Day 25: Winnipeg to Toronto by plane
Friday, May 25
Sunny, hot and humid. 31C
Our flight was scheduled for 3:45pm so we had some time to kill today. After breakfast we returned the rental car and then finished our packing. We had arranged a late checkout time so we decided to take a walk through the neighbourhood which consists of other hotels and big box store plazas. Each place we popped into was air conditioned so that was nice and we finished off at the grocery store to buy a few more items for our pantry. We ate lunch in our room before heading downstairs to catch the airport shuttle.
At the airport we spent some time people watching after we checked our bikes and bags. Then we ate another snack before passing through security. On the other side we found a nice leather live seat with a view of the runways and proceeded to watch the planes come and go. Eventually it was time to proceed to our gate and board the plane.
The flight was only two hours in duration and we followed our progress on my phone. I’m always inspired by being above the clouds.
The landing was successful as was our pick up by my Father. We arrived home to my parents house just after 8pm, concluding another bicycle adventure. Piece by piece we are working towards cycling across Canada.
Day 24: Winnipeg
Thursday, May 24
Sunny and hot with building clouds. 30C
Our last full day in Winnipeg was a busy one. Sightseeing and a few errands had us driving all over the city which was a nice way to get a feel for it. Considering it was so hot again today it was a pleasure to be in a fully air conditioned environment. In the morning we took a tour of the mint.
We also visited the Exchange District, Whiteout Way, Portage & Main as well as the areas of North End, West End, Tuxedo, River Heights and St James to name a few.
Later in the afternoon we caught up with family friends who own and operate The Real Escape escape rooms and we had a great visit and tour.
After dinner in our room we packed up our bikes in boxes in anticipation of our departure tomorrow afternoon. Finally there was a little rain here in the evening, only the second time it’s rained on our whole trip.
Day 23: in Winnipeg
Wednesday, May 23
Mostly sunny and hot. SE wind. 30C
Looks like the bikes have been retired now as the temperature out here is hot! After breakfast at the hotel with no cereal and no bowls we brought our own and enjoyed some complimentary milk.
We took a short walk to the local car rental company and then spent the day driving around with the windows down and the air conditioning cranked up. Our first stop was the small village of Brunkild which was the summer stomping grounds for one of my brothers.
Next was a visit to the Cottage Bakery in Winnipeg and then lunch by the Assiniboine River downtown. It was so hot outside that even then shade was almost unbearable.
Then we drove over to The Forks, passing the Human Rights Museum on the way.
After 3pm we checked into our hotel room and dropped off the bikes. Then we drove to a bike shop to pickup 2 empty bike boxes for our flight home on Friday. Then we went to the grocery store in search of our supper ingredients and then back to our room to relax in its cool confines.
Day 22: Portage la Prairie to Headingley 78km
Tuesday, May 22
Sunny with the odd cloud. South wind. 29C
With another hot day in the forecast we tried to get an early start but both of us were content to lie in bed for awhile in the morning. By the time we made it down to the breakfast room and ate it was after 8am already. Our route out of Portage was quite nice, pedalling alongside Crescent Lake and the island park.
Before long we were riding down the on ramp of the trans Canada heading east. Shade has been very hard to come by along the highway, but when we spot it, we stop to enjoy it.
The wind was even more annoying today than yesterday. It was just strong enough to keep from getting any real speed built up so it was a constant struggle to keep our pace up. Like yesterday’s ride we took a lot of breaks. After 20km then almost every 10km after that just to drink water, eat some food or just stretch out a bit. The temperature climbed all afternoon and it was close to 30C after we stopped for lunch behind a Tim Hortons.
Slowly but surely we were getting closer to our destination. Winnipeg is within reach!
Day 21: Carberry to Portage la Prairie 78km
Monday, May 21 – Victoria Day
Sunny and warm with a south wind. 26C
Our beds at the Robin’s Nest motel were surprisingly comfortable so we didn’t get up as early as we’d planned. Hoping to beat the heat, by the time we ate our cereal and hit the road it was almost 9 o’clock. Like yesterday, the south wind almost seemed like a headwind although it was really another crosswind. We also encountered a few gentle hills on our ride today which broke the otherwise flat monotony.
The kilometres didn’t come easy today and break by break and snack by snack we inched our way across the map. Shade was hard to come by. We contemplated stopping underneath this lonely big tree, however the grave marker and it’s proximity to the busy highway changed our minds.
After almost 4 hours of toiling along we arrived in Portage. Being a holiday today we weren’t sure if the grocery stores would be open but alas they were and we were excited. After hunkering down at the motel restaurant yesterday we were eager to fix one of our juicy jumbo salads for dinner. The walk to the grocery store in the hot sun was the last thing we wanted to do, but it was so worth it once dinner was served.
Day 20: Brandon to Carberry 52km
Sunday, May 20
Sunny and warm with a south wind. 25C
First thing in the morning we drove our rental van back to the enterprise and then pedaled our bikes back to the hotel where we had breakfast. We could see smoke still coming from the huge fire in downtown Brandon the day before.
Once we left the hotel we started off on the trans Canada heading east. The wind was blowing from the south which created a crosswind for us which neither helped nor hindered our progress. After one or two short breaks along the way we arrived at the Robin’s Nest motel in Carberry just after noon.
Our room wasn’t quite ready for us so we sat down in the adjoining restaurant and had breakfast for lunch. After we ate we walked over to our room and put our feet up in bed and watched a hockey game on TV. When that was over we walked back to the restaurant for a light supper – burgers and some of the best coleslaw I’ve ever had – and ultimately we passed on pie for dessert. Back to bed and another hockey game on TV. Other than our earlier bike ride it was a supremely lazy day.
The general serenity was broken just before 11pm when a few other guests showed up at the motel including someone with 2 yappy dogs. Thankfully the drone of our uncontrollable air conditioner deftly drowned them out.
Day 19: Dauphin to Brandon by car.
Riding Mountain National Park 8km
Saturday, May 19
Sunny and cool with a light wind. 20C
Our beds lastnight were less than comfortable although because we were so tired we didn’t notice until morning. We tuned in the Royal wedding and I watched with one eye open from under the covers. Once we did get up we ate cereal in our room and then took a quick tour of downtown Dauphin before driving back into Riding Mountain.
There is so much to see and do in the park that we decided to spend the day again. It started with a short hike at Beach Ridges where aspen trees towered overhead.
Then we walked the loop at Kippan’s Mill and then a midmorning snack at Moon Lake.
After that we drove through the Bison enclosure near Lake Audy. We did see some bison from quite a distance but we still wanted to do some riding so we continued on to the Strathclair trail and got our bikes ready to ride. There were people biking and horseback riding as well as a couple on bikes. The trail was grassy again and went on for miles.
We only rode a short distance before we had an option to take the Central trail which follows the fence line of the Bison enclosure. We rode about 4km before deciding to turn around and shortly after that we spotted a mother bear and her three cubs. She scooted them up a tree (see picture below) and they turned around to stare us down! We took off in a hurry.
When we got back to the van we had a picnic lunch before driving back through the Bison enclosure. Mom spotted one very close by and we waited while he slowly grazed his way towards us. We spent several minutes just watching and he didn’t seem to care in the least.
Finally on our way back to Wassagaming Mom spotted a moose in the woods by the side of the road. Again we watched for several minutes while it munched its way back into the forest. Can you spot it?
Then we had to drive back to Brandon where we will set off on our bikes again in the morning.