Was long. After hopping a midnight bus to Moosejaw, the West Coast version of the prairies melted away. I could hardly sleep, so sought landscape as distraction, but that was futile.
Although I love open skies, the prairies of Saskatchewan always leave me depressed. It’s the province that ingenuity and art forgot. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we pulled into Gull, even though de ja vu had placed me there before. A dirt road and genuine hillbilly sleeping in the cab of his truck met my blurry 6 am eyes. His legs dangled out the window, shoeless.
I’ve grown too use to European designed, bubble wrapped humans and cities. Maybe it’s time to shatter that?
A meet with the ex was not on the table, so I decided to spend the day at Temple Gardens Mineral Spa.
8 hours later, 1 less fleece (I wonder who didn’t turn it into lost and found?), it was a simple walk through an alleyway towards the spa’s entrance. That was 9 am.
$15 CDN gives you all day entrance, use of a steam room, and some refreshing waters to partake in. Indoors and outdoors.
The hotel lobby became my office as Sasktel wifi was a strong, steady signal. The front desk kindly stowed my backpack. It was a comfortable arrangement.
After some spa time and work, I walked down Main Street, the central strip in downtown Moosejaw to grab some food. And was delightfully surprised.
What use to be labelled a dead, staid city has turned into a decent tourist area. There were quaint shops, renovated storefronts. Besides hoards of business from the spa, a casino is across the street and draws lots of travelers from all over the province and country.
As for the ex, I knew where he lived. I played with walking down, ringing the doorbell, and with a wide grin yell, “SURPRISE!”. The idea left quickly though, hadn’t I already been there?
I realized if I never had to talk to him, it was more than adequate. Just as much as it would be acceptable if we did.
After a full day sunning, writing and steaming myself I grabbed the 8 pm bus to Regina and onwards to Toronto.
It was 19 hours.
Bus travel is punctuated by a revolving door of strangers, questionable food, and bouts of sleep where my mouth hangs open 75% of the time. It’s never quite restful, but easy to slip into once the bus’ engine ignites.
Sure it was intensified by a massive Greyhound breakdown at 3 am, a few hours outside of Regina. I never want to walk in a tall field of grass again without a headlamp and fly swatter.
Then the bus was cold or cramped. Two near altercations went down involving a 6’4″ father of 8 kids who lent me his travel pillow. For some reason pairing him with boys 25 years younger and a bad attitude was near catastrophe. One of the hip-hop scoundrels almost got expunged from the bus. He made the cut by finally shutting the hell up.
Somehow I love the chaos. You just don’t get these kinds of experiences on air transport do ya? Socio-economic barriers tumble down. I met a thoughtful bookseller from Waterloo. A young musician living in Vancouver, but going home to Guelph to visit family and friends. The rock town. A curious, retired nurse sat beside me and we exchanged stories. She taught English in Hong Kong for a year. Went to Italy and Spain. Then glowed when she uttered, “I’ve had a good life.”
What brings us all together is travel, budget, adventurous, slow crawl — a tiring 19 hours totalled to a journal entry of memories. And y’all, that’s what I’m here for.
Winnipeg was a short pass and not much caught my eye except a few heritage buildings.
Ontario surprised me the most. Towns like Scribner, Sault Ste. Marie,and Kenora hold some charm, but was delighted to find Ontario is a veritable forest dotted with marshland and lakes! Now I know where to flee when the apocalypse hits.
I’m now melting away in Toronto, contemplating a nudist colony to get relief, but loving the thrum of a city once again.
Update on the pack, I probably got it down to 35 lbs., but once Greyhound dropped me at Yorkdale Mall, something else landed near the trash bin. Mosquito netting. Yes, you all told me so.
Anyway, I finally feel like actual movement is taking place, and am grateful for it!