We start off Canada Day not knowing the correct time. We did not realize that Manitoba is one hour ahead of Saskatchewan so we slept in. The Jackson family prepared a breakfast fit for life and work on a farm so I was all fueled up and ready to get on the road on the hottest day so far. The humidity index is 40 degrees plus.
The town of Inglis is known for a few things. It is the only town in North America to have four original and preserved grain elevators.
And it is the barley capital of Canada.
I head south all day on route 83 aiming for the Trans Canada Highway and the town of Virden. While traffic is light, the wind is often veering into a headwind and the heat, over 30 degrees Celsius, and humidity add to the challenge. I need to learn quickly how to stay hydrated properly after nearly one month of temperatures hardly into double digits.
The two towns that are part of my morning ride, Inglis and Russell, both have curious signs posted about town. They announce that all planned Canada Day celebrations have been cancelled. It turns out that with people going off to the lakes in these parts of Manitoba it is hard to find enough volunteers to put on these celebrations.
Russell has a collection of arches that were built in the town for a company in another town. When this company was closing shop and about to demolish its property and the arch supports of its buildings along with it, the town of Russell mobilized to save the arches and they are now the town’s main attraction.
I have a sense that the way Canada celebrates Canada Day is different from the way the Fourth of July is celebrated in the United States. It turns out that I will soon be able to compare as I will tuck into the USA to make my way east following a route south of Lake Superior and will be below the 49th parallel starting 3 July.
I start a celebration made up of a one person bicycle parade with two Canadian flags sticking out of my saddle bag.
I also decide to celebrate by not pushing too hard in the heat and humidity and get shuttled to Virden due south after completing a 91 km day and seeing about 91 km of Canada’s current highest price-yielding plant, canola, in various stages of bloom.
Stats – for Sunday 1 July 2012 – Canada Day
Distance: 91 km (of 140 km)
Time on Bike: 4 hrs 36 min
Average Speed: 19.8 km/hr
Distance to Date: 3,419 km