To date: 1,561km
To go: 6,239 km
Everyday for the last hmmm 4 days (?) I have bee complaining about heat – and today taught me I hadn’t seen anything yet. It reached at least 36 degrees – that’s hot! I have never been in this kind of heat before let alone try to cycle some 100km in it! But the key to success today was ice – we stopped in a little town (the last in Alberta) called Walsh and literally filled our pockets with ice….. I had never used those three pockets on the back of my cycling jersey – I had always wondered why I needed them – but today I found out they hold ice perfectly…. the cubes slowly melt and run down to your legs keeping you cool for at least an hour or so. I also stuffed a plastic bag of ice down the front of my shirt…. this led me to discover my sports bra does not hold colour – my white jersey was soon highlighted in hot pink splotches!
One thing I have been noticing this trip is the difference in big city / small town people. And a man we met in Walsh really highlights this difference. We were sitting outside the convenience store and he was in his way in – we said hi, he said hi, and small talk began about where we came from and where we were going. He seemed to have all the time in the world as he gave us a history of flooding in the area, several good ideas for local campgrounds (and an invitation to camp on his lawn) and suggestions of things to do in Moose Jaw – apparently Al Capone once hid in the tunnels under the city (which previously Chinese workers had lived in)… we finally said our goodbyes – and we realized this whole time, there had been someone waiting in his car for him! In cities, most people will not even make eye contact and if a hello is returned it is entirely forced…… about 90% of the time – there are always lovely people everywhere!
I had missed the Welcome to Alberta sign due to road construction in Lake Louise, but this time I vowed not to miss the Saskatchewan sign! Lucky for me, there was a man and his dog at the sign seemingly just waiting for tourists to come along and ask for their pictures taken. He happily obliged me – and even asked me to hold his little dog with a big dog name (Bear) for one of them. Unfortunately he missed the “Welcome to Saskatchewan” sign – but his dog sure is cute! Foiled again – I will have to steal a Welcome picture from Alex.
Maple Creek was 8km south (directly into a headwind – not what you want at the end of a long, hot day) off the TCH – I wasn’t sure I was going to make it…… crawling along at sometimes 10km/h… but somehow arrived in town and directly to find some food – Rockin’ Horse Bar & Grill – food has never tasted so good!
Stealth camping took a whole new unstealthy turn tonight as we pitched our tents in the wide open side of the highway….. again no one bothered us though!