picture, and win a genuine metric Canadian moose!*

* supplies are limited; call now; offer void in Vermont and on days that end in Y; Washington residents need not enclose return postage

The scene: Brandon, Manitoba, where a carton of cigarettes costs $63.49. However, as I am a proud non-smoker, that particular travesty was not the thing that jarred my reality enough to take a photograph. Look! Look thou closely!

Canada is interesting for many reasons. It is metric. It is Canadian. There are roads and cities named after post-George III British royalty. The money looks nifty. And it has pizza restaurants -- and chains thereof -- which have been named after U.S. cities that are not particularly famed for their pizza. One such chain is the ubiquitous Boston Pizza. And another? Astoria Pizza, shown here with an inexplicable Greek-influenced font on its sign, located in this southern Manitoba town.

I have relatives in Astoria, Oregon (population 10,000). It's a nice enough place, in a highly historic and maritime sort of way. A quick search of the Astoria phone directory shows two  restaurants in the city itself that serve pizza (three, if you count take-and-bake). I do not know which of these restaurants is the one that proudly bakes the pizza that made Astoria internationally famous. I am not sure that any of those restaurants know, either.

The last time I ate pizza in Astoria was circa 1986; it was at the Warrenton branch of Fultano's Restaurant. The night was particularly memorable because I decided to try utilizing the big jar of hot pepper shavings, instead of sticking with my usual custom of slathering the slices in parmesan cheese. I embarked upon this culinary adventure with aplomb, and I rapidly discovered -- to the utter dismay of several disparate portions of my nervous system -- that a pizza's carrying capacity for hot pepper flakes is vastly smaller than its carrying capacity for zingy cheese granules. I believe my eyes stopped watering a fortnight later. That is the experience that makes Astoria pizza famous unto me.

Crossing the South Saskatchewan River in Brandon, Manitoba.

Manitoba provincial road signs rock. Much of this rockingness is due to one factor: the mighty thundering buffalo of justice!

For those of you who did not know, "Yansa" means "buffalo" in Cherokee. Hence, the buffalo is my totemic animal. (The buffalo and I are both hairy indigenous American creatures with goatees.) That is just one of the many reasons why the stylized buffalo printed atop Manitoba road signs is just too freakin' cool. :D

(Also, I sorta dig the oval and the font that's used for the numbering... very chic, very retro.)

Portage La Prairie, Manitoba! :D

This photo is entirely due to the fact that I read "The Course Of Empire" by Bernard DeVoto when I was in high school. :b I had always pictured Portage La Prairie as being a wet and swampy place, with tons of little interconnecting lakes surrounded by dark fir-type trees. Instead, the area generally resembled Oregon's Tualatin Valley. This came as something of a surprise, but it was not as much of a surprise by the time I got there, since I had previously driven through much additional country that led to reminiscence of summer on the Tuality Plains.

Sign says:

Assiniboine River
Rivière Assiniboine

Welcome to Winnipeg! :D

I was delighted. Winnipeg, Manitoba, is one of those places that I had only seen on maps... a city as large as my hometown of Portland, Oregon, but located in the eastern Canadian Great Plains... a city just south of one of the biggest lakes on the continent. Winnipeg, Manitoba. What would it look like?

The next several pictures shall be a rather imperfect viewing thereof.

One view of western Winnipeg. 

Closer to downtown. 

Still closer to downtown. A sign on the left advertises "99.9, BOB FM", which claims to play "whatever Bob wanted to hear". I did not listen to what Bob wanted to hear. I was thundering through the dial on the Mighty Yansamobile's mighty stereo , hoping that I would stumble across "Say It, Sista!", the radio program hosted by LJ's paperandglue! :)

In my attempt to find my way to 42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything -- but also a major road in south Winnipeg where the hotel was located), I got hopelessly lost in St-Boniface, the French Quarter of Winnipeg. This is a picture of a random house there.

I was rather surprised by St-Boniface; I expected it to be more... French. It's entirely possible that I got lost on the wrong streets, though. 

Getting closer to downtown...

Downtown Winnipeg!

I have one cranky quibble with the Winnipeguvian traffic system, though: The lane that may appear to be a right lane is not actually so. It is delineated by stripes, just like a right lane would be (and those stripes partake of no distinguishing characteristics that might set them apart from stripes delineating a standard lane of rightness)... and it is sometimes used as a right lane... but generally it is a parking lane. Many were the times when I would slide into the right lane, only to find that the car up there ahead of me was parked. (Then I would punch my steering wheel and shout amusing euphemisms, because I'm groovy like that.)

More of downtown. Note the Hudson's Bay Company store on the right -- I think it is just tremendously cool that the company that was involved in so much of Oregon's early history is still in business. :)

More of downtown Winnipeg.

After I found 42, I managed to get lost again -- 42 is a divided eight-lane road (if memory serves), and I was on the wrong side of the dividers. Silly, silly Yansa. In the process of trying to right myself, I managed to end up on Bishop Grandin Boulevard a few thousand times. I also ended up at the Louis Riel House, which was located in a nondescript suburban neighborhood that reminded me of the Santa Clara area northwest of Eugene. I turned around in its driveway -- a move that was instrumental in helping me find my way back to the proper (northbound) side of 42.

For any other travelers approaching Winnipeg and using a AAA guidebook as a resource to determine where to stay: The CanadInns hotel on 42 is located above a noisy nightclub; the room I stayed in resembled a dormitory room from the 1960s, and local telephone calls cost 50 cents each. Not that I was bitter or anything ;)

Text written 23 February 2003 and 23 March 2003.
Last updated 19 January 2006.

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