The wind was gusting between 20 and 40 mph. The rain wasn’t heavy, but was driving near horizontally against my windshield and face shield. It was a long 45 minutes from the time we entered the squall until we reached our hotel in Edmonton.

I had made the appointment for BOXXER’s 18K service several days ago and needed to get it to the BMW shop, Argyll Motorsports, before they closed. The engine needed to be stone cold for the valve adjustment the next morning. I dropped the bike off and enjoyed a rainy, one-mile walk back to the hotel. It felt good to be on my feet.

I know it is my imagination, but after a through service, the bike seems to sound and run better. Despite leaving Edmonton after noon, we covered the 325 miles to Saskatoon in plenty of time for a leisurely beer and dinner.

“Hey fellas, that’s a sidewalk your motorcycles are on,” said the campus policeman from his scooter van.

Before we left Saskatoon, we took a tour of the University of Saskatchewan. I have several colleagues who work there and heard that the Agriculture Building is quite a beautiful structure. Richard and I jumped the curb with our bikes and parked them at the front door for the best photo opp.

Ag bldg

Agriculture Building, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

“ I really like the looks of BMW motorcycles; I have a BMW car, but a Harley motorcycle, I should get one like yours,” the well-dressed gentleman told Richard. That was Dr. Bob Tyler, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for the College of Agriculture, who was on his way to work. We stood there talking about motorcycles, agriculture, and common acquaintances for the next 20 minutes until the campus policeman rolled by to suggest that we might find a better parking place. He admonished us with such a warm smile and a wave that we thought he was joking at first.

“Yes sir,” Richard said, “we are on our way out.”

The campus policeman was like every other Canadian we met, friendly, kind, and with a “no worries” demeanor, even the customs agent. The culture is different in subtle ways, even the traffic signs. Instead of a sign warning “Dangerous Intersection” that you would typically see in the States, the Canadian traffic engineers say “Important Intersection.” You are calmly but sufficiently alerted without the pump of adrenaline.

Other examples: “Red squirrels, Drive slowly” —The concern is clearly for the squirrel, not the potential damage it might do to one’s car. “Persons Working” instead of “Men Working.”

Speaking of which, on Route 93 in Idaho there was a warning sign: “Men Working.” As we came around the bend we were flagged down due to one-way traffic. This is what we saw: A women working and two guys leaning against their pick up truck smoking and joking.

Men working

“Men at Work???”