Day 9 – Calgary, AB to Moose Jaw, SK

Route map

Distance = 687 km        Gas = $33.48 ($1.17/L in Calgary) and $35.00 ($1.24/L in Swift Current)

In some ways, I can see why people just get through the prairies as fast as possible on a road trip. There’s not much to see. But then again, what there is to see is unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere in Canada. It’s pretty spectacular when there’s a storm on the horizon, with lightning forking and dramatic dark clouds roiling in the summer sky, or when the sun sparkles on a roadside lake and a hawk circles slowing overhead. It’s big sky country, and you have to accept it for what it is. Just put on some good music, and enjoy the simplicity of the scene. I did, after a while.

There was a point, though, where I found myself feeling what I imagine someone might if they were adrift at sea, with no land in sight. In my case, of course, it was a sea of wheat and fields, with nothing else but the road running straight ahead and behind me. Very strange. I’ve never been anywhere like this before.

Leaving Calgary this morning, I had the Rockies in my rearview mirror and the highway leading me east towards the sun. Taking Highway 1 is easy. You just get into fifth gear and keep your foot on the gas. I can see why Albertans drive fast. I thought I was driving fast, but I kept getting overtaken. All told, the drive took about seven hours.

I went through many small towns along the Trans-Canada, through the second half of Alberta and the first half of Saskatchewan. The more major towns were Medicine Hat and Swift Current. It was hot, dry and cloudy most of the way, except for a thunder shower about an hour before Moose Jaw that was pretty exciting. In Vancouver, the rain is pathetic. The clouds just roll in and half-heartedly dampen the city, while on the prairies, they mean business and they don’t waste time taking care of it. The storm I drove though must have lasted no more than half an hour, but I had my wipers on the fastest setting. But by the time I got to Moose Jaw and met Andrew, my couchsurfing host, the sky was clear again. We took his dog for a walk down by the river this evening, and now we’re going to play some video games.

Tomorrow, more prairies!

NEXT POST: Moose Jaw to Winnipeg

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