Log #55b Manitoba to Saskatchewan

August 28, 2012 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 55, The Logs

Skagway, Alaska

Aug. 28, 2012

Hi Folks,

Those who are getting this log, you are on my new address list.

We were able to get tickets for the Fjord Express whale watching catamaran down to Juneau and so stayed an extra two days to do so. Thus I have gotten this next Log #55b ready with information about our RCMP in Regina, and a kite festival and drag racing in Swift Current, Sask.

We will be returning to Whitehorse on the 31st  to have our damages evaluated by an appraiser, and should soon know what we can do and how soon we can resume our travels.

My apologies to those of you who received up to three copies of my last log. The E-mail was acting up. I hope to have this log and the earlier one on my website in a couple of weeks or earlier and it will have many more pictures of the kite festival and drag racing included.

Fall weather has started here and leaves are falling already. Time to head south.

All the best,




Log #55b Manitoba to Saskatchewan

Skagway, Alaska

Aug. 28, 2012

On our way westwards from Winnepeg, we visited my daughter-in-law in Neepawa, as we continued to Yorkton in Saskatchewan for a distance of 432 km. The provincial slogan is, “Saskatchewan is difficult to spell, but a friendly province”.

After enjoying the Yorkton museum we went to Regina, another 303 km, where we enjoyed especially the tour of the RCMP Depot where all RCMP recruits are trained. The RCMP Heritage Centre there provided a very good account of the history of the RCMP from its early days of bringing law and order to the west as the North West Mounted Police to its current status as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The triggers for the formation of the force were the Metis and Indian problems of the Red River settlements (the Riel Rebellions of 1870 and 1885) and the Cypress Hills Massacre of 1873 (committed by white men against the Indians). The force also became responsible for dealing with the flight to Canada of several thousand Sioux and Lakota Indians fleeing the U.S. cavalry after the Battle of the Little Big Horn in June 1876, and finally extending Canada’s sovereignty to bring law and order to Dawson City and the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897-98. More about these events as we visit the areas involved, including some of my historic, political and personal observations and opinions of them. As a retired high school history teacher, I am very interested in this aspect of Canadian history.

Westward we went up to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, but did not see any buffalo. Then down a bit through Moose Jaw where Judy wanted to go to a birding site at Old Wives Lake, but saw no birds. However we did see a good selection of birds at Chaplin, back on the Trans Canada Highway, where we went on a tour with a local farmer into the salt flats and shallows that had hundreds of phalaropes, avocets(see attached picture) dowitchers and the rare piping plover


Log_55a_Avocet_taking_flight_over_salt_flats                      Log_55a_Avocet_in_the_shallows

There is a very good local museum describing the area and the salt industry which rivals wheat as an economic engine. The salt is from an ancient lake which percolates to the surface each year and is skimmed off to the refinery in Chaplin.

Another 90 km along we enjoyed the small city of Swift Current, to the extent that we returned a week later to enjoy the Canada Day celebrations. Our first two days there we enjoyed a Kite Festival and drag races at a nearby airstrip. We were at a Kite Festival on South Padre Island in Texas a couple of years ago, and this was just as good. The sky was covered with colourful single and multiple kites and a wide variety of floating characters: flying farm animals, clowns and bats (see attached pictures).

Log_55b_Kites_fill_the_air    Log_55b_Flying_farm_animals

There were also, choreographed to music, multiple kites swooping and soaring majestically and doing aerobatic ballets.

Log_55b_Choreographed_multiple_kites       Log_55b_A_flight_of_Kites

I even got out the kite I purchased a couple of years ago (similar to the red kite below) at Padre Island and flew it until Judy got exhausted chasing it each time it crashed. I also bought a few kites to send to my great-grandchildren. I wish I could be there with them as they learned to fly them.

Log_55b_A_simple_kite_like_mine     Log_55b_Colourful_Kite    Log_55b_A_Kite

The drag racing was interesting, my first time at such. The cars and motorcycles were colourful and noisy, the air smelling of gas, oil, and burnt rubber, with the smoke from the revving engines and screeching tires drifting from behind the start line. I had a good time going along the line of cars at their individual pit stations, getting ready for their turn on the track. The drivers and mechanics were quite friendly and enjoyed showing their vehicles. They are privately owned and are an expensive time-consuming hobby for the mechanically inclined dedicated racers. Each car had two pieces of information chalked on the driver’s window or windshield. One was the race category of amateur or two categories of professional, and the other was their stated time to complete the quarter mile race. The highest professional class are the long low narrow racing machines, some of which have to use parachutes to help slow them down at the end of the race (see the attached picture).


The cars are stripped down to reduce weight. They have no seats other than for the driver. They have no batteries as they are jump started before going to the start line. They have monstrous air intakes inside the air scoops on their hoods.

Log_55b_Large_air_intake_filter          Log_55b_Hoods_are_easily_removed_for_tune_ups   Log_55b_Big_airscoop_on_professional_car

The drivers have to wear fire retardant jackets, four way safety harnesses and crash helmets. Among other things their instrumentation have tachometers (how fast the engine is revving) and a red light system to tell the driver when to change gears, so he (or she) does not have to watch the tach to change.


I still haven’t figured out how the winner is determined, as it is not necessarily the fastest car that wins. The cars have to complete the race close to their stated time, or be penalized. (If any one can explain the scoring system in more detail, I would appreciate it.) They race two at a time down the airstrip. The racing was stopped for a period to allow an aircraft to take off.

Log_55b_Cars_at_the_start_line                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Log_55b_Race_delayed_for_airplane_take_off

When the two racing cars are behind the start line, they rev their engines and spin the tires in a maelstrom of smoke and screeching rubber to warm them up for the jackrabbit start.

Log_55b_Cars_spinning_tires_before_the_start                         Log_55b_Motocycle_spinning_its_tires

There is a series of lights that start the race. A couple of preparatory yellow for get ready and a green to go or a red for a false start. Halfway down the track on each side is a lighted time board that indicates in sequence three bits of information.

Log_55b_Starting_lights         Log_55b_looking_down_behind_the_start_line

First is the response time from the start time to crossing the start line, next is the fastest speed obtained in the run, and third is the time to complete the quarter mile. In the attached pictures from the drag races: one shows the highest speed of 164.8 mph at the end of ¼ mile with the drag chute deployed and one showing the time to complete the 1/4 mile of 10.5 seconds.

Log_55b_Speed_obtained_of_164_mph          Log_55b_10.5_seconds_for_the_quarter_mile

The fastest response to the start light was a remarkable .021 or a little more than 2/100ths of a second!


There were several interesting vehicles including one old souped up pick up truck, a woman driver, and a beautiful blue racing motor cycle pictured below.
Log_55b_Drag_racing_old_pick-up_truck      Log_55b_Woman_driver


I wish we could have stayed for the whole day, but we had to take off in the early afternoon for Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan and Fort Benton in Montana on the Missouri River. More about these two destinations in my next log.

We have travelled 4765 km (2859 miles) on our way from Toronto to Swift Current from May 31 to June 22.