I’m back on the Prairies, the honest-to-goodness flat lands, and once again I’m in the company of arrow-straight country roads and spectacular sunsets. It also means grain trucks, dust, wind and bugs zinging into my eyes, but hey, we can’t have it all.
The ride from Jasper was easy, especially after being in the mountains for so long. As the trees thinned and foothills became farmland, I felt for the first time on the trip that I was in familiar territory.
It was just simple things – the smell of freshly cut hay, humming insects over a muddy slough, a faded hat pulled low as a farmer waved from a sputtering tractor. Even though I’m not home yet, they’ve already brought me back.
Still, there’s plenty of exploring left to do. I biked to Edmonton, and for the first time in my life I didn’t zip right through or wait glumly in the bus station. Instead I stayed with my friend and old roommate Gabe at his family’s house.
I was in a bit of a road trance on my first night, having nothing much to say and wondering only when the transitions from pavement to people will get easier. But, by the second night, Gabe and I were drinking Lucky Lager, laughing at awful Troma movies, and I felt like my old self again.
Between the delicious meals, wine and backyard apples at Gabe’s, it finally dawned on me that I’ll be back in Regina in just over a week. I’m stubborn enough that I was sure my bike and I would make it back one way or another, but I never stopped to consider what it would be like to stay in the Queen City again, if only briefly. The prospect actually makes me a bit nervous and I’m not sure why.
After saying goodbye to Gabe and his folks, I cut straight south to Sylvan Lake to visit my friend Sarah.
I cycled 172 km and didn’t arrive until after dark, so she was kind enough to meet me at the local Esso station and toss my bike in the back of her truck for the ride to her house.
The place is great, and besides a gigantic yellow lab named Max, I have it all to myself for the day. Life is good!