Tuesday, June 9, 2015
It is not that long ago that Michael was reporting snow, ice and cold temperatures. Today it is rain, thunderstorms and heat:
"Last night we started to hear the thunderstorms in the distance that were approaching fast. At midnight they violently let loose and I was happy to be sleeping in a motel. It was very windy with torrential rains. The lightning was white with purple edges and came really close. A couple of times loud claps of thunder woke me up from my sleep!
When my alarm goes off at 7 AM I still feel tired, but I want to leave early today and I go to have a shower. As I am putting my bike outside Dave drops by. He suggests that maybe today we should rent a U-Haul truck to cover some distance by car because there are extreme wind warnings in the forecast. He does not think he can handle that and is worried that it would be tough for me as well.
During our breakfast at A&W which is our favorite place, we try to sort things out: today the cycling would be very tough due to the extreme wind and high temperatures, it would be difficult to reach Whitewood; a day of rest here would cost us another $42 each, if we're lucky; to rent a U-Haul truck for a day is cheaper and would get us closer to Regina. We agree that this is the best option.
None of us feel comfortable about skipping this part. Nevertheless, we arrange to rent a U-Haul truck and bike over to pick it up. We leave our luggage at the motel and as we get to the U-Haul station it is already extremely windy. At first there doesn't seem to be anyone there, but when we call U-Haul Canada they give us a contact number.
The lady, who is assisting us, gives us a $40 discount and agrees that it is a wise decision that we are not cycling today. It is unbelievable how windy it is and it would be dangerous along the way. A bit later we get in the truck and drive to the motel to pick up our things.
One of us has to travel in the back of the truck because there are only two people allowed in the cabin. Sann volunteers and we agree to use knocking signals to communicate and to leave the light on in the back as well.
First we stop by the KFC to get some drinks for our trip and then were off. The wind tries to get a grip on the truck. Every now and then Dave and I look at each other when we realize the effect the wind has on the truck. Even the big puddles in the landscape seem to have whitecaps. We really are traveling in the wrong direction in Canada by going east to west.
I am wondering why I feel so uncomfortable in this part of Canada. It is such an immense open expanse of land; it makes you feel as if it is endless. If something were to happen, you really are in the middle of nowhere. I think that is what makes me feel so uncomfortable. Some towns on our route are several kilometers away from the highway and sometimes have no facilities at all which means you could end up without food and water. Thankfully Dave has a good handle on this because he has Internet connection on his phone. Having only internet on my laptop, I would have to be really well prepared if I were to do this by myself.
Suddenly we hear knocking and we stop the truck to see how Sann is doing. He is suddenly wakes up. He was just having a good snooze in his sleeping bag on the mat. Unbelievable!
We keep driving and around one o'clock in the afternoon we arrive in Grenfell where we drop off the truck. Again, there is no one there and we call the lady in Moosomin who helps us out. We are instructed to leave the keys under some blankets in the cabin. It will be her responsibility.
On our way here we spotted a campground and that's where we're heading now. We put up our tents and decide to relax for the rest of the day because it is too windy to be biking. We still have to cover quite a distance through the wide open prairie with strong winds before we reach Regina. The wind combined with the heat can be dangerous. You can easily dehydrate. We heard on the radio in the truck that Moosomin already has a water shortage due to the heat. It really is a journey through Canada with all kinds of interesting weather...
Later in the evening a girl named Amy arrives at the campground. She started her trip in Victoria, BC and is biking to Newfoundland all by herself! She's had a really good day with the wind at her back. We have some great conversation and she decides to put her tent up near us. We go out to do some groceries in the village and then we start cooking. I cook on my little stove and Dave on the barbeque with wood. The food is delicious and after we clean up I write my blog and crawl into my tent to escape the bugs! Tomorrow the guys want to bike to Regina. That is 130 km… Not for me, thanks. I'll see what I can do."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen