Sunday, June 13, 2010
Day 10 - Thursday June 10 - Brooks AB to Tompkins SK (252 km)
Slept through our alarms this morning, but woke up at 5:45. Were on the road 2 hours later in an overcast morning, but for once: no rain! This plus an awesome tail wind lifted our spirits and we flew to Medicine Hat. We stopped here to find a bike store (V needs new cleats, but they were sold out) and to stock up on food and eat lunch. Stops like this usually take ~2-3 hrs, counting time to find out where to go, actually run the errands, and get back en route. We were aiming for Walsh, which is by the Alberta border and would've been another 50 km (in addition to the 100 already covered) but we decided to take advantage of the fabulous weather and continued on for an additional 90 km into Saskatchewan to Tompkins SK. In these conditions, the paniers actually seem to confer an advantage, adding surface area for the wind and weight for momentum on the flats and downhills. The prairies are actually quite beautiful, and at least in this part are not as flat and monotonous as people have told us. Lots of rolling hills (reminded us of Scotland) and livestock (cows, horses, sheep). We also saw lots of what we *think* are Prairie Dogs (we need to take a picture and ask a local to be sure!). J accidentally ran over a dead one, and V almost hit a live one... but all in all, they're SO CUTE! We can tell the volume of wildlife by the volume of roadkill as well (coyote, 3 hares, seagulls, prairie dogs, a deer). We also saw 2 antelope (we think... they were far away). We saw the world's largest teepee in Medicine Hat, and think this town should be renamed "Land of Noisy Cars" (it was comical how many cars needed mufflers). Medicine Hat had a great feel to it and, as with the rest of the country so far, the people were really friendly. We've commandeered the bathroom at this campsite as we're the only ones camping here, and hope to dry out some gear overnight. Our tent is pitched out of the wind, and we had a nice dinner (chicken wraps) a la heated bathroom. Not one drop of rain today!