Day 20-26 Munson, Ab to Dundurn, Sk via Saskatoon

Day 20 

After breakfast with Gerald and Clara, they headed off to work and we got the bikes ready for the 120km day. There were pretty strong headwinds as we travelled north on the 56, but once we got headed west on the number 9 it was pretty smooth sailing. We got to Hanna, Ab around 3:00pm and hit up a Subway and a grocery store. Got enough food for the next couple days and carried on through to Youngstown. We got in pretty late, around 9:00pm. The sun was just setting and we were ready for those small town motel beds. We hadn't seen a tree all day and it felt good to qash off all the sunscreen, sweat and scent of cow manure that seemed to leach into our skin. Washed the cycling shorts and went for a drink at the bar. Slept real well that night. 

Day 21 

Had a short day into Oyen but Catherine's leg was giving her grief so we took it slow. We left just before noon and had a dark cloudly day with headwinds that were only strong enough to be noticable and didn't hold us back too much. Around 5:00pm ee came up to a herd of deer on the right about 30 feet off the road. I stood up and frooze as I coasted past them. Every single one of them stared right back and it was one of the quietest moments of my life. The winds were down, thrre were no cars and it was just me and about 20-30 deer. Catherine was about 500m back and got a front row view of what came next. 

Just as I was coasting past the last few deer, one of 3 or 4 fawns got a little nervous and started trotting away. This startled the rest of the herd and they all began running along the road. I thought about watching them run off and waiting for Catherine but I decided I couldn't pass up the opportunity to race the herd. I put my head down and pushed hard. I don't know how fast I was going but google says the land speed of Whitetail Deer are max 48km/hr and I was making my way to the front of the pack. After a few minutes one of the adults pulled ahead and crossed the road 10 feet in front of me. It was such a bizarre choice but the way he cut across made it look like he was sacrificing himself for the herd. Hoping I'd chase him instead of the kids. As I watched him cross and run into some brush on the other side, I looked back and the whole herd had turned south and were running away from me. They might be smarter but I'M faster. 

We got into Oyen where Catherine's parents put us up in a hotel AGAIN! It was a much needed short day and rest in comfy beds. We had an option between A&W 30 ft awayr or a bar that was 60ft away. We chose the A&W and were asleep by 8:00pm. A very very big thank you to Hayley and Leigh of Bear River Honey for their continued support and for finding us a warm place to stay when we need it most. 

Day 22

We wanted to do the 184km from Oyen to Rosetown that day but it started and ended with headwinds reaching 40km/hr. Most of the day was only 20km/hr winds but the air was cold and everything was numb after about 30 minutes on the bike. We had continental breakfast at the hotel and were on the road by 8:00am. Started with a long gradual hill and a rock that got spit out from a pickup's tire and thrown into the pointer finger knuckle on my left hand. After shaking it out your run of the mill curse words, I looked at it and there was no damage. Not even a faint scratch. I missed out on another battle scar but decided it was probably for the best. 

We stopped for breakfast in Alsask and saw the gas station we stoped for lunch at a few days earlier in Ghost Lake, AB on the news. After getting too excited about that and finishing our coffees, we got back on the road. 

The headwinds didn't give up all day. We left Kindersley, Sk at 6:45 pm and both sort of knew we weren't going to make it the remaining 80km. Ee put our heads down, prepared for the wind and pedaled until it was too dark to see the shoulder. It was about 10:30 pm that we pulled over and set the tent up next to an approach to block the wind. We had a small snack and fell asleep pretty quick. We did 140km that day, 10 more than our next biggest day from Merrit, BC to Kelowna, BC. That one may have been uphill in 32° heat, but this one was into the wind that chilled the air down to 8° C. I don't know which I liked better, but in both cases we pushed ourselves and did things we didn't think were possible. 

Day 23 

We woke up at 5:40 am with the sound of rain hitting the tent and knew we were in for a long day. We ate breakfast and got ready for the day before opening the door to the tent and looking outside. It didn't sound like a fun day, we didn't need to look, we didn't want to look. 

We were meeting Catherine's sister Roxanne and her boyfriend Will in Saskatoon that evening but they offered to come grab our packs and provide us with warm soup and coffee throughout the day. On the road by 9:00 am and met them just outside of Rosetown at 10:00am. They warmed us up and we carried on. There's not much to talk about that day. I put my head down, watched my white line and tried to visualize the amount of water I could feel sloshing around in my shoe. It was a long wet ride into Saskatoon. We got dried off and enjoyed a wild mushroom risotto made by Rox and Will. It was a perfect end to a not so perfect day. 

Day 24 and 25

We spent the weekend in Saskatoon and really needed the rest after 9 days straight. On Saturday we visited a local farmers market for lunch and then walked over to the movie theater downtown. Enjoyed a Cajun dinner at Bob Temps Cafe followed by a walk down to an ice cream shop we were told was better than BDI. Sorry Saskatoon, but BDI is still on top in this Manitoba boy's heart. 

Sunday was a lazy day. We saw Will and Rox off in the morning and then slowly made breakfast and went for a walk in the afternoon. My cousin Karl picked us up for dinner and served us a huge, perfectly cooked pork loin. I hadn't seen Karl in about 5 or 6 years and hadn't met his family yet, so it was a really special evening. We may have all started yawning at 7:00pm but it was just a testament to how delicious everything was. Once back at our Air BnB we ran a bath and each got a short nap in the water. We got things ready to get back on the road in the morning. 

Day 26

We got up at 6:00 am and got ready for the day. We had a presentation at the Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan at 9:15 am but our bodies were still in weekend mode. We got on the road at 8:20 am only to find out I had a flat tire. I quickly pumped it up and decided it would be fine until the LDAS office which was only about 20 minutes away. We ended up being a bit late but the lovely people there were welcoming just the same. Catherine and I chatted with students, teachers and program directors and were inspired by the willingness of people to share their own personal experiences with ADHD and learning disabilities. We felt like we really connected with their adult education program and chatted with their students after the presentation over fruit and yogurt. 

On the way out of town we found a spot to fix the flat and then carried on. We were hoping to make it to Kenaston, Sk but had even stronger headwinds against us. We decided that our first dag after a break would always be curse and just put our heads down and went to work. Had sandwiches for lunch at 3:00pm on the edge of town and told ourselves that any distance we made it today would be a success. The winds got stronger and the rain started around 5:30pm. The first day back curse was in full swing but we still pushed out a good 60km. The weather man says the wind will be behind us tomorrow but we can't count on him, only ourselves and the support of everyone we've met along the way. 

I'll let you know how it goes, hopefully sooner this time haha. Been busy, been good, been wet, been cold, been welcomed and been inspired. Hope you get the chance to experience all of that in the next few days. It's been a real joy. 

Until next time, 

Bob

Bob Essex2 Comments