Distance ~ 98 km. Winds ~ headwind 10 km.
Temperature ~ 7 – 18C Sunny skies Tuesday, May 20, 2014
We slept in today, until 7. That was a pleasant surprise! There was a heavy rain through the night, which ended just before Doug poked his head out of the tent. Thankfully we weren’t packing up in the rain. Doug has been practicing packing everything up and taking down the tent under the fly. Each morning he is so excited to begin our day. He’s such an eager beaver!
We had breakfast at McDonalds in Swift Current, close to several retired gentlmen all curious about where we came from, how far are we going, our bike tires with no tread, and where our next campsite could possibly be. The one man said they met 3 young girls in their twenties last summer riding across Canada. Funny, when I described the girls, I think it was Dino and the Wanderers, the girls who’s blogs I had read and mentioned earlier about reading, in preparation to do this trip.
The highway continued to be challenging with long drawn out hills and short recoveries down. But the headwind was gentle, it wasn’t cold out ~ just perfect for climbing and the sun was shining on our faces. The biggest one was Rush Lake Hill, about 30 k, out from Swift Current ~ 6 km up and only 3 km down, which isn’t much of a rest when there is a headwind.
Our second rest stop came at 50 km, just before the town of Herbert, we were at a cross road looking towards the town. Within a minute, a van pulled onto the road we were on. A woman rolled down her window, asked us a few questions about our travels then said, “How about a nice turkey sandwich on homemade bread? We had our neighbours over for supper last night, I made a turkey and I have lots of leftovers. Come on over, we live right there (as she motioned to her house). We couldn’t believe our ears. How lucky were we to have a home cooked lunch here in Saskatchewan?
We followed Bonny home and there we met Jack, her husband of 45 years. He plans to plant 1,000 acres this year. For 25 years they did some contract work for specialty crops down in Oklahoma as well as grow here on their land. Some years they also leased land and planted 2,000 acres. This afternoon Jack was going out to do some seeding with his 40′ wide seed drill and enormous tractor. Bonny was just returning from the church where she and a few other ladies watch little ones while their mother’s are in a bible study group. She just retired from nursing last year. Jack told us he saw two other cyclists earlier in the day in town having breakfast. After he described them, we figured out they were Mike and Chris. Bonny’s sandwiches were so delicious! We also had tasty hermit cookies and date squares with tea. Before sending us on our way, she lead me out to one of their barns. In there was a treasure ~ a pink bicycle called a Bonnie bike. She told me she had to have it, her name was on it. I told her I had a few friends who would love her pink bike! Our visit and lunch with Jack and Bonny was the highlight of our day!
Just as Bonny had promised, the road had finally flattened out. We stopped at Reed Lake lookout that overlooks a lake that covers 10,000 acres. The lake is a favourite stopover for various migrating birds and has an average depth of 20 cm. to 1 metre deep. We could see for miles in all directions.
Our camp for the night is in the town of Chaplin. There is a salt processing facility here, there is salt piled everywhere. When we were riding up to it, it looked like large piles of snow off the shoulder of the road. The lady at the gas station told us it is not used in food or for the road, it is used in soap, detergents, glass, paper, some animal products and all kinds of things. The sodium sulfate comes to the surface from the bottom of the lake nearby in the summer heat. It is then pumped into 5 reservoirs near the plant. In the fall they drain the reservoirs and push the sodium into the piles we see here. It is then processed for products.
Doug is cooking Kraft dinner for supper, it’s 18C, there’s a train moaning as it’s going past the town, and the sun is setting over the salt piles.