OTTAWA TO KAMLOOPS DAY THREE

Winnipeg train station

Winnipeg train station

We arrive in Winnipeg at 7:30 a.m. for a four-hour-plus stopover. First thing I do is head to the washroom — a beautiful brand new facility only two weeks old — and wash my hair in the sink. The cleaning lady accommodatingly works around me and we chat while I comb through my wet strands. That feels so good and refreshing. I touch up my face with a bit of mascara and lip gloss and I’m good to go.

This is one of the few places we have Wi-Fi on route, so I plant myself on a station bench to send to my editor a story that is due in early June — I finished it on the train yesterday. That done, I walk down Main Street in the warm late morning sun for a bit of exercise.

Melville old station

Melville old station

Melville new station

Melville new station

Tonight, after a brief walkabout at the Melville, Saskatchewan station, in the hot spring late afternoon, Raven and I end up in the “activity” car, where we are entertained by a young Vancouver couple. He plays a 6-string and a black folk guitar as an accompaniment to her lilting voice. Justin the World Walker, a young Saskatchewan arts master’s student who boarded in Winnipeg and is stopping over in Saskatoon to see friends and family before heading back to Emily Carr University on Vancouver’s Granville Island, an older quiet woman called Gloria, and Raven and I take in the home-grown music of The Shrugs, who also pull off a couple of fine renditions of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” and Paul Anka’s “My Way.”

Raven is in a buying-everyone-a-drink mode, but I can’t keep up and she overdoes it. She becomes embarrassingly belligerent and luckily sleeps it off and is back to her normal self the next day.

The young musicians quit their go-nowhere jobs a year ago to tour. We all exchange life stories after their set, with Justin definitely taking first place.

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