Not being overburdened with ambition today, I slept in and dawdled around doing laundry and generally being lazy until it was time to meet cousin Patrick and Trisha for lunch. We had an amazing lunch at Stella's and a great visit.
As the day was wearing on by the time we were done our visit, I really only had time to do one "touristy" thing in Winnipeg and decided my choices were between the Human Rights Museum and the Assiniboine Zoo. As the temperatures were rising to 30 degress, it made perfect sense to go to the zoo instead of the air conditioned museum....... I confess that traffic was a consideration and I thought that by the time I was done at the museum, it would be a long ways to go in rush hour traffice at 30 degrees on a bike. So I went to the zoo, knowing that I will be back to Winnipeg at some point in the future and will have another shot at the new museum.
The zoo was great. Ironically, they have a new arctic exhibit and that's where I saw polar bears. LOL. The pictures aren't great - animals being notoriously uncooperative for photographs, particularly with just a cell phone camera. Many great animal exhibits and of course there were mini-donuts and lemonade cleverly placed about 2/3 through when you're hot and ready for a treat. Loved the "I'm outdoorsy....." sign in the gift shop too!
Back to Elaine and Brian's for dinner. Despite being away for the day, Brian still made us dinner and spoiled us like a pool boy. I might have to send him a speedo in the mail.
I've been busy packing for tomorrow's departure and had best get back at it if I'm to get a reasonably early start tomorrow. If I shut up now, I can pack the computer!
It was my last night in the room with a thousand eyes at Dad and Shirley's and the eggs in the incubator must have known it. Two chicks obliginly hatched overnight to add to the two that had hatched the day before. Having done some organizing the night before, I didn't have too much to do to be ready to go.
Fury was booked for service in Winnipeg at noon, so I left Arden at 8:30 a.m. to give myself time to get lost. As I was riding, I was ruminating about all the people who say the prairies are boring and flat. If you stay on the Trans-Canada across them, yes it is. Cheapest way to build road to transport large amounts of traffic across 2000 kms is through the flat part.
So I say, if you want interesting, go north. The roads through the northern prairies have been varied and interesting. The landscape changes from muskeg to crops to pasture to the jaw-dropping beauty of Flin Flon with it’s outcrops of rocks and pristine lakes.
If you can’t do that, then take the time to notice the details. Notice the flowers and birds that are native to the area. Stop at a farm equipment store and look at the massive machines used to work the land – at $200,000 a pop. Stop and talk to a farmer and ask what it takes to get a crop in, bite your nails about the rain, hail, drought that may destroy it, and get it off in the fall before the frost hits. Those vast areas of farmland mean cows are fed and there are hamburgers on your grill. Think about how interconnected we all are. Think about the whole, and the trip becomes interesting.
As I was riding along 16 to the TC-1 junction, I saw a crop with the rows planted on a slight diagonal to the road. As I sped along beside it, it looked like dominoes falling into smooth green beside me. Neatest thing ever!
The bottom line is, all of the Canadian landscapes I have crossed so far have their own unique beauty and evoke different feelings – power, peace, solitude, wildness. And it is all worthwhile.
Reaching Winnipeg in good time, I was able to stop by Elaine and Brian’s and unload the bike before taking it to the shop. Elaine said big winds were expected on the weekend while I’m away in Nunavut and we scrambled around looking for a place to put the bike inside for the weekend. Cousin Patrick had space for it a ways away, but then Elaine’s neighbour Ben said he could make room in his garage, which I gratefully accepted.
Took the bike to Wildwood Motorsports in Winnipeg for new shoes and a shiny new chain. They were awesome, as all their reviews said. Friendly staff, great service and Fury is in good shape to embark on the second half of our journey when I return from Nunavut. Knowing she would be in for a few hours, I wandered up the street and found a place for a haircut. It’s really easy to maintain now because there isn’t much left! 😊 Great stylist at Colours and we had a nice chat while she shaped me up (hair anyway, the rest is hopeless). After that, I found lunch at Kimchi Sushi (where there was mouthwash in the bathroom!) and then killed some time at the Starbucks and then chatting with Gerald at Wildwood until the bike was ready.
Cousin Naomi and Darren and son Jake came into the city after work to meet me for dinner. We had a nice, albeit quick visit. Everyone is doing great. Darren had come with one of his bikes as he was headed off for a ride with his friend afterwards. Then it was back to Elaine and Brian’s to dump out all my bags and pack a small one for the trip north. We made time for a visit on their deck while Brian catered to us with drinks and snacks. I’m so spoiled! We stayed up too late of course, for folks who had to get up at 5:00 to be at the airport and I realize how lucky I am to have friends who are willing to take me there at such an unreasonable hour. I look forward to the quick trip into Nunavut to see what I can see.
Got up a little bit earlier today, had breakfast and headed over to see Brad. He was preparing for an auction and puppy Lucy was happy to see us for the excuse to get out of the auction barn and outside. It was a hot day and we had a couple of visits with friends and ran some errands. I wanted to stop and see Annette at PromoTime in Neepawa and thank her in person for designing my t-shirts. We carried on and had coffee with some a buddy of Dad’s at McDonald’s.
On our way back, Dad suggested stopping at the Neepawa Museum. By now I shouldn’t be, but am always surprised at what a good job so many small towns do with their museums. The Neepawa Museum is no exception. It covers three floors in the old railway station and they have a variety of exhibits from the different eras of the community. One of my favourites was the post office boxes with the combinations and keys and the old license plates! Then the Clothesline Rules! Who knew there were clothesline rules! They also had photos of the old Mountain Road church. It had burned a couple of years before I was born, but I heard of it often. The few photos here are just a tiny bit of what they have and not even the most interesting.
Our next stop was to take a photo of the Margaret Laurence house. Margaret Laurence was a Canadian novelist and a major figure in the Canadian literary scene. She was raised in Neepawa and is buried there. She is best known for her novel, The Stone Angel.
When we got back to Dad’s, I decided that I should do as promised and take Fury in to the car wash. I had also said I would stop by the Farmery with my bike as well. I had got some stickers for my sidecases from them to do a bit of promo on the rest of my trip. They are so busy, I’m sure they wouldn’t have missed me if I hadn’t shown up, but I wanted to show off Fury anyway. So I took her to the car wash first and got her all cleaned up and found some good spots to put the stickers on my side cases. They looked pretty good! Lawrence let me pull her up right close to the store so we could get a good picture with the Farmery sign.
Heading back towards Arden, I stopped to get a picture of the “Main Beach Lake Agassiz” sign. As little as 10,000 years ago, pretty much all of Manitoba and a good deal of Saskatchewan and Ontario were one gigantic glacial lake – Lake Agassiz. As the glacier receded and the lake drained, it left behind a variety of deposits of sand and gravel. The Arden ridge is one of these deposits.
The town of Arden is small but had a steady population. Riding into Arden, you will see its 10-foot crocus. There are numerous historic sites around town, including the junction of Arden Ridge and the Ellice Trail that settlers used when travelling by cart to settle the west. Arden is also home to a swinging bridge across the Whitemud river and a very nice campground and park. For the last couple of years, there has been a biker’s gathering at Arden, welcoming something like 100 riders who gather at the campground for the weekend.
Returning to Dad’s, Shirley had a fish supper ready, followed by raspberry pie. I'm in the doghouse with Vlad for cutting it badly, but not enough that I didn't get a mudpie cookie too.
I finished the job on Fury by giving her a wax and polish before putting her to bed for the night. Curious, the goats and llamas that were loose in the yard came over to check out the job. They were quickly distracted by Dad and bread. Vlad, the big white Pyrenees also came over to stick his nose under my arm and into my cheek to make sure I knew what I was doing. At 7 months old, Vlad is hip height and not yet full grown. He is pretty sure I shouldn’t go anywhere by myself and has to be in contact with my thigh if I’m walking around the yard – wouldn’t want to get lost! I’m sure he loves everyone, but I like to think it’s because I’m special. 😊
Tomorrow it is on to Winnipeg where Fury is booked for service and will have a couple of days of rest while I head into Nunavut.
Little bit of sleeping in, little slow getting going, but we got to the tour at the Farmery Brewery. Lawrence and Chris and staff are going non-stop, from the looks of things, so we very much appreciated the time they took out of their day to tour us around the brewery. Especially when they had a real writer and photographer from a German magazine to tell their story to!
Farmery prides themselves on locally sourced product. They grow their own barley and hops and source supplies, equipment and services for their process within the province wherever possible. Beyond the production of beer and expansion into Saskatchewan and working on Ontario and British Columbia, they are considering products that will make use of the extra hop oil that is extracted and not used in the brewing process. These products may include aromatherapy mist and lotion. We got to sample both and I will be watching for the lotion!
While they began with only a couple of varieties of beer, they have expanded production to include some specialty beer and even non-alcoholic sodas (my favourite). We saw all stages of the process, though I would be hard-pressed to explain it to you. The detail involved is fascinating. Like wine, brewing a good beer involves monitoring enzyme activity, sugar content, temperature control, adding the right things at just the right time. Not to mention the dizzying variety of equipment that must be employed and maintained to produce that can in your hand. My advice – get on down there for your own tour, sample some beer and take some home with you, along with a couple of Farmery beer glasses to pour it into!
Having sampled some beer for ourselves, we thought the fish and chips they have at their fish truck sounded like a good idea. This proved to be a stellar decision as the fish in the fish and chips was pickerel and the fish tacos I had were pike (more local product). Prepared in the Farmery beer batter, of course, we enjoyed our lunch very much. Their fries were to die for. Normally I can eat about 5, but I had no problem picking away at the fresh, hand-cut fries served with the fish. Then we saw the kids nearby come out with ice cream sandwiches and sundaes.......I bet you don't even have to ask if we had some.
Waddling over to the truck, we got in and found our way over to cousin Alexis (yes, I have two first cousins named Alexis), who is now working in Neepawa. So glad she messaged me to let me know! We had a good visit, although she wouldn't let me go into the bathroom and flush the toilet while the plumber was working on the sewer pipe. I love her, but she can be a real killjoy! Actually, I think she secretly thought it was a great idea, but didn't want to get fired. 😊
We stopped on the way home to toss some bread to the sheep before heading over to brother-in-law Brad’s for dinner. Brad’s family was around and we had a quick trip over to the auction barn to see some of what was going to auction this weekend before returning to the house for supper. Too much awesome food. I hadn’t thought to take the bike over and was a disappointment to Genie and Bob, so I ran back over with it after dinner in time to catch them just ready to leave. It’s always fun when people admire Night Fury and Bob and Genie were very dutifully complimentary! Even Lucy came to give her a sniff, but she wasn't quite sure about that iron dragon. Got some pics and returned to Dad’s to tuck her away in bed for the night.
Poured over some maps with Dad in preparation for the Ontario route that will begin next week, after my quick trip into Nunavut on the weekend. So much more to see! I hope you will continue to join me on this grand adventure.
Packed up the bike in good time this morning and said goodbye to Mom and Don to head south. Made another side trip to Onanole for a quick coffee with long-time friends Lynne and Mark from Erickson. Busy as ever in "retirement", I wonder when they will ever slow down!
On the way through Neepawa, I met cousin Kathryn and Neil for lunch. We had a nice visit and it was good to catch up. Dad arrived from Arden, being in Neepawa to pick up bread for his animals. We stopped at the Farmery Brewery and found out when their tours were, arranging to go down at noon tomorrow to do that. The Farmery Brewery is a local brewery started by people we had connections to from Erickson. They have done very well with their product, expanded their variety and I am happy to promote them! Now available in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, I hope to see Farmery products available in BC soon. Looking forward to tomorrow's tour.
Since it is important to do a lot of eating, we stopped at McDonald's for a hot fudge sundae before heading on to Main Street for errands. Mom had said she was going to call the Neepawa Banner and see if they were interested in my trip as a little story. I mentioned this to Dad and he knew where the office was and said we should just stop by. So we did and Owen kindly listened to my story and took some photographs. It would be fun if they decided I was newsworthy! :)
After stopping to spoil the sheep with bread, I dropped the bike off in Dad's driveway and hopped in the truck to go give bread to the horses who are pastured some ways down the road. Apparently the bike, with no passenger, caused great consternation among the dogs and llamas while we were gone. They are unaccustomed to a vehicle pulling up and parking at the gate without someone visiting. There was much barking and huffy behaviour until our return. The horses, however, were very happy to see us and came running for their treat. I had forgotten that Dad has a "movie horse". Reba (the dark horse in the photo with Dad) has been in movies with Sidney Poitier and Brad Pitt.
We stopped at the Farmery hop yard to take a couple of photos. They have several hop yards in different locations. I'm sure, like vines for wine, different soils and micro-climates contribute to distinctive flavours in the hops that are used for beer and other products.
Before heading home, we took a trip out to Tracey's grave. Dad had a wooden butterfly made and placed there with the flowers from her burial to mark her grave until a headstone can be acquired. It is nice to see that her grave is marked with something special. And in seeing that little spot beneath which she lies, I realize all over again how very much I miss my only sibling.
Brother-in-law Brad joined us for dinner when invited, claiming it had to be better than whatever would fall out of the freezer when he opened the door. Shirley made a nice dinner and then we all sat around with bellies full, making conversation amidst yawns as we digested. We have determined it is time for bed, so I will say good night until tomorrow's adventures.
Today was a day for an impromptu drive. Mom and Don and I went to Carberry Printing to have a look at headstone options for Tracey. We were pleasantly surprised to find Tracey’s friend Terri owns the business! Of course, she was amazing as she has always been and helped us with options and costs and we got a bonus visit with her as well. Heading out, we stopped at the Robin’s Nest on the highway for lunch before toodling up to Clear Lake.
We stopped at Poor Michael’s Book Shop in Onanole to see if cousin Olivia was working. We saw lots of lovely and interesting things, but one of them was not Olivia, who was having days off for fun stuff. While browsing, I met Cam who has a 1959 Triumph Bonneville. Got to have a look at his bike, which is really cool of course, since I’m a fan of the Bonneville. Parked beside his bike was a new model Bonneville and we remarked how little the style has changed. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Riding Mountain National Park was established in 1933 and is a beautiful, well-kept park. Wasagaming is the business district in the park and there is a good variety of shops and places to eat. Taking a lovely stroll around Clear Lake (the lake in the park), we very much enjoyed the peace of the trees and water. Wandered down the pier and back, then bought ice cream and sat at a table in the shade and watched the world go by.
On the way home, we stopped by the Erickson Cemetery and visited the graves of Helen, Henry and Jeremy. The community has set up a lovely little park by the water and the Trans Canada Trail at the end of Main Street that looks very inviting (but don’t forget your mosquito spray).
Arriving home after 8:30 p.m., we had a quick dinner, a visit and are now ready for bed!
Well, this may be the shortest blog you've seen in awhile, and perhaps not as eloquent as some as I seem to be tired today for some reason. Something about being out of practice partying and staying up too late 2 nights in a row.
Not quite as hot as yesterday, and with the wind re-asserting itself, it was ideal for a leisurely day visiting old haunts around McCreary. I dressed like a real person for the second day in a row and actually styled my hair for the first time in a month and a half!
Kim was over to return Mom’s bug spray I had left in her vehicle and stayed for coffee and a bite of breakfast with us before heading back to the city. In the afternoon, Mom and I took a drive out to the McCreary cemetery and visited the graves of Grandma and Grandpa Curtis, Uncle Floyd and young cousin, Joshua.
Continuing on, we drove to Grandma’s old farm. The new owners have taken good care of it and are enjoying the property. As we drove along the road past the farm, a doe and 2 fawns popped out of the ditch beside us. Good thing we were going slow. The doe took off for the bush and the fawns began to follow, but as we stopped the truck, they got curious and stopped to watch us. While not babies anymore, they still had their spots and were very cute. We watched them for a couple of minutes and as we began to move slowly towards them, they bounded off down the old Burrows Trail behind Grandma's place.
We continued on the back roads past the old Chotka place we had lived at. The house is no longer there and the yard site doesn’t look as it used to, being fairly grown over. Heading back down the road, we took a trip out to Mt. Agassiz where there had been a ski hill when I was young. The old lodge and lifts are gone, of course, but there is a nice big building with a wood stove and some picnic tables and cook stoves. I actually thought it would have been an ideal place for our get-together, although Mom says the ticks are outrageous.
Heading back to town, I wanted to get a picture of the sign at the old Cantin house. Mom said the house used to be a roadhouse for stagecoaches. The Cantins are remarked by the historical society because they had the largest contribution by a single family in WWII. Three of the eleven who enlisted did not return.
We headed back to Mom’s for supper and she had some practicing to do for a wedding she is playing for next weekend. I thought it was a good time to pop out and have a visit with Aunt Norma and get a picture of the school and the house that I grew up in. We had a nice, albeit quick, visit and a tour around Norma’s growing things. Her thumb is evidently much greener than mine. When Bronwyn asked me which of her plants I wanted to keep for her while she went to Japan, my response was “Which ones do you want to live?”
Ok, that wasn't so short after all. Even though it is early, it is feeling like time for sleep!
Tonight’s blog will be short and sweet after a long, but fabulous day. Today was our “hey, we’re all turning 50 this year” get-together with the class of ’86. Twelve classmates turned up, some with spouses and children and we had a great time catching up, eating, drinking and playing games. We migrated from Barbie and Leonard’s camper to the gazebo that offered lots of space and shade for our shenanigans. A strong wind and sprinkler set up close by to mist us from time to time made the temperatures of 40C tolerable and we hung out there until the wee hours. Mom and Don’s proximity to the park proved very convenient for dragging the hose and sprinkler over and having a trailer available for extra beds.
A couple of trips to the store ensured we were well stocked with food and beverages and ice for the day. Leslie and I had fun taking Kelly’s Mustang for a spin under the auspices of needing more…stuff for caesars??? Yeah, let’s go with that. We considered going to Dauphin for the necessary supplies, but thought that might be pushing it.
The game of Viking chess was moved from its original location and players were summoned. This was a new game to me which involved many sticks of different sizes and throwing said sticks back and forth across the “board”. Now, I question the wisdom of a game that involves the throwing of significant blocks of wood back and forth by a crew fueled by ceasars and beer, but we played several games without incident and had a great time.
If awards were to be given out, it might have gone something like this:
Barb & Leonard are the recipients of the hospitality award for being “home base” with their camper, providing food, and the game of Viking chess.
Kim is the recipient of the Sweet Tooth Award for thinking to have a cake decorated for us and then remembering to bring it!
Leslie is the recipient of the Viking chess Most Valuable Player award. She knocked down more of those damn little stakes than anyone and if the rest of her team hadn’t let her down, we would have won.
Mark is the recipient of the Master Ceasear-Maker Award. I now believe him that we needed two party packs of clamato juice. He is single-handedly responsible for making sure we were equipped to obey the rule of having a drink in our hand when we threw or Viking chess stick.
Gail wins the Miss Congeniality Award for letting people hug her, even though she would rather they kept their hands to themselves.
Doug wins the Willpower Award for drinking water all day in the midst of a staggering variety of beverages and remembering to keep it in his hand when throwing the Viking chess stick.
Joanne wins the Perseverance Award for showing up at all, having to head out later in the day with a long drive to get here.
Harvey is the recipient of the Good Humour Award. I think he successfully visited with everyone and every time I looked his way, he had that great smile that I remember from high school that always made you feel comfortable!
Stephen wins the Fling Award for the best Viking chess stick throwing technique. No idea how those sticks went so far without taking out an ankle or two. Stephen, I think I need coaching….
Kelly is the recipient of the Preservation Award for putting us all to shame by staying in shape – if we knew enough to be ashamed, of which there was no evidence whatsoever.
All spouses and children present receive the Patience Award for putting up with silly conversation, “do you remembers” and frequent photo taking.
Just such a fun day with a bunch of people that haven’t really changed at heart and are still a marvellous, caring, fun group. Thanks to all who were able to make it and contributed to a good time. Love to all! Xox
I was negligent in posting a blog yesterday, but I have a good excuse. No internet service. 😊 And now you are all going to pay, because I have two days of yammering to do and a whack of photos. Today was a perfect riding day!
Yesterday was a quiet, catch-up kind of day in Flin Flon. We woke to sunny skies and warm temperatures. Gord and Bert’s grandson Marcel helped me wash Night Fury and we got the chain cleaned up and lubed. Then it was time for lunch before heading out to their cabin at Amisk Lake, which is just over the Saskatchewan border. Bert’s sister Bea joined us and we had a great time yakking and making potato and macaroni salad in preparation for some more company for supper. Gord’s contribution to supper was a pickerel fish fry, which was a real treat. Pickerel is a mild, beautiful white fish that can’t be found in BC (or at least not anywhere I've lived in BC).
Played a bit of football with both grandsons, Chris and Marcel, and Chris whooped our butts, even 2 on 1. Unfortunately, we started our game late into the evening and the grass was wet. It seemed prudent to cease the game before I went for a header that would prevent me from getting on the bike in the morning! So the rest of the evening was spent visiting and sitting around the fire and watching the sun set over the lake. Life is tough. Bert and Gord’s idea of “roughing it” is akin to mine – shower (even a bath!), electricity, screened-in verandah. You can see from the photos that Gord and I clearly have the same hairdresser, while Bert's is much more sophisticated!
I was mightily impressed with the tree-house that Gord and Chris built as well. I told them that Bronwyn would probably move in if she saw that! All-in-all, a very enjoyable evening and well worth the extra day in Flin Flon and adjustment to the trip plan. I promised not to give out the co-ordinates of the cabin, so you’ll all have to find your own friends to spoil you.
Bert and Gord dutifully got up early and shook me out of bed. Gord drove me back to town where it took me forever and a day to re-pack and load all my stuff. I hardly knew what to do when I woke up and the sun was shining! On a riding day! The temperature rising fast, I knew it was a day for mesh gear. That meant switching out armour to make room for the bulkier waterproof gear and getting a bit creative with my packing and loading. Gord patiently observed this process, probably wondering when in the hell I would be done so he could get back to the lake. Loading finally accomplished, Fury and I headed out for McCreary.
We made a couple of stops on the way out of town. One at the museum which has some neat displays of mining equipment from days gone by. Had to see the statue of Flintabattey Flonatin again as well. The city claims that it is the only one in the world that is named after a science fiction character. I cannot validate this claim, but it’s a fun story. One of the prospectors that discovered ore in the Flin Flon area knew the character from a 1905 story called The Sunless City and dubbed their discovery the Flin Flon mine, which was later adopted by the town that grew up around the mine. The statue erected at the entrance of the town was designed by Al Capp (creator or L’il Abner), which I actually did not know (or maybe didn’t remember) until I read the story at the site again.
Flin Flon is an avid hockey community and has produced several NHL players, including Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke. The Flin Flon Bombers logo is a prominent feature all over town.
The next stop was Sally’s Beach, where we lived when we first moved to Flin Flon. It was here that I wanted to leave some ashes for Tracey. The story goes like this: It was early April and I was in my last month of pregnancy with Bronwyn, who was due on April 18th. Tracey wanted to see me in this state before I had the baby, so she and Brad and Dad travelled to Flin Flon for the long Easter weekend. They arrived Friday night. I went into labour the following morning and Bronwyn was born on Easter Sunday, a week before her due date and in time for her auntie to see her before they went back home! Very obliging of her. So Flin Flon seemed an appropriate place for some of Tracey’s ashes as she was there for the first day of her niece’s life.
A nice young couple was at the beach with their dog, who was loving a game of fetch that had him bounding in and out of the water. They had recently moved there and we had a nice little visit. They took some pictures for me and somewhere in the trees behind where I’m standing on the sand is the cabin we first lived in upon moving to Flin Flon. Riding from Flin Flon to The Pas, I saw several of Manitoba’s 100,000 lakes!
Stopping briefly at the village of Cranberry Portage, I rode into the campground there. It is right on Lake Athapapuskow and is very well kept and beautiful. They also have a ball field that was in better condition than any we played on in Victoria last summer. Good to see some communities have their priorities straight! I stopped to look at the cairn there and the story of the portage. Cranberry Portage had been a portage route during fur trading days. I took some pictures (of course) and got back on the highway.
The fourth stop on my way to The Pas was Clearwater Lake Provincial Park. I remember this lake having the most beautiful colour and wanted to see it again. Of course, it is still a beautiful lake. Given that I had no new flower varieties to show you today, you get lake varieties! Not all of them are in pictures, but between Flin Flon and Dauphin, I rode by Rose Lake, Big Island Lake, White Lake, Schist Lake, Lake Athapapuskow, Goose Lake, Egg Lake, Payuk Lake, Clearwater Lake, Lake Winnipegosis….you get my drift…..photos would have been monotonous, though every one of them made me look twice.
Then it was on to The Pas to fill up with gas and have a quick lunch before heading south. I had been warned about water pooling onto the highway just north of Mafeking and was hoping there wouldn’t be a detour or delay. Once again, I rode along the shore of Lake Winnipegosis, which is really quite close to the road. The ditches were full, the lakes and rivers all high. There was one point where I could have pulled over to the shoulder and stuck my toe in the water. But the heat and wind of the previous day had taken care of any water that was ON the road and I encountered no difficulty. Stopping at Mafeking for gas, I filled my tank and went in to pay. Standing at the counter, I hear an incredulous “Alyson?!” Turning around, there stands my good friend Liana! We laughed to find ourselves meeting by chance in Mafeking, of all places! Brian was there too and we had to ensure we had photographic evidence of the event! As Liana said “We couldn’t have pulled that off if we had planned it!”
The bonus of meeting Liana and Brian was Brian’s suggestion that I could cut off a few kms by turning onto Hwy 268. He said it was a bit curvy with a few potholes and rough here and there, but not bad. Since Brian is not a stranger (as in the High Level to Slave Lake adventure), and since curves + motorcycle = happiness, I took this advice. It was a lovely rural road with pretty scenery and a great ride. Potholes were minimal and easy to avoid on two wheels and there was next to no traffic. Made Dauphin in good time and rewarded myself with a hot fudge sundae at McDonald’s before carrying on. Topping up with gas, I noticed my iron dragon had a feast of bugs again today and will need her face washed once more.
I rode into Mom and Don’s yard about 8:15 p.m. and have been getting spoiled rotten ever since. Mom had a wardrobe for me that did not involve riding gear. “Look Ma, I’m a real girl!”. Don helped me unload Night Fury and I have my very own room with a body pillow for sleeping!
Now, a couple of months ago, I had this bright idea that since a bunch of our classmates were still around Manitoba, and since a whole whack of us are turning 50 this year, maybe some would like to get together. Sent a message out on Facebook and a bunch jumped on board. We set a date and time for a no-fuss, no-muss, take-care-of-yourself get-together. I spied a camper I knew must be Barb and Leonard and stopped in to say a quick hi. Leslie and Florian saw me ride in and not out and they popped over to say hi. While unloading the bike at my Mom’s down the road, Kim rolled up! After hugs and hellos all around, I had a quick shower and Kim and I went back up the road to Barb and Leonard’s camper, where Gail had arrived! We have just settled into a chat and got the message that Kelly and Heather arrived from Victoria! It is great to see everyone looking great and doing well. Looking forward to more arrivals tomorrow.
For now, that is quite enough of a day. Time for some shut-eye before we see what kind of shenanigans we can get up to tomorrow. There might only have been 22 people in our grad class, but there are some creative minds!
Until then, R & R. . . . Thanks for coming along on today’s adventures.
Cruisin' the old stomping grounds
Slept in today and did very little that could be considered productive. I woke to the rain pouring down and was grateful to have my friends’ car to use. Finally got out of the house around 1:00 p.m. and just went for a drive around Flin Flon. Found my way to the little house we used to live in. Sadly, whoever owns it now doesn’t waste any time looking after it. Saw the baseball diamonds where I played ball a few times and thought how I’m a much better ball player now than I was then!
Heading downtown, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Main Street was pretty busy. The law office I worked in was still there and being used for the same purpose. Other things, of course, have changed as different businesses have come and gone. The realty companies have the same names, and perusing the window of one of them, I found that you can live in the nicest area of Flin Flon for less than half the cost of a tear-down dive in Vancouver. I parked the car and walked all over town in the rain, then jumped back in and drove around some of the other streets to get the different views of the city. It is quite a pretty city and I’m looking forward to clearing skies in the next couple of days to get out and appreciate the beauty surrounding the city as well.
Noticing the time was almost 3:00 p.m. and I had not yet eaten, I went to the grocery store and bought fixings for chicken stew and biscuits. My friends are due home late tonight and I thought it would serve me for supper tonight and a quick lunch tomorrow. So the evening was spent making it up, doing some laundry, and having a video conference call with Bronwyn and her class in Japan, who are doing a unit on time zones. Having considered this call, I was able to send Bronwyn some pictures of the city that I had taken so she could show her students where she was born!
All in all, I am pleased with the state of the community of Flin Flon from my superficial perspective and find that it still has the feeling of “home”. Looking forward to a visit with my friends before heading south to see family.