Regina, Canada - Polarsteps
We left Rod's house early, had coffee back by the gas station where he'd found us, and headed for Regina. We had good tailwinds and were able to cover a good distance at a reasonable pace, and we decided on the fly to detour through Moose Jaw. It's an unexpectedly cool city in the middle of Saskatchewan, with a vibrant and historic downtown and a wild history as a hangout for Al Capone; its connection to Chicago via the railroad made it a major bootlegging hub during prohibition. You can tour the network of tunnels under the city-- we didn't have time or a space to stow our bikes, but it's on the list for next time. We walked our bikes through the streets and settled in Crescent Park, a big green space in the city centre, for a while before heading back to the highway.
Heading for Regina we could see rainstorms around us on the horizon, and one in particular that was slowly chasing us from behind. It's wild having this relationship with the weather on open land, where you can see what's coming hours before it actually reaches you, and gauge its trajectory by wind direction. We tried hard to outrun the storm, and eventually only caught the edge of it and got rained on a bit.
About 10km from our destination, we turned onto a side route on a service road and I took a corner too sharply on wet grit and ended up completely eating it on the pavement. There was zero traffic around and no lasting damage aside from the worst bruise I've ever had, where I think my leg must have hit my bike frame; it's going to be pretty brutal for a while.
We were hosted in Regina by Kini's college friends Darcy and Amanda and their spirited eight-year-old, Clem; we stayed a couple of nights and had such a great visit (mostly in the backyard, but we did venture out on foot the day after we arrived to visit the legislature and the lake).
We took a detour into the histortic part of Moose Jaw because Sara felt she was really going to miss out on seeing the old streets and all the gangster themed stores (like Capone's Pizza! You really gotta milk it for all it is worth). Arriving at Darcy, Amanda and Clem's was so lovely and exciting. I had not seen Darcy and Amanda in almost a decade and even though Clementine is 8 I had not met her (how did I let this happen?). I took the same Envi Sci programs as Darcy and we hung out a lot together during this time. He introduced me to so much music and we went to a few Tegan and Sara concerts (the Sainthood tour) and the Weakerthans. He is still just one of the sweetest, coolest guys I know. Amanda is just so fucking rad with such a badass fire to her. If she were to be portayed in a film the actor playing her would be Natasha Lyonne, hands down. Arriving here was arriving to an oasis of openess and progressivness; they see us for who we are. We were treated with so much hospitality with drinks, food and cake! Their home was our home. Not to mention they have the funniest, most smart, enthusiastic kid, Clementine. Clem made up gymnastic routines, told me all about her friends, told stories that went far and wide and was able to answer questions i had, like if Justin Bieber was still cool. I think the answer was he was still popular but okay. Oh, she also went to the store to get s'more ingredients and got herself as treat as well; a bag of Sidekicks. I love it!
It was hard to leave, which is a good sign in regards to how amazing our friends' places feel. Like a few other catch-ups on this trip I do not want to go a decade without seeing people.
🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲