Day 55 Winnipeg, Manitoba: Urban Cowboys - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

June 24, 2011

Day 55 Winnipeg, Manitoba: Urban Cowboys

From Mark's balcony one can look down on the Assiniboine River, still at flood levels, gliding by. I must still be a little disoriented, because I think it is flowing the wrong way. (It probably knows what it is doing, however).

Moving chaos adds interest to the visit.
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The bikes get used to being far away from the big sky.
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The movers are due at 8:30, so we jump in the car and zoom over to the Tallgrass Bakery. This is just around the corner from Mark's new house. The cinnamon buns probably rate among the finest anywhere. The only niggle - everything in this bakery is made with whole wheat. For a sweet roll covered in sugar goo, white flour would be only a minor transgression and would work better, I think. Still, gooey buns hot from the oven and good coffee!!!

Tall Grass Prairie bakery delivery van.
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Customers at Tall Grass Prairie. In sync with all organic theme, hippie dress is de rigeur.
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High quality but whole wheat/organic cinnamon buns.
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Back at the old apartment I phoned MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop - Mecca for cycling and camping (and all other outdoor sports) in Canada) to see if they would overhaul the bikes. The bikes are working fine, but there is another 2500-3000 km left for them to go. The answer first is .. nothing .. they don't open until 10. Next, they say, they are busy and could get to it sometime in July. Hmpphh. Don't feel too supported at Mecca.

Mark in any event had recommended a local shop - Gooch's which is a third generation Winnipeg shop, and I spoke to Dave Gooch, from generation three. Dave said they could do it tomorrow or the next day. Sold!

We would have to go back to find out what is "is dead".
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The Assiniboine River is still very high.
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We are now urban cowboys.
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Houses of Winnipeg I
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Houses of Winnipeg II
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Houses of Winnipeg III
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Houses of Winnipeg IV
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Nice windows at Mark's new place
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Two generations of Goochs.
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Dodie in Wonderland.
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Houses of Winnipeg VI
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Mark's dog Daisy
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Aside from dropping the bikes at the bike spa our time in Winnipeg is also a chance to workover or refine some bits of equipment. Specifically there are the items from MEC that need to be dumped back in their laps (as opposed to the things that need to be dumped back in the laps of REI - but they'll get theirs!). Our beef this time is with cycle shorts with chamois stitching that is coming unstitched and with the flashing light with the failed switch.

This is our excuse though to go look at every other pair of cycling shorts for sale in the city and to prowl through the entire Winnipeg MEC branch to see if we missed any gear MEC has in hours of scouring the Victoria branch. Mark was a willing accomplice in this, because he is an avid Triathlete.

Dodie and Mark at play among the cycling shorts
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Andy Lockery of Olympia Cycle discusses the finer points with Dodie. Andy has a strong knowledge of these products.
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Great service and advice at Olympia Cycle
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Andy recommends a cycling contact in Duluth, which is on our route.
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Portage Ave., Winnipeg's main street, is not too attractive.
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... but has some nice buildings
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Dodie and Mark study MEC in detail
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Another Winnipeg treat is the chance to go to Home Depot, since the tub drain in Mark's new place is not draining. We talk to Laurie, a former plumber, there and come away with a whole arsenal of drain unplugging weapons. Laurie also sends us off with other knowledge he acquired as a plumber: Friday is payday, don't bite your nails, and it all flows downhill.

In the "Exchange District" of Winnipeg
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Some more Exchange District buildings
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The Mondragon Vegan-Anarchist restaurant.
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The Cube sound stage, is a source of controversy. Some think it is out of place or badly designed.
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Our old house on Scott Street. We left in 1977 when it seemed developers would destroy our block.
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Marsha's old house, across the street.
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Some of the street survived, other parts have dull modern buildings now.
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We end the day with Mark's upstairs neighbour Alissa and a trip to near the North End to a Thai restaurant. The North End, centred on Main and Selkirk Avenues is a different world from the rest of Winnipeg. Though there is some creeping gentrification, this is a rough and ready immigrant area quite distinct from the tree lined streets of character houses in the earlier photos.

Dodie and Alissa in the rough and tumble North End
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Good reason for being there.
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The critical sofa and the king sized bed are set up in Mark's new place, but everything else remains in boxes. We got Mark to run around town with us to bike shops and to MEC (twice!). Now tomorrow we will sail off to Selkirk and leave him (like the people of Simms, Weyburn, Souris, etc.) to cope without us. We are grateful to them and to Mark for taking time for us when other pressing stuff was at hand.

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