Friday, September 4, 2015

Day 6 - Thursday, September 3 - Portage la Prairie to Medicine Hat, Alberta

Starting mileage: 1850  Starting time: 7:00am
Ending mileage: 2439  Ending time: 3:45pm

This morning there was a heat warning for temperatures above 90 and high humidity but it actually cooled down for us, from 72 first thing in the morning to 58 in the afternoon when we arrived at the hotel in Medicine Hat. There was heavy fog and mist for the first 3 hours until we crossed into Saskatchewan which is also where we entered the Mountain time zone.

It was absolutely flat through Manitoba and Saskatchewan until Moose Jaw. Mostly wheat fields with some oats, corn, soybeans,  canola, sunflowers and hay. Many of the fields are huge, stretching over a mile. Wheat is being harvested now with tractor trailers bringing it to silos where it is loaded onto trains. The highway is next to the train tracks and we see very long trains going by regularly. There are also long lines of tank cars which are probably carrying the infamous tar sands oil.

After Moose Jaw the terrain became more undulating with hay fields and cattle. There was a huge potash mine and in the area we saw natural ponds with rings of white potash around for edge. Some of these were next to a migratory bird refuge - wonder if this affects them.

In western Saskatchewan we saw several wind farms on ridges - it is good to see renewable energy being exploited. In the same area there are oil pump-jacks operating along the road. This is also an area where T-Rex fossils have been found.

It is very dry in eastern Alberta. Everything is brown except a few areas which are bright green as a result of irrigation. A coyote almost ran in front of our car but backed off at the last minute. It was a bit smaller than the coyotes that we have in the Woodstock area.

Medicine Hat is named based on an Indian legend about a hunter who went out to find food for his starving tribe and encountered a spirit who led him to game to feed his tribe and the spirit also gave him a special hat to make him successful in battle. He became the first medicine man and wore the hat.

Medicine Hat was the site of the first gas found while drilling for water in the 1800s and was named "Gas City".  This is still a gas-producing area.

We are staying at the Comfort Inn, the nicest so far. Had dinner at "Earle's".

Snow is forecast for the next few days in Glacier national park where we have a hotel reservation tomorrow night.

Haven't been able to upload photos from my phone.

Day 6 route

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