Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June 2 and 3: Two days in Manitoba

June 2: Carlyle to Reston
92.5 km
6:35 in the saddle

A very, very difficult day -- full on east head winds for the entire day. I spent most of the day looking at the wheel in front of me. With four riders one of the most efficient ways to handle a head wind is to draft, one behind the other. In some places the wind was so strong it almost blew us backwards! It seemed like Saskatchewan didn't want to let us go. But, we crossed the border in the later afternoon and made it to a campground in Reston.

I have discovered that cursing out the wind doesn't do any good, so I started to think about Saskatchewan. It was my first experience in the prairie and I was very impressed. Firstly, the province is full of vistas, especially in the west where the country is full of buttes and coulees. And, when the coulees are full of water and bull rushes, the bird life is quite extraordinary.

Mark, Mary, Charlie, Mike

Secondly, the people: Saskatchewan's populace is very friendly -- and not just the "let's be nice to tourists" type of friendly, but a much more genuine type of friendly. We had people pull up to us as we were riding down the road, stop the car, roll down the window and ask us where we were going and where we were from. We had people give us suggestions about where to eat, what to eat, and things that we should really see.

As well, the sense of community in these small southern Saskatchewan towns is something more places should strive for. In Eastend, a town of just over 600 people, the community raised 1.9 million dollars to support the T.Rex Discovery Centre for research and display of dinosaur fossils from the area. In Carlyle a small committee runs a huge park, campground, and pool complex. In Weyburn it seems that almost every local can tell you about the things in the community that you shouldn't miss.

I would like to come back to this part of Canada and spend a bit more time -- but for now, it is on to discover Manitoba.


June 3, 2008: A short ride to Souris
65 kms

Today we did a short day -- only 65 km from Reston to Souris. We rolled in fairly early and caught up on email and blog posts. The wind was quite friendly to us today -- still from the east, but not strong at all. We all needed the rest!

Manitoba is starting to look a little different than Saskatchewan -- a few more trees, and a lot more greenery. Highlight animal for the day -- a muskrat in a slough feeding the Souris River.

So far Manitoba looks very interesting -- more as we go on.


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