On the Prairies, the wind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I’ve experienced both.
At its best, you feel like you could ride forever. I met a man in Mortlach who said he’d gone 247 kilometres on a good tailwind.
At its worst, the wind tosses you around the shoulder like a rag doll. It took every ounce of effort I had to get from Medicine Hat, AB to Maple Creek, SK — eight gruelling hours of charging into headwinds as thunderclouds loomed and rain pelted the pavement. (In sum: I’ve had better days.)
Still, most importantly, I never gave up.
That struggle through headwinds and rain led to a revelation, too; as I pedalled through that desolate stretch of the Trans-Canada, it dawned on me that the most important thing we have is each other. More than shelter, food, or anything else, I longed for company in that moment. I won’t take it for granted in the future.
A few observations from the past while:
1. To call the Prairies flat is a bit unfair. I’ve cycled past countless rolling hills on my way through Saskatchewan — first the Cypress Hills straddling the Alberta border, then the stunning Qu’Appelle Valley east of Regina. (On the other hand, I had to laugh at the stereotype when it proved true: you can see Regina from 30 kilometres away on the Trans-Canada.)
2. Prairie dogs are fun. It’s remarkable how close you can get to them on a bicycle before they scurry away and poke their heads up somewhere else.
3. I’ve taken to noticing town mottos as I pass through. Here are a few from the past week:
- Swift Current: “Where life makes sense.”
- Mortlach: “Meet me in Mortlach.”
- Moose Jaw: “Surprisingly unexpected.”
- Regina: Technically “Floreat Regina,” but I prefer this.
The more you know.
Things I’ve seen:
1. Fields as far as the eye can see.
My host in Bassano, AB told me I was cycling through the Prairies at the best possible time: right when the canola was blooming. She was right: the fields of yellow have added a vibrant splash of colour to the otherwise green surroundings.
My first time in the city was a good one. The Wascana Centre is a beautiful area — the only shame is that the Saskatchewan Legislative Building was undergoing renovations.
Here’s a look at the aforementioned Qu’Appelle Valley.
Distance travelled: 2,115 km
Days of tailwind: 2
Days of headwind: 2.5
Prairie dogs spotted: Too many to count.
Saskatchewan Roughriders paraphernalia spotted: Same as above.
9 thoughts on “I Can See For Miles…”
HI Martin, you probably won’t remember me but I am a friend of your parents. I saw them last Saturday and they told me about your adventure. Good for you for raising awareness for mental health.
I have read part of your blog and really enjoy it.
“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.”
Hi Savio, I do remember you – thank you for the wishes and your support!
Good for you Martin for persevering through wind and rain. You have done so well with over 2000 kms travelled already. Wishing you good travelling conditions and good company on the journey. (More than the prairie dogs, although they sounded like fun). I like how you have been using lines from songs for your blog titles.
I really like your pictures. I enjoy your comments especially about the prairie dogs. Amazing how each area has it’s own uniqueness.
What an incredible testament to the journey you are undertakingâ¦ thank you! Keep pushing we are cheering you on from the sidelinesâ¦
Mood Disorders Society of Canada
– Get involved
Thanks for sharing bits of your trip with us through photos and words.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you keep pushing.
Thanks for sharing your journey, your ambition for making change! I love the photos, you words, your reflection of your experience. Don’t get discouraged, keep it up… you rock :) almost half way there.
Jennifer Menzies CMHA