Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 16 - Saskatchewan, a place of many surprises….

 I arrived at my hotel – the Comfort Inn in Swift Current on Monday July 18th, and met up with Junior and his friend from Ontario. One of my sisters from the Ontario Chrome Divas, Terry, had told the guys where I was staying. They had attended Sturgis North and were on their way home to the Greater Toronto Area.

It was wonderful to meet these gents and share a few stories and some laughs.

The Swift Current Comfort Inn is a wonderful hotel that is located close to WalMart and many other amenities like Tim Horton’s. The staff is very friendly, and it seems to me that no matter where you stay, the staff make or break the visit.  Like all of the Comfort Inns, this location has a great continental breakfast and free internet. The rooms are spacious and clean and if you forget something like conditioner or a comb, the front desk staff is quick to help out.

Try them out for yourself the next time you find yourself in Swift Current, I am sure you will appreciate the many features that make this property rider friendly – the staff being one of the best features they offer!

1510 South Service Rd. E.
Swift CurrentSKS9H 3X6
Phone: (306) 778-3994
Fax: (306) 773-9312

Here is the link to their Rider Friendly Business Association® Phone Book ad on our web site:

After sharing breakfast and a few laughs and some conversation with the guys it was time to saddle up and head out. I decided to check out some of the small communities that I have ridden by in the past and I am so very glad that I did.

Day 16 of the Share the Road Share the Ride Motorcycle Awareness Conga!

The first stop was in Herbert, a very small town that has seen better days. 
The CP Rail Museum was what I wanted to see.  Herbert has another claim to fame as well – it is the home of Don Wittman of CBC Sports!

I had gone to the WalMart in Swift Current to exchange my new camera – the lens had quit retracting, and when I got to the museum I discovered the battery needed to be charged, so while I was waiting for the camera to charge I partook in a Mennonite tradition called Faspa.  Faspa is a light luncheon, traditionally served between lunch time and supper time – a coffee break if you will.  A Faspa includes buns, sandwich fixings like sausage and cheese with pickles, a beverage, coffee, tea, juice or water and a home made piece of cake or some other pastry.

While I was having my Faspa, a kindly old gentleman by the name of Bill Redekop asked to join me. Bill was a councillor for Herbert and for 20 years he was also the mayor of this little town.  He offered to take me through the museum and he regaled me with many interesting facts and stories. He also shared with me that the love of his life, his wonderful wife had MS and was in the hospital in Swift Current and that after the tour he would be heading there to go see her.  This 86 year young man had so much to share and the pride he feels for this little community was so evident as he spoke of its history.

The museum is filled with the history and artifacts of the region and its relationship with CP Railways.
One of the best stories Bill shared with me as we walked through the various exhibits was the one he told me while standing in front of the old jail cells. It appears that in 1923, a mother who was visiting Herbert and was expecting her baby needed a bed and the small hospital had none, so the doctor arranged for her to have a bed in the basement of the town hall in the jail cells. 

Bill Redekop telling the tale of the jail
Years later, that baby, Henry Bergen came back to visit Herbert to see the cell he was born in and expressed to Bill that he was often very embarrassed to be called a jail bird by his parents as he grew up!

The time I spent in Herbert with Bill was so rewarding and it is my hope that the next time you find yourself riding the Trans Canada through this area – you will stop in and experience this small museum and town and its warm and generous people.

After a rewarding visit in Herbert, I got on my bike and headed to the next small town, Morse

I had heard that their museum was a very interesting place to stop and folks – it is another little gem tucked away just off the Trans Canada highway.

The Morse Museum and Visitors Centre is housed in the very majestic 1912 built school house.
When you first walk in you see the information on the bird sanctuary and are greeted by the friendly staff that will walk you through the museum and its offerings. 
While I was there a tour of Asian visitors were taking in the splendours of old in the Victorian Parlour.
Victorian Parlour

This museum is crammed full of artifacts that make up the towns history and it is also an art gallery featuring the works of many local artisans. There are two levels to the museum and every room is filled with incredible displays including the black wedding gowns of the dirty thirties. 

Yes, that is right, wedding gowns in the thirties were mostly black – as a former florist this is a tidbit I already knew!  Why is that you ask? Well, in the thirties many women could not afford a wedding dress and so old dresses were dyed and revamped – the other reason, white fabrics were very expensive and hard to keep clean and the dress could then serve many other purposes later!

There are also fabulous displays of wool spinning wheels, old rifles, antique dentist chairs and hospital equipment. There is one room dedicated to old appliances like the washing machine and its evolution not to mention stoves, fridges, irons and other every day items we now take for granted that back in the pioneer days were worth their weight in gold.  Some of the other wondrous items in the museum are old pump organs, Victrolas and juke boxes.
The staff here is well versed in the history of Morse, what it meant to be a pioneer and the birds of Reed Lake and are eager to share with you their love of their town. It is an absolute must see.

The next stop for the day was Indian Head, the location of the TV Series Little Mosque on the Prairies. I happened to arrive as they were in the middle of filming the last episodes. 
The TV Series will not be renewed.  
One of the last days of filming for the final episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie

Indian Head is a lovely town and Saskatchewan’s provincial winner of the Communities in Bloom competition. The old homes here are stately and truly throw you back to a time of genteel and relaxed ways. It is also the new home of Valhalla Tattoos and Antiques.
RJ of Valhalla Tattoos

RJ and his wife have created a wonderful place for their business here. The tattoo portion of the shop is very clean and sterile and the antique side is filled with old signs and other unique collectables.

RJ took me for a tour of the town. 
What a pretty place. It is no wonder it was chosen to film the TV Series Little Mosque on the Prairie!

Victorian style homes with park like yards is why this town won the Communities in Bloom competition for Saskatchewan! What a gorgeous little town!
The temperature in southern Saskatchewan was 39 degrees and it was time to get on the bike and head for Brandon where Kirk Van Alstyne from the Manitoba Ride for Dad and a Winnipeg City Police Officer was meeting me to ride me to Winnipeg.

At Whitewood Sk, just before the Manitoba border, I stopped for fuel. As I entered the parking lot which was a sand pit I went to use my back brake only to discover I had none!
When I was in Penticton I had stopped in at CG Customs and had Jay tighten my new drive belt. 
At that time he had rerouted the breather hose and the filter for my air breather and sadly had not lifted the hose high enough and the filter had rubbed a hole in my back brake line. 
Nothing was open in Whitewood so I headed for Brandon very cognizant of the fact that I had no back brakes – it sure changes your riding style!

Next stop – Brandon Manitoba!