Rain Is A Necessary Component To A Diverse Eco-System AND To A Well-Rounded Bike Tour - The Man Who Biked To Canada (With No Complaints) - CycleBlaze

June 17, 2016

Rain Is A Necessary Component To A Diverse Eco-System AND To A Well-Rounded Bike Tour

St. Malo Provincial Park, Manitoba

Rain is the theme for today's post because, even though I only had to ride in it for about 15 minutes, it had an effect on my entire day.  Oh boy, I'm getting ahead of myself as I often do.  Let's go back in time to 4:30 a.m.

I was awakened by booming thunder.  I went to the window of my 11th-floor room and saw a very impressive storm moving over Winnipeg.  I may have mentioned earlier that I love thunderstorms and I wasn't lying.  Unfortunately, I had some concern about the rest of my day so I turned the TV on to The Weather Channel.  The first thing I saw was a graphic of a big lightning bolt next to a dark cloud that had raindrops falling out of it.  Even I know what that means.  That was the forecast for the rest of the morning.

Well, as I said once before, "whaddya do?"  In my case, I went back to bed, watched the lightning flashes from my dark room, and fell asleep for a couple more hours.  A little after 7:00 the sky appeared to be clearing up, but ten minutes later it was pouring so hard I couldn't even see the Manitoba Legislative Building five blocks away.

I waited out the worst of it in the comfort of my 11th-floor hotel room, but I was very anxious to get back out on the wide open road.  At 9:45 I decided to check out and ride off into a light rain.  I got lucky in that the rain only continued another 15 minutes or so, but the bad news was that, like Kenora a few days ago, Winnipeg's poor street drainage resulted in me getting drenched by cars splashing water on me and by ME splashing water on me while riding through huge pools of water.  My choice was to either plow through the water or swerve around the puddles and risk getting flattened by cars and trucks. 

In the end, I was just so happy to have negotiated a route out of the city that I didn't really care about being wet.  With the sky getting increasingly clear, I knew I would start drying out soon anyway.


I must admit that Manitoba Highway 59 South might not have been the best route back to Minnesota.  There were the usual culprits--high speed traffic, lots of trucks, and no shoulder.  There was even one cowardly jerk concerned citizen who cared for my safety so much that he leaned on his horn for about 20 seconds.  I forgave him because he obviously was so mushy-headed that he didn't understand cyclists have the right to be on the road and all he had to do was give me a measly three feet of space, which wouldn't even take him out of his lane.

Thanks to my forgiving nature I was able to regain my composure in the nice little village of St-Pierre-Jolys.  Inside the town's little grocery store I was flabbergasted.  People were talking to each other in French.  Not just a couple of people, but almost all of the people.  I didn't realize towns like this existed only 40 miles from the Minnesota border.

Getting back to the effects of the rain,  I saw plenty of flooded farm fields.  A golf course was similarly waterlogged.  At one point I rode about 50 yards on what I thought was a dirt trail to use the great outdoor restroom.  The dirt turned out to be what a mountain biker I met a few days ago referred to as "Manitoba Mud."  At least that's what I think it was based on his description and also based on the fact that it took me a good fifteen minutes to wipe the stuff off my tires using a wet bandana.

I made it to St. Malo Provincial Park only to find that half the park was closed due to flooding.  Still, part of the campground was open so I did manage to get a campsite. 

Flooded fields
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Flooded campgrounds
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I took a short hike on the park's wet trails where I snapped the two pictures that follow.  The wildflowers have very little to do with the bike tour, but I'm simply posting them as a gift to my wife for her support, tolerance and understanding.

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Today's ride: 43 miles (69 km)
Total: 786 miles (1,265 km)

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