We left Saturday morning just before lunch and drove straight through to Regina, with a couple of stops along the way for pictures. The canola fields are yellow as can be right now, so we saw a lot of this:
Not much to tell about day 1. We arrived in Regina late in the afternoon, ate supper and visited with Dixie’s aunt and uncle, with whom we stayed, and then watched Under the Tuscan Sun, which was pretty good. It’s hard to go wrong with Tuscany as your setting.
Of note: I believe it was on this first night that we saw My Morning Jacket on Austin City Limits. I immediately regretted suspending my emusic.com account, which I had done the night before we left. I reactivated the account today and downloaded My Morning Jacket’s double-album Okonokos: Live. Good so far.
Day 2 is when the adventures began. We decided to drive down to Rouleau in the morning. Rouleau is a typical small prairie town about 20 minutes south of Regina, but it has the distinction of being the set (and setting, under the name “Dog River”) for the successful Canadian sitcom Corner Gas. Strangely, the Google satellite image does not include Corner Gas and the Ruby, which have both been there for six years now:
It was a bit surreal to see the set. I’ve been a fan of the show since the first episode and it was strange to walk where Brett and his friends walked, talked. Many “jackass!”s have been uttered on that gravelly lot. The place felt completely familiar—I mean, it’s a typical Saskatchewan town and I grew up in a typical Saskatchewan town, at least in terms of size and location. In fact, it felt weird to be a tourist in a place that was like home.
The gas station set is authentic, by which I mean scenes are shot right inside the building. It looks authentic inside, with a counter, cash registers and products for sale. The positioning of everything seemed a bit off, but I suspect that has more to do with forced perspective on TV than anything else. I also wondered if the back of the store was different than on the show, but we happened to catch a bit of an episode the night we returned and it looks right.
The Ruby, on the other hand, is just a facade. It is a complete building, but inside there is no restaurant, but storage space and what looks to be, judging by the sign on the door with a picture of “Mr. Butt” (that’s what the sign says), Brent Butt’s dressing room.
Too bad. Maybe I shouldn’t have looked through the windows of The Ruby. Everything else looks to authentic, so used and useable, it’s a shame that the same couldn’t have been done for the restaurant.
There are security people on site 24/7. They are very friendly and helpful (and carry around guest books for visitors to sign). I asked them where we could go and they said pretty much anywhere, except behind the building. Also, no pictures behind the building.
Behind the Corner Gas/Ruby building is a small trailer park for cast and crew. The idea, I guess, is to preserve the authenticity of the site, except that a postcard available in the gift shop shows an aerial photograph of the site, trailers and all.
On the main street in Rouleau we also found the police station (actually a gift shop), the “Foo Mar t” (not a real grocery store), the hotel/bar (authentic, as far as I could tell, though it was closed), town hall and the office of the Dog River Howler. Oscar and Emma’s house was in town somewhere.
For some reason, I was reluctant to leave. I wanted to hang around for a while, take it all in. Perhaps subconsciously I thought I might actually see Brent or Oscar or Lacy. I don’t know. It felt a little Mecca-ish for me.
On the way back to Regina, I stopped for a couple of pictures in places I had noted on the way.
The rest of Day 2 was spent in Regina. It was hot, so the kids played in a kiddie pool in the back yard, then we took them to a water park a couple of blocks away: you know the kind with spraying trees and water guns and other things to run through and get wet. The children were inexplicably afraid to do any running through anything unless I went with them. The kids were in bathing suits. I was in my civvies. Oh well.
I’ve created a Vacation 2008 Flickr set, where you will find more pictures (and more will be added as I post).
Also, I will be mapping my photographs on Flickr, so if you’re interested in that sort of thing, here is my map of the trip photograph locations (eventually it will be more than the trip, but for now…).