Day 31: Kashabowie to Thunder Bay (126km)
Another day I wake up when my alarm goes off and get up when the sun heats up my little tent so that I begin to wilt like a pot plant in a polythene bag. Another morning I stretch during breakfast. Ooh that feels stiff ( pirisformis, quads and hamstrings). I worry that my back is becoming increasingly wonky due – my old back injury is flaring up again.
Another day I pack up, shuffling around drinking the dregs of the coffee while waiting for the fly of my tent to dry out as it blows from a nearby tree branch.
Another morning we are about to set off and then are interrupted by “The Conversation”. You know how it goes…
“Where you ladies headed to?”
We all look round at each other. Who’s going to do it this time? Then “and where did you start? Where you headed to today?” A few exclamations of surprise, followed by comments on the road ahead and other cyclists seen in last 2 weeks, polished off with well wishes and a goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, I like telling people about the trip. I just wish the selection of questions asked could be mixed up a bit.
Another day we set off to pedal 30km before devouring protein bars for Second Breakfast.
More cycling. More sunshine. More water sipped on the move. More photos snapped
Another time zone crossed. Whoop whoop. Another merge onto a highway. More trucks, fewer rocks. Still the same deep green forest all around. The verge is lined with wildflowers: orange, yellow and white speckles like flecks of acrylic paint.
Another wildlife spot – two wolves (or where they coyotes?) run across the road. Minutes later they run back the other way in quick pursuit of some unseen prey. Another unrecognisable species of grouse sits, still as a statue, by the roadside, its body well camouflaged amongst the tall grasses. A fox runs across the road.
Another day we see bikes stopped on the shoulder ahead of us. It’s Stan and Shirley again. We hadn’t seen them since Swift Current and stop to hear their tales of the road (Stan has crashed twice due to trucks not giving them enough space on the main highway- I am so, so glad we took highway 71)
Another day the darkening clouds gather, threatening rain and thunder. We can hear before we stop the ferocious crash of water: the rusty water of Kakabeka Falls crashes violently over the rocks. The noise is as impressive as it is daunting. The clouds grow darker.
Another day we cycle 33km non stop in pouring rain. We are overtaken by lumber trucks, smelling the wet wood as it splashes past. Another day of wet socks, wet cleats. Water dripping down the neck of my jacket. Tanned thighs covered in rain drops. Another day we cycle through construction (translation: road works) and swear out loud at the idiot who squeezes past us dangerously close only to meet us again at the red light.
Another day we roll into a bike shop. More talk of gears, brake pads, tyres, cables. More protein bars purchased. More food greedily devoured after another 100km on the road.
And in the darkening fog we cycle to the campground. It’s closed. So we park in nearby park. Rain. Darkness. Slapping canvas of the tent, trees buffeted by the wind. Rain. Ache. Sleep.
Tomorrow it begins again.
Another day in Canada.