Yellow Head Trail - Rosetown Part 5 of 8
Road With No End
Now was the time to get dead-serious about heading east. After looking at the map I decided that I would save time and an awful lot of miles by taking HWY 7 through the Alberta badlands; on to Saskatchewan's HWY 9 and then continuing east to re-join the Yellow Head Trail at Saskatoon. "What a good idea" I thought. "What could possibly go wrong?" I remember that day as being the hottest day of my entire trip. I also remember that there was absolutely, positively no shade anywhere for hundreds upon hundreds of long kilometres. I stopped briefly to top up my gas tank in Drumheller; home of Canada's infamous western Prison. As I drove by it, I made a promise to myself that I would never commit any petty crime or even get as much as a parking ticket because I wouldn't last a week in that horrible, dreadful place. There's not even much green vegetation in and around Drumheller. Its surrounded by windblown swirling-dry mountains which appeared bare and sterile. I just wanted outta there. There was very little traffic. I wound Miss Harley up to 130 Kms per hour and I drove for mostly eight hours straight under the sizzling hot sun. As I found out the next day - that was not such a good idea.
Road With No End
Literally, HWY 7 was a road with no end. I was looking at exactly the same horizon that I had seen several hours ago. Nothing had changed. This HWY had a shoulder that was too narrow for a small car to pull over and clear the road. It was hardly wide-enough for a motorcycle. There were no rest-stops where a tired driver could take a break; there were no trees to take shelter under away from the burning sun; there were not even any other vehicles to whom you could give an acknowledging wave just to show that you were not alone on this barren Planet and the end of the HWY still never came. Now I understand why they call it the Alberta Badlands. Apart from a small gas station here and there the only human activity I saw is shown in this photo. I had promised my folks in England that I would take a picture of the prairies with acres and acres of wheat blowing in the fields but I couldn't find any. Someone told me that it was too early in the year for wheat.
With some pain and a little difficulty I pulled over to get off the Harley. It took a while because I was moving very slowly and I didn't want to drop her by accident. I wanted to take a photo of the Saskatchewan "Welcome" sign just to prove that I'd really been there. About another 100 kms east was a town called Kindersley where I had planned to rent a Motel room for the night but I hadn't bothered to make a reservation anywhere. I also had the presence of mind to keep an eye open for camp-site signs along the way but I hadn't seen any. I have absolutely no idea how I suddenly went from no traffic at all to a long line-up of jammed-up traffic at Kindersley. A major collision with casualties had just taken place at the main intersection in town. The rains had turned the roads into mud. Traffic had to be re-routed. Two ambulances were there. I saw more heavy construction equipment trucks than I thought existed. There were more hydro-trucks than I have ever seen in one place and every single hotel and motel room was booked solid. It was now raining hard and the next town was another 80 kms east down HWY 9 at a tiny pip-squeak town called Rosetown. I had no choice but to go for it. I had no guarantees that a room would be available there for me either. Things were not looking good.