Lake Winnipeg in Blue

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday Lake Winnipeg looked like a wave-tossed, muddy Mississippi River, today with the lake reflecting blue skies and a slight breeze portions look like antique wavy glass.

Viking Bob

We finished our visit to Gimli with a short visit to the New Iceland Heritage Museum. It was the day they were changing out temporary exhibits so it was all in a bit of disarray but we got to see most of the permanent displays and Bob had fun assuming he had some Viking blood in his ancestry.

We drive down the west side of Lake Winnipeg stopping to spend time in the lovely lakeside park in Winnipeg Beach.

Entering Lower Fort Garry

At Selkirk the Lower Garry Fort National Historic Site beckoned. The intact stone fort served as a busy Hudson Bay Company supply site in the mid 1800s. In summer the restored buildings are open and costumed interpretive guides perform tasks and re-enact events from the forts hey days. In mid-September we find the grounds open for wandering about but so services in the visitor center and all buildings closed. The few staff we see are preparing for the upcoming winter.

Corner of Lower Fort Garry

We would love to revisit when it is fully staffed to learn more about the fort’s history . However, we did enjoy the walk to the fort, reading the few interpretive signs, taking photographs and soaking up some sunshine.

After an unremarkable dinner we drive to downtown Winnipeg for a bit of orientation. We catch the last of the sunlight on the recently opened Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

Winnipeg's Human Rights Museum

Maple Cinnamon Roll

While reading a travel information booklet promoting Manitoba’s Parklands I found an article entitled, “Cinnamon Bun Trail.” That caught my attention and determined our breakfast destination – the White House Bakery and Restaurant in Wasagaming.

In addition to fruit cups and Greek yogurt we each had to order one of the cinnamon rolls; the choices today were regular, cream cheese and maple. Two maples coming up – worthy of being featured along the Cinnamon Bun Trail.

To exit Riding Mountain National Park we drove the gravel road to the east entrance, dropping down from the top of the escarpment to the flat Manitoba plains. We found the historic original log park entrance worthy of a photo stop even though the morning was cloudy.

RMNP East Gate

Lake Manitoba

We head eastward towards The Narrows, crossing between sections of Lake Manitoba. While the lake looks large we know from the map that we’re seeing a minuscule portion. Watching the cloud cover it keeps looking like we’ll soon be out from under the cloudy skies, so far no luck.

East of Poplarfield we pass another of the Historic Ukrainian churches, one of three we will see along our route today.

Church East of Poplarfield

Our intention was to make it to Winnipeg this afternoon. For a break from the road we stop in the town of Gimli on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg. Gimli was settled by immigrants from Iceland and is said to be the largest Icelandic settlement outside of the North Atlantic island country. With waves stirred by a brisk wind and lake stretching to the horizon we can almost imagine being oceanside.

Lake Winnipeg at Gimli

While exploring town we decide to have a late lunch at a waterfront restaurant, Seagulls. By the end of a delicious lunch and friendly, accommodating waitress we decided we like the little town of Gimli and booked a room at the adjoining Lakeview Resort. The weather is warm enough to sit on the balcony, protected from the wind. A restful end not only to the day but also to a successful first week of our travels.

Canora SK

One of the delights of traveling the ecoregion known as the Parklands of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada (northeast of Regina, SK and northwest of Winnipeg, MB) has been discovering the Ukrainian churches with decorative domes. Built and treasured by the large numbers of immigrants from the Ukraine that settled in the agricultural area some of the churches house Catholic congregations while others Orthodox worshipers.

Daulphin - 5 Domes

Even in small towns we often find both religions represented. Indeed in some towns we find three separate buildings, each with its own characteristics.


Daulphin - Painted Domes

We haven’t been able to visit any of the interiors but know that many are even more elaborate than the exteriors. I found a picture of the colorful and ornate ceiling and chandelier in the Historic Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection (photo to the right) in Dauphin, Manitoba.


Country Church MB


Driving back roads we’ve found country churches that remind us of ones we knew in our youth, located in the American Midwest. The only difference being an absence of steeples or bell towers; instead we’re seeing numerous versions of onion domes along our drive today.


So far, my favorite is a church in Canora, Saskatchewan that is topped with pear-shaped domes instead of the more typical onion domes.

Canora SK Pear Domes

Along our travels I’ve found more locations of the picturesque churches, just one reason to plan a future trip to the area.

Bob with Mountie Moose

We head off to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Center for our first activity of the day. All RCMP cadets are trained at the adjoining Regina Depot. The first thing we want to do is sign up to attend the afternoon Sergeant Major’s Parade – an event that requires an escort onto the Depot grounds.

Viewing a 20-minute film, Courage in Red, we’re introduced to the life of cadets during their initial six-month training to become Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Before attending the parade we visit several of the six galleries in the museum.

  • Creating a Mounted Police

  • Maintaining Law and Order in the West

  • Protecting the North

  • Serving All of Canada

  • Answering Duty’s Call

  • Cracking the Case

We’re fortunate to receive a tram ride to the parade square with a guide filling in many details of training activities, tour of the Depot grounds and history of the RMCP. The rat-a-tat of snare drums alert visitors to the beginning of the parade led by a band and followed, in order of seniority, by the current training troops.

Mountie Parade

At the end of the parade we’re welcomed into the chapel, dating from the 1800s it’s the oldest building at the Depot. We admire the colorful stained-glass windows, especially the two on either side of the altar. One is a red-coated Mountie in a pose of reverent remembrance of fallen officers. The other is a Mountie with bugle calling the troops to duty.

Version 2On our ride back to the Heritage Center we learn of roles from support staff. The training center has a 12-person tailoring department, as one of the ladies in the film says, “We’re not just hemming pants we’re dressing Mounties.” There is also a leather shop where the distinctive, tall, brown boots are custom fitted to each cadet.

Upon arrival back at the Heritage Center we finish visiting the exhibits; and, of course, puruse the gift shop. We’ve spent more than four hours immersed into RCMP life and history. Our first activity of the day has become our only activity; but, an interesting and entertaining day.

Road Home

We retraced out first day in reverse for the final leg of our trip, heading east on US40 and then I-70. Cloudy skies bring light rain to the Yampa Valley and Steamboat Springs. We’re surprised at how much autumn color still adorns the hills and mountain sides. Know from reports and photos that we’ve missed one of the best Colorado fall seasons in years.


Steamboat Valley Color


Approaching Berthoud Pass newly fallen snow dusts slopes and rain becomes more constant. Resembling steam, clouds drift out of the valleys. As I drive Bob takes several windshield photos.


Berthoud Pass Snow Berthoud Pass Clouds


We left a month ago under rain and dense fog and return to the Denver area under a downpour. As we pull into the driveway the trip odometer reads 6,005 – miles traveled through nine states, two Canadian providences, countless experiences and memories.

Full Circle

Night 1 & Night 28

We spent the first night of our grand Northwest tour in Vernal, Utah. Now, on night 28 we’ve come full circle and spend our last night on the road in Vernal, Utah – a journey of over 5,000 miles. Tomorrow we’ll complete the final leg back home and our own bed-e-bye.


Salt Flats Highway


With limited highways across this area we broke our goal of limited Interstate driving, taking I-80 and I-15 from Elko to Orem, Utah. I know that previously when I’ve driven this road I’ve said, “It’s so boring”. Today I appreciate the diverse geography, cloud formations and geology. Once across the Utah state line the topography flattens and we experience the mirage effect of light, shadow and reflection. Is that a lake ahead or a glistening dry salt flat.


Salt Flats ScluptureOur route crosses the California National Historic Trail several time. We discuss what it would have been like to be walking alongside a covered wagon day after day, month after month. They dreamed of new opportunities, were determined, dedicated and probably at times delusional. Today signs along the roadside warn of driver fatigue, encouraging stops at rest stops. A sculpture along the north side of the highway breaks the flat horizon and elicits comments.



Provo Canyon - Autumn Color 2


Although we’re simple trying to cover mileage today we make a slight deviation from a direct route heading south to Orem to access Provo Canyon. We’ll connect to US 40 in Heber City. Mountain foliage in every color and shade associated with autumn covers the slopes making the scenic drive even more spectacular. Numerous parks and viewpoints present opportunities to stop, stretch and admire the canyon or take a short walk to the base of Bridal Veil Falls.


Bridal Veil Falls - Utah








The Loneliest Road  – and Beyond


Loneliest Road in America


The thin light line bisecting the valley floor and reaching towards New Pass Summit is US Highway 50, labeled the Loneliest Road in America. The route spans from the shores of Lake Tahoe across central Nevada to Ely and the Utah state line. Heavy commercial traffic traverses the state on I-80 further to the north. A series of towns and settlements line the first 60 miles from Carson City to Fallon. Then the traveler begins to understand the lonely label. Services, habitation and bathrooms are few and far between. I’m sure I wasn’t the first traveler to be desperate at the first mini-market in Austin.


Since our lodging reservations were in Elko on I-80 we left the Loneliest Road and headed north on State Route 305 – even lonelier. We saw not a single car the first ten miles so decided to wager how many we would see on the entire 86-mile length. Bob said 10, I estimated 12. The total was 22 (plus I passed 2 vehicles). Most of the traffic was the last 15 miles near Battle Mountain because of active mining operations.


Elko Sunset

As we left our hotel to go to dinner we caught the shades of sunset in the wispy clouds. A not so lonely end to the day.


Next Page »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers