July 31st, 2007
They were calling for another day of record breaking heat today. Collectively, my parents and I made the decision to get up early and skate before the sun reached it’s peak. I even surprised myself when I was on the road by 6:30 am! I have to admit, the cool morning temperatures made a significant difference. As much pain as I had been in for the past couple days, I was almost enjoying myself this morning.
We knew that the 4 lanes of traffic would be reduced to 2 almost immediately today. But what we didn’t know was that construction of the new highway running parallel to the existing road was practically complete. All of a sudden, I had brand new blacktop that had never even been driven on by a car! So I took full advantage of the situation. As I bladed down the deserted road, my Dad followed along the rough shoulder on the older highway. There may have been about 20 feet of land separating the 2 roads, but I felt like I was in my own world. I looked ahead of me and could see nothing but asphalt. It was like being on a never-ending tarmac. I could finally maximize my potential and casually coast through the Prairies while enjoying the vastness surrounding me.
My 6:30 start helped me get ahead of the game, but the time change when we hit Saskatchewan helped even more. Before I knew it, I had completed 75 km and it wasn’t even 11:30am! I was feeling good, but I didn’t want to take any chances. We stopped in Moosomin for lunch and rested for over 3 hours. I’d never taken a 4 hour break before, but better safe than sorry. The break gave us time to catch up on some media work that had been piling up. City TV in Vancouver had called me and was expecting a call back. Keep your eyes open for me on BT Vancouver! I’m not sure when I may be on.
When I crossed the border from New Brunswick to Quebec, there was a distinct line in the road where the pavement changed. When I crossed from Quebec to Ontario, the weather changed instantly. When I entered Manitoba from Ontario, the rolling hills disappeared. But now that I’m in the Prairies, what could possibly change when I went from Manitoba to Saskatchewan. Well, I’ll tell you. It was almost like flipping a switch on my computer. Suddenly we went from having no internet service (for the entire province of Manitoba), to having a strong, consistent signal! It was incredible. We were in the middle of nowhere, but the Telus internet card I have (courtesy of Hostway Canada) was now working like a champ. Now I’ll have no excuses for falling behind on my journals!
The new highway I had been enjoying was now open to traffic beginning just before Whitewood, Saskatchewan. But even with the cars now flying past me, I still had my own huge shoulder. I was feeling comfortable even in the late afternoon heat. My Mom was convinced that today was the hottest day of the year, but I felt the breeze kept me cool enough. When I arrived in Whitewood, I had easily completed 115 km. It was my easiest 115 km day that I can remember.
My day wouldn’t have been complete without a feast fit for a King. My Dad fired up the barbecue and grilled up the biggest, juiciest, most succulent bison steak I’ve ever had. It melted in my mouth like butter on a hot day. With potatoes, carrots and fresh corn on the cob, I was satisfied with my day. And just to add icing to the cake, my internet connection was strong enough that I was able to get my webcam working so Crystal and I could see each other. I’ve been away from Vancouver for 3 months now. It won’t be long now before I’m home.