Over the last day or so we have talked to a number of locals about how flat and endless the Saskatchewan Prairies are and they all respond with a smile, a shrug and give a ‘what can you do’ look, yet at the same time they seem almost proud of the fact that they live in such a place. Most we have spoken to have a story or comment to make and tell these with a serious look on their face;
- “Saskatchewan is so flat that if you look carefully enough into the distance you can just about see the back of your head”
- “We get all 4 seasons here: almost winter, winter, still winter and road
- “Saskatchewan… where no man can leap to his death!”
On leaving Winnipeg to drive further into the Praries we typed in our destination and the route showed that our next turn would be in 179 miles, how exciting!. One gentleman we spoke to told us that he had been travelling for several hours across Saskatchewan and he came across a bend in the road. He said he was so excited he turned round so he could drive round it again!
Flat grasslands with only an occasional ‘nodding donkey’ pumping oil was all we saw for mile after mile, hour after hour until Chrissie announced “what’s that?” and pointed to the outline of some buildings in the distance.
This sight meant our journey through the Prairies was coming to an end as the town of Calgary grew larger and larger the nearer we got. Also, and with great excitement, we got our first sight of the snow capped Rockies as they formed a backdrop to Calgary.
With Calgary being the only obstacle between us and the Rockies we continued on along Highway 1 but as we entered the town our speed became slower and slower until we came to a stop. This was the first time that road conditions had required us to stop for over four hours. The traffic was horrendous and it wasn’t helped by the fact that the city planners had obviously, at some point, come across a significant number of traffic lights at a bargain price and had decided to install them every few yards along the Highway.
We were itching to get to the mountains now that we could see them and our frustration levels were growing as we had to pull up at yet another set of lights. Just as they turned green and we pulled away we heard a ‘woop, woop’ siren sounding very close to the rear of our vehicle. We looked to see what was going on and in my mirror I saw two motorcycle cops gesturing for us to pull over.
The heart rate increased and the mind started racing; “what have I done, what haven’t I done, I can’t have been speeding, the lights were on green, I haven’t sworn or gestured to anyone” and as these thoughts were taking place I checked the dash to see if I had lights on that I shouldn’t have or lights off that should be on, but everything seemed in order.
We took a turning and pulled up by the ‘sidewalk’ not sure whether to wait or get out of the vehicle. We have watched many cop movies to know that when in America you stay in the car when pulled over and we assumed that Canada was close enough to the US of A to have a similar policy, so we stayed put.
Two leather clad cops with big helmets (calm down ladies!) and mirror sunglasses approached the vehicle as I wound down the window and with my most casual and innocent look I asked “How may I help you officer, have we done something wrong?”.
“Nae, not at all laddie” said the shorter of the two in what sounded suspiciously like a Scottish accent. “We were just wondering what ye and this vehicle were doing driving through Calgary”
“Are you Scottish?” I asked. “Aye” he replied. “Where from?” I asked. “Scotland” he replied and “by the way laddie we ask the questions”.
“Where in Scotland” I asked and to our great surprise he replied “Stirling”. Chrissie and I looked at each other and began laughing and pointing to the front of the car we told him to look at the badge on the grille. Both policemen wandered to the front and looked at the ‘Stirling” nameplate, they then looked at each other and then wandered back to the window”
This time when they returned they removed their sunglasses and we could see them smiling. They enquired again why we were driving through Calgary and we explained the nature of our trip. After several minutes of friendly chat (they didn’t even ask to see our driving licence or insurance) they wished us a safe journey and drove off to get coffee and doughnuts (I assume they did as this is what all cops do isn’t it?). We now have some new followers to this blog so if you’re reading this Officer Ian then “och aye the noo!”.
Returning to the traffic on Highway 1 it didn’t take too long before Calgary was behind us and we were heading for the mountains and Banff National Park.