Welcome to Ch-Ch-Ch-Churchill!
VIA Rail train # 693 arrived in Churchill this morning at about 8:15, more than two hours behind schedule and that was fine with me. At 7:00 a.m., our scheduled arrival time, it would have been cold and dark. At 8:15, it was merely cold – 27 degrees with a 40 mph wind blowing in off Hudson Bay.
A young lady named Amanda from Tamarak Car Rentals was on the platform waiting for me and, after a brief bit with paperwork, she handed me the keys to my rental car … well, actually, to my rental truck: a 4-wheel-drive Ford 150 pickup. It drives beautifully, but it’s exterior provides eloquent testimony to driving conditions in this harsh climate.
Five minutes later, I arrived at the Bluesky Bed & Sled, the B&B where I’ll be staying for the next two nights. I was greeted at the door by a cheery woman who introduced herself as “Grandma”. She is the mother of Jenafor, who owns this place. In a trice, I was seated around a large table with a hot cup of coffee, feeling quite at home, and chatting with other guests and members of the household.
Tomorrow I am going to visit the Churchill Northern Studies Center, about 20 miles from here. When I mentioned that to Amanda, she pointed out the route I should follow on an area map, then added pointedly, that I should not venture beyond that facility because the roads were “a little rough”. For a 4-wheel-drive heavy-duty pickup??
Also tomorrow, I will offer some details on my ride up here from Winnipeg on VIA Rail.
And on Thursday I’ve scheduled an all-day excursion in a tundra buggy. Object: polar bears!