08/21/05 to
Well, we made it into Canada (just barely, but we'll get to that later.)  On Sunday,
8-21, we left Sturgis, SD for the long drive North.  We took a short detour
through the badlands to see what they were all about.  They are very similar to
the painted desert, but larger in scale and slightly less colorful.  We had just
expected to see mountains, but we were able to see wildlife too, some mountain
goats and some prairie dogs.  
We then continued the long boring drive through South and North Dakota.  
We drove by numerous fields of sunflowers and wheat, with a few fields of
soybeans mixed in every now and then.  Sunflowers always face East, and
since we were heading North, Richard got the best view.  (At 60 miles per
hour, here is what he saw.)  
Well, if they always face East, and we're going North, and I'm a passenger,
that means that I got to look at, that's right, 60 mile per hour sunflower ass.  
All the way to Canada.  
We found a Wal-Mart in Minot, North Dakota and slept a few hours, then got back
on the road early Monday morning to get into Canada where Richard's siblings
were waiting.  They had arrived a day early of course, because Richard's brother
Jack cannot seem to take his foot off of the accelerator.  
The burly Canadian with his full handle-bar mustache (I'm not kidding) at the border
was more than intimidating.  We were all smiles as we greeted him, but that soon
faded as he grilled us on our previous jobs, what we were going to do in Canada,
etc.  He even made me take off my sunglasses.  Then came the really funny
questions, like "do you have any firearms."  Of course, my dear husband has more
than one, and none of my requests have succeeded in getting him to get rid of
them.  Since we live in the RV, they were, of course, with us, on their way into
Canada, which we didn't know wasn't allowed.  We knew we would not be able to
take them into Mexico, but had never been told about Canada.  I suspect that if Mr.
Burly Custom's Agent hadn't had me thinking he was going to check every inch of
our rig, while firing questions at us about who we hung out with when we were
three, and what we ate for breakfast 12 days ago, I would have probably lied, but I
was not about to get thrown into some Canadian jail because Mr. Handlebar found
guns in the RV.  So I looked at Richard to get him to answer.  (He is much better at
lying than I am.)  He could see that I was not going to be able to lie to a direct
question, so he fessed up.  We had an air rifle and two hand guns.  Apparently
they don't let anyone with hand guns into Canada, and want a $25.00 fee to enter
with a rifle, even an air rifle.  Now, first I need to explain that the border is nowhere
near a town of any size, so if we had to turn around and go to the post office to
mail them (which I don't think you can do, but Mr. Handlebar thinks you can) we
would have gone hours out of our way, at 8.5 miles to the gallon, with Mr. Lead
Foot waiting on us in Canada.  So, our only choice was to leave them at the
border.  We were fairly sure we could talk Richard's brother Jack (a.k.a. Lead
Foot) into picking them up on his way back into the States, since we wanted to
continue on west through Canada.  However, as we were discussing this, Mr.
Handlebar informed us that our plan was no good, only Richard could reclaim his
weapons of mass destruction.  Then Handlebar decided he was clever, and threw
in, "you'll have to understand, I don't know Jack, eh?"  Oh, he thought he was so
funny.  So of course, as Handlebar chuckled at his humor, Richard had to respond
with, "I didn't think you Canadians were supposed to have a sense of humor."  
Fortunately Handlebar had loosened up by then, so we didn't end up in Canadian
Border Prison.  However, this means that we have to drive all the way back to the
border, with Jack behind us, (about 2 hours) get the guns, drive into the States,
give the guns to Jack, then turn around and drive all the way back up into Canada.  
I suggested we do this on the motorcycle, leaving the RV somewhere on Highway
1 to save gas, and that is what we will do, but you do know what that means, don't
you?  I get to ride on the back of the motorcycle for the 25 yards between the two
countries, carrying a rifle!!  I sure hope the US side doesn't see me coming and
rush out with their guns drawn.   

So we got into the RV park and met Richard's siblings with no more excitement
(besides one wrong turn in the park which resulted in having to turn the RV around
in an area about half as big as we needed.)  Word travels fast in the small towns of
100 to 500 people around here, and everyone knows we're here looking for
long-lost relatives of Richard's mother.  People have been stopping at the RV park
to see us, and in town everyone talks to us.  At first I though we were just an oddity
because we had Wisconsin plates,  (Lead Foot has been driving us around in his
van) and they see few out-of-towners, but then I looked around and realized it is
probably Lead Foot himself is who is bringing all the attention.  Can you see why?  
(Jack, (you remember,  Lead Foot) Richard, and Barbara)  
On Tuesday, 8-23, we drove around visiting long-lost relatives.  Driving through
Saskatchewan is like driving through North and South Dakota, without the pretty
sunflowers.  NOTHING to look at.  One of their big crops up here is canola
(previously known as rape seed) most of which is done, brown, and cut already,
waiting to be processed.  However, today we saw a field of blooming canola,
and after many requests and a few demands, we got Jack to stop and we sent
Richard out to pick us some so we could see what it looked like.   
On Wednesday, 8-24,  we got all packed up, and drove our RV, with Jack hot on
our tails, down to a gas station on HWY 1.  Then we got the motorcycle down for
the 200 mile round trip from there to the border.  On the way there we stopped to
get gas, and Richard told his stupid fish jerky joke (How do you make fish jerky?  
Put coffee in their water.)  When the poor lady behind the counter didn't get it, he
said something along the lines of, "oh yeah, you're Canadian, you'll get it
tomorrow."  Without a second's hesitation, she quipped, "I hope it rains."  It was
already overcast and VERY windy.  The closer we got to the border, the worse
the weather was.  I was sure it was an omen of what was to come.  When we
arrived, we got the guns from Canada, no problem, but we were having the
hardest time explaining to the girl at the US border what we were doing.  Jack,
Carol and Barbara had cruised through, in a full size van and RV trailer, with just
a few questions and a peek inside.  However, we wouldn't have the same luck.  
She searched the motorcycle, and every inch of our property.  (Opened all the
pockets on my  camera bag, looked in Richard's riding boots that were in the
saddlebags, etc.  She wanted to know where we had been, why, how Richard
and I  were related (I almost didn't want to admit we were married!) etc.  Then she
made us come in to fill out declarations forms.  (Did Jack and company have to
fill out forms?  NO!)   Sure enough, when we went into the US customs office,
there was Handlebar, cohorting with the Americans.  Once he explained to Mrs.
Customs Agent what we were doing, she understood.  (Or at least acted like it.)    
Handlebar asked where Jack was, he hadn't forgotten us at all.  We told him Jack
was parked outside and he could meet him if he wanted.  Handlebar said he
didn't like his own family, why would he like ours, then he proceeded to tell his
American Co-conspirators how Richard said Canadians didn't have a sense of
humor, eh?  (Would my husband just shut up about Canadians and their humor?)  
Oh that started the jokes flying.  The whole time, Jack, Carol and Barbara are
waiting 500 feet from the border, thinking we're being booked, strip searched,
and extradited.  We finally got out of there, with one good joke under our
belts--Do you know how they named Canada?  They put all the letters of the
alphabet in a hat, and one guy started drawing letters:  "C"  eh? "N" eh? "D" eh?.  
Well, I guess it's funnier said than written.  Read it to yourself out loud, you'll get it.  
So, after handing off our weapons of mass destruction, we headed back on our
long 100 mile ride through the Canadian nothingness. (After stopping a second
time at Canadian customs to get let back in of course.  These are small, one or
two man operations, we were the only traffic the entire 45 minutes we were there,
but we had to stop again and prove we where who we said we were, etc.  I swear
it must be my husband, he doesn't look that suspicious does he? )   

When we got back to the RV, we were loading the bike on the rack, and promptly
drove the front tire right over the front of the rack.  That took some time to figure
out.  So, after our all day gun running expedition and motorcycle wrestling, we
finally headed West on "scenic" highway 1.  Go ahead and look at your atlas.  
See the dotted green line that runs all along Highway 1, yeah, that is supposed to
mean scenic.  They could have done with just one dot, because it is ALL the
same.  Field after field of cut crops.  Nothing to look at.  We would go miles
without seeing a single building.  Finally, after about four and a half hours of
nothingness, we arrived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  {The Saskatchewan
Department of Tourism's slogan:  Saskatchewan, hard to spell, easy to draw.}