The Mean Towing Machine, as the Dude likes to refer to the truck, shrieked and whistled its way across the prairies, its high, attention-demanding pitch warning wayward gophers out of its path. Its need for attention coupled with our eastern trajectory brought us to Yorkton, Sask. where the diesel truck whisperer attends to wounded machines in blue coveralls.
“Help us, we pleaded, this incessant whistling sound is driving us mad.”
“No need to beg,” replied the Truck Whisperer politely after noting our B.C. plates. “We accept B.C. money at par and I am here to help. Come back at four, my work will be done”.
Set up at the City Campground on the edge of town, we explored on two wheels, (four, actually, if you count both bikes), Dexter in tow on leash. Yorkton exemplifies the changing Saskatchewan. Farming still rules. Huge machines of unknowable purpose, driven by John Deere-hatted men, lumber down the potholed highways sharing space with SUV’s and expensive trucks, fueled by potash and energy money.
The town’s wide, treed streets and neat homes give off a Mayberry aura and one half expects to see young Opie or Beaver Cleaver two-wheeling out of a yard hell-bent on adventure, Yorkton-style, with Aunt Bea or June Cleaver clucking at them motherly from a front porch. The linear park around the city beckons.
Like many small prairie towns, Yorkton has its landmark, and this one is big. It looms above the trees and rooftops like a scaled down concrete version of the CN tower with “Yorkton” in 20 foot letters across its face. It might hold water. During the dirty thirties, Al Capone funneled bootleg whiskey through Saskatchewan. Draw your own conclusions about what the “water” tower actually contains.
“You’re from B.C., what are you doin’ in Saskatchewan?”
We’ve been asked this question numerous times when people learn we’re from God’s country. We stare back at them blankly for a moment before pointing out the obvious blessings we see through new eyes.
Big sky, prairie winds, rolling wheat fields, mournful train whistles in the night, flat biking trails, wetlands dotted with reeds and filled with birdsong, kindly people who offer to park your RV for you, a Diesel shop owner who fits in a needy traveler on short notice. These are a few of our favourite Saskatchewan things.
Oh, and by the way, the high-pitched whistling sound (kaching, kaching) was nothing more than air being forced through the vents of Mean Machine’s new fifth wheel tailgate…