Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Drive 1: Blackstrap Provincial Park

Last week I decided to start a new blog series, then of course I procrastinated for 6 days before actually implementing it. This is the first post in a series I’ll try to put together about every week, that I call “Sunday Drives”. Basically, on the weekends I’d like to drive my car around, just to explore and to enjoy driving for fun. There are plenty of places to see within an hour or so of Saskatoon, and visiting them gives me an excuse to practice driving my car.

Blackstrap Provincial Park
Monday, October 12, 2009

A little way south of Saskatoon, Blackstrap “mountain” rises majestically above the prairie, to the lofty height of 45 metres. Yes, around here this qualifies as a mountain. On the Thanksgiving holiday Monday, I decided to visit this alluring mountain, and try out the full range of gears on my Prelude on the highway. We’d had some snow just the previous Thursday, with sub-zero temperatures continuously through the weekend, so this was also potentially a chance to try out the handling on a bit of ice.

The view from above my steering wheel, driving east on highway 211 towards the park.

I passed fields of hay, baled and just about ready for winter, I think.

The entrance to the park is guarded by hut, and a nearby administrative office. There’s a sign describing the prices for visiting and camping in the park, but I guess at this time of year there’s so little traffic they don’t charge. Maybe for camping, but there was nobody in the hut or administrative building when I was there.

I parked at the admin. building, to see if there was somebody there I should give money to, but no-one was about.

There’s a small plastic floating dock near the admin. building, which I wandered out onto for some pictures. There are apparently freshwater crayfish in the lake, as I saw several disembodied clays and one carapace on the dock. I guess the birds and/or aquatic mammals have been eating them.

I drove through the park, pausing to check out the various waterfront access areas along the way.

Driving through the first campground.

Somebody stuck a chairlift on Blackstrap mountain!

And a rope-tow!

I poked around for a bit, then left the way I had come. I saw one other car in the park, out near the maintenance area, but no other people.

The view from the causeway crossing Blackstrap lake.

On my way back to town I paused briefly at the Saskatchewan International Raceway, but nothing was happening there. I suspect the race season is over for this year. There was no ice on any of the roads, just a bit of compressed snow through the campground, so I'll have to wait to see how the Prelude handles on the slippery stuff. But I got to work it through all 5 gears on the manual transmission, and I only stalled it once, early in the day running around Saskatoon before heading out.


Carlo said...

I still firmly believe that you should organize an expeditionary team to 'scale Mount Blackstrap' just for fun. Seriously, set up a base-camp, walk halfway up the side on one day, set up a new camp, 'radio in' (i.e., yell down to the folks below), and proceed to the 'summit' on the second day. I'm sure you could get local news crews there and everything.

TheBrummell said...

That would be epic. Especially since I think it would take at least 20 minutes to scale the mountain in one big push. That's too ambitious, I like your two-stage plan better.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me you have a block heater, unlike the "Florida U HauL"

Your Mother.
PS: Buddy is on a slow mend. Did not have to force feed him today.

TheBrummell said...

Oh yes, there's a block heater. And an interior heater - it runs out through the hole in the firewall, and plugs into the extension cord into my energized parking spot alongside the block heater. So the inside of the car will be as toasty as the oil pan.

Good to hear about Buddy, too. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love the previous videos. Make more videos!

western boots said...

its a long journey for that vintage car.