Day 18: Brandon to Dauphin by car &
Riding Mountain National Park 22km
Friday, May 18
Rain then sun. Strong NE wind. 15C
After a few errands in Brandon we drove north for an hour or two to Riding Mountain National Park. The town of Wassagaming is situated at the south entrance of the park and we started poking around there. At first we had planned to drive around and try to figure out what we we do in the park on Saturday, but after talking to one of the park staff we were inspired to do a short bike ride.
So we unloaded there bikes from our rental van, packed some food and set off pedalling out of Wassagaming and on to the highway which runs through the park. Within a few kilometres we arrived at the trailhead for Grey Owl’s cabin. The trail is 9km each way and begins with a lovely wooded trail which eventually turns into a hilly grass trail before getting a little rougher with Rick, roots and soft gravel.
5km in we decided to lock up the bikes and hike the rest. It was nice to exercise our legs in a different way. We decided on the term bi-hiking or b’hiking. We seemed to walk forever and came across all sorts of evidence of wildlife like this bear paw print.
Finally we arrived at Grey Owl’s cabin…
It was a 40 minute hike back to our bikes and then another 11km back to the van. Then it was time to drive the 70km north through the park to Dauphin. Half the drive was spent going up and up and up. Just after we crested there was a spot to stop so we did just that and took in the view from the red chairs.
We were a little hasty checking in to our motel in Dauphin. The price is right but that is about all. At least the grocery store is across the street..
Day 17: in and around Brandon 17km
Thursday, May 17
Cool, cloudy with rain and a hail storm. Strong east wind. 10C
With another strong east wind blowing today we found ourselves in a bit of a holding pattern here in Brandon. The wind is way to strong to keep riding east so we decided to spend the day touring around the city before picking up our next rental car after 5pm.
When we checked out and left the motel this morning an immediate hailstorm followed by rain descended on us. It lasted just long enough to get us pretty wet and cold. We did find a nice warm bakery to spend some time in and then we had a picnic at a nearby grocery store.
We spent some time downtown but the wind and the cool weather made outdoor sightseeing less than ideal. Eventually we ended up back at our same motel where we’ll spend another night. Our car was ready to pick up after 5pm and we decided that hearty soup would be on the menu tonight.
We have big plans for our road trip tomorrow so stay tuned!
Day 16: Verdin to Brandon by bus
Wednesday, May 16
Mostly sunny and a fierce east wind. 16C
Our one hundred kilometre ride yesterday was our strategy to avoid riding into today’s extreme east wind which was 40km/h gusting to 60. Originally we planned on renting a car today but Verdin has no such services. Plan B was to catch the greyhound bus at 4pm.
We spent most of the morning working on this plan which included talking to the local ticket agent to find out what we’d have to do with our bikes to bring them along. Turns out we needed boxes to put them in so we dumpster dived the Home hardware’s cardboard bin for a selection of boxes and bought a few rolls of packing tape. Then we dropped the cardboard off at the bus depot and then walked back to our hotel for lunch and a late check out. Back at the depot we pieced together a bunch of cardboard into makeshift boxes and then taped them up tight to travel. Shortly thereafter the bus arrived and we got settled on board with a dozen or so others who were on a much longer journey than our 75km trip.
Within no time we were dropped off in downtown Brandon and we were glad not to be travelling any further by bus. Reassembling the bike took a few minutes and then we were on our way to the Redwood Motel.
Check in, walk to the grocery store, back for supper by 8pm and before we knew it it was bedtime! We looked online into renting a car and that may prove to be more challenging than we thought…
Day 15: Whitewood to Verdin 115km
Tuesday, May 15
Hot and sunny with a wild west wind. 30C
We accidentally got up two hours early this morning and were at the breakfast buffet at 6am. Needless to say we got an early start and had pedaled to Moosomin by 9am. Originally this was going to be our destination for the day but the way the wind was blowing we decided to pedal all the way to Verdin.
Neither of us had pedaled in such a strong wind and what started out as a crosswind ended up as a straight tailwind by the latter half of the day. Dust was blowing everywhere and it was 30C by mid afternoon. At least it was a dry heat with next to no humidity.
At the Manitoba border we stopped for a photo and then huddled behind some bushes for shelter and shade while we had a snack. With a little perseverance we coasted into Verdin at 25km/h and stopped at the first hotel we saw. It is a pretty nice place and we feel like we’ve earned a little luxury.
Day 14: Grenfell to Whitewood 53km
Monday, May 14
Sunny and warm with an east wind. 23C
Today’s ride was a little different than our previous rides because we were pedalling into the wind. Although we didn’t have to ride very far we probably spent twice as much energy doing it.
We did get an early start this morning and we stopped in Broadview for lunch. After visiting the bakery there we sat down at a picnic table in a park to eat.
This rest stop was a nice change from resting at their side of the road and with the warmer temperatures it was nice to have a bit of shade as well. When we continued our ride after lunch the wind seemed to switch and started blowing from the north. This crosswind helped us along a little bit on our last 25km into Whitewood.
Our room in the Inn is very spacious and there is an indoor pool although it is not open yet. Town is only a short walk away so we picked up our supper at the grocery store shortly after we checked in. I was offered a part time job as a roughneck after I helped an older fellow put his walker in the back seat of his car. That might be fun to try for a day, but unfortunately we are riding out of town in the morning.
Day 13: Indian Head to Grenfell 66km
Sunday, May 13
Sunny and hot with a west wind. 26C
This morning we met our neighbour Bob Pittuck who is travelling by bicycle from Calgary to Oshawa. He is also a Canadian Hall of Fame Bowler! We could have chatted for much longer, but we all needed to get going on our way.
First stop for us was a short side trip to the Historic Bell Barn just north of Indian Head. The circular structure has 39 single stalls for horses.
Breakfast was served back at the motel and after we ate our cereal it was time to start riding east. The sun was scorching before noon and we were glad to have a nice breeze to pedal with. There is a lot of time to look around while riding a bike and some of the exciting scenes we saw were freight trains…
And fields of course.
Underneath a grain storage silo we found lovely shade to rest in before continuing on to Wolseley where we had a snack to keep our strength up.
The final 24km to Grenfell was tougher because the temperature was rising quickly. Both of us were thankful to be off the road when we got there and our room for the night was as cool as ice.
We found out from the innkeeper that the CO OP grocery store was closed today, but luckily we were carrying enough food for lunch. We got cleaned up and spent an hour relaxing in our room before heading out for supper at Vicki’s restaurant. The laundromat is next door to the restaurant which is next door to the gas station so we ran a load of laundry while we ate. After supper we were full and our clothes were clean and we walked back across the street to our room.
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.