28-30 July Wetaskiwin – quadding

28 July

This morning on the drive up to Wetaskiwin, I learnt that while the road was undeniably straight, the countryside was not flat, with those negative connotations of not having any hills. but open. Brenda was home.

I found an ATM & tried to get some money out, but as well even though it insisted on communicating entirely in french, it managed to convey the message that it was not going to give me any money with anything short of explosives, or failing that, somebody else’s card. I was beginning to detect a pattern here.

So we caught up with some of her teaching friends over lunch and drove out to Sharon & Daves place. When Sharon was in Waterton with us she had obviously not realised that if she invited us to come and visit on the way north that we would not do the polite “oh no, we couldn’t” thing, but instead ask if we could go quadding as well. So we did.

Now this quadding thing probably requires a little explanation. A quad is a four wheeled motorbike. And quadding involves taking said bike and riding across every river, through every track in the bush and up and down every hill (they put some on for me specially, though it is amazing how you can hide a reasonable sized river valley in a prairie) you can find Generally as fast as possible, which took a little effort on my part at times as I had only ridden one once before. But I managed to keep up. During this you discover that quads float. A little. Enough so you have next best thing to no traction on the river bed. & get swept downstream. but not enough to stop them drowning themselves. It was also discovered (but not by me) that if you get it a little bit wrong driving up a steep enough bank, they will fall onto their backs. Driving down the hill was easier, all you had to do was drop it into second, lean as far back as you could, and forget about trying to stop on the way down.

Of course this is one of those activities that you cannot explain how much fun it was, or why. The details of what you actually did, just don’t sound as good when you weren’t there. So I will leave it at that.

In our little crowd of quadding & post quadding revelry was one of Sharon & Daves neighbours, Sheryl, who obviously hadn’t met that many New Zealanders before, because she decided that Kiwi (that was me) was ok, because he drunk beer. What can I say, it comes naturally.

29 July

Quadding again. See above.

By this point I was beginning to get a bit concerned about the effect that spending this long in North America was having upon me. This was prompted by being given a beer and deciding that even though it was a Budweiser it didn’t taste too bad. Either the one I had in Argentina I had was crook, and the entire US beer brewing industry was the butt of jokes it didn’t deserve, or I had caught some insidious North American disease which made it taste like beer. I had to get out before I was completely assimilated and started spelling badly and needing warning labels. But

before I did I had to go for another quad ride. Which was like the others, except with less rivers and flatter hills because it was dark, and Darwin had a theory about people who do that sort of stuff.

30 July

Today we had to leave to drive north to Edmonton to see Brenda’s dad. But not before slipping a quick quad ride in (they were fun you see) & doing the museum. While Brenda visited one of her old neighbours I got to drive myself, without the aide of my portable road codes, to the local museum. While Wetaskiwin is a rural backwater, a lot like Ash Vegas, but wjthout the sense of terminal boredom (but that may just be because I was quadding for most of the time I was there), it has a great museum. It seems that one of the locals was a born collector of cars and machinery and planes and stuff, and often went flying around over the prairies looking for derelict stuff to collect and restore. And then he donated it all to make a museum. So I wandered around looking at cars and planes and learning how a grain elevator (the big towers they store grain in) works.