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May 10- Day 34

I woke up to rain. Lots of rain. By 8 it had subsided a little, but the forecast is for more of the same all week. Rats. At this moment, I don't know whether to ride out the storm, or push onward. While I have no doubts I could handle the rain, I am on the #1 highway, and it might not be safe to do so. Also, as I mentioned yesterday, I am a day ahead of where I planned to be, so maybe I should take advantage of this?

And what of Glen and Steph? Will they brave the weather or wait it out? I wish I knew. Either we're practically on top of one another, or after today I'll be another day behind them again. Oh well, I'd better start thinking about what I should do today.

Okay, I'm done. The rain has stopped, for now. No way in hell I'm paying for another night here. The couple running the place weren't all that sympathetic to my plight, I had to pay the full 15 bucks to sleep here (but they did forgo the tax). Too bad I wasn't an actual travel journalist, well known enough to get some respect and decent discounts wherever I go! Which reminds me, I should start on that second article.

I checked the map and found that though I only biked for 96k of it, I covered 220k in distance. I have no regrets. Saskatchewan is nice, and though it is not flat, it is monotonous at times. The times I spent in the car drove me through everything I've already seen. Not once did I say "I wish I had stopped here". Besides, I have more than enough interviews done now. Maybe not the full 10, but I've given up on that a while ago. It's an ideal, and not a practical one (P.E.I. for example, I'd spend more time there doing interviews than traveling through it!).

Though the map is too crowded towards Winnipeg for me to make an accurate calculation of its distance, I'm guessing about 350k at this point. That means all I need is 116.6k per day to make it there in three days!

Because of the rain, I decided to take advantage of the laundromat here, and dry off everything, including the tent. No point in being wet tonight if the rain happens to stop, right? It's the only reason I'm glad I stopped here. The rain probably won't be too bad today, and I don't think being soaked beforehand would do much to help. I had to wash the tent and fly in the sink, first. I can't believe how much dirt was on them both! That's what you get when you pitch a tent on dirt instead of grass.

No shower today, the showers are COIN operated! What a rip off! I just scrubbed down in the sink, instead.

I left as quickly as it was convenient, just before 11. I've got the rain gear on, and I kinda hope it rains enough for it to be worth me getting soaked underneath (however, this time I am not wearing pants or a shirt, when I change, at least won't stay wet.

I found out from a couple motorcycle touring with a trailer that Steph and Glen stayed at a motel in Whitewood, since it was too cold to continue. I am ahead of them! That kinda sucks. If I want a reunion I have to either slow down or stop and wait.

I bought a foot long sub for breakfast, intending it eat half now and half later. But half wasn't nearly filling enough for me. The local radio station being played in the sub store is into shameless pandering. The music is okay, but the DJs only interview business people and talk about great deals at this and that. Sad sad sad.

Decided against waiting. Either they'll catch up or they might meet me in Winnipeg. Nobody has seen them on the road, so I think they're staying another night in the motel, and I don't want to do that.

I am at a tourist info spot just inside Manitoba. They have a bike log here for people like me to leave messages for those yet to come. So I have updates!

Erin and Linda were here four days ago. They are doing as well as I would have if I hadn't stopped in Brooks.

The drunk guys from the campsite in Lake Louise left a message, too. Some of the cyclists got to know them fairly well.

Nobody else has left a message, therefore, I'm assuming they have not yet passed. I left an entry in the log as well, for those yet to come, and letting Steph and Glen know where to contact me in Winnipeg if they want to.

Right now I have to fix the front pannier, the water bottle keeps hitting my leg. After that, I'll be off. The Invisible Man is pretty good, the narrator has a good voice. But my batteries are dying, so I'll have to get more before hearing the exciting conclusion. Chances are I'll listen to it again when camping, simply because traffic drowns it out from time to time.

Time spent cycling: 4:40:26

Distance traveled: 117.80 km

Total distance: 2358 km

Average Speed: 25.2 kph

Maximum speed: 37.3 kph

Current Location: Ken's farm, near Alexander, Manitoba.

Let's see, well, I forgot to write down that I was staying in a Hostel in Winnipeg on my message to Steph and Glen, so when I reached Virden, I found the number for the information center and had the lady there add it on for me. At least now there is some hope of a reunion.

I figure I'm about 230k from Winnipeg, which means I only need to cover 115k a day to make it for Monday. With the weather as it is, it will still be a challenge. I must admit, though, there hasn't been any strong headwinds today...

There has, on the other hand, been endless periods of rain. The rain gear protected me, but again, I sweat so much it didn't make much difference. However, since I was smart enough not to wear my regular clothes underneath it, only my skin was wet. This, of course, was murder any time I stopped long enough to cool off. Nevertheless, it was preferable to the alternative.

I had to set my watch another hour ahead, which means that even though it's 9, my body thinks its 8. That only takes one night to get over, however. It's not like jet lag, it just that you go "Hey, the sun set early today".

I passed a lot of towns, but couldn't care less. The rain kept me pushing forward.

After listening to The Invisible Man (which I enjoyed a lot), I finally popped in my mixed music tape. It helped the time go faster in this weather. As you can see, my average speed is quite high, considering there were no tailwinds (or headwinds for that matter).

Saskatchewan is not flat. Manitoba is. Saskatchewan is much hillier than Manitoba overall, except towards the end. Manitoba is very flat, with only a few hills so far. The roads are also more winding, in my opinion. The terrain has more trees than Sask. and the majority of Alta., which means I'm gradually creeping towards the Ontario style ecosystem. In fact, this reminds me of Ontario farmland by in large.

At one point I saw a hitchhiker, but more like a hobo. He totally looked like one, and kept his life on his back. Had to be late forties. I wished him luck in his journey.

I had resolved to cover a third the distance to Winnipeg today, and I did. Towards the end, however, came the question of where to stay. I tried out a few spots off the side of the road, but none were adequate. Part of me wanted to "rough it" tonight to make up for yesterday. However, I am trying to meet people, so I ended up trying some farms. If they didn't work, there was a bird sanctuary I was going to crash in.

The first farm was empty, but the next had a sign saying "Beware of Dog", so I bewared. The dog (Zally) was a playful German Shepard which I quickly determined was about as dangerous as a Chihuahua on Valium. The young couple who lived there were very nice, if a little reserved. They let me stay after only a moment's deliberation, then, while I was setting up my tent, they came out and we chatted. They've lived here for three years and this is just a hobby farm. They have three beautiful horses fenced in the other part of the farm. The couple, though polite, were a little too reserved for me to be aggressive about the survey, so I simply offered, and they didn't say anything. Oh well. At least I learned a few things...

Ken is in training to be an RCMP officer, and informed me my ASP is illegal in Manitoba (but he didn't mind me having it), and warned me if it was spotted in Winnipeg it would be taken. I didn't realize provinces could determine what was an illegal weapon on their own. It's legal to buy and own and possess in your house, but not to carry outside visibly. And if you cover it up, it's then a concealed weapon and you're screwed even worse. So into the knapsack it goes when I get near Winnipeg. Not that I foresee a problem, after all, back in Regina I had breakfast in Tim Hortons beside two cops who asked me all about the trip and bike and didn't once notice it.

Chef Noah Says: When low on provisions, GORP with Smarties and/or Reese's Pieces can be used to substitute breakfast, lunch, or dinner nicely. It's not just for on the road snacking anymore!

(note to self, buy more provisions)

By all accounts it's going to be rain all the way to Winnipeg. I only hope it gets nicer after that...

So now it's off to bed, and read a bit of The Time Machine. Sorry not much interesting happened today, but that's the way it is sometimes.



Onto Day 35...