Friday Slide Scan #24 is a shot that should have appeared in FSS #6: Cypress Hills; it caught my eye when I was going through the files and it is, if you like the Prairies, just too pretty to skip. As a bonus, there’s a Prairie story of jailbreak and highway terror.

Prairie Fence in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

I suppose I should, as with that other picture, plug Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, a wonderful place. Now, here’s that story.

Jailbreak · One time I was driving somewhere around here, heading east from Calgary to Regina. It was the middle of some quiet weekday, hardly anyone on the road, nobody at all for lengthy stretches, then all of a sudden there was a police car behind me, lights flashing. I don’t know where the hell he’d been hiding, in that country you can see a gopher a half-day’s walk away. The Mountie smiled through my open window and politely suggested I’d been speeding. Well, no turns, no hills, no other cars, and another 500km to Regina, of course I was bloody speeding. He asked me to come sit in his cruiser while he wrote it up. Once we got comfy he asked “Seen a black Ford camper on the road recently?” Well, I’d probably only seen ten cars in the previous hour so I gave it some thought and told him I was pretty sure I hadn’t. Unusually for a cop, he gave me the back story.

This really bad guy in jail in Calgary had told all his buddies that he was going to break out, steal a gun, steal a car, go to the town in Saskatchewan where his wife lived, and kill her, because she done him wrong. Sure enough, he’d broken out of jail, held up a gun store in broad daylight, ripped a black Ford camper off the dealership across the street, and vanished. I imagine that there were nervous policemen on pretty well every fifty feet of road between there and his wife’s town, and I certainly hope she’d been hastily moved somewhere else.

Anyhow, the Mountie seemed like a nice guy; he fined me a whole lot less than he could have, and sent me on my way. Half an hour later I came over the edge of those long slow Prairie hills, and not too far in front of me was a black camper being followed pretty close by a patrol car, both going pretty slow. Well, I started going pretty slow too; I didn’t want to be passing them when a hail of gunfire broke out.

But the cop pulled out and drove away (there are lots of black Ford campers in that part of the world); then the driver, no doubt puzzled at why there were so many cops checking him out, picked up speed too and left me behind.

Images in the Friday Slide Scans are from 35mm slides taken between 1953 and 2003 by (in rough chronological order) Bill Bray, Jean Bray, Tim Bray, Cath Bray, and Lauren Wood; when I know exactly who took one, I’ll say; in this case, Tim Bray. Most but not all of the slides were on Kodachrome; they were digitized using a Nikon CoolScan 4000 ED scanner and cleaned up by a combination of the Nikon scanning software and PhotoShop Elements.

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February 24, 2006
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