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Waking up after a long and well-deserved sleep in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. At the "Westwind", a delightful low-key motel where I think I got the best night's sleep of this journey so far.

Yesterday started splendidly with breakfast with my Opera friend Carol aka Dacotah with happens to live in Minot, North Dakota where we had ended up by chance the night before.

There she is in the brown t-shirt next to my wife Ruth.

Carol found us a delightful breakfast restaurant and we had a long and fascinating conversation about Minot, South Dakota and life in general. None of this would have happened without My Opera and our blogs.

Then it was north on Highway 52 to the well-named frontier town of Portal where we, possibly because had forgotten to get my son David to sign his passport, were given a battery of background checks before being sent on our way into Saskatchewan.

Before that, though, we detoured on a gravel road through the Des Lacs Nature Reserve where this pheasant wild turkey decided to present him or herself to us in a most casual manner! Lots of lakes here, as the name suggests, and pelicans, cormorants, coots, greebes, geese and ducks galore.

The hillsides along this North Dakota highway and reserve were decorated with stone numbers much in the manner of the chalk hill decorations you see in England. In this case, the numbers refer to graduation years from high school and have been there since 1945. Although I liked these, I was a little disappointed in the lack of imagination of most of the figures. The one I show here was the most ornate that I could see, but I would have loved to have seen some figures outlined such a a white horse.

Once we had crossed into Saskatchewan, we left those delightful rolling hills behind us and entered an area of completely flat land that really did define the description big sky country. Miles and miles of pancake fields dotted by a few remote farmhouse and grain elevators. But, as we headed north and west, we began to make out a rise in the land to the west, and after about a hour or so more driving, the land began to rise and undulate around us. This is the countryside that surrounds us here in Swift Current and very pretty it is too. Yesterday ended with a lovely sunset that gave me a chance to use my fisheye lens for the photograph you see at the top of this post.

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