Home > Day to Day > Headwinds, Mosquitoes, (dead field) Mice and Everything (not) Nice — this is what this day had to offer!

Headwinds, Mosquitoes, (dead field) Mice and Everything (not) Nice — this is what this day had to offer!

 

imageMy hairy spokes!

Winds can be fickle. Even though we continued in the same direction as the previous day, when the wind was very much with us, today it was against us. And this day was a “century” – over 100 miles, or 160 km. Landen and I rotated the lead role every 10 km, and worked hard. It was hot and dry and the only thing working in our favour was the road condition: generally very good.

I knew I had to call a reporter in Rosetown. Landen and I agreed that it would make sense to have lunch there. “Great”, I thought, “we’ll combine the two.” Then I checked my phone…and realized I had deleted the text message with the reporter’s contact info. So As Landen ordered his lunch at the Dairy Queen (DQ to its supporters) I emailed Rachael and Jon urgently for the contact info. Fortunately Jon was at his computer and got back to me right away. I called David who came down to meet us, spoke to us at length, took our photos …and became the first reporter to donate to Cycle4SchoolBOX. Thanks!

As we rode out of Rosetown I was struck by how ‘un-flat and non-uniform’ Saskatchewan had been so far. We had encountered hills, dips, curves in the roads, fields with different crops, ranches both near and far – not what I had envisioned.

We took a water break at the side of the road. We saw a cyclist approaching – likely one of ours, since we hadn’t seen other riders since Calgary. But this turned out to be a young woman with two bulging back panniers and a handlebar bag. As she passed by she smiled and asked if we were OK, and kept riding when we nodded ‘yes’. We resumed riding…and were impressed to see her pull away from us, despite her heavy load! The gap between us kept growing – and we weren’t exactly taking it easy! Later we passed a man who carried a similar load but was moving considerably more slowly. And later still we again came across the young woman, waiting at the side of the road. (We later learned this was a father-daughter team: she had just graduated university and took a year off; and her father had just finished lecturing at a university and wanted to share this experience with his daughter. Cool!)

We were dismayed by the long hot day, compounded by deteriorating road conditions. Suddenly the road surface changed to ‘totally new’ – for many kilometres it felt as if we were the first sets of wheels to ride this pavement. Then the painted lines ended, and I feared that so would the fresh asphalt, while we still had some distance to Outlook. But the newly surfaced road continued almost all the way to our destination.

From the far bank of the Outlook River we viewed the bridges that spanned it – an old railway track that had been converted to a hiker’s attraction; a new rail bridge; and one of the longest pedestrian-only bridges I had ever seen.

It’s down to almost river level and a steep climb up the other side. A few more kilometres to town and we semi-enjoy a sharp drop into the camp ground. (‘Semi’ because we’ll have to climb this hill tomorrow morning!). This place is huge. And it is enjoying a high occupancy rate. We ride around looking for our truck. Eventually we find it – and the only place to set up tents is right on top of the bank that leads to the water. And overlooks the walking bridge. Oh shucks!

As soon as we take out our camping gear bags we realize that ‘we are not alone’, and maybe this isn’t the best campsite eve: thick clouds of mosquitoes target us with the accuracy of guided missiles and hound us mercilessly.  The toilet is a couple of hundred meters away. The showers more like half a kilometre. I visit both and return looking like a madman – twirling my MEC quick-dry towel wildly about me, with squadrons of loyal adherents buzzing in tight formations.

Jim dons his mosquito suite – it covers him from head to knees. (I must get myself one of these at the next rest day.) The rest of us slather and spray and spread assorted DEET concoctions that would kill a small village of the unprepared. Dinner is hasty and we all retire to the safety of our tents.

From the river’s opposing bank come the by-now-familiar howls of wolves or a similar wild pack. Dogs in the campsite respond, nervously. “We are not in ____ anymore!”

imagePrairie to the left
imagePrairie to the right
imageStraight lines are favored here…
imageThis is NOT meant to be a lake…evidence of recent flooding

image

There was NOTHING there!!! Not a building, not a hill, not a tree…NOTHING!!!
image

Infamous cracks on shoulders. This portion of Sask must be inhabited by former Albertans!
image

Something tall… LOL
imageApproaching the Outlook campsite — and Mosquito Capital of Saskatchewan (or is it the known universe?…)

imageWalking bridge at dusk
imageWalking bridge at dusk, #2
imageWalking bridge at dawn

“Fueled by Equator coffee!”

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Categories: Day to Day
  1. Tom Affleck
    July 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    An amazing set of photos and blog post Ilan.
    Sorry about the Mosquitos… So glad that you have this blog to give us a window into your journey.

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