Spring 2018 Saskatoon to Winnipeg 

Day 12: Regina to Indian Head 70km

Saturday, May 12

Sunny and warm with a fair West wind. 20C 
The hotel breakfast consisted of a piece of raisin toast with butter and a quick cup of coffee. By 8:30am we were on our way. After pedaling 20km we stopped for another breakfast in the ditch at Balgonie and ate our cereal. 

The wind was blowing nicely from behind us and the traffic was light. At Qu’Appelle we turned of the highway and rode a kilometre or two to town into the wind. A short tour of the grocery store yielded only a tomato. We weren’t sure what we were looking for and we were already carrying quite a bit of food for lunch. So back to the hwy we went. 

The ride today seemed fairly flat although we could see for miles as we crested a ridge west of Indian Head.

We were pleasantly surprised when we reached the Sunshine Motel. Not much to look at from the outside but the the rooms are really nice on the inside.

We ate lunch on our porch in the shade and then took a walk into the historic downtown to see what we could see and visit the bakery. We also stopped by the library where there was a book sale and got chatting with several people inside. On the way back to our motel we had a great view of the old and the new grain elevators.

Our homemade dinner was delicious as usual and we managed to stay awake to watch the sun set. 

The weather forecast sounds good for the morning and the temperature is supposed to rise so we plan on getting an early start to the day.


Spring 2018 Saskatoon to Winnipeg 

Day 7: Regina to Lumsden 49km

Monday, May 7

Partly cloudy and very warm 26C. NE wind. 

Today we changed our plan slightly. Instead of continuing eastward we decided to let the wind choose our direction. So with a east wind we headed west. We spent the first part of the morning riding through Wascana park, slowly making our way out of the city. 

In search of a bathroom we came across the RCMP Heritage Centre but they were not open yet. After our photo op we spotted a gas station down the street. 

The next leg of our route heading north out of Regina involved gravel roads and construction sites…

The pedaling wasn’t easy despite having the wind helping us along in places. After a few breaks we arrived outside Lumsden with a great view of the Qu’Appelle River Valley. 

There was a surprisingly steep hill into town. We found a picnic table by the river where we ate lunch and rested our legs while we waited to check into our room. After lunch we toured the bakery, the grocery store and the rest of the small town. By dinner time we had everything all figured out and picked up our supplies in record time. One of the highlights of biking all day is relaxing afterwards and that is exactly what we did. 

Spring 2018: Saskatoon to Winnipeg 

Day 2: In and around Saskatoon 37km

Tuesday, May 2. Sunny and warm again. 20C 
Since neither of us really did much riding this Spring we are training for this trip as we go. By slowly increasing increasing our distances we figure that we can actually do this!

Breakfast at the hotel was typical, but the bacon was nice and crispy. After we ate we hopped on the bikes and rode downtown to Riversdale to check out the farmers market and pre-scout our lunch. Wandering around the neighbourhood we found a nice bike shop which we hung out in for a while. We also saw some unique street furniture including vintage tree well grate covers and a bike pump stand.

Our lunch inspiration held up and the smoked salmon and German dill potato salad was delicious. We ate on a bench in the sun. Afterwards we walked around downtown and the elm lined streets reminded us of Vienna. 

Back on the bikes and back to the river trail. We decided to stretch out some other muscles.

North of the city is an important indigenous site called Wanuskewin Heritage Site. Located on the banks of Opimihaw Creek and the South Saskatchewan River it has been a gathering site and bison kill area for thousands of years. Our visit there was short but the ride was nice. We got a little taste of what riding into the wind might be like.

Navigating back to our hotel was also interesting. We left the trail to find a new grocery store and on the way back we had to portage over train tracks and traverse a busy commercial strip through the parking lots.

In just over 24 hours we have seen quite a bit of city. Tommorow we do plan on leaving Saskatoon although it may not be by bike! Stay tuned…

Spring 2018: Saskatoon to Winnipeg 

Day 1: Around Saskatoon 26km

Tuesday, May 1

Sunny and warm 20C

We spent the previous night getting organized and packing our bikes into boxes. Alarms went off at 5am this morning and we were on the road by 6 on our way to the airport. Dad dropped us off on time and after we checked our bikes we had time to eat breakfast. 

We finished our cereal with a great view of the ever – lengthening security lineup. When we were finished eating we wandered down to the other end of the terminal where there was no lineup and breezed through the screening in moments. Then we proceeded to wait near our gate for the boarding to take place.  Our flight actually left half an hour ahead of schedule and both of us caught up on some sleep during the 3hour flight.

Arriving in Saskatoon was a very pleasant airport experience where everything was easy and everybody was friendly and helpful. Our bikes went back together just like clockwork and our hotel for the next 2 nights was only 3 kms away. Pedalling there took 10 minutes. We didn’t expect to still have our cucumber and sliced peppers as we thought they wouldn’t have passed the security screening, but since they did, we ate them for lunch with our leftover bread from yesterday. 

In the afternoon we took our bikes out to explore the city without most of our overflowing luggage. We found our way to the Meewasin trail along the river and rode upstream to the southern edge of Saskatoon and then crossed over the circle road bridge and rode up the other side of the river through the University of Saskatchewan.  The sunshine, fresh air and the pedalling was making us tired and hungry again so we crossed back across the river on a rail trestle with a pedestrian walkway just as a freight train went rumbling past. We retraced our earlier approach through Woodlawn cemetery and then wound our way through the dust clouds and the dirt roads and in between the concrete barriers back to our hotel on the busy street.

Before we got too lazy we changed clothes and then walked to the nearby grocery store for our supper. Both of us were craving some juicy kind of salad and within no time were back in our room eating in bed. With the time change here the hockey game starts early but the sun is still out. Both of us are going to sleep well tonight. 

August in the Ottawa Valley (6 in the 613)

Day 4: Bristol to Quyon QC 27km

Driver: James

Thursday,  August 17

Sunny, 28C
I volunteered to drive the van today and helped everyone get ready for the road. After everyone left I figured I had at least an hour to get to the ferry dock in Quyon, which we thought was a little over 10km from Pine Lodge. Once I left the lodge I took the scenic route through Norway Bay and then ended up on some gravel roads. At one point I thought I might have gotten turned around somehow, but eventually I came across the highway. 

Quyon wasn’t that far after all and when I got to the ferry I enjoyed the strong cell signal and posted the pictures from the previous day’s blog.  Wondering what to do next I checked the bike route and discovered that it was almost 20km. That meant that I wouldn’t be expecting everyone for a little while longer. So I got my bike off of the  rack and got ready to ride out to meet them. After pedaling 5km up and out of town along La Route Verte I saw them approaching. 

I joined up with the pack and we rode back to the van. Moments later the ferry was coming in so we got ready to cross. Once we were on the other side I parked the van and we all loaded our bikes in and onto the van. It was time for lunch. 

We found some good food in Carp at a cafe and a pizza place. After lunch we drove to the Diefenbunker for a tour of the cold war museum.

The bunker was very interesting. Definitely worth checking out.

Next it was time to check into the hotel and get cleaned up before driving to chez Nye’s Bill and Liz’s) for a swim and a BBQ. 

We were a little late getting there, but are hosts were gracious. The pool was lovely and the food was delicious. After dinner we had great conversation.  All in all it was a wonderful visit.

August in the Ottawa River Valley (6 in the 613)

Day 3: Fort Coulonge QC to the Pine Lodge, Bristol QC: 50km

Wednesday, August 16

Sunny and warm. 27C 

Yvonne and Glor volunteered to be the drivers today, so after breakfast at the hotel they drove us back to the trail access in Fort Coulonge where we left off yesterday. It didn’t take long to unload the four bikes and then we were on our way. 

The trail was paved to begin with which was great to start on, but soon turned back to gravel dust. Then it got a little soft in places and began to ascend. We carried on. 

We kept in touch with our drivers throughout the morning by text and tracked each other’s progress. At our preplanned lunch stop we were pedalling in a good rhythm so we decided to keep riding for another half hour. There were many rest stops along the way – complete with benches, tables and bathrooms – and the one we chose for lunch was in full sun. 

During lunch we learned of a bakery in the next town so we were eager to stop there for dessert. After that we only had a short distance to ride on the trail before turning off and heading south along the road to the Pine Lodge Resort. 

We knew that our cabins for the night would be rustic, but we didn’t realized that they hadn’t been maintained since 1940 when they were built. Now this is possibly overstating their condition, although rotten deck boards in one, a hole in the bathroom floor in another and a screen door hanging off its hinges is just describing how we found them. Thankfully the cabins are nestled amidst a towering pine forest and the lodge at the resort has several amenities including a golf course – where Yvonne and Glor played 9 holes while the four of us were completing our ride. We are also situated very close to the beach and we took full advantage of it when we all reunited. 

And the water was quite warm albeit a little shallow. 

After playing in the water we were invited back to Don and Duncan’s for pre-dinner cocktails. More good times ensued. 

Then all of us made our way up to the main lodge for dinner. The building is still impressive and it must have been something else back in the day. There is a player piano and a jukebox which we were all looking forward to hearing, but unfortunately it was broken. Dinner was alright and the service too. Again it was eight o’clock by the time we had finished eating and someone suggested playing cards. Someone suggested a quick walk to the beach and someone suggested having a fire. We accomplished 2 of the 3 suggestions leaving the card game for another night. 

The campfire started without a hitch and then “Party Don” pulled out his party-phone full of funny jokes. He had all of us in stitches including himself after a few of them. I think we’ll all be feeling our stomach muscles in the morning from laughing moreso than our legs from riding. This will definitely be a memorable day.

August in the Ottawa River Valley (6 in the 613 for the 150)

Pembroke to Fort Coulonge: 47km

Tuesday,  August 15

Hazy with sun and some clouds. 26C

It took us a little longer to get organized today than I thought it might, but after our continental breakfast we headed to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for our picnic lunch. Not much was calling out in the store so we also stopped at Tim H’s. Back at the motel we were ready to get riding. Don was driving the van today – which would ultimately meet us in Fort Coulonge – but would ride back from there to meet us along our route. So the 5 of us set off on our bikes and he drove past and down the road. 
We pedaled along the highway a short distance to the bridge that crosses over the Ottawa River and into Quebec, onto L’Isle-aux-Allumettes. There was a quiet road to ride on there and we followed it along for over 20km before arriving in Waltham for our lunch stop. Don was right on schedule, coming from the other direction. 

After a lovely and buggy lunch at a covered picnic table it was time to finish our ride. The rest of our journey was along a rail trail in Route Verte Cycloparc PPJ. The trail was in pretty good shape and we saw some wildlife and some great views of Lac Coulonge. 

Riding along the shore…

Once we arrived at the van in Fort Coulonge we loaded up the bikes. Next on our agenda was a trip to Coulange Falls Aerial Park. We went to see les chutes and ended up on the zip-line!

Here is Glor hanging around over the gorge..

And Don running up the plank on our second crossing. 

After that we did a walking tour of the old log driving route and got a spectacular view of the falls.

By this time we were getting hungry again and ended up at Finnigan’s restaurant for round two. Everyone was satisfied and tired from our exciting day of adventure. Oh look, it’s bedtime…