Caronport, Canada - Polarsteps

With about three hours of sleep in us, we spent some time at a picnic table in the shade of the gas station in Morse, eating bread and peanut butter and drinking enough gas station coffee to eventually bring us back to life. We found a good cycling rhythm, and stopped for a little while in Chaplin, where mounds of salt lie at the side of the road like snow (this is one of the places I remember from multiple Greyhound trips across the country-- it's a landmark break in the prairie scenery). We had some snacks outside the closed visitors' centre, climbed a little lookout, and visited these cute bird statues. Our second stop of the day was in Parkbeg, on a more remote stretch of the highway at the hottest point in the day. There's a roadside cafe where everything is covered in Bible verses; it was closed but the owner leaves their shady seating and their bathroom open for travellers. We stopped and had lunch outside and then headed for a shaded, breezy treeline behind the building, laid out our blanket, and had a nap. At one point the owner came by to water her garden-- a sweet older woman in shorts and gum boots, who was entirely unsurprised to see us and chatted with us about the garden for a while. We were headed for another wild camping situation in Caronport, a little seminary town; there's some parking and an RV dump site next to the sports arena in town, where people regularly spend the night. We got to town in the early evening and settled in a shady picnic area behind the gas station to eat dinner and wait until closer to sundown to set up camp. We never made it to the arena; instead, in the quintessential only-while-bike-touring turn of events, Rod Applebee-- local fire chief, bike enthusiast, and character out of a Coen Brothers film-- rolled up in his coveralls with dad jokes and blue hands from picking Saskatoon berries for his wife all afternoon. He chatted a while and checked out our bikes, and ultimately led us down the road to camp in his backyard (and meet his wife, who is definitely used to this happening not infrequently). We got a short tour of the piles of used bikes Rod has collected on all sides of his house (everyone in town knows to drop off unwanted bikes at Rod's place, and lately he's been in the business of fixing them up to give to refugees). And then had a solid night of sleep, tucked away on a lawn in a quiet neighbourhood. -Sara Biking the prairies has felt similar to biking the southwest desert in the states at points; the stretch after Medicine Hat to Regina in particular. The weather has quickly shifted from cool, rainy days into hot ones. The humidity has been a surprise, I am guessing since it has been such a wet spring this is the result. The thing is though, the desert was hotter, longer distances between towns and frankly, better scenery. The wild landscape of the desert is not only otherwordly, it shifts from saguaro cacti stands to red rock cliffs, to sagebrush, to sand dunes. The landscape here is all crops; it has a beauty and charm but it does feel like a limbo of sorts. We have taken to listening to music on our earbuds and pointing out birds we see (mostly blackbirds fighting off birds of prey. These blackbirds have hovered over us but have not yet swooped. I have gotten out the riding crop just in case and am sure i am quite the sight for drivers passing by). The other aspects to take in have been the anti-choice (more like forced birth) signage, the jesusfreak vibes and more pro-convoy (vanilla isis) support really showing its teeth. A coffee shop in Caronport proudly brewed "Resistance Coffee"; bean roasts included, but are not limited to, "Defund the CBC" (fake news), "Tree Hugger" (climate change isn't real) and "Orwell's 1984" ( because temporary health and safety mandates, as well as the choice to get vaccinated, equals totalitarianism. Neato!). However, even with all this people have been kind and welcoming by offering us a place to sleep safely because the bottom line is that people are overall kind, giving and good people (we also very much have white privilege and read as women. Except when I am in the bathroom; I have been confusing so many lil ol' ladies out here, lol.) It is just that conversations stay on the surface and we don't continue certain ones, especially if we are in someone's home. Nothing has been negative to the point where we get up and leave, so that is good . This trip has highlighted just how much our life experiences shape who we are and how we perceive things, myself included of course. One aspect of this trip is to be in spaces that aren't my bubble and gain experience from that. Also on how to bridge with people who you wouldn't otherwise. All humans want to be treated with kindness and respect and frankly that would be the only way to broach certain topics in these exceptional times. Especially when it feels like perhaps people haven't talked outisde of their own bubbles as well. We have also been seeing new birds! Avocets, terns, grebes and various other shorebirds I have not quite identified yet. The salt flats in Chaplin were also just stunning; I hope to one day see the large salt flats in South America. This felt like a small taster for that. -Kini
  1. derailed
  2. 🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲
  3. Caronport