It is a slow but beautiful road winding its way from Kelowna south down Highway 33 and then east along Highway 3. Styxx reclines in his lair – pretty much the entire rear compartment of our Prius. Occasionally he takes a look out the side or rear windows to examine the endless forests occasionally punctuated with the jagged grey peaks of mountains in the distance. Along the way, we stop at wayside pullouts to stretch, to have a picnic lunch or to take a close look at some stream with clear cool water noisily rushing over a bed of river-smoothed rocks.
Then, with little notice, Highway 3 deposits we three into the rolling short grass prairies of Alberta. We overnight in Lethbridge, a very low slung, spread out city. It would be an unremarkable place if it were not for the deep coulee at its edge. Here the flat town on its flat landscape dives into a deep gorge. It is a spectacular place to explore, a vast natural landscape riddled with trails to follow. As if this powerful landscape needed an exclamation point, man has added two!! First comes the 1907-09 CPR Viaduct, its net of steel struts filling in the entire cross-section of the coulee. Next is the University of Lethbridge with its coulee-spanning University Hall, a concrete dam of a building designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson,
We continue eastward on Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway. Plying the prairie ocean of Saskatchewan, things start to look a lot like home. Ranchland gives way to farmland. Humble prairie towns dot our route. Endlessly long trains race along side us.
Our last night away from home is Regina. We love Regina and expected our dog would as well. He certainly appreciates the room-service meals of pasta with wild mushroom sauce and steelhead trout. And we enjoy washing it down with large bottles of IPA from Bushwacker’s, certainly one of Canada’s best microbreweries.
It is our last day on the road. We rise early to beat the forecasted heat of the day. This will be Styxx’s final adventure this vacation, a walk Gail and I always enjoy when visiting Regina. The three of us leave our downtown hotel and make our way through a still-sleeping residential neighbourhood to Wascana Park. We follow the edge of Wascana Lake, making a complete circle around it. It is such a remarkable urban park for such a small prairie city, yet no more than a ten minute walk from the office towers of downtown Regina.
We pack ourselves into the car for the last six hours of our western journey. Styxx lies contentedly in his mobile mansion. His eyes close. Sweet dreams little guy. Until your next adventure.
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