Friday, May 30, 2008

May 29 and 30, Day 23 and 24: Playing tag with the prairie winds, rain, and sun

May 29: 86km from Shaunavaun to Ponteix, Saskatchew

Today dawned clear and sunny and we saw the standard prairie summer
weather - patchy clouds materialized in the morning, the heat came on
about lunchtime, and in the late afternoon a few rainstorms appeared
and rampaged around (thankfully missing us, and we were in camp by
then). We went north for 10km and turned east on Hwy 13 and went due
east for the rest of the day, passing through Scotsguard, Admiral, the
ghost town of Crichton, lunch in the tiny crossroads town of Cadillac,
and then finishing off in the francophone town of Ponteix - complete
with a dual-towered monstrous francophone Catholic church visible for
about 8km away. The road was very low traffic and passed through
beautiful countryside all day long, rolling terrain moving away from
the Cypress Hills, and we saw tons of wildlife - before lunchtime, I
saw 10 antelope, a big hare, a nice bull snake, a great horned owl,
some deer, various hawks, lots of interesting birds, a swarm of
swallows... I think that's it.

The tiny town of Ponteix has a small campground. A boil water order
was in effect, so no drinking from the taps. Unfortunately, the
showers only had cold water! Lucky it was a very hot afternoon. The
campground was full of birds -- red-winged black birds swallows, a
lovely bird with a dull-yellow belly (grossbeak?) I have been trying
to get the perfect picture of a red-wing, and I came close when out of
a stroll before sunset.

Prairie sunsets are wonderful things, the hour before the actual sun set is full of golden light, and the sunset itself lights up the sky. At night the prairie sky is full of stars -- not a lot of light down here from big cities.

May 30, Playing tag with rainstorms on the Prairies
Ponteix to Assininboia on Highway 13
118 kms
average speed approx 20 km/hr
What a great day -- finally, a western wind! We were blown almost all the way from Ponteix to Assiniboia. Lots to see when you are spinning along, but today's new sighting was of a badger trundling through the fields. We also had a fine pronghorn antelope bound across the highway in front of us. Amazing how much there is to see on the Prairies -- and certainly you can see the weather!
After a lunch stop at Lafleche we spent the afternoon playing dodgeball with great rain cells. Mike and I took shelter at an old grain elevator and Mark, who was ahead, was able to dodge the raindrops by way of quick riding.
Tomorrow, if the winds are good, we'll try a "century" (ride of 100 miles) -- here to Wayburn. We'll see how it goes!

No comments: