To Swift Current

The prairies are “known for gusting winds and lack if precipitation” said the guide book. Ha, I said. Ha! “Lack of” is definitely not the correct word.
When I got up this morning I was all excited that it hadn’t rained overnight and I could pack up my tent dry (a rare experience). It was a bit overcast but the sun was making some appearances. After breakfast and packing up, I hit the road. It started drizzling a bit, but I had a good tail wind and was making good time. I figured it was just one of those prairie storms I kept hearing about that would be over in 5 minutes. Not the case. I had to cave and put on my raincoat.
At about noon (almost 60km in) there was a very small town, Tompkins, with a cafe just off the highway. I went in to get some lunch, as I hadn’t thought that meal through today. I ordered a cheeseburger with fries and a salad, which is usually a meal on its own. The guy serving me gave me this look that said, “really? You think you’re going to eat all that? This will be funny to watch.” When I had finished the plates he seemed impressed. It was an amazing meal and I’m glad I stopped for it.
When I hit the road again I was pleased it wasn’t raining. I glanced over to my left and by the side if the highway I saw a large black animal. Bear! Wait, cow. In my defence, the cows I’ve seen so far in Saskatchewan have squished in faces and shorter, fatter necks than what I’m used to, so they do sort of look like bears. However, I’m well aware that the chances of seeing a bear in southern Saskatchewan are very slim.
After that, the rain picked up again and I pulled into a gas station with a cafe, hoping to wait the storm out. Every time the storm looked like it was letting up I would get ready to go back outside. And every time I got ready to go back outside, the rain would pick up and come down heavier. On the upside, there were some lovely people in the cafe to chat with.
I ended up ordering a coffee and when the server brought it she brought creamers. So I asked for milk. So she brought me a glass of milk – exactly what I had technically asked for. While trying to sort this out I was brought an even larger glass of milk before finally receiving milk for my coffee. Apparently this is a cream-in-your-coffee kind of place.
Eventually I concluded that this was no brief rain shower, so I sucked it up and kept riding. The rain got worse and worse. The wind that had originally been blowing in my favour switched to a cross wind with a side of head wind. The upside if constant rain is that I still have a healthy supply of sunscreen – my only concern is that it will expire before I use it.
You know that joke that if your dog runs away from home in hte prairies you can see it running for days because the land is so flat? I’m beginning to think that it’s just a joke and has no truth to it. While there were some flat bits of highway, there were also a bunch of hills. What’s with that?
I finally arrived in Swift Current and got off the highway. I planned to find a restaurant or cafe to plan my next step – either finding the campground or a hostel or motel, depending on what the weather was going to do. On my way to the downtown I ran into another cross-Canada cyclist. His name was Case (sp?) and he was riding to raise awareness for organ donation (www.beadonor.ca). He was making great time, travelling much faster than I am. He came from Medicine Hat today (over 200km) and plans to go to Regina I morrow (over 250km). Fortunately for him he had a friend of a friend in Swift Current so he had a nice place to stay. The forecast called for the rain to stop by tonight, so I went to find the campground in the guidebook. I found Kinetic Park no problem, and I found one of the campsites, but there was no one there – no campers, no staff, no unlocked washrooms, nothing. It’s a whole historical village with museums and tea shops and stores, but nothing was open. There wasn’t even a groundskeeper or janitor or something. It was like a ghost town. I eventually gave up and started looking for another campground. Ponderosa campground is supposedly a couple of kilometres east of Kinetic Park, but it would not show up on google maps. I broke down and had a yelling match with my phone, which of course did no good. I tried getting back to the highway but was turned around. Finally I saw a little motel by the side of the road and decided to call it a night. Since the hotel is so far removed from civilization it was pretty cheap – as long as it has a hot shower I’m good to go. I ended up ordering pizza to the room, because the idea of going outside again was beyond me.
After showering off about 3 pounds of dirt and laying everything out to dry, I am going to sleep very soundly.

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5 thoughts on “To Swift Current

  1. Oh my, as we say….Speedy Creek – you are there! Good plan to opt for the motel, given the ghost town campground. Lousy, lousy weather! You are doing a fabulous job! I love the expression – “this is a cream-in-your coffee” type of place!
    Sleep soundly. Wishing you better conditions tomorrow!

  2. I hope you had a good sleep. And I’m glad you found the motel. Gee, I wonder when the campground season starts! It is mid-June. Oh, well, I am not familiar with the ways of Saskatchewan. Safe travels today. xoxo

  3. OMG….. i just looked on a map and I can’t believe how far you have ridden to date!! (writing “so far!! ” instead of “to date!!” seemed repetitive)
    You’ll be passing TO in no time ….. way to go!
    Very very impressive!

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