Day 9: Minnedosa to Westbourne – against the wind

Distance: 105km

Elevation: 98m

When it had stopped I got up and started carefully to pack up.

Cindy, my campground neighbor who was doing an epic road trip together with her sister from the Pacific to the Atlantic, came over and brought me some charcoal for my stomach. It turned out she was a nurse. People here are just so kind.

I cycled into town and went right to the pharmacy. The gentleman there recommended Pepto Bismol from P&G for my problems. He was very convinced that this would help me which had an immediate positive effect on me.

Next I went grocery shopping and had breakfast at the local gas station.

Around 10am, I was in the saddle cycling uphill from the valley that Minnedosa sits in to reach the Yellowhead again.

Today was headwind day. I had been enjoying tailwind for the last couple of days so there was no reason to complain.

Cycling through the Prairies against headwind is the ultimate form of Stoicism. You can fight it but then you won’t last long. You can’t really hide either. You can only accept it and humbly pedal at a lower speed that is doable in the long run.

I cycled on a perfectly straight road to Neepawa and had ice cubes with coke there. Oh, it is THE best thing here to cool you down. The place reminded me of a regular town and after a while I realized that it was because of the many trees on the roads. The places I had come through so far had had no trees. What a difference.

Once this area had been called the Bad Woods by the settlers on their push towards West. A few decades later it was described as the Great Planes and the forest was gone.

I had a late lunch in Gladstone at a local Tim Horton’s. That’s a Canadian fast food chain that was founded by a national ice hockey player. They also had some healthier choices not only burgers and fries. I decided to trust my stomach and had a bowl with fried rice, salad and chicken. Very yummy.

I had another call with my wife to kiss her good night. We found out that I had crossed another time zone when I was coming into Manitoba, from Pacific to Mountain Time. Since there had been no sign and my iPhone adjusted itself automatically we noticed it only coincidently by the shrinking time difference.

That had been the third time zone change on my tour around the world so far.

After 100km against the wind, I reached a small place called Westbourne. Google suggested there was a place called “Oftys River Camping” 3km off the highway. However, there were no signs and no other map would show it.

I was preparing mentally for another closed campground and asked a lady to top up my water bladder. We chatted a little and she confirmed that the place was real.

After another 20min through gravel I reached the place and was positively surprised. I was directly by a river and consisted to over 90% of permanent residents. It even had a pool and washrooms.

It took me a while to track down Jamie, the owner, and we started chatting instantly. They had bought the place over a year ago moving in from Thunderbay, Ontario. I asked why this place and his reply was “because of brain damage” with a chuckle referring to the overall run down state of the place. He had wanted a life style change for his family after Covid which has had many negative effects on his teenage kids

He made me half a vegetarian pizza and we continued chatting since he wanted to know my story. Obviously, I had been the second cyclist this year so far. No wonder I did not see anybody here. But the place is also very well hidden.

After an hour or so, I thanked him for the good chat and set up my tent. Also, I had a swim in the pool and a hot shower. Life was good.

Also, my stomach was feeling better. Thank you all for your good wishes.

Leave a Reply