Prairie Skies and Train Rides

A few weeks ago, I flew home to Saskatchewan to surprise my Mom for her 65th birthday. My Dad and brother and I had it all planned out. We made sure to NOT tell the nephews, because we didn’t think they could keep the secret 🙂

I flew in on Friday night – Dad had to make an excuse to get Mom to leave my brother’s place, so that my brother and his family could pick me up from the airport!

On Saturday morning, we headed out to a restaurant for breakfast, and waited for the birthday girl to arrive. The surprise was exactly as I hoped it would have been. The look of recognition, then confusion, then shock, then realization (all within a second or two)… Then the tears came (for both of us!). It was priceless 🙂

For Mom’s birthday in the evening, my Dad had booked the entire family on the Southern Prairie Railway train ride through southern Saskatchewan. The train starts in Ogema (a bustling community of 400 people, about an hour southwest of Regina) and travels to Horizon or Pangman, depending on the tour. We did the evening train ride, which heads out to Horizon for a “Settler’s Dinner” in an old church (aka a classic Prairie Church dinner, complete with an epic pie table).

On the way out to Ogema, we had to wait for road construction, so had a few minutes to snap some pictures of the local scenery.

Once in Ogema, we had a bit of time to kill before the train ride started. So, we checked out the main street of Ogema, played on the wooden train structure, and had a peak at the restored train engine that would be whisking us away through the prairie fields.

The Southern Prairie Railway is completely run by volunteers – the two train conductors (one driving the train, one punching tickets) were both retired CP Rail conductors, and another woman (a local from Ogema) was our tour guide. She pointed out bits of info about the area as we were passing through the countryside.

The train ride took about an hour to get out to Horizon. We could either walk over to the church for dinner, or take a school bus. With three young nephews who had energy to burn, we chose the walk 🙂

The train ride back to Ogema showcased a perfect prairie evening – big, open skies and a setting sun.

It was a great weekend to spend with the family!

Saturday Snippets: 29.July.2017

This time of year always feels like a busy time for celebrations. My birthday was yesterday, my Mom’s was last week, my Dad’s is next week. Their anniversary was thrown into the mix, too! For my birthday, Jonty and I started off with breakfast on the beach, then went climbing (obviously), moved on to one of our favourite places for nibbles and drinks, and finished off the day with a slice (or two) of the birthday pie he made me! It was a good day 🙂

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 29.July.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • What words were added to the dictionary, the year you were born? 1979 brought us words like “first world problem”, “napa cabbage” and “pepper spray”.
  • The West Coast typically gets a few really hot weeks every summer, starting about now. So, it’s the perfect time of year for ice cream! We love making our own small no-churn batches. Here’s 48 fantastic ice cream recipes to try, if you need some inspiration. Ours is the Balsamic-Roasted Cherry Ice Cream, if you’re interested 🙂
  • We may not own a cast iron skillet, but I’m quite sure this blueberry cobbler would be just as tasty in a regular glass baking dish 🙂
  • I finished reading Night Film last week. It was a long book, but it’s been on my to-read list for quite some time, and I’m glad I finally opened it up! It’s a mystery / suspense novel, and there were quite a few tense moments when I wondered if I should be reading it with the lights on… But all good in the end. Honestly, it has been one of the best books I’ve read in a while!

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • The platform bed is thiiiiis close to being done! We’ll have the bulk of the pictures for you next week. For now, here’s a little sneak peek. | Sprinter van conversion - building a platform bed | Sprinter van conversion - building a platform bed

Pictures from the week of 29.July.2017:

I have a bunch of pictures from my weekend in Saskatchewan, but this week has slipped by me in a blink of an eye, and I haven’t had a chance to properly go through all of them. So, for now, here are a few pictures until I get the rest edited! | Saskatchewan prairie views | Saskatchewan prairie views | Saskatchewan prairie views

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 31.December.2016

Holy moly, can anyone else believe that we’re at the end of 2016 already? One year ago, we were wondering as to whether we would be in The Van and on our travels. Jonty gave it a 50% chance, I thought around 75% and Jonty’s brother an optimistic 90% chance. While we’re definitely not on the road with a finished van, we’ve made reasonable progress. We’ve told everyone it WILL be finished in 2017, so now the pressure’s on 😉

We spent the holidays in Saskatchewan, with my side of the family, and had a wonderful time. The week went by quickly, with lots of visiting and eating and drinking, and very little time online. As such, I’m anticipating another Saturday Snippets that is light on the words and heavy on the photos.

So here are a few things that caught our eye online in the word of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Our Saturday Snippets for 31.December. 2016.

And now for a few holiday pictures.

Checking out the prairie landscape, from above.

Christmas was filled with stocking and Christmas sweaters and backyard ice hockey. A Christmas-day birthday and just-because cinnamon buns. A few tasty local craft breweries and lots and lots of coffee 🙂

Happy Weekend and Happy New Year!

Scenes From Above

Last week I headed back to the prairies to spend some time with my family. The few days I was there went by quickly, but I had a great visit with everyone. Our two little nephews are growing like weeds and are turning into little men! The great thing about being on sabbatical is that I can take advantage of seat sales (travel to Saskatchewan isn’t usually a hot-spot destination during January 🙂 ).

I usually like the aisle seat, but lately I’ve opted for the window, in the hopes of enjoying some of the views. This trip was no exception. | Airplane view of sunrise

Up above the Vancouver clouds. | Airplane view over the Canadian Rockies

Heading over the Rockies into Calgary. | Airplane view of the Canadian prairies in winter

The Saskatchewan winter patchwork.

The weather was unseasonably warm while I was there – like on the plus-celsius side!! But this West-Coast girl wasn’t complaining! We enjoyed the blue skies, backyard skating rink, and balmy snowman-building weather. | Skating in the backyard with family, Regina SK

Our 3-year-old nephew showing Auntie how it’s done. | Sunrise, Regina | Silhouette of | Building snowmen, Regina SK

As I flew out of Regina, the prairie landscape lit up under the rising sun, with views nicer than the socked-in rain that welcomed me back home. | Airplane view of the Canadian prairies in | Airplane view of the Canadian prairies in winter

The countdown is now on for our big trip! Only 13 days until we pick up our RV and begin our 3-month adventure. I guess it’s time we start planning!!