Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mont Tremblant

Bonjour les amis,
Je suis a Mont Tremblant, la station de ski préféréee des quebequois. J'ai été invité a rester a Val David, et puisque j'ai le temps, j'ai décidé de passer par les Laurentides au lieu d'aller a Montréal en ligne droite. Cette région est vraiment charmante, et beaucoup de gens me la décrivent comme le plus bel endroit du Quebec. Les routes sont en super état, et sillonnent les vallées tres verdoyantes et les forets d'érables et de pins blancs. Quel bonheur de retrouver une géographie plus proche de la France, avec de nombreux petit villages et des routes tranquilles. Ici, chaque municipalité a une église et des petits commerces, les gens marchent sur le trottoir et tout semble plus vivant et moins américain. J'ai enfin pu gouter au fromage en grain, l'ingrédient principale de la poutine, une spécialité quebequoise. Lorsque tu mords dedans, tes dents grincent et font le meme bruit que quand tu essuie un mirroir avec un chiffon. Excellent! Je n'ai pas encore acheter de Poutine, je me réserve ca pour quand j'arrive a Quebec.

A plus tard les amis,

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Bonjour a tous, je viens d'arriver chez les cousins, et ca fait vraiment plaisir de pouvoir trouver plus de 3 sortes de fromages dans les épiceries. J'ai toujours le reflex de parler en anglais, mais ça change doucement, et ca fait du bien de m'exprimer dans ma langue natale.
De nouvelles photos ici  - - -  pictures here

A plous,

Time for a New map!

Yo! I am in Gatineau, and finally done with Ontario!
My stay in Sault Saint Marie was pretty relaxing and I set off that day with the goal of doing a short day. First stop, after 3 blocs, at the Thyne's Family Bakery! Since I left Vancouver, I've been on a quest to find the best cinnamon roll in all of Canada, and this bakery made it in the top 3 yesterday with some extra fresh confections. The baker was very friendly so I stop there to say goodbye. We started to chat, he offers me coffee and starts giving me some stuff for free. Then I noticed a book on a shelf, and start reading it. very interesting read, it takes a scientific approach on why the fat we eat is good or bad. After a final goodbye, a very full belly, it!s time to leave. Geese, it's after noon! I ride about 30k when I notice someone waiving at me, and as I turn my head I see Garry. We had camped together in hope, and I thought the chance of seeing him again was really slim, but luckily it happened. Garry has toured all over the world on his bicycle, more than 100 000 km in total and it took him a few days to get his legs back, but then he rode long days and chose a route mostly south of the border. We fill in the 4 week blank in half an hour and decide to ride together for a while. His legs are as massive, remind me of Jan Ullrich's, and can keep up with mine no problem. We rode until late and camp in Iron Bridge,a mosquito haven.
We accidentally parted for the next day, when he woke up earlier than me, after a cat peed on his tent in the middle of the night, and he decided to go for breaky and meet me afterward. I had already left, not knowing where he was, and we met again the next day.
Next day was marked by the highest calorie lunch I've ever had. I usually don't eat anything until I have done 30km in the morning, but that day I was stuck on the Subdury bypass without anywhere to stop for a long time, and ended up doing over 60km without eating anything. I needed a fix, and decided to treat myself at a chip truck. Upon hearing about my adventure, the waitress goes ''don't worry, I'm gonna take care of you'' and she gave me a delicious fish burger with a huge amount of french fries, that I generously covered with ketchup and swallowed down in no time (it was challenging to finish). 1500 calories I figured. Then I decide to go shopping for dinner at the market next door. I get a 6 pack of muffin, and eat 5 of them. I look at the nutrition data and MY GOSH, they each provide 400 calories, mostly fat. that is another 2000 calories. Then Garry finds me. He arrives with a big smile and a bucket of ice cream. Down goes a third of it. The count adds up to over 4500 calories in one meal, and topped up with a coffee, we made an impressive average speed that afternoon. We were lucky to find a good campsite by a river, and could bath in the brown water amongst jumping pickerels and swarming mosquitoes.
Next day, we make it to North Bay, and as we were enjoying breakfast, the rain start to fall. It didn't stop until next morning, and this day became the rainiest day of my trip. The downpour was heavy and relentless, and quickly soaked us to the bone. At least, it was warm so we could keep going. The wind was from the east, of course, and there was no way we could draft each other because of the spray from our wheel, even with fenders. For 3 hours, we battled the element and it wasn't that bad after all, the meditation was really intense. We made it our own pace until Mattawa and stopped for a burger. Getting back on our bike was hard after getting comfortable in the restaurant, the dampness and the wind chilling us for the first few km. The road became very quiet, and we could ride side by side and talk. We decide to make it to Bisset creek, hoping to find a shelter for the night. No way we are going to pitch our tent in the pouring rain. To our surprise, this wasn't a town, rather a bunch of empty summer cottage by a lake. We decide to camp on the patio of one of them, it had a small roof and some mosquito net all around. Didn't like trespassing, but it was a matter of life and death! While enjoying our dinner, we got attacked by some tiny tiny little black flies, so small you couldn't see them until they bite. I was sure happy about the mosquito net, since it was the worst I have ever seen after the rain.
The next day ended up being very good, with lots of ground covered and decent conditions. There was thundershowers throughout the days, but we managed to find a shelter for all of them, sometimes at the last second. We enjoyed a good lunch in Petawawa, a town that host the biggest military base in Canada. That must pay well to be in the military, they all drive huge brand new trucks! Gary was in charge of buying lunch, and he kindly got us each a 6 pack of cinnamon buns for desert! I had 7 of them, my record so far. Resting in the sunny break was good. We stopped in a dairy farm for the night, the farmer allowed us to camp in his hay barn, and we got inside just before curtain of rain started to fall. It was good to talk to the farmer and his family, and once again, to see the happiness of a close knit family.
Next day, we crossed the Ontario/Quebec and were to part in Gatineau. I had a contact there, Benoit, who could host me for a few days rest, and Garry would carry on on the north shore of the Saint Laurence river all the way to Labrador. We lazily enjoyed a breakfast in Shawville, then decide to ride all the way to Gatineau in one push, 70km away. But the plan didn't include meeting Jojo in a gas station where we had stopped to refill our water bottle. Thrilled to talk to some travelers, she invited us inside her house and prepared a 3 course lunch for us. he fresh cannelloni were a delight and we listened to her story while watching the Saint Jean celebration on TV (Quebec's national day). She was so kind and welcoming it really touch our heart
We set off again, and after only 25km, another thunderstorm hit us and in a split second we decide to take shelter under someone's front porch. The guy invited us inside and for an hour explained to us how he build his log house himself, from cutting down the trees to putting it together. He also showed us some pictures of  his 'cabane a sucre' on his acreage where he harvest maple sap and makes his own maple syrup. Very interesting. He gave me a bottle of his best syrup, and we set off again. Garry and I said goodbye, hoping to meet again near cape Breton, and I finaly arrived at Benoit's after being completely soaked by another storm.

I got Benoit's contact a few weeks ago when I met one of his friend, Louis, who was canoeing from Ottawa to the mouth of the mackenzie river, in Terrace Bay (check our their blog http://www.transcaneauda.ca/).
That night, there was a concert for the Saint Jean, and I decided to go along him, his girlfriend and his roommate. It was 12km from his place, and we decide to go by bicycle since they were about to drink A LOT! (by the way, I am still holding strong with my no alcohol policy and I would not even kiss a girl who just had a beer!). We set off in the pouring rain, and follow a bike path that weave through the forest on the edge of the Ottawa river. It was really fun to race on the track and sometimes go through some puddle more than a foot deep and 100 foot long. Needless to say we were soaked, but we didn't get cold since we were in the middle of a huge crowd cheering for Loco Locass, a famous rap band from Montreal, singing with the symphonic orchestra of Gatineau in the back. This band openly supports the sovereignty of Quebec, and between each song were making the crowd cheer by preaching Quebec's independence. 'If you go in a business where they don't speak french, don't give them your money' or  'Gatineau, you are the at the front line. Across the river (Ontario), these people want to buy our properties and not pay our taxes. resist and bout them out!' I remained neutral but was still clapping after their songs.
Yesterday I got to visit Ottawa and was delighted to discover the government buildings and the downtown core. The Gothic architecture is truly stunning, and the by ward market was a haven of specialty food (some good bakeries in there, I still have to check a few of them for my cinnamon roll contest). On this side of the country, the history shows and the cities feels more European, and are not just a grid system and modern buildings.
It looks like the crepes are ready. Happy breakfast everybody, thanks for your numerous comments.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Going strong

Hello all, I am in North Bay still pedaling strong.
Can't write too much now, just wanted to say hi.
Good day everyone, will post more in Ottawa, in 3 days.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Around the lake in 5 days

Hello boys and girls,

I am in Sault Saint Marie where I'm going to rest for a few days.
150 new photos uploaded here.



Bonjour les ptits loups, je suis a Sault Saint Marie. Ca m'a pris 5 jours pour faire le tour du lac superieur et ainsi finir la route de l'Ontario du Nord. 
David et Moi, apres une bonne journee de repos, sommes partis de Thunder Bay avec de bonnes conditions, vent dans le dos et soleil. La route etait magnifique. Nous avons vu le Geant dormir a Sleeping Giant provincial park, une peninsule sur le lac dont le profil ressemble a quelqu'un qui dors avec ses bras sur le ventre. C'etait pas super evident mais bon, avec quelques grammes d'alcohol ca doit mieux paraitre! Apres 4 heures a 25km de moyenne, nous nous sommes reposes a Nipigon, une petite ville a la pointe nord du lac Superieur. Nous decidons de continuer et apres 25km, on voit cette petite peninsule sur le lac avec des chalets de vacances. On tente notre chance et quittons l'autoroute pour essayer de trouver un endroit ou camper. Tout est prive donc il nous faut trouver quelqu'un qui nous authorisera a rester sur sa propriete. La premiere maison que l'on essaye, quelqu'un nous dit d'entrer. La piece etait sombre, et a l'autre bout un gars etait assis dans un fauteuil et lisait. "Qu'est-ce que vous voulez?". On lui explique et il etait visiblement pas content de nous voir. "L'eau du lac est trop froide pour se baigner, et tout est prive ici, mais vous pouvez aller sur l'air d'autoroute, c'est 3 km au sommet de la prochaine montee" (on a decouvert le jour suivant que c'etait infeste de mouche noires!). On avait l'impression que c'etait un gars du FBI qui nous interrogeait. Heureusement on essaye son voisin et on se fait invite chez Marge, super acceuillante et vraiment sympas. Elle nous offre de dormir dans la chambre que ses petits enfants utilisent lorsqu'ils viennent. Marge nous a tenu companie ce soir (ou l'inverse?) et nous a racconte un peu sa vie, comment son mari a eu une attaque cardiaque il y a 15 ans et elle doit s'occuper de lui depuis ce jour. Mais ca a l'air qu'elle a les epaules solides. Nous avons nager dans le lac, et laisser le soleil nous secher. Un vrai moment de bonheur dans un coin de paradis. Merci Marge!
Le lendemain, apres un bon cafe, nous partons David et moi et nous arretons a Rossport pour le petit dejeuner. Nous decidons de nous separer a ce point car il ne souhaite pas faire de longue journee comme moi. Vous pouvez suivre son Blog ici (il parle de moi hi hi hi) http://bybike.ca/
A ce point la, la route deviens vraiment bosselee, et montee apres montee, je me rends a Terrace Bay, une petite ville vraiment jolie ou je me repose et reprends mes forces. La vue etait magnifique et les gens sympas ici. Je rencontre Louis et ses amis qui sont en train de se rendre de Ottawa a l'embouchure de la riviere Mackenzie en Canoe. Un vrai challenge et un une bande de copains vraiment cools. Je regarde ma carte et decide d'essayer de me rendre a Sault en 5 jours. J'ai vu mon premier ours Ontarien sur le bord de la route, je l'avais deja depasse quand je l'ai remarque, et je me suis demande combien en ais-je passe sans les voir. Il etait enorme et je me suis senti bien seul sur cette route qui s'etend sur des km et des km. Je me rends a Marathon ce jour la et campe pres d'un petit lac.
Le lendemain, l'objectif est de me rendre a Wawa. 180km. Le matin, apres un depart tot et 40km de fait, je m'arrete dans un motel restaurant et m'offre le premier dejeuner chaud depuis le debut du voyage. $10 m'ont payes des oeufs au plat, patates frites, pain grille, une enorme part de gateau au chocolat et un crumble au figues. Une super affaire! Je repart le ventre bien plein et me rends a White River, une ville pourrie ou soit disant Winnie L'Ourson est nee. Je repart et couvre de longue distance dans l'apres midi. A ce point, la route est droite, peu de bosses, et tout ce que l'on voit a perte de vue est la fondriere, un espece de marecage avec des petits pins et boulot et vraiment infestes d'insectes en tout genre. Tres monotone. A 17h30, je decide de m'arreter et prend un petit chemin de terre pour trouver un coin tranquille. Apres 1km, je remarque des enormes traces d'ours dans la boue, et elles etaient vraiment fraiche. Je fais demi tour et reprends la route. C'est tellement isole ici, et j'ai rien pour me defendre a part un petit couteau et une boite de sardine, je serais pas fiere en cas de rencontre avec Winnie. Je vois un groupe de maison pres d'un grand lac, catfish lake, et tourne mes roues dans leur direction. Une bonne idee, puisque Ben, un guide de peche, m'invite a planter ma tente sur sa propriete. Il m'offre une root beer, et nous passons une heure dans son garage a parler peche et voyage.
Le lendemain, Jeudi, je me reveille tot. Une grosse journee il parait "avec des bosses insurmontables et infinies" m'a-t-on dit. Je m'arrete a Wawa, une petite ville touristique, pour faire le plein de bouffe. Apres ce point, plus de magasins et station service pendant plus de 150k. Je me lance dans la premiere montee plein d'energie, et entre dans le parc provincial du lac superieur. Qu'est-ce que c'est beau ici. Des vues a couper le souffle et vraiment peu de voitures sur la route. En fait, il y a juste quelques montees au debut, pentues mais pas tres longues, et ensuite c'est du faux plat descendant pendant longtemps. Apres 80km, je commence a avoir une dalle d'enfer, mais y'a nul part ou s'arreter qui ne soit pas infeste d'insectes. Je decide de prendre mon repas sur le bord de la route et c'est une guerre perdue d'avance contre les mouches et les moustiques. Pas facile de se detendre dans ces conditions. Je repars et me sens tellement las. Dans les petites descentes je suis obliges de me concentrer pour ne pas m'endormir sur mon guidon et me peter la gueule dans le fosse. Pendant une heure je me bas contre la fatigue, puis j'arrive au centre d'info du parc ou je decide de m'arreter. Et la tout a changer. D'une, je m'achete un cafe et la cafeine me ramene a la vie. Les dernier jours on ete longs, 8 heures sur la selle, et je commence a etre vraiment fatigue. D'autre, je consulte mes emails et lit vos commentaires, et vos encouragements me rechargent le cerveau. Apres ca, je reprend la route un homme nouveau, et repense a toutes les bonnes choses qui me sont arrives dans la vie, aux super copains qui j'ai des 2 cotes de l'Atlantique, a ces annees passes a Vancouver, sur Granville Island a travailler pour Len et Debbie, et les emotions coulent dans mes veines et me rendent hysteriquement heureux. La descente sur Montreal river etait dingue, la vue incroyable, l'air frais du lac superieur, la vitesse incroyable me font hurler de joie. Et ce soir la, je trouve l'un des meilleur site de camping depuis le debut de l'aventure, une plage de galet sur le lac superieur. Je me baigne et m'etend au soleil, et enfin je peux me detendre a fond. Egalement, c'etait la premiere fois depuis des jours qu'il n'y avait pas d'insectes qui veuillent me bouffer, un confort que l'on oublie dans la jungle Ontarienne.
Ce matin, j'ai rapidement parcouru les 100km qui me separaient de Sault et dans une heure je vais me rendre chez mon hote pour quelques jours de repos.

Les insectes
Dans les prairies, y'avait les moustiques. Ils sont toujours la! Mais maintenant, en plus, il y a les mouches noires. Ce sont de toutes petites mouches que tu ne sens pas ser poser sur toi, et elle mordent et s'envole avec un bout de peau. Tu ne les sens pas forcement mordre, et tu te retrouve avec plein de goutte de sang sur ton bras si tu ne fais pas attention. Et il y en a des milliards de milliard, elles me trouvent en 10 secondes lorsque j'arrete mon velo et doivent avoir un system de communication tres avance puisque apres 3 minutes il y en a 100 qui me tournent autour et en 20 minute 5000. En fait, c'est si infernal que ca n'est pas possible de manger en dehors de la tente, et ca rend les animeaux sauvages fous. La suite du voyage devrait etre meilleur puisqu'a partir de maintenant ca va etre moins sauvage, va y'avoir plus de villes.

Voili voila, je vous laisse, merci de me lire.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The great Lake!

Hello hello I am in Thunder Bay for a well deserved rest day. 700km in 5 days that was intense, and I am so happy to have reach lake superior. I am officially further than half of my trip, although I might do a few detours in Quebec.
The landscape changed very quickly after Winnipeg, first it was still flat but the grass was replaced by pine and aspen trees, then from Falcon Lake on it became hilly, rocky and clad with hundreds of all size lakes. The change was a real thrill and it took a few days for my legs to get used to the constant change of pace as I go up and down baby hills. My rear derailleur must wonder what is happening sine I am now changing gear literally every minutes, a sharp difference with the plains. the weather has been fair, no rain, but please, pleeeeaaassse, PLEASE, may the wind switch direction. It hasn't been strong, but always working slightly against me.
Friday I met another David on his bike, he's from Winnipeg,left Vancouver early may and is also headed to Saint John's. We have been riding together and it helps a lot  with the wind. A good travel companion.
We arrived yesterday in Thunder Bay and was really disappointed by this town, it's not great at all, the waterfront is all industrially developed and there is no patio anywhere. Today the temperature are soaring in the high 20s, and everybody drives and eat inside. what a shame.

The life in the Jungle

The camping is usually pretty good on this part of the world, easy enough to find a good spot with sometimes some water to swim. The bugs are now fully out, and some spots are so infected with mosquito that you need to be fully covered with 2 layers of clothes and wear a net over your head to keep your sanity. still my wrists each have 25 bites and a little blood sucker even found his way in my boxers. Also, the ticks are a real concern here, and every night I find a few crawling in my tent. I am very anxious about the lyme disease so I perform a surgical check every night. And I am back in bear country and although I haven't seen any, they are said to be numerous here, since they banned the spring hunt a few years back. I got woken up by something big a few night ago, and realized it was grazing near my tent so I think it was a deer or moose. It made me feel safe since it wouldn't be here if a bear was around.

My rant about some truckers
Since this is a public blog, I will switch a few letters to remain politically correct (Fardon my prench). This message is not intended for all truckers. I keep seeing pop bottles, water bottles or milk jugs with a bright orange liquid inside. Thousand of them since Alberta. Could not figure out what it was and never try to figure out. Then I was told that some Sock Cuckers osshale fother mucker birt dags truckers were too lazy to take a pee brake, therefore piss in a bottle while driving and chuck it over board. this behavior made me hate them with all my might, and I swear if I see one throwing a bottle in the ditch, I am going to pick it up and at the next town pour it on his head. Dudes, I see lots of truckers stopping on the shoulder or in a pullout and pee behind their truck. follow their example, idiots.

2 days ago, I started to feel a bump every time my wheel would turn. It got worst and worst, and I realized that my rim was splitting. No way to repair it, and buying a new wheel with a hub costs less than relacing a rim on my hub, so I had to replace the whole wheel. sucky, but at least it didn't happen somewhere too remote.
Only had one flat since Vancouver, that is over 3000k. Thank you schwalbe tire.

Ok it's time to go chill and eat some more. Always hungry these days. The next mile stone will be Sault St Mary, in 6 days probably. Heard that there is some good hills coming up, almost excited about it.

Have a good one everybody, thanks for reading me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bye Bye Prairies, Hello Ontario and the Canadian shield

Hello Folks, I am in Dryden. A very quick post to let you know of my progress. I am now in the lake country and make good progress, about 140km a day. I expect to arrive in Thunder bay on saturday evening.
I will give more details and put some pics when I'm there.
Be well,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Prairie People, trully generous

Hey People, I am In Winnipeg where I enjoy one day of rest.
I wanted to comment on how generous people are around here. Since I left Alberta, lots of interesting story happened. A few examples...
Regina, my friend lend me a tee shirt while my clothe are being washed. I liked it and mentioned it to her.  Then she called her friend Ryan who gave her the tee shirt, and told me to stop somewhere on my way out of Regina. And so I did. SeedMasted is a company that manufacture equipment for the farming industry.  I stopped there during their lunch break, and they were eager to talk to me and question me about my trip. In the end, they gave me a tee shirt and even made me pick my color. I chose green, color of Saskatchewan and very "John Deere". A good souvenir
Oak Lake, just past Virden, a small town of 300. I stop there early in the morning on saturday, hoping to find some loos and some coffee. The only place open is a modest shop called "the perogee pantry", and I enter to try my luck. It looked like a big industrial kitchen with a few table on the side.  I asked the chef and he happily turn on the coffee machine. He makes perogees and cabbage roll, and sells them to local markets and shops. "can I try your cabbage rolls?" I venture. a few minute later, he serves me a coffee, 3 cabbage rolls and a cinnamon roll. SSSSoooo good. It was all I needed to get me going in the morning! His employee ask me $2.50, and I go "it seems awfully cheap!" and the chef in the kitchen goes "NO, it's free for him!" and the he walks to the fridge, grabs a tray with 6 muffins and give it to me "It'll give you something to chew on today". I so enjoyed my stop there, it totally made my day. Thank you!

more story later, time for a nap under the hot Manitoba sun
I uploaded new pictures here

De regina a Winnipeg : 570km en 4 jours

Bonjour a tous je suis a Winnipeg, la capitale du Mnitoba. J'ai eu des bonnes conditions ces 2 derniers jours, avec soleil, températures fraiches et vent dans le dos.
Mon séjour a Regina a ete excellent, Tamara s'est vraiment bien occupé de moi et m'a fait visité cette ville de taille moyenne, en plein boom. L'exploitation des sables bitumineux et de la potasse, un minéral utilisé dans les engrais, permet au Saskatchewan d'être une des province les plus prolifique du Canada.
Je suis parti de Regina avec le vent de face, et me suis rendu jusqu'a Wolseley apres une longue journée. Comme d'habitude, j'ai campé chez l'habitant, un mécanicien qui achète des vielles voitures, les remet en état et les revends. Il avait 2 chiots, qui m'ont volé ma fourchette (j'avais perdu ma cuillère en BC, donc je me suis retrouvé avec seulement un couteau pour cuisiner, pas super pratique...). Ils m'ont également réveillé a 5h du mat, donc je suis parti tôt ce jour là. Premier jour dans les plaines avec le vent 3/4 dans le dos, mon morale était au plus haut. 180 km plus loin, je décide de m'arreter a Virden. Ce jour là, je franchi la frontière avec le Manitoba, et perdu une heure a cause du changement de fuseau horaire. Un habitant m'a offert un coin de sa pelouse, près d'un magnifique lila, mais completement infesté de moustiques. Ces petits suceurs de sang, peste naturelle, commencent a être une nuisance, et je sais que ca va empirer avec l'arrivée de l'été.
Le lendemain, les vents étaient encore plus favorables et je me suis fait plaisir ce jour là. Je pédalais sans forcer à 30km/h pendant des heures sur des routes completement droites et plates, en m'évadant dans mes pensées et mes rêves immaginaires. Une journée de pure bonheur, marquée par une rencontre vraiment insolite. J'avais été informé par Rod de Caronport que j'allait rattraper un marcheur sur le bord de la route qu'il avait héberger 2 semaines auparavant, et lorsque j'ai vu quelqu'un pousser un petit chariot sur le bord de la route, j'ai tout de suite su que c'etait lui. J'ai décider de sacrifier ma meilleur moyenne depuis le debut du voyage et de pédaler à ses côtés pendant une demie heure pour voir ce qu'il avait à dire. Jean Béliveau est parti de Montréal en 2000 et pendant 11 ans a marché sur tout les continents. Quelqu'un de très inspirant, il m'expliqué qu'il a pris cette décision pour sortir du systeme, de ce tapis roulant sur lequel on cours sans fin. Il faisait réference a notre vie telle que nous la connaissons, avec notre travail, nos factures et responsabilités et notre besoin de consommer, toutes ces choses qui rendent la planète malade. Il a marché pendant 11 ans, sur tout les continents, et dans 4 mois s'apprète à "boucler la boucle". Je me disait qu'il devait être un peu fou, mais pas du tout, il a la tête bien sur les épaules et a une perspective sur le monde très intéressante. Je me disais que dans le font, je suis en train de faire la même chose que lui en ce moment, et que vraiment, y'a pas de bonne raison de remonter sur le tapis roulant.  A méditer... Allez voir son site web et soyez inspirés!
www.wwwalk.org. Merci Jean!
Ce soir là, j'ai campé a Portage la Prairie dans un parc vraiment beau et j'ai passé la soirée en companie d'une famille qui campait a mes côtés. un couple avec 2 enfants, ils essayaient leur nouvelle caravane. Ils ont emigrés du Royaume Unis il y a quelques années et n'arrivent pas a se faire a la vie dans les plaines et aux hivers rudes. bien sympas néanmoins.
Hier j'ai seulement pédaler 80km pour me rendre a Winnipeg et j'ai eu la chance de rencontrer Cameron, une amie de Tamara, qui m'héberge pendant 2 nuits. Dimanche, une journée très estivale, elle m'a fait visiter cette ville et nous avons assisté a la gay pride des prairies. Il y avait beaucoup de monde et c'etait tres dépaysant apres tant de solitude. Aujourd'hui, c'est encore une "journée à sandales" et cette après midi, je vais aller faire la siesta sous un arbre!
Les plaines, c'est bientot fini, plus qu'une journée et je serais en Ontario, dans le bouclier Canadien.

A bientot,

Friday, June 3, 2011


Hey Folks, I just crossed the Manitoba border. That is 3 provinces done. Good south east winds today, already 140k done and only 3pm.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Saskatchawan, land of the buffalo

Hello fellow followers, I am in Regina and will rest here for a few days. The beginning of the story is in the last post, in french. So it is friday evening, after a long day of riding into the wind, I decide to stop in one of the farms that clutter the empty plain.

Maple Creek, SK, the ranch
I see one in the distance, get there, and not knowing what to expect, knock on the front door. An older man opens, and seems very friendly right away. He tells me to pitch my tent between the trees, sheltered from the wind. After I built my little home, and cooked some yummy dinner, he came and invited me inside, where we sit down and had a good conversation. Dave is a cowboy, and his ranch has been in the family for generations. His daily life revolve around his 180 cattle. They graze on the abundant grass of the prairie and roam freely in the massive fields. Every year, in october, he sells the calves to feedlots. He also raises ranch horses. Most of the work is done the old fashion way : on his horse, using lassos. And he knows how to use them, he is the 2008 canadian champion. He showed me some of his best, made by his son from stretched cow leather strips woven together. I really liked his personality. We don't only share the same name. I found that we had lots of values in common. He likes natural stuff, i.e. he doesn't give his cows growth hormones when he could. He let them calf by themselves, but he's always watching just in case. I like how minimalist he is, how he takes pride in his low impact lifestyle and how he cares about his land. In the morning, him and his wife invited me for some pancakes and bacon before I left. I will always remember the look on his face when he was looking at the prairie in the morning and said "you know, this view is the reason why I love it so much here and will never live in a city". It's good to feel such happiness and completeness. I thank them both for hosting me and making me dream a little.

I left this morning with a full belly and a tail wind. The first hour, my average speed was above 30km/h. Then it all went downhill. The wind turned and became easterly. I wanted to go past Swift Current that day, but it got really bad and it was draining me physically and mentally. After some hours of beating up, I had a hard time finding the drive to keep going. I would scream at the wind and the only answer would be a fresh gust in my face. A few times, I sat down on the side of the road, decided to stop for the day, and then realized that there is only fields as far as I can see and nowhere to camp. So I would reluctantly get back on my bike and pedal some more. When I got to Swift Current, my mind got distracted with the rows and rows of agricultural heavy machinery for sale. John Deere, Case III, New Holland, Caterpillar, they were all displaying their latest models. I resupplied my pantry and tried to find a place to crash for the night. Well, I picked the worst one ever. The dude I talked to almost reluctantly told me to pitch my tent by his barn, disappeared inside his house and I never saw him again. The Canadian Pacific rail passed on the edge of his property and the numerous trains would wake me up in a world-ending rumble. And he had a dog with, I assessed, a negative IQ. He heard some coyotes in the distance, and barked at the prairie for hours. then in the middle of the night, he heard me move in my tent. From 3am to 5am, he barked at my tent without stopping a second. Needless to say I couldn't sleep. At 5am, I angrily decided to pack up and hit the road.

I had a good day that day. The winds were not too bad and at 10am I had done more than 80k. I stopped in Chaplin, a small village to rest and did some maintenance on my bike. I replaced a broken spoke on my rear wheel, and truing the wheel took some time, but I was satisfied with the result. I left happily and visited a few ailing communities where most of the stores where empty building for sale. I stopped in Mortlach for lunch, and was surprised to see a lively village with actual people walking on the sidewalk. Bathing in the sun and eating a can of sardines was so delightful. Crazy how such little thing can thrill me. And I keep going, hoping to camp near Moose Jaw. It never happened...Shortly after I resume pedaling, a van pulls over in front of me and someone gets off and wave at me. It was a cycling club from regina. They bike downwind and go back home in a van, so that they never have to go against the wind. "cheaters" I thought. But anyway, Ron was a rather friendly folk and we talked for 10 minutes. He kindly offered to lend his tools if I needed any and showed great interest for my adventure. It felt good to feel part of a biking community.

Caronport, SK, and its guru 
I was about 20k from Moose Jaw and I see someone biking on the side of the highway. It was the second time only that it happened, the first time being Garry near Hope, BC. Excited, I speed up and catch up with it. Rod was on his way home and kindly invited me to stay at his place for the night. Of course, I said yes. He is retired from his teaching job in a high school, and live to help the community. I called him the guru! He's the chief fireman at the local volunteer fire station, maintains the dirt roads, and fixes bicycle that he sells for close to nothing to students and friends. A bunch of schools, from kindergarden to seminary, sustain this town. Faith hold it together and it felt good to see everybody being friend with everybody. Rod took me along for a tour, and his keys could open any building. We watched a hockey game at the local rink, got into the empty schools and he's so respected that he can walk into people's houses without knocking on the door. I got honored that evening, to be introduced to all kind of very nice people. The mayor was super friendly, the president of the high school very curious about my trip and one of his friends gave me a tour of his wonderful veggie garden.  Such a good time and good people. His wife made her world famous meat balls, so good with the gravy, I had two servings.

Next morning, after a copious breaky, I jump on my Brooks saddle and go. The objective was regina, only 90km away. The prospect of seeing my friend Tamara and spend a few days relaxing kept my spirits high trough the day, in spite of the strongest headwind so far and rain. In order to reduce my drag, I crunch on my bike, keeping my head down and sometimes resting my elbows on my handlebar. My average that day was the lowest so far, only 16km/h, and my lower back hurt after hours without rest.

Regina, Eat and Relax
Non Marion, y'a pas d'alcool la dedans

I have been here 2 days now, keeping my physical activity at the lowest, eating junk food and regaining my strength. I feel ready to hit the road tomorrow, and I know it's gonna be against the wind again. Cross your fingers some more please. Tamara is a wonderful host and keep me occupied all day. The first evening we decide to go to the pub, and I didn't know what to say when the waitress ask me if I want a drink. Remember, I don't drink alcohol. Fortunately, they had a delectable locally crafted root beer. Next important stage will be winnipeg, 630km away.

Thank you all for your comments and your support and take care.
last uploaded pics here