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Manitoba
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May 15- Day 39

Still no internet before I leave.

Rock on! One of the employees here made pancakes for everyone!

All my stuff is dry, and though it will probably rain, it probably won't rain too much. After that it should be smooth sailing (well, as smooth as anything ever goes for me, that is).

My chain is all rusty! I don't exactly know how, but I guess that lubricant I bought isn't as good as I thought it was. I've cleaned it and put it in proper shape now, however.

Well, everything is packed. I'm ready to go.

I'm in a rest area of the Sandilands Provincial Forest (not park), with about 50k to go until I reach Falcon Lake, about 10k from the Manitoba border. It's starting to drizzle and I'm having a GORP break.

This place is infested with tent catapillers! I only noticed a few at first, then noticed the entire outside of the bathroom is covered in them! One of them dropped from a tree on my arm, and later another crawled up my leg, both times giving me a startle! I must have crushed over a dozen of them under my feet before noticed how many there were!

At a small restaurant stop, I recorded two guys debating about the future. Didn't do the survey, I just let them talk and asked a question now and then to see what they would say. Interesting.

Time spent cycling: 5:43:12

Distance traveled: 158.29 km

Total distance: 2761 km

Average Speed: 27.6 kph

Maximum speed: 37.3 kph

Current Location: Falcon Lake, beach park

Not a bad haul for one day, considering I've been off the road for a couple days and before that I spent three days doing less than 130k. My knees are in fine condition, but I dare not remove the bandages except when I'm done for the day.

There really isn't much to say about the trip itself after that restaurant. Just a lot of peddling, peddling and more peddling. Once, during a lull in traffic, I stopped to get the eXTREMELY loud sounds of frogs and insects on my recorder, which turned out really well. Took a photo of the scene to match up with later.

Tent caterpillars litter the road, like a giant mass migration is underway and the highway is the only thing stopping it. I've never seen so many caterpillars (or worms as some locals call them) at one time. I was told it gets worse as I get farther into Ontario.

While I'm far from blind to the route I'll be taking, I don't have all the confidence in the world about it. Say what you will about #1, but it has one major advantage: it's predictable and usually direct. Still, it's about time I shook up the routine. Seems simple enough, two roads to stay on. One south, the other east.

When got to Falcon Lake, I knew I could press on further, but didn't want to push my luck. I managed to find a fellow who let me share his campsite for free, always a welcome event. Then I got some groceries. Fresh carrots and mushrooms with ranch dip for them... mmmm...

I got here at 6, and now it's a quarter to 7, so I have lots of time today. Tonight I'll read War of the Worlds. Tomorrow I might be able to get a park warden for an interview! I'll hit Ontario easy. In fact I'll probably make it to at least Whitefish Bay or Crow Lake. So the day after that I'll be in US territory. God help me.

It's cold out. Time to get inside. The shoes come inside this time. There are so many "worms" about that I fear putting my feet inside the boots if they were left outside.

Every payphone I've tried to use is dead. Back at the rest stop, and now at the campground. Hmmm... maybe some kind of terrorist action is imminent? I should be ready! (heh)

I found out from a gas station attendant that Linda and Erin arrived here on Saturday, and stayed in a motel that night (they got hit hard by the rain as well, and had enough of tenting for a while)

You know, I would have liked to have camped alone tonight, but darn it, I like people! Though I sometimes appear to be a loner (and often like to think myself as such), I very much enjoy the company of people. Besides, it's part of what this trip is about, isn't it? When Wyatt hooks up with me, however, that niche will be filled, and I'll have no problem camping away from people every night if it comes to that.



Onto Day 40...