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May 9- Day 33

I got eight hours, but wanted more. Oh well, I'll sleep well tonight as well. My facial growth is pretty rough, time for another shave.

I talked to a guy from New Jersey who's between jobs right now. He rides recumbents as well (and owns a few). He's been traveling all around for the past few months by car, to Asia, now Canada, and later to Europe. You could tell he was from Jersy right away when he says things like "caw-fee" (coffee) or "sawf-tee" (softy). He reminds me of Ken Shamrock in build and facial structure. We talked a long time about bikes and tours and the people you meet. I showed him my recumbent, and he showed me the fold-up bike he keeps in his car for going around the cities he visits. He's between jobs right now, and wants to keep traveling as long as he can before he has to get another.

A shower and a shave later, and I'm ready for the road. Too bad I've got headwinds to deal with (expect bitter complaining in near future).

Oh my gosh! I forgot all about the lawyer who invited me to breakfast! DARN! Free meal and an interview, what could have been better? Instead I had to go for two junior whoppers again... oh well, they were better this time.

Time spent cycling: 5:47:00

Distance traveled: 96.19 km

Total distance: 2241 km

Average Speed: 16.6 kph

Maximum speed: 25.8 kph

Current Location: behind gas station, in Broadview

Hey, wait a minute, you're saying, checking your map and distances... Broadview is about 150km away, not 96!

Well, what can I say? I had a little help.

About 10km out of Regina, I ran across a guy checking over his truck, and asked him if everything was okay. It was, and he asked me how things were with me. After telling him my woes with the headwinds, he offered to give me a lift as far as he could, which was Indian Head.

I learned in my first day of traveling back during the Halifax trip to never pass up someone's hospitality, so I agreed. Odysseus would not have said no, either! During the trip, he agreed to do the interview with me, so it turns out I got my first farmer in the deal!

The headwinds are beyond annoying. They are demoralizing. And that wasn't all. It was cold, and grey, and miserable. I fought the wind as best I might, but I was beaten like a yuppie at a Metallica concert. I tried unsuccessfully to find another ride, just enough so I could make a total of 150km distance, but to no avail at first.

At Wolseley, a driver from the other direction told me there was another couple about twenty miles ahead of me. A man and a woman, the man using a trailer flying the Canadian flag...

Glen and Steph!

At the very least, this brightened my day. Though I doubted I would catch up to them today, I must be gaining ground, unless they too spend several days resting somewhere after Calgary...

When I reached Grenfell, I found another driver who saw them, in Whitewood about fifty klicks away (I'm presuming the previous witness is bad at judging distance). He even offered to ride me up to them!

This filled me with great joy, the thought of reuniting with them after two weeks seemed wonderful. However, the driver had, to keep going west first, then would turn back and pick me up. I had done about 70K on my bike at this point, and wanted to do a little more. I told him I'd start on ahead, and he could pick me up as he passed. The man agreed.

What happened to him, I shall never know. For the rain started coming down, and the wind whipped around me, pushing me with equal force as I was using to overcome it. Then came the hail. I was cold, tiring, increasingly soaked, and two hours after meeting this person, there was no sign of him. Either he had been delayed indefinitely or he passed me by. Maybe there was a miscommunication somewhere? Regardless, by six I had enough, and stopped at the gas station in Broadview. I am presently drying my clothes Equal Damage style, with the bathroom hand dryer.

The rain persists, and will give me no peace.

Despite this delay (With this wind which is supposed to last all weekend, I only planned to make 100k today and tomorrow. Had I got the second ride I would have been a full day ahead of schedule), I have a few things to be grateful for. Winnipeg is about 400km away, which means that if all goes well, I will be there in three days. If they don't, it'll be four. At the very least I'll be in Manitoba tomorrow, easily. I will probably have caught up to Glen and Steph by then, and will continue to inquire about their status at gas stations. Also, I got a good interview, and a place to set up my tent tonight.

Sure, I'm cold, wet, and miserable... but it shouldn't last, right?

I couldn't resist this one. For 5 bucks I got an audio cassette of H.G. Welles' The Invisible Man . Sure I could have got it off the net for free, but I've never listened to an audio book before. Should be interesting.

I'm chewing jerky in Moosomin.

WHAT? You say looking back, he just said he was in Broadview! Moosomin is 70 kilometers farther than that!

Guess who showed up at the gas station?

The guy who promised me the ride earlier was overly delayed, having far more work to do than he though. But, he didn't give up on me, and looked for me along the road. He suspected I might have stopped at that very gas station I was in, and saw the unusual bike easily enough (Thanks to the gang in Lake Louise, I was pressured to buy reflective tape and a caution triangle for my bike, it made the difference). He gave me the promised ride, and I did the interview with him. Another farmer, but one of differing opinions. Reminded me a fair bit of uncle Don, to be honest. Not in appearance, but in mannerisms.

But Noah, you say, isn't this riding in trucks cheating?

Yes. Yes it is.

So it's official, this isn't a bike trip across Canada. I can rationalize the ride from Abbotsford to Chilliwack, my bike was broken. I can rationalize the pick up by Elaine, both knees were shot. But these two rides today, though offered by the drivers themselves, is basically hitchhiking. So this trip is 9 parts bike and 1 part hitchhiking. Let's not forget the real purpose of this trip: to see Canada under my own means and to meet interesting people. Since these trips were not paid for, and the fact they both did the survey did in fact pay me instead, this can be considered traveling under my own means. So it looks like I got the extra day's worth of travel after all! In this wind, rain and cold, I need it!

This leads me to other interesting possibilities. Like what if I could smuggle myself on a freight train for one or two stops? That would be cool! Maybe I could talk an big rig driver into giving me a lift sometime?

Anyways, back to the trip. I'm still wet, the drying process not complete, but load my bike up anyways (after the gentleman using the bathroom left, since my wet clothes were spread out in it).

He dropped me off at a campsite not too far from Moosomin, where he thought the cyclists might have lodged if they reached this far. They didn't. In some strange moment of weakness, I paid to stay here. I should have just found a bunch of trees somewhere. But I didn't. I don't know why, I would have preferred sleeping for free tonight by some shrubs... maybe it's because it was getting dark fast, that there are laundry machines here (to dry out clothes tomorrow), maybe the comfort factor of having people nearby since it's thundering in the distance. I don't know, but I won't do it again (yeah, right. Famous last words).

The speedometer cable broke twice, have to fix that tomorrow, too.

The campground is actually quite nice. You park your car near the site, but your campsite is surrounded by foliage, there is a very short path to it, but the effect is nice, that of entering a tranquil opening. In half an hour, however, it's too dark to enjoy. Oh well.

Tonight I finish ATWI80D. Tomorrow I track down Glen and Steph. It's not even so I have company to ride with, necessarily. It's the challenge of tracking them down.



Onto Day 34...