Friday, August 2, 2013

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

“So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough.”

I left the Yellowhead Highway today, as it continued on its eastward course towards Winnipeg. I've headed south towards Brandon with the intention of crossing the international border into North Dakota.

The first thirty kilometres on MB10 was hell on a shoulderless highway with a lot of traffic. It was slow going as I had to bail out on the gravel every time trucks were coming from either direction, then wait for a lull in traffic to get back on the pavement. The worst was when a several trucks moving houses came along, kicking up dust as they drove half on the gravel and I had to move out of the way into the grass and still got pelted with small stones. Friendly Manitoba indeed.

The road vastly improved on the approach to Brandon and I made up for lost time on the smooth newly paved shoulders. Crossing the Trans Canada Highway was like coming into contact with the country's main artery, heavy with traffic and lined with services. I went into downtown Brandon to withdraw from my US dollar account, as I probably will have less opportunities to use my debit card in the States, and grabbed a very late lunch.

My destination for the day was Wawanesa, where a high school classmate now lives. I haven't seen Anna in almost 36 years, she moved up here from New Jersey not too long ago. I had been to Wawanesa on my first bike ride across Canada, and it was a bit sentimental being back on the Red Coat Trail towards a little town made famous by its insurance company. The nostalgia paled in comparison when I finally met up with Anna and her husband Daniel for an awesome fish and chips dinner, and we stayed up in a pub until almost midnight. It was great to reconnect with a friend after all these years.

“Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road.”

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