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Old 10-06-2010, 07:39 PM   #9
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 219
Saskatoon to Drumheller

Sad that prairie weather is just not cooperating with my photo interests. Hour after hour goes by of interesting landscapes that would capture better if the light were not a flat, dull gray, eveywhere. Luckily my yellow glasses lend the day substantially more joy than is due. I consider taking some photos through a yellow filter, as I am seeing the world. There is no lack of interesting things to take photos of out here. I drive on.

The vastness of the place is still stunning to me. It's as though driving on the landscape of another planet, another earth. I have heard about this vastness my whole life. Seeing it is more moving – and less boring – than I might have expected. Moreso when I think of the people who live out here, and how they work this land so that we can eat, and so that they can eat too. These people are surely made of different stuff than I am. For the first time in my life I have actually seen wheat, growing, being harvested. But the cacophony inside the helmet is no way to appreciate this. From time to time, a rare rise in the earth provides the opportunity to stop, be still, and contemplate what forever looks like.

The weather of the next few hours is laid out for consideration. Off in the distance, some trees, a house of the family who works this land. If I start walking now, I might be able to knock on their door today. Maybe. What does this space mean to the people who live here? Do they even notice it any more? Cities must make them crazy.

With a hoot I cross into Alberta, and feel like I’ve done something. Coming into Saskatchewan on a minor highway, there was no Welcome To sign, so I’d been robbed of this moment on the other side:

An hour or so in, the first sun in two days breaks out of the sky, to a great deal of hooting inside my helmet. And with that sun comes slow, rolling ranch lands, cattle, a subtly different world.

They’re paving the 7 in this stuff called chip seal, which is very textured, but I can only imagine it’s shaving precious days off the tires (this stuff was new to me, it's rare in Ontario. Now I know it's EVERYWHERE). At a long construction stop, a shaggy fellow in a completely beat Ford Escort (ah, the memories) drives up next to me and starts talking. Of course, I have music blaring in the headphones, so I have to pause him for a moment. He’s rebuilt a '69 honda something for a friend. He wanted to know about the bike, like everyone. While we wait, he recommends a better route to Drumheller to escape the chipseal and get some better views. It turned out to be a great route.

Later, I learned that I’d gassed up in Hanna, home town of under-appreciated and much-maligned band Nickelback .

I know I have an obsession with helmet bug paste photos. Every time I think it can't get any worse, it gets worse. Only a few more, I promise.

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Suddenly, the badlands! Holy crap, what a cool surprise after days of flat waving grasses.

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Alberta's badlands, a gash in the flat earth, appears, out of nowhere. And I am in Drumheller.

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I swear I didn’t shop the sunburst on the mirror. You can go up the azz of that thing and take in the view from it's maw. I didn't.

On the way to camp:

I fall asleep to the sound of yelping coyotes in a beautiful, cheap, $5 self-serve campsite in the valley, next to some grazing cows. It's cooling off FAST, but I layer up in anticipation of a crisp night.

shaweetz screwed with this post 02-12-2012 at 06:45 PM
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