Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Falling For The First Time

“Anyone perfect must be lying, anything easy has its cost
Anyone plain can be lovely, anyone loved can be lost
What if I lost my direction? What if I lost sense of time?
What if I nursed this infection? Maybe the worst is behind.”

No, I didn't fall off my bike. This song came on the radio when I stopped at a restaurant and now it's stuck in my head. It was actually a near-perfect couple of days of cycling, good smooth roads, a nice tailwind and pastoral scenery. Hand it to the Barenaked Ladies to inject some humility and levity into the situation.

Since leaving Saskatoon the Yellowhead Highway has been much quieter and down to two lanes of traffic. Most of the volume has turned towards the provincial capital Regina and the larger TransCanada highway. Sometimes it feels like I have the road to myself, there are ten minute periods where I won't see a car or truck.

This is where farmers amuse themselves

Some hearty Prairie fare

Trying to look badass with a spare tire hanging off the side

The area around the Quill Lakes is really pretty, it reminds me of the seaside. This is a big bird watching area, with millions of birds migrating up here to breed along the vast salt marshes — Big Quill Lake is actually Canada's largest saline lake, right in the middle of the continent. It is interesting to see so many shorebirds like plovers and sandpipers. This is definitely more scenic than riding down in southern Saskatchewan, it is almost reminiscent of cycling in Flanders.


People here are really chatty, they like to tell you about things in Saskatchewan and they're curious about who you are. It's common to be greeted when you pass someone on the street or going in and out of a shop, often with a lead-in to more conversation. It makes for long stops just talking to people,  sometimes half an hour or more.

I spent the night in a rather rustic campground in Foam Lake that had two showers and only one men's toilet for 30 sites, but it was interesting that they had a movie night with a projector casting against the side of a shed. The town had a really good laundromat, though, and I left with nice clean clothes in the morning.

This is how all highways should be: well marked lanes for motorists with rumble streps when they stray, and shoulders for trucks with extra wide loads and, of course, cyclists :)

Great tailwinds, I was sometimes hitting over 40 kph especially on the newly paved stretches. But to say that things were perfect is a lie — 25 kilometres from Yorkton, a thunderstorm rained on my parade.

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