Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2010

Week of cyclists

I think I’ll call this the week of the cyclists.

From Dorion (wolfs lake) I headed into Nipigon (in hindsight I’m kind of upset that I didn’t buy some Nipigon nylons, wool socks). On the way into town I met a cyclist biking from Halifax to Vancouver, he was in a punk band and so we talked a bit about music. Once I got into nipigon I found the information centre and stole some Internet before lunch. While reading my emails three cyclists came into the parking lot, so we had lunch together. They were raising money for the heart and stroke foundation. Since we were going in the same direction (and I was getting tired of cycling alone). Our goal for the day was Rossport, and we were warned about two huge hills, they didn’t mention anything about the other dozen large hills beforehand! We started to hate Rossport before we even got there, the road to rossport was carved into the rock, kind of like manmade canyons. Unfortunately these canyons trapped the exaust of cars and trucks passing through, so it smelt terrible. And since we were on a bike and climbing the hills we were stuck in these ‘canyons’ for longer than we wanted to be. While we were resting at one point we met a guy who was cycling with a group to raise money for prostate cancer (his group was really far behind him) he kept on going since his group wanted to camp at terrace bay When we finally made it to rossport we found a picknic table on the shore of lake superior, and since there wernt any houses reaby we claimed it as home for the night. Since we felt grose after biking through exaust all day we went for a swim in the lake, it was a tad nippy, but warmer than the ocean I’m sure, but it was very refreshing.

In the morning we made our way to schreiber and found a greasy restaurant to have breakfast, greasy breakfasts are great when your biking. We then made our way to a municipal park waterfall, where we met another group of cyclists, including the guy we met yesterday. The waterfalls were pretty spectacular! Unfortunately it started to rain again so our trip became a bit more soggy. Since we didn’t see an end to the rain we decided to make our stop for the evening in marathon. Because it was raining all day the three cyclists had decided to get a motel room, and since there wasn’t a campground nearby I decided to go to a nearby bed and breakfast (which was actually cheaper than any of the motels in the city, I called them all). Before I went to the b&b I got some groceries, where I met the four cyclists again, so we talked for a while. When I got to the b&b my host made me a huge supper (it was really good) and we talked for a while. I watched some tv (something i havent done in a while) before i went to sleep. If you are traveling through marathon and need a place to sleep I highly suggest the bed and breakfast.

In the morning my host was there, instead her mother served the breakfast. While I was eating I met another couple who were also staying at the b&b, they were traveling from the states. As I was leaving the town I met the group of three cyclists heading towards town on their way to get groceries, I decided to keep going since they bike faster than me (that’s what happens when you are loaded down with a lot of stuff, you go really slow). On my way out of town I had CBC’s radio 3 sing for your song podcast up loud and I was singing along loudly, which might be why I got some weird looks from drivers driving by and three cyclists biking in the opposite direction (If you are a cyclist you have to pass through northern Ontario on route 17, otherwise you would have to take route 11 and that would add another three days to your trip, and there are much less communities up there. So, if you are biking across, stay on the 17). It was fun to see more people biking. Quickly the group of three cyclists caught up to me and we rode together for most of the day (except for the times where I would fall behind because of the weight on my bike, but I would catch up again when they stopped to rest from major climbs). For lunch we ended up going to an Ontario provincial park, but for some reason we were not allowed to eat on the lawn at the entrance, we had to bike two kilometers down to the beach, unfortunatly it started to rain before we headed down, so we huddled in the ticket kiosk for the rain to pass, sparking some interesting conversations with the attendents. When the rain finally passed we headed down to the beach for lunch. After lunch on our way to white river we saw a couple of planes flying pretty weirdly, kind of circling an area. We then noticed a small plume of smoke and realized that there was a forest fire, and the planes were water bombers! The planes released water close to us and passed amazingly low a couple of times. It was a lot of fun to watch, and be amazed at how good of a pilot you would have to be. We made our way to Obatanga provincial park, on route I stopped to talk to a woman cycling in the other direction, she looked like she was in her late sixties and was traveling from Montreal to Vancouver. It started to get really cold, so having a warm shower at the campground felt really great!

Waking up in the morning, it was so difficult to get up and moving because of the cold. When we finally got going I was so bundled up, I was wearing my bike shorts, bike parts my long sleave shirt, sweater and rain coat! Unfortunately I had lost my wool socks back in Manitoba, and my shoes have a mesh top, so by the time that we made it to Wawa for lunch I couldn’t feel my feet. After the required picture of the wawa goose we found a little restaurant that served us some warm soup and sandwiches (and plenty of coffee!). After lunch it started to warm up so we made our way to agawa bay to see some pictographs (paintings done by the native population hundreds of years ago on cliff walls). While at the cliffs I decided to stay with the guys for a second night instead of pushing on, even though I wanted to get to sault ste Marie in time before the bike shop closed the next day.

In the morning it was bloody cold again (I thought that I had left the cold behind me in the rockies). I managed to make myself a quick breakfast before peddaling hard to get to the Soo, unfortunately on route a canteen called for me and I stopped for a second breakfast, good thing too since we were at the base of Montreal river mountain, a hill we’ve been warned about for a couple of days now. So with new energy we climbed our way up the hill to some beautiful scenery. On our way to the Soo we had a quick photo stop at Old Woman Bay and again for pictures and food at Pancake Bay (if you didn’t notice the Canadian geese strolling around you would have beleived that you were in the carribian, the water was so calm and blue). The rest of the day involved going as quickly as I could to make it to the shop before closing. We had been warned (again?) about a hill to get into the Soo, they didn’t mention the other large hills before it, but that was probably because it dwarfed them, by a lot! When I finally made it to the top of the hill I met two cyclists (one on a bent) doing the tour of the lake, but I had to leave them quickly so we didn’t talk long. When we finally entered the town I said goodby to Steve, Brett and Duane and made my way towards the bikeshop. Unfortunately, eventhough I had called earlier they couldn’t help me with my bike repairs due to a backlog of other repairs, but they did let me camp in their campground (free camping! With a shower! If ever you are passing through the Soo and are on a bike stop there for the evening). While setting up my tent I met the woman who cared for the camping grounds, she was super nice! She told me that her husband made custom bike, which made me drool a little. So after I had cleaned my clothes at the laundromat I got a tour of his workshop. It was so interesting. After the tour I decided to treat myself to a good supper, so I went to a steakhouse, worst decision ever! I found mold on my bread and the food wasn’t that great. I felt kind of sick on my way back to my tent so I turned off my alarm so I could sleep in in the morning, I don’t want to spend Canada day sick.

Small People

Small People

Water Bomber

Water Bomber

Four cyclopaths

Brett, Duane, me, Steve

Oz

Oz

Winnie the Pooh

Everyone's favorite bear

Wawa

Wawa

Bear

L'ours

Pictographs

Pictographs

Geese

Flock o' Geese

Rock

A weather station you can actually trust

miner

Miner

Moose

Moose on the loose

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I left thunder bay late, staying up late talking doesn’t help if you want to leave early in the morning. Also my cycling computer had been working up again (even though I thought that I had figured it out). So I went to a bike shop to have a look at it and we did a couple of tests, it turns out that the wire was frayed, caused by the friction of the bags being put on and removed. So I got a new one with a more sturdy wire (and a bunch of extra functions that I don’t need), and finally headed out. Since I was in thunder bay I had to go and visite the monument of the great Canadian hero: Terry Fox (if you don’t know who he is, wiki him). From there I biked into Sleeping Giant provincial park (from a distance the park actually looks like a sleeping giant!). This was the first time that I stayed at an Ontario provincial campground, and man are they expensive! I’ve seen motels cheaper! In the campground there were deer everywhere! And they weren’t worried about people walking about, it was pretty cool. I went to sleep early since I wanted to get up and hike the trail in the morning.

After breaking camp, I headed over to the trailhead and started the hike to the top of the head of the sleeping giant. The trail offered amazing views of cliffs and the coast of Lake Superior, it was well worth the hike (though the last part of the trail was really steep and pretty hard to do) if you are traveling in the thunder bay area I really suggest trying to do this hike if you have the time. After the hike I made my way towards Silver Islet, a small town at the end of the peninsula. I just wanted to fill my water bottles, but the sin buns at the tea room looked sinfully good (yeah, that’s right I said it). I spent two hours talking to the owner and her familly as well as some of the customers (who bought me lunch, thanks guys!). Again, if you are passing through thunder bay (and you have to if you are heading east or west) stop in at the tea room, you won’t be dissapointed. From the tea room I slowly made my way to wolf lake campground, which I do not suggest to anyone (it was over priced and everything was falling apart).

Terry Fox

Canadian Hero, Terry Fox

Cliff

Cliffs in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Moss

Moss

Green Gables

Green Gables

Mural

Awesome mural on a gas station

Read Full Post »

After slowly waking up I made my breakfast (my host familly in lorette gave me a ton of oatmeal, I’ll be having poridge for the next month!) when a deer decided that he would like some oatmeal as well. He was literally at arms length away, totally unafraid of me. I tried to tell him to leave, but he just looked upset and started for the oats again, so I closed the bag on him, so he went looking for food at the neighboring campsite. After passing into ontario the road to kenora was pretty uneventfull, except that my gears started to act up again. So, after getting a picture of the giant fish I found a bike shop to fix my gears. All I wanted was my gears retensioned, but he changed my whole cabling system and didn’t even charge me, there really are nice people. I wanted to get a couple more kilometers into Ontario. I got to a rest area with a large sign saying no camping, but the people at the info desk had said it would be alright and the people I was talking to at the area said I should do it. While I started making supper (I figured I would make supper first then when it was later then set up the tent) another cyclist showed up, so we ate and talked for a while. He was traveling from Halifax to vancouver so I suggested routes for him to take, and he gave me a contact where I could stay in thunder bay.

The next morning we both broke camp really early (for me at least, he said he normally travels early). The scenery wasn’t that interesting, plenty of trees and rain. Not too pleasent. I started questioning this trip a couple of times today. When I started to look for a place to set up my tent I noticed another rest area close to a waterfall. But I couldn’t find any dry or even ground. Then I noticed a sign for a lodge so I figured I should check it out. It was really nice. They normally charge 15$ for tenting but I only had ten on me and they didn’t had a debit or credit card machine, so they only charged me the ten (and they had a fresh pot of coffee, which I had a cup to avoid the rain). The lodge mostly caters to fishermen and hunters, aparently on Tuesdays each group hands in a fish they caught that day and everyone joins in to ate the catch, too bad I got there on Monday, I normally don’t eat fish, but I wonder if fresh lake fish would be more edible? This trip is about doing things I don’t normally do (I tried smoked salmon back in victoria). The campsite had plenty of wood, so I started a nice fire to keep the bugs away and had a nice hot shower.

In the morning while I was breaking camp and eating a fox came up to me limping and begging for food, when I didn’t give him any he left, no longer limping! Foxes are bloody sly . After breakfast I went out onto the lake in their canoe (they let me use it for free!) I can cross off another thing on my to-do list. While I was biking I met a man who was biking across the country, and he was seventy! He did have a support vehicle. I talked to his support group for a while, I figured I would bike with the guy for a while, but without panniers he zoomed ahead. The parable of the rabbit and the hare came into mind. I saw his support crew a couple more times during the day. That evening I stayed at an overpriced campground in upsala, their tenting area was just a patch of grass barely cut, without any picnique tables! I talked to a couple from Edmonton who were riding to the bay of fundy on a motorcycle, then they were heading to a bike festival down in the states, thy said the town to two thousand grows to over two hunded and fifty thousand during the festival!

The final leg of the trip into thunder bay was terrible. The traffic kept on growing and the rain kept falling harder! The big man above apparently doenst like cyclists. When I got to thunder bay I phoned Frank, the guy who the cyclist I had met at the reststop had told me about. Frank was really nice and trusting, he gave me the code to his house lock so I could put my stuff out of the rain (and he wouldn’t be home till later!). After meeting Frankd roomate (Charlie, who was a writter) and storing my stuff I headed downtown to go to a Chinese restaurant I’ve seen advertised (so advertisements do work, but who would turn down an all you can eat buffet after you’ve been biking all day?) i don’t rember ever eating this much, I had four full plates of food and one of desserts! For me that is a lot, normally one plate and I would be full. After supper I headed back to Franks place, he had finally come home

Deer

This deer tried a couple of times to eat my oatmeal

Ontario

A great place to live, a great place to grow, Ontari-ari-oh!

Fish

Thats one big fish!

Bug

Bug! with a tophat!

Flowers

Des Fleurs

Oh ! Yeah!

All could think about when I saw this was, him running through a wall yelling 'Oh ! Yeah!'

Inukshuk

Inukshuk, these were everywhere in Northern Ontario

Fox

Sly fox

Canoe

Canoe

Moose Crossing

Sneaky moose crossing

Frank and I

Frank and I

Read Full Post »

After having breakfast at Shell (yes, the gas station) with my great-aunt and uncle I started off on my way to Winnipeg. Biking in Manitoba is great, people kept on honking and giving me thumbs up, one person even yelled out his window “way to go dude!”. I had a couple of people slow down and ask me a couple of questions (where are you going? Where are you coming from? Are you crazy?). When I got close to Winnipeg (a couple of kilometers from the perimeter highway, Winnipeg has a highway that surrounds the city so through traffic can avoid the downtown core) a couple of cyclists were out having a ride and changed their route to come and talk to me (we biked and talked). They told me of a good bike store, and ways to get into the city without getting killed (the way into Winnipeg on the TransCan is one of the most dangerous for cyclists in Canada). They then turned around to head back to where they were orininally heading and I started into the worst section of highway ever! It is really hard to bike on this section of thr TransCan without being in one or another cars way. When I finally made it into the city I made my way to the bike shop that the two cyclists had told me about. The staff was really nice, one guy offered me a place to stay (but I already had a place to stay) and when I was about to by something the manager told me he had a similar product on for half price (did I mention they were super nice). I stayed for a while and talked about pugsley’s and big dummies (google them, they are bikes). Then off to MEC. I probably spent too much time at MEC. But, the was no one else there so I got into some great conversations with the staff, in particular a guy named Greg. We also did an experiment, we tried to stuff my sleeping bag with the liner into a much smaller stuff sac to see how small we could get it, it was pretty impressive how small it could go, but I decided against getting the sac, it would take too long in the mornings to put my stuff away. Greg also gave me a recipe for museli for breakfast. He was such a nice and honest guy that I wrote up a coment card about him. By this time it was getting close to when Jamie (one of my PL’s when I was in katimavik, and with whom I was staying for the evening) was getting off work and inwas supposed to meet him. Unfortunately on my way to his place I got lost (I didn’t see his street sign and biked past his street). So I took a little detour and did a quick sightseeing before I found my way again (during this I got a worried call from Jamie asking where I was and if I was lost, “no no I’m fine, I’m on my way and should be there soon” pfft I got there twenty minutes late). When I finally got to his place we lifted my bike into his house and into his living room (but not really lived in) and we set out to find a restaurant. I had mentioned that I wanted to try the local brewry ‘half-pints’ so we went to a pub with it on tap. The IPA was one of the best I’ve ever had! After supper the three of us (jamie, Leigh and I) went to the forks (the national park in winnipeg) were the truth and reconceliation was going on. To ‘celebrate’ this Buffy St-Marie was singing when we got there and Blue Rodeo was the next act. Unfortunately, the amount of mosquito’s forced to leave after only a couple of blue rodeo songs.

I decided to take the day off, so I headed to the forks in thr morning with Leigh to see what was going on. I listened in on some people expressing what happend to them and the effect it had on their life/family. I the. Went to a play put on by the manitoba young people theatre, I didn’t like it, it tried too much to be artsy. I tried to look up some friends phone number after the show but had no luck so a bunch of people at the front desk tried to help me, while we were looking we talked about my trip and the things I should see while I was in town (two people even offered me a place to stay). After unsuccessfully finding the number I started to get hungry , back while I was in katimavik I remembered a great restaurant in the exchange district (a neighborhood in Winnipeg). So I went off in search of it. On my way I asked someone for directions to the restaurant and she was heading there to work(!). So we talked about my trip and traveling while we headed towards the restaurant. While at the restaurant four people offered to let me stay at their place (manitoba really deserves the title of ‘friendly Manitoba’). I then went back to Jamie’s place to do some work before he and Leigh got back from their own errands. Perrogies for supper! How can you not like perogies, they rock so much. I said goodbye to Jamie since he would be at work when I will wake up.

In the morning a strong wind was blowing and it was raining buckets, so Jamie had the day off. We chatted until it got slightly nicer out then I headed out on my way to lorette (when I was in katimavik I lived in lorette, and was place with a familly for a week, who I wanted to visit). Heading out of Winnipeg I missed a turn off and started going in the wrong direction for a while. After getting turned around it
was really easy to find lorette. Unfortunately, the wind decided to pick up and it started to rain really hard again. I was told that lorette was about 25 miles from Winnipeg, so I figured it would take me five hours to get there. Ends up that they ment 25 kilometers, so even with the wind howling I got there in about two hours. I did a quick tour of the town to see what had changed in six years (not much) then made my way to my host familly’s place, where I was offered and graciously accepted a warm shower. After a great supper we spent the evening talking. It’s fun to see people again.

I was planning on heading out rather early, but was easily convinced to stay for breakfast (how can you say no to crepes? I can’t). We then made our way to the centre of Canada for a photo opp. After cleaning my bike (they live on a dirt road, so it was pure mud yesterday) and quick lunch I headed out late in the afternoon. Even though I left late I made my way to whiteshell provincial park (Manitoba campgrounds are among the cheapest of my trip so far, you will find out in a future post that Ontario campsites cost a fortune). It was hard to find a dry campsite, I ended setting up my tent in an area of the site I’m sure most people don’t set up their tent, but then it seems nobody tents anymore, instead everyone seems have an RV. We tenters are a dying breed.

Again I will remind people how nice manitobans have been, I got another dozen happy honks and thumbs up. Thanks everyone, it’s very encouraging.

Starbuck

Starbuck lives in Manitoba, who would have thought?

Hosts

My Winnipeg hosts: Farley, Jamie, and Leigh

Golden Boy

Golden Boy on top of the Manitoba Legislative

Portage and Main

The windiest intersection in Canada

Middle

Middle!

Manitoba Family

My Manitoba family

Flooding

Most of the Praries looked like this, flooding has caused a lot of damage this year

Read Full Post »

After waking up in the morning. I figured I should see how far I could go, I figured it wouldn’t be too far because of the wind and the rain (an annoying combination). So, not too much exciting happened today. I did notice that most often when someone passes me they try to make an effort to go into the other lane to give me more room, it seems that the people that don’t arn’t from the province (I’ve noticed this in every province now. So in BC, BC drivers pull over but Alberta ones don’t. In Alberta, Alberta drivers pull over but BC and Sask drivers don’t … And so on). Kind if an ‘not in my province’ mentality. I finally made it to whitewood and found a municipal campground. Because Of all the rain (the news was saying that Saskatchewan farmers would be lucky if they got 40% of their crop due to the excess of rain) I pitched my tent in the gazebo on the cement and out of the
mud. The attendent must have felt bad for me being on a bike and tenting in the rain because he didn’t charge me anything.

The next day looked like it was going to be a beautiful day, so I lathered on the sunscreen and headed off, optimistic about where I might end up. During the day plenty of people honked their horns and gave me
Thumbs up which was very encouraging. I met a man from Japan who was walking from Vancouver to New York. Walking! Then he was walking back to Vancouver and flying over to australia to walk across the Australian outback (so, those if you who thought that I was crazy, look at this guy). I had lunch at the ‘Red Barn’ in Moosomin Sask. While I was waiting for my food a couple came over and started to talk to me. They were really nice. They mentioned a couple of cyclists who were ahead if me, apparently they were going slower than me and I might meet them once I got into Ontario. After lunch I finally crossed over into Manitoba. At the information centre a tourist told me about someone else biking across as well, it must be cycling season. The problem with the prairies this year, as I already mentionned, is all the rain they have been having. So, it’s very hard to find a dry place to pitch your tent. When I was is griswold I started looking for a spot but couldn’t find one, a passing car stopped and a lady got out and gave me an orange. She said that she knew how hard it was for cyclists to get and keep fresh fruit, her son is currently biking in eastern europe. She told me that Brandon wasn’t too far away and there was a campground there. So I put pedal to metal (or another cycling comparison) and made it to Brandon after 10pm (the sun was down by now). Unfortunately for me I had taken the 1a, which goes right into town (my thinking was that a town camping would be in town, I wasn’t thinking straight). So I had to bike all the way out again to the highway to find the campsite. Once I got to the highway I couldn’t find it, so I started to consider staying at a motel. The first motel I went to was full, but they told me how to get to the campground. I got there just as the office was about to be shut down, just in time! I set my tent up in the dark, ate and conked out right away! (first day of the trip that it didn’t rain at all, not even one drop!)

I had set my alarm to wake up early, that didn’t happen, I kept on putting it on snooze. I slowly broke camp (and charged my iPod using the plug of the nearby camper). And started to ride east. The day was kind of dull (other than the beautiful weather) I stopped and had lunch at a small town called Sidney, I got some candy to go along with my sandwich. Either I’m scary looking with my scruffy beard, or she doesn’t like new people, but the little girl of the store owner was afraid of me (I was given the bet, not to shave during the trip… I might cheat soon). From Sidney it was slow going with the wind to get to portage-la-prairie, I have family living here. It’s a true farmers town, I didn’t see anyone my age or younger. I met up with my great-aunt and uncle and we had hamburgers for supper. I realized that I needed to contact Radio-Canada (French CBC) back home but they didn’t have the Internet, so we went to visit one of their friends for an hour so we could talk and I could us the Internet.

In the morning I woke up very slowly, probably too slowly because the radio phoned and I was still in bed. I quickly drank some water and gave my interview. After the call we went for breakfast and met some of my great-aunts friends they were all pretty funny and interesting people. We then went for a drive around portage to see the sights. Then sandwiches for lunch. I was completly drained so I went for a quick nap. The whole day was full of talks about the old day, my grandparents, and the depression (the real one, not this new fake one). I started to feel a bit weak, so I was pretty happy that I decided to stay an extra day instead of continuing on. For supper we went to a Chinese buffet, and I ate four full plates (which is pretty impressive if you k ow how much I normally eat). On our way back to their place we did some more sight seeing around town, before heading back to watch some news (I wanted to know the forcast for the next couple of days).

There and back again, by Bilbo Baggins

There and back again, by Bilbo Baggins

Friendly Manitoba

Friendly Manitoba

The sky is open, like it wants to give you a hug

The sky is open, like it wants to give you a hug

Great-aunt/uncle

Great-aunt/uncle

Stats

  • McLean to Whitewood: 174Kms
  • Whitewood to Brandon: 206Kms
  • Brandon to Portage-La-Prairie: 130Kms

Read Full Post »

When I was making breakfast I noticed the two cyclists from the other day slowly making their way past my site.

I had phoned my friends in swift current the other day at dinosaur prov park and told them I would be at their place Wednesday (tomorrow) at five. Figuring that the winds could have a huge effect on how my cycling day went, I decided in getting a long day in (I had a good tail wind for most of the day). So, since I was pretty much just pounding out the kilometers today not too much happened, except when I was almost at the border of Saskatchewan. A familiar looking van had pulled onto the side of the road, and when I rode up the door swung open. And who stepped out? Vic! (the guy I met bikig down duffy mountain and between Glacier and Yoho national parks. We talked for a while, and again he reminded me to visite his friends bike store when I got to Sudbury. He then left and I started to look for an information centre, aparently the closest one to the Alberta border is forty kilometers away (by car that’s only twenty minutes, but by bike that’s about an hour and half ride). The attendent didn’t have too much to praise about saskatchewan, but he seemed pretty proud that you could bike through it so quickly (kind of a weird thing to be proud of, the other provinces have tried to tell me where to visit, he seemed like he was kicking me out of the province). That night I couldn’t make it to a legit campground, so I pitched my tent at a rest-stop at piapot (funny name for a town).

The next day didn’t look nice (good thing I went far yesterday). The wind was blowing strong against me and it seemed like it would rain at any minute (mostly it was just misting). Since I said I would be in town for five I biked as quickly as I could in the wind, finally making it to swift current at 4:30. I had to get some groceries so I went into the grocery store, and while I was there I got a call from my friends. Aparently it started to downpour while I was in the store, and since they were coming into town (they like just outside of town) they offered to pick me up, I graciously accepted. While I waited I talked to an older lady waiting for the bus, she recognized my friend as her doctors replacement when he went on holidays. They got a ton of chips then we picked out a movie before heading to their place. After a nice warm shower, we had supper. Having a nice home cooked meal after a couple of weeks of pasta is great! We then watched the movie before crashing for the night.

In the morning I slowly go ready, making a couple of sandwiches and repacking my bags. I was offered a drive back to the highway, it was a good thing that I did, the road was pure mud, I’m not sure I’d my tires would have been able to spin after a kilometer. Because of thr amazing tailwind I figured I could get pretty far (don’t know why, but I figured I could make it past Regina. That didn’t happen). During the day I sailed up hills, and steamed down coulees, so much fun! At one point I saw a cyclist on the other side of the road, so I waved. He stopped so I crossed thr median and we talked for a while. Chris was from Sault-saint-Marie and was biking to Victoria and back, we figured it would end up being more kiometers than my cross-Canada trip. We both had Surley Long Haul Truckers, so we had to get photoes of each other. I wished him luck and we heade our separate ways. When I was just outside of moose jaw thr wind shifted completely, slowing me down to a crawl. I got a snack in town hopping the wind would die down, but it didn’t. If anything it seemed to get stronger. I figured I couldn’t make it to my next destination, so I knocked at a door and asked if I could pitch my tent in their yard. I was allowed. Making supper was an interesting experience, my stove kept going out because of the wind. But even with the wind pounding on my tent I slept pretty well during the night.

The next day was a nightmare. In addition to the wind, it was raining all day. I’m starting to feel like a duck, I thinks it’s rained every day during this trip. I made it to Regina around noon, and found a starbucks, but wanted to charge for the use of their Internet. So I left had lunch at a restaurant (Montana’s, it was really good) and used the free wi-fi from the local Boston Pizza. The rain stopped for a bit so I chanced it and headed out. I didn’t get far because I saw an outdoors store, I figured they would have bike stuff, but was actually a hunting/camping store. I then got dirrecyions from two guys who had just bought and were admiring their big knives (I think they both had three, at least that’s how many they showed me, they could have had more. My small pocket knife seemed punny to their knives). After a while biking I figured I wouldn’t find a dry place to camp, so i started to look for a motel. I finally found one, and man was it sketchy, I probably would have felt nettled sleeping in my tent in the pouring rain (builds character, gives pnemonia!). I had a quick supper and went to my room to watch some tv, nothing good was on.

Worlds tallest tipi

Worlds tallest tipi

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan

Really?

Really?

We have the same bike!

We have the same bike!

Rolling hills of Saskatchewan

Rolling hills of Saskatchewan

Moose

Moose

Stats

  • Suffield to Piapot: 174Kms
  • Piapot to Swift Current: 102Kms
  • Swift Current to Moose Jaw: 192Kms
  • Moose Jaw to McLean: 110Kms

Read Full Post »

In the morning I slowly rode from Banff to Canmore (no, I didn’t see mike), where I got a snack and coffee. From Canmore I rode on the Bow Valley trail (1a) towards Calgary. Man was that ever a nice road! There was no shoulder, but who needs one when you only ever see a car every ten minutes or so. The ride was gently slopped downhill, slowly leaving the mountains behind, surrounded by the foothills. At one point ‘Dayvan Cowboy’ by Boards of Canada came on (I always have my iPod on shuffle) and the song was exactly how I felt.

(watch it with your eyes closed, and think of the foothills passing you by. Or you can watch the video, a guy jumping out of a hotair balloon is pretty cool too). With the tailwind I made it to Calgary about two hours earlier than I had origionally planned, so Meaghan (another katimavik friend) was still at work. So, since I needed to get my gears looked at I decided to look for Bowcycle bike shop (I’d heard a lot about the bike shop from a blog that I read, and three separate cyclists that I met in Calgary suggested that I go there. When I got there, they quickly fixed my problem and didn’t charge me anything, so for the good/nice service I decided to walk around the shop and buy something to support them. Bowcycle is the Mecca of cyclery in Canada! They had every type and brand of bicycle, they had every gizmo and gadget, plenty of clothes, and the staff loves bikes and ‘wanted’ to help. Help, not sell, they didn’t seem to care if you walked out with a new Cervelo or empty handed, as long as you were happy and got what you were looking for. I was pretty happy that I went. (I bought a team Canada jersey, I thought it fitting since I’m going accross the country). After Bowcycle I went to see Meaghan, I haven’t seen her in almost seven years. We got eight back in he groove and started to talk up a storm (with her BF as well) almost right away. After supper we headed over to the dairy queen (I’m not a big fan of ice cream, but it was tasty), then back to her place to play scable (this was the first time that ive ever played).

The next morning we had planned to get up and leave early, but that didn’t happen. We slowly got up and got really to leave (Meaghan and her BF were going camping in Jasper). After leaving I headed north and found a Future Shop, my iPod has not been working properly in the past week (the volume keeps changing, and the volume adjuster on the ear buds don’t work anymore) the lady at the service counter told me that they would have to send it away to figue out what was wrong, then the time to fix it, it could take at least three weeks. I decided to keep it. From future shop I headed east towards Drumheller (Carmen!). The suburbs of Calgary extend forever! Even though there was no wind, biking in the prairies takes forever, there arn’t any landmarks to go by (in the mountains you have mountains, in the city you have streets…). When I got to rosebud (the town that she lives in) it was pretty cool, everything is totally flat, then all of a sudden you drop into a valley and bam there is a town hidden there. The town was pretty small, I found her school right away, and there was her car. I heard someone singing and figured I should ask if they knew where to find her, sure she said she lives at my house (can I repeat, small town). Unfortunately she wasn’t home, so I went to the merchentile shop thinking it was a convenience store, it wasn’t, it was the box office for the theatre. They told me I had to go to the golf course to get to a convenience store (?) so off I went. When I got there I was pretty hungry so I got a hamburger as well. When I was finished I headed back to see if Carmen was back, I walked in and man did I surprise her (I had told her I was only arriving tomorrow). We talked for a while, but then she had to go and get ready for her evening show (don’t know if I mentioned that she is studying to be an actress, she is currently acting in the musical ‘Oliver’). While she was working I got caught up on emails. When Carmen got back we talked for a while, then watched an episode of Glee before going to sleep.

Carmen had to work in the morning, had a matinee play and an evening play, it was a busy day for her. So, I borrowed her car a drove to Drumheller to check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum. If you haven’t gone, GO! It is possibly the coolest museum ever! I mean, dinosaurs rock! I had a great time, and would go back again soon if I could (it’s the kind of place that makes you wish you were a pealontologist instead of a chemist). I went to the grocery store to pick up some stuff (there was a T-Rex bursting out of the side of the wall! Dinosaurs are everywhere) then went back to Rosebud, Carmen and I had a date. When I got back we headed over to the restaurant and had supper, it didn’t sit well with me, so I went to lie down for a while before going to see carmens play (she had to leave to get ready). Carmen got me a sweet ticket, right up front. The play was amazing (and I’m not just saying that because Carmen was in it, it was really good) at the intermission the group beside me was going on about how great an actor the ‘artful dodger’ was, I had to tell them that it was my sister. They were trully impressed. As was i, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was blown away by how good it was. After the play we Carmen showed me around backstage before we headed back to her place, Sarah the pianist from the play had come over to talk about my trip, she was interested in doing it herself.

Sunday morning carmen had to work again, but this time I went to meet her at her work, and we had breakfast with her boss. She was a very nice lady with plenty if energy. While Carmen finished working I went over to Cheryl’s place to get my hair cut (it was getting too warm under my helmet). Then Carmen came over and we had lunch. After lunch we packed the car and drove to Dinosaur Provincial Park (Alberta makes me a kid again, dinosaurs are cool). On our drive i saw two cyclists, but carmen wouldnt let me honk at them. When we got to the park we set up my tent and built a fire, after supper Carmen took a nap and I did a quick tour of the trail system to see which one we should walk in the morning. Carmen and I sat in front of our fire for a while before heading to bed.

After breakfast (Honeycomb!) and breaking camp we went for a walk. Then we finished packing up and went to the nearest town, Brooks. While we were looking for wi-fi and craft stuff I saw the two cyclists from yesterday again. Carmen and I made sandwhiches in the Tim Hortons parking lot (classy) trying our best to shoo away the gulls. After the sandwhiches I packed up my bike and we said our goodbyes. As I was pedaling I noticed two people cycling ahead of me, when I caught up to them it was the people I’ve been seeing for the past two days. They were heading from Vancouver to Windsor. They were going a bit slow so after a while we said our goodbyes and I passed them. Later I found a nice spot off the highway to camp, I didn’t realize how close I was to the train tracks until they passed by while I was inside my tent, it sounded like it was going go run me over.

The growth of suburbia

The growth of suburbia

Meaghan and I

Meaghan and I

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Grrr!

Grrr!

Its hard to take a jumping picture when the camera is on timer

Its hard to take a jumping picture when the camera is on timer

Carmen pondering the Badlands

Carmen pondering the Badlands

Carmen bringing the coolness factor of the Badlands up a level

Carmen bringing the coolness factor of the Badlands up a level

They go on forever!

They go on forever!

Stats

  • Banff to Calgary: 155Kms
  • Calgary to Rosebud: 145Kms
  • Brooks to Suffield: 70Kms

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »