Lloydminster to North Battleford
We knew this was going to be a long day and we knew the forecast was for winds from the east, gusting up to 30km/hr. As it turned out, it was one of our most challenging days to date. It began well, with coffee across the meridian boundary, in Saskatchewan, at Ernie’s. The day was sunny and we soon removed our jackets and cycled in short-sleeves. For the first 50 kms, much of the farm land was dotted with oil wells.
We stopped in Maidstone for lunch, a town where Joni Mitchell spent part of her childhood, and which she sings about in “Song for Sharon”. We ate at a cafe called “Lou and Sue’s”. Lou’s brother was so impressed with our cycle trip that he asked if he could have a photo taken with him, and insisted on giving us a couple of cans of iced tea for the road!
The wind made pedalling difficult and, after lunch, our progress seemed even slower. The air became muggy and the mosquitoes managed to bite even when we were moving. From Paynton, we followed the North Saskatchewan River, turning southeast after Delmas and coming down into the river valley. The sky became darker and we could see rain and lightning in the distance. When we finally crossed the river into North Battleford, the lightning was close by and we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a torrential downpour. It was too late to put on our rain gear so we decided to try to get to our hotel as soon as possible. However, it just rained harder and harder, and we were forced to walk our bikes up the hill and find shelter in a gas station. The rain continued unabated, water was streaming across the roads, visibility was very poor and it was dark. Even though we were not far from our destination we ended up getting help from a young man with a truck. We were very appeciative when he dropped us and our bikes at the hotel.
Wildlife notes: Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, fox, wolf (road kill).
We are on the traditional territory of the “Plains Cree” which included the Cree, Blackfoot, and Siouan Assiniboine Peoples.