Driving toÂ SaskatoonÂ was fast and clear cruising at 110-120 KPH under a cloudless sky. Â I stopped for fuel in Alberta, the most oil rich province and topped up with gas at a mere 0.835 a liter. Â I noticed along the way that a lot of the intersecting roads were unpaved and proof came in the dust and grime cemented on the other cars at the gas station which was thick enough that I couldn’t read their license plates. Â The road was lined with what I’ll simply call farmland despite being largely filled with grass heads of cattle that seemed distributed by hot air balloon. Â Saskatoon itself was unremarkable and the clustered housing reminded me of a thousand other such ones I’d driven through, by, or in as part of my loop of the Anglo sphere of influence in the West.
I arrived at my host’s house shortly before dinner and was greeted by a well prepared spread that would have made Good Housekeeping proud. Â Devin/Devmon’s parents and I talked for probably about two and half hours about the quirks andÂ machinationsÂ of both American and Canadian politics with us each asking simple but tricky questions that only kids normally ask when exposed to a new magisteria of creation. Â Mine being “so, what’s up with Quebec” and my host’s being “So, what’s New Jersey”. Â I wonder if the latter was spawned by the caliber or content of American cultural export or more of a realization that the state as an administrative district is rather distinct from the state as a cultural one.
Devon and I played some quality TF2 where I resumed a more bombastic persona that I hope didn’t unwind to comity I had with my hosts. Â I can sometimes yell inappropriate things.
I left a bit before midnight and the last light of day was still lingering which returned before 4 AM as I shot towards the US. Â My plan was to stay overnight in the US as Canada doesn’t seem to have the $40 hotel room that Motel 6 has led me to expect. Â I crossed the border and again had my vehicle searched although this time half-heartedly and I searched my again-functioning GPS for a motel. Â I found one… 120 miles aways in Minot, North Dakota. Grr….
As I drove across North Dakota seeing the opalescent dawn blow color across the dimpled and hill-spotted terrain, I had my first moment where I silenced my inner photo taker. Â The landscape was beautiful, and under almost any other circumstances, I’d have stopped for easily a half hour soaking up the land and its secrets but this was overpowered by my brain’s demand for sleep.
I stumbled into a Days Inn nearly dozing off at the front desk and I requested a room for the day. Â The desk attendant obliged my request for a room I could occupy until about 3 PM and another war began in my head between the part that demanded sleep and the part that was outraged by a $100 fee for the night. Â The cheap part won and I drove to a KOA, set up my tent in a blur, and slammed $22 into the overnight registration box and went to bed.