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Old 05-02-2008, 08:57 PM   #1
Moving Pictures OP
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A quest for bodies and bacon

So I have three prospective employees vying for a position, all living within a day's ride away. Toss in a fact-finding mission, and I have justification for a quick three-day trip past yonder.



So early in the riding season...

I pull out of Prince Albert, spot on the dot of 11 a.m., heading westward. No wind, warm... a good time to ride.



Spring has not yet hit Saskatchewan. Many of the gullies along the highway are clustered with snow... and the occasional half-devoured deer corpse. This is a rough land, it gives life, and takes it away just as quickly.

This time of the year brings many colours, as long as they are yellow or brown.
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:24 PM   #2
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Nature is the mistress here. Humanity can try to create some passing monument to itself, but this is Northern Canada, and the elements are harsh. May 1, not a flower in sight. No green, no whisper of the forthcoming frenzy of fertility that will soon follow.

Whatever is built, eventualy succumbs to the forces at play: harsh winters, harsh summers. Buildings fade and crumble.





Damnit. Now I'm craving a burger.

After a few hours meandering, I enter Spiritwood.

There's a general rule of thumb in these parts: no diner can last for long without clientele. Bad ones close, good ones stay open. And at noon, the good ones are surrounded by a cluster of vehicles.

I spy such a place...



It's a funky joint... and some of the people, judging by their vehicles, are downright friendly...



The interior is funky:


Much of the rest of the place is in the typical retro-50/60 thing.

I order a cheeseburger special with soup.



Hmmm. Not as filling as I'd like, but the soup was mighty good.

A glance at my cell shows the time is passing quickly: I need to get a move on.

Eastward, I go, skirting the well-beaten paths, for I wish to explore new terrain.

Past run-down grain elevators and the last chunks of winter snow, I blast along, winding the wee up into its comfort zone, the steady thrum of 7,000 RPM chewing up the pavement. Past fields of stubble, and communities where few go - and fewer stay. Glasyn. Livelong. Turtleford.

Past Turtleford, the highway is a mess.
For years, Saskatchwan was a "have-not" province, it's net contribution to the federal coffers so insignificant that the feds gave money back.
But times are changing. With oil exploration continuing, and grains set to sell at a record price this year - the advent of biolfuels and an ever-hungry world at work - along with diamonds, uranium, potash: Saskatchewan is on the cusp of a major growth spurt.

To that end, the current government vows to improve highways and roads.
In some places, it's very much overdue. Wanna see what "infrastructure decay" looks like?



The saddest part about this picture is that around the bend, there's... well, a bend. And another.

There ain't many curvy or up-and-down roads in Saskatchewan, and it's ironic that one place deserving of some right-wrist attention is such a decayed mess that one must navigate at far less than adrenalin-stirring velocities.

The day is growing colder now, as I jerk left on to highway 21 and slash across the North Saskatchewan River. Beads of moisture gather on the helmet and shield. Nature, again, ever the temestuous mistress, is not ready to unleash the forces of spring.

A modest detour, however, seems in order - through some grime and muck to capture a little digital proof that Saskatchewan is more than flat lands and wheat fields:

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Old 05-02-2008, 09:39 PM   #3
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Alas, this is a business trip, and when I stop for gas - the tank almost dry at 400km (God, I love the DL650) - the annoying beep of the cellphone indictates a problem.

Work is calling. The local junior hockey team selected/protected an Edmonton-based kid in the first round, can I take a pic?

Sure, says I, and I rocket off to Edmonton, pulling 120, 130 indicated through spitting rain and barely-above-zero temperatures.

Because I have a destination in mind. A very specific destination, with gustatory and adv spirits at play:



This is a very, very interesting restaurant in the middle of Edmonton (eatatbacon.com, if I recall correctly.)

It's a trendy place that aims to use locally grown, organic products and fair-trade goods wherever possible. It's also high-end on the "fancy restaurant" scale, without being "high-end" on the necessary dress. So folks can wander in with jeans and t-shirts and order gourmet meals. Or, in some cases, wander in wearing full-bore motorcycle safety gear.

The special is some ethiopian-flavoured dish, involving chicken and boiled eggs. Me, I can't make up my mind between Ukranian egg rolls with perogies, or a bison burger.

I ask my server to "surprise me" with one of those two choices. With bacon, natch.

And I sup one of these while I wait.

(Nothing boozeaholic, as I am still working, and riding.)
During dinner, I get a text message from another ADV-er. Rob1313. Drop by his place of employ, if possible. (Ok, I suppose.)

Dinner arrives.



The server asked the kitchen staff to toss in a couple of perogies, to give me the Ukranian touch, to the bison burger.

Now, lemme say this right up front: this is a $15 burger you're staring at. Pricey, yes. But I'll also say that it may have been one the most delightful taste experiences I've had in ages. The burger comes wiht a mixture of sauces - some kind of balsamic vinegar butter on the top, and a sweet, spicy substance on the bottom. It's a messy eat - and surprisingly filling.

I'll spare you the rush to get pictures of the hockey player (work is uninteresting) and the following rush to find a hotel with wireless to get the pictures back to the office...

And then I head out into the chill Edmonton evening to meet Rob1313. He's got a present: a USB flash drive.

The whacky folks in Alberta concocted a way-cool plan that's kinda got geocaching wiht a twist: folks hide this drive in odd places, then post the GPS co-ordinates. Someone else goes n' gets it, adds some info and pics to the USB drive, then hides it elsewhere.

I make vague plans to hide the thing the next day.
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:44 PM   #4
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Friday is busy. I interview one candidate for the job I have open, then race (literally) down highway two to Red Deer.

This highway may be the closest thing to a U.S. interstate that exists in Western Canada. The limit is 110/kmh, but most of the traffic is clocking 130/140. I settle into a comfy grove, tucked in behind the big Givi windsheild on the strom, turning 140 per the GPS unit. Screw the gas consumption: I'm in a hurry.

(Hence, no pics.)

I finish up my meeting and have a non-descript, non-filling lunch in a non-remarkable mexican place that I won't recommend to anyone, then head off to another interview.

Finally, at around 4 pm, I get some me time.

And I go about finding some gravel roads to hide the Alberta flash cache.

I found a gravel road in the middle of nowhere:



With a wee bridge... (Or is it bridge and a Wee?)



And I do some hiding:


(here's the link to the thread in REgional -> Canada)

Anyhow, after taking care of some business in Rocky Mountain house (I'll
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:47 PM   #5
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Gawd, it's amazing what a few hours of not-in-a-hurry time will do for a soul.

I did more riding, but... (shrug) didn't feel like taking a ton of pics. Lots of fields, and backroads in the middle of nowhere.

It's late, so I'll post the rest later.
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:28 AM   #6
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Looks good

Keep it comin'
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Old 05-03-2008, 12:18 PM   #7
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:15 PM   #8
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Very cool
Another Rush fan with a Wee.
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:58 PM   #9
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After dropping off the Alberta flash cache thingmajig, I stopped in Caroline for some grub - and man, after the small portions endured earlier in the trip, I can't complain here.

The place I went to was a Western/Chinese place. Can't remember the name, and too lazy to find the receipt.

From there, I kinda start jigging my way southeast to Calgary. A right here, a left there. South roads and east roads.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, I run into this place.



I'll let you wise-asses insert the appropriate joke.

After meandering around for a bit, I bed down for the night in Olds, AB. Nice little Best Western there, and they let me park the bike right out front.

On Saturday, I haul assets down highway #2 to interview a prospective employee. Long interview. Then I turn around and haul assets back.

It's a wide, flat road in the middle of bloody nowhere. It encourages an enhanced carbon footprint via the go-fast hand.



I was hungry, the bike was way thirsty, and the inset suggests that the owner of this GPS, which may or may not be me, may have misbehaved.
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:12 PM   #10
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The Prairies, they is flat, man

Now, some of you may wonder why folks like myself and other flatlanders don't post many pictures of the here-to-there. Like, we're on the bike for three hours, and don't show you where we were?

There's a reason.



This, folks, is about as hilly as many parts of the Prairies get. That way, way, way-far horizon? That's more than 18km away, if I recall my math correctly.

This is en route to a place called Torrington, which allegedly is home to the Gopher museum. I didn't bother to stop, though I was tempted.

Now, tis not all flat. In fact, Alberta is home to the badlands which is one area where a river has carved a great scar across the face of the earth. Both Saskatchewan and Alberta feature these occasional extreme variants in terrain.

This is in Alberta, on highway 585, just west of a dot-on-the-map called Rumsey.



The inset on the left, shows the aftermath of the aforementioned gophers. I saw the little blighters (no zoom, no pic). They are actually called Richardson Ground Squirrels, but they sure like to burrow...

From here, I blast westward, kinda jinking north then east, figuring I'll make my way to a place called Wilke, then northeastward to home.

I was going at a great pace until the road ran out, and I ended up looking at this:



(By the way, have I mentioned this whole flat aspect to the flatlands?)
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:40 PM   #11
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I stopped off in Castor at a little restaurant called, if I recall correctly, the White Goose. Apparently, bikers occasionally go there, although I was one of the first of the season.

The hostess was a delightful young lady. Didn't get her name... but if you go there, she's the drop-dead gorgeous one. After a lazy hour, I get on the road once more.

(insert picture of flat terrain)

Apparently, happy-wristed riders lead to thirsty bikes. Damnit. I have to stop in a place called Czar, AB - and the bike sucks back 21.4 L of gas. I had enough juice left for about 15 km, give or take.

(insert picture of flat terrain)

Just past unity, I discovered this place.



This is the Sifto Salt plant at Unity, SK. I dunno if that mound on the right is raw salt, but if it is - that's a huge mound.

Off to Wilkie, SK, and a quick splash of gas to top up for the last leg home.

I nab a chocolate bar, and turn north.

(Insert picture of flat terrain here.)



There's a chill in the air now. The sun is low on the horizon.

Those who ride through grassland early in the morning, or late in the day - particularly in the late autumn - will notice an odd illusion. The sun casts a long shadow, but if the rider looks at the shadow, the reflections of the sun on the circular stems of grass seem to form a halo around the rider's shadow, with a shaft of light coming out of of the top of the shadow... it's quite the sight.

I didn't get the pic I wanted: too hard to get while moving.


And the sun is going down.

They call Saskatchewan the "Land of the Living Skies," for what it's worth.



As night falls, chill erases the warmth of the day. It's a cold hour from home.

Yet I found bacon... and I have made my choice of the three potential employees I have interviewed. Haven't looked at the odo, but I put on about 2,000 km... and my butt is NOT in mid-season riding form.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moving Pictures


Gawd, it's amazing what a few hours of not-in-a-hurry time will do for a soul.

I did more riding, but... (shrug) didn't feel like taking a ton of pics. Lots of fields, and backroads in the middle of nowhere.

It's late, so I'll post the rest later.




Nice Ride Report too!!

I'm glad you finally got some bike time.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moving Pictures




WANT!








P.S. I ran out of gas east of Castor, right at the AB/SK border, on that same POS gravel 'highway' last fall returning from Joe's birthday ride.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:36 AM   #14
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Grainbelt
P.S. I ran out of gas east of Castor, right at the AB/SK border, on that same POS gravel 'highway' last fall returning from Joe's birthday ride.

Let's do it again this Sept! Not the running out of gas part though...
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