Posted by: Silver | September 8, 2011

Portage la Prairie to Selkirk

Portage la Prairie to Stonewall:
Cycling distance: 69 km
Ascent: 100 m
Cycling time: 3 hours, 19 minutes

Stonewall to Selkirk:
Distance: 33 km
Cycling time: 0

Not to be outdone by the excitement of glow-in-the-dark golf, my journey to Stonewall also provided a few surprises. First, there was the phone call from CBC (Canada’s BBC): they wanted to interview me live on the lunchtime radio news! “But I’m in the middle of cycling down highway 1,” I pointed out. “No problem,” they said, “it’ll make for suitably atmospheric background noise!” And so – safely pulled off to the side, of course – I chatted away to the Winnipeg news anchor live on air, all the time silently hoping that none of her questions got drowned out by a passing truck…!

Interview duly aired, I set off again towards Winnipeg, hoping I might see some evidence that people had been listening, but disappointingly, very few people honked or waved as they went past. I was almost at my destination when finally, a young man pulled into the shoulder ahead of me and gestured for me to stop. Far from wanting to know more about SOS Children’s Villages, however, it turned out he simply wanted to check how my relationship with Jesus was going! Of course, I’m in no position to censure someone for wanting to discuss something they’re passionate about, but seriously – there’s a time and a place for everything, and when you’re a cyclist, the side of a busy highway is neither…

Unfortunately, I was feeling a tiny bit under the weather during my time in Stonewall: not actually ill or anything, but sufficiently below par to not resist when my kind host offered to drive me to Selkirk. I’m sure I could have cycled it – it was hardly a long way, after all – but as I’ve mentioned a few times before on this blog, this journey really isn’t about the cycling, so there was no point pushing myself when I didn’t have to.

I was soon back to my old self again, though, and was very grateful to my Selkirk hosts for giving me the opportunity to see not only their local area, but a bit of Winnipeg as well. A lot of people seem to have not a lot to say about Winnipeg, but my impression was that it had a very nice, small-town feel for such a populous city. But then again, I wasn’t there in the middle of winter…

Stonewall began life as a quarry town, and still has a lot of very nice-looking limestone buildings

On the way to Selkirk, we stopped off at Oak Hammock marsh, a bird reserve: I know I've been doing my best to dispel the rumour that the prairies are just pancake flat, but OK, I concede: here, they were. Still doesn't mean they weren't interesting though...!

We also stopped off at Lower Fort Garry, for some more glimpses into Canadian history: horseshoes I was familiar with, but oxshoes? That was a new one for me!

And why am I posting a picture of the Mental Health Care unit in Selkirk? Just because I couldn't help but be amused by how much it looked like my old school...!


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