Saturday, June 10, 2017

We made an egg breakfast in the Prairie Skies kitchen and had a good visit with Evelyn, who was headed out to set up for a children's craft class (Father's Day cards) at the Herbert library where she works.
Strong winds from the West and blasting gusts made this day of 50Kms as strenuous as the 133Kms yesterday. We feel that we have never worked so hard, especially against wind gusts that sometimes simply stopped the bike as we peddled along. At one point, Y stopped to take off her wind breaker, which was acting like a break (note to self for the downhills in the Rockies), and the wind tossed her bike on the ground. After stuffing away her wind breaker, uprighting her bike and straightening out her handle-bars, she was treated to a close view of a yellow-headed black-bird in a road-side pond. Despite the wind, we kept our spirits up, and made it to Swift Current by 1pm and the hotel had a room ready for us right away, although check-in was not until 4pm!

B found another unattached American  Dog Tick on himself today (maybe from one of our "Saskatchewan rode-side rest stops", which involve leaning our bikes on the highway shoulder and sitting on the road, away from the grass to take a bit of a break). Tomorrow is a day of computer work for Y and bike tasks for B, so we needed the shorter ride today, though we didn't expect to be so spent by a 50Km ride! Happily the wind is predicted to be from the West on Monday and Tuesday for our pedals from Swift Current to Medicine Hat.

Friday, June 9, 2017

We woke in Moose Jaw to a thunder shower, but it cleared by 6:30am. Our 7am start resulted in 85Kms by lunch time, with much of it a breeze, as the wind was from the East. By about 11:30am the wind had started to shift to be from the West, so the final few Kms to our lunch stop in Chaplin were slow going into the wind. Just before our lunch stop, a three inch piece of steel tire lining pierced B's front tire, so we changed the inner tube road-side and were on our way in about 15min. We will patch the old tube later.

At lunch, we both fell asleep briefly while waiting for Betty to bring our meals; after lunch Y napped on Betty's Rustic Cafe and Gallery's Legion Hall bench seat and B inverted his front tire to align the treads correctly. A fruitful stop! Highlights of the day were riding past Boharm, where B's paternal grand-father grew up, our visit to the Chaplin Nature Centre and seeing an American Avocet for the first time.

We also saw and heard yellow-headed as well as red-winged blackbirds, Grackles, and Meadow Larks, and have been enjoying the honks, cheers and waves from passing transport truck and family cars, similar to our first two sections of our Cross Canada bicycle ride.
At the Nature Centre was an artist project incorporated with children's depictions of endangered species. The outcomes were lyrical and inspiring! Though we arrived late in Herbert due to the afternoon wind from the West, we made time for an authentic Indian restaurant meal and then rode the final 3Km gravel rode to Prairie Skies B&B, where we were met, in our somewhat dazed "bike brain" state, by gracious host Evelyn and their dog Simba.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The 6:20am Days Inn shuttle of our gear, the bagged bikes and us to the Vancouver airport went without a hitch, but we almost had to figure out a "plan B" when we were told our bikes could not board our Air Canada flight without boxes.

It was thought by AC staff that the bikes could not be screened without boxes, but an AC manager clarified to the check-in staff that the bagged bikes were fine and their over-size baggage folks were helpful after that. We slept most of the 2 1/4hr prop-plane flight, which co-incidentally travelled the route we would be riding, so we saw a bit of that geography from the air. We watched the bikes being de-planed carefully by hand, but did see our pannier and helmet duffle bag fall from the cargo door to the tarmac below the plane, where someone eventually saw it and added it to the luggage tractor, thank goodness. Inside, we efficiently re-assembled the bikes and rode into Regina to Western Cycle Source to pick up a mirror for Y's bike (and B bought a second, just in case).

By then it was 2pm, but we knew we would make it safely to B's father's hometown of Moose Jaw, as the prediction of a Prairie wind at our backs happily came true. After a bit of discomBobulation at finding an American Dog Tick on B, not attached (possibly picked up in the long grass at the Moose Jaw sign - later we researched that they are Lyme-free), we ate dinner (at a restaurant that was host to a Paint Nite) and packed for a quick start Friday. The wind is shifting to be from the West by late morning Friday so we plan to start the 133Km day at 7am to try to get 80Kms or so done before lunch.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

We re-positioned today from our house to a hotel near the Vancouver airport via the 3pm Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen ferry. After a hasty good-bye to house-sitter Meredith and neighbours Kari & Baby Brynn, who kindly came out so say good-bye, we had to dash to the Ferry on the quicker road-way route rather than the Lochside Trail to make up lost time as, while loading our bikes to go, B had discovered Y's bottle cage was broken so zipped to Oak Bay Bicycles to get two (just in case his broke too at some point on this third leg of our Cross-Canada bicycle ride). On the Vancouver side we were lost briefly in the Tsawwassen farmlands due to changes in roads that were not changed on our GPS, so we just missed the 5:30pm free bicycle shuttle through the George Massey Tunnel, but that turned out to be a good thing for a solo, elderly female bicyclist from Marseille, France. From the shuttle pickup point, Y walked through a grassy field to the highway to find out if the woman, whom we had seen on the ferry, needed help as she was looking at maps and glancing around. She was wanting to get to downtown Vancouver so her best bet was to take the 6:30pm, final-of-the-day shuttle. She was hesitant to get on board but did finally when Y spoke with her in "Si tu veut... sans la sonority" French. With the bikes strapped on to the shuttle trailer, in the Tunnel, Y's bike mirror somehow flew off, so that would require replacement, maybe in Regina. We had a yummy Italian meal at The Italian Tomato, packed the bikes for the air flight and went to sleep knowing we had a big day of travel AND 80Kms of cycling from the Regina airport to Moose Jaw the next day.