09-Aug-2001 -- It wasn't our intention to do this confluence. We had drawn up plans to do three confluences today and three tomorrow. Maps showed this confluence 1.9 km west from Highway 17 along the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, with no roads heading off in that direction. Our plans did include spending the night in Lloydminster so we would be driving right by the confluence, but our estimations were that it would be almost dark when we reached this area. It would probably be too late to walk 1.9 km each way so we omitted this confluence from our plans.
N52° W109° near Kerrobert, Saskatchewan we headed north towards Lloydminster where we had reservations at a motel. The sun was getting low in the sky as we drove along Highway 17, which almost directly follows W110°. Alan looked at his GPS as we hit the N53° position and we looked westward wishing we could get to that confluence. We continued on and a short distance north of the latitude we saw a small trail leading westward. It had not shown up on the map. Despite the fading light perhaps we could do this one after all! We optimistically bumped and jostled our way along the trail in our van. At a point 1.15 km from the confluence the trail abruptly ended at a barbed wire fence. The fence did not prevent us from going further as it had a gate that could be easily opened. It was the freshly cultivated field that stopped us from driving further and it was the setting sun and prevailing darkness that prevented us from walking further. A mere 1.15 km walk through the field and into the valley beyond is the confluence spot! Oh, well. We took photos anyway and took a GPS reading: N53°00'06.2" W110°01'01.1". We also swatted at the relentless mosquitoes. As we reluctantly drove back to the highway the sun reached the horizon. The confluence is there waiting for someone to find at a more favourable time of day.
The confluence and the trail leading west off Highway 17 are 30 km south of Lloydminster. Lloydminster, with a population of 21,000, is the only city in Canada which sits directly on a provincial border. This border between Alberta and Saskatchewan follows W110° from N49° (Canada/United States border) to N60° (southern border of the Northwest Territories). Four border markers line the meridian between 44 St. and 46 St., at the civic square, along 50th Avenue. This main street of Lloydminster is on the longest straight surveyed line in North America. Each red border marker is 100 feet tall and designed in the same shape and colour as the survey stakes used by the original dominion land survey when the Alberta and Saskatchewan boundaries were surveyed in 1905. The bases of the border markers are inlaid with the Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial shield with the city of Lloydminster's shield in the middle.
This area is located over some of Canada's richest heavy oil reserves. A $1.65 billion bi-provincial oil upgrader is located in Lloydminster as well as an educational Heavy Oil Science Center. Numerous working "pump jacks" dot the landscape. While most pump jacks are set out individually, a few kilometers south of the confluence we took a photo of three pump jacks pumping oil side by side. Most aren't as colourful as these ones. When at work, pump jacks bob up and down in see saw fashion pumping the oil into nearby tanks.
The Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Race Finals and the Canadian Cowboys Association Finals Rodeo are top events in Lloydminster. It is also a base for exploring the many historic sites associated with the 1885 North West Rebellion.
We spent the night in Lloydminster with plans to head further north early the next morning to find
54°N 109°W and on to do another two planned confluences. It had been a good confluence day. Three out of four - a fairly good score! But if only the day had been longer ......