The last few nights have really covered the gamut of RV parks. We stayed in:
- A WalMart parking lot in Yorkton. (After driving 30 miles to Riding Mountain National Park only to discover that it is open for the season but not ready–locked bathrooms, water and electricity still off–not a big deal in an RV if prepped for that but we weren’t. Plus no one at the entrance gate mentioned this, so the Winnii was paid for and parked before the startling discoveries were made. Finally, there were zero other people in the park aside from the prep crews. And the bear tracks and fresh poop everywhere, which Mayo found very interesting and I found quite disturbing.) WalMart boondocking was surprisingly nice. The only hitch was that the WalMart was a smaller one, so it wasn’t open 24 hours a day, which meant that the bathrooms closed from 9 PM to 7 AM. In a very strange sort of way, it was kind of fun to go shopping three different times and just dawdle. Mayo reports that the open field next to the store was quite interesting, but that shopping time seriously cut into sniffing time. Overall, with the border experience and lots of unplanned extra miles, the day was long and quite demoralizing. I began to think that this whole trip was a dumb idea, but decided to give it another day. A short driving day with a lot of recovery time.
- A lovely little RV park just outside Saskatoon. Very nice place, very friendly people running it. Home-made berry pies in the store. Just what the doctor ordered. Until I parked the Winnii and walked Mayo. You know, Prairie Potholes are very cool and very important. We saw endless numbers of them on the way across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Each one was sized somewhere between a large puddle and a small lake, and each one had at least one pair of ducks, geese, or other waterbirds calling it home. I can understand why the farmers have a love-hate relationship with them since they take up a lot of otherwise usable farmland. And they’re not just home to birds, but mosquitos. Billions and billions of mosquitos. So thick that you have to cover your nose and mouth to avoid inhaling them. There was a good-sized pothole not far from the back of the RV park. I didn’t realize what would happen when we went walking near it until it was too late. And then it was Fight On, a war that lasted all night and into today–I’m still killing and clearing skeeters from the Winnii. Eventually, I called an uneasy truce, doused Mayo and my head and bed in bug spray, and fell asleep. Woke up demoralized and thinking that the trip was a stupid idea, and, oh no, I still needed to get out of the RV and walk Mayo again. Decided to give it one more more day. Headed for Edmonton, me, Mayo, and the few hundred toughest fastest skeeters that survived the morning skirmish following the walk.
- Now we’re at a very large RV park, with hundreds of spaces. And, surprisingly, it is full. Mostly with permanent residents. This isn’t a mobile home park–there are no mobile homes here–but it is kind of like one. I almost decided to give it a pass and find another one, but figured that it might make for an enriching experience. The Winnii is tucked between two huge 5th-wheels, and I feel like a stranger in a small town. I took a long nap this afternoon after walking Mayo in the leash- and skeeter-free field next door. And I’m feeling better about the trip. Maybe I just needed the rest. Maybe it’s the change in terrain. We’re still on the prairie, but things have the feeling that they’re starting to change. Maybe it’s that we’re now more than halfway to Fairbanks. Maybe it’s that we’re about to switch highway contexts from the Yellowhead Trail to the Alaska Highway. “Good night, Mayo, good job sniffing today. Most likely head for home in the morning.” We’ll give it one more day. Tomorrow is a shorter day again, just over the BC border to Dawson’s Creek and Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway.