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July 2, 3, 4, 5 - Grasslands to Moose Jaw, SK

Give me a home, where the buffalo roam, HIgh heat on the prairies, Moose Jaw Tunnels, Sully and TaJ get a bath, Sully gets serviced. Planning the road ahead.

sunny 30 °C

July 2:

Our last day at Grasslands begins with Cowboy Coffee. Every Sunday, the staff at the park put on a 90 minute cowboy coffee talk, where they make boiled coffee, over a campfire and tell stories of how things were back on the days of massive ranches. A fun event, attended by most of the adults in the campground. We learned a lot about the Larson Ranch, the land from which formed the backbone of the park. About 287 square miles of land.

The Larson Ranch dates back to the 1870's and was in operation in various forms until the 1950's. The Larson homestead is just a kilometer from the campground and our final activity of the day will be to hike over and take a look. The temperature is going to soar today, up into the high 30's (mid 90's f) and there is no shade, except for that you can find next to your trailer.

We hiked about 4.5 kilometers as the day heated up, We followed the Frenchman River for the first part of the walk, but came back along the road from the homestead.


I tried lassoing a steer:


After 4 days in the park, we are really starting to understand the draw of the open skies of the prairie and the words of "Home on the Range" are so much easier to see when there are no trees to obstruct your vision. The sky here is massive, it dominates. We only got a look at the stars on our first night; since then the moon has been brighter each night, blurring out the Milky Way.

Our afternoon was spent sitting and reading in the shade beside TaJ. Almost all campers were hunkered down in the afternoon heat. In the evening it cooled quickly and most people strolled the hills around the camp. The staff here are great, mostly young university students working for the summer, or locals supplementing their ranching income with summer jobs. We will put this place on our bucket list for a September visit in future years, to see a different season. This has been a peak experience coming here.

July 3

We pulled out of Grasslands early, with the intent to get to Moose Jaw by early afternoon, which is exactly how things went. We got to Peanut Hills R/V Park early afternoon. Both of us had showers right away, as Grasslands does not have them. Cleaned up, we then set out to get to our planned chores while in Moose Jaw.

Both the Honda Pilot (Sully) and the r-pod (TaJ) are gross, covered in road dust from the last 2 weeks in southern Saskatchewan. We need to clean both of them, so finding a wand wash for Thursday morning so we can scrub TaJ is on the list. We need to rotate the tires on the Honda, get an oil change and generally check things out under the hood. We also have a stone chip on the windshield, from an unfortunate encounter with a massive semi truck doing 100 kph + on a back highway, flinging stones in all directions.

So, appointments booked for the 4th, at Canadian Tire for the car servicing and Speedy Auto Glass for the windshield chip. We check out the liquor store for some beer. We went to the Superstore for some groceries. Jenny lived in Moose Jaw, back in 1986, so we went to find her old house,


We've been eating all our meals at the trailer, so we splurged and went out to a brew pub for supper. A couple of appies, and a pint of beer each, and our food budget for the day was more than spent...$47 including tip. But it was nice to do for a change.

July 4

Peanut Hills R/V park is in an unfortunate spot. The eastbound Trans Canada Highway rises above the campground. As a result the road noise is pretty awe inspiring at times. Transport trucks laboring up the hill, plus incessant traffic make it pretty noisy. We slept OK



Jenny hung out at the campground and I headed off to get car serviced at Canadian Tire. Before heading there I found the local wand wash and gave Sully a thorough cleaning, at least enough so that the mechanic would be able to see what he was doing as he rotated the tires. Thick dust underneath. $5 later and Sully was pretty clean. We'll finish the job on Thursday morning as we depart

About 90 minutes and $150 later the car was ready for the next segment of this trip. The stone chip repair was $67 at Speedy. Bonus...Speedy vacuumed Sully out for us. There was a lot of grit and debris on the floor mats! All work done in no time. I know you folks in the US don't have anything like Canadian Tire. Massive stores with auto service centers and they are pretty well everywhere. If you get work done at one store and it need attention down the road, they have a great warranty...over 3000 of them from coast to coast.


In the afternoon, we took in the Tunnels of Moose Jaw. There are two themes here, Gangsters and Chinese Immigrants. We did the Gangster tunnels. Back in the days of prohibition, Al Capone used Moose Jaw as his escape when things got too hot for him in Chicago. There was a train line that went directly between the two cities. Moose Jaw had a population of 15,000 back then and it was good place for him to hide out. There were tunnels under the street that were used here for illegal alcohol. Moose Jaw is using them as a tourist draw. Actors take you through the tunnels, in costume and act gangsterish. Very fun thing to do and a great way to connect with the history of the place.

Supper back at the trailer. As you can see from the photo, we are living in reduced circumstances on the road...NOT! Steak and Caesar Salad and a lovely Malbec to wash it down.


In the evening, we planned our next phase, booking campgrounds in the North West Territories for 6 nights beginning on Saturday. When we leave here on Thursday, we will do Walmart stops, first in Lloydminster, SK and another in Peace River, AB. In total we will do 1900 kilometers, over three days to get to our first destination of Hay River, on the shores of Great Slave Lake. This is our jumping off point for Wood Buffalo National Park.

July 5

A lazy morning start. Breakfast and a bit of internet time. This is the first campground with Wi-fi at our site and we are taking advantage of it.

The rest of the morning is taken up with checking TaJ out. Bolts will be tightened, and seams checked prior to our northern jaunt. We also need to refill our propane tank while we are here. We are looking at going to a two tank setup for the Yukon/Alaska leg of the trip. We will be in a lot of un-serviced campsite there and will be more propane used to operate the fridge. We didn't like the two tank unit being sold at the r/v dealer here, so will look for options at other dealers on the way up north.

The afternoon we did the second tunnel. The Chinese Immigrant experience. This one was pretty extensive and covered the systemic abuse of Chinese immigrants in the 18 and 1900's. Very well done, and the tunnels are pretty impressive and extensive. Most of the Chinese immigrants at the time lived and worked, in pretty poor conditions, down in these tunnels.


There is also a lot of old cars from the gangster era, up on posts as part of the tourism industry promotions here.


In the evening, there was a music in the park event at Crescent Park, in downtown Moose Jaw. We took in an hour of it before settling down for our last night. Jenny got danced.



On the road early tomorrow, headed north.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 19:36 Archived in Canada Tagged grasslands moose_jaw al_capone_tunnels canadian_tire speedy_glass

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Moosejaw sounds fun!

by Karmen Reid

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