Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Brandon to Saskatoon - August 16th

We left Brandon in the driving rain and by the time we got in to Regina we were like a pair of drowned rats. We pulled in to the Husky Truck Stop and got fuel for the bikes and our bodies and sure enough they had dryers there for the truckers. A quick question to one of the gals on the counter and yes - we could use them!  So, bellies full, bikes full and dry clothes we headed out again.

We got in to Saskatoon at about 6 pm - we had a tough time finding the hotel because the signage wasn't as good as it was in most places...but, at last we pulled in...3 degrees with a 30 KM per hour wind - but at least no more rain.

Cold was the word of the day...I went to the lobby to get a couple of cups of coffee, the gal behind the desk had to make some fresh stuff cause the post was cold but when it was ready it was like the nectar of the gods - it sure helped to begin the thaw.

We called the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves and they met us - Nettie, Preacher's wife had her car and we bailed in while the rest road over to Tony Roma's.

After a great feed of ribs and onion loaf and some fabulous conversation, there were two real tired but now warmed up riders who needed their beds.  The rain was just starting to spit...

When we got up in the morning and took one look outside and knew with work only a couple of days away that we had some hard decisions to make. It was -3, the rain that had fallen the night before was now ice on the seats of our bikes...and the wind - it hadn't let up, in fact it was howling at 35 KM per hour now.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A day in Saskatoon

Saturday August 15th, 2011 was day 41 of the Share the Road, Share the Ride Motorcycle Awareness Conga and I spent the day with fellow rider Terry Hartshorne of the Saskatchewan Lonewolves.

Terry took me for a ride down along the river. The one street had such a huge canopy of trees shrouding it, you almost felt like you were in the country. We went to the river and Terry explained to me that there was a berm built in the South Saskatchewan River that is considered extremely dangerous because of the under tow it creates.

Saskatchewan RiverHe toured me around town pointing out different buildings and sites and then we went to his mom and dad’s for lunch – a feed of green tomatoes –which I had never had before and fish with corn.

Boom Town at the Western Development Museum
I ate so much I thought I was going to burst! After a wee bit of a visit, Terry and I decided to take in Boom Town at the Western Development Museum.
The fair was on so getting there was a bit of a challenge as traffic was super heavy, but it was so well worth the effort!

From the minute you walk into the museum you are completely transported back to simpler times.
Bank of Nova Scotia
Bank of Nova Scotia
 Every display mimicked the times and the eras they represented.  The street of Boom Town had it all, a restaurant, hotel, pool hall and barber shop.  The meat Shop cracked Terry up! The sign read – The home of Fresh Killed Meat!  The Fire Hall was really cool, filled with great examples of hand pulled and horse pulled fire trucks. The Black Smith Shop was another of my favourites.

Dry Goods Store
Dry Goods Store
The Watch Repair Shop/Jewellery Shop was filled with fine examples of cuckoo clocks and watches of the day. Some were truly fine pieces!

I spent a good long time in the Newspaper Office marvelling at the old type setting equipment and the primitive and yet effective way they used to communicate. The other place I got a charge out of was the Bank of Nova Scotia. Somehow I could see an old scene running through my head from some old western – you know, the robbers enter the bank – the horses tied up out front, ready to spirit the robbers away!
Watch Shop
Watch Shop

The jail house was pretty cool. It featured an RNWM Police officer and his desk and sleeping quarters. The cage that served as a jail cell parked right next to the officer’s desk!

The Dry Goods Store was filled with all kinds of old shoes, spats, Mary Janes…my gawd, that I even remember those things! You could buy a suit or a dress among other things here.
Chinese Laundry
Chinese Laundry

RNWM Police
RNWM Police
The pharmacy, the doctor’s office and the Chinese Laundry were all such interesting and intriguing displays. You felt like this town had been abandoned and found the way it was left.

The Steam EnginesThe shelves stocked and the antique automobiles and horses that were in the street, the buggies (some of them were just incredible, in such good shape), all combined, they left you with that surreal feel of actually being in a ghost town. 
But the shops of Boom Town were just the beginning. The Steam Engines and evolution of the train display was mind blowing. The enormity of this indoor display takes your breath away. They cover so many “generations” of the train. 

A Sod House
A Sod House
The Dirty Thirties Display took me straight back to memories of the photo albums and the stories shared with me by my dad, and his parents, my grand parents.  The old tractor buried in the wind swept dirt, the simplicity and harshness of the times. The stories of failures and triumphs, rickets and scurvy were all brought back to the fore of my memory.  The thirties were so hard on everyone, but the farmer in particular had it extremely hard and this series of displays depicted more stories so similar to the ones shared with me by my family members.

The Dirty 30's
The Dirty 30's
 The Eaton’s Catalogue house display was a curious one. Because my grand father was a carpenter he had built every home he and grandma ever lived in, this was something I don’t remember hearing of, buying your house out of a catalogue.

I learned that from the early 1900's until the late 1930's, catalogue homes were very popular in rural western Canada. The T. Eaton Company was one of several companies that provided plan books and drew plans for houses. The materials were shipped by rail to the nearest community and then hauled to the site for construction. The house that bears the T. Eaton plan # 674 had a catalogue price that included shingles, lumber, doors, mouldings, windows, paint, nails, hardware and building paper ranged from $1577 in $2049 in 1916!
The total price of the house depended on the extras that were added on. For the sum of $146.00 more you could add a "Hot Air Heating Plant" and for $180.00, a complete "Plumbing Outfit". The basement concrete and interior finishing were also extra.

A home with brick veneer could cost $8000 to build in 1917-1918.
Some of the extras that were available were a Delco power plant, a central vacuum, a septic system, a dumb waiter to the larder, a laundry chute and a separate stairway to a bedroom for the hired help. It was an education reading about the different kind of houses you could buy and the extras you could get with them…

The displays on agriculture and the history of the tractor were all as impressive as the others. You walked into a display and a recording came on explaining the history of the dirt house, the farmer’s wife and how hard her job was. Or you would hear the story about the evolution on the tractor; you could take a burn in the combine simulator, it sure gives you an appreciation for all who learned and evolved to provide us with the modern equipment we have today.
Tractor in the museum 
The evolution of the automobile was incredible, from the old buggy’s by companies like John Deer to Cadillac’s and old Ford’s. There isn’t a gear head alive who wouldn’t love this part of the museum’s displays. I could have spent twice the amount of time there that I did!
Automobiles in the Museum

It was already 5 o’clock and time to leave the museum behind. Both Terry and I commented to each other how enjoyable that had been. It was a great way to spend 3 and a half hours! We rode over to Uncle Barley’s and had a visit with Mustang Ani and then since Terry had offered to BBQ for supper, we rode back to his place and I visited with the dogs – two rescue pit bulls and three birds. The Amazon Grey Parrot was HILARIOUS. The things that bird could say! None of it bad, but he was a closet talker, he’s wait until you were leaving and say – See you later! By now…

After a good feed, Terry rode me back over to the hotel. I got my bike packed up and ready to go because in the morning I would be riding with the Canadian Legion of Riders in North Battleford.

If you are interested in visit the Western Development Museum & Boom Town in Saskatoon:
2610 Lorne Avenue South Saskatoon, SK
Canada  S7J 0S6

Tel: (306) 931-1910
Fax: (306) 934-0525
Email: saskatoon@wdm.ca
Web Site: http://wdm.ca/stoon.html

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 16 - Saskatchewan, a place of many surprises….

 I arrived at my hotel – the Comfort Inn in Swift Current on Monday July 18th, and met up with Junior and his friend from Ontario. One of my sisters from the Ontario Chrome Divas, Terry, had told the guys where I was staying. They had attended Sturgis North and were on their way home to the Greater Toronto Area.

It was wonderful to meet these gents and share a few stories and some laughs.

The Swift Current Comfort Inn is a wonderful hotel that is located close to WalMart and many other amenities like Tim Horton’s. The staff is very friendly, and it seems to me that no matter where you stay, the staff make or break the visit.  Like all of the Comfort Inns, this location has a great continental breakfast and free internet. The rooms are spacious and clean and if you forget something like conditioner or a comb, the front desk staff is quick to help out.

Try them out for yourself the next time you find yourself in Swift Current, I am sure you will appreciate the many features that make this property rider friendly – the staff being one of the best features they offer!

1510 South Service Rd. E.
Swift CurrentSKS9H 3X6
Phone: (306) 778-3994
Fax: (306) 773-9312
Email: cn353@whg.com

Here is the link to their Rider Friendly Business Association® Phone Book ad on our web site: http://www.beltdrivebetty.com/index.php/rider-friendly?sobi2Task=sobi2Details&sobi2Id=2134&fl=1

After sharing breakfast and a few laughs and some conversation with the guys it was time to saddle up and head out. I decided to check out some of the small communities that I have ridden by in the past and I am so very glad that I did.

Day 16 of the Share the Road Share the Ride Motorcycle Awareness Conga!

The first stop was in Herbert, a very small town that has seen better days. 
The CP Rail Museum was what I wanted to see.  Herbert has another claim to fame as well – it is the home of Don Wittman of CBC Sports!

I had gone to the WalMart in Swift Current to exchange my new camera – the lens had quit retracting, and when I got to the museum I discovered the battery needed to be charged, so while I was waiting for the camera to charge I partook in a Mennonite tradition called Faspa.  Faspa is a light luncheon, traditionally served between lunch time and supper time – a coffee break if you will.  A Faspa includes buns, sandwich fixings like sausage and cheese with pickles, a beverage, coffee, tea, juice or water and a home made piece of cake or some other pastry.

While I was having my Faspa, a kindly old gentleman by the name of Bill Redekop asked to join me. Bill was a councillor for Herbert and for 20 years he was also the mayor of this little town.  He offered to take me through the museum and he regaled me with many interesting facts and stories. He also shared with me that the love of his life, his wonderful wife had MS and was in the hospital in Swift Current and that after the tour he would be heading there to go see her.  This 86 year young man had so much to share and the pride he feels for this little community was so evident as he spoke of its history.

The museum is filled with the history and artifacts of the region and its relationship with CP Railways.
One of the best stories Bill shared with me as we walked through the various exhibits was the one he told me while standing in front of the old jail cells. It appears that in 1923, a mother who was visiting Herbert and was expecting her baby needed a bed and the small hospital had none, so the doctor arranged for her to have a bed in the basement of the town hall in the jail cells. 

Bill Redekop telling the tale of the jail
Years later, that baby, Henry Bergen came back to visit Herbert to see the cell he was born in and expressed to Bill that he was often very embarrassed to be called a jail bird by his parents as he grew up!

The time I spent in Herbert with Bill was so rewarding and it is my hope that the next time you find yourself riding the Trans Canada through this area – you will stop in and experience this small museum and town and its warm and generous people.

After a rewarding visit in Herbert, I got on my bike and headed to the next small town, Morse

I had heard that their museum was a very interesting place to stop and folks – it is another little gem tucked away just off the Trans Canada highway.

The Morse Museum and Visitors Centre is housed in the very majestic 1912 built school house.
When you first walk in you see the information on the bird sanctuary and are greeted by the friendly staff that will walk you through the museum and its offerings. 
While I was there a tour of Asian visitors were taking in the splendours of old in the Victorian Parlour.
Victorian Parlour

This museum is crammed full of artifacts that make up the towns history and it is also an art gallery featuring the works of many local artisans. There are two levels to the museum and every room is filled with incredible displays including the black wedding gowns of the dirty thirties. 

Yes, that is right, wedding gowns in the thirties were mostly black – as a former florist this is a tidbit I already knew!  Why is that you ask? Well, in the thirties many women could not afford a wedding dress and so old dresses were dyed and revamped – the other reason, white fabrics were very expensive and hard to keep clean and the dress could then serve many other purposes later!

There are also fabulous displays of wool spinning wheels, old rifles, antique dentist chairs and hospital equipment. There is one room dedicated to old appliances like the washing machine and its evolution not to mention stoves, fridges, irons and other every day items we now take for granted that back in the pioneer days were worth their weight in gold.  Some of the other wondrous items in the museum are old pump organs, Victrolas and juke boxes.
The staff here is well versed in the history of Morse, what it meant to be a pioneer and the birds of Reed Lake and are eager to share with you their love of their town. It is an absolute must see.

The next stop for the day was Indian Head, the location of the TV Series Little Mosque on the Prairies. I happened to arrive as they were in the middle of filming the last episodes. 
The TV Series will not be renewed.  
One of the last days of filming for the final episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie

Indian Head is a lovely town and Saskatchewan’s provincial winner of the Communities in Bloom competition. The old homes here are stately and truly throw you back to a time of genteel and relaxed ways. It is also the new home of Valhalla Tattoos and Antiques.
RJ of Valhalla Tattoos

RJ and his wife have created a wonderful place for their business here. The tattoo portion of the shop is very clean and sterile and the antique side is filled with old signs and other unique collectables.

RJ took me for a tour of the town. 
What a pretty place. It is no wonder it was chosen to film the TV Series Little Mosque on the Prairie!

Victorian style homes with park like yards is why this town won the Communities in Bloom competition for Saskatchewan! What a gorgeous little town!
The temperature in southern Saskatchewan was 39 degrees and it was time to get on the bike and head for Brandon where Kirk Van Alstyne from the Manitoba Ride for Dad and a Winnipeg City Police Officer was meeting me to ride me to Winnipeg.

At Whitewood Sk, just before the Manitoba border, I stopped for fuel. As I entered the parking lot which was a sand pit I went to use my back brake only to discover I had none!
When I was in Penticton I had stopped in at CG Customs and had Jay tighten my new drive belt. 
At that time he had rerouted the breather hose and the filter for my air breather and sadly had not lifted the hose high enough and the filter had rubbed a hole in my back brake line. 
Nothing was open in Whitewood so I headed for Brandon very cognizant of the fact that I had no back brakes – it sure changes your riding style!

Next stop – Brandon Manitoba!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From Yorkton Saskatchewan to Kenora Ontario

Although it had rained all night, by the time I had done my blog, emails and photos it was 10 AM and no rain! It was cold and overcast but zero rain!


We had no time to stop in Manitoba other than for gas but on the way home we will be staying in Brandon and visiting with friends and riding clubs in Winnipeg.

We cruised through to Kenora - 750 KM was our mileage for the day...
We got in To Kenora at about 8 PM Ontario Time...read about the next leg of our trip - Travel Ontario by Motorcycle: http://travelontariobymotorcycle.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lloydminster - Saskatoon & Yorkton!

Day three of our Conga saw us leaving Lloydminster but not before a wee press conference with the local NewCap TV station, a newspaper and a radio station. We were running late but still made time to go for a ride with Tami & Grayson - we stopped at the Honda Powerhouse and the Edge H-D shop - guess who just bought that shop - just weeks ago...Clint Rabb from the Cecil Hotel!

Stacey - L and Tami - R
Stacey - L and Tami - R
Lloydminster Honda Powerhouse
Lloydminster Honda Powerhouse
The Edge Harley-Davidson - Lloydminster
The Edge Harley-Davidson - Lloydminster

Finally at 11am we began the trek to Saskatoon to meet with Preacher and the gang from the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves. Wires got crossed as to what time we'd be there so we missed the lunch at the Casino but we still got to meet 90% of the gang - in all 14 riders came out to meet hubby and I, we discussed F.I.R.R.E. and I am proud to report that it looks like we will end up with one and perhaps 2 F.I.R.R.E. chapters in Saskatchewan!

Members of the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves
Members of the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves
Oh - and one more that didn't fit in the first picture (He was trying to hide and got routed!)
After a couple of very productive and enjoyable hours with the SK Lone Wolves some of them rode with us for a while, made sure we got out of town safely and off we headed towards Yorkton.
Lorna stayed with us until we got to a little service station in the middle of nowhere that had great food and of all the people who should walk in to the place - it was Al Maccinis from Slave Lake - just heading home from Sturgis!

After parting company with everyone - Mark and I headed for Yorkton - we got in at about 8 pm and I will tell you she was starting to get pretty chilly. We pulled in to the Comfort Inn on Dracup Ave. It is located very conveniently across the street from a Tim Hortons and most of the conveniences one could hope to need are in the region within walking distance.
Motorcycles park in front of the doors
Motorcycles park in front of the doors where an eye can be kept on them

The hotel is getting a face lift on the out side with new parging being done.
When we checked in, the young gal behind the counter made sure we knew where the laundry and pool/fitness area were. (Sadly the hot tub wasn't working but I didn't find that out until I was in the water.)

We got a luggage carrier and took all the gear off of our bikes and were told we could park them right in front of the hotel tight against the wall  - out room had a view of our bikes...

No water or cloths to wash our bikes down with but everyhting else was very hospitable.
The Pool and Hot Tub area
The Pool and Hot Tub area - there is also a gym room for those who choose to avail themselves.

The room itself was well appointed with a King bed - and while comfortable - the beds here were not as plush and comfy as the ones in Lloydminster - I slept very well though...
One really nice touch was the night light in the bathroom. I don't know about you but I find it hard to find my way around in the dark in strange places so I generally sleep with the bathroom light on and the door three quarters closed - the night light made for a much better sleep.
Electrical outlets were really handy to get to. Made charging up all of the electronics a breeze!

So far the Choice Hotels has a really good customer service rating from me.

If you find yourself in the Yorkton area and needing a hotel - check out the Comfort Inn & Suites:

22 Dracup Avenue
Yorkton, SK S3N 3W1
(306) 783-0333

Travel distance today was 655 KM!

Talk to you all tomorrow from Kenora...Were we meet with the gang from the 10th Anniversary Ride for Dad Cross Canada Run!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lloydminster - the border town

Lloydminster is a town with a confused or should I say confusing identity.

Split almost down the middle with "rich" Alberta on one side and "poor" Saskatchewan on the other.
Now let me explain that statement a bit...in Saskatchewan's defence - they do not have the population to sustain a decent tax base - it is a pretty province with a ton of potential and I guess as the oil and gas industry takes off here, the maintenance will improve but - without a large population base the money isn't there for the kind of infrastructure maintenance we are used to in Alberta.

Lloydminster - the border Marker
The border marker...
In the last 5 years, the Alberta side of Lloydminster has enjoyed huge growth in buildings and business not to mention population. The city has grown form 22K to about 30K - and as I said mostly on the Alberta side of things. It is rumoured that the Saskatchewan side is poised for huge growth with the Husky upgrader - we shall see...

After Mark and I checked in to our room - Lucien, Mark and I went to the Humpty's Restaurant on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster for a very unsatisfying supper. I am not generally one to provide a bad review on a business - if there is nothing to commend the business I generally just say nothing, however - this one is sooo bad IMHO that I had to share with you to prevent you from having the same disgusting and awful experience I had. The serving staff was slow, the food - when we finally got it after an hour of waiting was so horrid that I could not eat mine - it was greasy and unpalatable and the woman's washroom had black mold creeping up the wall - wished I had gone to the washroom BEFORE we ate instead of after - cause had I done that we would have left immediately - DISGUSTING and PUTRID are two words that describe the place.

We should have just stayed at our hotel to eat - but no we thought we'd go out and explore the town a bit...

When we were done eating, Lucien headed back to Alberta and his home in St Paul - it was an absolute honour to ride with him...and then hubby and I headed back to the Econo Lodge in the old down town core.

We were greeted by rags and wash buckets filled with warm water for cleaning our bikes which I promptly took advantage of. Once washed our bikes which were now bereft of their contents (hubby packed everything to our room) were then parked on the side walk. We couldn't help but notice that the in house restaurant - RC's RJB Steakhouse seemed to be very popular with cars coming and
Taking a few minutes to relax on my bike after giving both a wash...

Mark and I decided to walk around the down town core and take in some of the scenery and historic buildings.
The Anglican Church
The Anglican Church

I am unsure of what this building originally was but it is now a coffee shop and Internet cafe - the architecture is gorgeous!
OLD hotel in Lloydminister
The OLD hotel - another display of great architecture..

As with all cities that experience extreme growth - the down town core is suffering. Building new buildings is the big thing and the old and dare I say it - the beautiful brick and mortar buildings down town are being left behind - vacant and for rent or lease - every block we walked down had the same sad tale on display. It has the shabby elegance of a New Orleans or an Old Montreal...it is so sad to see such a marvellous area being left behind in favour of the new...

After our walk downtown, we decided to head back to our hotel - again we couldn't help but notice that the restaurant of the hotel was very popular. At the front desk I asked the gal about the restaurant and she told us that it was under new management and that the people who ran it were extremely good at what they do  - so since supper was so unsatisfying we decided that dessert and coffee might be in order.  What a treat! Creme Brule Cheesecake and a good cup of coffee - (No coffee seems to measure up to the Biker Coffee Company's coffee though).

I found it a bit pricey but very tasty, the serving staff was stellar and the restaurant had a nice decor.

We went back to our room and got settled in for the night. The flat screen TV went on, the pop came out of the fridge (we had fuelled up the bikes and done a bit of shopping to stock up the fridge)

The beds - OMG, were they comfy! If these are the kinds of beds we are going to be treated to by the Choice Hotels Chain - I am gonna like this trip a lot!

The room is well appointed with handy electrical outlets that allow one to charge their cell phone and run their lap top without having to move the fridge and microwave to get at them - that was another wonderful little bonus.

The staff knew to put us in a room where we could look out for our bikes - another bonus!

The one thing that struck both hubby and I about our "retail" experience in Lloydminster - no matter which side of the border - the same AWFUL customer service that we experience in many Alberta businesses is prevalent here as well. 

Except for this hidden gem...the Econo Lodge. It may be off the new beaten path and on the old one - BUT - it is clean, well maintained and well appointed with comfy beds, a microwave, fridge, hair dryer, flat screen TV and an affordable rate at $109 a night. Now all of that wouldn't mean a hill of beans normally - but when you add in the customer service - well now you have a gem of a place.

The people are truly what make this hotel special - they truly want to work with motorcyclists and their efforts have not gone unnoticed!.It doesn't hurt that the manager rides either...the staff seems to really understand what a rider is looking for in a room and service...try them out - they might be off the beaten path a bit but in my opinion this is one of those places that is worth taking the four or five block trek out of the way.

If you decide to check out the Econo Lodge - tell them Belt Drive Betty sent you... 
Use your BDB membership card to save! www.beltdrivebetty.com where membership is free and the membership card is your passport to savings at over 250 locations!

The Econo Lodge
5009 – 51 St
Lloydminster AB
(780) 875-6101

I hope you will join F.I.R.R.E - the never ride alone program alone makes it one of the best $20 you will ever spend on yourself never mind all of the good work the group does helping riders in the advent of an accident - or in the awareness work F.I.R.R.E. does. Check it out: www.firre.ca

Today, after a press conference, we are off to Saskatoon to meet the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves. Apparently we will have 20 - 30 members coming in from all over the province for lunch. I am excited for the opportunity to meet more great riders and spread the word about F.I.R.R.E., who riders really are, The Give the Kids the Village Charity and the Wharf Rat Rally!

Have a great day and ride safe everyone!
Belt Drive Betty

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Travel Saskatchewan by Motorcycle

My name is Belt Drive Betty, I am the editor of a weekly community newspaper for motorcycle enthusiasts called the Busted Knuckle Chronicles.

I am looking forward to sharing the information on Saskatchewan is a vibrant province with a variety of vistas to delight the eye.
And I am looking forward to reconnecting with Saskatchewan - the land of the living skies!

I went to school for two years in Yorkton. Grades 1 and 2 hence why when we were setting up the route for the Light a F.I.R.R.E. Awareness Conga Yorkton was chosen as one of our destinations.

Mark and I will be in Lloydminster Saskatchewan on August 15th in the early afternoon, and will leave Lloydminster the morning of the 16th around 10am to head for a meeting with some of the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves in Saskatoon around 1 pm and will leave Saskatoon around 3 pm and head to Yorkton where we will stay until 10 am the morning of the 17th of August.

Our return trip sees us visit Saskatoon again on September 17th and leaving for Edmonton  at about 2 pm on the 18th.

I personally am looking very forward to filling this blog in with stories from this trip but also with stories from our riding friends and the riding community in Saskatchewan!

Stay tuned as we light a F.I.R.R.E. in Saskatchewan!

View Saskatchewan Leg of the Light a F.I.R.R.E. Conga in a larger map

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