Day 2 with the 2015 Ford Focus saw us say goodbye to Moose Jaw and head south towards Ogema, Saskatchewan. First we had to get a photo with Mac the Moose.
Of course in the most Saskatchewan of things, the photo was photobombed by a CT-114 Tutor, otherwise known as the plane flown by the Snowbirds.
As we made our way south, we stopped in Rouleau, the home of Corner Gas and also known as Dog River.
The set of Corner Gas is a lot smaller than you would think. It’s also falling apart. There were reports that someone was going to turn it into a gift shop or a museum but nothing has been done with it.
We saw the home of the Dog River Howler, the Dog River Hotel, Oscar and Emma Leroy’s house and of course the surveillance bush.
Then it was to Ogema where we grabbed lunch at the Rolling Hills Restaurant, checked out the old Fire Hall and the British American Gas Station. By the time we did that, it was off to the Southern Prairie Railway, a tourist railway that took us from Ogema to what is left of Horizon, Saskatchewan. 14 miles away.
This is what is left of Horizon, Saskatchewan.
A quick summary of what we learned on the trip
- Steam locomotives were slow. Only about 15 miles per hour. No wonder thieves targeted trains. They were loud, slow moving, and predictable.
- Small Saskatchewan towns were placed 7 miles apart because that is how far a farmer could deliver grain in a day back then. Some say it was to refuel and water the steam engines but nope, it’s about grain delivery.
- Driving south of Moose Jaw on Highway 6 was the most isolated I have ever felt. No houses for as far as the eye can see. Considering at one time every section would have had a home on it, it’s incredible to think I was seeing hundreds of sections from on our drive with almost no signs of life.
- You can still get parts for Pullman cars.
- Each top window in the Pullman car we road in was a different size.
- Never underestimate the spirit of rural Saskatchewan to take on impossible projects.
- Horizon, Saskatchewan went from a vibrant rural community to only having two buildings left because of property taxes. The government offered them a hospital but the town turned it down because they were afraid property taxes would rise in town. This lead to the hospital going to Bengough (which is booming by the way) and eventually Highway 13 being moved. This killed the town and today there is only a decommissioned Federal Grain elevator there.
- I was shocked at how well built grain elevators are. They were built out of 2x4s or 2x6s laying flat and nailed together with one foot spikes holding them together. Each board would have 50 to 60 spikes driven into it making them built to last.
- Locomotive collectors are a unique breed who care more about finding a good home for their locomotives then selling them. The on that Southern Prairie Railway bought had to keep the livery colors or the original owner. Coincidently the livery colors matched the owners of the short line railroad that own the tracks.
After we were done, it was back into the Ford Focus and then home. It was shorter to come home via Regina so we did that. This is what I learned about the Ford Focus
- All of the highways we went on were in good condition but some were smoother than others. The Focus gave a nice ride on all of them.
- As I wrote yesterday, the car is quiet on the highway.
- I managed to figure out who was at fault over the Google Maps weirdness, I am pretty sure the bug is with Google Maps.
- Drink holders. It has 8 of them. This is great for travelling with kids. The boys had their Nalgene water bottles with them as did Wendy and I. Yet if you grab a coffee or a drink with a meal, you still need another one. The Ford Focus has them. It’s almost as if Ford engineers travel with children.
- According to Mark and Oliver, the stereo sounds great in the back seat. Ford’s stereo does compensate for road noise and can focus on the driver or the entire car. It was a big hit.
- I looked everywhere for it. The stereo offers me an option to plug my iPod into a line in port but I couldn’t find one. I may have missed it but I think it is a mistake in the stereo menus.
- Handling is fine. I wasn’t rally racing but around Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, and then Ogema, the car handled wonderfully.
Would I buy one? Well Wendy and I talked at length about getting one (probably the hatchback) when we got back to Saskatoon. That should tell you our feelings about the car. It’s a car that is really worth buying.