Monday, 12 July 2010

Half a day to Minnedosa and not loving Manitoba’s roads

11th July: Wasagaming to Minnedosa

Odometer: 60 km, Start: 9.00am, Finish: 2.30pm, Avg: 20.4 km/h,
Weather: Sunny, Temp: 16-24°C
Mosquito Bites: 72, Hills walked: 0
Road Conditions: #10 to Erickson. 2m gravel shoulder, light traffic. (Didn't like this road, see below). I took a detour on parallel gravel road (#262) after Erickson.

I have been on the road for 10 consecutive days since Canmore, Alberta, not wanting to pass up the westerly air flow. Two provinces later and after a late night and some beer, I knew I wasn’t going to ride very far today. I set Minnedosa as the destination and plodded off slowly from Wasagaming.

I got as far as Onanole (4km) before deciding I needed a second breakfast! I revisited the excellent coffee shop at the back of the very English looking second-hand book store (yesterday’s ice cream treat) and sat there for some of the morning talking to the friendly proprietors.

Inside is a very English second-hand book and coffee shop. Excellent!

I retraced my route on the #10 from yesterday and ended up in Erickson for some fruit and yogurt. As usual, I soon had somebody come over and strike up a conversation. Danny had accidently got stranded in this (small) town one day. He stayed and has since bought a farm and business in the area! It’s moments like this that add a lot to a trip of this nature.

Erickson had a lot of Viking references about town

I’m not loving Manitoba’s roads. The one’s I’ve used haven’t had paved shoulders. They’ve been gravel. Often deep and unpredictable gravel. These aren’t very suitable for bike riding. So you mostly “ride the line” between the pavement (tarmac) and the gravel. I feel exposed doing this when the shoulder is wide and there’s a modicum of traffic. It feels to me like you’re riding in the middle of the road. (It might well look that way too from the motorist’s POV)? I didn’t like the #10, so took a detour down a gravel back-road to Minnedosa. Progress was slower, but certainly less stressful. I might look more carefully at the roads I’m taking SE down to the US Border, if the roads so far are typical…

Taking a (stress-free) gravel back-road
Two sheds in the landscape (still a bit “featurefree” around here, bear with me…)

My 10km gravel road returned to pavement as I approached Minnedosa. A further advantage over the main route was coming in via the lake side of town and getting a cracking view and a footpath / cycleway along the lake shore into the town itself.

The lake at Minnedosa

I’m overdue a day off. I’m not sure whether to stay here tomorrow or make the short hop to the slightly bigger town of Neewapa. I’ll see in the morning.

Another flower of the day. (All these flowers decorate the roadside).
Comedy: D-minus for forward planning

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