I Walk the Line....: Day 24 - Craik to Regina - And Then We Pedalled...... Cross Canada 2015 - CycleBlaze

June 26, 2015

I Walk the Line....: Day 24 - Craik to Regina

" I keep a close watch on this bike of mine,

I keep my eyes wide open all the time,

I keep a tight grip 'cause the margin's fine,

To stay alive,

I ride the line"

… sung to the classic Johnny Cash tune ‘I Walk The Line

Last night as we sat in our camp at Craik, listening to the coyotes call and with a nice warm breeze blowing through. We were pretty relaxed and content. However neither of us was really looking forward to tomorrow’s ride.

We had received a text from Jen (who we camped with in Outlook) who had taken hwy 15 to Nokomis (our original plan). She said it as "interesting" and that there was about 5 km of construction gravel. When we heard this we were really second guessing our decision to take hwy 11. It's always a trade off, gravel is really tough on the tandem (especially loose gravel) but the busy mostly no-shoulder hwy 11 was just no fun at all. However we were more or less committed to it for the morning.

We got off to an early start and the weather was very nice, not a cloud in the sky, warm (trending to hot later!) but with a good brisk wind from the south. 

We were travelling south. 

For 60 km we battled the no shoulder thing. No pic's, just didn't want to stop. Just concentrate on keeping a loaded tandem on a stright line 15 cm wide with trucks flying past you.

After about 2 hours of this we pulled into Chamberline and had a milkshake. Best thing of the day so far! At the 60km mark the new Dept of Transport budget kicked in and we had a full paved shoulder... respite! However we were still on hwy 11 and here was still lots of traffic, mostly semi's. At least now we could look around and take in some of the country which was actually fairly pretty, in a now familiar prairie way.

At 90 km, the world took a turn for the better. We were approaching the south end of the Qu'appelle valley and there was some vertical relief in the otherwise flat topography! After quick decent down hill into the valley bottom we pulled into the town of Lumsden to grab some lunch and get out of the heat.

This is a really pretty town! We lingered over lunch, drank aout 2 litres of water, and chatted with lots of locals about alternate routes. Turns out that the 'old hwy' which shows as gravel on the maps is paved and it would take us about half way to Regina.

Both of us were fealing pretty blah about the whole day, but once we got onto the 'old hwy' we rediscovered the reason we cycle tour. Single lane, almost no traffic, meandering through farm and marshland. We wished we could have this all the time.We concluded that in Maslow's heirarchy of 'cycling' needs, a good safe road forms the base of the pyramid. For virtually the whole day we had been without this and it was certainly affecting our mood. Now we had a 15 km run of good road and it helped to rebalance today's ledger.

We were being chased by a pretty nasty looking storm cloud but we made good time to Regina and beat the rain. Booked into a hotel on the east side (to make a quick escape tomorrow), got cleaned up and then went into the city and had a nice dinner at Crave. All good.

We also decided that we would work our way back north to get back onto the original route we had planned, as that would take us through parts of Manitoba that neither Kirsten and I have been to before.

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Song of the Day:

Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot .....

Didn't listen to much music today but this came on as we were on our 'bliss' ride south of Lumsden. I don't think there is a more classic Canadian song that celebrates the bredth and diversity of our country.

Historic Monument for the day ....

Tough one, we saw somthing talking about Buffalo on the other sde of the divided highway with four lanes of trucks whipping by. We didn't cross to investigate!

Milkshakes in the morning!
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The dreaded hwy 11. Looks ok here with real shoulders and not much traffic.This was the anomaly though.
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The first vertical relief tody, the Qu"Appelle valley. very pretty
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Leaving the nice town of Lumsden on the Old Highway
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This is what you want to bike on..... the storm behind us gave us some incentive to get a move on! we managed to stay ahead of it all the way to Regina. The skies opened about 5 minutes after we got in the hotel!
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More cycling bliss ... the roar of hwy 11 is fading, just quiet and the sounds of birds
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Back to the roar of hwy 11 for the last dash to Regina
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Short section of the Trans Canada Trail in Regina just before the hotel
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Today's ride: 129 km (80 miles)
Total: 2,294 km (1,425 miles)

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