Saturday, September 17, 2016

On our ride from Indian Head to the Regina airport, we reached 5,000Kms across Canada since leaving St. John's, Newfoundland. This year's ride was just 10Kms shy of 3,000Kms. As with the St. John's to Ottawa ride leg, with the Ottawa to Regina ride leg we feel we could just keep on going - the finish is bittersweet! We are happy that we have accomplished the ride we set out to do this year, including the camping in Ontario, however we wish that the weeks on the road together could continue. At the Regina airport we packed up the bikes, sorted panniers and checked in. Waiting for the flight home, we completed this last log entry and B worked on the layout for the next leg of the bicycle trip, the one that will take us from Regina home to Victoria.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Another great day bicycling on the Prairies with favourable wind conditions! We feel so fortunate about this outcome! We've also enjoyed the recent three days of fantastic Saskatchewan shoulders, as we've been able to ride close enough to chat - its been such a great trip and we are going to miss each other when we are back to our work weeks. B had us up again at 5:30am this morning and we were bicycling before 7:00am to be on our way before the winds changed. Today was a particularly fun day, as we visited three little towns en route from Whitewood and we saw more murals, spoke with locals and visited the Wolseley Swinging Bridge. We had to cycle down to see the bridge, as several people we met told us we must. The bridge was built in 1902 to connect the town to a residential area. Currently, the facility that looks out to the river and bridge is a care home - such a great outlook for the folks there! Also in Wolseley, we visited a quilt shop and made purchases, and Y had a nice latte at Tilli-Beans. Only one more sleep and one more ride day, 75Kms to the Regina airport. B found a very cute 2BR Sunshine cabin (really, a small house) in Indian Head  for our last night. Two of the people with whom we spoke in Grenfell late this morning told us the China Garden food in Indian Head is very good. We were set on going there for dinner, as most of the motel and diner owners we have encountered in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been of Chinese descent (China Garden buffet included the ever SGB) They offered a special dessert, which we dubbed "schmelows", a toothpick skewered marshmallow, tuxedo dipped in chocolate and rolled in graham cracker crumbs!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What a great day of bicycling! We also had some more of what B has labelled "common ownership" experiences. The day of bicycling was great due to having the wind with us for most of the day. We were up at 5:30 and en route by 7:30 and were over 20Kms per hour much of the day. We spoke with a farm couple at our morning coffee stop. They had "brought in and done the cows" and "done the equipment chores" and were headed with their motor home to "listen to some cowboy poetry, well, you know, music and verse". They emerged from the gas station store with their road snacks and beverages and, having put some thought into their day, commented on how they had helped a cyclist from Montreal once and how great pedal bike people are and suggested we throw our bikes into their rig and they would drop us in Regina. In jest, Y said, "deal". They honked and waved happily as they drove away. At our break at the Saskatchewan border, Brenda and Gordon walked up saying we were someone to talk with. They had just finished a bicycle tour from Ottawa to the St. Lawrence via Kingston and were excited to share stories. After our lunch break at Red Barn in Moosomin, a white pick-up pulled over on the highway shoulder in front of us and Borden waved his arms to let us know he wanted us to stop. He had just finished a bicycle tour from Jasper to Banff and was about to head off to a tour on the Rhone and was wanting to talk about his trips and find out about our gear. This was just about when we were going to stop to photograph the wind turbines, which had just started to show up on the landscape. Our stop for the night, Whitewood, is known for its murals and we did a bit if a walk into town to see them before going for some dinner.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Oh, how great it feels to be flying along on the Prairies with the wind at our aid. That is how we whizzed into Virden, Manitoba! We were concerned that the wind might be gusting at us for the final six days of our journey, our Prairie welcome! The day began windy at us and 2C, so we bundled in layers (including long underwear and neoprene over booties for Y and under-helmet liners for both). By 11:00am, we were peeled to our usual ride outfits. The wind situation improved greatly before lunch (pic-nic in Oak Lake, MB, augmented with our first ever deep fried pickles from Dandy Drive In) and was fantastic in the afternoon. Virden is where B's mom was born and lived until age 12. It is a very pretty town - much larger than expected and host to an award-winning indoor rodeo! We don't have the time or the means on this trip to get out and about and to visit the local farms and archives. We plan to research more before the return road trip we have been talking about together (with our canoe). We saw our first oil derrick just before arriving in Virden!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

We left Portage la Prairie early, as we had a big day of riding and thought we might need a couple extra hours due to wind. This was the case, though it was less strong than the day before. At our morning break stop we were approached by a highway worker who wanted to let us know he had seen us a few times and wanted to know about our journey. He then told us about his daughter and son, who both live near Victoria and that he has two "grand babies" by each. The landscape was lovely as we arrived on the Manitoba escarpment. We took a few photos of the ubiquitous round hay bale, including roadside bales that seemed aged, B quipped that this may be due to the Tim Hortons cup, shredded clothing and bungee cord content making them less desirable!

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Assinaboine River's banks were flooded in places, so B had to navigate us out of Winnipeg on a route other than the path along the River, as high water had washed out the path in spots. As we were leaving the hotel in the morning time, a pair of employees, who are both transferring to Whistler and are engaged to be married in summer 2017, asked us so many questions about our journey, as they have an interest in doing a similar trip. They wanted to give us something for the road so Y said some muffins would be nice and the male dashed to the hotel kitchen and brought us some. We stopped at the south lawn of the Manitoba legislature to photograph some painted polar bears and then were on our way. We were traveling into a strong wind today, with some heavy gusts, so not a lot of photo stops today. At Tim Hortons in Elie, MB, B spoke at length with John, who produced maps from his car and recommended a nice route from Virden, MB to Regina, SK. We arrived in Portage la Prairie in time for our evening meal and with 4 minutes to spare at the laundromat - our last load of our bicycle trip!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

No Kms on bicycle, 6.2Kms au pied in Winnipeg
Human rights ideas, historical events, and liberators are at the centre of consideration in Winnipeg's Canadian Museum of Human Rights. We were moved and inspired by the complexity of content and how effectively it was conveyed by the exhibition curators and designers. Architect Antoine Predock designed the spaces to create a flow of experience from dark to light, from deep oppression to enlightened action. We started our day expecting to visit for an overview and ended up staying for hours. We recommend a destination visit to the Museum and for all to experience the on-line site. From the Museum observation tower we could see the dragon boat races taking place on the river below and we walked there next and then to the Sunday Public Market. We spoke with Paul, who is with Wrench and he told us the Winnipeg Tweed Ride was underway and would end near to the Food Truck Wars (Many Festival), which is where we planned to go for our mid-day food. The Festival was busy and eclectic and we made Healthy Choice our choice, as there was no line-up and the other food trucks had snaking lines of folks waiting to order. From there, we walked back to the Fort Garry Hotel (similar in style to The Empress or Hotel Vancouver) and connected with Steven, the Tweed Ride organizer! What a great, busy day we had in Winnipeg!