A common response we hear about life on a boat is how most non-sailors are nervous about not being able to see land. I love being away from land. Driving across the vast prairies of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and North Dakota this weekend on our way back to the boat in North Carolina, I am beginning to understand how a prairie girl can be immediately comfortable offshore. I grew up under expansive skies and being able to see stars for miles. Prairie life is about space. The open ocean is about space. Offshore anxiety for some is perhaps more related to fear of drowning but I am comfortable with a flat horizon. In the summer, we live 100 km away from the Rocky Mountains and enjoy their stunning beauty but I am more at home in the fields of our farm.
Our little prairie town is filled with closet sailors. We visited our neighbour up the road and found this beauty in his shed.
Another old farmer talked about how he loves maps, has them pinned around his house, and has always wanted to travel the world by ocean. A third well-known character in our town had an extensive collection of antique sextants. Prairie people living on boats is therefore not a big surprise. We like space.
We hear many complaints of how boring it can be to drive across the prairies. We are making the 4000 km trip back to the boat by car because we love the colours, textures, wildlife, and changing skies of the plains. We have seen moose, an owl, hawks, coyotes, and herds of antelope. The terrain is white with snow but when one pays attention to subtle changes, much like being on the ocean, it is a myriad of shades and there is always movement. Through Saskatchewan, we passed the infamous and fictional town of Dog River from the Canadian iconic show, Corner Gas. Two of the main characters provide perspective on our flat land:
Saskatchewan is so flat that if you look carefully enough into the distance, you can see the back of your head.
Our new kitty, Rusty, has been a cool travelling cat. He sleeps all day in the car and explores a new hotel room every night. We have covered 3600 km in 5 days, including an extra day in Fargo, ND to avoid an ice storm. More importantly, we have picked up 25 degrees Celsius in temperature. We saw our first flip flops today in Berea, Kentucky. Tomorrow we will step back onto Alberta Crewed.