From Dawson City, we drove across Alberta on the highest road possible: Highway 55. It crossed both farming country and some low mountains with a few logging operations. We also encountered several buffalo and alpaca ranches! A number of restaurants serve buffalo burgers. Most of the ride was through winding roads and low growth forest.
You could see where forest fires had come through in years past. Some areas still were black with tree skeletons and you could see for miles through them. Others had begun the process of regrowth and displayed bushes of varying heights and young trees about to reach over the burned shells of older ones.
While enjoying this, I was unable to listen to news reports of the raging fires in Saskatchewan. So we rode blithely over the province border and were taking in scenery when it started to get smokey. I asked about the roads several times and was always told that they were passable. However, when I got to Valleyview, SK there were busloads of people who were being evacuated from the north. I got a hotel room (run by the First Nations) and was updated on the situation. Over 7000 people were being temporarily relocated (mostly tribal groups) and the military had been called up. It was a HUGE situation. After a comfortable night, I resumed travels in the increasing smoke, but headed directly south.
The smoke stayed with me for two days, let up one morning, and then came back as I entered Manitoba. Apparently it had been worse there the previous day. In Winnipeg, where we stopped to rest for two nights, people remarked about how it was finally lifting. Ach.
Fortunately, during these long driving days, Charlie has finally relaxed enough to keep us both sane. He had not had much exercise, so, while taking some photos of an abandoned church, I let him run free. Dang. You’d think he’d been in prison! He did his floppy ear bounce quickly and with great gusto around the truck and camper several times. Then he started teasing me with running close by, but not close enough for me to catch him. Finally, he ran toward me, rolled up in a ball and threw himself at my feet. This, with having thrown up his dinner the night before. Yes, he really needs to be home or at the dog park!
Today we went straight south from Winnipeg and crossed the border at Emerson, North Dakota. We’ve passed Great Falls and Fargo and are spending the night in a Lion’s Club campground near Fergus Falls. There are lots of dogs here and Charlie is enjoying the socializing. Yeaaaaa
This trip has lent itself to lots of reading time. Mostly, I’ve consumed murder mysteries and police procedurals by David Baldacci, John Grisham and a few things by Robin Cook (medical sci fi). But last night I started Creek Mary’s Blood by Dee Brown. I missed it years ago. It’s sort of a family saga and sort of historical fiction…..reasonably well written and engaging.