Tag Archive | pink

DATELINE: Aug 31 – Innisfree

I love it when people grab an idea and run with it! That’s what Jennifer (CAO of Innisfree) did. She inspired the town to go pink … even had the post office pink, which is a real feat! It takes special permission for a post office to change anything, including (and especially) their uniforms. The Innisfree post office was pink inside and out, and the postmistress got special permission to wear all pink (instead of her ho-hum Canada Post uniform) for two days!

For the first (and likely last) time on this tour, I got to ride in a parade! Longrider Sue Meier loaned me her horse, “Michael”, and away we went. It wasn’t a long parade but we got to see the pinkness of the town.

This town did a “memory tree” in their park on Main Street. The tree was festooned with pink balloons that were in memory of those lost to cancer. Each balloon had a name and date on it. Very touching.

The Innisfree trail ride was from the farm owned by Karen and her husband. Karen owns a new newspaper called “Hiway 16 News” and she drives a pair of very gorgeous black Percherons. The Percherons led the way and they went out on the peninsula of their lake. By all accounts, the scenery was breathtaking.

It seems Innisfree’s mayor made a challenge. If her town could raise $5,000, she would shave her head. Then two of her councillors got into the act and said that if the $5,000 was raised, they would allow someone to wax the hair off their chests! The challenge was on … and it was met on the day we were in town. But then Jennifer and Karen got creative and now, on the day that the assorted hair is removed, there will also be a pie challenge. Councillors and teachers will be the objects. Citizens can bid to throw a pie in a face. The twist will be that the councillor or teacher can buy their way out of being creamed by beating the amount raised! If the councillor or teacher does that, he or she can then nominate someone else to get creamed! I think this town is going to raise a lot of money with this event!

All in all, Innisfree was a GREAT stop on our tour and I wish them the best of luck in becoming the Pinkest Little Town in the West!

Next stop: Two Hills

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DATELINE: Aug 30 – Edgerton, but staying on at Lara Matechuk’s farm

It is such a treat to get to spend two nights in the same place! And Lara’s farm is a lovely place.

So in the morning everybody saddled up and away they went to ride the big sand dunes. (Yes, I was jealous again.) They had a whale of a time riding up dunes to the top and then riding the ridge because coming down the other side wasn’t an option (too steep). They loped all over the place and just generally had a great time.

After their ride we were off to see the folks from Edgerton. They had an outdoor barbecue at the ag facility. CFCW was in attendance and there was a silent auction where Cookie and I were bidding on the same thing. (She called me a “bag” … but there are no friends at auctions, right? *grin*)

These guys had fun. They organized kids’ games.  “Real” kids games! There was bobbing for apples! There was a sack race! It was a hoot and the kids had a ball.

When all was said and done, the tiny burg of Edgerton raised over a thousand dollars (on virtually no notice!) and everybody had a great time!

Back to Lara’s and the front yard fire pit where Lara, Tami and I outlasted all the rest … and where the next morning Tami was suffering. (So glad that I don’t do hangovers!)

One last giggle from Edgerton. There is a sign on the road coming back from the lake that says, “West Edgerton Mall” and an arrow pointing that-a-way! *giggle, snort* (Yes, of course I got a picture of it. But between my phone and my computer, somehow pics get lost on some cloud or other!)

Next stop: Innisfree

DATELINE: Aug 29 – Lara Matechuk’s farm

 

Who knew that the central part of eastern Alberta was so beautiful? The rolling hills with bluffs of trees all over the place are quite magical. Kind of puts me in mind of the home area of the hobbits in Lord of the Rings!

God bless Lara. She saved my bacon when I couldn’t find another town willing to play with us, and she took the riders out for a four hour ride in what is called Ribstone Heritage Grazing Land. They did the northern end where the sand dunes are small. (I was jealous.)

When they got back, Lara had arranged for us to do a tour (and tasting) of Ribstone Creek Brewery! All I can say about that is, “Wow!” These guys are serious about their beer! All the awards hanging on the walls are a testament to that. And they’re not just winning here. They’re winning in Europe as well! Not bad for a little upstart brewery in the tiny burg of Edgerton (population: 317). Bruce was our host and he did an excellent job of educating us … and serving us beer. Their India Pale Ale is NOTHING like anything Alexander Keith ever made! And they make the only dark lager I’ve tried and actually like!

After that our Cookie, Carole DeSchover, did her usual magic on dinner and then we sat around the fire in Lara’s front yard for a while. But we didn’t sit too long. Everybody was ready for bed about the time the sun went down.

It’s a special treat here. We’re staying put for two nights in a row! Edgerton is just around the corner, so instead of moving there, we’ll stay here and go to town for the festivities after the day’s ride.

Next up: Edgerton

DATELINE: Aug 28 – Alliance

This was the day that the riders got to chase cows. They were so excited for that opportunity!

They pulled into the Davidson farm at around 10:00 and off they went with Beth and Ralph Davidson and the Davidson cattle crew. No one told me how many cattle they were moving, but I got the impression that it was a lot.

It took something like four hours to get the cattle to their fall range where the Davidsons had taken some picnic tables so the riders could sit and enjoy their lunches! (Spoiled bunch or riders, yes?) The Alliance crew even provided the lunches!

The only mishap of the day was to Lara Matechuk. As Beth said, it was the perfect trifecta. A horse went running past her after a calf. The grass was so tall you could hardly see. There was a big rock that scares every horse that ever goes near it. The end result was Lara flat on her back on the ground, but she wasn’t hurt badly, only a little shaken. Up she got and off she went.

After lunch Beth and Ralph took them home via the river valley. Apparently the scenery was magnificent and the trails fun.

When everybody got back into Alliance, they came to Recreational Park where supper was provided. This was a town-wide dinner that included some of the best salads I’ve had in a long, long time and some to-die-for sugar cookies in the shape (and colour) of breast cancer ribbons. This was never confirmed to me, but I’m fairly sure that everybody in town showed up for dinner! It was an amazing turn out!

After dinner we headed out front of the building for a bonfire … oh, look! Here comes someone in a tractor with the entire bucket filled with bucked up firewood! It would have been a long night if everybody were not so tired!

Alliance, you did an excellent job on such short notice from me! I salute you! (And I wonder what the Pinkification Judges thought of your pink curbs and such.) Nicely done!

Next stop: Lara Matechuk’s farm near Edgerton.

DATELINE: Aug 27 – Donalda/Camrose

Try as I might, I could not find anyone to lead a ride in Camrose on Saturday, so the lovely Becky Clement from Donalda offered to take our riders back into the coulees on Saturday. Everybody was more than happy with that opportunity.

It rained in the night, but it quit by morning so Becky showed up around 10:30 and away they all went for their second ride in the coulees. This one only lasted until 2:30, but it was much appreciated by all the riders.

From there, we trailered up and headed off to dinner at the Exhibition Grounds in Camrose, compliments of the Camrose Kinsmen. Those boys (and girl) really know how to do dinner! And they are great hosts. We had medium rare steak, fab Caesar salad, corn on the cob, potato salad (man, they know how to do potato salad right down here!), homemade Boston baked beans and carrot cake dessert. Mmmmmmmmm. Excellent!

But we had a tire on the cargo trailer go on us, so we had to get back to camp (in the Camrose Regional Exhibition grounds) to wait for the KAL TIRE guy to arrive. He did and that all went smoothly, so we’re back in business.

It’s a cool and moist night and all the riders have gone to bed early. So good night, dear readers. Sweet dreams.

Next stop: chasing cows in Alliance.

DATELINE: Aug 25 – Big Valley

Pandemonium! That’s the best word I can use to describe the scene when our pinkified riders converged on the train station in Big Valley.

First, for those of you who’ve not heard about the Alberta Prairie Train, it’s the one everybody calls “The Stettler Train”. Excursions originate in, and return to, Stettler and include a full course buffet dinner at Big Valley. The trains have concession areas, full beverage service, an open-air observation car, a children’s play area, the Lone Star Saloon, train robberies, gun fights, on-board entertainment and a live commentary explaining the trip. It’s something the whole family can enjoy.

Big Valley was the divisional point for the Canadian Northern Railway in the early 1900’s. In Big Valley, you’ll see a restored railway station, a round house interpretive centre, St Edmund’s Church and Jimmy Jock Boardwalk.

The locomotive pulling most trains is steam, but today’s train was pulled by a vintage diesel so as not to scare the bejabbers out of our horses. The Alberta Prairie Train people did a stellar job of pinking up their train. It flew big black flags on the front with pink breast cancer ribbons. Both sides of the locomotive sported at least 75 smaller pendant style flags with breast cancer ribbons, and each side of the locomotive had a big sign that said, “Pulling for the cure”. All the passenger cars were festooned as well. It was quite something to see.

So, as I was saying, it was pandemonium! We had something like 22 or 23 riders. They (and a vis-à-vis buggy pulled by two strapping big Percheron horses) converged on the train station. Twenty minutes before the train arrived, the sky opened up and it poured. Fortunately, our riders are sturdy stock. Those who couldn’t find a tree to stand under just sat in the rain with no complaints.

With a whopping 5 minutes to spare, it quit raining and we were ready to go. To do what, you ask? To exchange cookies with the train riders!

You see, every person on the train (and there were hundreds) was given a sugar cookie with pink icing on top. Meanwhile, every person in Big Valley, including all the Wild Pink Yonder riders, was given a sugar cookie with white icing on top. It was our job to exchange cookies with train riders. For every cookie exchanged, Alberta Prairie Train planned to give Wild Pink Yonder a dollar!

I have no idea how many cookies were exchanged, but it was a lot! Every man, woman and child on that train had a cookie! Every rider had at least 3 cookies! It was craziness there in the parking lot!

Once that was done, we all went to the big tent for lunch with the train people. Beautiful beef roast with potatoes, mixed peas and carrots and coleslaw. Then there was fresh fruit and mini cupcakes with pink frosting.

After lunch I rode around Big Valley in the vis-à-vis with my old friend, Hughie Ashwell (two time Longrider), his wife and my stepson, Kevin. It was so nice out that we put the top down on the vis-à-vis and enjoyed the sunshine.

Later in the afternoon some of the riders saddled up and went on a tour of the town. (It’s quaint.) Too bad they didn’t go when we did. We had sunshine. They got drenched … again!

We were on our own for dinner, which was fine. (Cookie [aka Carole DeSchover] always does an excellent job of that.) After dinner some of the riders went to town. It seems the local saloon keeper was offering free pool and happy hour drinks all evening in our honour.

Friday morning it was pancakes, sausages, ham and eggs in the local arena and then our riders were off like a shot. They have a date to ride the badlands of Donalda at 10:00 this morning and it’s an hour’s drive from Big Valley to Donalda.

Next stop: Donalda.

DATELINE: Aug 24 – Alix

Even if Alix had been invited to participate as early as some of the other towns, their enthusiasm and displays would have been impressive. But they were made more impressive by the fact that they didn’t get invited to the party until quite late!

What a great little town! It sits on rolling land between the railway line and a lovely little lake that our riders rode around after the parade.

You should see Alix’s main street! It was completely decorated in pink … and this is the town in which I measured the distance covered when you hook 198 bras together in a row. (2/10’s of a mile.) The bras started at the fire hall and ended just before main street. (I was wanting to get our riders to pitch in a few more bras so it would get all the way to main street, but decided against asking them.)

The days’ ride was a short one but a lovely ride on some great trails. Then we were off to the ag grounds to put horses away and get ready for the evening’s festivities.

Dinner was beef on a bun with two salads, followed by muffins and strawberry short cake. Yum! After dinner they brought in entertainment. It was wonderful! Music at the right decibels! What a treat! Mostly country music … two musicians. Truly enjoyable.

The evening ended at 10:00pm and everybody was off to bed early.

In the morning we were off to the fire hall where their volunteer firefighters did pink pancakes, sausages and fried eggs with fruit cocktail and some good, strong coffee. Riders couldn’t dilly dally though as they had a schedule to meet. Kevin and I stayed back to talk to the town organizers, the deputy major and some of the firefighters. Great bunch of people!

Next stop: Big Valley