Friday, July 13, 2007

About Halfway (still no photos boo the driver is incompatible)

Day 27
I wake early with my contacts and the lights still on. Passed out reading some mindless Kinsella. Will get back into Vonnegut's Slapstick ASAP (what morbidity!) but this is a freebie. Swallowed an inane Michael Jordan book "Rebound" last night - almost as fulfilling as half a bag of potato chips. Its 630am and no one's up yet so I sneak downstairs and stuff myself with cereal like a kid at 11pm on December 24th, conscience hanging over me - dare I finish the Honey Nut Cheerios?

The Stefanyshyns have been so kind as to offer us the use of the Grand Cherokee to check out the city today, although its rainy. I buy my flight home (with a stopover in NYC to see my long lost cousin Victoria) and we will go get our bikes tuned. The Maxine Hong Kingston I found in the bedroom will have to wait... besides I find this immigration/postcolonial identity/biographical displacement genre tiresome nowadays, so no harm.

We'll finish in St. John's on August 20th. Have a good one.

Day 26 (where's the pavement? Winnipeg)
Done the Kundera - what a sublime piece of work that inspires writing. Desecration of beauty and the like. We stop early in Portage for 3 chocolate bars + McDicks (that's my portion). Truck it to all-flat Winnipeg. No shoulder through most of Manitoba makes for a harrowing ride - you remain focused on the edge of the right lane only to get swept onto the gravel shoulder by passing semis or gusts of wind. Brutal roads mean speed bumps molesting us viciously ever 2 meters. Goran was brushed by an RV and knocked (harmlessly, thankfully) into the grass). I've taken to vehemently screaming profanities at both winds and roads, while developing rotator cuff irritation from flipping the bird at every other vehicle that barrels by.

The main street in Winnipeg is Portage Ave - straight and forever. We pick up G's phone (mailed from Brooks, Alta. by a kindly church caretaker) and pass a MEC in the heart of downtown. I get broken tent poles replaced and a compression sack for my comically large sleeping bag. The guy is helpful and directs us to leave through Chinatown.

At 6pm we reach the Stefanyshyn household situated on the NE side, a lush almost-suburb (kind of like Thornhill outside Toronto) - familial sprawling brick houses with impressive backyards. Deanna and Kelly's (whom I went to high school with) parents welcome us with amazing hospitality, and throw massive steaks on the BBQ. Dinner includes corn on the cob rolled in butter, baked potatoes, stirfry vegetables, garlic bread, with apple pie for dessert. I am situated in Kelly's old room, on her official Olympian athlete's comforter (Sydney 2000 - 200m backstroke). Both Richard and Allison were former CIS basketball players and the latter is into online poker craze (who hasn't been?). In short, we've found a welcoming 2nd home for our first rest since Calgary.

Day 25 (losing the plot just a bit)
Late up (as usual) - make good time to Brandon. A man named Borden donates to the cause outside a Timmy Hos. I remember Marilee's (the campground caretaker) story - what is the power of positivity? What is this cult of one? Is it Kundera's kitsch? (I'm reading Unbearable Lightness for the first time) The writings of great authors make these scribblings pale in comparative relevance and I'd much rather discuss them. We aim for Portage but the wind takes it out of us - stop in MacGregor, a difficult 150km. At night I dream of friends and females in my past, in the day I dream of cities in my future.

Why my subconscious reverts to nostalgia I don't know. Lucid dreaming sounds great but what of its seductive illusory promise? I dream of New York. I dream of not slapping and scratching at imaginary bites - which turns the last undamaged skin on my legs and feet into white hives. I dream of believing in my purpose undoubtedly and no longer ever wishing for another story - an ideal life that eludes like that perfect mate built solely in our mind.

G is repeatedly throwing his knife at a tree, and misses the tree completely a few times. I do see it stick once.

Day 24
Good day. Wake late but lots of tail winds - hit and miss rain. Quick trip into Moosomin - banana cream blizzard (it is my goal to have tasted every variety of DQ treat by the end) and we're approached by a woman who tells us her bike was hit by a car outside Winnipeg. She has the nasty bruises to show it. We hit the Manitoba border and take some idiotic photos (I have to sprint to beat the timer, and almost roll my ankle about 3 times, plus landing badly - like a old Toyota commercial gone wrong). Rain chases us into Virden and we find a motel selling our ceremonial beer - the lady there tells us to camp out at the Lions Campground for free, where she is the caretaker. Her mother has fought brain cancer since the lady was 8 years old - every year she goes for the checkup.. so we're talking over 30 years. What amazing things that will is capable of. 2 days from the Peg.

Day 23
Wake late on purpose - its pissing outside. Say goodbye to Frenchies and on the road at 930. Super heavy rainstorm soaks us to the bone plus head winds. Shivering, we pull under a sign at 25k for some soaked cheese sandwiches (its funny the contortions a loaf of bread is capable of when stuffed into a pannier... like edible play-doh.. not that play-doh isn't edible.. I digress). Make it into Indian Head for much needed tea and muffin, blowdrying our gloves and socks (and my wet behind when no one's looking) in the Esso washroom. We book it during a sunny lull but of course I get a flat.

Can't find the hole, so walk to nearby Shell (good luck for once?) and sort it out, then leave to a cloudy afternoon. I entertain myself by replaying every single mix I've ever heard or played in my head.. of course compressed with my attention span that takes less than 2 hours, from the Roots to euphoric trance - to my frustration Billie Jean keeps butting in. sigh. We go slow into head and crosswinds and try to outrun the rain into Grenfell. Unsuccessful, we find a school to crash behind. I need a shtick to kill time, the way G pretends he's a WWII fighter pilot gunning down ze Germans as he swarms by.

Day 22
Short trip to Regina with Guillaume and Aviva, where we decide to take a half-rest-day. I shave. After haggling over the cheapest dirtiest motels and the reasonable (but still for us pricey) accomodations we go for mediocre all-you-can-eat 'Chinese' buffet. Fried chicken is their forte I think. Unknown rolls and dumplings and I eat 3 bowls of ice cream. Regina reminds me of Kelowna - but also a bit of Oxford Street in London (ON) with large, imposing residential lots right on the main road. It isn't a large town though. We kick back and catch the hilarious Kung Fu Hustle.


Anonymous said...

Must be the first one to read your updated blog.
Enjoy the well deserved rest.
You guys are doing great! All the best for the remainder of the trip.

Anonymous said...

Great going, Pat and Goran. Do be very careful on the roads and watch out for idiots.

I'll be adding another donation to the cause very soon.

Take care.

Love, Auntie Chin Yen.

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