Youngstown, Alberta, June 26th, 2012

Oh Canada, Oh  Canada
I have been told enough times that I am riding  a  once in a lifetime spring and summer with its spectacular luscious green and belly deep grasses. The rains have turned the “Special Area” of Alberta into paradise.  I am having one of the finest rides I have ever had. Canadians are delightful people and this is farming and ranching country people of my background as a Minnesota dairy farm girl.
Recap: June 20th overnight-ed in Esther, AB. at the home of Bill and Madge Dalton, The Dalton Gang! a friendly bunch, they own the town. Has the oldest Grain elevator still standing in Alberta. Had dinner with the branding crew at the local town hall.  Watched yet another  community of people all wearing smiles and enjoying one another, who care deeply about one another and their families and friends that make up this community that is isolated and really very remote.  Rode into Sedalia . Now Sedalia, I must say this town knocked me off my socks…. Sedalia Co-op General Mercantile was a store to be proud of.  First of all the store is located in the middle of no-where and yet here you can come as someone in the community and get just about anything!! The fresh produce is brought in weekly, there was a huge variety of goods, remarkable.The store was like stepping back 50 years with the original hardwood floors and the  ceiling is a vintage texture tin tile  from the 1920’s when the building was first built. The store became a co-op in 1945 I believe that is what Eddie Thorton said, He and his wife Heather manage the store. Eddies father managed the store before them.  Here a community has said forget Wal-Mart we want our store here and have made it happen, With over 200 members the store is an example of a community pooling together to make a positive change in their lives. They also had a post office that was housed in a 100 year old house and so creatively done up. Post mistress Kathy said she had  40 boxes and was open M. W. F. I was camped right between the post office and the store and the community hall  had been opened so I had a toilet facility. Many folks bearing smiles and handshakes stopped by to wish me safe travels
Storms and rains have scattered my days for nearly a month. Made fresh water-mint tea. Coyotes yip and call to one another evenings are filled with horrendous mosquito’s but the horses are   covered in nets and fly shields and are comfortable. The horizon is flat in all directions. I am up early to ride the sunrises. The summer heat is now increasing. Gave a talk at the local school, first thru the 9th grades were finishing up their year, I told them that they to  were on a long ride and that was SCHOOL!
Have spent last night at the Palmer residence, Murry and Mavis. Mavis retired today after 35 plus years of teaching school.  Another teacher who devoted many many years to the teaching of other children–again, my hat is off to you Mavis. I will ride out tomorrow morning as rains have been on and off all day. Hart, Essie and Spirit are all doing well we are not traveling fast and taking long breaks, AND  there is  grass and water everywhere! Claire  remains the star of the show and really, no one wants to talk to me, it is Claire they want to see and talk to…. heading for Sheerness, Alberta in the morning, 3 day ride..
Alberta the wild rose province…. spectacular.. many thanks Happy Trails
Bernice Ende