Day 50 Arcola to Redvers, Saskatchewan: Wind, lightning, thunder and rain! - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

June 19, 2011

Day 50 Arcola to Redvers, Saskatchewan: Wind, lightning, thunder and rain!

We were up and away in good time, with hopes of reaching Manitoba today.

The bridge I photographed in Scotsguard is famous. Here it is on a magazine cover.
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Through the prairies we have enjoyed a sweet perfume. It comes from this plant. Does anyone know what it is?
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Manitoba would have been a major milestone in our quest. However two barriers jumped up to stand between us and friendly Manitoba.

The first took the form of one of the large sprayers, so commonly used now instead of old fashioned tillage, to control weeds. People in cars can escape the plume of Roundup quite quickly, but on a bike you can be trapped for a long time. This time we were directly down wind and could not quickly escape. Dodie seemed OK, but I developed an immediate violent headache. Even with my sunglasses on, I had to keep my head down to avoid the pain caused by the daylight. I dragged my tail along until we reached the town of Carlyle, only to find it lock up tight for Sunday.

Carlyle, locked up tight, but still displaying the customary wide main street and free standing buildings.
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We backtracked to a motel that had a restaurant, where Dodie loaded me up with ibuprofen, caffeine, sugar, and whatever the magic is in bacon. It took about two hours to recover from this miracle of modern agriculture, and that only with the power of the four part cocktail.

The next barrier was a headwind. Previous days had had crosswinds, which are a bug, but a direct headwind is just mean. What is does is to turn your touring cycle into an exercycle. You have to concentrate and just crank, crank, crank.

Mega hay bales
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Wet but idyllic scene
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After a few hours of this, Dodie was just done. We had had ambitions of going 114 km to the first town in Manitoba, but ended in a desperate struggle just to do 63 km to Redvers, Saskatchewan. Dodie actually collapsed within sight of the town, and took ten long minutes lying in the tall grass to gather the strength to crawl into the town proper.

Our spirits then took a huge leap, for there was Juul, waving to us from the door of the Log Cabin. The Log Cabin is the town's welcome mat for visitors and particularly cyclists. There is fresh Saskatoon berry pie, a cyclist's guest log, maps, plus abundant camping spots, showers, and a covered shelter! Plus, wifi!

Lorraine George greeted us warmly and had the pie on the table in no time. It was truly excellent.

We learned that even the powerful Juul had decided to abandon Manitoba for today in face of the headwind. It made us feel a lot better. We set our tent under the shelter, which also made us feel very secure from rain and wind.

Best of all, the wifi allowed us to Skype with Avi and Violet (and Laurie and Conan). By the magic of wireless, I could walk around and show our campsite, the giant Mountie in front of the cabin (this is the start of the Redcoat Trail), and even a little of the John Deere dealer across the highway.

This mountie signifies the start of the Redcoat Trail (for us - the end!)
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Dodie recovers with pie
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We both recover with pie!
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This log made us feel welcome, and contained an entry from the Nova Scotians we have been trailing by about a week.
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Lorraine George also added to our welcome in Redvers
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Inside the log cabin visitor centre
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A decent supper nearby and a walk through the town with Juul, and being repulsed by the wind out of Manitoba did not seem so bad. Tomorrow, of course, we will make another attempt on it. That is, unless there is heavy rain, in which case this blog will be coming to you from under my sleeping bag under the picnic shelter!

Our cosy shelter
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Redvers main street - so typical of our favourite small towns!
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A nice street and house in Redvers
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Dodie here: At 11:18 pm Steve is huddled under his sleeping bag, and won't come out. The blog entry was mainly written in the washroom building across the campground since the bugs can't get in there. I crawled into the tent to go to sleep but was quickly reduced to a quivering mess by the vivid lightning and loud cracks of thunder outside the tent. Steve finished the blog (he is so dedicated) and then raced across the campground in the torrential cloudburst to "rescue me". He knows I really hate thunderstorms. He actually got lost coming across the 100 metre grassy area since it was so dark and so rainy that he couldn't see his way. He finally returned to find me huddled inside our tent and poor Juul huddled outside his tent under the shelter. After a brief period the rain diminished slightly and Juul decided to return to his tent which is actually still standing and dry inside. The rain had been slamming against our tent even under the shelter and there is water all over the shelter floor. Inside the tent is still dry but all Steve's clothes are soaked from his mad dash. Fortunately I had done a laundry tonight and had some spare dry clothes in the tent. So here we are, and it looks like here we stay at least for tomorrow and possibly the next day since the forecast is for more of the same. Oh well - it could be worse. There is still lots of pie left.

Today's ride: 63 km (39 miles)
Total: 2,853 km (1,772 miles)

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