Saturday, 13 July 2013

Days 12, 13 & 14 of the EPIC Ride - Brooks - Irvine, AB - Swift Current, SK - Moose Jaw

Day #12 of the EPIC Ride
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Brooks - Irvine, AB
Distance: 147 km
Sunny with part clouds

Day #13 of the EPIC Ride
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Irvine, AB - Swift Current, SK
Distance: 196 km

Day #14 of the EPIC Ride
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Swift Current - Moose Jaw, SK
Distance: 170 km
Avg. speed: 28 km/h
Sunny with a bit of tailwind

So the 12th day of our Ride took us from Brooks to Irvine in Alberta. Irvine was our last stop in AB before crossing the border to Saskatchewan.

This was, if I remember correctly, a good day of riding. One of our rest stops was in Medicine Hat, and we spent some time at the world's tallest teepee...

The Riders covered 147 km in good time, and we made it to Irvine by about 5 pm.
When we had originally set up our route, Dave and I had picked random cities between the larger ones, with the goal of making days that weren't too long or short.

As it turned out, Irvine is a town of 300 people that had no campgrounds, and not much more than a general store and bar. We were told we could camp in the local park/playground area if we didn't make much noise. We ended up setting up our tents and making dinner in the park-which was about 30 metres from the train tracks. The trains, combined with the Tuesday night biker's night at the bar, made for poor sleeping conditions, so it was a hard night for us. We've since sworn never to sleep in a park again, but to go however much farther to the closest campground.

Our ride on Wednesday was where we crossed into Saskatchewan and went to Swift Current...

This was a 196 km ride day and it was pretty warm all day. We took a couple breaks, including one at an ice cream shop where someone bought us free ice cream.

When we got to Swift Current, we stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, thanks to Regan Bull (from our church in Cambridge). We also had dinner in-1 large pizza each! We also spent some time in the pool and hot tub, which was pretty relaxing.

Originally our route was going to take us from Swift Current straight to Regina, and then leave us with a rest day there. This was a 250+ km distance, which we decided to split into two days. So we rode from Swift Current to Moose Jaw on day #14; a 170 km ride.

We used the website WarmShowers to find a host in Moose Jaw. WarmShowers is a "Community for touring cyclists and hosts", so people friendly to cyclists can let people know where they live and if someone is coming through a city, they can ask to be taken in and fed for a night.

We ended up staying with a Glenda & Larry James. When we were stopped for a rest about 40 km from Moose Jaw, another cyclist named Joshua came by and asked where we were going. Since he was also going to Moose Jaw, he asked if he could stay at the same place as us. Our hosts agreed, and so there were 5 of us.
Another couple cyclists coming to the area showed up just after us, as they couldn't find anyone else in the area. Then after we finished dinner, another cyclist showed up (he was supposed to arrive on Friday night but ended up being early).
In total, there were 8 of us, and so one of the James' neighbours took in 3 of us that night.

It was one of the highlights of our trip so far, getting to talk to other cyclists and hear their stories. Joshua is from Toronto, and 4 years ago, rode from Toronto to St. John's, NFLD. This summer he's riding from Vancouver to Toronto, and will be back before the end of August.

The next cyclist was a Frenchman, whose name I do not remember well enough to spell, but will find out. He has been riding for 3 months already, and has rode in Japan and some of the US, and is coming through Canada. He's going back down into the States now and coming back up in the East to get to St. John's.

The other fellow he was travelling with, Yak (short version-I'll find out how to spell his full name), is a high-school teacher from Toronto, and is riding from Victoria to Toronto, hoping to be back in early August. We hope to meet up and ride with him a bit near Winnipeg.

The 4th cyclist we met was Ernest. We asked him how long he's been cycling. His response? "Oh, about 6 years and 3 months now." Ernest is from South Africa, and has been cycling the world, and has been to every continent except for Europe (and Antarctica, which would be hard to cycle in). His journey right now is carrying him all the way across Canada and then probably into the US and back across to Africa, then into Europe. He expects to be riding for at least 2 more years. If you visit his blog, you'll see that he's cycled over 111,300 km! Visit that for loads of information and posts about his journey.

We definitely had a great night on Thursday, talking to these other cyclists and hearing about their journeys.

Check back tomorrow for the next posting!

- Ben Looby

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