Thursday, 26 June 2014

On the road again

June 25
I am in Saint-Malo, Manitoba, a relative stronghold of the French language. (I also understand it is a relative important spot for the Métis.) When was approaching town, a toothless old timer in a pickup stopped by the side of the road wanting to chat. When he heard I was from Montreal, he switched to French.

After running a few errands in Winnipeg this morning, including mailing myself a package to Sault Sainte Marie (heads up Greg). Another errand was getting a new pair of binoculars as I somehow left mine off my packing list and therefore in Montreal. However, it is so useful that I got another at MEC. (Cheap Bushnells.)

The light wind was against me as I rolled down Manitoba Highway 59. There was something off in in the experience, though it was not the courtesy of the "Friendly Manitoban" drivers: I getting tired of waving "thank you's" to drivers especially some of the truckers who sometimes slow right down in order to pass. (I am very glad I brought my high-viz vest!). I then realized the missing element was the sight of grain elevators unlike on Highway 2 two years ago which had many as it followed a railway line unlike Highway 59.

Weather has been mostly almost claustrophobicly low clouds with patches of cloud.  Temperature is cool.

I am writing this in my motel room with the Honduras versus Switzerland game on TV as played in Manaus.  The latter Brazilian city was sometimes a stop over for Lloyd Areo Boliviana on its runs to Miami.

I have also realized I have erred in my bandana choices as they are both reds that don't work with my red jerseys. I should have selected blue bandanas.

June 26
At breakfast in the motor hotel, I overheard conversations in a mix of French and English, sometimes in the same sentence! One man was talking in French about some parts of a local campground weren't in use on account of (switching to English) "the high water table."

 It has been very wet around these parts of late. The point was driven home tonight when I read the blog of a Yorkshireman named Derek who rode through here about a week ago. (He is someone Margo and Chris met near Clearwater in May.  He had been riding against the same headwinds as I but also had to contend with a downpour which prompted some Good Samaritans to give him money to stay in at the North Star Motor Inn in Karlstad where I am spending the night.  In fact, the people at the North Star gave him a discount. I only found this out while I was checking out my email for the first time since Winnipeg using their WiFi.  I then made a point of thanking them in person.(A link to Derek's blog will be added in due course.)

Minnesotans are a quite friendly. I sat down for lunch at a diner in Lancaster, Minnesota, when an older man sat down opposite me as he was curious about me. I have him a précis of my route and particulars. He was impressed about the distances I covered.

He also informed me why there had been a 20+ detour between the border and Lancaster. There had been a bridge out or under repair. The detour had involved going on two sides of a triangle.  It also increased my exposure to the the wind as the first side of the triangle was downwind which I had later make up. It was exhilarating as my speed popped up to over 30 kph from barely 20. The road was also recently paved which was also a plus.

A minus was the discovery that my second best bike shorts needs to be replaced. Either that or my butt is seriously out of shape. As the shorts date from the time I bought Leonardo (nearly 8 years ago, I am going with the shorts theory.

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