June 27, 2008

6/27/08 Raymore, SK


An interesting night. Just as we started to prepare dinner, the rain came. It passed quickly but more bad weather could be seen approaching fast. As we prepared for bed, the severe weather sounded like a freight train as it blew through the campground. I helped a woman who was with her grandkids retract their awning on their RV. Her husband farms near hear and wouldn't be in till later. The kids were a little concerned about the storm. She asked what we should do and I thought if it really got bad, we could all move into the washhouse since it was made concrete. Others in the campground drove off after battening down the hatches of their RVs and campers. Mike and I kept in our regular clothes and had an emergency bag of our valuables in case we had to make a run for it. Exciting.

Mike woke me with the words "There's a tailwind outside that cyclists would kill to have!" What he failed to mention was the huge storm that was coming along with the winds. Today was the complete opposite of yesterday. It wasn't raining while we packed but once our feet hit the pedals, the rain started to come down. And kept coming on down.

I'd post pictures but with all the rain, the camera was kept out of the weather. It was cold and wet but we had a 20-30kph tailwind that pushed us on our merry way. The terrain was a bit different here as the plains gave way to kind of rolling hills perfect for ranchland.

We made it to Kenaston which is just off major Highway-11. Even though the town had a sign saying it had all sorts of services, we couldn't see any from the road. I just don't get these Canadian towns. We had to backtrack to the filling station and that was like biking against a hurricane. We grabbed some jerky and some drinks and just about when the feeling was coming back to my frozen feet, we headed back outside.

Almost had a huge accident a few hundred meters down the road. I had suddenly stopped to pull my rain jacket on better and Mike was looking for alternate routes on his handlebar maps when he crashed into me. It was a very close thing. But we both seemed okay.

Basically we had 88kms/55-miles of nothing ahead of us. Farms seemed few and far between, and quite a few looked abandoned. And this had to be the worst road I've ever ridden on. It was barely just above oil covered with gravel and in a few places it was even less than that. But there were almost no other vehicles on this road and we still had that tailwind, so we flew. It was like a surfer riding a wave. When I was pushing it seemed like I was standing still as I was going as fast as the wind. Most of the time we kept the pace at 25kph/16mph but at times we could get it up to 40kph/25mph with no problem.

But still the rain kept on coming down. At Nokomis, everything seemed to change on us. All of a sudden, we had stiff crosswinds with were made worse by the rain. Mike took this time to pull ahead while I lumbered on. After some 7 hours biking in the rain, the sun broke free. I kept my rain gear on just in case though.

And if the crosswinds didn't slow me down, the 10kms of dirt road outside of Semans did. Canada must have a completely different standard of what constitutes a highway. This was a gravel and dirt farm road. Granted it was wider, but still just mud after all this rain. If I rode in the middle of the truck tire tracks I was okay, but if I moved to the shoulder, the tires just got bogged down. It seemed to take me forever just to get through it.

Is this a farm road or a highway

Mike was sunning himself and reading when I found him. We went looking for the town camping but no one was there and the washrooms were locked. We checked at the hotel, but it's not a hotel anymore, just a poolhall and bar. Finally someone told us about the motel up on the highway. It's still supposed to be raining tonight, so we opted for indoors for a change. Dinner was at Kim's Cafe across from the grocery store. We had a good visit with the folks at the store as they were very interested in the trip and the weather.

How many pages have you read?

PS. This is my longest bike riding day ever: 197.3km (122.6-miles) taking us over 9 hours. Plus today we passed the 2000km mark too.