Thanksgiving, Edge Walk, and a surprise $800!

Posted in Air Canada, Edge Walk, Home, Megabus, Ontario, Overbooking, Parking, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Thanksgiving, thorold, Toronto, Travel, Travel voucher, Vacation, Winnipeg with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2014 by Amanda

I am a little belated in writing this post as I’ve been both tired and lazy.

Anyway, on the Friday prior to Thanksgiving in arrived at the Saskatoon airport and spent a while searching for a parking spot. With the exception of short-term and handicapped spots there were practically no parking spots and to make things more annoying there were several almost spots because large trucks were parked in a spot and a quarter or so. I saw about five cars looking for spots. Eventually, I did find a spot but it was a very frustrating experience. Luckily, I was rather early. The woman at the baggage drop-off said they have an overflow lot but they only open it once all the spots in the regular lot were filled. Security was busy by Saskatoon standards which meant there a bit of a line; I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a line there before! When I arrived in Toronto it was insanely busy with people being picked up. I was surprised at how much busier it seemed before Thanksgiving than before Christmas.

I was home for a few days and didn’t do anything terribly notable but it is was nice to have a break and the weather was generally pretty good and I did some shopping and went on a few walks with my mom.

A sidewalk without an entrance located near my parents' house.

A sidewalk without an entrance located near my parents’ house.

I then went to Toronto. As I had planned ahead it cost me all of $2.83 on Megabus to get there! I would really like to be on one of their double decker buses but once again I was on a regular Coach Canada bus but I guess I really shouldn’t be complaining considering how little it cost me.

DOC101614-10162014101104-page-001 (2)

Me on the edge of the CN Tower.

When I arrived in Toronto I was able to check into my hotel early which was nice. Later that afternoon, I did Edge Walk which is something I wanted to do for some time now. I was there a bit early and got in an earlier group as they weren’t fully booked. I was amazed at how many staff they have. They checked the harnesses and such like a million times and we had to pass breathalyzer tests; apparently, some people actually fail those. They have had about 60,000 people come and only 30-something of them have chickened-out but apparently it is isn’t that uncommon for people to spend the nearly $200 and then just not show up. The elevator was rather slow as it was pretty windy. I think the wind added to the experience up there! We were lucky enough to get a break in the rain and the weather was very warm. The view was fantastic and it was so nice not to have windows in the way!

My flight to Winnipeg was routine though I didn’t get a seat assigned until the gate (a first for me) but it was a good seat and they ended up leaving with a few empty seats. When I was waiting in Winnipeg for the flight to Saskatoon, the gate agent announced that they were oversold by two seats and were looking for volunteers to spend the night; for spending the night, they gave an $800 travel voucher, a hotel room, meal vouchers, and confirmed seat on the flight the next morning. I took the offer right away but it took her a while to get a second volunteer. I don’t see why others didn’t jump at the offer it seemed more than fair to me, especially since I was back early enough the next morning to get to work on time the next morning! Why does it matter where you sleep? When I was waiting for my flight to Toronto when I left I Saskatoon, there was an announcement for a volunteer on the flight to Winnipeg to put on a later flight. It seems like Saskatoon-Winnipeg is a good route for these opportunities. I’ve never heard any of these offers on Air Canada before this and I’d only ever heard one on Delta once years ago (which people snapped up instantly). The guy at the front desk at the hotel said they had five people there because of overbooking that night and that was still pretty early.

IMG_0462

The view from my free hotel room at the Winnipeg airport.

Yet another post about abandoned buildings and such

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Ghost towns, Keatley, Krydor, Orolow, Oscar Lake, Saskatchewan, Speers with tags , , , , , , , on September 21, 2014 by Amanda

Yesterday, I again went looking for abandoned buildings and ghost towns (well, some were actually just on their way to becoming ghost towns). This is a surprisingly addictive activity. It was very sunny but rather windy. Perhaps I should have waited and went today instead?

Once leaving the main highway, it definitely didn’t take all that long to find some abandoned buildings. One of the places had some (very large) animal bones scattered around the back which was a different discovery. I also encountered some rather nerve-wracking construction. The road was very uneven dirt for at least a couple of kilometres; I don’t think it would have been possible to drive on it had it been raining recently. Afterwards, I thought I should have taken a picture but I certainly wasn’t going to go back! There were some abandoned buildings on this stretch but I just wanted to get the driving over with!

Some of the animal bones.

Some of the animal bones.

Orolow was the first ghost town. It had a couple of churches: Polish and Ukrainian Catholic. They both had cemeteries and were located a fair distance apart; maybe the communities were rather separate? The Polish one had a few graves (of the same family) that had both new and old headstones for the same people which is something I’ve never before. Both churches are definitely still being taken care of (some not abandoned) but they don’t have signs about service times etc. so I’m thinking that they aren’t actually used all that much. The Ukrainian one had an absolutely enormous quantity of birds in a nearby field and a snake right near the church itself. The most interesting thing about Orolow, and perhaps, of the whole day was finding a garage with an old car inside very well-hidden in trees. It had to be approached through the back but had clearly once faced a street. There were a couple other more easily accessible buildings behind it.

The car in an Orolow garage.

The car in an Orolow garage.

On the way to Krydor, there was a really interesting house behind a bunch of wheat. It was a bit far to walk to the house itself so I didn’t but I did get relatively close.

The house behind the wheat.

The house behind the wheat.

Krydor is a place that seems like it’s on its way to becoming a ghost town. It has people still leaving there but all the businesses look to be abandoned as well as some of the houses. Many of these buildings have signs about no trespassing and that they have video surveillance which is kind of strange. The other strange thing is that their yield and stop signs are really short; I am almost as tall as them! They do have a new miniature grain elevator for their 100th anniversary though.

One of Krydor's vacant buildings.

One of Krydor’s vacant buildings.

Next we attempted to find a place called Oscar Lake which may still have an old schoolhouse standing. Getting there involved driving on a road that I’m not was actually a road but seemed more like a long driveway through a farm and while we did find the actual lake we didn’t find the town though I wouldn’t say that we made a real attempt either. The lake was very nice and the area seemed like it was not visited much at all. The road there seemed little-used as well. It that even if you don’t find what you’re looking for you’re bound to find something interesting while driving on obscure roads!

Oscar Lake.

Oscar Lake.

After that, the roads looked more used though they were by no means busy! There were more abandoned to see; some we stopped at and some we didn’t. There was also a llama relatively close to the road. I’d never seen a llama in Saskatchewan before! It moved as soon as I went to take its picture though.

Keatley was the next intended destination. There was a bridge there but the tracks had been removed. There was also a grain elevator and perhaps some more buildings in the middle of the farm. I think if I’d turned down a road closer to the bridge instead of following the GPS to nothing, I may have found more but I could always go back there if I want!

Lastly, I headed to Speers. Speers is definitely a weird place. They still have a library and a post office and very popular looking bar but they also have a number of abandoned buildings and some people living in buildings that look like they should be abandoned.

Speers' abandoned legion.

Speers’ abandoned legion.

A relatively short search for abandoned buildings

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Bresaylor, Driving, Ghost towns, Saskatchewan with tags , , , , on September 6, 2014 by Amanda

I hadn’t planned to go searching for ghost towns and other abandoned buildings again for at least another couple of weeks but I was rather bored this afternoon and the weather was very nice. Plus I technically only went to visit one ghost town (and a rather sparse one at that) and then just randomly drove around seeing what other abandoned buildings I could find. There were actually several abandoned buildings visible right from Highway 16 which is a major highway, at least according to Saskatchewan standards! I had somehow never noticed these places despite having went by them several times.

I began by going to Bresaylor, a ghost town which is right off of Highway 16, and only about half an hour away. It really just has an abandoned church and signs about the town’s settlement and a former school. There are also a couple nearby farms and a museum which is more visible from the highway. After that I went to a few other places visible from the highway before randomly driving around a bit. I never ventured terribly far from the highway but still saw some things and didn’t even need my GPS to find my way back home!

Bresaylor's church.

Bresaylor’s church.

An abandoned house which is visible from Highway 16.

An abandoned house which is visible from Highway 16.

Another search for ghost towns

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Alticane, Ghost towns, Robinhood, Saskatchewan, Whitkow with tags , , , , , on August 31, 2014 by Amanda

Yesterday afternoon, I went looking for ghost towns again. This time I only visited three and they weren’t terribly far way but with stops at a few abandoned far it took the entire afternoon. It really is amazing just how few people you see once you leave the main highways!

The first stop was a place called Robinhood. It definitely wasn’t quite a ghost town as there were still some inhabited houses there but there were some abandoned buildings and it was clear that it had once been a more thriving community.

Robinhood

Robinhood

The next town, Whitkow, really did seem abandoned. There was an abandoned-looking Ukrainian church that was locked. Apparently, the town had another church that had been burned down last year so there would have been more to see in the town not that long ago. Still, there was quite a bit to see and it was undoubtedly my favourite place of the day! There were several abandoned buildings. I really liked one that roof was really caving in; I can’t imagine it will be standing much longer. There was also a building that was barely viewable as trees had pretty much surrounded it. There was also a section of old sidewalk. This was clearly once a rather large town.

My favourite building in Whitkow!

My favourite building in Whitkow!

The third town was called Alticane. There were a couple homes that looked like they were probably still occupied but we didn’t see any people or cars that looked like they were in use. This town had a rather eerie feel to it. There were a number of abandoned buildings though someone is clearly mowing the lawns of some of them and some of their roofs are covered with tarps. So, maybe someone has plans for the place?

One of Alticane's houses.

One of Alticane’s houses.

Along with the planned ghost town stops, we stopped at three old, abandoned farms. One of them had a closed fence and though it only had a sign saying “no hunting” and not “no trespassing”, I really didn’t feel comfortable going under the fence (there was quite a bit of room underneath) to see the buildings up close. The entrances to the other ones were not blocked at all and it really looked like they’d be abandoned for a long time.

One of the abandoned farms.

One of the abandoned farms.

Anyway, it was a very interesting way to spend the afternoon. I’m thinking I will probably go on another search for ghost towns sometime before Thanksgiving.

Amsterdam, Minneapolis, Saskatoon, North Battleford (Tuesday, August 5)

Posted in Airport, Amsterdam, Minneapolis, North Battleford, Saskatoon, Travel, Vacation with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2014 by Amanda

August 5 was a long day. In fact, it was almost literally endless!

Once we arrived in Amsterdam, we got through immigration very quickly. Finding a train into the central of Amsterdam was more confusing though but once on the correct train it was only a 15 minute ride into the city!

We started out by just wandering around. It was fairly quiet early in the morning. Amsterdam is definitely a very attractive city though there was sure a lot of garbage on the streets at that time.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Eventually we decided we’d go on a canal cruise (the cheapest one we would find). The cruise was interesting but it was a bit difficult to stay awake. We maybe should have left the cruise for last or not bothered at all as while we were on the boat the streets became insanely busy. If I ever go back to Amsterdam, it wouldn’t be in the middle of the summer! It seemed like everyone there was a tourist.

We wandered around the Red Light District. In the daytime, the windows were largely empty and those few that had women in them were surprisingly fat and the one woman was truly frightening looking; I literally almost screamed when I saw her!

We also eventually found the Amsterdam sign. It was harder to find than we’d anticipated but as it was so busy, it was clear others didn’t have that issue. There were people everywhere!

The sign.

The sign.

I had thought we’d arrived back at the airport at pretty much the perfect time; we were early enough not to be worried but late enough not to have tons of time on our hands but then our plane ended up leaving two hours late. We should have spent more time in Amsterdam!

I was worried that getting on a plane in Minneapolis might be dicey but we made up about half an hour in the air and then immigration was much quicker than I’d expected. They had a new system where Canadians went in the same line as Americans and answered questions on computers and then simply gave the printout (which included a really bad picture) to the customs person. Our flight didn’t leave until 9:50pm and there were planes leaving two hours later but all the stores and restaurants closed at 9pm which seemed really strange to me.

We arrived in Saskatoon just fine and then headed back to North Battleford which we technically reached quite early on August 6.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 201 other followers