Thursday, July 1, 2010

To Roche Percee

It's Canada Day, frequently referred to as Canada's birthday. We celebrated by getting up at 5:30, packing up quickly, and riding before it got too hot. There's was also a very nice tailwind and we made excellent progress. I think this is a field of canola, but it might be mustard seed.

We rode 54 miles and got to Estevan by noon. After a nice long lunch and rest, we decided to ride a bit farther. The landscape changed remarkably. The majority of coal mined in Saskatchewan comes from the Estevan area. This gigantic excavator was working as we rode by. The white engine house (not sure if this is the correct term) was 3 stories high and about 30' X 70'.

Lots of oil rigs also, pumping away,

with a nearby flame coming out of tall pole.

Near Roche Percee, we passed a different kind of oil drilling rig.

Dick wanted me to take this picture of a small valley near Roche Percee specifically so his brother Tom, a geologist, could analyze it.

"One homesteader, Robert J. Hassard, discovered a large seam in a narrow ravine near his house east of Roche Percee. This may have been the first serious extraction of coal in the province. In 1887 he began to sell coal to others farmers in his area. By 1891 the eight foot thick seam had been mined out into a wide levelly-floored corridor cut straight into the bank. The coal could be pulled out by horse, instead of having to lift it out, they way they had to from pit mines. Wooden rafters were put in place to keep the cut from collapsing. Settlers came from all over the southern part of the province to get their winter supply at a dollar per wagon load." Source:'s%20Long%20History%20of%20Coal%20Mining%20by%20Janet%20MacKenzie.pdf

Uh-oh, the campground in Roche Percee hasn't existed for years. We took a chance on pitching our tent near the baseball field which appears to be used these days by lots of gophers and millions of mosquitoes. There's a wedding going on at the community center across the street, it could be an interesting night.

Miles completed = 1621

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