My plan for the day was simple: champagne breakfast in Yorkton, High Tea and crumpets in Bredenbury, a gourmet dinner in Russell, and then finish up the night with cognac and Cuban cigars.
Foiled again! There were no Cuban cigars in Russell! What kind of a place is this anyway?
In all truthfulness my day went a little differently then the aforementioned plan. I faced hail coming into Yorkton, I had breakfast at MacDonalds, everything was closed in Braedenberg, I was blown off the road into a ditch, I took cover from a thunderstorm in Churchbridge.
I knew I was going to face rain, a high of 9c and 25km winds from the northeast. But I figured I was going southeast more-or-less so my destination of Russell, Manitoba, 145kms distant, was quite doable.
I got off to a quick start and made Yorkton by about 10:30am. The hail wasn’t really that bad. At least it’s dry, more or less, if not a little stingy. In addition the wind was quite manageable.
With that, I have a quiz for everyone: if there’s a 25km headwind coming from the northeast (45 degrees) and I’m cycling in a east-by-south-east direction (say 120 degrees), what is the relative intensity of the headwind I’m facing?
I’ll donate $50 to the United Way of Toronto in your name (or your parents name) to the first person that gets it right. Send your answer to me at chrisjschmitt[at]gmail[dot]com. Dak, you can do this with your eyes closed, just fire up that slide rule app on your iPad 😉
Yorkton looks like a really nice city and I wish I’d had more time to spend in it. In particular I passed the Western Agriculture Museum (chk). Unfortunately it was not open until noon. I did have a peak at some of the antique farm equipment under a shelter and it was very impressive (Steve G. you would love Yorkton).
For anyone cycling this route I suggest taking three days to get from Saskatoon to Yorkton stopping at Lanigan, Foam Lake and Yorkton and taking the time to see each town. Each has a lot to offer.
Grain elevator in Sailcoats
Getting blown off into the ditch was an interesting experience that actually went quite well. It was simply a gust of wind that did it, not a truck or anything, and it happened so quickly I didn’t know what hit me, and the shoulder was quite wide too. As I said it just happened and by some miracle I managed to stay upright and get my feet unclipped from my pedals, and by a second miracle there wasn’t a slough (a large pool of water) at the bottom of the ditch. The reason I say it went quite well, aside from not drowning, is that I really had to go pee anyway, and I didn’t even need to get off my bike (sorry if that grosses you out but extreme times call for extreme measures… and all that stuff).
After climbing out of the ditch, for the next 13kms I faced extreme gusts of wind so I made sure I kept my feet unclipped, and to hell with the aerobars: they weren’t designed for this kind of wind. My average speed for the next leg of my journey was approximately 8kms/hour and I was blown to a stop a number of times. I checked the Weather Network later and I was facing 57km winds.
I finally reached a town called Churchbridge and there under a shining beam of light stood a restaurant with a Sunday “Smorg” for $10.95 ($10.25 for seniors) which included: pizza, lasagna, BBQ pork, chicken wings, veal, shrimp, chicken balls, perogies, mixed greens, mashed potatoes, salads and desserts. The kind servers allowed me to stay, nay, demanded I stay until the storm passed. By 5:30 pm the place was packed.
I’m finding the food and accomodation to be a lot less expensive as I head east. In BC and AB you couldn’t find a hotel room for under $100 a night, more like $150, and you couldn’t get out of a restaurant for less than spending $15 for breakfast. Last night my hotel was $60 and that was after I upgraded to a queen bed. It was anything fancy but it was clean and it had a restaurant and beer.
I’ve just checked the weather and it’s more of the same until tomorrow morning. Currently, I’m warm, dry and well fed (really well fed and 4 coffees later). I’m told there’s a hotel across the way and it’s cheap and clean. That’s good enough for me.
Update: I checked in and immediately met a group in the bar that was part of the hotel. They invited me to join them at there table and bought me a drink. They introduced me to a drink called a Chillato, which is a mix of beer and tomato juice.
They were all from the area. I had a great time with these folks; it was like being with my friends back home in Ottawa. One gentleman told me how he used to cycle to work every morning. The next morning when I peeked out of my window, and there he was, cycling to work. It good to see that my journey is rubbing off on people.
Distance traveled today – 99kms
Moving avg – 15.7kms
Moving time – 6 hours and 18 mins
Elevation – 544m