Day 49 Weyburn to Arcola, Saskatchewan: Blowing in the wind. - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

June 18, 2011

Day 49 Weyburn to Arcola, Saskatchewan: Blowing in the wind.

Our final analysis of Weyburn is: Meh. It does have some box stores, but they do not really dominate the scene. It does have heavy truck traffic, but it does not really dominate the scene. It has one or two historic buildings, but they are not much. The people are not friendly like in the farm communities, but they are not mean. And there was no place to get my wished for steak dinner with salad, but a BBQ chicken from CoOp was adequate. So, meh.

As we were checking out, we met Yuul. He is a cyclist from Holland who started in Calgary and is headed to Montreal as well. Yuul got caught in yesterday's deluge and was rescued by some kind people who got a truck and brought him and his bike to the motel. Yuul is a very experienced cyclist, who has been all around the world on various trips.

Escaping from Weyburn, unlike the town itself was not so mundane. The Souris River had risen even further overnight and there was fast moving water and deep water all around the motel and adjacent McDonald's and car dealership. My approach was to go down to the water's edge and look for possible places to ford. Dodie's approach was to cycle in circles, bouncing off the "walls" of our "prison". Dodie's method, of course, worked. She found a hole, a way out. Although it lead to another blocked road to the East, by going West for 2 km we were able to regain Hwy 13 and be on our way.

No way out this way.
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And no way out this way.
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Flooding in Weyburn
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It wasn't long before Yuul caught up with us. We chatted for a while while cycling and then he set off on his own. Yuul seems about our age but is tall and slim (not short and plump, like us). He does not push too hard but still averages about 20 kph, whereas we average 13.

This is not a lake, it is a farm field!
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This is not supposed to be a storage island!
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Lots of oil derricks in this area.
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Washed out road.
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East of Weyburn we saw many oil wells, pumping away with their hypnotic motion. Unlike in the farming areas, there is little or no waving to passing cars and trucks. Everyone seems too focused on raking in money to bother with any crazy cyclists.

Dodie did finally get to see a moose, but fittingly it was a dead one. Lying beside the road it looked at first like a horse, but sure enough, a moose. This, however, is unlikely to end the whining about wanting to see a moose.

Although the road was flat, cycling was a bit rough due to a really strong cross wind. How strong? Dodie got off for a roadside break and set her two stands. This two stand setup is very secure. So when the wind picked up bike and trailer and threw them unceremoniously onto their backs we were very "impressed". It actually took a short while to put everything to rights, since the front bars had also somehow been rotated 360 degrees. Later in the day we also noticed that Dodie's beloved BoB flag had been blown completely away. In short, it was windy!

We passed the town of Stoughton and contrary to our "no blasting through" policy we blasted through. We did stop at the restaurant and Esso station at the entrance to town. Slightly grubby as it may have been, it featured a young Asian man as the waiter and a lady in the back who was a competent cook. The young man was quite alert and energetic and the lady produced a nice salad and reasonable fries. The restaurant also featured an acceptable complement of farmers, so we were able to absorb our needed dose of west wind, east wind, storms, seeding, and other lore. Another nice touch was that the soap dispenser in the mens room served up pumice soap, which is best for greasy hands. Dodie reports no such advanced feature in the ladies, however.

Decent restaurant in Stoughton.
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Nicely decorated elevator
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Paddy and Bill in Winnipeg, here we come!
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This auntie cow was running a daycare for 13 youngsters
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Look Avi and Violet, a SNORT!
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SNORT II
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Oil drilling rig. The people and scenes of the oil industry are not so pleasing as it is with farming.
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Many oil storage tanks for use with pumps.
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When we reached Arcola, around 6:30, the wind had died and the road remained flat. It was a temptation to keep going, but we thought we would just peek at motel and camping possibilities here. The motel is the Chaparral Inn, which also has RV and tent space. We met Tonia the owner. She most kindly invited us to put our tent anywhere at no charge, to use the washrooms and laundry, and to access her wifi. She also mentioned having another cyclist in the motel. Yuul!

Yuul was not in his room, but we quickly tracked him down in the town. In a 1/2 block one street town, finding a parked Dutch touring bike is not really a fancy trick. Yuul and us sat in the pub/restaurant, which is in a former opera house, and exchanged stories about routes and towns.

The pub building.
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Thank goodness we now have over 2500 km under our belts, so we could somewhat hold our own. Yuul has no doubt over 25 years of cycling routes in his quiver!

Arcola main street. Now that's what we mean by a pleasing small Sask. town.
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Dodie and Juul in the pub.
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An Arcola main street building.
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We left the pub and had a look at the small downtown. Dodie and Yuul cycled up ahead, as free as children on their bikes and gliding down the centre of the car-less street.

Dodie and Yuul glide down main street.
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We are now sitting, somewhat bundled against mosquitoes, on Tonia's deck where we have set up our blogging office. Quite an upgrade from our all too common washroom buildings. Tomorrow we will surely hit Manitoba. Wheee!!

Another day ends on the prairie.
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Our blogging office
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Our spot behind the motel
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Today's ride: 110 km (68 miles)
Total: 2,790 km (1,733 miles)

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