Entering Saskatchewan, I always feel a weird sense of belonging since my parents were both from here. Isabella has been to the “Land of Living Skies” before but Julie had not. Thankfully both girls have now been to 5 provinces and there is no sibling rivalry.
I drove a decent chunk of the drive to Saskatoon from Yorkton (where we made a stop at Wal-mart to replace the bell that had broken off Julie’s bike). I love driving on the prairies; you just set the cruise control and stare ahead at the interesting clouds and occasional grain elevator. It was a long but pleasant drive.
We stayed at a hotel in Saskatoon. We’ve been staying at Best Westerns since they seem to always have exciting waterslides in addition to their free breakfasts. The kids took Mike to the pool within 10 minutes of checking it. I’ve somehow been able to avoid the hotel pools so far because of Mike’s FOMO.
We went to a Mediterranean restaurant as I am continuously trying to feed the kids enough vegetables. I thought that keeping away from the bad foods (fries, baked goods) was going to be the hard part but I have discovered that actually finding enough of the good stuff is harder. You can only eat so many cucumbers and carrots in the backseat and the side garden salad gets old quickly. I miss cooked veggies! Anyhow we had a nice dinner with vegetables included and then relaxed in the hotel.
We have been to Saskatoon before so felt less pressure to do everything. Instead we parked the car on the fringe of the University of Saskatchewan campus (where my parents met) and rode our bikes across the river into town. We spent most of the day at the Central Library doing research on prairie dogs. Animals seem to peak our eldest daughter’s interest more than any other topic. She read, wrote notes and then did her school assignment about prairie dogs with little complaining. It made our bike ride home more interesting as we examined the animals’ burrows and noticed things that we’d learned about. We are growing to love the “hang out in a library” stop.
We had trouble finding a lunch spot but eventually settled into an Afghan restaurant which the kids both agreed was their best meal of the trip so far. Our kids’ palates continue to make us laugh as it becomes more and more clear that they grew up in Toronto eating a lot of different foods. Isabella will not eat a cold cut but give her some shawarma and she’s good to go.
Later that evening we went to Fuddruckers which is a Saskatchewan memory from my childhood. Although the Regina outpost no longer exists, we were lucky that Saskatoon still has a location. It was exactly as I remembered it and we gave a silly name but Isabella told me she was embarrassed when she had to go to the counter and pick up Gummy Bear’s order! The girls made swamp water and the whole experience just made me smile and remember trips there with my great aunt and cousins.
We left Saskatoon the next day but not before a trip to the berry patch to pick Saskatoon berries. We literally picked a pail for which we were charged $11 and given 2 packs of candy and 2 freezies. Our Toronto perception of what things cost is being challenged in Manitoba and Saskatchewan! It got us in trouble when we ordered the $40 fish and chip meal which could have fed 8 adults!
Anyhow we finished our Saskatchewan jaunt with a trip to the Western Development museum outpost in North Battleford. Imagine a prairie pioneer village with all the requisite buildings : general store, blacksmith, church, schoolhouse, etc. I was fascinated by the grain elevator which you could enter and see inside.
Outside there were some First Nations elders teaching the kids things (and me). One group was smoking a bison right there and another group was teaching about wrapping babies in moss wraps. They also taught us about the teepees that were in the yard. All in all it was a great worldschooling day.
Now we are off to Alberta!