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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

mini update - number seven

Arrived on Manitoulin Island this afternoon. while we are supposed to have wifi, it is S L O W. so i am using my phone.

another great day, and we had great ice cream.

will be home for rest day in three days.

thanks to EVERYONE who sent mail. i loved it all and appreciate all your support.


(jacquie i love what you sent bill. i am trying to get a picture. he wore it around camp. too funny



got to run. love you all.


have a great day


ciao!!!!!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mini update - number six


Check out the Beausejour Clipper for an article about us. I cannot give you the link as I can't open it on my tablet, but search for it. We are on the last page and it is in today's edition.

Just waiting for pizza to be delivered for dinner!!!!   I'm hungry!!!!!


Have a nice day!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!

Mini update - Number Five


OK  - I've gotten the blog as updated as I am going to get it today. While we have internet, it isn't the best. And it is tiring to do all that writing. I am going to enjoy the rest of the rest day by reading my book.

We are in Sault Saint Marie - it is Day 40. Moral is good, people are in good shape and we are ready to hit the next section. I will get the blog updated when I get a chance which will be when I will be home where I will have EXCELLENT internet. Hope to get all caught up by then.


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 34 - Thunder Bay - Nipigon

We got off to a late start today. Again - the indoor stay (while very welcome) is disruptive to the routine. It takes a while to get reorganized. It was a short day - only 105 K, but there was a MASSIVE head wind the entire way. It was FEROCIOUS. It came from the front - it came from the side and very rarely came from the back.

We had to ride up some hills to get out of Thunder Bay and went to see the Terry Fox Momument. What an inspiration, although very sad that legally it is not possible to get to the monument by bicycle or walk. OK - so we broke the law to get there, but we had no other choice.

Very inspirational to see the monument and think about all that Terry did and how much continues to happen because of him. I cannot even beging to imagine running a marathon every day!!!!!

Instead of heading back to the bypass road, we decided to continue on the freeway which soon turned into a regular highway.

We had OPP pass us and we were not kicked off so I guess we were OK. We had a bit of construction to go through and with the wind, that was a bit dicey, but it was OK.

At one point, Michel and Neil turned off to stop at a restaurant that was closed so I continued on where I met up with Megan and Greig and Bob and Irene. I was surprised to see Bob and Irene ahead of me and it was only the second or third day that I was able to spend some time at a rest place with them. They  had been to see the Terry Fox memorial last year so they headed straight to the bypass route, hence they were ahead of us. They were making excellent time.

I ended up riding by myself for part of the day and when I stopped to eat, Bob and Irene passed me and then I passed them a while later.

I arrived at camp around 3:30 PM. The truck had not yet arrived as Adam had a lot of  errands to do. Greg, Megan, Greig, Michel and Neil had arrived. Then shortly after me, Becky and Clark arrived. About 5 K from camp, a police car went screaming past me with its' lights flashing. Then another, then an ambulance. This was NOT good news as I knew there were still a lot of cyclists behind me.

As we sat in the deserted campsite, more cops and ambulancees and fire trucks went screaming by and we got a bit more worried. OK - we were a LOT worried by this time. Becky and Clark had talked to Bob and Irene shortly before and they should have been into camp by now. Of course NONE of us had cell service with the exception of Clark who has Manitoba Tel. After we noticed that the traffic that was going west was starting to come back east, Greig took off on his bike to see if he could see what was happening. Meanwhile, Clark was on his phone, calling the hospital, police and finally we knew something had happened to someone from our group, but no details.

We finally got the details from Clark through the phone and Grieg confirmed that something bad had happened. It was surreal to say the least. How could this happen??????   We were all stunned and no idea what to do!!!!!!!!    Our truck was behind the accident (actually pretty much right at the accident). We knew from an OPP officer who stopped that the road would not be open for hours and ther was NO other way around.

Thanks to Clark who let us use his phone so we could all make one phone call home to let people know that we were OK.

Finally made the decision to go to the Husky station which was just down the road. It was getting late by this time and if we didn't get to shelter - it was going to be a long cold night. Although the once deserted campsite was filling up with people who had nowhere to go for the night. Some people walked their bikes the couple of K to the Husky, but I decided to ride.

As we got closer to the Husky, we could see that the place was a parking lot. There were trucks everywhere - they had no place to go. There were trucks lined up everywhere. It was a HUGE mess. On our way in, a totally IGNORANT truck driver yelled at Neil and myself to GEET OFF THE ROAD and BLAMED the cyclists for tying up the traffic. It wasn't pleasant. I just ignored him.

We sat in the Husky and soon someone from Victim Services in Thunderbay came to see us. The rest of our group who was stuck on the other side of the accident was coming through. There was a small off road route through a field that allowed them to bypass the accident as well as the Victim Services people. It was a tearful reunion. Everyone was upset  to say the least. Victim Services took very good care of us, as did the Town of Nipigon. They took us to the arena where they got blankets and pillows from somewhere. We slept in one of the rooms.

As soon as I got a blanket and a pillow and a mattress, I crashed. It was a pretty emotional day and I was EXHAUSTED. Still in shock as to how this could have happened.

The one funny thing that did happen in the day - before the other group left the truck, they decided to bring us a change of clothing. So several of them went through our shelves to find clothes that we could change into. Well - that was hilarious as I can see them rummaging through everyone's different organization style to find shirts, bras, underwear and pants. Thanks to Myra for organising that. And then they had to carry all that stuff with them. Thank goodness for back packs and panniers.

The shoulders this day were pretty good on the highway - ranging from 12 inches wide to 6 feet wide of pavement. Although in some spots the strong wind blew us off the narrow shoulder and onto the gravel shoulder.

I also have to commend Adam. He is our truck driver. He is 20 years old and one of the most reponsible people I have met. He was on the scene shortly after the accident happened andwas level headed throughout the entire ordeal. Thanks Adam for all your support - you will go far in life.

This is a terribly sad and tragic occurance. Bob and Irene were wonderful people. Irene was always giving you a hug and calling you LUV or giving you a big kiss on the cheek and thanking you for doing something for her and Bob. And funny - we never talked about Bob and Irene seperately - they were a couple. They were deeply committed to each other. Bob was always happy and they were both strong riders. I am so sorry that this happened, but I am happy that they died together, they did not suffer and doing something they loved. REST IN PEACE BOB AND IRENE. We miss you and there isn't a day goes by that I do not think about you!!!!


While this was a tragic event, life has to continue. I am sad, but am thankful that I got to know Bob and Irene.


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 33 - Rest Day - Thunder Bay

Not used to sleeping indoors and so I didn't sleep well or maybe I was just so engrossed in my book that I wanted to finish it!!!!

It was pouring rain when I went to breakfast which was in a cafeteria so that was exciting. Exciting that we were NOT riding in the pouring rain. I only saw Bill on my way to breakfast - he was on his way back. I didn't see anyone at breakfast, but took my book and read a bit, but was also watching the TV as Kate was in the hospital!!!!!!   A Royal Baby is on the way.

Right after breakfast I was on my way to the truck to get laundry soap and about 15 feet from the truck, the heavens opened and it POURED. I had two choices - keep going which meant unlocking the truck and opening the door or making a beeline back to the building  which wasn't close. I opted to get in the truck. Needless to say, I got soaked.

I did laundry and spent part of the morning updating my blog on the computer in the lobby. I also managed to manually up load the missing data from the Garmin, but after the master reset, the thing is still not working the way it is supposed to. I shall be complaining to Garmin about that!!!!!!!   Very disappointed in the stupid thing.

But the important thing is that I was able to get all the data and nothing was lost.


I decided to go to Tim's for lunch. It has stopped raining at that point and I walked. It was only a K away. Had a great lunch and then got to searhing the internet, I found a quilt store downtown. Called and yes - it was open, so I decided to walk there. It was getting warmer and I was actually HOT on my walk. As I got closer to the store, I found a major shopping area with Chapter's, Walmart and many other stores. Well - this was going to be a great afternoon.

I went into Chapter's and browsed the magazines. Had a great time. Then when I went to take a picture of something to send to M and OH MY GOD - where is my phone???????   I ran back to the bench where I was browsing the magazines. YEP - the phone was still there. Thank GOD!!!!!!   NEVER take the phone out of the pocket.

After Chapter's, I went to WAl-Mart and got big zip-loc bags to replace the one that got blown away in the wild storm. Got more almonds and apricots. Then off to Value Village and The Thrift Store. I got a used book. Then I went to the quilt store. What a GREAT store!!!!   OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!   I could have bought a lot, but I did buy a couple of things.

I finally got a cab to take me back to the dorm room. I was too tired and carrying TOO MUCH stuff at this point. I did buy a sandwich and drink that I was going to have for dinner. I learned TONS from the cab driver in the 10 minutes that it took to get back to the dorm.

I was updating the blog again when everyone was headed to the cafeteria for dinner. I decided to save my sandwich for lunch the next day and headed out to the cafeteria with the others. Let's just say that the place lost money on us - we ate a LOT that night!!!!!!!!  And let's just say that Mike ate more than all of us!!!!!

I got things organized for tomorrow so the explosion stuff got all packed away!!!!!  I didn't want to go to the bike shop, but I needed to get a new chain. I got Allain to buy me a chain and when I was asked if I needed a 10 speed or a 9 - I had NO IDEA. Thanks to Myra for checking my bike - and turns out it is a 10 speed (10 gears on the back).   My chained is stretched (just from doing so many K) and needs to be replaced.

GOt to complain to Ziploc as well as I was supposed to get FOUR bags in the box and I only got THREE!!!!!!

Have to get myself reorganized when I get to Toronto. THere is stuff that I have to empty from my baskets!!!!!

The Royal Baby is BORN!!!!!!   We have been making jokes about it all week so glad that anticipation is over!!!!!  Couldn't have dealt with much excitement.

And tonight was the first

Day 32 - Quetico - Thunder Bay

It was cold last night and had to sleep in my sleeping bag and by morning, the sleeping bag was fully zipped up. And No mosquitos.


We were in isolated camp sites last night. Well three to a campsite rather than all in one group. I woke up at one point and heard Fred snoring so I put my ear plugs in. Then  when I woke up LATE - I see he had already taken down his tent and I heard NOTHING. But I was only a few minutes late so that was OK.

I rode with Michel and Neil for a bit, but seemed to have no energy. None of us did.

The ride was a discouraging one today as there were very few services along the way. Being able to stop for a tea or muffin just breaks up the day.

Then we turned a corner and there was a little restaurant at the side where most everyone was stopped. I left before Michel and Neil did. Then seven K from the Kakabecka Falls, Neil passes me on the uphill. I wasn't going to lose him, so I pedaled my butt off to stay behind him. We had to pedal down the hills. And why is that - oh yes - another head wind. I mean I thought there were supposed to be prevailing, west to east winds. NOT SO!!!!!  Anyway - the chase was a nice diversion from the slog into the headwind.   It was a tough day for most people including me.

We stopped in at the Falls which were beautiful, but a very weird amber colour. Not sure if that was because of the rock under the water or what. Even the spray of the water was amber.

At one point, we came across a road detour. We chatted to a local who said - take the detour as there was a bridge out on the closed road. OK - so we took the detour which involved a bit of gravel road, but not too bad. Rob decided to take the closed road and had to FORD a river!!!!!!   Well a big stream, but he had his shoes and socks off. It was pretty funny!!!!  Too bad there are no pictures.

We got to sleep indoors tonight!!!!!   Oh my goodness - I almost forgot what it feels like to be inside, let alone sleep inside. While it was nice to be indoors, it was very disruptive to the routine!!!!!

There was no WiFi, but there was internet. That meant that I could not use my tablet and had to settle for the computer in the lobby of the campus.

All day - we saw rocks and trees, then trees and rocks. Then some more rocks and trees and trees and rocks. Oh yes - it was an exciting day!!!!!

We cycled 630K in the last 4 days. Yep - my legs are tired and ready for a rest day tomorrow. We also had a time change happen today so that added to the confusion of what time it really was since my phone could not update the time. And we stay on old time for the day of the time change to help get everyone in and fed at a decent time.

Once I was in the room, (a double room all to myself), my bags exploded and there was a huge mess of stuff everywhere. How I manage to keep it altogether on the road is beyond me.

Had a nice shower with a nice white FLUFFY towel. Oh my - and my feet stayed clean AFTER I got out of the shower. I'm in heaven!!!!!!

Had cell service and managed to update FAcebook through the phone. Just so nice to have service after being so isolated.

We had a great dinner that was cooked indoors by the cook crew. They were staying in a townhouse while the rest of us were in the dorms.

Need a good sleep tonight although it is HOT in the rooms.


And that's it for another day!!!!


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!



Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 31 - Taylor's Cover to Quetico

Oh my goodness - I have to go so far back. There just has been NO internet or cell se rvice for that matter for a LONG time. Let's just say that Northern Ontario should be known for the communications blackout unless you happen to be a tbaytel customer.

We all had a GREAT nights sleep which was something we all needed after that crazy storm we had.

It was another LONG day. Neil, Michel and I started out, but after 40 K, I decided to head off on my own. Just needed a day to myself. I rode quite hard and fast or so I thought. I am sure when I view the stats that there will be no difference in the numbers. (even though I have done a hard reset on my GPS - I am still not able to view the numbers - drat!!!) . I shall be having a chat with Garmin when this is over, but at least I am able to manually download the information, but NOT on my tablet.

Although the terrain was pretty easy today, there was a MASSIVE head wind again. What is with all this headwind??????

I stretched a bit on the bike to loosen up, but have to say that I am doing just fine physically. Guess those spin classes really do work. I am now committed to continuing with the spin classes. The thing about spin classes is that you can't coast - you have to be constantly pedaling whereas on a bike - you can take a break and coast for a moment or two. Depends on how much wind there is. If there is a LOT of wind like today, well when you stop pedaling, you stop moving or pretty much.

One of the things that I love about riding is that I think of everything and nothing while I am riding. Of course that depends on the road conditions. If they are crap - then I am focused on the road and think of nothing, but if they are decent, then I can look around and think of whatever. I play a lot of mind games as well depending on the day to help. I find that talking with someone is very distracting (I always have) and so I don't talk much while I am riding.

I tag teamed with Bill and Yukon Greg today. I did a small side trip into Aitikoken with them for pie and ice cream. Well worth the side trip - the little restaurant was full of locals - it definitely wasn't a tourist stop. On the map - there was a note about a hill going into town. At this point, there is NO hill that is a challenge for us. The hill turned out to be nothing.

I got into camp early which is always exciting. Got to just sit around and do nothing.Well once the tent was up and stuff was organized for the next day.

There are so many bugs around. It is quite sad when you have a shower and your after shower lotion is AFTER BITE!!!!!!  And then you put bug spray on to keep the bugs away!!!!!   Oh yes - my skin looks disgusting!!!!

The temperature is dropping and it is going to be a cold night tonight. While I appreciate the cooler nights, it would be nice to have a bit of warmth once in a while.
I am OK in my tent as I have a pretty good sleeping bag, but with the perspiration of sleeping - well it gets a bit damp sometimes.

We had lots of mosquitoes but were able to evade them at breakfast by eating at the lake where there was a nice breeze. We all stood or sat on a big rock and watched the people on the lake. Although there were no mosquitos there - I am sure we have eaten tons of them in our eggy bread.

Today was 160 K (I see that in my notes). Our camp site has nice washrooms with signs talking about dehydration. I meant to take a picture of the sign, but forgot. There are FIVE levels of dehydration depending on the colour!   Of course, there is a Pepsi machine just outside the washroom that also sells water. You think there is a little marketing going on there??????

OK - that covers another day. Going to try and catch up as much as I can.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mini Update - Number 4


OK - so we are having a rest day in Sault Saint Marie. Not my favourite spot to be resting (more on that later), but at least it gives me a chance to get caught up on my blog.

Stay tuned.

Have a great day

Ciao!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tragic

Hello, this is M posting for my mom who I have been out of contact with since Monday, the day of the incident. I wanted to just make a quick post informing everyone that yes mom is OK!!!!

Sadly, on Monday Robert and Irene Booth, two members of my mom's cross Canada bike trip, were struck and killed on the Trans-Canada high way by a pick up truck. This was very upsetting news to all the participants of the trip as well as for everyone back home. I just wanted to let everyone know that my mom is OK and will be blogging as soon as she is finds internet connection. Last I heard, they were sleeping in a rec center because their supply truck was stuck behind the road closure. Here is an article..http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/story/2013/07/24/tby-thunder-bay-cyclists-killed-highway-accident.html

Well, have a nice weekend everyone

-M

Monday, July 22, 2013

Party Time

Date: Sunday, August 4, 2013

Where: my house

Time: 3 to 5 pm

i will be home on my rest day, so if you want to stop by, everyone is welcome. bring drinks or whatever, i wont have time to do anything.

see you then.
have a great day
ciao



ps how about some dear jane show n tell?

Day 30 - Dryden to Taylor's Cove

CRASH 

BOOM 

BANG



OH MY GOD - what is happening????

We were all woken up with noise. There was a MASSIVE storm that went through. The wind was blowing our tents - basically flattening them against us. The wind was whipping around the tents and the two tent pegs that hold my vestibule in place - ZING ZING and they were GONE. The vestibule was now flapping in the BRISK breeze and my stuff in the vestibule was instantly WET. I opened the tent to grab a few things (my good riding jacket was out there). I managed to snag the jacket and my chair and pulled the rest of the stuff under the tarp and tucked the vestibule flap against the tent.

The thunder was DEEP, LOUD and RIGHT OVER TOP of us. The lightening (whether is was sheet or fork) was CONSTANT. I have NEVER NEVER NEVER seen or been in a storm like that in my life. And I sure didn't want to be in a tent!!!!!

No one panicked, no one screamed - we were all in shock and wondering - what was going to happen. I have three sets of tent poles on my tent and one of them was crooked and I had no idea what to do - so I just sat there - trying to collect my thoughts. I don't even know how long the storm lasted, but it was a fair time. It sort of died down and then it picked up again.

At one point, when things had sort of quietened down, I heard the truck open and the someone got in the cab of the truck. That could only be Adam (our driver). Oh dear - what was happening and how did the others fare????

I finally fell asleep. But people were up very early in the morning to access the damage. Adam's tent had blown completely over on its side and he thought it was a goner. That is why he went to the truck. Joyce and Dan - tent was completely kaput and they needed to buy a new tent. Lots of bent tent poles - we had no water and no electricity. A large tree near where Bill, Dan and Joyce put their tents - completely uprooted. One of the outdoor toilets - someone didn't close the door properly and the pedestal sink inside was destroyed. Bill was worried because he had pitched his tent beside a METAL swing set. But he was OK.

In checking the news for weather in the Dryden area that night - it appears that there were tornados, but nothing was confirmed.

I will try to find the web site with the information. But we did see trees down on the road on our ride the next day.

We can all blame it on Bill as he INSISTED on pitching his tent - not only beside the metal swing set, but the BIG DUCK.

Let's just say that it was a pretty scary night!!!!!!

We started our ride early and it was a weird day. Even though everyone was OK - I think everyone was still thinking about the night before.

The ride was "interesting". We saw rocks and trees, then trees and rocks, then rocks and trees. I felt like I was on one of those cartoon shows where the background goes around and around. That pretty much summed up what we saw that entire day. Oooops - did I mention the occasional lake????

Now one thing - when we ride together (Neil, Michel and myself) - we don't really ride together. Neil and Michel are stronger than I am and usually ride ahead. I keep up the rear. I don't know why I can't keep up to them, but for some reason, I just like hanging out in the back and sometimes - I am at least 1 K behind them. I am OK with that. I just do my own thing.

I hadn't really paid attention to the map, but we are VERY close to the US at this point. And it seemed that every second vehicle on the road was a truck with a boat behind. When I started to pay attention - it seemed that all those trucks and boats were from the US. I don't know how many passed us - but there were LOTS - probably more than 100 easily.



We took the day slow. Slogged out 20K at a time. It was not a fun day and there was a headwind the entire way. Also we were headed slightly SW instead of SE (that was just the direction of the highway) and honestly after the night we had - well I just wasn't in the mood for a happy day of riding. Loads of headwind or cross wind ALL DAY. My knee (my torn meniscus) was bothering me somewhat or just my calf muscle. I did take an Advil when I got into camp to help and I was careful on the ride to stretch as much as I could.

Got into camp around 4 PM and got everything laid out and dried. The sky did not look promising so I put everything in the tent - it was dry by then and yep - it started to rain. But only for a few minutes - then it cleared up again.

Let's just say that when I put my tent up tonight - the tent pegs were POUNDED DEEP into the ground.
Oh yes - I have to tell you about the map. So yesterday, it was raining and my map holder on my front bag needs to be water proofed. So with the rain - the edges of the map were getting wet. The wetness was seeping toward the center of the map. When I got into camp, I carefully took the map from the holder and spread it out to dry. It was perfectly dry. I forgot to take it to the truck. I also had left it in the vestibule of the tent. So when those pegs went - that map became a MASS OF PULP!!!!   It was pretty funny - like I wasn't meant to have that map!!!!   I also lost one of my big ZIPLOC bags that I put my pillows in. But that is easily replaced. Everything else was fine.

Adam did stop part way on the ride to give us water as there was NO SERVICES on this part of the road. Lots of bugs today and then you wish you had a headwind to keep them away. Where are those PERFECT days of riding?????


There is lots of wind tonight, but nothing like the previous night. It sounds like rain, but isn't and lulls me to sleep. And boy do I need sleep.


On that note - I am out of here.


Have a good day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 29 - Kenora to Dryden


The morning started out dry, but cloudy. By the time people started to leave, it had started to rain. I grabbed my big rain coat and bungied it to my bike carrier. We had to make breakfast this morning, so we were the last to leave. By the time we left, I had put the BIG rain jacket on. It wasn't going to be a pleasant morning. Well - it isn't so bad if you are properly dressed and I was quite fine with the jacket and let's not forget my GREEN rain hat.

Jackie (who left us with knee issues in Banff) rejoined us in Kenora. However as we were getting ready to leave and loading the truck with all the tent bags, next thing I know - she is grabbing stuff off her shelf. I thought she needed something. NOPE - she was packing. She decided to leave the tour for good. It was a shame, but I think I would have been discouraged if I was in her position.  She was the last one to leave that morning (besides our cook crew - who are fairly strong riders - well I am the weakest rider) and it was pouring rain and she hadn't ridden in a couple of weeks. It wasn't meant to be for her. That is too bad, but this trip isn't really something that you can just sign on and do. It takes commitment and training - both mental and physical. Not saying that she didn't do the training, but I just got the feeling that she wasn't 100% committed. And TRUST ME - there are days when I think - what the heck am I doing?????   And I am committed - or maybe I NEED to be committed.

It rained for about 45 K. It wasn't all that bad. I prefer that it NOT rain as I am leaving. I don't mind if it starts to rain when I am out, but I really really hate to start out in the rain. There are VERY FEW places to stop along this lonely stretch of road, but at about the 45 K mark, there was a small hotel with a restaurant attached. We met up with some of the others and when we walked in, part of the place looked like a Chinese laundry. There were wet coats and jackets, gloves and helmets and various other bike apparel strung out in the shop to dry. We were not allowed to take out wet stuff into the restaurant. I had toast and tea and it was WONDERFUL.

When we left it had stopped raining. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was nice riding along Highway 17 (which is the TransCanada). Nice wide shoulders and fairly gentle hills. Although there is traffic on that highway, it really isn't a big deal because of the wide shoulders. I could ride that road a LOT.

At some point in the day we stopped at a gas station for some food. I got a half liter of milk and a bag of chips. Hey - why not!!!!   Well that was NOT a good idea. The milk and chips did NOT mix well and I wasn't feeling well for the rest of the ride. Nothing serious, but bad gas issues for the last 40 K. I know - not everything is rosy!!!!!  and that was probably more than you needed to know, but I did not have a good ride at the end of the day!

We took the scenic route to get to our campsite and for that last 40K we did NOT see rocks and trees. It was actually some nice farmland - grassland mostly.

A great dinner and got everything dried out from the day and the evening before (yes - we did have a bit of rain over night last night). No internet - but hey we are in Northern Ontario where there is NOTHING - nothing but rocks and trees for the most part. No cell service either. Very isolated.

When we went through Manitoba, some people had difficulty getting cell service, in particular those with Telus phones. For some reason, MTS and Telus do not like each other? Anyway, Clark (who is from Winnipeg and a MTS) customer was the ONLY one who was able to get service during this remote section of the trip. We had a good laugh over that. I remarked that perhaps he really didn't have service and was just pretending to talk. Of course, that did NOT bode well for image that I had made for myself of trusting no one.

It was a quiet evening at camp - I got a lot of reading done. Then off to bed.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 28 - Rest Day Kenora


I was up early so I could get my laundry done as there was no time the night before. I was down at the office for 7:30 AM even though the office didn't technically open until 8 AM. But I wanted to be FIRST in line. The guy came and opened up at 7:45 so I was able to get an early start on the laundry. We sure take our laundry facilities at home for granted!!!!!

I met up with Jan (a LIFETIME gym friend). She is summering in Kenora and so we went for coffee at Tim's. It was great to see someone from home and we had a great visit. Thanks Jan!!!!   See you in September.

Now I was very concerned about those files on my bike computer and what was I going to do about the situation. I managed to get the files backed up to a USB stick that I had purchased somewhere along the line to load pictures. Anyway by using Michel's netbook, I was able to get the data off the Garmin (bike computer) and onto the stick. Well - it was now in both places. I called Garmin and that is what they told me to do since they thought the data might be corrupted. NOT WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR!!!!!!   Their suggestion was to back everything up (they didn't think I would be able to upload it to the computer) and then RESET the Garmin. Well I backed up the files and that was all I did at that time.

It was so nice to have a relaxing day even though I did go into town to meet a number of the group members at a restaurant for lunch. I thought since I was down town - why not check out the quilt store. So after lunch, I wandered down to the quilt store that was a couple of doors down from the restaurant, EXCEPT the quilt store didn't exist anymore. Oh poo!!!!   Well there was another store there that was very nice. A lot of gifty things including a big wall hanging with words on it that I love. I am tempted to call Jan and see if she will bring it back for me??????   Hmmmm - got to think about that since I don't know the name of the store. Well - I might send her an e-mail. I don't even know how much the darn thing costs!


Stopped at Wal-Mart so I could pick up some snacks. I like to have my almonds and apricots as my energy food for the road. It was another HOT day but at least we didn't have to ride our bikes.

Spent a great part of the afternoon trying to update the blog. Had to sit in the office next to the laundry room. No pictures, I have decided that it takes too long and at that site, it took forever (OK - so we were completely unable to upload even one picture). Neil went to Tim's and got his blog updated!!!!   I should have gone there as well.

Got some great pictures of the crazy people from our group that were jumping in the lake off that big dock that you saw on Facebook. Yes - there are a crazy bunch, but they have fun!!!!!  Me - I am NOT a lake person - well since I don't swim - it is better that I stay away from jumping in the lake!


Myra, Irene, Bob and I cleaned all the leftovers out of the fridge for our dinner. Yummy!!!!   Not that we often have leftovers, but we did this day and it was perfect. Made a salad to go with it and we were set. HOWEVER, some of the others had gone to Safeway and picked up LUMBERJACK sandwiches that were HUGE. A bit more sandwich than I could handle. We got a good laugh over that one.

Poor Mike - he broke a tooth yesterday and so he spent the morning going from dentist to dentist to find someone who could fix his tooth. Four dentists later, he was told that the tooth could NOT be repaired and would have to come out. So he went at 4:30 and got the molar removed. We did offer to do it for free, but he politely declined!!!!!  After the freezing came out - he ate his lumberjack sandwich!

I did get the bike cleaned - well for me that means clean and oil the chain. Got things ready for the morning - you do get into a routine for sure. Everything MUST be in its place or it just messes up the routine. I found a HUGE spider in my tent when I went to bed. I grabbed it and threw it out the door. I am sure M would have woken up the entire camp site if that happened to her.

Remember in one of my previous posts, I talked about the weight issue. Well we all have different scales at home and which one is right? And we really don't have a scale with us to weigh ourselves, although at one point on the trip we did see an unmanned truck scale. Now our sensible group just rode right past, but some of the others stopped!!!!!   It would appear that the results were NOT too trustworthy. As Eric was walking home from the restaurant, he stopped at Canadian Tire and purchased a scale. And it tells me I have lost NOTHING!!!!!!!   Not sure whether to believe it or not!

Chatted that evening for a bit while we had dinner and then everyone was in bed early!  We ride in the morning!


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 27 - Beausejour - Kenora


We had a massive thunder and lightening storm last night. Loads of brilliant lightening. Too bad I couldn't really appreciate it as I was in my tent and it doesn't really have a good window. Probably just as well that I did NOT see the lightening.  It started about 3:30 AM and went on for a couple of hours. Lots of rain and as I am lying in bed, I realize that I forgot to put a bag on my bike seat. DRAT - now my leather seat is going to be soaked. Oh well - it was raining so hard, I was NOT going to get up and put the cover on the seat. Just suck it up and NEVER forget to do that in the future.

The rain stopped around 5 AM which was very convenient so we were able to have breakfast and do all our morning chores with no rain.

It was another LONG day - our longest so far - 178 K.

The roads improved as the day went on and once we hit Ontario - yes we hit ONTARIO today - the roads were much better. Hard to believe that we have ridden so far and we still haven't gotten half way across the country. We will be in Ontario for a couple of weeks.

Now you know that there are mosquitos around. Well there are deer flies, or horse flies, or black flies or just plain ugly old flies and all of them are a pain. You will be riding your bike with a SWARM of flies around. And they all like to bite. Especially your butt and legs. I managed to get a bite IN my ear which was a bit of a pain, but seems to be subsiding now. Just can't seem to stop itching and yes I know I shouldn't scratch, but after while you just have to give in!!!!!  

If you ride any slower than 30 K, those flies are everywhere. I HATE them.

It was another hot day - seems that every time we have a long day of riding, that the temperature is HOT. I had TWO liters of chocolate milk today. Just could NOT drink enough. At least there were places that we could stop at.

Neil successfully got us into camp again. This time we were coming into Kenora. Close to the end, I was tired and just wanted to get to camp. I was following Neil, but checking the map (I am earning the reputation of NOT trusting anyone - sorry - just don't want to do extra K if I don't have to). Then he took a turn and I was sure we were NOT in the right spot. However, he kept turning left and right and I knew he wasn't on the right path, but I didn't say anything. THEN I saw the signs for the campsite and then we arrived. OK - just sit back and shut up - which I did!!!!

We were on cook duty tonight and made macaroni and cheese. Everyone sat around after dinner and chatted. Something we don't normally do on the night before we ride. People have dinner and then go to bed. My legs were pretty tired after those two century rides, but no big deal. At dinner, I asked people if they had ever done back to back century rides before. To my surprise, many had NEVER done ONE century ride before. OK!

Although it was a hot day, it really was a glorious day to be riding.

Because of the heat in the day, it can be a tad toasty in the tent at night. I can't sleep in the sleeping bag so decided to use it as a blanket. But sleeping directly on the Thermarest would not be fun. So I slipped the Thermarest inside the sleeping bag liner and used the sleeping bag as a blanket (when I needed it) and I was set. Problem solved - ready for any temperature.

On that note - that is all for Day 27. Tomorrow is a rest day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 26 - Portage la Prairie - Beausejour


OK - going to try and read my hen scratch notes and get the blog updated.

Went to bed at 8 PM last night. I was very tired and slept the entire night. A GREAT sleep.

We got an early start this morning as we have two LONG days ahead of us. We are doing what is called a CENTURY ride which essentially means 100 MILES. We basically had one already earlier this week, but people got freaked out because we are doing two of them back to back. It really isn't a big deal - I mean you have no choice so get on the bike and ride.

For the first 68 K, there was nothing but winding country road.

It just so happens that Michel's granddaughter was visiting family in the area and we were going RIGHT PAST their house. How is that!!!!!!!!    So we were first stopped by a neighbour who had been alerted by the other family. We chatted for a few minutes and then down the road - there was Michel's grand daughter. It was pretty neat. By this time, I had to go to the washroom so although it is very RUDE to just ask strangers to use the washroom, I did and I got to ride up to the house on the back of the ATV!!!!!   Oh - how nice to go somewhere and not have to use my own steam to get there!!!!!

Michel got a couple of bundles of homemade cookies (which he shared with the group at dinner).


Then we meandered our way into Winnipeg!!!!!  Thank goodness Neil (and if you had sharp shooting eyes - you would have noticed that I keep spelling Neil's name incorrectly. Yep - for some reason - I spell his name Neal!  DUH!!!!!)

For the most part we took the bike paths which in case turned into the JUNGLE tour near the river. For the most part, the paths were awesome. But this jungle path - well we really needed a mountain bike! Thank goodness, it did not last too long. I think the original path we were supposed to take is under water.

Neil met up with some of his coworkers in downtown Winnipeg, while Michel and I waited. We were NOT leaving Neil behind since he is the master navigator so I was sticking like glue to him!

My friend, Jen works right down town, but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to hook up with her. We had lunch at The Forks which is a very touristy area of Winnipeg.

Then we meandered our way out of Winnipeg and Neil was like a local, the way he zipped around those paths. I was very impressed. I still kept an eye on the map in the event that he decided to pull a fast one and make me do a few extra kilometers that I didn't want to do.

We were getting closer to camp when we hit upon a CRAPPY road. It had NO SHOULDERS and there was at least one quarry. I only saw one, but then I was so focused on the road, I didn't see any other quarries although the others in the group insisted there were at least three on the road. But the traffic and the number of gravel trucks was INCREDIBLE. You could not ride very well on the  gravel shoulder, but I did, because riding on the road was downright DANGEROUS. No other word to describe it. NO ONE was happy with that section of road. Thankfully it was only about 10 K long, but 10 K too long for me.

We got lucky for the next part because we had a tail wind and were protected by trees from any of the bad winds. It was great and a nice change from the crappy road earlier. For the most part the day was FLAT. I like flat days!!!!!

The GPS is NOT allowing me to view my data. We had a time change during the day and I am not sure if that was what screwed up the data or what. The satellites changed the time part way through the day so that might have done it. Who knows. Let's just hope the data is still there. I just can't see the summary, but I can see all the numbers as I ride and I need that!!!!

We had a late dinner because of the long day and people taking a bit of time to get into camp. We do try to wait until everyone is in before we eat. So we snack a lot which is probably why we are not losing any weight!!!!!  I had 1.5 L of chocolate milk today and about three cans of pop. I know - I shouldn't be drinking the pop, but it is one of the cold things we have to drink at the end of the day and it has sugar in it!!!!  Seems like we can't drink enough, but I DO NOT drink after dinner because I do NOT want to have to get up in the night. So far it is working!!!!

I was very hungry on the road today. Not sure why that was, just hungrier than usual. And at this point - I don't think anyone is caring what they eat or how much they eat or drink. We need the calories and I am taking all that I can get. There are some days when I cannot eat much. Not sure what the difference is, but anyway - I am surviving.

There were TWO washrooms at this place. An OK washroom and a NICE washroom. The nice washroom was farther away so had to ride my bike to that one, but it was so worth it. I forgot my towel when I went for a shower, but no worry - it was pretty hot today (that is why we drank so much) and I dried off pretty quickly.

First day with a bit of chaffing (in case you were wondering about that!!!). I do not use any of the creams, gels, or butters. I have lots of calluses in all the right places I guess, but a long day in the heat - well that just isn't good news for a cyclist. But I seemed to be fine once I got off the bike.

It is mail day. Oh my - I got so much good stuff - Flat Flo is now with me!!!!   Well a reasonable facsimile. Thanks Flo - I love it!!!!   I had a good laugh when I opened that one. M sent me a paper blog with pictures and a Micheal's flyer to make me feel at home!  A fabric postcard from Tish, a card from my aunt and a couple of regular postcards. I love getting the mail and I think of it when I am out on the road slogging it out. Thanks to everyone who sent me mail. I REALLY REALLY appreciate it.

I have started to roll out my legs with my spiky ball to keep the muscles loose. Oh boy - that can be a bit painful, but so far it has helped. My legs are doing great.

And while we were in camp a reporter from the local newspaper came by. He took our picture and got some comments from some of us. The newspaper is called The Clipper from Beausejour. I checked online and did NOT see us in the paper. I guess something bumped us!!!!!


Well - I have been interrupted MANY times as people from our group came and got info on local bike stores. I managed to get someone to buy me a chain for my bike. I need to put a new one on, but I really don't feel like wandering around town. I want to get this silly blog updated. I am going to owe Myra!!!!!


On that note - I am done for this post.


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Mini update - Number 3


It is a REST DAY - a well deserved rest day!!!!!!  

I am sitting inside a nice warm, cozy DRY place while it rains outside and I DO NOT care!!!!!   While we have internet, there is no WiFi, so my tablet is useless, however there is a computer in the lobby and for the moment I am in command of the computer. I managed to download all my information on the Garmin. Whew - for a bit, I thought the data was toast, but no it is there. Now that it is all downloaded, I need to reset the darn device so hopefully I won't have problems for the rest of the trip.

While I was in with the data, I pulled these "official" numbers.


26 riding days
3,460.53 KM
154.36 hours of riding
Average speed 22.4 KPH
Total elevation gain - 17,207 M
Total elevation loss - 17,142 M
Average distance - 133 K
Calories - 104,441


Now I know you are wondering - have I lost weight????  I don't think so. We are eating too well!!!!!   I won't know officially until I get home in a couple of weeks and check out the "official" scale.


I am listening to the weather in the background - that is on the TV in the lobby. It sounds like there is crazy weather everywhere. And the Royal Baby's birth is soon to happen or so I heard on the TV when I was having breakfast!!!!


Well - I must run and put my wet laundry in the dryer. Then I will be back to try and catch up on the blog.

What I would really like is a HOT CHOCOLATE. There is a Tim's very close by - but it is raining and I don't want to get wet!!!!!

I already got soaked this morning as I had to get laundry soap off the truck and just as I reach the truck, it started to pour buckets. Hmmmm  - what to do - what to do? Run to the nearest building which wasn't that close, or get the key out and unlock the truck and roll up the door and huddle inside. I hesitated a moment and then unlocked the truck and got inside!!!!!!   HEY - I'm no weenie!!!! (OK - so I am, but that option just made the most sense!!!)


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 25 - Minnedosa to Portage la Prairie

OK - ONE more posting and then I will try to catch up later this week.

The morning was fairly dry considering the rain we had last night. When I crawled out of the tent just before going to bed, the sky was clear. Hard to believe that it had been pouring just shortly before.

We had some bumpy roads today, but still made good time I am surprised at some of my average speeds (well hard to see them with that stupid computer), but over 20 most days and considering the conditions (wind and road and fatigue) and the distance, I am surprised. I guess I really am stronger than I thought I was.

Neal was on fire today and I had some trouble keeping up to him, but at least they waited for me. We tag teamed a lot of the others all day and that makes it interesting - at least breaks up the day.

Of course we stopped for the usual - chocolate milk. Can you believe that I can buy ONE LITRE of milk and pretty much chug it in about 5 minutes??????   I never thought I would be able to do that, but I do!!!!!   And YES - I drink right from the carton!!!!!!   Better watch out when I get back home.


We had to ride for about 7 KM along the Transcanada Highway and there was NO paved shoulder. So we rode the gravel shoulder. That was NOT fun, but it was fine. We had a beautiful spot to camp in Portage, although again there was NO WiFi. Seems to be a trend. I think I had more access on all the other trips than this one. But then - the trip isn't about blogging - it is about riding and I do take notes - otherwise it would all blend into one big bike ride!!!!!

I LOVE getting into camp early. You can get the tent set up - you can have a shower and relax. I love that.  Aussie Greg and Megan are usually first, Yukon Greig is usually near the front and then Neal, Michel and I wander in. But not always. We change things up a bit!

I managed to get a geocache in Manitoba. That was one of my goals. I don't usually visit the province of Manitoba and had not found a geocache in the province.  I snagged an easy one in the parking lot of the site where we were staying. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Just ONE more province to go (NFLD) and I will have all ten provinces.


Oh yes - I forgot to tell you about the animals as I took a picture to remind myself. A couple of days ago, I found a couple of stuffed animals along the road. I kept the small one (a dog) for myself) and gave the bigger one to Mike. It was black and brown and although it is a dog - it was to represent the bears he saw in BC. So the dog is called Beary!!!!  Anyway George came out of the closet (handlebar bag) and now rides up front with his new friend - DOG!   When we arrived in camp - I realized that DOG was missing. He must have bounced out of my handlebars while we were on the crappy road.    Not to worry - Allain found him and brought  him home. OK - this story would be MUCH better with pictures - so just  use your imagination!!!!


No WiFi again!!!!!!

I am actually in pretty good shape - no major issues. I thought chaffing might become a problem, but so far so good. Let's keep our fingers crossed on that one.

Clark lives in Winnipeg so he went home the night before (his wife Carol) brought us cinnamon buns and Mike had ONE MORE - that made FIVE in one day!!!!!!   Myra's sister came to visit.


And can you believe that Neal missed an opportunity for ice cream????   We were looking for a street and he was so focused on that and wanting to turn LEFT when we were supposed to be turning RIGHT - that he completely missed DQ!!!!!!


We did 132 K on the day - this was one of those days when you are so glad to be on a bike!!!!!!


OK - I still have TWO riding days and our rest day to do, but I am tired of being inside and going out to enjoy the rest of the day. Hopefully we will have decent access to internet on this upcoming segment (which is four days), but we should be good at the next rest stop - might even manage a few pictures as well. I'll keep you posted if I get the pictures up.



Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 24 - Binscarth - Minnedosa


The day did NOT start well for Danny. He was up when I got up to get breakfast started and that is not normal. The first thing he said was that his bike was STOLEN. How could that be????  It was a pretty quiet campground. Turns out that one of the other guys was trying to help and saw Danny's bike was NOT locked up for the night so he locked it to another tree. When Danny got up it was still dark so he did not see the bike. WHEW!!!!!!    Crisis averted, but what a scare!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe that we are ONE THIRD of the way through the trip in NUMBER of days. There are 72 days in total and today is Day 24. I find that hard to believe. Harder to believe the distance that we have come. Again - I can't get any numbers off my silly computer, but we have gone a fair ways!!!!!   Still a long way to go though.

This segment of the trip is probably one of the hardest as we ride for 6 days with no break and close to 1000 KM during that segment. Three days more to ride and 500 K.

Today was a VERY tough day. 135 K completely into a headwind the entire day. There was NO RELIEF. YOu know when you can turn a corner and get a break - well that did not happen today. And how do you keep going????   I know you are asking that question.

I know I was asking myself the same thing!!!!!!   It definitely helps to ride with someone and Michel and Neal and I are still riding together. Although there were several times when you just want to throw in the towel and say - "I've ridden enough". I don't need to prove anything more to anyone. Then that dam EGO kicks in and says - SUCK IT UP PRINCESS and GEAR DOWN and keep pedaling. And so I did.

One thing that I find is that when there is a headwind, you tend to watch the speedometer more. Ah - I am at 25.9 KM. Then the next time you look, the dam thing says 26.3 KM. WHAT????????  How can I be going so slow????????  The trick is to NOT watch the darn thing, but that is as easy as NOT watching the water boil!!!!!!!!!

I do try to take those long slogs in 10 K chunks, but even then - it is a BIG mental challenge to keep slogging it out.

I hadn't slept well the night before so I was also tired, BUT there is NOTHING nicer than getting into camp!!!!!   It is like child birth - all the pains of the day (well most of them) are GONE!!!!!!   Have to say that I haven't taken Advil ONCE yet on the trip - so that is a good thing.

We stopped at Birtle (I thought is was Birdie!) and had coffee with the locals who were all crowded on the sidewalk (at tables) having the morning coffee break and catching up on all the news. It was GREAT!!!!!!   They said, they had been sitting there all year waiting for us to come through!

No restaurant for lunch, but we stopped at a grocery store where we met up with Mike and a few others. So we popped into the store to get some supplies - OK - chocolate milk and there was Mike with a half dozen cinnamon buns and TWO liters of coke. He drank MOST of the coke and four of the cinnamon buns. I was practically gagging at the thought of drinking that much coke at once on top of four cinnamon buns!!!!!  That the Brits for you!!!!!

Neal and I were hurting after lunch so we got a paceline going with some others and that helped to whittle down the KMs. Then it broke up and just Neal and I pulled each other in - each of us taking the lead for 2 KM before we switched positions. It sure helps to trade off even though it doesn't seem like it would do much.

Sometimes the maps are a bit confusing, but we have never been lost. We took an alternative way into town and the first thing we saw was an ice cream store. About 20 K from town, I had mentioned to Neal that if we saw a place that sold ice cream that we should stop so we did. Then we found a short cut (OK - so we saved a whole 3 K) to camp.

As usual, we had a great dinner. I think all of us are very surprised at how well we eat - given the fact that we are camping and doing the cooking ourselves and cooking for a larger than normal (for most of us) quantities. No complaints!!

Shortly after dinner, it started to rain. Since it was almost time for bed, most people went to their tents. Then we had a STUPENDOUS storm. Thunder and lightening and rain were crashing down around us. I know - didn't they always say "don't stand under a tree in a storm" and there we are camped in a treed campground!!!!!!

So while there was WiFi at this campground, NO ONE ventured from their tent to the office. But I needed to go to the washroom!!!!!   As I am laying in my tent - I can hear that the rain has slowed down. The thunder is gone and so is the lightening. Turns out that what I was now hearing was the wind blowing the rain off the trees. There was a lot of water around, but my tent was nice and dry.

When I did venture out - people were already back in their camp chairs and had their camp fires going!!!!!   Makes me want to get an RV and go camping!!!!!!!!


Oh yes - when I went into my tent just before the rain started, I just lay back on my sleeping bag without organizing my stuff and the gentle (at first) rain lulled me to sleep. Then I couldn't sleep later!!!


On that note - that about covers it for that day!!!!!!


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 23 - Crooked Lake to Binscarth

Qu'appelle Valley is GORGEOUS. I mean this valley is really really beautiful. And was a nice welcome change of scenery. If ever you are in the area - you MUST MUST MUST take the scenic route through it. And it is HUGE as we rode quite a ways down the valley before we turned off.

While the climb out of the valley wasn't that difficult, it felt like we were climbing a huge mountain!!!!!   Mostly because my legs were tired from the long hard ride of the day before.

Yes - we stopped for chocolate milk again. It is becoming a daily staple and they do have the cutest plastic jugs - well I had never seen them before. I did get a picture which I will post when I can.

Passed through Esterhazy where there was a fundraising BBQ happening at lunch time and
it was lunch time when we got there so we had BBQ for lunch instead of the usual peanut butter and jam sandwich. A most welcome break. A quick stop at the Potash Interpretive Center and we were on our way.

I ALMOST got to meet Liz. We had been chatting on Facebook and she was in the same area that I was, except that we were about 100 KM apart - too far to connect since we were also going in opposite directions!!!   Too bad  - that would have been fun, but alas - it wasn't to be on this trip.


Now we were riding on the way to MANITOBA. Can you believe that?????   Well as we were getting closer to the border (on a smaller road), I kept thinking - there had BETTER be a sign saying Welcome to Manitoba or I was going to be TICKED!!!!   And YES - there was a sign. It was just a smaller version of the one on the TransCanada Highway, but there was a sign and YES we got pictures!!!!!!

Oh yes - we were quite excited to reach a new province as the road from Esterhazy to the border was a tad sketchy. Sketchy in that, the pavement was broken up and instead of repairing it with pavement - they laid gravel over it as many of the smaller roads in Saskatchewan are going (at least where I grew up - that is what is happening). So pavement, gravel, pavement, gravel, - you get the picture. Now I have riden a LOT on gravel roads, so my bike is very happy on the gravel, but some of the others were not quite so happy. HEY - it is a Tour across the country - you can't expect the road to be paved all the way!!!!!


There were LOADS of mosquitos and flies in the campsite. It was a tad annoying, but what are you going to do. This is just part of camping. Get the bug spray out and deal with it!!!!!   But I HATE bugs - I hate flies and I hate mosquitos!!!!!

The day was hot so when we had some slow uphills to do - those darn flies and mosquitos were trying to drive me crazy while I was on my bike.

Our group was on cook duty tonight, but we were in a nice shelter (oh yeah - second time in a shelter!!!!) so that helped the process. Although we changed time zones earlier in the day, we keep on the same time for dinner and then change overnight. That made it a bit confusing because my phone (there was NO cell service or internet here) so my phone didn't update the time change, but the GPS (bike computer) did and I was confused as heck!!!!!   I am wondering if that time change messed up my bike computer??????   I think it was about then that it went wacky.

Anyway - we survived and that is all that matters.


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!


(I am sure there are way more stories that I am forgetting, but since I can't easily see my pictures - well - you will get them when I load the pictures)

Day 22 - Regina - Crooked Lake

Got up early, had breakfast and Jeanne and Jim drove me back to Regina to meet up with the rest of the group. It was going to be a long day. I think I arrived at the campground at 6:50 and by 7:09, I was riding out the gate!!!!!   No time to waste when it is a long day.

By long day - we did 168 KM. I am a bit disappointed in my new Garmin bike computer. I am able to collect the data, but for some reason, it is acting up and doesn't want me to see the final summary for the day (at least not in the same format as it was originally) which means I can't e-mail it to those that were getting the e-mails. I called Garmin today (July 17) and they are telling me I have to RESET the computer. NOT before backing up all the data. I have managed (by using Michel's computer) to back up the stuff on a stick, but I am leery of resetting the computer. I hope to try later today to upload it to the web, then I will happily get rid of the data on the computer because it is filling up.

Anyway - I will be home in about TWO WEEKS (just for one day) and hopefully can deal with it on my computer at home.

OK - back to Day 22.

We started with a head wind  - what else is new. Then we changed directions and got a tail wind. OK - I'll take that any day. We were on Highway 1 which seems like a good thing, but honestly it got a bit boring. So as much as I would LOVE to ride on the nice (in most cases) shoulder of Highway One (and even happy with the traffic), it can get BORING, so the smaller routes (and more meandering which means LONGER) are more interesting. Plus we get to stop at all kinds of little stores along the way.

Stopped for food. As the trip goes on, we seem to be stopping for a LOT more to eat on the road. Actually we are stopping more for drinks as the days are getting hotter. And chocolat milk has become my new best friend. Today wasn't that hot as it was cloudy for most of the day and that kept the heat down. YEAH!!!!!

There were storm clouds all around us, but we did not get any rain and I am quite happy about that.

Then we went down into Qu'appelle Valley. Wow - this place is gorgeous and I had no idea how big it was. Not only is it wide, but it is very long. Funny - a part of my "home" province that I don't really know. I have driven through the valley - down one side and up the other, but never been in this part.

The lake was HUGE and should be called LONG lake, not Crooked Lake. However as we turned off the highway onto the scenic route to get to the campsite, we were met with a FIERCE headwind and we still had 16 KM to ride. Given that it was already a long day, this did NOT sit well with me (well the others as well), but let's face it - I HATE to work hard on my bike.   I now you find that hard to believe - but it is true!!!!!

It can be quite a challenge to ride into the wind. It is very difficult physically as you are working harder and tend to sit deeper onto the seat, so your butt is protesting, your hands are protesting as you push harder into the handlebars. And your brain is saying - ENOUGH of this - just flag down a truck!!!!!    BUT - your ego says - NO WAY - suck it up princess, gear down and get to the destination. You can't have bragging rights if you don't do the time!!!!!!!!

The park was beautiful (although 6 days later, I can't even remember what it looked like!!!) All campsites seem to be blurring into each other. I MUST remember to take a picture because my brain just can't handle all that!!!!!!


Yes - it is still our rest day (In Kenora) as I write this. I am going to forfeit pictures until later as the internet just doesn't seem to have enough bandwidth to process them properly. And it is a beautiful hot day outside and where am I?????   Inside the office in the A/C (which normally I don't care for), but at least there is a table to sit at and electrical plug.



Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!



Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Day 21 - Rest Day - Regina

Yes - I have a LOT of catching up to do. Let's just say that communications in Manitoba were a little sketchy at times. Was hard to get some cell service at times as well.

So back to the rest day in Regina. Well technically Moose Jaw for me.

Last night we chatted on the front porch, we had wine and then I had to crash.

After having a wonderful sleep in a real bed (and I just love Jeanne and Jim's house). It is the ONLY house that I know (including my own) where you just feel at home. And there are quilts everywhere.

Sat around and chatted with Jim for a bit and then we went down to the fitness training center where he teaches spin classes. But these are not just any ordinary spin classes - OH NO - you take your own bike, hook it up to the CompuTrainer and pedal away. It really is quite neat. I must say that I have something similiar at home and have never hooked it up.
I think I just might do that when I get home.

Then I wandered around Moose Jaw for a bit. I feel like I know that town and I have only been there a couple of times. Checked out the "other" two quilt stores - yes how this town can support THREE quilt stores is beyond me. First one, I did not buy anything. Yes - I am slowly going down hill. The second one, I bought a pattern. And the third one - the Quilt Patch - well - I had to send the parcel home!!!!!!   Now I did not go crazy and I know you all wanted me to buy you something, BUT - don't forget The Quilt Patch will be at the CreativFestival in October. Then I'll pick up a few more things. However I really really must get some of the other kits done from them BEFORE I buy more???????

I really really love The Quilt Patch and sorry I won't be there for the outdoor quilt show this coming Sunday. It just has a beautiful feel to it. Well if you go to their booth at the CreativFestival - it feels just the same as the store. The next best thing to being there. PLUS - I got their new book and I LOVE IT!!!!!   I can't wait to get home and something from it.


Had lunch at the little cafe across the street. Hey M - do you remember that place?????   Well I had something to eat and  I saw the milk shakes so I thought - why not. OMG - the milkshake was HUGE and I thought I was going to burst when I left.

I had a look in all the little stores trying to find a souvenir patch for the province of Saskatchewan. I had picked up one in BC and Alberta, but there was NONE to be found in Moose Jaw. I have asked my Mom to try and find one to add to the collection.

HEY M - I got a new GORGEOUS bracelet. I saw someone with the bracelet while I was shopping around. I KNEW exactly where they got it, so I went there and sure enough - there was the bracelet. When I saw this design, I knew it was for me.


Back to the house to get a bit of blogging done, but then people starting arriving for a BBQ. I got to see people that I had done the Tour Pacific (2011) with - Larry and Eve and of course Jim.
It was great to see them.. Of course some of the girls from the shop were there, husbands or wives. I felt like I was at HOME!!!!!!   And Jim, Larry, Tim (Shelley's husband) and Mark (who also did the Tour Pacific in 2011, but lives in BC) are doing the Tour Atlantic this year. Unfortuantely we will NOT get to see them. The two trips do not cross paths, although we are about one day away from each other. BUT - one day on a bike is a LONG way.


It was hot, so very nice to NOT be riding a bike.


As I write this, we are in a new campground (obviously) and the laundry opened at 8 AM. So I was down here at 7:30 just to make sure that I got my laundry done first thing as I am meeting someone (can't tell you who yet) at 9:30 AM.  But ONLY for coffee - my priority today is to update the blog.


OK - off to edit a couple of pictures and get this blog posted.


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!



(SORRY - there just isn't enough bandwidth at this site to load the picures). DRAT!!!!!!!

I might zip down to Tim's later today and try and load some of them. I HATE being behind.   Could be an extended lunch. I better take up drinking coffee!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

mini update number two

yikes. we have had no access to internet.

we are in portage la prairie. still going strong and happy.  two big riding days ahead. lets pray for some tailwinds. hope we hVe decent internet in kenora on rest day. will catch up then
have a great day
ciao

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 20 - Craik to Regina


What can I say - we did another 125 K today. That is a total of 700  K in the last five days. Now I grew up in the prairies and I know what they are like, but today was BORING!!!!!!!!

Just more of the divided highway. More wide shoulders that became narrow shoulders and then became wide and then became narrow and then wide - well you get the picture!!!!!!


My brain and my butt were NUMB after the end of the day!

I only took TWO pictures.

I aired out my tent and sleeping bag when we arrived at camp after we took the scenic route through Regina to get to our camp site. I also cleaned my bike and did the laundry. Tomorrow is a rest day, but I am NOT staying in camp!!!!!


Jeanne and Jim were picking me up!!!!!!!   You know Jeanne from The Quilt Patch in Moose Jaw and I met Jim on Tour Pacific a couple of years ago. They are just the most hospitable people in the world. After we had a great dinner at a local restaurant, we zoomed out to their house where we sat around for a couple of hours chatting over a glass of wine.

And I got to sleep in a REAL BED!!!!!!!   Not that I missed sleeping in a real bed, but it was nice to not be in a campground!!!!!!!


On that note - that is it for this day.


Have a great day!!!!!!!



Ciao!!!!!!!!!!



(we have four more cycling days before the next rest day) - I will do what I can with updating the blog, but it just isn't going to happen as often as I would like. Internet access is sketchy at best.   And I will let you know when I add the pictures into the last couple of days.

I do know that Neal gets to update his blog more readily than I do (he is using cellular, not internet to update). I think if you search for windaturback - you should find  it.

Otherwise become my friend on Facebook (Elaine Theriault) and I am updating once or twice a day there. BTW - we are now in Manitoba!!!!!!




Day 19 - Outlook to Craik


OK - so we are now in Manitoba and I am WAY BEHIND on the blog. I am going to try and write at least one entry and I will forgo the pictures for tonight. Hopefully one of these days we will get a good connection and I can get caught up.


We have a 125 K day. No tail wind, but it wasn't a bad day. A good temperature - not too hot and NO rain.

Again, the various riding groups played tag team and a whole bunch of us ended up in Kenaston where we took a neat group picture by the big snowman. Apparently Kenaston is the BLIZZARD capital of the world. Again another spot where M and I had visited in the past. Well I have been at the big snowman a couple of times - looking at LARGE road side attractions and geocaching!!!!   I know - bizarre things to draw me in!!!

While one is riding there is a lot that you can enjoy. Like the frogs in the sloughs by the side of the road. Yesterday and today, there were some pretty loud frogs in several spots along the road. Definitely one of those things that you wouldn't be able to enjoy from a car.

Danny saw a moose and was able to get some neat pictures of it. So far, I have seen ONE deer. It was standing by the side of the road and by the time I got my camera out and realized the lens cap was on the camera - well the deer was bounding down the road!!!!

The shoulders of the road could have been better. Very narrow and broken in lots of places. But we were also on divided highway for part of the way and that made the riding very enjoyable. The truck traffic on the opposite side of us was no bother with the winds and those trucks that were going in the same direction as us tended to move over into the passing lane. It made for a very enjoyable ride.


We also stopped at a couple of places along the road to get pictures of the big iron men and the giant sized coffee pot.

There was a bit of a gravel road down into the camp ground. Yikes - haven't been on gravel in a while!  But it was fine. We got into camp early and were able to relax which was great. There was a martin house (bird house) in the area where we were tenting so that kept the mosquitoes at bay. I want one of those in every camp ground.

We met two ladies from Regina and Regina Beach who were camping. They were older - I don't know what their age is, but they were having a great time. I don't' know if I will want to camp after this trip!!!!!   Just kidding - I am getting so used to it that it really isn't a big deal. I don't even miss sleeping in a bed. I am quite comfortable - got my routine down pat and I am pretty happy.


I do have to say that having a routine and a bag for everything makes the camping a whole lot easier. I have a bag with toiletries. That is pretty self explanatory. I have a shower bag - has a towel, and my clothes that I will wear after my next shower. I have my three ziploc bags with my cycling clothes. I have my handlebar bag that is for all the stuff I need on the bike and I have a laundry bag. The trick is to keep these bags UP TO DATE. Everything has to be put back in the appropriate bag and so far with the exception of forgetting to bring the back with the cycling clothes into the tent once or twice the system works like a charm.


So I have a number of pictures to update, but I will do that when I get a more stable internet connection.


I also have stats that I would like to share with you, but hard to pull them off the internet. I have ONE day that I can't seem to download so may have to add that in manually. Can't wait for the next rest day when I am just going to relax and do NOTHING. Well except laundry and visit with a friend.


On that note - I am off to bed - well maybe I will sneak another post in.


Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!




Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 18 - Kindersley to Outlook

If all days could be like today - this trip would be a breeze.

We got up early (as usual), although I don't know why some get up so early. Breakfast isn't until 6:30 at the EARLIEST and there are some who are unzipping their tents at 5:15!!!!!   It doesn't take that long to get ready people!!!!!  But everyone is different, so I just lay in my tent and read until 6 AM. I don't get up any sooner than that.


OK - so why was today a breeze??????   We did 155 KM and it was the third day in a row that we did a major distance so no one was really looking forward to it, BUT we had a tail wind ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!   I mean we literally flew along that road. My average speed was 30.6 KPH or something ridiculous like that. Everyone came into camp oohing and aahing about how great the day was.

I felt bad for Eric because this morning was the day that his bike choose to give him problems and therefore he could not ride. I don't think he was too happy but what can you do. Joyce hasn't been riding for a day or two either because she has hurt her shoulder, but every day it is getting better.


We met Susan (a quilter friend of mine) in Rosetown. Thank goodness for Facebook. We set up a place and a time to meet and I think we were five minutes late which is pretty darn good for being on a bicycle. I forgot to calculate the stops for eating!!!!

Susan and ME. Susan just lives a few km away from where we met. And it was bizarre how I met Susan in the first place. If you remember my blog from last year - she is the lady who has the BARN QUILTS in Saskatchewan and then I met her through The Quilt Patch. Then we kept in touch on Facebook. Small world!!!!!!   Hi Susan!!!!!   Thanks for taking time out of your day to meet me!!!


I was VERY sleepy after lunch and could not stop yawning. I thought I was going to fall asleep on my bike!!!!!   All because of the noise the night before. YES - I had ear plugs, but when I get wound up because people are making noise - it takes a LONG time for me to settle down. I tried to talk my way to sleep and it eventually worked, but I was still tired. Once we stopped and I had some dried fruite (yeah sugar)  - that woke me up and I was fine for the rest of the day.


We did tag team with a lot of the other group throughout the day which was fun.



Yes - you can see your dog run away for three days in this area!!!!!


However there are also hills, but not BIG hills


Let's not forget the canola fields

At the end of the day we had a BIG (by Saskatchewan standards) hill to get into Outlook. I was overcome by a burst of energy and passed the group on the hill - going UP!!!!!   Zipped into the campground. I was on fire!!!!

After I got my tent up, I was starving. Normally I have an apple or two when I get into camp, but I needed more than that today. So I hopped on my bike and went to Subway to get MORE FOOD. It is the first time I had to do that, but it was still early in the afternoon and I knew I couldn't wait until dinner and I wanted Subway!!!!!


The weather was glorious today - just couldn't ask for a better cycling day. We have started a play list of songs that would be appropriate for this trip. While we have many of the usual - Alberta Bound, I Can See for Miles, and many others - the song of the day was THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!!!    And it was!!!!!!!!!


There is a VERY LONG pedestrian bridge over the South Saskatchewan river and it was close to the campground. So I scooted off to that after my Subway and walked across. It was weird because M and I walked that bridge a couple of years ago. Lots of memories - but the view is spectacular.


The gate to get on the pedestrian bridge

Looking back at our campground (we had to go down that road on the middle left to get to the camp site)


Looking at the bridge from that hill!!!!


Our first birthday of the trip. It is Neal's birthday and what better way to celebrate than an ice cream cake There was only ONE left at the DQ and it had a teddy bear on it!!!!   Who cares - it was ice cream cake!!!   Neal was happy. Here Larry is trying to give Neal the double kiss on the cheek as they do in Quebec!!!!!   It worked when Rene Lise did it, but not so well when Larry tried!!!!


The birthday boy cutting his teddy bear birthday cake!!!!!!    HEY - it still tasted great!!!!!
Here is another of Bill's sisters. This is Donna. HI DONNA!!!!!!    Remember those pictures that Jacqui took of Bill hiding in the bushes - well Jacqui didn't send them to me, but Donna did. I will post them in a bit. I have to download them first. THANKS Donna. Oh Bill wasn't hiding in the bushes - Jacqui was hiding when she took them!!!!!
In case you are wondering how we keep everything charged - here is our charging station in the truck. It looks like a big centipede with all those wires hanging from it. 
This is Rene Lise. This was her LAST day of riding. She had signed on to just do part of the trip and so last day!!!!!!   Sad - she will be missed. She was an integral part of The French Connection!!!!!!
This is Jacquie. Jacquie had to leave us at Banff. She had had some issues with her knee and just felt that it wasn't a good thing to continue. She may or may not be rejoining us at some point in the tour. Hope your knee is getting better!!!!!!!


 - 
No - we have not had to call in the HAZ-MAT squad. This is Alain. Now you know that the mosquitoes have been really bad. Well if you didn't know that - now you do. Alain brought these overalls from the automotive shop and I'm thinking it might be good to get one!!!!!!


Then back to camp where I just relaxed. I love relaxing!!!!!!


And that pretty much sums up another day.




Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



(And that was as far as I got caught up on my day off) - still THREE days behind. Will catch up as I can. And try to get some stats to you. Again if you want to be more in the loop - I post on Facebook everyday - well everyday we have cell service which so far has been not bad. Look me up - Elaine Theriault.


I'm off to bed!!!!!   Too much drinking and eating on this day off!!!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 17 - Youngstown to Kindersley

What a difference a day makes!!!!!   It is our rest day and I will do my best to get caught up. I am SURROUNDED by quilts - that is all I am going to say until I get to the rest day blog!!!!!


So back to Youngstown where I woke up to RAIN!!!!!   Oh no - I don't mind the rain, but I hate to pack up the tent in the rain. Well those that slept in the hall will be laughing at us!!!!  I unzip my tent and WHAT??????   There is NO RAIN!!!!!   It was the wind whispering through the tree tops. I am not kidding - it sounded like rain and I wasn't the only one that thought that!!!!!!   Well - that puts a whole different outlook on the day!!!!!   We called it a DRY RAIN!!!!


The last couple of days Myra has been having some trouble with her eye. She seems to have gotten something in it and it was red and quite swollen. Clarke (on the left) is a doctor (OK - so he is now a psychiatrist (in case any of us lose it on the trip), but he was a GP) - anyway he had a look at her eye
Michel is assisting (Michel on the left, Myra with her back to us and Doctor Clark). Clark cleaned out her eye and she is NO LONGER looking like a pirate. Well we thought she was going to need an eye patch, but it has cleared up nicely!!!!


Another long day - the first 50 k were a breeze. We had a tail wind and then we had to turn north where we had a lovely head wind.

Let me tell you a bit about the trucks. At this point we are riding on a two lane highway so we get to experience traffic passing us and the traffic coming towards us. Cars are not such a big deal, but when one of those transports go by - well that is a whole different story. If the truck passes us (going in the same direction) and we have a tail wind - well you can literally see your speed increase by several K as that truck goes by. Too bad we couldn't stay in the slipstream for a couple of K.

If the wind is in the opposite direction - well it can pull you back. The worst is the trucks that are coming towards you. If there is a head wind - well that can cause a LOT of wind around you. You can see it coming as the wind hits the grass along the road edge. You just make sure you have two hands on the wheel and hold on!!!!!!

My bike is heavy and I do have some meat on my bones, so I don't find it that difficult, but it can create havoc - so the lesson here is PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!  But many of the trucks and cars have given us a wide berth and I haven't had any close calls. Again it boils down to PAY ATTENTION.

And in some cases, the shoulderof the road was crazy. More of that narrow shoulder with the rumble strip incorporated into it. Not the most fun road that I have ridden on, but we made out just fine.



I need to get pictures of the group so you know who I am talking about. But we have people who ride together on a regular basis. Megan and Greg (who are BOTH competitive, young and strong) will ride like the wind every day. They always make it into camp first unless they stop for ice cream or something. But they have been know to get into camp HOURS before the rest of us arrive.

Danny is also a strong rider. He leaves camp later and will ride up beside you - say hello and then gone like a speeding bullet. The rest of us usually end up playing tag team. Well since we hit the prairies - when we were in the mountains, that didn't happen as much. I don't know why.

A number of us ended up in Oyem together. Michel, Mr. PR had a friend of his track him down at the gas station in Oyem. Pretty funny!!!   Actually - it is so neat the way people are connecting with us across the country. We are meeting so many friends and family of the group. I LOVE IT!!!!!


Adam - filling up the truck with gas. I can't imagine what the gas bill on that truck is like!!!!!



Some of the bikes lined up at Oyem



The riders


Michel's friend, Michel, Neal and ME!!!!!

We had a pretty ugly head wind for a long ways today. While I am getting stronger, it just makes for a slog of a day. We could see a bend in the road ahead and were praying that the slight change of direction would be enough to get us out of the wind. While it wasn't a perfect change of direction, it made a HUGE direction and gave us the mental strength to get to camp.



So we arrive at camp to find a baseball tournament going on right BESIDE our camp area. They played all afternoon and into the evening. Then the music came on!!!!  However at 11 PM, they did turn it down. But then I could hear a generator on all night!!!!!  Why the generator was on - I have no idea, but anyway - I did manage to get some sleep.


And for those that think Saskatchewan is flat - think again. While it is flattish - it is NOT flat.
And the BEST news of the day - we hit a NEW province. We are now in Saskatchewan


Our cook team (which I need to get a picture of) was on duty tonight. Stir fry was on the menu and it was EXCELLENT as all the food has been. We commandeered Megan to make rice krispie squares. She is the queen of making rice krispie squares - YOU ROCK MEGAN!!!!!!   So we owe her cook team a favour!!!!!!    Thanks again.


There you have it - another successful character building day on the road. I will try to collect some stats and post them (now that I am in a comfortable spot and have good internet access)



Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!