Medicine Hat, AB – June 10th

Outside Elm Street School in Front of their new Garden! Medicine Hat, AB

We had a pretty epic cycle ahead of us from Brooks, AB to Medicine Hat, AB along Highway 1. We had planned to go down a country road but after about 10km we hit gravel. Riding on gravel feels like you are trying to talk on the phone but there is a cover over the speaker- you can still talk but there is such hesitation muffling the sound making it ever more frustrating when your friend says ‘what?’ ‘huh?’ and ‘what was that?’ over and over again. So, we jumped on the Trans-Canada for another day of cycling as straight as an arrow. We passed many fields, highway billboards, pipeline construction sites, wheat towers, cow patches and more fields. We stopped for a late lunch on the side of the road and cooked noodles and cabbage with a picnic blanket underneath us and watched the trucks zoom by. Caught a little early in the rain, we speedily packed up and continued east for the Hat. That evening we had dinner and shared a pot of coffee in Suffield; omelettes and poutine! We had a late start that day since I had to do my course registration from a Tim Hortons earlier in the morning, so we had a decision to make; to cycle another 40km after dinner or to camp out in Suffield.

It was our sixth cycling day in a row, and we were both tempted by setting up for the night, but I am so glad we continued to cycle. Suffield, which we later learned, is a chemical and military testing site- so good thing we didn’t try to stealth camp on the open ground! Instead, we were greeted by a clear blue sky and a sunset over the Prairies. It was a perfect temperature for cycling and the wind died down, making the last 40km seem to snap by. Upon arriving in Medicine Hat, we were welcomed by Tall Bike Tommy, a local legend who rides triple-tall homemade bikes around town and brings news to the community about initiatives, events, and interesting people in the Hat because he believes that the news most people watch sparks fear and only highlights conflict in the world. Being a bike fan and interested in our story, he invited us into his home and we cycled up his driveway to find ‘Welcome’ signs and a backyard fire blazing! As soon as we arrived he had his camera out to film the beginning stages of our visit in the Hat and he cooked us a big pot (HUGE) of veggies grown in his garden on the fire and gave us a place inside to camp.

Mischa and I were excited to explore a new city and give a presentation at a local elementary schools that have built greenhouses and who’s students are knowledgeable about the food system and were eager to participate in our workshop. Tommy also filmed our presentation for us so we could see ourselves for the first time and also show others what we do. It is always weird to hear what your voice sounds like to the rest of the world! I cant tell if I like it yet. Sorry I love to talk, guys!

We left the next day for Maple Creek, excited to cross into Saskatchewan! Our new favourite breakfast is PBBA&J oatmeal; peanut butter, banana, apple & jam; so we filled up on a massive pot smothered in maple syrup from Tom’s kitchen. Another real treat; condiments! As soon as we hit the road as he was filming our exit, a tin of beans fell out of my bike bag. An epic exit that reminded me of being dropped off at the ferry terminal in Vancouver and with the first pedal in the parking lot, my entire bag fell off my bike. And I thought I was going to get the hang of this! Another similarity to that day at the ferry terminal was the rain. As soon as we cycled out of Medicine Hat it started to pour. We could hardly see in front of us, and unfortunately we were on Highway One again. We kept going until we hit the next town of Irvine and pulled in to warm up. This was another railway town of a cluster of houses that had a library, one motel and a general store where we ended up. As soon as we sat down the woman in charge brought us dry towels to wrap around our frigid feet and served us a bottomless mug of coffee. How wonderful. We had another 65km ahead of us to our anticipated designation but as we have learned throughout this trip, mother nature most times trumps all. We ended up tucking our camp under a shelter at the local park and hid away from the rain in our tent for the rest of the night listening to the wind whip the leaves off the trees eating gnocchi drenched in an entire can of tomato sauce and nibbling on chocolate and peanuts for dessert. A treat of an early night and yet again another unexpected stop on the trip. Picnics on highway 1Rain!Bike repairs 101Fire pits and new friends! Home-grown veggies Tall Bike Tommy!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>