Home > Day to Day > Excitement, excitement, excitement in the hinterland: Binscarth To Minnedosa

Excitement, excitement, excitement in the hinterland: Binscarth To Minnedosa

Things were going swimmingly — rough roads but very little traffic; very hot, but with a favorable wind; then a pickup truck pulled up while Landen and I were stopped for a break: with Graeme inside! And what looked like a bike in the back. The story? He and Ric were bopping along when he suddenly felt as if somewhat engaged his emergency brake…if he had one! His rear wheel locked and he barely managed to stay on. Upon dismounting and catching his breath he saw the following: totally pretzeled rear derailleur jammed into the bent rear wheel spokes, both torn cleanly off the bike! He was getting a ride from a friendly local to a place where he could get picked up by our truck.

Got a good visual confirmation of how important potash is in Saskatchewan — see photos.

Caught up with Graeme at a restaurant in Churchbridge. We suggested plans for the bike — he chose otherwise. See photo.

Ric caught up with us. He speaks to a local. He told Ric the suggested route plan to the Binscarth campground was (with a heavy drawl) “made by an a– hole”. So we chose to take the main highway, via Russel. This was a lovely route. We marked the end of another province and another time zone. And kept on wheeling, smoothly, all the way to camp.

The Binscarth site was hopping: a huge swimming pool was filled to the brim. All visible sites were filled. Ours was right at the top of a “T” junction at the top of a small hill — so all vehicles entering the camp would be heading towards us before veering left or right. OK — this was not ideal, but at least we were near the toilets and showers.

The evening routine was … routine: tents set up, dinner devoured, bikes locked and covered. And off to sleep.

Ignorance is Bliss (but not always)

I sleep with ear plugs and eye shades. Sometime during the night I thought I heard (or dreamed) a young woman screaming. I dismissed it and went back to sleep. I woke up in the morning to excited exchanges about ‘Chelsea nearly getting run over!’ Around 2 am a drunk woman driving a minivan decided to execute a turn at the top of the “T” junction and mounted the grassy area of our site — without looking! She crunched the tent and stopped when Chelsea’s screams penetrated the driver’s impaired awareness. Jim and Ric heard the commotion, leaped out of their tents and confronted the woman and her companion. The driver was apparently distraught and apologetic…but refused to exit her vehicle and then drove off!

It ate everything in our cooler

We were warned by the campsite owner that two bears had been chased out hours earlier. She was very clear that all food and garbage must be locked away, no food should be left out or in tents, yada yada yada. Seems pretty clear, yes? Well, the bears came back in the morning (see blurred photos from the adjacent campsite, about 15 m from ours). Then, when I went to the washroom, a young man next to me said: ‘Damn that bear, it ate everything in our cooler.’ I chose not to reply.

Headwind that made it feel like we were climbing a 5% steep grade … endlessly!

Enough said. This was the toughest day so far, next to the rain-soaked climb to Manning Park. Over 140 km for non-stop struggle. I made it by using “Four-letter-word cycling”: cursing at the top of my voice, over and over again!

Birtle

A lovely town. Situated around Bird Tail River. Birtle, Bird Tail. Cute.

White Mud River

We crossed White Mud River four times. More like muddy brown. Perhaps a concentration of clay affects the water’s color in normal times? Or an indigenous name? “Rat Creek” is less of a mystery.

Why clear maps and directions are useful

Few things are more frustrating to cyclists than confusing or erroneous maps and directions. Especially at the end of the day. Let’s hope this situation improves.

“Fuelled by Equator Coffee!”

imageBlack patch on the land rise, a bit to the right of the top of the trailer — its a full grown black bear scrambling away from near our campsite
imageA full grown black bear scrambling away from our campsite — #2
imageAbandoned farm buildings being reclaimed by nature
imageWhen we crested this rise (fighting the headwind every inch of the way) it looked like we were headed towards a huge lake…or the ocean off PEI (according to Landen)
imageOdd that both Landen and I got the same impression at the same moment!
imageAfter the flood…the water had been a couple of meters higher several weeks back! And notice the waves whipped up by the wind!
imageThis road had been closed a couple of weeks ago
imageFloodgates on Minnedosa dam
image

Water flowing out of Minnedosa dam

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