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Rant Log: Manitoba (and Ontario Part I)

Day 20

July 2

Brandon MB

Meadow Lark Campground

215.3 km

8.09 hr

Av 26.4

Max 45.5

Lets flip the coin and see what the wind will do. YES! Tailwinds for most of the day today.

Outside of Whitewood a car pulled over and waved me down. It was a old couple I had talked to briefly in Swift Current. They were on their way to Winnipeg and remembered me.

Outside of Moosomin I met Fergus. He was an older fellow who has traveled Siberia, Mongolia, China, Japan, Europe and now Canada by bike. He was sick for the last 5 days so lets hope he gets better. And I hope my cold goes away soon.

There is more tree's now which helps slow the wind. I saw a torn up deer. That was gross, I've seen maybe 4 dead deer thus far.

I've crossed into Manitoba. The road is getting a little more hilly. The shoulder on the road has completely disappeared which sucks big time. I had a great sized shoulder for most my trip except for a small area around Chaplin SK and outside Golden BC. I think the road may be all downhill from here. I came into Brandon, got a sub. Finally got to a grocery store... a real grocery store.... not one of these general stores with no fruit.

I met another loaded biker. He started in the prairies thinking the mountains were going to be too hard. I insisted the prairies have been much much more difficult than the mountains. I forget his name... Larry? Edward?...

I biked way out of my way to go to Dairy Queen. It is only my second indulgence on the trip. Coming back some seemed to want to talk but it didn't occur to me to stop... oh well they were a bit too young anywho.

This campground is expensive 20$! And it is not very good. 

15 subs.

Day 21

July 3

Winnepeg MB


214.5 km

9.07 hr

Av 23.5

Max 44.5

Camping is not helping my cold. But lets move on to the important business... wind. The day started with a crosswind slowing me down.

There is a lot of bugs now: Dragon flies, butterflies and horse flies. Thank God for the helmet and sunglasses. I constantly hear a click from a horsefly on my helmet or a ping from a bug meeting a gruesome end with my spokes.

Just outside of Portage La Prairie the wind became a tailwind. Earlier I though of calling it a day at Portage. As soon as I get there I look behind me and see the reason of the good wind.... dark thunder clouds. I take refuge at A & W. The rain passes quickly and I took advantage of the tailwind.

I met up with Larry again and rode with him. He really amuses me. There is something about people from the East coast. It's not so much the words they say but the way they tell a story that makes me laugh. Larry just went on his trip and let things happen, no training or planning.

The tailwind all the sudden became a crosswind. It came so fast it kicked up dust and sandblasted me. I got sand in my underwear from that. To the side more thunder storms were coming our way. The rain came hard but lasted only 20 minutes or so. This was a very heavy rain. When we got to Winnipeg there was hail all over so it could have been worse. When the rain ended there was a full double rainbow. Today certainly is not a boring day.

The shoulder came and went all day. I wish it would stay but I know it will only get worse.

Winnipeg is big. It took us forever to get to the Hostel. We passed many McDonalds. At the hostel, I chatted for a while with an Ottawa fellow who moved here. The cost of living here is cheap... but think of the winters!

Norio a fellow from Japan started in St. Johns and is heading to Alaska. That will take forever.

Today was my longest biking day, 9 hrs long and boy do I feel it.

Day 22

July 4

Falcon Lake MB

Bill's House

153.8 km

6.17 hr

Av 24.4

Max 37.0

I got up later today due to a late night. I checked out Winnipeg. Had a sub and went to "The Real Canadian Superstore", which I have grown to love. I have grown to dislike Safeway... they are all expensive.

Heading out I sort of came out the wrong direction and ended up too far south. I had to take a perimeter hiway to get to Hw 1.

Horseflies are annoying. They fly around and around and around and around again. They buzz in the ears get under the glasses, crawl in the hair and bounce off my teeth.

At a rest stop I met Ron and Richard. An older couple of guys biking across Canada to each province capital to raise awareness for Cancer research. I biked with them to Falcon Lake. Although they were faster than I was. They are around 60 years old and I could not keep up, I had to stop and eat, but they waited for me.

The day started with great tailwinds for 50 km, but it turned into a NE crosswind/headwind.

In Falcon Lake, Bill who has a cottage here, insisted we stay and eat at his place. He had seen Ron and Richard on T.V. and wanted them to meet some people. Since I was riding with them, I got the invite as well. This was too much. He offered a bed and a meal (steaks no less). Bill called some people over, some who had cancer. They chatted for a while then I caught some zzz's in a bed.

16 subs.

Day 23

July 5

Sioux Narrows ON

Paradise Point RV Park

163.0 km

8.07 hr

Av 20.0

Max 45.0

I woke up at 7:15. That was a quiet night. I am used to trains and truck noises. I parted ways with Ron and Richard because I ate my cereal and they went to a restaurant.

Getting into Ontario means hills. A couple of girls past me as I was eating. I eventually caught up and chatted with them up to Kenora. They were Kim and Karen from Australia. I thought Karen was attractive. They are true bike tourists camping wherever and cooking their own meals.

When I got to Kenora I tried to call the Rhetsons, my Mom's cousin. I didn't really know them and they weren't home. They may have been on vacation I was told, so I continued on. Kenora was a pretty town with lots of lakes out here. There are a few less mosquitoes and horseflies, now there are grasshoppers, but grasshoppers leave you alone.

Outside of Kenora was construction. Lots of mud and gravel. My bike did not handle it well as it was soft and my tires sink in. I almost fell over trying to get out of the way of a truck.

turning south on 71 to the states gave me headwind. Also it is very hills. It seems every kilometer there is a hill to go up and down. I guess that means I tackled 56 hills so far on 71 (I guess I am exaggerating a bit)

I came to Sioux Narrows. I checked the motel since I have a cold, but decided it cost too much and headed to the campground. I could find no one at the office. They closed at 5? I just popped up my tent by the water. Hopefully I will be up and outta here before they open in the morning.

That night just after the sun had set the moon came up.  It was one of the most amazing things I've seen in a while.  The moon was coming up over the lake and was glowing red.  You'd think it was another sun.  I tried to take a picture but it didn't turn out.  I suppose that one will only be in my memory.

17 subs.

Day 24

July 6

Fort Frances ON

Rainbow Motel

144.2 km

7.08 hr

Av 20.2

Max 48.0

I awoke to thunder at 4:30 AM. I decided to get up and pack up at that time. The rain did not come yet. I don't mind riding in rain too much but I hate packing up a wet tent in the rain. So I got an early start and hoped I would get to Fort Frances early.

But Man o' man, the headwinds were strong from the south. Almost as strong as prairie winds. I was crawling along at 17 km/h. Past Nester Falls a girl on a loaded bike past me as I was eating. I finished my banana and tried to catch up to say hello. But she was a little faster than me. She got smaller and smaller in the horizon. Eventually I was so exhausted from the wind, I stopped up the hill. At that point I did not care if about saying "Hello" anymore... too tired. However, just after my stop I met her at a truck scale, as she had stopped for a break too.

Her name is Melissa from Halifax. She is doing the cross-canada trip solo, which surprises me. Also she has only paid for accommodations twice. She typically tours the town and stays on someone's couch or camp in the yard.

We rode together drafting to shelter from the wind. This is the first time I used drafting in this trip and it really helped. I think Melissa was in front more than I.

We got into Emo, a little town where Hw 71 turns East. The woman in the grocery store gave me her address to send a postcard.... not to say I got home but to say if Melissa and I got together. Probably not much happens in this small town, and that would be an interesting story. Melissa was attractive but I think I am probably not her type. We hung out at Emo for a fairly long time. I could not read her very well to see if she was interested in me. During our rest the winds changed from South to South-West to West. So we had tailwinds to Fort Frances. Melissa went her own way with her system of finding shelter. I treated myself to a Motel since I can't afford to do this in U.S.A. I dunno... I hope we meet again.

I must say Melissa's style of hanging out and chatting with the locales make the day more interesting, but I am beginning to look forward to finishing and want to move more than 100 km/day average that she does. I actually have a couple more km on my trip (3300 km) so far than Melissa, which I thought was strange because she went to Jasper Park AB. So taking Hw 3 in BC is as big of a detour as going to Jasper.

It was cold on 71 south but as soon as we got to Fort Frances it was very hot and people asked if it was too hot for biking.

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