Leaving the race track camp site, small critters were scattering everywhere. We think some were marmots – the ones that stand on their hind legs and survey the scene for predators and some we have called “gofers”. They are tiny, run very fast and have stand up tails. As soon as they see our green monster, they are off down their burrows in the blink of an eye.
The weather was better than expected, clouds and a bit of sun, but luckily no rain, during the day. We took some small rural roads to connect from Highway 14 to Highway 13. The countryside was undulating and there appeared to be a harmony between agriculture and oil/gas exploration. Herds of beef cattle were peacefully grazing around fenced off areas in the middle of their fields containing nodding donkeys. These were gently nodding extracting oil from beneath the surface. In the planted fields it is the same. Acres under cultivation with small fenced areas with all the paraphernalia connected to extracting oil and gas. The landscape is dotted with silos and tanks. There are a few of the older style wooden silos, but mainly they are made of corrugated iron and gleam in the sunlight. They remind me of batteries of rockets waiting for blast off. I think the older ones are much more attractive, but obviously not as practical or efficient. The closer we get to Saskatoon the flatter the landscape gets. We are getting into prairie country after all.
Highway 13 was actually signposted as being Highway 14 once we joined it. There are no rest places or toilet facilities on these roads.In the more touristy areas we have been in, these are available regularly. We pulled over for lunch on a side road in Landis but not long after decided we had to go and look for facilities! As we approached the town of Perdue there was a sign indicating a Visitor Information Centre. We thought we would go and investigate and use the facilities and wifi. Reaching the end of the main street, there was no visible Info. Centre. There was a Co-op though. We needed a few items so i went in. The very helpful lady running the store advised there was no Info. Centre in Perdue, but we were very welcome to use their facilities. We gratefully did so. On returning to the Land Rover, Dennis suddenly exclaimed, ‘We have a problem here!” A diesel leak from the just replaced fuel filter housing.
From here on the day turned somewhat pear shaped. We decided to head for the campsite just outside the centre of Saskatoon. As we turned into the road where the camp site was located, Dennis saw a site where we could pull off and he could investigate. Tightening some screws he partially alleviated the problem, but did not have quite the right sized spanner required! I thought we had every type of spanner known to man. We drove into the campsite, thought we would book in and then go and find an automotive/tool shop. Being so close to central Saskatoon the campsite was heaving. The battle axe at check-in informed me their were no tent sites that could accommodate us and we would have to pay for a fully serviced RV site at $38. I thanked her for her offer, but declined it. We left, but on our way out used their tap to refill our water tank which was getting dangerously low.
It was still quite early, around 4pm. We thought we would go to Canadian Tire for a spanner and Dennis also thought we needed copper washers. We would then visit downtown and after head off and find another campsite en route on Highway 5.
Canadian Tire had the spanner but no copper washers. We briefly used Canadian Tire’s wifi to catch up on emails and the blog, and spent ages visiting 3 other parts stores around Saskatoon looking, unsuccessfully, for the washers. By this time it was 6pm so we headed for downtown. We drove around the main streets and the area along the river, briefly seeing the old, rickety, 1907 Victoria Bridge. we had planned to spend longer, but needed to find a campsite for the night.
We headed out of town and after about 20 miles and no sign of any campsites, we pulled in behind a derelict building. Hidden from the road, we set up camp. Soon after the rain started. When we went to bed it had set in to be a wet night. We were somewhat concerned how the Caranex would hold up to such conditions.