Monday, August 07, 2006

Arriving at our destination

I've been putting off writing about the final days of my road-trip. I feel as though I would never be able to do the experience justice. How could any of it be captured by these scrawls, these imperfect words? I guess all I could do is try, so here's the fourth post, about the fourth day – July 29th:

Despite griping about the density of the hotel pillows, I had the best night's sleep while in Saskatoon. Of course, it could also be the knowledge that the following day's drive would be short, and hence I could sleep in (if you could call waking up at 7:30 “sleeping in”). I felt well-rested and ready to take on the day, although I was anxious to see Yorkton at last. I had been saying all along that I had the feeling that S would like the town, hoping that perhaps if I said it enough, it would turn out to be true. In every town that we had pulled into the past couple of days (Fort Nelson, Fort Saint John, Dawson Creek), we had stated that we thought Yorkton would be comparable. (Would Yorkton feel as industrial as Fort Saint John? Would it have all the conveniences? Would there be a laser car-wash?)

We took Circle Drive out of Saskatoon, and got to see the outskirts of the city that way before hitting the highway again. The road-sign indicated that it was 320 km from Saskatoon to Yorkton. The yellow fields of canola flashed past on either side, as did those mysterious bluish fields (what were they?). S and I marvelled at the stretches where the two-lane highway indeed seemed to stretch straight into the horizon, and we could see for what seemed like infinity on all sides. Stopped in at a Subway to buy chocolate milk, and past the small towns (which we never really saw, since we would have had to turn off the highway). Farm equipment, granaries, and the odd CP Rail car provided our entertainment for the drive. Then, there was the community of Foam Lake, touted as the “Best Place in the World to Live” (by whom?). Unlike during our brief stop at Muncho Lake, S and I spent no time whatsoever arguing whether Foam Lake was indeed the best place on earth. We stopped only for a quick photo before moving onward, the anticipation mounting as we drove closer to Yorkton. Signs along the highway indicated places to golf and fish – something S would have to take up for sure (although he has already fished before). There were a few small churches in the middle of the fields. Although I'm not religious whatsoever, I thought it was fitting to have those small graceful structures in the middle of such openness, beneath that infinite sky. What better place to rejoice in the miracles that abound? The churches also announced to us that not only was this the land of living skies, but it was also the land of cultural richness, heralding the Eastern Orthodoxy that has been part and parcel of the history (and the present) of the region.

We pulled into Yorkton at around noon, after driving a total of 2828 km from Whitehorse. S had wanted to get my honest first impressions of the town, and I was glad that I found it charming. It had absolutely all the conveniences one could ever want (at least for someone who had spent time in Inuvik), but without compromising any of its rusticity. As we pulled into the street where S would live, I expounded praises on the tree-lined streets and the cute, well-kept houses. S's house is across the street from an elementary school, and the little girl riding her bike in circles around the block when we arrived only added to the appeal. In the end, Yorkton reminded me not of Fort Nelson, Fort Saint John, or Dawson Creek, but of Whitehorse, which I absolutely love.

Unloading the car included driving it directly up onto the lawn (with the approval of the landlord!), and dragging suitcases and various knick-knacks (and our tired asses) up the stairs. The rooftop carrier got a hose-down. After handling the drive so well, Baby (the car) received a much-deserved second shower. Yorkton had a laser car-wash after all.

Exploration of the town consisted mostly of ducking in and out of stores the rest of the afternoon, and making repeated exclamations of “Wow! They have this in Yorkton too!” The highlight was no doubt hauling S's new television up the stairs. I know he will laugh at me forever for thinking I could lift it.

I realize that I really haven't described Yorkton much, but I really can't. What sticks in my mind is the hope that it will be a good fit for S, and that my first impressions will prove to be right.

1 comment:

  1. Remember our roadtrip all those years ago? That was a blast. We were so young and fearless then! We should do it again.