Thursday, July 09, 2015

Northwest Manitoba Elevator Trip - The Planning

By the end of 2014 I had photographed all of the grain elevators in Manitoba for my Manitoba grain elevator project, except for the western and northwestern parts. I had around 45 elevators left to photograph, and 145 already "in the bag".

I started my planning for my next trip, knowing that I had to drive about 3 hours to see the first new-to-me elevator. At first I was planning for a multi-day trip, similar to my two-day southwest Manitoba trip. I quickly realized that if I was to get all 45 in one trip, it would be a three-day affair and I couldn't spare the time.

Then insanity struck. What if I took a day trip in June... with the long days... and shot as many as I could while daylight prevailed?

I feverishly planned my route in Excel, as I always do. Using Google Maps I started timing the trips between elevators, punching the numbers into Excel and coming up with a trip plan. I decided on a loop to get all the elevators north of Riding Mountain National Park, which would be almost half of the 45 remaining grain elevators. The trouble was... that would be 21 hours from start to finish. That's a long day. But hey! I'm still youngish so why not?
Insanity by the numbers

I broached my plan to my wife in stages. I figured if I revealed it all at once she would have me committed, so first I negotiated a day to go see some elevators - Saturday, June 27. Then when she asked what time I was leaving at, I muttered, "stupid early" and left it at that for a while. Finally I showed my whole plan to her and she did think I was crazy. At least she hasn't had me committed... yet.

I tweaked the plan over the next few days. One thing bugged me. I really really wanted to get to Inglis to see the last remaining elevator row in Canada, but the site is only open until 6 PM and my plan had me arriving at 5:10... cutting it a bit close. Then I had a brilliant idea... why not do it in reverse? Cut straight west from Dauphin through Gilbert Plains, Dutton and Roblin, then drop down to Inglis in the morning, then complete the loop? Genius.

Here was my map showing the route. Just reverse the arrows west and north of Dauphin and that's the route I settled on.
The big loop

(In case you're wondering, I had to get back to Winnipeg for Sunday morning for a birthday party, so there was no chance of making this a two-day affair)

The weather forecast for the 27th was... iffy. It was calling for sun but a 60% chance of showers or thunder showers. I elected to go, but would check the weather when I woke up early in the morning.

I gathered all my gear (camera, lenses, tripod, monopod, bug spray, sun screen, snacks, drinks), made sure the car's tank was full, and set my alarm for 2:15 AM and went to bed Friday night with visions of elevators dancing in my head.

On to the trip!


Unknown said...

The spellbinder begins!
After this latest series of grain elevators (Northwest)...will you have visited every standing remaining grain elevator in Manitoba?

As always Steve, a great read, and thanks for your enthusiasm.
Looking forward to Chapter 2.


Unknown said...

Always enjoy the elevator series. Thanks for sharing!

Eric said...


Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

Looks like an amazing trip, can't wait to see the photos. I must visit MB!

Steve Boyko said...

Hi Glen, there are about 26 elevators that I have not seen yet. See here for the map.

Steve Boyko said...

Thanks, Lorne!

Steve Boyko said...

Binge-vatoring! I like it, Eric.

Steve Boyko said...

Yes, Chris, there's lots to see here in the middle of Canada! :)