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.