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Nick & Tim’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 08 Jul 2003

Location: Moosomin (nearly Manitoba), Canada


The mountains tried to break us physically and failed. The prairies are trying to break us mentally, and they're brutal. Yep, we're still cycling across endless flat terrain with the odd town and tree to break the monotony. Okay its not that bad, but we sure would like to get them over with now. We're nearly in Manitoba, having cruised straight through Saskatchewan like it doesn't exist! Pip reckons it doesn't, because its not on the map on this page. Buts thats a whole other story. The best and worst part of the Prairies is the wind. Last time we updated the wind was being cruel to us. We had a headwind. In fact that was why we were in a library updating our web page. At the same time we checked the weather forecast and it said that a change was due, we wondered when it would arrive. Like a blessing from God himself, we got outside and discovered we had a 40km/h tailwind. So we went straight out of Swift Current and on to the town of Herbert at warp 10, with one pesky falt tire to deal with. We stayed the night in the campground there run by the "Rude Swiss Man", he had very unclean toilets and didn't like us camping where the RV's were meant to go, even though we were his only customers apart from Pat. Pat was a guy we met who was cycling the other way. His destination was Banff. Our 40km/h tailwind was his 40km/h curse of death. We really felt for Pat. It was good sharing stories with him though, and a bit daunting to know he left from Ottawa the same day we left from Victoria.
The next day, as predicted by the weather man, the wind was still going at 40km in our favour. So we decided this had to be taken advantage of and went hell for leather. This'll break the back of these prairies we thought. So a whopping 260km later we were still riding through them. But we did cover about a third of Saskatchewan in one day. The day was in fact sweet. Riding at speed along the flat, town after town falling behind us. Both Moose Jaw and Regina flying past us as well. We did stop in Regina for lunch. Where we met "Crazy Sarah" in the queue at Tim Hortons, she offered to show us the sights of Regina, which was tempting. We also picked up a third team member - Candice, she's foolish enough to be riding from Chilliwack to Winnepeg. The prairies was getting to her on her own so she's joined us for the ride. Welcome Candice!
We finaly ended the day in a town called Qu'Appelle. It was a long day but we covered heaps of distance. There were no showers at the campground - very dissappointing, but there was a rose garden and greenhouse (nice, but we question the priorities here). The town also boasted a converted bowling alley/pub/restaurant which served us all a huge meal and a beer. Nice.
Next day was another day in the Prairies. The wind kind of not really helping or hindering. So we rode 120km on to Whitewood, a town with a great mural. It was pretty good as far as murals go. It was also a day of an extraordinary amount of curious people. About ten times a day, and even more on this day we have the following conversation with small variations:
"Where ya headed?"
"How far East?"
"Geez, thats amazing".
"Where'd ya start?"
"Wow, I had a bike once...."
And so it goes on, and we appreciate the attention usually. Its nice. Except yesterday, it was just happening too much. One man even ran out of his yard to stop Tim - who at the time was in a bit of a hurry (call of nature). Another guy rode his bike across two lanes of traffic and blocked Nick & Candace's way for a chat.
Today, the wind has turned on us again like the fickle lady she can be (getting artsy now aren't we?). A nasty headwind has us stopped in Moosomin for lunch after a very harsh 50km. We figured maybe going into the library and updating the page would work like last time and bring on another 40km tailwind... So far no luck. Oh well.