Home > Day to Day > Another province, another time zone: Melville, Sask. to Binscarth, Man.

Another province, another time zone: Melville, Sask. to Binscarth, Man.

This just occurred to me: it is easy to blog in BC and Alberta because the ‘macro’, the scenery, is so breath-taking. Upload a few photos (where nature does most of the work) and wrap some words around them – good results are virtually guaranteed. Not so in Saskatchewan. Though I have new appreciation for the great diversity that makes up ‘prairies’, the challenge here is greater. This was true for today.  It was a long, very hot ride. The scenery was pleasant enough. Road conditions were all over the place. The two sources of greatest excitement were (1) the spontaneous disintegration of Graeme’s rear derailleur, which then blew out the chain and a few spokes; and (2) our decision to ignore the suggested route for the final 35 km or so and take a direct route. This proved prescient – the alternate route was just fine, while the suggested one was hellish.

So here is some micro stuff.

WARNING*****WARNING***** If you are not into detailed minutiae, skip to the next blog post!

ROUTINES – ‘Morning’

Morning for me can start at 2 am. What does ‘start’ mean? My left arm snakes out of my sleeping bag, groping for my ‘mini-potty’. This is my tent version of its larger brethren that dot the roadsides and ditches wherever we go. They are large containers of juice and milk and other beverages, partly filled with yellow-brown liquid, tossed out of moving trucks and SUVs. My version does not get tossed – it affords me the supreme luxury of not leaving the tent at night. And when I get up I wash it and readyfor another night.

I next stir around 5 am. The truck gets opened at 6 am, so no sense getting up. I squint at the tent’s ceiling, trying to see if there is moisture on the outside of the fly or, worse, on the inside! (Last night the fly looked as if it had rained on the inside!

Most mornings I grope on the right side, locate and turn on the bike headlight. Were it not for the tent, the light would be seen from outer space, it is that piercing. I position the beam to shine on my murder-mystery book and read a few pages. Then it is time to ‘get going’.

By now I have a precise routine:

  • Remove night clothes and don cycling shorts and jersey which have been drying on top of my camping bag.
  • Roll up the sleeping bag tightly and stuff it in its sac.
  • Deflate the sleeping mat, roll it up tightly and stuff it in its sac.
  • Deflate the pillow, roll it up tightly and stuff it in its sac.
  • Place the three items in their predetermined positions in the camping bag.
  • Place the camping bag, clothes bag, sandals sac and fast-dry towel outside the tent.
  • Remove the tent sacs from the camping bag – separate sacs for the ground sheet, tent, fly (if it is wet), poles, and pegs.
  • Disassemble and stow away the tent in the tent bag.

You get the idea. Getting ready to cycle is best prefaced with a clear, precise, boringly predictable routine. And that’s fine: this way I don’t lose or misplace stuff, all my gear is well cared for, and I have peace of mind!

Tomorrow’s blog will cover…’getting into camp at the end of the ride!” Please contain your unbridled excitement!

“Fuelled by Equator Coffee!”

imageRail cars filled with potash…
image…as far as the eye can see…west
image…as far as the eye can see…east
imageGraeme’s bike following catastrophic rear derailleur failure. We were getting ready to bury it…and then thought, maybe it can be resuscitated?! Two days later, in Brandon, Man., our Aussie friend was blown away by a huge repair that cost him…$140!! He is ecstatic!
imageSo how is Manitoba different from Saskatchewan? The next few days will tell…


Manitoba prairie — not flat, not uniform, not boring, not what I expected!

Categories: Day to Day
  1. Reuven
    July 8, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Back from a 2.5 wks visit to Europe. Glad to see that your long journey continue to progress well.

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