F 1 D 0 -- 02 08 26 at 02 30 Central Time Blueberries. For those wishing I wrote more, I offer an excuse: there are just too few places which offer internet between Alberta and Ontario. At least too few which offer them to strangers or visitors. I was glad to read email in Churchbridge information booth heading westbound. Our trip was on Trans Canada 16, to Saskatoon Saskatchewan. We returned on Trans Canada 1, via Brandon Manitoba. TC 16 joins up with TC 1 in Manitoba, and so we went through Richer (Say Ree Shay, as this seems to be a French village) MB. On our way out, we stopped here for Blueberries, ignoring all of the previous signs where that was all the street vendors would sell. This guy in Richer did all kinds of fruit and vegetables. Anyway, no blueberries. So we had to make do with all of these other things. I kind of stagger as I leave the truck, especially after hours of driving. I'm in a zone. Legs are working, but have only a minimal staff. I guess the Leg Office was open, but there's nobody at the counter, and only a skeleton staff. So I stagger to the nice man selling fruit. "Got any blueberries?" I sing. "Yes, I do, but they're not for sale." I thought this was funny. A joke. He may have well just said 'Yes I do, but not for you.' So I joke back, "Oh. These aren't for buying. I can only look at them." "Actually, that's what's wrong," he explains. "They started growing a lot of white fur, and I can't sell them too you. They look awful. I can give them to you, but I won't sell them." I look for reduced stuff all of the time. True to his word, these looked bad, but he has an edge over so many other places. He gets this stuff from local farmers daily. The temperature was high, so this went bad because it was so hot, not because it was very old. He showed it to me, and asked, "Still want them?" "Sure! I can clean them up." So I packed them into the cooler, removing all of the other things in there. I still had some ice. Just as well. I got about eight pints of berries into the cooler. So now, here I am, in the kitchen of Kendall House, waiting while the soft blueberries finish their journey to conserves. I added less sugar than I'd use for jam, 1c sugar to 6c soft berries. All of the perfect ones have been kept aside. Ann likes them fresh. In a few minutes, I'll turn it off, save this journal for you, and get a few hours sleep. Motels. I've come to the conclusion that there are some very basic things I want in a roadside motel. Thick walls. In two of the places we've stayed at this week, the place was constructed out of cinder blocks. You know, those very thick concrete bricks. My school was made out of them. They seem effective at shielding me from the sounds of the next rooms. Banff was costly, everywhere. But we got a room very late at night. So that was a good thing. It was next to housekeeping and the ice machine. That was a BAD thing. Noisy. Less walking. Yes, I know this requires explanation. There is something very good about parking directly in front of your door, and walking all of the things in. One place we stayed, the Parke Lodge Motel, wasn't like this, but our room was so close to the front door, this didn't matter. Affordable. 50.00 plus tax seemed right for a roadside place. Winnipeg and Banff charged 116 and 169 (with most other places charging more still). We found that if you stayed somewhere in a town outside a major centre, the price was much better. Beds good for you. I like them firmer, Ann likes them softer, but we have a middle zone which is okay for us both. If the bed sucks, you'll wonder why you paid anything at all. Correct Smell. If you don't smoke, make sure they have a no smoking room for you. Again, in Banff, we only had one room, and it was a smoker's room. I could cope, but it was so hard for Ann. It didn't matter how big it was, how many spaces it had, or any of its other good points. It had a loud smell in her nose, and she was sorry we had to stay there. Amenities. All had a television. Most had some form of cable or satellilte. Being able to watch The Weather Channel and A+E helped make the world a smaller place. Pool! If you would have asked me about pools and fitness rooms prior to this, I'd have told you to forget it. Well, when it is hot, as it has been, even 30 minutes at the end of their day is a welcome swim. I used the pool and fitness centre in Winnipeg's Holiday Inn, and thought it was great. While I didn't stay too long, I felt better for having done something active. Coffee/Breakfast. Don't expect free coffee to be wonderful. We found it weak. But weak or not, having a first coffee without work nor expense goes down nice. The Park Lodge had an interesting feature. Not breakfast, really. They had a toaster, loaves of bread, jam, honey, margarine and peanut butter. "Just help yourself." I really liked that. It was just fine. The problem with trying to write to you at the end of the day is how I forget important details. I remember one town. Virden Manitoba. That was our stop just prior to Kenora. This friendly town went to sleep early, as most small towns do. On arrival last night, I went into the restaurant behind the motel, The Dragon Inn Buffet. "We're closed. Sorry." Long before I asked. "That's so early! We just got in." "Yes," she continues, "but this is a small town, and nobody comes in after 730, so we close at 800 o'clock." In our room was a page with business card sized advertisments all over it. One was for the cinema. They had The Road to Perdition, with Tom Hanks. I'd have gone with Ann, but it was 910pm by the time we decided on that. Besides, she was exhausted, and just wanted to crash for a while. I went for a drive downtown, and found the whole place fast asleep. Oh, there were a few people at the Chicken Basket, but it felt heavy to me, so I decided not. One cafe was Timothy Beans. They had internet there. "Sorry, we will be closing at 700pm Saturday Night until further notice." Signs. You've got to love them. I wandered around the main streets, and found my way into the video store. This was run by a high school student and a Brandon University student. The front was like any other small video store you may see, and the back was ... A Pizza Parlour. Also a small one, with really just enough room for the two women to get your order made and baked. One business, two ideas. A large pizza took care of us last night, and most of the day today too. That's all I know.