July 29

July 30th, 2007

Too often I’ve been woken up by the sound of water. Today was one of those days. But this time it wasn’t the typical ‘drip, drip, drip’ that I heard. It was more of a sloshing noise, followed by a ‘thud’. Sherry, a good friend of Harvey and Marnie, had gone out early on this Sunday and donated 15 cases of water donated for me! The sound I was hearing was my Dad helping to unload all the water into our RV. Awesome donation. Thanks, Sherry! This should get us through to Vancouver!

 

Harvey invited us to attend church with them this morning and mentioned that the Pastor would introduce me during the service. Considering the punishment my poor feet had endured the day before, I saw this as a golden opportunity for a few reasons. First, it would give my feet a bit more rest and time to recover. Second, it would be great exposure. Third, I could use some extra time in the morning to catch up on some journals! It was a win-win situation. However, it would mean that I would be leaving Brandon in the early afternoon on what was supposed to be one of the hottest days of the year. And the Weather Gods wouldn’t disappoint.

 

I’ll be honest. I’m not a church goer. So this was a unique experience all around. The live music was an interesting spin from what I remember as a kid, but unfortunately church just isn’t my cup of tea. I respect all religions and beliefs, but I don’t see how any single religion can be superior over another. Pastor Dan made a simple announcement about me being in the church today. I was well received and even collected a few donations. I guess I was invited on the right day, because after the service everyone was invited to participate in a luncheon buffet! Fabulous! I was starving. And the food was great. I may not be back at a church anytime too soon, but I know this visit won’t go forgotten.

 

We got prepared to tackle the blazing afternoon heat of the Prairies. Harvey even filled up our gas in the RV! The Proberts’ really out-did themselves on our trip through town. So I headed out of Brandon around 2 pm and was treated to more of the same crappy roads and powerful winds as yesterday. With each stride, I couldn’t help but shutter at the thought that my Dad may have actually been right about the Westerly Winds. With the pain biting at my feet, the heat pouring down on my head, and the wind slamming into my face, I struggled to even reach 10 km/h. The first hour was pure torture, but the road began to improve very slightly. With the temperature as hot as it was, I began to hallucinate. Without warning, the flat Prairies turned into the Rockie Mountain foothills. It was so realistic that I even felt like I was trying to skate up the long, sudden incline. And then it hit me… I wasn’t hallucinating. I really was climbing hills! I don’t know where these came from, but having to suddenly climb uphill as well as everything else I was fighting with was like rubbing salt in an open wound. With the humidex topping temperatures over 45 degrees celcius, I had to give in once again. It was just too much. But I wasn’t completely defeated yet. Since I started so late, I figured that I would wait until the sun started to go down and I would try to get in a few extra kilometers.

 

We stopped for an early dinner break near the village of Alexander at Hansel and Gretel’s Schnitzel House. I was surprised to see a German restaurant way out here, too! But I was even more surprised when the owner invited us in for dinner with her thick German accent. I’ve had schnitzel before, but this meal was mouth-watering! Just what I needed to give me a boost of energy to fight the evening elements.

 

When we walked outside, it was almost like someone had just flipped a switch. The temperature had dropped and the wind had shifted in my favour. Unbelievable! I strapped on my skates and began cruising down the Trans Canada Highway as if the last 2 days never happened. Manitoba had really knocked me down, but I was far from out. Call it determination, call it stubbornness, call it what you want. I knew I could make it to Virden before the day was done. Some 75 km after starting at 2 pm, I rolled into a campground in Virden. The best part was that I pounded nearly 50 of those kilometers after dinner, and it was still daylight! Just enough time to grab a shower and hit the pillow. I wonder if the Weather Gods will have more games for me tomorrow.

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