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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Moosomin, SK to Portage La Prairie, MB ~ A Haven in a Storm

Our Friend for 75 Miles!
A good night sleep in the church parking lot always helps. It also helps to have a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Station across the street. It is sort of odd to have a police station in a residential neighborhood, but who cares, they are there to protect and serve. The priest last night gave us his blessing on staying in the church parking lot. Of course, it wasn’t perfectly quiet as the CN, one mile long, freight train comes barreling through town at 55 mph and blows the whistle a half dozen times. We did feel very secure in more ways than one.

Helen Signing the Geocache Log!
German Panzer Tank on Canadian Base Shilo!
How a 50 Cal Casing is formed!
The sun was shining as we drove the last few miles out of Saskachuwan (SK). In Manitoba, the Visitor Center was closed, but the restrooms (they call them washrooms) were open. I flipped my computer cover open and I noticed that I had WiFi…great! I needed to download a series of geocaches along the route to get our Manitoba Souvenir. By the time I was done the center was open and I got a map. I love maps! The more detailed the better. Off we drove into the east with the sun in our faces. The one thing about the Trans-Canadian Highway is that it parallels the railroad tracks. On our first geocache stop, the tracks were very close. I took a picture of the engines pulling the long freight behind. The engineer waved and that was the beginning of a 75 mile partnership between the train and us. The train was traveling at 55 mph. I set my cruise control at 60 miles per hour. It took me 75 miles to pass the engines. What a way to pass the day! That is what prairie driving is all about.

The Passing Time on the Prairie with the Train!
In Brandon, there was a sign which said National Military Artillery Museum. Actually, many more of the museum signs sparked our interest, seeing that I am retired military and of Artillery background. The museum is located on Canadian Force Base Shilo, about 7 miles south of PH1 East highway. It was time for a diversion and the canoe took us to the base. What a surprise! The museum has 65,000 artifacts from first nation warriors to Desert Storm in Iraq. Artillery weapons of every war, from small arms to rare artillery pieces. Excellent museum! I could have stayed a week reading all the history. We started to leave and I was reading the pamphlet they gave us and noticed a line that said a geocache was on base. Very rare, at least, on US bases. I went back in to inquire and the attendant said it is located on the German Panzer tank a mile away from here. The German Army from 1973 to 2000 trained here on the base. They gave the base a full size Panzer Tank. We went looking for the cache, found the tank, but couldn’t find the cache. Maybe, if we would have had coordinates, we would have been successful.

Back on PH 1 East, the sun soon disappeared as the clouds darkened and the wind picked up to the point that I was feeling the truck rocking side to side. I was getting a little nervous and pulled off into a small community to wait it out. It looked like it subsided and we took off again. No, this wasn’t the end! It started to rain very heavily. I was trying to reach Portage La Prairie, a larger town, for the night. We pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot next to the building for shelter. We took a nap and the storm subsided for good.

That is what we did and saw

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