|Home Page | The Main Map | British Columbia | The Prairies | Ontario And Quebec | The Maritimes|
Before the Wrath of God
May 12- Day 36
May 12- Day 36
An excellent start today! I toured the museum (more like a pioneer village than a museum, except without the people acting and dressing in character), then interviewed the curator. A fifty year old teacher who does this work for the summer. She was pleasant, and turned out to have cancer, I thought that would make that section of the survey a little touchy, but she was fine with it.
So I'm all done here, onward to Winnipeg!
A gas station washroom 15k or so from Port au Portage. Graffiti reads:
I like to suck on women's toes & lick their feet! Anyone else???
You StuPiD BaStard (and replaces toes and feet with... other locations)
I love graffiti. It's like you're asking the IQ scale "How low can you go?"
Portage la Prairie. 75k from Winnipeg. It was lightly raining up until a few I reached the gas station. Now I'm in a McDonnalds, having just enjoyed a $1.49 McChicken. I hate McDonnalds, but I can't resist such a cheap price for a filling combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
This is kind of funny. This McDonnalds has a TV tuned into the weather network, something I could really use right now. Only problem is that there is some kind of static all over the main part of the screen, so can't read any of it! I barely made out that it's not presently raining in Winnipeg along the bottom of the screen, but that doesn't do me much good for planning for the next week.
Then again, I have yet to have a single day where the weather people were right!
A gripe about Manitoba roads. Most of the time there is just GRAVEL for shoulder! You have to hug as close to the edge as possible (because of moron drivers like the truck driver I mentioned yesterday), and hope people are courteous. When there is shoulder it is usually pretty good, but that is only about half the time at most!
A little kid is behind me crying for some ice cream as if his life depended on it, two seconds later he's over it. Then he starts again, then stops. Easily distracted.
My glasses look like they've been sprayed with mud all day. Good thing I have them.
I wanted to get an interview with a MCDONNALDS's manager (one of the most pathetic jobs in the universe), but couldn't swing it.
So I guess I'm pulling another all nighter in Winnipeg. I kinda need it, because now I need to plan how I'm going to attack Ontario...
The way I see it, I can either go to Sault St. Marie through the states or along Lake Superior. Along the Trans-Canada is out, far too dangerous.
But there is supposed to be another older highway that more closely hugs the shore. The downside here is that from what I can see, between
Kenora and Thunder Bay there is a large elevation to cross, which I don't see in the Stateward route. I'm going to compare distances and see which
is shorter, too. I'm anxious to get to southern Ontario and seeing everyone!
Time spent cycling: 4:57:38
Distance traveled: 129.20 km
Total distance: 2603 km
Average Speed: 26.0 kph
Maximum speed: 37.9 kph
Current Location: Robins Donuts, just inside Winnipeg
Whoo boy... where to begin on this one...
After a stop at the mall in Portage la Prairie, it started to rain. I decided against rain gear, and found to my pleasure that it was WARM rain! I began to relish it as the rain came down. Though I was soaked, I felt alive! The cars were whizzing by, sending spray into the air like find misty clouds, I was cruising along at 30kph most of time, and the warm rain soaked me to the bone. Life was not born in a cold ocean but in warmth, and this warm rain touched that primordial comfort!
By the time I got to Elie, the romance wore off. I was just wet.
I tried in vain at the local gas station to strain off most of the water. I could only get it to "really damp" status. Eventually the rain let up a bit and I continued on my way. The dark clouds in the horizon became contrasted by a wide band rainbow, which I would see in different shapes and styles at various times of the day. The sounds of frogs along the constantly swampy sides of the road were drowned out only by the traffic.
Once again, the shoulder turned to gravel. Someone in the Manitoba government hates cyclists. An RCMP officer stopped me at one point, and I was a little worried. Was he suspicions of my gear? No. He informed me that the shoulder on the OPPOSING traffic lane was paved, and that it was okay if I used it. That was certainly odd. Given PERMISSION to ride against traffic by an RCMP officer? Well, I couldn't pass up that opportunity! The road was indeed nicely paved, and nearly as wide as a lane of traffic. That was more like it! Granted the wind generated by the traffic slowed me a little, but not much.
The same officer told me that there was a service road not too far away that ran parallel to highway #1, which would let me avoid traffic altogether. I took it for a while, but it was in bad shape, and slowed me down further.
By the time I reached the outskirts of Winnipeg, I was nearly blown dry. I saw another Truck Stop, and tried again to get a trucker interview.
This guy, from Alberta, was eXTREMELY pessimistic. He admitted to me that the only bright spot in his life was his wife, who rides with him. He sometimes just can't wait to die. Yikes. But he was cheerful, believe it or not, and had a lot to say about a lot of thing. One thing he is bitter about is that he spent six years in jail for an offence (he wouldn't say what) that these days would receive a slap on the wrist for.
It was raining during the interview, and after they left, the rain began to let up a little. Then it all but stopped. I decided to make my final push to Winnipeg.
OH MY GOD WHAT A MISTAKE!!!
Ten minutes later, all the rain in heaven and thunder in hell was let loose upon me. FORGET everything I said about getting wet and rained upon up to this point, those were just SHOWERS. This was God's Wrath unleashed upon the wicked, as if he saw the very rainbow I mentioned, and said "Screw it, I'm flooding it again anyways".
I do not make this up. I do not exaggerate. I was sitting in a POOL OF RAIN that collected all around me and couldn't run off faster than it collected. My boots were quickly filled with water. I couldn't see more than a few hundred meters ahead of me, not because of my glasses, which refracted everything so my view was mostly a mess anyways, but because there was so much rain it was like a wall surrounded you in all directions. I was trapped in this storm, there were no buildings on either side, just highway and cars driving past me at nearly the speed limit, throwing more water into the air. I'm lucky my reflective gear made me visible to them.
A gigantic rain cloud basically got so heavy it decided to sit on Winnipeg and explode. I have never been so wet in my entire life. EVER. It reminded me of a line from a song by Korn: "beating me down... beating me beating me down... down... into the ground." That's how it felt. Doesn't it figure this would happen at the point where I decide I don't need to use my rain gear.
Because I could only see a few hundred meters ahead of me, I had no idea where my next safe haven could be found. Eventually a bridge came into view. I hid under there and tried to make out what was ahead. A gas station. I waited for the rain to subside to the usual rain (which I USED to consider a bad rain storm), then made for the station. There I found there was a Robin's Donuts nearby.
Hallelujah! I got inside and headed straight to the washroom for the hand dryer.
There was none. Just towels.
I was holding in so much water, I left a nearly solid trail of water in my wake. Towels would NOT cut it.
I looked for a nearby place with a hand dryer. No luck. There was a motel nearby, and I decided to try my luck there. The clerk couldn't help but called the manager (defacto manager, since the owner, an old man "just like Mr. Burns on the Simpsons", rarely stayed there). First off, when he heard I was crossing Canada by bike he wanted to shake my hand. Well that was a first, and I liked it! He took me to the housekeeper's workroom and let me dry the clothes there. While they dried we talked, and did the survey. Well lucky me! It's funny how things work out sometimes! (Warning. Winnipeg has a gang problem. It is also infamous for bike theft.)
So now I'm in Robin's Donuts, warm and safe, having finished off a Fudgebuster donut and most of an extra large coffee with enough sugar to make me diabetic (COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE), and writing this. Whew! Glad that's done.
So, the plan for tonight. Well, it's nearly 10, so it's too late to change my mind about the all-nighter... didn't I learn anything from last time? And at least Regina had nice weather while I was there... last I heard this bad weather might last a WEEK!
I don't know what to do. Depending on the weather, I might stay an extra night to ride out the worst of it. But I am low on funds (have to check, but probably around 200 bucks), and don't want to beg until reaching Ontario at least. Have to wait and see. I don't think riding another week in this horrible weather will accomplish anything, if anything it will hurt my interviewing chances.
Time to write my next article...
COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE
Onto Day 37-38...