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.