<- Read the previous update: When Life Gives you Lemons…..
Day 18: May 25 Saturday
Today, we did a revised ride, to make up some kilometers, after heading to Yorkton a day early. We all got a chance to ride another great western Canadian highway, the Yellowhead. We drove out east to almost the Manitoba border (within about 50 metres – no cheating by crossing over before we properly completed Saskatchewan).
The weather was looking tentative to start, it was totally overcast and the clouds were kind of gray. But we ended up having an absolutely fantastic ride, I am thrilled to report. We had a mild tailwind, and there was absolutely no rain, just a little mist. This was the prairies I had remembered. Long, straight highway, no hills to speak of, peaceful and quiet. In between the rail tracks and the highway, which run parallel to each other, were lots of reeds, ponds and marshland. The birds were incredible, chirping and chattering, swooping and gliding. Traffic was really light, so we could hear them serenade us all morning.
I think everyone should find time alone out in nature, where you can get fresh air and clear your mind. No to do lists, no meetings, no pressing issues – just spin, spin, spin. And on a day like this, your legs really go on autopilot. For me, it was actually a melancholy day, but in the sweetest, simplest way. I am finding this is one of the great gifts of this ride – to just be.
We’ve passed through many small towns, there is one about every 10 miles, settled during the time the railway was being built. Each has their own personality and claim to fame. Churchbridge, for instance, is home of Ruth, who created the winning design for the Canada 125th year loonie. In Langenburg, they were setting up for a hotdog fundraiser and swimming registration. We made a deal that we would donate $10,000 to them, if they donated it to us right back. No one had a cheque, so Al ended up buying a “future” hotdog (they weren’t ready yet). We also visited a serene little cemetery just outside Insinger, with gravestones going back to 1907. It was sad how many were for children, it reminds me how far we really have come with healthcare – thanks Tommy Douglas.
We managed to do over 130 kms, and were still done by 4:00ish for the drive back to Yorkton, feeling pretty refreshed. Amazing the time you can make when the elements are on your side.
Staying at Ethel’s has been pretty special for me. All my grandparents had either passed away, or lived outside the country when I was born, so I never really had the grandma experience. I’m pretty certain I’m getting it now. I’m sleeping in the childhood room of Vicki, Terry’s wife, and imagining what it was like being a teen in Yorkton then. And Ethel is amazing. She is 91 (and a half – don’t forget the half!), still lives at home on her own, and is sharp as a tack. She is sending us on our way with homemade jams, and she made a delicious dinner tonight of ham and scalloped potatoes, and homemade banana cream pie. Another great home-cooked meal! Did I mention we also had bacon and eggs for breakfast? We are really getting the royal treatment!
I also want to acknowledge the generous offer we received from the White Bear First Nations. They invited us to stay at the Bear Claw Hotel and Casino on our day off for rest and recuperation. Since we were already staying in Yorkton, we had to decline, but we really appreciated their kindness. Thank you Brennan!
We’re all looking forward to tomorrow’s rest day – we won’t have another one until Thunderbay, so we need to stock up on energy for all of Manitoba!
Day 19: May 26 Sunday
We had a lovely, sleepy day off. Lots of laundry, and each of the cyclists went for a massage again, which was delightful. The spa we went to is normally closed on Sunday’s, but when the massage therapist heard what the cause was for (her great uncle recently died of suicide), she gave up her day off to take care of us. Thanks C!
While I was sleeping in, Al and Terry cleaned the motorhome from top to bottom! What a treat to have a clean start tomorrow. Terry is making a stew tonight, so we have some more ready-made meals on our long days. You get to know people a lot better once you live with them in a 31 foot RV, and I’ve definitely learned that Terry likes to be on the go, and has the energy to do it! If he’s not cooking pancakes, he’s doing laundry or getting groceries. I want to start calling him “the Flash”, but that could have too many alternate meanings, so I’ll keep searching for a nickname for him.
After another yummy dinner, we cleaned our bikes, and started preparing for our next stretch on the bike. Plans will depend on the weather. Stay tuned.
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