Now Touring Manitoba: The Soggy Bottom Gang!

<- 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.IMG_3567IMG_3565

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.IMG_3439IMG_3508

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 made it to Manitoba!

We made it to Manitoba!

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. Sue 001And 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. IMG_3434And 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.

See more photos from day 20

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. IMG_3410The 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.IMG_3519 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.

See more photos from day 21

Cheers!

Sue

Read the next update: On the cusp of Ontario and June ->

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  1. We are so proud of you Sue and admire your tremendous attitude, which is shining through even with the sun in hiding. You have a wonderful spirit and perseverance in spite of the hardships you are dealing with. I am enjoying your blogs as you bike along the highways and envy you (just a tiny bit!) for getting back to the basics and relishing the great outdoors. Wishing you continued support along your way, and rain has to stop soon, Inna

  2. Love, love, lovin’ your blogs! So fun to hear the media responses so we know we’re doing our jobs on the home front!

  3. Way to go guys!! The crap weather will only make you stronger…. Ya…. not sure if I believe that either!! 🙂 I feel for you in the soggy weather, hopefully the sun is shining for you all soon, keep the blogs coming I am loving having my ‘mini-visit’ with you guys every morning with my coffee! I also envy what you are doing, but maybe not so much on a soggy day! Sending you all BIG warm Hugs!! Iris

  4. Totally enjoying your blogs! Keep on peddling and writing when you have time! Way to go for dedicating yourselves to such a worthy cause!

  5. Spring on the prairies …and those %#*£ gravel shoulders! Wait until you get to pot hole city ‘Winnipeg’. Sorry Manitoba did not treat you well. Enjoy the Canadain shield!

    Love watching ‘spot’ and reading your blogs! Keep spreading the mental health awareness.