High on life after staying with my Saskatchewan family and their welcomed Random Act of Kindness, I was back on the bike and cycling across Canada. Before I knew it, I had found a couple from Quebec to cycle with for the day.
It was so refreshing to have people to ride with and even better when we all pedalled into a small Prairie town, fully loaded and ready to eat! We were quite the sight with the fully loaded bikes outside the local restaurant. I was loving my time on the road, alone and free to do as I pleased, but I have to admit, it was incredible to have people to ride with, talk to and most importantly, share the experience! I am, after all, a social creature. It was sad to split up after 100kms, but my track was direct along the Trans Canada and they were heading south to quieter roads and smaller towns. Pedalling on, I found another night of hotel and room service decadence in Regina. After so much camping in the mountains, I was getting a little soft.
Before leaving my hotel, I couldn’t resist a swim in the pool and playing on their inside water slide! Inner child satisfied, Prairies calling to me, I pushed on for another great day of cycling. Temperatures were starting to climb and there were so few trees – I was really starting to feel the heat. Decided another night of hotel and air conditioning would be a great idea. Checked into a small motel in Grenfell, Saskatchewan and then things got a little crazy. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the nights of watching crazy tv too late at night, but crazy nights on the Prairies started here. After watching some scary tv, there was just no way my over active imagination was going to let me sleep! Surely an axe murderer was waiting outside my door, and with me on my own, who would hear my cries! Talk about imagination gone wild. Needless to say, my cell phone was under my pillow at the ready if I heard anyone near my door. I am pretty sure I slept with one eye open.
Having survived my overactive imagination, it was time to push on. I would be crossing into the next province and couldn’t wait to leave the crazy behind!
Temperatures soared, and my stops were plentiful – thank you Dairy Queen Blizzard – the ultimate in refreshment on a hot summer day. It was tough to keep enough fluids going in – my stops were frequent. As the days riding was nearing an end, I ran into a couple at the local convenience store who suggested I free camp behind the church in Hargraves. Perfect – having blown the budget on so many hotel stops, a night of free camping was what I needed to watch those precious dollars. Less than 10kms up the road, I snuck myself and my bike in behind the church, out of view from the road – just me and the crickets. By 3 in the morning, my overactive imagination was back into overdrive – another crazy night on the Prairies was in order. Thoughts of my axe murderer had returned, and were not helped by the fact that the church had a broken window in the back – no doubt the work of someone up to no good, and here I was alone and hidden from any possible witnesses! My cycling across Canada trip could end here, and no one would know!
Nerves frazzled, air electric, a huge clap of lightning left through the sky – then another and another! The display was amazing. I was terrified! You could feel the electricity in the air. I moved my bike further from my tent and watched as the sky was lit up – and not a drop of rain. It was a marvel of nature.
After a couple crazy nights, the ride to Brandon was uneventful. Headwinds slowed my progress, but the crazy nights were coming to an end. A friend of the family was moving his daughter across Canada, and we were meeting in Brandon – someone to talk to and settle the imagination. Just what I needed. What I didn’t need was to wake up the next morning to a flat tire that just would not be fixed! Luckily, Brandon had a bike shop – their mechanic diagnosed my problem, fixed my broken spoke and I was on my way! Next stop: Winnipeg for a few days rest with family friends.
The road to Winnipeg was crazy – the sun would shine, then a massive downpour would leave me soaked to the core. This happened not once, but 3 times! It took days for me to dry out my shoes! Between the bike repairs and late start, massive downpours and distance, I made it into Winnipeg quite late with my new daily record: 220kms! It had been an epic day.
Cycling Across Canada – Prairie stats:
|Start||Stop||Distance (km)||Time Riding|
|Day 16||Chaplin||Regina||160||6h 12m|
|Day 17||Regina||Grenfell||137||5h 50m|
|Day 18||Grenfell||Hargraves||154||6h 25m|
|Day 19||Hargraves||Brandon||99||4h 16m|
|Day 20||Brandon||Winnipeg||220||8h 15m|