<- Read the previous post: Yahoo for Yorkton!
Day 20 May 27 Monday
Yorkton to Binscarth
Sorry if everyone is totally confused, but we have had some route changes, as I’m sure anyone following “Spot” has noticed. We are now taking the Yellowhead to Portage la Prairie, rather than Hwy 1. We are finding the truck traffic much quieter, as it is not twinned, at least not where we have been cycling. The shoulders are also pretty good. In my last blog I said our next rest day was in Thunder Bay, but it is actually in Winnipeg, so we don’t have to cover Manitoba without a stop. My whoops!! But first, we had to bid a fond farewell to our dearest Ethel.
We had rain today almost all day, and our “friend” the southeasterly headwind was back, although not as strong as it had been. Although we were drenched, it was not too cold out, so as long as we were moving we were warm. And it gave us all a chance to try out our rain gear, and I’m happy to report that our identical MEC shoe covers are keeping our feet dry, and we are all so fashionable and matchy-matchy! Terry is stunning in his neon “nuclear accident” decontamination suit, Bill in his “Bob the Builder” construction vest with way too much Velcro, and I in my rain bonnet that makes me look like a giant insect. We make quite the statement out on the highway.
We took the same route that we had on Saturday, but we headed east instead of west. Let me tell you, it looks a lot different going the other way when it is raining and your glasses are fogging up. This time, we passed over the border into Manitoba – yay, another province under our belts!
We didn’t do our Saskatchewan decal application until later in the evening, or else they would have slid down off our helmets, down our backs and into our cycling shorts, never to be seen again.
We want to thank a few people we met today. First, all the road workers, for giving us new shoulders to ride on. They make all the difference in the world – smooth sailing and much safer. And we all know there are just two seasons in Canada, right? Winter and road construction. Then there was Ken Wiens, of the Old West Lodge just outside of Langenburg, who let us park under the porch to keep our bikes from getting completely waterlogged. And Rita at the Binscarth Centennial Park Campground, for getting us out of the rain and providing us with a gratis RV spot. Both Ken and Rita gave us donations too – generous people who understand the importance of talking about mental health.
Crossing the border means putting our clocks ahead, so we are going to bed early tonight in order to adjust to an earlier morning tomorrow. And prepare for more of the wet stuff.
Day 21 May 28 Tuesday
Binscarth to Minnedosa
Today was another rainy, wet day. We got a late start this morning, for a few reasons. The time change meant we moved our clocks ahead, but more significantly, we woke up to the pitter-patter-splatter of rain drops on the RV. I think we all just snuggled down into our beds when we heard that, hoping it would lighten up, which it did – a little bit.
Bill had a tube issue I have never seen before – his valve stem broke off half way up. Remarkably, it didn’t leak all day yesterday, but he decided not to tempt fate and changed it this morning before starting. Over breakfast, we all discussed how he could best flatten his tire to get the tube out – that’s not a conversation many cyclists have.
Today was damp, damp, damp. There is a real trick to dressing for rain – you need to layer enough to stay warm and dry(ish), but not so much that you sweat to death going up a hill. In Terry’s words, we all looked like dorks today, but we were happy as we pedaled along. The only not so great thing was that for about 60 kms or so today, we had absolutely no shoulder, unless you count soft gravel as a shoulder. This made for some tense cycling when big rigs passed, as there was limited visibility with the spray from vehicles, but as usual the truckers mostly gave us lots of room, and many of them slowed down as they passed. I have to say I’m surprised at the quality of the roads since we got into Manitoba, but hopefully that will improve as we get closer to some larger centres.
Because of the bad shoulders, we did leap-frog a bit today, and because we finished up earlier than we might have otherwise, Bill did an extra 20 kms past Minnedosa. I think Bill is part human, part rubber ducky, as he was just loving the drizzle and rain today, since there was little wind involved. While he was doing that, Sarah from the Minnedosa Tribune came to interview us, as she heard we were coming through and was following us on Spot. We got groceries, went to the bakery (yummy!!), and then headed to the Minnedosa Campground, which is right on Lake Minnedosa. Lovely area, lots of nice lakefront “cabins” on the other side. The sun even broke through the clouds for a while in the evening, to tease us.
There is a big soccer field by our campground, and Bill went out to talk to the coaches of two girls teams that were practicing in the evening. We were treated to a great game between the U18 Minnedosa Girls (coach Brad Ross) and the Hamiota Heat (coach Tom Mollard).
We’ve certainly had some daunting days, but I’d like to quote Burt Bacharach……
Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turnin’ red
Crying’s not for me
Cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complainin’
Because I’m free
Nothing’s worrying me.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a turning point, but if not, we’ll just keep swimming. That is what faith is – knowing that there will be sunnier days, and just hanging in until that happens.
Read the next update: On the cusp of Ontario and June ->