Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Great Day, July 28.

Spragge to Sudbury - approx 120 kms

Today was a great day, the weather was great, I did not fall off my bike (which was, oh, so great!) The km's seemed to just go by really quickly. We also had a nice tailwind which helped keep our average speed up in the high twenties, even with some pretty long hills.

We did not find a campground though, so we slept at the Visitor Centre just south of Sudbury. It was ok, there were real washrooms but no showers of course. The ladies washroom was really clean but I guess the mens was not so nice (lucky for me!) I was a little concerned about Bears though, and this guy selling blueberries on the side of the road warned us about Bears too. But then he said that he had never seem near the Visitor Centre. I was not taking any chances and I opted to sleep in the van. It was pretty comfortable but I am so glad we are out of Bear Country...or at least almost.

I totally fell off my bike, July 27.

Sault Ste Marie to Spragge - 128 km

So yes, I turned into the driveway of the Spragge KOA and for some reason my bike wobbled and I could not get my feet out in time...and I fell. The good thing is I am pretty sure only Brett and Allan witnessed this umm.. incident. What I think must have happened was that I rode off the pavement a little and squished my tire, causing a "pinch flat" to occur (flat tire) so then when I swerved to return my bike to the pavement. My front tire was unstable causing me to lose control and crash. I also did not have my hands on the handlebars which added to the precariousness of my situation.

This makes two falls for me on this trip, and also the only one. I think I am just a huge clutz! Oh and it is such a coincidence that just this morning I wrote about how I had not had a flat tire in awhile. Good grief! Murphy's Law strikes again! Well I suppose I knew it was going to happen, I had been thinking I was do for a flat or a couple.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day Two In The Soo, July 26

Apparently I have a "Super Bug" that is resistant to penicillin. This is why the past two different types of antibiotics I have been on have not worked. I have no idea where I may have picked this up, except a hot tub in Osoyoos. This is such a bizarre experience, apparently this type of "Bug" is most common in the states and kinda rare in Canada... so weird!

I found all this out today when the hospital in Marathon called me and sent me to another hospital to obtain a prescription for a different type of antibiotic (one that will work) so hopefully this is the last hospital visit and now I actually know what is wrong now so I suppose I am on the road to recovery! Wooo!

In the Soo, July 25

Montreal River Harbour to Sault Ste Marie - ?? km

Food is so expensive! I suppose shopping in convenience stores really is not the most economical. However it seems to be where we end up just out of... convenience. I am pretty excited to make to Sault Ste Marie today I have some relatives that live here but I do not know if I will have time for a visit.

It was so rainy today, and we probably had the most challenging hill in a long time. The worst part is that you could see it from 5km away...just looming in the distance. A straight up probably like 7% grade with a very limited shoulder. It was brutal! But it is all over now :o)

Away from Wawa, July 24

Wawa to Twilight Campground (somewhere near the Montreal River Harbour) - 107 km

So now I believe that Ontario really is pretty hilly, I really did not want to believe that we were going to encounter anything as challenging as B.C ever again... but we did. Todays ride was pretty good, nothing too exciting I have not had flat tire in a long time, despite hitting some pretty rough pot-holes and such. Now that I have typed that I will totally have like three flats today, oh well. The campground was not anything special and its really wet everywhere. I am so not used to everything being damp all the time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We're in Wawa, July 23.

White River to Wawa - 90 km

I was the last to get up this morning, and I awoke to Aussie Rob telling everyone else about a Bear he had seen just on the other side of the parking lot. I was pretty sure he was joking so I just tried to get five more minutes of sleep before I emerged from my tent of supreme comfort (which it totally is not.) It turns out Rob was not joking and there really was a Black Bear rummaging through a dumpster. It seemed to be having a pretty good time so I went to grab my camera. However, the OPP showed up along with some other people and promptly killed the Bear. I could not believe it, the second bear that I have seen on this trip and it also died...literally within minutes of me seeing it. This is crazy!

I did snap a pretty intense picture, not sure if I should really have it on here so I just will not take any chances. The ride today was pretty hot, and I am starting to feel the humidity. We all started noticing it when we got close to Kenora but it is becoming more intense.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The original home of Winnie The Pooh! July 22.

Marathon to White River - 97.5 km

I was so excited to come to White River, but it really was not what I expected. There is supposed to be a Winnie museum here but it is really small and I do not think the guys wanted to spend another potential $18 to just walk around a small shop and see some Winnie stuff.
So we opte
d to just camp in the Tourist Centre parking lot and have some dinner at the Robin's Doughnuts. I also experienced a Husky truck stop shower for the first time. That was interesting, you pay $5 and you can spend as much time in there as you want. It is also so much cleaner then most of the campgrounds we have stayed in. I would definitely recommend it.

We ran into Aussie Rob (another cyclist that is doing the trip unassisted) at the tourist centre. It is funny how we keep meeting up, I think we both took a rest day in Thunder Bay so we ended up staying on a pretty similar schedule. Apparently Roger's cell phones have no service all throughout this area, I however have a Bell phone and its great! But for some reason it refuses to change the time, so I'm still on Calgary time.

I am a little worried about our stuff, because we are not really in a campground. But hopefully no one bothers us too much.

The Fateful Day, July 21

Terrace Bay to Marathon - 78 km

Today was a terrible day, not only did Brett, Allan and I see a baby bea
r get run over by a ruthless pickup truck but we all went to the Hospital in Marathon (group activity for the day.) Nothing too serious, I'm just back on antibiotics. Brett's knee is in need of rest again and Kelly has some swollen lymph nodes caused by a reaction to black fly bites. It really was not a good day I am not sure I am going to be able to ever forget the terrible image of that baby bear. It was brutal and violent. Ir really was a sad day.

On a lighter note we all left the hospital in fairly good spirits, I snapped this picture as we all headed out of Emergency and about to head down to the Mac's to get some post Emerg slurpees.

Waitresses don't like us, July 20.

Nipigon to Terrace Bay - 107.9 km

I really have a thing for Husky Restaurants, well actually just their crinkly french fries and gravy. Mmmmm.... I thinks it is some weird comfort food thing. Anyhow, we had the worst service ever at the Husky in Nipigon. It was brutal we sat there for a half hour before anyone even noticed we were there. Then once we finally ordered it was practically an hour before my french fries arrived... yeesh! Oh and the worst part, they were not even the crinkly ones! Jeepers creepers!

We ate out twice today, when we arrived in Schrieber we really needed a little something to get us the other 16km to Terrace Bay. You must check out Brett's blog and the pictures that explain our experience at that restaurant. It is mildly hilarious.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Biggest Suspension Bridge in Canada, July 19.

Thunder Bay to Nipigon - 98.5km

Oh I love these short days that we have every once in awhile, it is just such a nice feeling when the distance is under 100km. We did however experience the worst roads of the trip today, and I totally got left behind when I dropped my camera. My brand new had not even taken a single picture, yet, camera. I was rather perturbed by this and the construction. The highway all of a sudden turned into gravel, a soft gravel road is not road bike friendly. It was really quite scary and being passed my vehicles and heavy machinery just added to my anxious state. But we all made it through and once again we were left with another story to add to our library.

We make a slight detour off the highway for the Ouimet Canyon Suspension Bridge, I really wanted to see it and it is the biggest one in Canada. So we paid our $18 (yes eighteen!) to see it. It was pretty interesting, I thought it might be a little scarier... but even the guys that were working on it did not seem to worried. So we trotted across and took some pretty cool pictures.

On the hike back to the parking lot I was totally attacked by a wasp. Initially I thought it was a horse fly so I swatted it away. But then when it came back... and was totally mad I made a "mad" dash for the bathroom. I made it :o) The wasp I think finally decided to leave me alone and after a quick rest we saddled up again to head on to Nipigon.

The campground was "ok" I experienced my second outhouse or pit-toilet of the trip and I would rather not remember it. I cannot believe campgrounds charge people to stay and use an outhouse...yuck! We did a ton of laundry though and we should all be smelling nice and fresh for the next few days :o)

R&R (kinda,) July 18.

The Rest Day - 0 km

We had the most amazing opportunity to stay with Kelly's cousins and it was wonderful! Tracey and Bruce Kennedy totally welcomed us into their home yesterday and it was such a great experience. We had planned to do some boating today but the weather seemed as though it was going to rain. So we ended up having the bikes tuned and I purchased a new camera. It was pretty fun to hang out for a day, I just wish we had done some more Thunder Bay stuff but we had so many little errands that it took up too much of our time. We came back to The Kennedy's for a second night and to get our Halo fix! Oh such a great day! We also had the most amazing dinner, it was absolutely deeelicious!

We were totally spoiled and it is going to make going back to tents and camp stoves all that much more difficult.

The second broken Camera, July 17.

Upsala to Thunder Bay - 143.8km

Everything was going well, everyone was feeling good today the sun was shining. Then when we stopped for a break at the time zone change thingy and I closed the van door on my camera...my brand new not even a week old replacement for the last camera that just quit working. AHHHHH! I totally wrecked the screen :o( it was oh so frustrating. But we are on our way to Thunder Bay and I will just have to buy another one when we get there. I might try to return it or maybe get an exchange but I really do not think that the warranty covers this.

Today's ride seemed to take forever but it was really nice. The weather was perfect and my cyclist tan is coming along nicely (unfortunately.) I may resort to cycling in my bathing suit to even out some of these bizarre tan lines. We eventually did make it to Thunder Bay and we all decided that the Terry Fox memorial would be a great place to end the day and start the next. We do have a for sure, absolute rest day tomorrow and I am so excited! My legs are too!

The Terry Fox memorial was really inspirational and it was great to learn a bit more about him and his tremendous accomplishment.

A half rest day, July 16.

Ignace to Upsala - 108.8 km

It turns out that Rob the Australian whom we met yesterday on the highway fixed Brett's bike. So unfortunately no rest day, but its all good the more ahead we get the better chance of making it back to Calgary for August 29! I still was a little disappointed though, but having a rest day in Ignace would not have been much fun anyway. So we had a super casual morning and another cyclist (that I forgot to mention) stayed with us last night too and actually made pancakes. We had half a rest day and still made it to Upsala in pretty decent time.

I am beginning to realize that going "RV'ing" with my Grandparents in the summer when I was younger is a very different form of "camping". I mean we called it going "camping" but I realize now that it was not camping it was RV'ing. I miss RV'ing VERY much, and I miss RV Parks with multiple swimming pools and watching movies after microwaving popcorn. But this trip is more about the experience and oh. my. goodness. The experiences we have had are going to provide us all with enough stories to liven up even the most boring cocktail party.

For example, Brett and I made spaghetti for dinner tonight and unfortunately I realized that some of the pasta had gone bad because somehow it had gotten wet. So, I left it by the fire pit thinking that we could maybe toss it in if we had a fire. Well, we did not end up having a fire and a few hours after we had retired to our tents. I hear Aussie Rob yelling about a wolf. I totally thought I was dreaming, but it turns out a dog had wondered over to our campsite and decided to eat the spaghetti...it definitely was not a wolf but I guess it growled to let Kelly and Rob know that it meant business about that pasta and I suppose, in the dark, when people are half asleep any dog could potentially be a "wolf".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yes, I wear spandex padded butt shorts, July 15

Dryden to Ignace - 110 km

It was really nice to have a shorter day today, its almost like having a rest day. Which we are totally having tomorrow! Wooo, the only thing is that we are in Ignace and there really is not much here. We did find a pretty yummy Chinese restaurant and a campground with WI-FI :o) So things are still pretty good, but the reason for our rest is Brett has two broken spokes and we need a tool that we do not have. So I think we are heading back to Dryden tomorrow to hit up a bike shop that Kelly thinks he might have seen when he was driving around downtown. But I am pretty excited to be spandex free tomorrow! I am still not quite over my phobia of being seen in public wearing spandex, padded butt shorts :o(

Cycling really is a weird sport, however I was really into Equestrian stuff up until last December when I sold my horse :o( and you know Equestrian attire really is not all that cool either. I mean going grocery shopping in riding breeches and boots (complete with spurs) is nearly as humiliating as walking around small towns across Canada wearing cycling shorts. Hmmm... maybe I just have a thing for sports that require odd clothing. Anyhow, I have seven more weeks to get over this or perhaps just realize my need of therapy when I return home. I have had a few experiences on this trip that I have thought ,I might potentially be telling to a therapist someday... this is such an incredible experience though. Whether I require therapy or not at the end of it.

I'm still waiting to see some hills, July 14

Kenora to Dryden - 135.6 km

I am beginning to think that thunder storms are a daily occurrence in this part of the country. I usually really like thunder storms, particularly late at night when I'm at home...in a bed... with hot chocolate. Not when I am trying to pedal my way across the country. But still lightening is pretty darn cool! The rain also keeps the horseflies away. Holy Jeepers! Those things are dumb, they fly right into you and bounce off (one bounced off my upper lip...gross.) They also swoop around you trying to land while you're riding at like 30+ km/h.

Ok, so I'm not sure if anyone else wrote about this but the horseflies actually started bothering us when we were still in Manitoba. Somewhere around Falcon Lake is actually when these demon flies started showing up. One even managed to bounce off my neck and end up down my shirt. I was pretty sure that this had happened and I screamed... but then there didn't seem to be anything... ummm... in my shirt. So I continued riding for a few more moments until I heard a buzzz... I totally screamed again realizing that it was actually in there and then I proceeded to do a face plant into the Manitoba gravel shoulder and then Kelly ran into me... well mostly he just grazed my right hip... ouch! It was definitely an unfortunate series of events :o(

However no one really laughed at me, at least not out loud. I'm sure I looked pretty hilarious, I just couldn't get my feet out of the clips quick enough. But seriously, horseflies are almost as terrible as mosquitoes.

OntarryarryO! July 13

Richer to Kenora 158.8 km

I can't believe we are in Ontario! However in a week or so I will be thinking "I can't believe we are STILL in Ontario." Holy moly this is a huge province! But still exciting... we are almost half way. Although in Manitoba we passed the longitudinal centre of Canada.. and we stopped for photos of course :o) But, the true half way point for our trip won't happen until Sault Ste Marie. The frequency of disgusting road kill sightings have significantly decreased since we left Saskatchewan... and since I wrote that one blog entry. Hmmm... coincidence?

But the weather is much nicer now... I think my arms have tanned as much as they are going to. The rest of me really needs to catch up and we REALLY need a beach day if we come across a sweet beach. Perhaps in Thunder Bay :o) It better be nice! A fellow at the campground in Richer told Kelly that the hills in Ontario were comparable to B.C. But NO WAY, if you can see the top of the hill before you even start climbing it, it really shouldn't be considered a hill. It really was a nice ride though, you could pretty much coast down one "hill" and then coast up the other "hill".

We, of course did not get a very early start again today and we arrived in Kenora pretty late. Too late to really enjoy it. However we did find "Luby's" 24 hour market :o) Cheezies are so satisfying and what is it about five-cent candies! I love them so much :o) The campground people stayed open late for us and I was oh so delighted to find out that the showers were FREE! Ahhhhhh.... I totally had a half hour shower.

I thought we were going to have a rest day in Kenora tomorrow because we realized that we were a day ahead. Totally by accident we made up a day somewhere in Manitoba. This is so exciting because we still need to be back in Calgary for August 29. I really hope we make it. I have however been making note of the cool things we might have time to see on the way back west. Specifically a Hemp maze west of Brandon :o) I have never experienced a corn maze so if I find one of those somewhere along the way I would really like to stop there too. But, the schedule is important and we really need to keep trudging on... to the east! To St John's and the finale of the best summer ever! Well, definitely the most adventurous summer ever!

I will be (in) Richer! July 12

Portage to Richer - 145.8 km

Today was really REALLY rainy, it was so uncomfortable. But the tailwind was intense! We would actually accelerate when the wind gusted. It was pretty awesome. Manitoba is a pretty cool province too, so far Saskatchewan is still my fav. I guess it just reminded me of Alberta, I'm beginning to get a little homesick. I think I have called me Dad more in the last two weeks than I have in the last six months. I don't think he minds too much though :o)

However, today was a great day! I saw my really super fabulous friend Cheryl and we had a super delicious lunch at the Flying J in Headingly (the most intense truck stop I have ever seen!) Brett's parents caught up with us again, but the waitresses at the restaurant weren't very accommodating and Cheryl, Gord and I had to sit at a separate table :o(

Anyhow, the ride just got wetter after we rode around Winnipeg. It was pretty yucky, but the wind was great. We made pretty decent time considering we left pretty late that morning. I kinda suggested that we try for Kenora today to take advantage of the wind, but it was just too wet and uncomfortable. We made it to Richer which was our goal destination for the day and I just had enough, along with almost everyone else (majority rules!)

We found a cool campground with a hot tub and pool, but after a quick hot tub experience Brett wasn't feeling so... hot. So we headed into Steinbach to find a hospital. It was a much shorter wait than I had in Cranbrook and it turns out he has the same thing I had. The Doc decided to do some tests to find out what was making us sick... so we should hopefully be getting a phone call in a few days. It was the strangest thing, and definitely not a very pleasant experience. But he has some sweet antibiotics and should be all better in no time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Portage or Portage? July 11

Brandon to Portage la Prairie (204.5 km)

Today was pretty super, Brett is back! We have a pretty decent tailwind today too, I once again had no idea how far we were planning on going and I really didn't expect another 200km day. But, we did need to make up for cutting yesterday short and still make it to our destination for the day.

Brett's parents drove down from Provost, AB and took us all out for a late dinner in Portage. This was oh so fabulous, just being able to eat indoors is such a luxury right now. Also having a super cool convertible as a support vehicle is also pretty luxurious!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oh the wind, July 10

Moosomin to (not quite) Brandon

Today we definitely had the most intense headwind yet. It was so bad, maintaining 20km/h was nearly impossible. However, because I was going so slow I noticed a lonely Optimus Prime lying on the side of the road. For a few seconds I debating stopping and saving him from his roadside hideaway. Then I quickly dismounted and snapped him up, mostly because I wanted to sing the Transformer song when I saw the guys in the van. It was...oh so funny (but you really needed to be there.)

That was pretty much the highlight of the day, finding a plastic transformer on the side of highway 1 about 70kms West of Brandon. Anyhow, he is now the van mascot and he keeps Allan company :o)

But, seriously...this headwind was intense. The highways in Manitoba were actually pretty decent until we made it to just outside of Virden. Then the shoulder just disappears, it just turns into a gravel strip that is totally not road bike friendly. Kelly and I made it about half an hour further and then the wind was just too crazy. So... for the first time of the entire trip (and hopefully the last) we cut the day short and racked the bikes. We also needed to make it into Brandon at a good time to enjoy a wonderful dinner at the coolest restaurant in Brandon, Tastee's Ice Cream and Grill. It was oh so fabulous and has the most wonderful owner (and the best milkshakes EVER) who also provided us with a warm and dry place to sleep for the night :o)

After sleeping in a tent for the majority of the past three weeks, I thoroughly enjoy just being in a house. Tenting and camping are just fine but I am really looking forward to re-domesticating myself. That is a very long way away, considering we have just arrived in Manitoba. But, still... Manitoba! This is huge in a few more days we are going to be half way. Well maybe a week, in a week we are going to be half way to St John's.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Roadkill....stinks!!! July 9

White City to Moosomin (the 200+km day!)

I have come to the conclusion that Skunks must be suicidal. Seriously, they must reach a point in their lives where they can no longer live with their own stench and decide to go out with one final blaze of glory (that must last at least a week.) Every day I see and/or smell approximately four or five of these decomposing self haters. Today was exceptionally disgusting, there were not only five dead skunks but also two Antelopes several cats and maybe two coyotes, oh and about a million gophers. EW! I close my eyes when I ride by these lifeless heaps of fur, but it sure gives me the heebie jeebies! I heard this statistic the other day (no idea of the source) but approximately forty thousand animals are killed on the highways each year in Canada. This is insane! I have never run over anything in my car, except a gopher once and I aimed for it. Then felt really bad about it and never did it again :o(

People seriously need to try and avoid hitting the animals, because it is super disgusting when cyclists have to ride by them, and it is also really sad.

On a lighter note, we rode about 220 kms today! Woooooo! It was the longest day ever, but then I lost my sunglasses riding to the campsite and ended up doing another 5k trying to find them. So... it was an even longer day. I really hope we have a tailwind tomorrow, because I am totally going to need it!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

White City? Hmmm..... July 8

Moose Jaw to White City

I was a little sad to leave Moose Jaw, there was so much to see there and do. I was trying to convince the boys that we should have a spa day. But, they didn't really go for it. However we did go to Rouleau, SK. Most of you might know it better as Dog River!!! Oh I was so excited, and I spent too much money at the gift shop (which was actually the police station.) It was so much fun and we took so many pictures, ahhhhhh good times :o)

I did have another flat tire today but this one was major, I had a piece of metal actually sticking out of it. But its all fixed now, yeah :o) We hung out in Regina for a bit today, as I had to buy a new camera. It was a sad moment for my old one (which is only a year old.) But it went through a lot, it fell in the Colorado River last summer and it went up a few mountains with me so it had a good life. Poor thing.

My new one is not quite as cool and I totally didn't realize that it didn't have a rechargeable battery :o( Our campground is complete with swimming pool, but they closed it early :o( its only eight something (pm) and it is supposed to be open until nine. Boo!

We still need to remember to buy propane for the stove, we cooked hot dogs over the fire tonight, in true camping spirit. Which was kinda nice, but I'm not sure how the campground people are going to feel about us using a branch from one of their bushes (oh well, what they don't know can't hurt them... or us.)

Monday, July 7, 2008

I love Moose Jaw, July 7

Herbert to Moose Jaw

So when I thought it was bad that I was having flat tires, the van actually gets a flat today. A pretty major non-fixable one and we have to buy a new tire. We also had to drive all over Moose Jaw trying to find a place that actually has a the tire we need. But we find one and have a rather interesting lunch at a "Bonanza" I have never been there before but I guess there used to be one in Camrose that both Kelly and Brett remember. Anyway... it was so weird I really can't explain it. If you ever get a chance to dine at a "Bonanza" you must try it because it is... interesting.

Ok so Moose Jaw is so cool! I know you're thinking, Moose Jaw? But seriously, Al Capone... the tunnels... a theme motel! I totally love this place. That and they have free internet in the entire downtown, paid for by the SK government. The battery in my laptop is about to die and I have to cut this blog short and we still have to find a campground for tonight. Its off to Regina tomorrow and hope the tailwind we had today sticks around as long as possible.

Oh one more thing, I still had another flat today! I really need to start a flat tally :o(

Please, no more flat tires. July 6

Gull Lake to Herbert

The wind was definitely not behind us for most of today and it was brutal. So much for out 35 k/h today it was more like 15 k/h. The wind is really hard to get over, you just have to put your head down and spin through it. Its really tough but we make it to Herbert, not nearly as quick as we wanted to. I also had another flat today, and I'm not sure how long I was riding on it. I thought it was just really tough because I was tired and the headwind. I guess I should know by now to check my tires first :o)

We decided to ride to Herbert and then drive back to Swift Current so that we could stay with a wonderful lady that happens to be Maureen Schwarz's mother. It was so nice to be in a house again and Swift Current is a great place. I think I'm just so happy to be out of B.C. the mountains were really starting to get on my nerves.

Saskatchewan already! July 5

Medicine Hat to Gull Lake

So we had a slight incident with the keys this morning and for a few moments I truly thought I was going crazy. However I still might be going crazy, but we found the keys (in Allan's pocket) L.O.L! Oh man, that was quite the start to the day. We drove back to the pseudo Tee Pee/Easter Egg thing as that was where we left off yesterday. The sun is shining and the wind is definitely blowing. As soon as we left Medicine Hat city limit a massive tailwind picked us up and took us all the way to Gull Lake. I made it flat free this time :o) which doesn't happen very often for me. But yeesh, this was really spectacular I think our average speed was about 35 km/h. We arrived at the Gull Lake campground with plenty of time to enjoy ourselves and relax from the day. This is usually not the case.

However we have more campstove trouble, we kinda forgot to buy more of those little propane bottle things. You know, the things that actually fuel the stove. Anyhoo Allan and Kelly made do with the fire and Brett and I walk around town until we find something that is open, it happens to be a super yummy Chinese restaurant. The only thing is they don't have air conditioning and it is so hot in there I think I'm going to pass out. But they make the most amazing milkshakes, definitely the second best milkshakes in the word. My Dad makes the best, even though he likes to put raw eggs in them (heehee.)

Anyhow, we end up back at the campsite at about 8:30pm and I have to ice my Achilles a bit as today it started bugging me again. It is so weird, it doesn't bug me too much when I'm on the bike but when I get off and start walking it is really tight and swollen, sometimes I can feel my foot swelling in my cycling shoe. But still just a minor issue and most days it doesn't bug me at all.

Oh and if there is anyone out there that still thinks Saskatchewan is flat, you definitely have never been here. Saskatchewan is really beautiful and I am really enjoying it. Perhaps more than B.C. because of the lack of gigantic quadricep inflating mountains. But, its all good :o) This trip is so incredible

Sure, I can ride faster than a thunderstorm. July 4

Lethbridge to Medicine Hat

Oh packing is so very stressful, but everything is once again back in the van and we are once again leaving Lethbridge to continue the rest of our ten week journey. The morning started out really nice and we expected it to be a super hot day...

So we're almost to Coaldale when the thunder and lightening starts getting closer, and closer. It is getting to the point where the lightening will flash and then the power lines will buzz (I had never experienced that before.) So we kick it up a notch which wasn't too difficult as we had a killer tailwind that assisted us in our race to the Coaldale 7/11. We reach our convenient safe haven just in time to realize that we have lost the van. Also, none of us have a cell phone with us... but the very nice ladies allow me to use their phone and the only number I can remember is Brett's cell and of course he is not answering. Just when it appears we might have a long wait the van pulls up, yeah!

We all take a minute to down some super yummy (not) gels and then we are on our way again. We stop again for a quick recharge at the McDonald's in Taber and then the long haul to Medicine Hat really begins. There have been so many surprises already on this trip and they just keep happening when we least expect it. In Burdett, Alberta we ride past a John Deer dealership only to see an HD mechanic driving an APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) SO COOL! So of course we have to stop climb on top and have our picture taken :o) ...picture coming soon.

Today is a super long day even though we started fairly early, and of course I am the only one to have a flat tire. But with a super crazy lightening fast tire change by Chris from Alpenland we are all on our way again and trudging along to the "Easter Egg" which is actually a Tee pee. I thought it would be a good place to end the day and start tomorrow. However it involved hiking up a rather steep hill that I did not enjoy after a 180 km ride.

We have done 180 km before, but then we had two days off. Tomorrow will be another 160 km and it will be interesting to see how we are feeling after the long haul today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The second rest day, July 3.

I really needed just one more day to let my Antibiotics get into high gear and prepare for the next eight weeks. I am so excited to get going again, the prairies are going to hopefully go quickly so that we can get through to the next tough province, Ontario. I ran into a lady at the campground in Creston who had cycled cross the country many years ago, she averaged 130 miles a day and she mentioned that Ontario was the toughest.

I can't imagine Ontario being any tougher than B.C. and we should be even fitter by then too. I guess we will just have to find out when we get there. Tomorrow will be another long ride to Medicine Hat and 160 km closer to St Johns.

The first rest day, July 2.

It was so nice to sleep in a real bed and not wake up in a tent. Oh and sleeping in was definitely a bonus as well. We usually don't get up too early which usually leaves us riding during the hottest part of the day. I don't think we will make that mistake anymore.

We ride over to the University for a BBQ and say hi to everyone that is and was involved with the planning and executing of our trip. It was great! I didn't expect there to be so many people, the food was great and it was really wonderful to chat about our experiences so far and our expectations for the rest of the summer.

We had planned to head to Medicine Hat tomorrow but I think I just need one more day to give my bod a chance to recuperate.

Back in AB!! July 1

We completed our first "Century" today, which is a ride over 100 miles. This is pretty exciting as it has definitely been the longest ride for both Kelly and I but Brett has done a ride this long before. Just knowing that we are capable of this is a huge boost. My Dad met us near Blairmore and is going to ride with us most of the way to Lethbridge. This is going to be a nice change and I definitely feel refreshed despite the fact that we didn't sleep much last night

We stopped in Fort Macleod for lunch and it was a good thing we did, we missed the crazy downpour that Lethbridge experienced. It wouldn't have been much fun riding in that. We still had rain East of Fort Macleod but it wasn't too bad. Its getting covered in road grime that is the most irritating. Most of the big trucks change lanes to avoid showering us in the road sludge. But somehow we all end up drenched and sandy, having a shower is definitely the thing that I look forward to most after a long ride. Well showers and dinner :o)

We arrived in Lethbridge in the late afternoon and it was so nice to be back in a house. Even though it is only for a short time, I'm so excited to have a rest day tomorrow, and head to the University for a BBQ and to see everyone that has been supporting us.

Who needs to rest, not me! June 30

So I wasn't going to write about how I was told by the ER Doc I saw last night to come back this morning and see a different Doctor. But I noticed on Brett's blog that he already wrote about it so... I went back and saw another Doctor and he told me to take the next few days off and gave me a prescription for some more, but different Antibiotics than what I was given last night. This is such a gong show, I had no idea that anything like this would happen. But this is such a minor thing that I can't justify a rest day.

So we head out for Sparwood and its definitely a long day, it doesn't start to get hot until later but when it does I definitely feel it. I had to sit in the van for a bit again and cool down. I'm not sure what I 'm doing wrong. I think the rest day in Lethbridge will be all I need to get back to my old self again. It is another long day but the ride is nice and I'm still looking forward to what the rest of the summer might bring.

Hotta and hotta, June 29

Oh. My. Goodness. Today was hot, oh so hot. The ride was really nice but I once again have one more flat tire. However we finally realize what was causing them all, its a quick fix with some electrical tape and we're off again. After all the hills and mountains we have encountered in the last few days the relatively flat ride today is a nice change.

The most evil part is riding through Moyie and around Lake Moyie. It is so hot out and so many people are out skiing and tubing, I really just want to stop and jump in the lake for a few minutes. I end up having to cross the highway and stand in some shade for about ten minutes, I down a couple Cliff Shots and a water bottle and then I was ready to go again.

As soon as we arrive in Cranbrook I head into the gas station to enjoy the air conditioning. This is also the first time that we receive incorrect directions on finding a campground. Seriously Cranbrook isn't that big how on earth could two gas station attendants give us incorrect directions? Its pretty crazy, but we end up finding the campground on our own anyway. We luck out again with a really nice spot, its just really sunny and so hot. Brett and I do some intense stretching and I start to feel really ill. Brett and I head into Cranbrook to try and find a pharmacy or drug store that might still be open. But it is a long weekend and we are unsuccessful. So....its off to the hospital and a long wait in the Emergency Room. It turns out that whatever is ailing me is nothing serious and I'm given some Antibiotics. I wish we could afford a rest day tomorrow but we are already a little behind and it is very important for us to be back in Lethbridge for August 29.

I guess I will see how I feel tomorrow morning.

The Biggest Summit yet, June 28

It was another hot day again today and I really need to eat more when I'm riding. But it was definitely refreshing to reach the top of the Kootenay Pass (1774 m.) I really didn't know it was going to be quite that big. We stopped in Salmo for something to eat and once we got about fifteen kms out of town we saw the sign stating that there could be severe weather changes throughout the pass. We definitely don't need to worry about that today.

However I do end up with another flat tire today, I had two yesterday within ten minutes of one another. There must be something going on. I do have super skinny tires and I did anticipate having a lot of flats but this is crazy. Kelly was just in front of me and I let him know what happened and to send the back so I could change the tube. Well actually so Brett could change my tube :o) Brett is the tire changing master! I should really start paying him or something.

With the tire all pumped we were ready to go and reach the summit of the Kootenay Pass. I actually thought we still had a long way to go but I turned the corner and realized that I had already reached the top it was so fabulous! We took a bit of a break and a ton of pictures and then started back down on the way to Creston.

The down hill lasted for 35 km with some little hills in between but it was definitely a nice reward for all the hard work to get to the top. Creston is in a large valley and it is definitely the first town we have come across with grain elevators. We find a really great campground in town and start the setting up of the tents.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Goodbye Christina and hello Fruitvale, June 27

We once again are all excited to get moving for the day. Mostly just because there is a Walmart in Trail and that means we finally get a new camp stove!!! Its been forever since we have been able to make our own dinner and its definitely starting to get expensive. Also cooking on the open fire is nice but the pots get REALLY dirty.

Highway from Christina Lake is far more hilly than I expected, we have the Bonanza Pass Summit (1535 m) and the Nancy Greene summit (1576 m) and the It is so hot, my bike computer says its 48.5 degrees (its probably more like 36) but yeesh I'm hurting really bad. Its a rough one today and my quads are burning big time. Whenever I stop for a break and then get back on my quads burn for the first couple spins and then they just feel like lead. But I totally make it to the top!

By the time we make it to Trail I am once again so hungry that I'm nauseous I really need to eat more on the bike. I'm just running out of things that I want to eat. Cliff Bars are good but I can't eat them anymore, I mostly just crave potato chips but I feel as though I should eat some more healthy stuff. However Kelly seems to do just fine with his daily bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, seriously Doritos should have sponsored us or definitely Kelly :o)

Our initial destination for today was Montrose but to find a campground we end up in Fruitvale. Our routine is to just stop at a gas station and ask about campgrounds, we have lucked out every time :o) This one is a little old but the people that own it are really super nice and have the craziest looking dog ever, he seems like a really nice old puppy :o)

The mosquitoes are brutal and attack with fierce determination, we slather on some serious Deet laced bug stuff and enjoy the fire as we once again don't have the internet at this campground. But we do have a camp stove that works really well and fortunately there is no risk of being lit on fire :o)

Christina Lake! My favourite! June 26

This morning is a pretty somber one, we are all worried about Brett and although he feels "ok" it is decided that he probably shouldn't try to ride today. It is a lonely ride for me to Grand Forks. I just get lost in thinking about what it is going to feel like to complete this ride, it is going to be so amazing to make it to St. John's.

I have never been further East then Ontario so I'm very excited to see the Maritimes! It would be exciting to be in Quebec during Le Tour de France, but we will still be in Ontario.

We all arrive in Grand Forks and stop at the DQ for lunch, I'm so hungry and starting to feel sick. I have definitely experienced bonking now and I do not want to have that happen again. It makes me ummm... really emotional and being the only girl on the trip I definitely don't need to be any more uhhh...expressive.

During lunch Brett manages to get a massage appointment which is totally miraculous so we take a small layover in GF and I enjoy quite possible the yummiest Chai Tea Latte ever made!

Then its off to Christina Lake, I have spent so many summer vacations there. But not for some time now and its really great to go back there :o)

We arrive in the early evening and I notice a bike/coffee shop that we decide to stop at the next morning.
The weather is a little cool and it is disappointing but we don't really get to enjoy the lake, which is actually the warmest tree lined lake in Canada (just some tasty trivia for you.) Instead we just chill at the campsite and read as we don't have internet access at this campground.

The next day is going to be a challenging hilly one, with the biggest summit we have encountered yet!

Anarchist Shhhhmanarchist! June 25

Today is going to be a good day, I'm excited to tackle the Anarchist. I suppose we have all made it over two passes now and we feel pretty confident. The plan was to wake up early to get going before it gets too hot. However, we totally luck out. The weather is perfect slightly overcast and quite cool. We expect that it will take about two hours to complete. Brett, Allan and I were talking to some other cyclists yesterday in Keremeos and they mentioned that it takes them about two hours to do and that they "are pretty slow." I don't imagine they are that slow by the looks of their lean fit bods.

I am so excited though, I feel almost like when I ride a roller coaster. Probably because people just know of this hill and after we can say we've done it!

The ride really is not that bad, and we're all doing really well....until we see the statues marking the different private drives just before the summit. Of course, We all have to stop for some sweet Kodak Moments!

Anyhow, we all have our picture taken with the Moose, Cougar and the best one of all the Sasquatch! (Actually I'm not exactly sure how to spell that...) Some character had strategically placed a Kokanee box in his hand.

With the Anarchist under our belts we begin the decent down into Rock Creek. Brett flies by both Kelly and I, pedaling like a mad man to try and beat his fastest speed so far. Coming down some of the mountains yesterday he hit 71km/h, so far mine is 70km/h. The challenge has begun. I thought I might hit 80km/h as the down side of Anarchist is really straight and you don't have to worry about slowing for the turns. But I end up at a meager 65km/h I just wanted to enjoy not pedaling for a little while :o)

Rock Creek is a cute little BC town, but no time to enjoy it as we are headed to Grand Forks. Until.... we make it just out of town and Brett's knee just decides that its done for the day. We haven't seen Kelly or the van for awhile so we just sit on a cement barrier and wait.

Pretty soon Kelly roars up and it turns out that he blew through a tire too.... fortunately there was an extra in the van or we definitely would have had to find another bike shop. But the news still isn't good for Brett so we decide to stay in Rock Creek at the Kettle River RV park. It is so nice and the showers are amazing! I would really like to go back, hopefully with our RV. Tents are easy and packable but not so comfortable or luxurious. I'm definitely used to RV'ing compared to tenting. My first real tenting experience was last summer on the
U of L Geography SW trip.

We also decide that trying the decrepit camp stove is a bad idea. So its dinner at the 'Gold Pan' in Rock Creek. It is so fabulous, probably the best french fries I have ever had! Oh and the gravy, is totally grrrravy baby! Yum!

Well its back to the campsite and hopefully Brett feels better in the morning.