Winnipeg, Last day of Cycling 2004

Prairie cycling, canola fields

Riel statue, Winnipeg

Mary Jane’s B+B
20 Aug 2004
110.9 km; 5.06 hours
21.7 kph

Total 1442 kms this year

Quite a variety today…

St Claude – good breakfast at Maria’s, then off down the narrow shoulder-cement road, taking our first break at Elm Creek.  Hard to tell who was swearing more – Olin about the cement and the rest of us about the dangerous road.  Tony needed a photo op with his medical magazine in the sunflowers, which led us to noticing a dirt road going south… map consultations determined we would go S and then E on the secondary roads towards Sanford.  We made a wrong turn and put on a few extra kms, but it was worth it – beautiful quiet road through enormous fields (hundreds of acres) blue flax on one side and yellow canola on the other.  The road was gravel or smooth dirt and in excellent condition, with the wind at our backs , it was heavenly cycling.
Lunch at Sanford, a few km down a good road with shoulder – then agony.  We had about 25 km where we were forced to ride on the gravel shoulder because the road was so treacherous.

Winnipeg - Suzanne and Olin; Penny and Tony

The entry to Winnipeg was horrible.  Awful traffic, huge trucks and not an inch for cyclists.  It was a nightmare.  Very hard to find our way as we went into the city.
Finally got to our B+B which is 1912 house in old neighbourhood south of the river.  A quiet place.

21 – 22 Aug
A day in Winnipeg, seeing the sights, then back home to Vancouver.


St Claude Manitoba

Commercial Hotel, St Claude Manitoba

Commercial Hotel, St Claude Manitoba
81 km
3.23 hrs
23.9 kph

Our first 30 km was our fastest ever – we were in Holland in an hour with the wind at our backs.  After our usual enquiries we were directed to the cafe “at the gas station”.  What a gem!  It was a bakery, producing huge gooey cinnamin buns, pies, muffins, squares – quite a pleasant break.

Back on the road to a much stiffer wind.  The weather is very cold – last year at this time it was 39 degrees here – today’s high was probably about 16, with a very cold wind.  The cycling conditions were very tough – wind from the side or the front, strong and pushing us off the road.  Continuing no shoulders – only #1 and #16 have shoulders.  Additional challenge is the heavy truck traffic – we learn that the heavy vehicles take #2 to avoid the scales.  Also the vehicles with the extra wide loads avoid the escort rules and travel on this road.  All contributing to its difficulty for cyclists.

Tough ride to St Claude, debating a little about whether we might forge through to Winnipeg – not a chance, too windy and too hard!

St Claude another little French town in the prairies with quite a remarkable modern church – built in 1964.  Seats 500, in a community of about 750.  Nice museum, St Claude Manitoba Dairy Museum, with school house, home, medical room, fabric (textile) room, nice young girl showing us around.

Dinner at Maria’s family restaurant, buffet with fresh veg from across the road and lasagne – excellent.  We had to tour the garden at that stage – everything lush and green but about a month behind due to cold weather.  Beer parlour to chat, bed to sleep…

Glenboro Manitoba

Farm guest house
Glenboro Manitoba
18 August 2004
111.6 km
4.46 hours

Our short day today got quite long… very blustery and cold day (high 13 degrees in Winnipeg, 26 degrees in Vancouver), though the wind was mainly at our backs.

Don't we buy our insurance from these people??

Breakfast – peaches and yoghurt in our room, photo ops at the bridge.  I did a little cycle tour of Souris, then we set off.  Some crop damage from the heavy rain last night.  Lunch at Wawanesa, home of the insurance company, which still has quite a presence there.  Then on to this farm B+B, cupboards full of evidence of little visitors to the building.

For a little amusement we took a quick spin up to Spruce Woods Park, the ancient sandy delta of the Assiniboine River, reduced to 4 mi sq north of here.  We walked in the dunes, wonderful strange desert ecosystem with sand and ducks.

10 km back to town, dinner at the motel cafe, then back to our B+B.

Souris Manitoba


Tuesday 17 August 2004
Souris Manitoba “The Guest Room”
127.14 km; 4.53 hrs
Av 26 kph; 9.05 – 4.45 (incl time change)

Delicious breakfast – eggs, homemade bread for toast, oatmeal, lots of home-made jam and muffins.  Too good!

Left at 9.05 for our long trip to Souris, and with the wind at our backs and much of the trip with a slight downhill, we flew along.  Crossed the border into Manitoba for the first time in my life.  Pretty minimal signage and ceremony at the crossing.

The country is all green – lots of rain this year.  More trees, more hay, beautiful wildflowers, huge fields of flax blue under the hazy blue skies (smoke from BC).

Lunch at the golf club in Reston – town much like Arcola.

Souris is beautiful, on the Souris River, old and beautiful buildings.  Longest suspension bridge in Canada. Staying at the “Guest Room” – 2 rooms built by Jim Butler, big man (and nice guy) in Souris.  Nice room, very comfortable, and we go to bed with the Olympics.

Suspension footbridge

Plum church in Souris, built 1818

Wauchope Saskatchewan

Sylvestre's B+B, Wauchope Saskatchewan

Monday 16 August 2004
Sylvestres’  Bed and Breakfast
92.2 km 4.03 hrs; 22.7 kph
9.05 – 3.30

Breakfast at the Esso next door to our motel in Stoughton – good food as usual.  Almost every restaurant has good food, good bread, good eggs.  I had oatmeal, toast and an egg and it was delicious.

Then an easy 90 km day to our b+b.  Wind at our backs.  Only difficult feature was the lack of shoulder and reasonable amount of heavy traffic so the back person had to be the car watcher.  I have trouble watching and keeping up at the same time.  We’re doing 5 km each, then going to the back of the line.

Morning coffee at Arcola, where Who has Seen the Wind was filmed.  Pretty town – but not much activity nor many people.  The bar is big and was doing a brisk business.

Heritage bar in Arcola

Lunch at Carlyle at the “Office”.  Busier place (“Over 100 businesses to serve you”) and very pretty town.

Easy after lunch trip to to Sylvestres (Andre and Lorna) B+B, homesteaded by Andre’s grandparents in early 1900s, from S of France.  No trees here when they came, they had to go to Moose Mountain for their trees and for wood for firewood.  Prairie fires used to keep the trees down.

Lorna cooked dinner with all the vegetables from the garden – broccoli, cauliflower, potato, kohlrabi, carrots.  Huge vegetable garden.  Older couple and loving their business, but trying to figure out how to bring in more guests.

After dinner we visited the now-unused church at Wauchope.  A sad sight – beautiful church with all the prayer books in the pews, the pipe organ ready to go, the microphones in place, the art on the walls, the statues all still in place and the beautiful graveyard which is still used.  But the community is gone, and though they can’t shut the church down, there is no one left going to services.  Andre has completely restored the pipe organ.

Andre Sylvestre restored this pipe organ in Catholic Church, Wauchope

Olin worked at Kenosee Lake slinging beer in summer 1973

Stoughton Saskatchewan

Sunday 15 August 2004

Tony working hard at Resteze Motel, Stoughton

A classic - the Resteze Motel, Stoughton Sask

Farm machinery at closed gas station, all abandoned

Olin at Resteze

Resteze Motel, Stoughton Saskatchewan
68.3 km, 3.18hrs cycling
20.7 kph; 9.30 – 1.30

Day is going to be lost in the mists of time..  by tomorrow morning… Tired day for me so I spent it all looking at Penny’s back tire and going forward.  For some reason I was very tired and hungry so was pleased to stop at Don’s restaurant – lots of cars outside meant the food should be good and it was.  Delicious lunch followed by a piece of Saskatoon berry pie which was divine. I wouldn’t share so bought a second piece for all the tasters.

Head wind again today – getting a little annoying.  After lunch, we found our motel, the Crossroads Inn and it was not nice!  Esp as we wanted an afternoon off – the view from the rooms was the bar or a building next door.  It was more a bar than a motel.

So back to the Resteze at which I had turned up my nose earlier and it turned out to be fine.  So we lay around (Olin), read (Suzanne), tinkered with bikes (Tony) and pottered (Penny).  We did our laundry, hung it on the bikes and it was dry in no time.

I’ve been reading Wolf  Willow by Wallace Stegner and the history of the area is pretty interesting.  The heros were the surveyors.

Dinner back at Don’s – delicious again – and early to bed (dose of Olympics first).  Population of Stoughton about 250, and area about 350.  A dying town.  Virtually no sign of life except in the restaurant.  We were the only 2 rooms booked in the motel and no one in the campground.  Penny and I did take two walks – one through the golf course next door (people there on a Sunday afternoon) and the other through town after dinner.  Felt bad for the town.

Weyburn Saskatchewan

Weyburn Sask

Circle 6 Motel Weyburn

Saturday 14 August 2004
Circle 6 Motel, Weyburn
118 km, 21.1 kph:
5.36 hrs cycling; 9.30 – 4.35

Another long hard day with the wind in our faces for the third day in a row – N to Moose Jaw with a strong N wind, E to Regina with a strong E wind, and S to Weyburn with a S wind.  Too tiresome and we are tired!

Lunch in Francis on the intersection of Highways 33 and 35.  A community of 222 with a very busy restaurant/ store/ bakery – Ziggy’s.  My hamburger was delicious, Tony, Penny and Olin had v good subs.

Circle 6 motel somewhat dive-y but ok.  Lots of local political gossip from the proprietor which I won’t repeat on-line…  Something about money and the new Wal-Mart built on the outskirts of town, killing the downtown and putting the small guys out of business.  It would have been so much better to build in town and bring businesses to Main St.

Good dinner at T + O’s in Weyburn.