Monthly Archives: August 2013

Current Location – St. John’s, Newfoundland 29 August, 2013

Done!!!  Joyce and I arrived at our hotel last night at 9:11 pm., after a 131k day into fierce headwinds most of the way.  After leaving the ferry in Argentia, it was 10:45 am. before we were under way.  By the time we were in St. John’s, it was dark and raining.  We waited until Friday, 30 August morning to ascend Signal Hill to formally end the adventure at 9:11 am. Nl time.

We enjoyed a terrific meal for lunch at a local restaurant provided by the tour organizer.  There were speeches by some, good memories, and mixed emotions about a tough summer being over and having to return to our normal lives.

The exodus of riders began shortly after with handshakes and hugs and best wishes in whatever their furtures held.  Joyce and I return to Huntsville Saturday, 31 August where we’ve only spent a day since leaving 13 June.  We’ll be busy for a while getting our normal lives on track again.

During the next couple weeks, I will put the finishing touches on this blog since I’ll have more time to focus on it.  Please stay tuned.

Dan and Joyce with most of the riders at the Terry Fox "Mile '0'" monument.

Dan and Joyce with most of the riders at the Terry Fox “Mile ’0′” monument.

Joyce holding Clarke while he dips Joyces front wheel in Atlantic

Joyce holding Clarke while he dips Joyces front wheel in Atlantic

Dan dipping front wheel in Atlantic

Dan dipping front wheel in Atlantic

Segment 5 – Regina, Saskatchewan to Kenora, Ontario

A cacophony of alarms interrupts the early morning silence.  Soon to follow, there’s the usual chorus of flatulence.  Finally, a symphony of zippers fills the air.  By now, most of us are arising to meet the day’s challenge.

This segment caused some anxiety within the group since it’s the longest segment of the summer between rest days.  Our anxiety was well warranted on the first day out of Regina heading for Crooked Lake.  Our cook group of four left late since we had been on kitchen duty that morning.  The day was sunny and warm.  The easterly winds were against us for the first 117 kilometres making for an arduous start to the day.  Rest breaks in Indian Head and Wolseley, where we turned north off the highway, were welcomed stops, which broke up the morning’s tough pedal.   Not until our last fifteen kilometres into camp did we have headwinds again, testing our patience and resolve.  Fatigue had already set in.  Supper was ready.  A swim in the lake adjacent to our campsite was tempting.  But, showers were chosen and quick, and so was sleep.

Bob's favorite pastime

Bob’s favorite pastime

Joyce and Mike hamming it up to Irene's delight

Joyce and Mike hamming it up to Irene’s delight

entering the Qu'Appelle Valley on route to Crooked Lake

entering the Qu’Appelle Valley on route to Crooked Lake

We were slow to arise the next morning, Monday, 12 July.  The initial part of the ride was pleasant through the Qu’Appelle Valley.  But, a helluva hill met us to exit the valley.  Esterhazy had a fundraiser to upkeep their grain elevator.  Hamburgers and pop purchased to help the cause never tasted so good.  Mike from our cook crew was experiencing tire flat problems leaving Esterhazy, so a couple of us stopped to help.  I sent Joyce along with others.  She was not to be seen again that day until I arrived in camp.  It’s the second time, when I’ve crossed a provincial line that Joyce hasn’t been with me.  The tent was set up, so Bob and I patronized the Binscarthe Camp and Pool campground store for a large ice cream cone.  Dessert first that day seemed to be a good idea.

view west along Qu'Apelle Valley shortly after leaving camp

view west along Qu’Apelle Valley shortly after leaving camp

wild flowers which we have enjoyed most of the tour

wild flowers which we have enjoyed most of the tour

the lineup for hamburgers in Esterhazy

the lineup for hamburgers in Esterhazy

Eric and Joyce in line for hamburgers

Eric and Joyce in line for hamburgers

three amigos; Myra, Becky, and Louise

three amigos; Myra, Becky, and Louise

Dan and Bob about to enter Manitoba

Dan and Bob about to enter Manitoba

Our day to Minnedosa was typical for our tour.  The many changes of direction alter how the wind affects us, but this day, the winds were mostly against us.  Near the end of the cycling day, a group of us set up a pace line with minimal effect since most people are skittish or unknowledgeable with them.  In camp, rain threatened.  It wasn’t until we’d showered, eaten, and cleaned camp for the night that the skies opened.  By then, we were nicely tucked in.

Our exit from camp on Sunday, 14 July was in good time at 7:38 am.  We were quick to pull into the Tim Hortons in Neepewa for an enjoyable, mid-morning coffee 31k into our ride.  Neepawa is known as the hometown of Margaret Lawrence, a well known author, who was inspired to write a book, the Stone Angel.  The Stone Angel can be seen in the town cemetery, a side trip we neglected to take.  The Gladstone bakery was targeted as our next stop.  We were deeply disappointed that it was closed being a Sunday.  A “greasy spoon” restaurant was a distant second choice.  Our questionable luck to that point was reasonably improved with a trip to the Dairy Queen in Portage la Prairie, our stop for the night.

potash;  note the road grader on top of the pile

potash; note the road grader on top of the pile

As I recall, our day into Beasejour in 2009 was a long, tough day, probably our flattest.  Nothing would change my mind this time around either.  A stop at a Stonewall, Manitoba restaurant, La Petit Cafe, mid-day for a BLT and coffee, broke up the day nicely.  The detour into Stonewall also got us off, temporarily, the narrow, high-traffic roads (many trucks), which we travelled during the day.  We passed through Lockport, known for the big damn on the Red River and “Duff’s Ditch”, constructed at huge expense as a means of flood control for Winnipeg.  The 158k day got us to camp late at 6:20 pm.  Some of our kitchen duties were generously started by those who had arrived earlier.  Great teamwork!

soon to be scenery of the past as we ride east

soon to be scenery of the past as we ride east

Tuesday, 16 July would mark our entry into Ontario.  The day started questionablely.  A heavy thundershower with high winds about four prematurely awakened us.  Much was wet.  Not us!  Reluctantly, we arose by 5:35 am.  Kitchen duties performed, we headed for Whitemouth, our anticipated first stop, only to be disappointed.  The elderly owner had closed the bakery last fall, permanently.   Distraught, we trudged on.  The Cambrian Shield terrain was noticeably replacing the somewhat boring, prairie landscape.  Rennie, Manitoba was a timely pause where we enjoyed a meal of soup, apple pie, and coffee with Bob and Irene to fuel us to West Hawk Lake and an ice cream cone.  At 4:00 pm., a group of us crossed into Ontario, Canada’s largest province, where we’d spend twenty-four of our seventy-one tour days.  Of course, photographs were in order.  Rain greeted our entry, a sign of weather to come during our passage through my home province.  It wasn’t until 7:00 pm. that Joyce and I booked into the Comfort Inn for our rest day, where we enjoyed a couple nights of good, dry sleep and complimentary breakfasts.

damp weather about to greet us into Ontrario; Joyce in foreground

damp weather about to greet us into Ontrario; Joyce in foreground

Dan & Joyce

Dan & Joyce

Segment 5  – Regina to Kenora, Ontario

Location  /    Date Time camp to camp Time on bike Max. speed Avg. speed Distance Trip to date
Crooked Lake, Sk  /    Thursday, 11July 11:30 8:33 55.4 19.6 167.6 2056.0
Binscarth, Sk  /Friday, 12 July 8:11 5:29 53.8 23.3 127.9 2183.9
Minnedosa, Sk.  /  Saturday,   13July 9:20 7:17 52.2 18.5 134.4 2318.3
Portage La Prairie, Sk  /    Sunday, 14July 8:54 6:12 33.2 21.9 135.7 2454.0
Beausejour, Sk  /    Monday, 15July 10:50 8:05 29.0 19.6 158.6 2612.6
Kenora, Ontario  /    Tuesday, 16July 10:38 7:57 53.0 22.6 179.7 2792.3



Segment 4 – Drumheller, Alberta to Regina, Saskatchewan

Beep!  Beep!  Beep!  Beep!  5:30 am.  Damn alarm!  I roll over and do my worst impression of a push up, then stumble out of the tent to be blinded by the early morning sunlight.  It’s Friday, 05 July and time to get up to start our next segment, Drumheller to Regina, five days away.


pictured above:  tame rabbits at Drumheller campground got too bld when one snatched an apple of mine

The ride out of camp was on new pavement with a tailwind.  Promising, but that didn’t last since we turned left in Drumheller onto Highway #9 to take the direct route instead of the “scenic route”.  This led us uphill out of the valley into a headwind.  Twenty-two kilometres later, Hwy. #9 went right providing us a more favourable crosswind.  Other than a quick stop in Hanna for a rest and food, we’d maintain this direction until we reached our destination, Youngstown.



pictured above:  scenes of the prairie; upper left – long way home from the road, land and sky;  lower  -  some of several abandoned buildings on the prairies

Youngstown is special with TdCers.  For the past twenty-five years, the community has arranged a potluck supper for the riders.  We were grateful for the good food and hospitality. There was a Huntsville connection in the community for Joyce and me.  Bob and Debbie ALLEN were Huntsville residents / business people, until they made a monumental decision to move west.  They haven’t regretted the move, have a successful cattle business, and love “small town” living.  We know them better now than when they lived in Huntsville.




pictured above:  lining up for copious amounts fo grub; Myra and Louise ready to dig in; residents made a cake to celebrate Tour du Canada’s 25th

Much like yesterday, the ride to Kindersley was a long road “without a bend in it”, rather disinteresting.  Shortly into the day’s ride, Joyce continued to experience pain in her left shoulder from the day before.  Rather than exacerbate the problem, we flagged down the tour truck so Joyce could hitch a ride and nurse her shoulder back to health.

The excitement for the day was crossing the Alberta / Saskatchewan border at 11:45 am.  Ten riders congregated there, so we took advantage of the photo opportunity.  After a quick lunch, it wouldn’t be until 4:36 pm. before we arrived in camp.  The Kindersley DQ was a welcome and refreshing stop for Bill and me, which delayed our arrival.



pictured above:  Dan at right of six co-tourers;  Dan alone

With two long, disinteresting days behind us, we headed for Outlook on our third day into this segment.  In ’09, we had a beautiful, sunny day with the “wind gods” in our favour.  Today, it was much the same.  Sun and tailwinds lifted our spirits immensely.  In no time, several riders were at the Rosetown DQ to open the store and further augment our spirits, and energy level.  We made our way quickly from there to the Outlook municipal campground for this night of 06 July.


pictured above:  Myra, Fred, Bill, Louise, Becky, and Greg with DQ smiles


pictured above:  Dan with Louise and Becky


pictured above:  riders entering campground in Outlook;  bridge, 3000′ longest in Canada, in background now part of rail trail

Kenaston, our first stop of the day from Outlook, brags that they are the “blizzard capital” of Canada.  We enjoyed a break there including a group photo.  Leaving Kenaston, we left the two-lane country roads of the past week in favour of four lanes, which would eventually lead us to Regina.  Our concern about poor shoulders was quickly forgotten since Saskatchewan has maintained them well in the past few years.  Short stops in the small, really small, towns of Davidson and Craik delayed our arrival at Craik Regional Campground for the night.


pictured above:  group posing in Kenaston, “Blizzard Capital of Canada”

Everybody was anxious to leave on the day’s ride 08 July.  We were headed for Regina and a day of rest.  The entire trip was along the four-lane highway, the only blip of the day being the Lumsden Hill.  There was no cause for concern since our days in the Rockies had prepared our legs.

Once in Regina, our bikes were steered by a familiar sign, the DQ.  No one in the group resisted.  Then, it was off to Dutch’s Cycle Shop.  The rear derailleur on my Bertrand bike was original equipment in ’96 and was showing its wear from many miles.  Fred, at my favourite bike shop, Muskoka Bicycle Pro Shop, had arranged for me to pick up a new one.  To my surprise, there was a bike attached to the derailleur.  Fred, at Dutch’s Cycle Shop, fitted me to the new bike well, and it has worked flawlessly since.


picturedabove:  new derailleur (left) with bike attached (right)

Again, rest day was helpful in catching up, for Joyce, but not before we had a group breakfast at the convenient Perkins Restaurant.  Good food and good company!   While Joyce busied herself with laundry, I biked to Dutch’s Cycle where I picked up my new derailleur with bike attached.  Dutch had measured and fitted the “cockpit” so that there’d be minimal adjustment for me to the new bike.  Also, I swapped accessories.  With those chores sandwiched between meals, little on the blog was accomplished.  The first day of the Regina to Kenora segment would be long.  Time for bed!

Segment 4  -  Drumheller, Alberta to Regina, Saskatchewan

Location  /  Date Time camp to camp Time on bike Max. speed Avg. speed Distance Trip to date
Youngstown, Ab / 05 July 8:16 6:28 41.2 21.7 140.7 1322.5
Kindersley, Sk / 06 July 9:10 6:46 53.2 22.6 153.2 1475.1
Outlook, Sk / 07 July 6:47 5:31 50.1 28.5 157.1 1632.8
Craik,Sk / 08 July 7:47  125.9  1758.7
Regina, Sk / 09 July 8:45  129.7  1888.4