The Canadian prairies:
Not quite what you expected to see, right?
We felt the same. Canada is a large country with a lot of different scenery and stuff but we got surprised by the diversity within each province. Like everybody else, we pictured the prairies as endless fields of golden wheat.
The southern portion of the center provinces indeed have a lot of wheat fields but the upper parts reveal long rolling hils covered with beautiful yellow (canola)…
In Minnedosa, Manitoba, we meet Richard who teaches us about slews and Saskatoons!
M: “Euhhh, I thought Saskatoon was a town?!?”
R: “It is out west. But Saskatoons are also a blueberry like fruit that grow in a small tree instead of a low bush.” He says with a smile.
R: “I’ve been growing the tasty little fruit for 16 years now”.
He also educates us about slews while taking us to his other crop: Cherries.
R: “Nobody, in the rest of Canada, knows them as slews (or sloughs) but that’s how the marshy water that accumulate in pools in the fields from melting snow or heavy rains are called here, in the northen area of the prairies.”
Slews; another exclusive brought to you by Landtrek!
Richard also tells us wild bisons roam freely in northern Manitoba.
Unfortunately, this is the closest thing to a live bison we’ll get to see upclose: Official bison poop.
After our lesson, Richard graciously fills our little bucket with Saskatoons and we enjoy them on our way to Saskatoon, the town.
Thanks Richard. We apprecaite your teaching and the fruits.
We wish we could stop and visit each and every little Minnedosa like town on the way to Argentina because that’s where you really establish contact with folks and experience the differences/similarities of their lives vs ours. Unfortunately, retirement may not be long enough to enjoy every little town between here and Ushuaia.
Back on the way and into Saskachewan;
A welcome cool down break (It’s still around 30*C out here):
A cool sunset:
And a cool beer joint (actually open for business):
We get into Edmonton, Alberta, on monday but everything is locked up because of a holiday weekend so we set-up camp at Rainbow valley campground as we have an appointment with Dan and Wayne at 4Wheel Auto for tomorrow a.m. to take care of a few maintenance items we want delt with before we hit the more remote areas of the Yukon and Alaska.
Again, we are caught off guard with the sight of a… Ski area! Right here, in town Edmonton! I’ll admit it’s not the Alps or anything but still, we never expected a ski hill in the prairies!
So I shut off No4, we walk inside to register, walk back out and, as I go to start him again… It cranks, it cranks and cranks some more but… Doesn’t start! Not a spurt, nothing. Crank, crank, crank… Dead.
I open the hood, remove the EDIC rod (Electric Diesel Injection Control), have another try at it and boom, starts right up.
Diagnosis: EDIC system motor is dead.
So the truck will still run OK but, from now until we get it fixed, I will have to open the hood and shut it off manually directly on the engine. Good thing we have this appointment at 4Wheel auto. They can take care of that.
Here’s the place:
I finally opt to go basic and ask Wayne to set me up with a manual, cable activated, shut down system. Simple, reliable, it works great.
While he’s doing his thing, the boys get busy with the brakes, U-joints, seals and everything else that needs to be addressed before Alaska.
Since about 2000kms into the trip I had noticed a change in how the engine sounded. The valves were getting noisier. A simple valve adjustment, I thought; no big deal. But the sound of the exhaust also started to change and I could definitely hear a puffing sound every engine cycle… Hummm…
I tell Wayne about it and we take off the valve cover… To discover… This:
Two totally seized valve rockers. Upon further investigation we find all the (brand new) rockers to be at least partially seized from oil starvation. Seems no oil at all made its way to the top of the engine and that… can’t be good…
That’s when Wayne said:
“Well, I have no easy solution to this. I’m sorry”