Biking Across Canada Day 16—Lacadena to Beechy, SK: Kyle has Style

When I got up this morning a pronghorn was staring interestingly at my tent. They’re so fast that by the time I got my camera ready he was too far away to get a picture.

There’s a pronghorn in that picture looking back at me.

I got packed up quickly this morning. The problem with stealth camping is they usually lack good bathroom facilities. I didn’t feel like digging a cathole by the side of the highway, so I had good motivation to get a move on.

Somewhere after the town of White Bear I saw a small plane off in the distance. I’m still developing a sense of scale here, so at first I wasn’t sure if it was a model plane or a real one. It turned out to be a crop duster, and when the pilot spotted me taking pictures, he or she came and did a few fly-bys so I could get some close-up actions shots. It was incredible, though I couldn’t help thinking of that famous scene from North by Northwest where Cary Grant is attacked by a crop duster. Fortunately, this pilot meant me no harm.

After a few hours I made it to Kyle, Saskatchewan, named after Jeremiah Kyle in 1926 (no relation—I checked with my uncle, the family’s genealogist). I first learned about Kyle, SK back in 2004 when I tried to register for my family’s email use. I couldn’t because the name was reserved for a small town in Saskatchewan. I opted to register instead, and to this day I sometimes have people think my name is John Kyles. Ever since then I’ve had it in my mind to visit the town someday, if only to get my picture by a “Welcome to Kyle” sign. Today I got that chance.

My kids are such avid readers that we’ve long joked about opening up our own branch library. Now here’s precedent.

After taking pictures of a bunch of things named Kyle, I settled into the Kyle Mammoth Bakery (the town is mammoth-crazy in the same way that Drumheller is dino-crazy) to eat pastries, drink coffee, and write a blog post and some postcards (so they would be postmarked Kyle, of course). The women at the next table started asking me some questions about my bike and my trip, and the next thing I knew Doug, the mayor, came across the street to meet me in his EMS uniform. He gave me some souvenirs—a postcard, an enamel pin, and some pamphlets. Then he asked if the reporter from the newspaper had come by yet. When I said no, he went and got Amy Wells, publisher of the Kyle Times. She asked me questions about me and my trip, took my picture, and gave me a copy of the latest issue. I used to work for the Canadian Press, so we had a nice chat about the her background, her business model, and the news industry in general. Maybe I’ll be in the next issue?

Kyle swag
“Kyle’s Woolly Mammoth,” 1981

After I’d had my fill of danishes and buttercups, I rode on for a few hours to the town of Beechy. Whoever said that Saskatchewan is flat has not seen enough of it. It has its flat sections just like Alberta and southwestern Ontario, but it also has its rolling grassy hills, coulees, and river valleys. You cannot actually watch your dog run away for days. It’s beautiful here, and I’m glad I took this long detour away from the Trans Canada.

Beechy is where I’m staying tonight. They have a campground in town that’s only $5 for tents. It lacks running water and a bathroom, but at least the price is right, and I don’t have to wait until dusk to set up my tent.

Today’s Distance: 95 km

Cumulative Distance: 1859 km

John Kyle @JohnKyle