Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rest Day

Winds were predicted to be 20 mph from the SE and we decided a 3rd day of headwinds should be avoided. Therefore, it was a rest day in Weyburn. We found a community barbecue on a closed-off street. Just $2 for a hamburger, large bag of chips and a pop. Can't say no to that.There were free games and activities for children. Drop a bracelet onto a lollipop (or not) and receive a lollipop prize. Or just walk up and take a lollipop.

This high school choral group, holding Tim Horton's cups, sang a spirited song just for Dick - "Drinking Coffee from a Cardboard Cup."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

To Weyburn

If yesterday was challenging, today was worse. The headwind grew stronger as the day progressed. We were in the saddle for about 6 hours, our speed was about 6 mph, but down to 4.7 mph during gusts. Exhausting!

We stopped in Lang for Dick's coffee fix and talked with several friendly locals, then in came Chuck Shugart. Originally from Palo Alto CA, he's now a farmer in Yellow Grass. He became a Trail Angel when he invited us to camp in his yard tonight, although we weren't able to take him up on his kind offer. We really wanted to get to Weyburn tonight Good luck, Chuck, on your quest to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. His next section will be Tuolumne Meadows to Shasta Lake during the month of July.
We stopped in Yellow Grass to eat lunch. It can get hot in Canada according to this marker
but I liked these scale models of grain elevators.
Weyburn is the site of Canada's largest inland grain terminal. This is the Viterra terminal, Pioneer was just down the road.

I checked the weather after our campsite was set up at River Park - SE winds were 37 kph/23 mph.

Miles completed = 1548

Monday, June 28, 2010

To Milestone

Breakfast at Tim Horton's before getting back on the road. Glenn rode his bike, too, and I'm sure he's now caught the bicycle-riding bug. Right, Glenn? His son Jordan came in for a coffee before going off to work.Thank you, Glenn, for letting us stay at your house and for showing us around. We will never forget your kindness and generosity. We are very excited that you might travel to Mexico this coming winter to visit us on Cuatro de Mayo. Mexican hospitality is summarized by saying "Mi casa es su casa." But in our case, we say, "Nuestro barco es su barco." Our boat is your boat.

Our luck with the wind disappeared today. It's a headwind. We averaged 6 mph and spent 6 hours in the saddle. Exhausting. We camped at the city park and had a visit from Jeff and Herb Axten. Herb was full of stories, jokes, and questions about our bicycle tour. He asked Dick why he was out doing this riding. Dick answered, "Its not me, this is HER idea. I'm just being a good sport." People usually assume that somehow Dick roped me into this crazy adventure, but no, this really is all my idea of having fun. If the Herb had had the key, we could have stayed in his 5th-wheel RV parked nearby. As Herb gave me his business card and I gave him our blog address, he asked me with a wink-and-a-nudge, "You're not one of those left-wing pinkos, are you?" Canadian friendliness and good humor at its best.
Miles completed = 1508

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our week in Regina

Our stay in Regina is almost at an end. Here are some highlights from the past week. A family get-together at a local restaurant. L-R: Julie and Joy (sisters who each live and work on dairy farms in Balgonie), Arlete, Kim (Kathy's daughter), Glenn, Kathy, Jeanette, Uncle Fernie, and Sandra. My bike gets some TLC: new brake cables, clicking noise removed, click-in pedals loosened up a bit. Dick bought a new tire for his bike, this one is the right size.

The weather has been very wet. Four times the normal amount of rain has fallen, along with hail, dramatic thunder and lightening, washed out highways, evacuated communities, fields that never got seeded and ruined gardens.

Glenn baked a saskatoon berry pie one night. (Don't call them blueberries.)

Glenn works at the RCMP Training Academy. This is the RCMP badge:
The chapel is the oldest building in Regina, built in 1885.
We watched the Sergeant Major's Parade where 4 classes of cadets marched into the parade square for inspection
accompanied by the cadet band.

The family farm was homesteaded in 1905, the barn was built in 1917. We're not sure where the family lived for the first 16 years, it may have been in a small building which later became the blacksmith's shop.
The house was built in 1919. The porch on the right was added recently.

Marcia and Donald Manz, along with Reg Manz (Glenn's brothers) are the 3rd generation to farm this land.

We drove out to cousin Ruth's property, walked through native grasses and alfalfa until we came to the tepee which she, Brenda and friends recently erected.

With your back to the tepee, you can look into a branch of Qu'Appelle Valley where Loon Creek flows. In the distance, you can see Donald and Reg's cattle grazing in another field. Walking back, Glenn explained that in these bush- and tree-filled low-lying areas,

you find wild saskatoon berry trees which can grow to 26 feet. Commercially-farmed saskatoons are grown on deciduous bushes about 4 feet tall. Here Glenn is pointing out chokecherries.

Wheatwyn Church and cemetery, built in 1906, now a municipal heritage site.

In addition to my grandparents, 4 of my mom's siblings are or will be buried here beside their spouses.
The nearest town to the farm is Markinch, population (in 2006) = 59

My grandmother's house on the main street of Markinch, greatly changed from the last time I saw it in 1955. It was here that Grandma made homemade bread in a wood-burning stove, cut thick slices, spread them with butter, added a thick layer of brown sugar, topped with drops of cream and gave them to an adoring 7-year-old from California.

Glenn and his mother, Adeline:
Glenn's nephews, Tanner & Tyson. Their father, Reg, and his wife were in Rapid City SD with their daughter Makenzie who was playing fastpitch softball: Glenn's sister Andrea and her husband, Les:
At church, we were surprised to meet relatives of relatives from my father's side of the family. L-R: Daryl & Gail McArthur Posehn, Caroline and Arnold Posehn. I must also thank Caroline and Arnold for treating us a wonderful brunch after church.

Our days in Regina are now at an end. Tomorrow we get back on the road. Dick and I are so grateful to Glenn for his generous hospitality.

Monday, June 21, 2010

To Regina

First stop of the day: Tim Horton's for breakfast. Our table was right next to this couple, Cheryl and Lionel from Abbotsford BC. I think we talked for a good hour and had a great time and the next time we pass through Abbotsford, we will stop in for another visit.

At about our halfway point, another touring pedal-biker overtook us. Nick, a Canadian who's lived in Switzerland for the past 18 years, is riding from Vancouver to New Foundland. He said the two things everyone asured him of were NOT true - the wind is always from the west, the prairies were flat. I agree.
We had a headwind all day, one small rainstorm passed over us. Seeing the Regina sign meant we were close to our day's goal, but the sky over the city was very very dark, lightning occasionally shot across the skyline. As we made a left turn to visit another Tim Horton's for afternoon coffee, a lady rolled down the window of her car and called out, "I hope you're headed for cover. There's a tornado warning!" About 30 minutes later, the sky opened up and dumped about 1/2" in 15 minutes.

After the short powerful downpour, we left to find my cousin Glenn's house. At one point, the street was flooded 3 lanes across, but the cars kindly let us move to the far left to ride slowly through a few inches of water. At last we made it and were so happy to arrive for a few days of rest and visiting family. Tonight Glenn organized a family barbecue.
On my mom's side of the family, there were 6 siblings: Louise, Olga, Fernie, Alma (my mom), Johnny, and Eleanor. Only my mom and Fernie are still living. Tonight 6 of my 15 cousins came to dinner at Glenn's house. It was a great family reunion, it's been 28 years since I was last in Saskatchewan. L-R: Sandra, Uncle Fernie (age 93), Jeannette.

L-R: cousin Glenn, Oakley and father Ray, Andrea (Glenn's daughter)

Happy 60th Birthday, Sandra (on 24 June):

Cousins Julie and Glenn:
Cousin Ruth and Brenda:

Cousin Kathy and Charlie:

Thank you, Glenn for hosting a wonderful family event!
Miles completed = 1469

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To Moose Jaw

As we rode along Hwy 2 today, we were passed by about 200 motorcycles as they returned home from a weekend event near Assiniboia. The banner across main street in Moose Jaw advertises the next motorcycle event.
A 25-foot tall welcome to Moose Jaw from the visitor center near Hwy 1 - the TransCanada Highway.
Moose Jaw is home to the Snowbirds (like the Blue Angels flying team in the USA).

Ever since Dick saw a Tim Horton's cup discarded along the road in Montana, he's been on the lookout for his favorite coffee place. He was certain that Tim had expanded into Montana, but not in the little towns we rode through. A little Internet research told us that the first opportunity would be in Moose Jaw. The excitement was palpable, we stopped to ask where (oh, where) the nearest Tim Horton's was. Dick was almost giddy as he ordered coffee and muffins. In addition to coffee, Tim also sells a wide variety of excellent doughnuts, muffins, bagels, and sandwiches - there's so much traffic going through that their baked goods are always fresh.

Dick's second favorite store was nearby. This is the best place to buy the white gas (Coleman) fuel we need for our little stove because you can buy little bottles. Coleman fuel is generally available but comes in a gallon container which means we give away or donate 3/4 of the quantity after filling our little fuel bottle.

Just a half block away was Dick's third favorite store, Sobey's grocery store. We learned to love shopping at Sobey's stores when we were in Nova Scotia.

Tonight we had Warmshowers hosts with a bonus - there were two other bicycle tourists staying the night also. Rose is from London England, a seamstress and designer of period theater costumes. She started out traveling alone (brave girl!). Her goal is to ride from Yellow Knife, almost the northernmost city in North America, to the southernmost city in South America which is in Argentina. She met Ray in Jasper Alberta and they been riding together for a few weeks. Ray is a retired nuclear chemical engineer from New Brunswick who is working on his "bucket list." The part of me who is a protective mother is so glad Rose and Ray are a touring team, although Ray's ending city is somewhere in Ontario Canada. Our hope for Rose is that she will let us be her Warmshowers host in Guaymas Mexico next November as she is riding south. We will host her on our boat and will not let her pitch her tent on the deck. We will also do our best to keep the mosquitos at bay. Currently she has 37 mosquito bites - yes, she counted them - which are driving her crazy.

A great big thank you to Bev, Jim, and Aaron for their generous Warmshowers hospitality. They made us a wonderful dinner and provided excellent company. Jim completed the Boston Marathon last year in less than 4 hours and hopes to ride cross-country with Aaron after Aaron graduates from high school, 6 years from now.

Another great day on the road.
Miles completed = 1418