Back online for the moment…

A raging thunderstorm in Missoula took out the Internet connection of our hotel, and we haven’t had Internet here in Walla Walla until we had the chance to stop by a Web cafe today, so this is my first chance to update the blog. I’ll start back at Lang, Saskatchewan, where my Mom grew up. (Please note that WordPress won’t let me rotate vertically-shot photos! I don’t know why…) It’s as small a town as she suggested. Here are some shots:





Train driving through Lang

Train driving through Lang




Grain storage in Lang

Grain storage in Lang



United Church of Canada

United Church of Canada

It was a lot dustier than I’d imagined, though just about as flat as Mom had told me. Emphasis on “flat.”

We barely made it through immigration the evening before, the Canadian officer asking us “Why Lang,” as if to say, okay, I’ll bite, this ought to be good. Susanne did all the talking. We made it through, thinking crap, we shouldn’t have gotten rid of all that wine (each person can only take two bottles across) because three times through, nobody looked at anything other than our ID. But four times is the charm, as I’ll mention later.

The towns were very small in the flats of Saskatchewan, but none smaller than tiny Ralph, which apparently consisted of one house. One. Probably Ralph. I had this image of a stubborn farmer who went to the provincial monthly hearing insisting he get his own town name, and 30 years later, he had a sign on Highway 39. That persistent Ralph! Wish we’d taken a picture.


Grain silo in SK

Grain silo in SK

So the plains were interesting, lots of farms, steer, farms, steer, farms, steer . . . and by the 14th hour it was much less interesting. I suppose people are born there and live their whole lives there. Every so often we’d pass a graveyard right next to the state highway, in North Dakota, Saskatchewan, or eastern Montana, marked only by a wrought iron gate with the name of the cemetery. For being such an Easterner, it seemed very lonely to me out there, in the same way that being used to lots of green suburban lawns made me find Phoenix, with its miles and miles of desert dirt, seem unfinished.

I wonder how long it will take to adjust.

We spent about twenty minutes driving through Lang, where we didn’t see another person, but they must have seen us. I can only imagine what a big guy and little lady in a car from Washington DC who kept getting out and taking photos of random things looked like to the townsfolk. We’d have gone into the local grocery but it wasn’t open for the day at that point.

We turned around and headed back down Hwy 6 into the very eastern corner of Montana, and alas, they pretty much looked through the car, checking the amount of wine we had and calling out Chuck, their agriculture “specialist” to read the label on our cherries that we’d bought back home.

Chuck: Where’d you get these?

Us: In the states. At Costco.

Chuck: Where?

Me: The Pentagon City Costco, in Arlington, Virginia.

Chuck: Oh.

Other Customs Guy: Do you believe them?

Chuck: Oh, I believe them.

Me: That’s also American ice in that cooler.

At that point I felt Susanne’s virtual foot kicking me in my virtual shin. So I shut up. They let us into the US, cherries, wine, and all. I think after telling them about how we got married, they thought we were on the stupidest honeymoon they’d ever heard of. If only they’d seen us on the Maid of the Mist!

We pulled into Montana and my camera battery gave out. Susanne’s got some photos on her camera, so hopefully I’ll upload those soon.

Meanwhile, another list of animals we saw from SK through Missoula, Montana:

porcupine (combing his hair like a narcissist)

several elk

many, many cows

young buck deer and female deer following him


two prairie dogs on separate occasions



bison (! amazing !)

Miles traveled by the time we pulled into Missoula: 3,140.

Next up: driving through Montana, the state with no fixed identity, and Trixie’s restaurant at the top of the storm, Missoula and late dinner with Anna, driving across Idaho

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Categories: driving


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One Comment on “Back online for the moment…”

  1. Barbara
    August 25, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    That’s also American ice in that cooler… Ev, you are the master of snark. *snicker*

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