Ep 4 – 2017 ‘Big Birthday’ World Tour 

The wild, the weird, the worrying and the wonderful. 

Last weekend J woke up after the Kip Moore concert and checked out the location of other concerts. Gord Bamford was playing a fundraiser concert in a small town in Saskatchewan. Spiritwood has a population of 1000, and the concert was in the local rec centre ice hockey stadium. Tickets were extremely reasonable, we had an economical car (VW Jetta), fuel was cheap – we were going on a road trip!  

The thing about road trips is that they are often long days through the same landscape, and as the shotgun rider it’s in your best interests to keep the driver entertained enough so they remain awake.  So the object is to keep the eyes peeled for the unusual and interesting, point them out and take photos. Those photos have been included below for your enjoyment (except the photo of the ‘dead skunk in the middle of the road, stinkin’ to high heaven’ – Even roadkill becomes an exciting diversion, but that  was just gross!)

Music for the trip is an important consideration with radio reception patchy or non existent in places. We were well prepared with the 60+ new CDs we had picked up along our travels. Naturally they had all been catalogued and boxed in alphabetical order 😉 and a list printed out.

Car snacks organised, spare water packed, google maps consulted, GPS charged – we were off!

That’s a long way! Close to 5000 km in a week!

Road signs – these were fascinating  (at least to start with) and sometimes a bit weird…..

Ummmmm, answers the question of ‘Where’s Wally?’ 😐

So much info on one sign! Most important, it shows we are in Manitoba! Also, if you were a country music fan and knew the band Doc Walker, you would be impressed!

I want to work here. Would be nice for a change?

Snot very appetising…. 😤

Still can’t work out why the kangaroo is the logo for this company in Canada

Sign seen on roadside in middle of nowhere in Canada on ANZAC day

VERY IMPORTANT! There was not much else happening in the landscape, probably very easy to drive straight through without noticing if not for this sign.

Weird to think that you would advertise your beer when not on sale. ‘Off sale’ actually means you can buy alcohol from a restaurant or bar and take it home, rather than go to a licensed bottle shop.

Think we took a wrong turn??? 😰

Wild life – they were fairly active, crossing praries and the road in front of us – wolves loping, coyotes slinking, white tail deer scampering, birds of prey hovering, swoooping and  glaring. All too quick for the camera unfortunately.  Saw plenty of signs warning of elk and caribou but they didn’t come out to be greeted – there was one large elk on the side of the road, having a rest with his feet in the air.  The locals told me he couldn’t have been there long or ‘nature’s clean up crew’ would have already taken care of the remains. Seems they are pretty effective. 

Elk or caribou…. despite the many signs, we only saw the one that was ‘resting’ on the side of the road

Deer….saw one of these scampering it’s little white tail across the road in front of us

Bison – so technically not wild (can you see the fence?) these were the only ones we saw despite the fact they are the symbol of Manitoba

Snow geese resting on their way to Alaska. Going……

Going……

Gone….

Random weird stuff – these are photos of things on the road, beside the road or in car parks that caught our interest…..

J tells me this is the best place for a police car….in front!

Cables for hooking your car’s electric blanket up to keep the engine warm overnight in freezing weather.

Yes, these are hay bales decorated to look like minions.

It’s a huge swing!

For sale. Shall we make an offer?

Ice crystals on washed up wood at a roadside lake.

 

It’s cold!!

Now that’s a truck!

We saw this from the road….

Walked around and found this, along side a full scale replica

Along the way we stopped in at shopping centres for toilet breaks and to buy CDs (thanks Walmart!) and other shops that took our interest. My favourite was this wilderness store that caters for the North American need to go ‘huntin and fishin’. 

Taxidermy critters in a huge diorama

 

The other half

I have no words….

Now you see him,

Now you don’t! How amazing is that camo gear?

The highlight (and purpose) of the road trip would be the concert. We met great  people while waiting in line, who were keen to know why Australians would be in a tiny town in the middle of Saskatchewan, Canada. 

The concert was organised to raise money for new baseball diamond. It was held in a small stadium and while most of the audience had seats in the bleachers, the floor was crowded with two steppin’ couples most of the night.  Gord Bamford, who was born in Australia but moved to Canada as a child, acknowledged J’s waving Aussie flag and then dedicated a song to all Australians not realising the song was made popular in Australia by J originally hearing it on Canadian radio (through streaming)  playing it often on his Saturday night show which introduced it to a wide audience, then making its way into Australian Country Music Top 10.  

After the show we spoke to Gord and his manager who were both keen to hear the story and thanked J for his support. Before we left the manager offered us tickets at the door of Gord’s sold out concert the next day, if we wanted to make the nine hour drive.  We were pretty keen, however the next morning….. 

North Battleford fire department

The remains of the furniture….

The remains of the room. Don’t leave cigarettes burning when you head out to work is the lesson here.

Luckily we were ok as the room that was on fire was along a bit from our room. It was very disconcerting however to wake in the morning to a room starting to fill with smoke, smell the burning but have no idea where it was coming from. As our head off was delayed, and we and our luggage smelled a bit smoky,  we decided to abandon plans to see another concert. 

So, as we organise ourselves for our cruise next Saturday and plan some more catching up with family and friends I will leave you with this thought…..

Until next time ❤ xx 

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