Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Last Saskatchewan Pirate

“And it's a heave-ho, hi-ho!
Comin' down the plains;
Stealin' wheat and barley and all the other grains!
It's a ho-hey, hi-hey!
Farmers bar yer doors;

When ya see the Jolly Roger on Regina's mighty shores”

Arrrr! I was in a nasty pirate mood last night and this morning. I had gone to the municipal campground in Lloydminister, and the heartless woman there refused to let me pitch a tent, saying that the place was only for RVs. "City policy," she said, So, a room, a room, my kingdom for a room — absolutely every room was booked in town, even the most expensive ones, by oil patch workers. There must be something big going on, because every motel and hotel had big white utility pickup trucks in front of them like sets of false teeth. The only choice I had in the end, was to take a shower at the Husky truck stop and find a spot behind some trees to stealth camp in the dark.

My camping spot

I realized in the morning it wasn't so hidden

I had less than a 4 hour sleep, folding up my tent before it got light enough to be seen. Luckily it did not rain, but the skies were cloudy and grey, promising a good amount of precipitation. I was at a coffee shop right before they unlocked the doors at 5 am. I had breakfast and looked around town, then went to the tourist information office when they opened to give them a piece of my mind regarding the campground. Pointless. I am firing off a nasty email to their city hall. I can see a privately owned campground being that exclusive, but a city-owned one?

It was raining lightly when I left, but it got progressively more intense over several hours. I was barely staying awake while pedalling, and with my glasses fogging up I was so tempted to close my eyes at times. I got to Maidstone for lunch completely soaked and cold. I went into a restaurant dripping wet, occasionally nodding off while waiting for my order, and downed 3 cups of coffee along with some soup and spaghetti.

The sky lightened up after lunch and later the sun actually came out to warm me up. Still groggy but with only 40 of the 135 kms more to go by 2:30 pm, I decided to pull off the road, spread out my tarp and take a power nap and dry off. I must have looked weird to passing motorists, a cyclist passed out just beyond the shoulder. There's just no hiding in the open prairie.

my napping spot

It's amazing how the landscape has changed since crossing the provincial boundary, Saskatchewan really is so much flatter. I almost miss the pine-scented logging trucks in BC, they've given way to smelly livestock carriers out here. Especially when I'm getting splashed in the rain.

I get into the Battlefords in the mid-afternoon and crossed the river into North Battleford to find a decent motel to crash in and make up for last night's fiasco. I come up to one and asked what the rate was. The guy says to me, "For you, travelling on a bike, zero." Puzzled, I said, "That's impossible, don't you have to make money in this business?' He replied that they were doing very well, and that I should just enjoy the room and have a good meal. Wow, I am flabbergasted by his generosity.

Yar! I still feel like a pirate, one who's found gold.

1 comment:

  1. What a mean spirited policy. Glad the next day hosts made up for it in spades.