Day 13: Very swift currents

Day 13: Very swift currents

What a wild ride. Last night a breeze came up and blew all the clouds away. Those same swift currents helped me make it to Swift Current in less than two hours (a 56 km ride), where I enjoyed a leisurely coffee and sandwich from Seattle’s finest (all in throw-out packaging). Then, it was back in the saddle to scream past Reed Lake, then Chaplin (original planned stop until a neighbour last night mentioned the campsite reviews), and off to Besante, about 190 km from Gull Lake.

The problem is that I was clocking 32 km/h the whole way, up and over the hills, dawdling here and there, and it wasn’t even 4:30. Since the real goal is to be in Paris (of the Prairies) I kept on trucking to Moose Jaw, arriving an hour later. After a quick trip for groceries I noticed I had a flat tire, so I topped it up and eased my way to the campsite. It held, barely. To my surprise the solo biker from last night was waiting for my arrival, having also enjoyed the tailwind and pushing well beyond his destination. Maybe we should have done it together… He’s riding to celebrate his retirement and based on my planned pace we will pull far apart after Regina.

After supper we looked for the leak together, I think I found it, it was a tiny puncture. If the tire is fine tomorrow I’ll be happy, but I’m not holding my breath.

The main sights of interest today were Reed Lake, a large, turbid, salty-looking lake that I rode past for an hour or so, and and some giant trains queuing at each of the grain elevators. There were well over 100 train cars each.

A brown / green lake with small whitecaps
Reed Lake

A long train of hopper cars approaching a grain elevator in the distance

One of two trains queuing at this elevator

As a bit of amusement I spent some segments counting the number of trailers going by. The Trans Canada out west is quiet – like a secondary or even tertiary highway out east. In 15 minutes I could count about 8 trailers. Since I could also count the 3 km freight trains which carry ~400 40′ crates I did some rough math and determined that all the intercity trucks could be replaced by about three more trains per direction per day. Now you don’t have to do the math.

Today’s lesson: when you hear the rusty breezes, keep pedalling.

Today’s distance: 232.1 km

Cumulative distance: 1,820.2 km

Today’s climb: 584 m

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