Biking Across Canada Day 24—Broadview SK to Oak Lake MB—Trains, Planes & Automobiles

Okay, border crossings are an event.

Today was a mostly uneventful day. Riding along the Trans-Canada means more chances to stop for coffee, but less scenery and wildlife.

A typical view: highway on one side, railway on the other, scenery beyond.

I spent a lot of time riding along the CP railway, seeing large trains pass me by. Outside Whitewood SK I stopped at the rodeo grounds because I had to make one of those dreaded calls to customer service. While I was on hold I saw a familiar sight—one of those cropduster planes that gave me the North-by-Northwest treatment outside Kyle. I could tell it was landing taking off and landing nearby, and sure enough I spotted the runway further down the highway.

Restocking on fuel and fertilizer

When I got to Wapella (I can only assume the name is an anglicization of the nearby Qu'Appelle River) I was ready for a stop to refuel and write a blog post. Google directed me to the Home Town Cafe, but it took a few rides by before I spotted the door. Inside was a place with long tables and homestyle breakfast. I had a nice chat with a retired fellow about his e-bike that he'll ride around town (the first of two I'd have today).

The unassuming entrance

When I stopped at the Manitoba border I had a nice chat with Diane and Ed, two teachers from Minneapolis exploring western Canada by motorcycle. We took each other's pictures with the Welcome to Manitoba sign, then ran into each other further down the highway at the tourism bureau. "Do you have a motor on that thing?" Ed joked at our reunion.

Entering Manitoba meant switching to Daylight Savings Time for the second time this year (since Saskatchewan smartly abstains from the whole system). Maybe that's why I was grumpy when I got to Virden, where the traffic and poor roads made riding difficult. At the Co-op they were having a celebration of their local hockey team, with a free bbq and cake. Uncharacteristically, I turned down the free food because I didn't want to wait in line. I just wanted to get out of town. I also needed to by fuel for my stove, but in my haste I bought the wrong type which left a smelly soot all over my pot at dinner time. That grumpiness lasted a while.

Once I got settled into my tent in Oak Lake I could watch horse riders practicing across the field. It's hot tonight—the first time I've gone to sleep without crawling into my sleeping bag first.

Today's Distance: 161 km

Cumulative Distance: 2638 km

John Kyle @JohnKyle