Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Land of the Living Skies

A turn for the better! After our disastrous round in Alberta, we quickly sped to Saskatchewan. Land of the living skies. Or, (the motto I prefer), Saskatchewan, naturally. Our current stop isn't WWOOF at all, but a friend of my dog's breeder. We’re boarding at one of the premier Newfoundland kennels worldwide, which means that there are puppies!

11 to be precise. Ranging from 5 weeks to 8 week s and all totally adorable. We’re doing a lot of window washing (which we’re bad at), and weeding (which we’re good at all. Not only that but we’ve lined up our next spot to stay in Manitoba where we will be plastering! Not getting plastered, keep in mind.

We’re sitting in a coffee shop in Regina, which is pronounced quite awkwardly. My day gets made when I hear someone say ‘eh’, and I’m learning tricks like a little Listerine makes a dogs coat look real good. Also got to smash up an old dog door with a hammer this morning, which was tons of fun. Regina seems like a nice city, an oasis of trees in this prairie. Just getting to our hosts require about 10 miles on gravel roads. Nick and I tried to take a walk only to find that the landscape didn’t change a bit, which was nice and odd.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why I hate Alberta

Or, perhaps more accurately, why does Alberta hate me?

The morning started off great in BC, a farewell pancake breakfast and some recommendations from our wonderful host. We began driving, through beautiful BC, over mountains, and stopping at the world’s largest truck for lunch. Or rather, the grocery store next to the world’s largest truck.

Then we crossed the border. A call to our hosts at our designated meeting spot simply got a response of other WWOOFers who had no clue how to get to the place. We wandered around lost on the gravel roads for two hours in the sun, before finally finding the place. As we stopped to open the gate the car behind us stopped, and out stepped a fake tanned woman in a small pink halter. Not the German proprietress I had expected, but our host nonetheless. I introduced myself, showed her the e-mails we had send confirming, but she was not happy to see us.

As I had not e-mailed her yesterday to confirm a third time she claimed she had assumed we were no shows and had a couple from German coming in tomorrow (I know I plan my adventures across oceans in one day and leave the next) and was too full for us. All she had was a tent. I asked if we could at least have the tent for the night, and would head out in the morning. She responded that there were bears in the area, and we wouldn’t be able to shower. I explained that I had gone three months without a shower just fine. She said no.

So, although the stereotype is WWOOFers not showing up apparently it works the other way as well. We kept driving, not knowing what to do, and headed up towards Calgary. Our first town was full, a rodeo was happening, so we continued on, finally stopping at this strip mall of a place. Naturally my debit card didn’t work, and when I called the bank to authorize it they had no one on staff. Luckily Nick was able to get his to work at a different location and we’ve got a place for the night. But nowhere to go tomorrow.

We’ve gone for home cooked meals of chili, Thai peanut noodles, chocolate caked from scratch, to my dinner of poptarts and fries. The fast food joint was all out of salad. Here’s hoping that we can get out of this province and into something better before too long. But of course, this is just a bit of a plot twist in our journey and with any luck we will be on to a wonderful host soon enough.

Bear spray and other sundries

July 16th (will add in pictures with better internet later),

Tonight is our last night here at Ravencourt Bed and Breakfast, and I’m sad to be going. I’d highly recommend it for WWOOFers or vacationers. We’ve weeded and window washed but mostly have simply been fed well. Its nice working mornings and then lounging afternoons, hikes involve bringing a can of bear spray, which doesn’t work as repellent so much as pepper spray it would appear. Sadly, no bears in sight.

Tomorrow we cross the Rockies and head into Alberta, further East in Canada then I have ever been. Normally if I travel that direction its to another coast, and I’ve never stopped much in between. Even driving through Eastern Washington was a new surprise. Read a collection of Vonnegut’s short stories today and did a load of laundry that dried fast in the afternoon sun. Dinner was some scalloped potatoes and cheese and a tasty bit of ice cream sundae for dessert.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beautiful BC

Nick and I are holed up on the floor of a library using internet for the first time. After a long but uneventful nine hour drive mostly through the landscapes of Eastern Washington we arrived at our Bed and Breakfast a few days ago to start our WWOOFing adventure. Our first host is a super nice lady who feeds us delicious things (though the maple syrup is Kirkland brand!), and in exchange we work for a couple of hours weeding the garden or washing the windows. Its no farm, but it is a good time. We’ve been hiking, have foraged wild huckleberries, and are now exploring the nearest town of Nelson, which is a good 35 minute drive away.

Lifesaver: The Prius converts to kilometers per hour for me!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oh Canada

Off to the next adventure! After three months in Kyrgyzstan filled with revolution and mass ethnic cleansing, I for reasons we won't talk about here (the pause in this blog was due to some PC censorship) I came back to America.
And started planning my next trip. My cousin Nick and I are driving from Seattle to Toronto, WWOOFing it along the way of our trans-Canada adventure, and then taking a classic Americana roadtrip back. The car is packed, the trail mix is made, the mix CDs are burned, and all that's left to do is start that engine. So stay tuned for pictures and updates, which depending on how often I get internet, may be quite infrequent.
Also, know someone in Manitoba? We've still got four free days there.