To Brooks

I am glad that I decided to split up yesterday’s ride. I was originally supposed to go 300km in 2 days, but I have now divided the ride into 3 days. I’ve had to sacrifice a couple of showers and some flush toilets, but it’s a nicer ride.
If there was ever a campsite where my chances of being killed in the middle of the night were high, it was last night in Gleichen. That was hands down the weirdest place I’ve camped. The medical and dental centres were in portables…the temporary classrooms they put up in grade school when the classes and school became to crowded. There were 2 liquor stores, and the town was not that big. Even the police didn’t have confidence that my bike would not get stolen while I shopped for groceries. It was that kind of town. But I made it out alive!
I realized last night that I accidentally set my tent up on a slope, lengthwise. I had been so concentrated on which way the wind was blowing that I disregarded the hill I was tenting on. I was left with 2 options, brave it out, or go outside and battle the mosquitoes to reset the tent. So I slept on a hill. It was pretty slippery and I kept rolling around and off my sleeping pad. It was just as funny as you are imagining it to be.
Upon waking, I noticed 2 things. The first was that the direction of the wind had changed, and the second was that it was raining. It wouldn’t be my trip if it wasn’t raining. I packed up all my stuff and by the time I was set the rain had stopped. Thank goodness.
My ride took me through the Siksika area, which was very nice. Their service buildings (lodges) were way better than the ones in Gleichen. This will make me sound like a terrible person, but Siksika keeps reminding me of the Ferris Bueller “chikachika”. It’s the only way I can remember the name of the town.
Back onto highway 1 I went, and up a hill. Yes, a hill. I got up to 55kph on the way down then other side, so I’m calling that a hill.
After the hill I entered Newell County and the badlands. That was a flat piece of highway. I’m finally starting to see what the prairies are actually like. I know that I’m not completely in the prairies yet, and can’t yet fully appreciate their flatness, but I’m getting there.
A little while into my ride I noticed that my leg was beginning to get itchy. I looked down, an realized I was being bitten by 3 mosquitoes at the same time. Through my bike shorts. Apparently, you need to reapply big spray. Who knew? My legs currently look like I caught some kind of skin disease, and I itch like crazy. Welcome to the prairies! Land of the mosquitoes!
In the badlands I came across something I see occasionally on my ride. There were giant chunks of rubber from a truck tire strewn across the road, making it difficult for trucks and cars to manoeuvre around them. Since there was a convenient place to lean my bike up, I pulled over and removed some of the larger pieces from the road. What kind of driver would just leave them there? Did they get to their destination and think hey, didn’t I have an even number of tires when I left this morning? As I am prone to doing, I ranted to myself while removing the debris.
“Could they call someone when this happened? Hey highway services, just thought I’d give you guys a heads up. I left giant chunks of rubber tire on highway 1 today. I’m not going to clean it up or do anything about it, I just wanted to let you know…so, good luck with that. Have a good one.” People make me mad sometimes.
The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. Since it was so flat, and there was minimal wind, I made really good time getting to Brooks (about 110km from campground to campground). When I was in downtown Brooks, some guy asked me if I was lost. I said not really, but I was looking for the Kiwanis campground. Her gave me directions and explained that there were no cyclists in town, so he knew I must have been lost. He too had an awesome Canadian accent, and pronounced it aboot, rather than about. I’d never heard that in real life. Something new everyday on this trip.
I set up my tent and got some dinner at a restaurant. I figure since I didn’t pay to stay in Gleichen, I might as well spend that money somewhere. Tomorrow is another 110km or so to Medicine Hat, which should be another beautiful ride.

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