Reaching Climax, the Bible Belt and Canada’s Prairies

Reaching Climax, the Bible Belt and Canada’s Prairies

On our final push back east across the country to return to Winnipeg, we skirted the southern border to complete a 20,000km loop of central and western Canada. Within this enormous country there are surprisingly few roads and for the sake of not retracing our tyre marks, we opted to drive Highway 1 (the Trans-Canadian Highway) back… that was until we realised how bleak it was.

 

With barely 60km of the famed highway under our belt, we were already fed up with the traffic, the mega malls trailing the road sides and the impatient trucks who needless to say have ZERO sympathy for tourists wanting to take it easy and actually go at the speed limit and so we turned right and headed towards the American border.

 

 

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On highway 93 now, single lanes with far fewer cars we passed Fort Steele, Fernie and had a walked around Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a historic site in Alberta which pays tribute to a lad who wanted to the watch the poor buffalo be charged off the cliff and instead found himself in harms way. His head was smashed in beneath the renown Buffalo Jump. This section of the road leaves behind the beloved rocky mountains and returns once more to the vast expanses of the prairies. It’s been months since we’ve been able to see the horizon and the new softer colours and wider skies were welcome.

 

With 40km’s of road south left until Montana, U.S.A, we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful wide expanses and also on the edges of the bible belt, a region that has fascinated me for years. Flicking through the radio stations we got the point, either country music or a religious spiel that only took minutes for me to be offended. For the next hour or so we were mesmerised by the content of the religious radio station and how ridiculous it was. It’s true I am not religious but I was brought up with christian values and liked aspects of the catholic faith but I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. A local father was discussing ‘giving’ and how little people give to the church. He was saying that in order for the act of giving to be seen as generosity to the church it needed to be substantial enough to impact negatively on the givers life. He gave recommendations for people to donate 5-10% of their annual wage and that currently only 5% of the people who come to Church weekly donate, “a disgraceful act.” I could go on and on but I won’t, as you can tell the content was intriguing.

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Climax, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Continuing along the southern border east, feet on the dashboard, cruise control on and our giant map of Canada taking up most of the front seats we drive through Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Climax (a place I had first heard of on a clock whilst backpacking in Hanoi!) and all the small towns in-between.  ‘Don’t blink or you’ll miss it’, a slogan which these towns should have to warn each visitor as they arrive because I missed a lot. Some though I did manage to catch a glimpse and yes they are small but I can guarantee there is always something ‘big’ about them. In these parts of southern prairie Canada you’ll find all towns supporting a grain elevator and storage unit, a pub, a take away shop, a grocer and something that claims itself as the ‘biggest’. Whether it’s the biggest teepee or the biggest pinto bean, these parts are an insight into Canada far beyond the grim major highway a little further north.  With acres of produce carved into the landscape, tractors combing the fields and the dusty gravel roads of the south, it’s not all glamours but it feels real and a detour we were very glad we took and what’s more, up ahead there were a couple of green zones, Cyprus Hills and Grasslands National Park. Now those are a few spots on our radar we won’t be missing.

 

Flat prairies of Southern Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan

 

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Written by

Prue Sinclair is a twenty-eight year old Aussie who for the past seven years has been exploring the furthermost reaches of the World. Living anywhere but her homeland, she now resides somewhere in the UK where she writes about the adventures of her Ultimate British Road Trip. Her message is simple: You can get anywhere on any budget, you just need to think outside the box. You can trust she’s finding her way to somewhere lesser-known and writing a ‘How To’ guide.

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