When in Carman, you can pick up your winter “brochers” from this travel company:
I suggest asking what a “brocher” is first.
While sitting outside, I listened as a few of the golfers were chatting about the unusual presence of the tour bus in their midst. “I don’t know how they found us,” asked one of them. That’s a very good question that I wouldn’t mind an answer to.
I would have expected such a thing in Winnipeg, but to each his own.
Having seen the Great Pumpkin of Roland, we headed west along PTH 23 only to have a red light pop up on the dashboard moments later. After an investigation, a bolt had broken off that was somehow connected to the cooling system. Harold had his own tools with him and knew how to fix the problem, but the only thing he was missing was a spare bolt. He called the bus company in Winnipeg and he was told that a mechanic would have to come out with a new bolt.
Sadly, however, PTH 23 turned out to be another one of Manitoba’s highways that are badly in need of repair or “renewal”, as the propaganda signs from the government say when they do road work.
Contrary to popular belief, Manitoba is not completely flat:
We passed through Baldur (not von Schirach – some former colleagues will appreciate that reference), home of the late Tom Johnson, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The sign at right proudly informs visitors of that fact.
The highway didn’t get any better once we passed Baldur.
We eventually reached PTH 10, the highway that would take us directly to the Peace Gardens. Unfortunately, the highway conditions failed to improve, despite being on one of Manitoba’s most well-travelled and important routes.
I’m guessing that shots like this don’t make it into any Manitoba travel brochures. It’s not exactly an inviting welcome for American tourists coming from North Dakota, only 10 miles south of where this shot was taken.
Our first stop was the pavilion for an overdue lunch, consisting of some sort of vegetable soup, stale buns, and cold cuts.
We were sharing the pavilion with a group from the Canadian Cancer Society and their Relay for Life event.
I dispensed with the lunch quickly and went out and took some pictures of the fountain and surrounding gardens.
I went to the entrance and took a couple of more shots.
We got back on the bus, then we were given a guided tour that included a visit to the new 9/11 memorial.
Nothing like some distasteful government self-promotion to tarnish a poignant display. As a side note, this might also be the only such Canadian and Manitoba signage on U.S. soil.
The 9/11 Memorial, a collection of steel girders recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
The peace tower:
Looking back at Lake Udall, on the American side, which is named for a Canadian. Lake Stormon, on the Canadian side, is named for an American.
The Peace Chapel. Our guide told us that they had to get special permission from both governments to build it on the border, since the treaty that defines the border expressly forbids it.
A cairn marking the Treaty of 1908 at the foot of the peace tower. On the left is the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba and on the right is the United States of America.
After the guided tour, we were given a few minutes on our own and I got a few more shots in. The floral clock near the entrance:
The peace poles:
With the hour growing late, we had to be back on the bus. I wanted to spend a little more time around the gardens and I felt rushed during the time I did have, but it was a nice experience.
Wouldn’t Jack Layton and his troupe of leftists be proud of those “no guns” signs?
The Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba welcomes you.
Radar detectors aren’t just illegal in Manitoba, they’re ILLEGAL. Then again, with law enforcement in Manitoba being rather, well, lax, one has to wonder why they bother with the sign. The honor system isn’t exactly working in this part of the world.
We took PTH 10 north and soon came to Boissevain, or rather, as the sign says, “BOISSEVAIN”.
While passing through BOISSEVAIN, we saw the town icon, Tommy the Turtle.
Crossing the Souris River north of BOISSEVAIN.
We had not seen the last of bad highways.
The L & J Drive-In where we stopped.
If you have some dirty change in your pocket and need it cleaned, the Esso station in Treherne might be able to help you.
It was unseasonably chilly on this day, so I guess someone did “eat the heat”.
It would not be wise to add another partner with a name that starts with “K”.
We reached Neepawa safely, only to have our designated parking spot blocked by the route for the Lily Festival parade. Derek, our bus driver, had to carefully navigate through some narrow streets that were in worse shape than some I’ve seen in Winnipeg to find a different place to drop us off.
Someone who lives at the corner of Brown Avenue and Mill Street is obviously a keen gardener, or gardenerette, whatever the case may be:
This is the Yellowhead Center and adjacent Yellowhead Arena, which was a former salt mine that closed in 1970. Prospectors originally hoped to find oil at this site, but they found salt instead.
This is the sign outside the Yellowhead Center. The editor in me noticed, as you would expect, that Margaret Laurence’s name was misspelled. She is perhaps the most famous person to have been born in Neepawa and her childhood home, a Manitoba Star Attraction, is a museum and writers’ resource center, making this an especially egregious error.
As a person who can orient myself by the position of satellite dishes on people’s homes, I noticed that everyone who had a dish anywhere in town, not just those on this apartment block, were customers of Shaw Direct, formerly StarChoice.
This is the Neepawa Building, which was originally built to house federal government offices at a time when Neepawa was Manitoba’s third largest city.
My next stop was the Beautiful Plains County Courthouse, not just because of its historical significance in the area, but because I knew there was a washroom there.
For all the efforts that the town goes through to host the Lily Festival every year, the lack of available public washrooms is something I wish they would address. There was a portable toilet outside and a line almost 10 deep inside. Fortunately, from my experience last year waiting for someone who took so long in the washroom that I thought he fell asleep in there, I knew there was a washroom in the basement and I used that one. An embarrassing situation was narrowly averted when I walked into the men’s washroom to find a woman in there who didn’t lock the door behind her. She was on her way out, however.
What must the rest of the chicken weigh?
Green is the color. Football is the game. We’re all together. And winning is our aim. I’ll spare you the rest of the Saskatchewan National Anthem.
Horse-drawn wagons are available for a tour around town:
There was a display of license plates dating back to 1913:
Various photos and displays from the area’s sports history:
Neepawa was the host of an air force training base during World War II and they had a display of some military archives:
Later, during a guided tour of the town on our bus, we learned that there are some graves in Riverside Cemetery from some of the prospective pilots who perished during their training in Neepawa.
Your mileage may vary, but I literally paid not to eat there. Once burned, twice shy.
The Lily Nook is not located on the Yellowhead Highway, but I guess it’s close enough. Many of the people on the bus wanted to buy lilies, but I just came for the pictures. Fortunately, the rain held off until we left the Lily Nook.
The rain came down in buckets for most of our way back, and the traditional “pass the time” activity of bingo nearly put me to sleep. The afternoon stop was Portage la Prairie once again, and most of the bus’s occupants, including me, were anxious to go home. Everyone was back on the bus well ahead of schedule and we arrived safely back in the degenerate capital of the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba a short time later.
This is the junction of PTH 67 and PTH 6, showing the CN railway crossing used by the Prairie Dog Central that runs on weekends during the summer months between Inkster Junction and Grosse Isle and Warren. I’ve never been on the Prairie Dog Central, but I’m hoping to make it this summer.
Actually, this isn’t Woodlands, it’s “WOODLANDS”. Most signs in Manitoba announcing names of towns and cities are in mixed case, but along this route, they were almost all in upper case. When I saw this and all the other town signs that were in upper case, I couldn’t help but think of a former colleague who achieved infamy by writing all her e-mails IN UPPER CASE. Part of PTH 6 is designated as part of the Northern Woods and Water Route, but it should have been given a commemorative designation in honor of my former colleague. I won’t name her publicly, but some of you reading this know who I’m talking about.
Having reached the Narrows, we disembarked and headed inside the Narrows West Lodge.
Before and after the meal, I got a number of pictures around the area.
If you ever wondered about the origin of the name “Manitoba”, there is a plaque near the bridge that gives the explanation.
The bridge over the narrows.
The cliffs were nice, but I was a little disappointed as I headed back towards the bus. After spending all that time to get out there, I was expecting a little more. If you’re in the area and want to visit, it’s something I would recommend, but I wouldn’t recommend making a special trip from Winnipeg.
This highway, in sharp contrast to some of the roads we were on, was smooth about 99% of the time with the exception of the large bumps when we reached a culvert. The person seated to my left was snoring and the thrill ride we experienced at these culverts woke her up each time.
The highlight of this stop for me was seeing a goalie stick on the wall signed by Joe Daley, the greatest goaltender in Jets history. There was little else there besides the opportunity to get out and stretch my legs and wait in line for the washroom. Choices for stops around this area are obviously in short supply.
North of Road 91N, there are some more scenic rolling hills, and I got a couple of shots through the window of the bus.
I got a number of good shots from the front of the ship while being swarmed by hordes of giant flies. It was very windy and the boat was rocking back and forth, but that didn’t stop me from taking pictures. Like yesterday’s cruise through Lake of the Woods, however, no camera can do justice to the surroundings.
These are nice shots, but no camera can do justice to the scenery in this part of the world. It just has to be experienced in person.
On our way back to Rat Portage, we passed by Devil’s Island, where Aboriginal people drew an image of the devil on a rock. It looks like Charlie Chaplin if you ask me.
This shot shows the town icon, Husky the Muskie, that’s located just off the highway as you pass the hospital on your way to downtown.
As you might expect, on account of my popular Winnipeg Jets Memorial Site, my inbox has been humming lately. I’ve been making a number of media appearances, and as a result, my 15 minutes of fame has stretched into several hours. Fame is not all it’s cracked up to be and I’m happy it’s died down.
Funny, but I don’t feel much like celebrating.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones who didn’t sign up for a five-year commitment for season tickets that cost an arm and a leg expecting that a Stanley Cup parade will be going down Portage Avenue that won’t be happening.