The next day we finish the work before we have to refill the oxygen again. We land and settle the fuel bill. We're buying our fuel from a spray plane operator, not a first for us, but we think it's funny that these spray planes working at a over a mile high altitude. They're still probably rarely over 500' agl but who knew the altimeters on spray planes went up that high?
They have some pictures up on the wall from when an airliner landed here by accident, instead of at another airport down the road. There are airports every fifteen or twenty miles around here, so I can't really blame them. Okay, I blame them, but I see how it happened. They exited the runway and tried to turn around on a funny little taxiway made for sprayplanes and Cessna 172s and got stuck in the mud. And they still didn't realize they were at the wrong airport. Someone had to drive out in a truck to get the message across. The look on the pilot's face was reported as the very best part of all.
We walked around town just to see it, and to find some souvenirs. I was going to buy a painted, decorated horse until I looked closely and noticed that it was a) broken and mended not very well and b) made in China. Kind of takes the edge of the souvenir quality when it's made by someone who's never been there. When I mentioned the mend to the proprietor she was upset, because it turns out that she hadn't mended it--it had arrived that way. I settled for postcards.
We went out for a meal--it's hard to name them with our schedule--at a Mexican restaurant. It may have been Guatemalan-Mexican or Cuban-Mexican: I remember it had some crossover to it. It had plenty of decor with carved wood panels and gacho saddles and vintage centroamericano political posters and a huge menu. We had margaritas and all kinds of spicy food wrapped in tortillas or smothered in sauce. I'd be more specific about what we ate but you know, margaritas. It was as good as crab in Alaska. Maybe we can go to Nova Scotia next and have some lobster. Or Alberta for a top notch steak. I am so spoiled. It will probably be some camp in Nunavut for six weeks of Campbell's Soup and bannock.
There's a note under my hotel door advising of a fire drill the next day. Hotel guests aren't required to evacuate, it's just for the staff, but they will ring the alarm for ten minutes. Great.
By the end of the day the customers have released the airplane and we're free to go. I'm free to go home, but the other pilot has just started her shift so she'll take the airplane back to Canada and to wherever work takes her next. My options are a) to wait two more nights until the customers are done here and drive to Denver, where I can catch a flight to Canada, or b) to leave tomorrow with the company plane, and then have to get transport from Middle-of-Nowhere, Saskatoba to home. Both a and b will get me home in about the same amount of time, with a providing more comfort. Then we find option c. There's a commercial flight from one of the nearby airports, that gives me a grand tour of US airport hubs and gets me home, on three different airlines, for only $350. It would cost the company that much just to keep me around for another day, so it's a no-brainer. It would cost $350 just to get any flight out of a town this size in Canada. I'll never understand US airline economics, but I'm not complaining.