Day 10: Westbourne to Winnipeg – in the tracks of my father

Distance: 119km

Elevation: 76m

After a good night sleep, I made myself breakfast. My appetite had come back a little bit. I took my time and was on the bike before 10am.

Today I would get to Winnipeg. I remember that name from my childhood because my dad used to talk about his time there with a sparkle in his eyes.

In the West of Winnipeg, there is the Canadian Forces Base Shilo which today holds about 2,000 people of different military regiments.

Between 1974 and 2000 the Bundeswehr has had a permanent presence here. Around 1975 my dad was here for a maneuver for several weeks. I was 6 years old then and I still recall that he had a beard when he came back and I did not recognize him at first.

As a gift he had brought me a really cool airgun that you could use without ammunition.

It was heavy and out of metal. I recall that I felt very special because nobody else had something like that. I recall that I felt very special because nobody else had something like that. My father died many years ago from level 4 brain cancer. I had never felt a lot of connection to him. But I felt a little bit connected now.

As I cycled towards Winnipeg, I followed the Yellowhead again who merged with Highway 1 after a while. This was a very busy highway with 4 lanes and a lot of trucks. I had cycled on it in Jasper last year.

I had an early lunch in Portage la Prairie and reached Carolin around 2:30pm for our daily video chat.

The skies were amazing with big and dramatic clouds. The wind was mostly against me or came sideways but the trucks created an artificial draft that pulled me along like a slip stream. It was not romantic but very efficient and I made good progress.

Around 5:45pm, I arrived in Winnipeg at the place of Bromley Basford, my Warmshowers host for the night. He was a retired teacher and had just returned from a week at his cabin at the lake. He arrived 45min after me because he had to do grocery shopping.

We unloaded his car and then both took a shower. After that we started chatting and prepared a meal together. Potatoes, sour cream, omelette and a huge salad. Very yummy.

Bromley was 66 years old and had two adult daughters and his cat Coco. He had aged well and was divorced from his wife who lived 5 streets away. He had done some long distance bicycle touring himself in BC and was a Warmshowers host since long. He was contemplating a trip to Chile and was a little bit concerned regarding safety. I encouraged him to do it anyway.

When I had first entered his house I noticed the characteristic smell of Indian food which I love. A little later I figured why, when Raja came into the kitchen, a subtenant of Bromley. His family had emigrated to Canada from Punjab in 2001. They were based in Toronto. Raja was working at the Winnipeg airport as an operations manager and was training to become a commercial pilot in parallel. He financed all of it himself and worked crazy hours.

After dinner was ready, we sat on the patio in the backyard and shared food and stories. Raja had prepared a spicy Indian dish for himself which I also bravely tried. I hoped that my stomach was ready for it.

Around 10pm we all were tired and I went to sleep on the floor of Bromleys living room.

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