Posted by: Silver | August 27, 2011

Yorkton to Dauphin

Yorkton to Roblin:
Distance: 83 km
Ascent: 288 m
Cycling time: 4 hours, 9 minutes

Roblin to Dauphin:
Distance: 94 km
Ascent: 248 m
Cycling time: 5 hours, 20 minutes

As you’ll ‘know’ if you’ve ever listened to what people outside the prairies say, Manitoba is flat. Very flat. And boring. Nothing but endless, featureless fields. And bugs. Lots of bugs. And so it was that I rolled into this desolate province to be confronted by… hills, trees, and no bugs whatsoever! Now, after just two stops in Manitoba, I’m not trying to claim that I have a representative experience of the whole province, but once again, I was reminded of just how much more varied Canada is than the generalizations that people try to put on her. And once again, the variety was very enjoyable. 🙂

One warning that does seem to have been generally accurate so far, however, is that most of the shoulders in Manitoba are gravel. Apparently, this is quite deliberate, as it was felt that the gravel would give some much-needed traction if a vehicle starting skidding off ice-covered pavement, so once again, I just had to accept that keeping potentially many thousands of drivers safe was a higher priority than keeping potentially a few dozen cyclists safe. And even without a paved shoulder, I never actually felt in danger: judicious use of my mirror reassured me that the vast majority of drivers continued to be very courteous towards me, and the gravel was still there to escape to on the rare occasions when they weren’t.

I was considering entitling my time in Roblin, “Three Weddings and a Funeral”, then someone could make a film about it and lots of people would get to know about SOS Children’s Villages. 🙂 In the meantime, however, SOS sadly remains largely unknown in Roblin, as pretty much the entire town was at one or other of the aforementioned four events at the exact time when the local Lions Club had so kindly organized a splendid benefit tea for me. 😦 I felt so bad for all the effort they had put into creating such a supposedly excellent opportunity for me to introduce people to the charity; apparently, when they organize things like this, they usually get several hundred people attending. My audience numbered eight. Including the Lions. But they were very enthusiastic. 🙂

In Dauphin, on the other hand, I was able to speak to three service clubs, the local newspaper and the local radio station about SOS Children’s Villages, but funnily enough, my strongest memory of this very attractive little town is actually of my lovely hosts, who just happened to run the local ice cream parlour… Having to stay with local people all the time is just so tough sometimes… 😉

My first taste of Manitoba: gravel shoulders but lots of trees!

My first lizard! And I actually saw two of them, within minutes of each other!

And my biggest bug so far too! I was very impressed with how considerately he stayed put while I carefully placed my USB stick to give you an idea of the scale!

Eat your heart out, DQ! This was my small chocoholic cyclone from the Dari-Dip in Dauphin: check them out if you're anywhere near!!

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