Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, not-so-bloody Sunday

What a great bed -- didn't want to get out.   But we'd agreed to 10am brunch, so we could leave by noon -- whose crazy idea was that?!? ;-)

We checked the weather (hot!), got dressed and padded into the main part of the house, where Duff and Holly were just starting up as well.  Holly had shown us how to use the coffee maker the night before (one of those single-serving thingamajigs), and Don was able to make his own cup, with a bit of Duff's help.  When it came to my cup, though... uh-oh.  Between the three of us, it could not be done.  Holly to the rescue -- I am human once more.

They've whipped up a delicious brunch for us all: "easy risers" (fried eggs on english muffins with sliced cheese and sausage for the carnivores) and real home fries.  Once again, we are pleasantly stuffed.

We learn that Duff once ran for M.P. in his riding (Liberal in a staunch Conservative territory -- you can guess the result), so of course the conversation turns to politics.  Uh-oh, now we'll never leave! ;-)

But, I'm able to pry Don away, and we actually make it to the car fairly close to our desired schedule.  Holly loads us up with ice waters (much needed, thanks!), we say our good-byes and we frappe la rue.

The directions are quite simple -- stay on highway 16 until you get to highway 2, then turn right and go until you can't. I think we can handle it...  It's the typical prairie open road and big sky for most of it.  Don keeps quipping about the mountains every time we see a hill (I think I liked him better when he slept through the prairies!), but then as we're heading south on highway 2, we hit a beautiful river valley near North Grove.  That shuts him up until we get to town. :-)

Moose Jaw is a very historic town -- we were advised to go on a tour of the underground tunnels from the prohibition days but, alas, our schedule doesn't allow.  The venue is easy enough to find, right in the heart of the downtown historical district, and right next to it is a motel, "Capone's Hideaway" -- "an adventurous choice" said one couple we met at the cafe later on that evening, but perfectly clean and cheap (our only complaint was there was no soap in the bathroom...).  They've tried to decorate it according to theme, with an old-style lamp and telephone, and a chest of drawers that looks like an old liquor cabinet.   It's right across from the former train station, and probably above one of the tunnels. Capone, of course, probably didn't spend a whole lot of time here, but it's good for tourism. :-)

We'll have to leave some time next visit to take a tour of the tunnels -- apparently a 2-hour tour.  They start at the train station and work their way towards various hotels, a shoe store and "Rosie's house".  Not sure who Rosie was, but I'm guessing visits to her house were rather, ah, entertaining.

We check in to the motel and walk our first load of instruments over to the cafe, 23 Main Street.  What a great place!  This is exactly where I'd be hanging out all the time if I lived in Moose Jaw.  A long room with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors, tall cafe tables and clusters of big comfy couches.  The "stage" is a slightly raised area in the front window (tall cafe tables are there when it's not being used as a stage).  The food counter is to your left as you walk in -- first the ice cream parlour (!), then the coffee shop, which also offers pizzas and paninis and salads, etc., plus the whole wide array of specialty coffees and teas.  There are some scarves and clothes being sold in the back section, plus books and jewellery on shelves around the store, and artwork along the walls.

We introduce ourselves to the barista who tells us the boss is out getting some supplies but should be back soon, and we can store our stuff in his office while we wait.  We go back and get our second load to stash in the office.  She offers us drinks while we wait -- I pick "white orchard" tea (very nice) and Don just goes for water.  We figure we might as well eat now too, so we have time to digest before we sing (lesson learned from the night before!).  She says it's on the house -- we knew the drinks were, but dinner was unexpected -- thanks 23 Main!  I opt for the veggie roma panini, Don orders a spicy chicken pizza with chipotle-lime seasoning, and we stake out a big comfy couch.  Don finally gets a chance to check his e-mail (they also have wireless -- yay!), and I finally remember to check the messages at home -- hey, what's two weeks, really?  Anyone who really needed to get us would call our cell phones... but not the 14 recorded messages from PC Financial.  Geez, if they'd bothered to hire humans to make the calls, they would have heard the cell phone numbers!!!

Our dinners arrive and... oh geez, this is really good food!  I'd pretty much live here and get really really fat...

Taylor, the manager, comes back -- a young guy with a really great energy about him.  He's recruited a man to help him set up the stage, I'm guessing in return for a coffee or sandwich or something, as this guy seems to be a little hard on his luck and perhaps battling some mental illness, from the conversation we later have. OK, so this is also a cafe with a good heart.  Me like.

We get ourselves set up and ask him the details of when we should start / break / stop, etc. -- he's pretty easygoing with it, just play it by ear.  Oh, but wait, there's also a spotlight he wants to set up on us. :-)

It's a tip-jar gig, not the kind of thing we'd usually want to do, but on a night we'd have to travel through anyhow,  It's a nice filler in a town that doesn't know us, and helps cover the motel bill.  A friendly, community spot that I'd recommend to any musicians travelling through under the same premise -- no guarantee, and probably not your highest-earning tour gig, but it's a nice place, a great meal, and a friendly, feel-good community.  We really enjoyed ourselves.

The place is pretty hopping for a Sunday night, too -- we had no idea what to expect, this was one of our last-minute gig finds, and with our cafe experiences this tour, we were obviously a bit wary.  The cafe-goers were appreciative, especially this one couple in the first set of couches, and the staff seemed to love it too.

We took our break and chatted a bit with the couple in front.  They were in town from Yorkton, SK (the east end of the province) for an anniversary visit to the spa.  They'd seen us walking our instruments in earlier and had come in to check us out after their dinner.  They were lovely people, and incredibly generous to the tip jar -- thank you, belatedly!!!

The cafe closed at 9:00, and by about 8:45, that couple and the staff were the only ones left.  So we packed up our stuff and helped clear our dishes.  We took our first load back to the hotel.  When we came back for the second, another couple was there -- we're presuming the owners -- who said how much the staff had loved our music, and we were welcome back any time.  We left them with a CD for the cafe, and said cheery good-nights.

Back at the motel, I did some online banking, Don played some solitaire (hmmm...), and then we fell asleep to the sounds of motorcycles (there are a LOT in this city) and trains.

Musically and Moosejawingly,


  1. Well that sounds awesome! If I ever get to Moose Jaw I'll know where to stop for a bite! And a tour!

    Enjoy your drive today.

  2. The drive was actually Monday -- today we're in Winnipeg, no car needed. :-)