Sunday, August 8, 2010
Driven: 260 km
Sorry, no map for this one, Google Maps doesn't recognize the little grid roads I spent so much of my time on.
Today I had intended to drive up Highway 41 to the town of Aberdeen, then north up 785 to the Hague ferry, across the South Saskatchewan River, and continue north to the regional parks at Rosthern and Waldheim. But, today (and yesterday, too, under slightly different circumstances) was characterized by an apparent inability on my part to actually find some of the things I was looking for.
Getting out of the city was straightforward enough, with the weather clear and very warm, with a few clouds. I needed gasoline, but I wanted to burn down the contents of my fuel tank because yesterday I'd dropped about 1/3 of a can of Seafoam in there as part of an engine-conditioning procedure, and I wanted to remove most of that before getting all homeopathic with it. I was going through the town of Aberdeen, a few kilometres removed from Highway 41, anyways, and the sign said a gas station was there. It was, but was a bit hard to find.
The local station in Aberdeen, "Gido's", has one gasoline pump and one diesel pump, behind the fairly nondescript store.
Route 785 continues north from Aberdeen, through very gently rolling farmland.
The Hague ferry was closed*, oddly. As I approached it I could see the ferry reaching the far shore, carrying a tractor. However, there was a permanent-looking sign at the dock stating it was closed, and another driver there told me she thought it was not coming back to pick us up. Oh well, I'll just drive north to Highway 312 and take that bridge, instead.
* A quick check of the Saskatchewan Highways website reveals the Hague ferry is closed for repairs. I'm not sure what the story is with that tractor I saw on it, though.
On my way north along roads not clearly described on my in-car map, I ended up back at a place I'd been before, the Battle of Fish Creek National Historic Site. Whoops. Then across the weird little ravine (presumably a branch of Fish Creek) with the pleasant marking "impassible when wet". It was dry, and I crossed successfully.
Not pictured: dangerous water.
Gabriel Bridge, on Highway 312, was open as usual when I reached it.
Rosthern is a small-ish town, and boasts a local regional park with the same name. I failed to find it today, possibly it can be accessed only from Highway 11, where I did not wish to venture (because Highway 11 is so very, very boring).
On previous drives along Highway 312, I'd vowed to someday visit this picnic table, as it's the only thing of any significance between the towns of Rosthern and Waldheim. This is a mythic picnic table, the legendary picnic table of north-central Saskatchewan. There is no table. The table is a lie.
I did, however, manage to find the Waldheim regional park, which appears to consist entirely of a very small campground adjacent to a medium-sized golf course.
This small pond is apparently quite deep. It's also nearly completely covered with surface aquatic plants, suggesting a certain degree of stagnation below. I'm not sure I'd want to go swimming with that level of slime, even if it were completely safe.
Boba Fett also did not go swimming with pond scum, but did search the links for scum of a more terrestrial and rebellious variety. No bounties today, but no green fees*, either.
* For Imperially-sanctioned bounty hunters. Regular Imperials are expected to pay, using an "honor box".
On my way back south towards Saskatoon, I remembered how boring and slow-traffic-laden Highway 12 can be, so I turned off at Warman (really, only a few km north of Saskatoon) and drove to the Clarkboro ferry. This was open, and surprisingly busy - four cars unloaded on our side, and I shared a ride over with two pick-up trucks.
Hmmm... road dust.
I don't think I was quite dusty enough. Time for some minimum-definition-of-a-road driving. I scraped bottom on most of those plants, but not on anything harder (like rocks).
I now know what is required to close a road in rural Saskatchewan. The nearest farm has to annex it for crop production, apparently.
Just before I got home I took my car to the car wash, and blasted all of that dust off. That was quite satisfying.