Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 17 & 18, May 23 & 24: The Taber Pancake Breakfast is Saved, and other stories

Day 17 - Taber to Bow Island
61 km
4:57 on the bike
12.4 km / hr
After promising ourselves we'd stay in Taber, we woke to clearing skies in the east and a reduced wind, so we headed out of town eastwards - so we won't be visiting the pancake breakfast Saturday morning in Taber after all: lucky for them. The clearer skies held almost until Grassy Lake, which we arrived at almost at noon and headed in to the Dew Drop In cafe, staffed by Mennonites - the menu is English/Spanish because many of the local Mennonites, including our server, come originally from Mexico, from a group that went down there 50 years ago from Manitoba. We were planning on camping at Grassy Lake due to the inclement weather, but Mike and Mary explored the town for a while and we hung around the cafe drinking tea until 3:30, when the wind had died and the rain somewhat dropped and we headed east again into the wind. Asides from a real downpour just a few kilometres before Bow Island - with the town in sight, no less - we arrived at Bow Island relatively un-rained-on and camped in the municipal campground. After dinner we went across the highway to downtown Bow Island (such as it exists) and checked out the local bar. One fellow there was from Victoria and knew Heather Graham at UVic, and one other lady had passed us on the road during the rain and thought we were nuts. We had great fun chatting with the folks there - they gave Mike a T-shirt and all of us candy - and they wished us well on our trip.

Day 18 - Bow Island to Medicine Hat
Up at 6ish as usual to cloudy skies threatening rain and the stiff easterly winds that have accompanied us all across Alberta as we trudge along through this weather system. It was clear enough to convince us to pack up and leave, though we visited the bakery in town - staffed by Mennonites - for another tea/coffee and a dozen doughnuts for the road, which should last us a few days if we're lucky. We got to Seven Persons, 34 km down the road, for lunch with the rain mostly holding off all morning and the wind gradually increasing in strength - we later found out it was up to 24km/h gusting to 34, mostly right towards us. At Seven Persons Highway 3 turns northeast, still pretty much straight into the wind for us. Mike and Mary got some homemade sausages at the sausage factory at Seven Persons and we headed for Medicine Hat, which we got to around 3. A fairly tough day, going into the wind all day, so the early finish is appreciated. We camped at the Gas City Campground - Medicine Hat is known for natural gas.; we did laundry at the very well-equipped campground and I went into town to Safeway for groceries. This weather system is forcasted to give us easterly winds for the next several days; tomorrow we plan another shortish day to Walsh, 50km away at the provincial border, and at Maple Creek after that we plan on turning south to cross the Cypress Hills.


PS - no pictures for this post as we are working off a satellite link and it is slowwwwww.

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