Day 36 Mariapolis to St. Malo Manitoba
Looking off the escarpment before Miami Manitoba
I started and ended my day at Motor Hotels - a standard setup with a lounge on one side, a café in the middle and a few rooms on the other side. The one I'm at tonight has beer sales in the middle as well and is a much more active drinking spot than the one last night. My room is also cheaper and not as nice, but a very good value. Hopefully my neighbors won't be too loud when then get back to their rooms long after I've gone to sleep. In between Motor Hotels, I cycled 100 miles in about 7:30 with moderate (in the morning) to light (in the afternoon) side and headwinds all day. The wind forecast calls for similar south winds tomorrow, getting stronger in the afternoon. I rode almost due east today, and my riding tomorrow is south and east.
High clouds and moderate east winds at 9 PM on MB 23
It was cool riding under a cloudy sky and into a moderate headwind this morning. I even considered putting on my vest for the first time since I left Edmonton. Riding was better than yesterday since the wind wasn't as strong. I could ride at 12 mph uphill into the wind instead of 10 mph. The coolness also helped, as did the fact that my legs were rested. Anyway, it was slow going but reasonably nice riding. I rode almost 20 miles to Somerset, crossing part of the Swan Lake Indian reserve, and then stopped for a break by the side of the road.
MB 28 with smooth pavement and small shoulder
The road had improved - smooth pavement and a shoulder - after the intersection with MB 34, ten miles east of Mariapolis. That shoulder lasted for the next 20 miles or so. There is convenience store and restaurant at that corner, but my excellent and inexpensive breakfast at the Mariapolis Motor Hotel meant I wasn't hungry yet. When, I did stop, after about 1:45, I had ridden about half the distance to Miami. Miami turned out to be 40 miles from Mariaoplis and over 50 miles from MB 5. There was no way I could have made that last night, but it worked out well for a lunch stop today. That was good since there were few places to stop for lunch on today's route.
Coming down off the escarpment
Coming into Miami
The Chatterbox Café - the (only) place to eat in Miami
Lunch in Miami was pretty good, and the campground is neat, although right next to the railroad track. Every thing in Miami - café, grocery store, laundromat, post office, bank, park, etc - is convenient to the campground. Nice folks and I enjoyed the town.
After leaving Miami, I stopped by the side of the road to get something out of my clothes pannier, then rode on. A mile or two later, a Manitoba Highway Department pickup truck passeed me an pulled over on the shoulder. The driver go out holding a cute little blue mesh bag. He said " I saw this on the road behind you and I though you might have dropped it." It was the MEC underpants I bought in Edmonton to replace the ones I accidentally left in a motel room. I had placed them on my other pannier in order to reach something under them, and forgot to put them bag in the pannier before I rode on. The guys in the truck went well out of their way to be really nice to me. I thanked them and rode on with a smile on my face. That smile lasted until I looked in my mirror to see some jerk in a van passing a car as it approached me. I bailed out even though the car being passed wouldn't have hit me. They were being very considerate and braking hard, and it was no big deal for me to get out of their way. That was the first time I left the road today. The other time was to let a truck pass me when there was oncoming traffic. No big deal in either case, except for the jerk.
After crossing MN 3, there was a good shoulder for another fifteen miles
Then that shoulder went way - neat sprayer coming down the road
I rode through Roland, some 13 miles east of Miami, to find their park so I could use the bathroom. The park and camping area wasn't nearly as nice as Miami's, although Roland is a bigger town, and the toilets were locked. I was annoyed, so I rode our of Roland and made use of bridge just east of town instead. I had coke and a candy bar that I had purchased in Miami. The day was getting warm by then and my. O'Henry bar was getting a bit soft!
A farm with canola field and storage bins
Riding was flat, after coming off the escarpment, and easy, but there were no services till Lowe Farm which is about ten miles from Morris and 30 miles after Miami. During that time, in addition to a lot of polite drivers, and one grain truckdriver that tooted and waved, I also saw a pretty fox near the road. He didn't know what to make of me, but cautiously held hid ground, so I had a good look at him as I passed 20 feet away. I stopped at Lowe Farm for dessert, and again in Morris for an early supper. I had ridden 80 miles and has a bit over 20 miles to go for the day.
As I was briefly riding south on MB 23/75, which is the main route south out of Winnipeg, I saw a loaded touring bike parked at a building. I pulled over and discovered that the building was a library, so I parked my bike and went in to investigate. Sure enough, there was a tourist checking his email! We visited a bit, and I signed up to use another system - $.75 for half an hour - a good price. After I finished dealing with my email, and the other tourist finished his, we visited for quite a while outside the library. He had come down the Alcan highway, then the Yellowhead, and, today, south from Winnipeg. He was heading for his home in Orlando Florida, going for a pretty direct and flat route. We got along well but our styles and goals were too different to considering riding together so, after a nice visit, I rode on east. It was 6:30 by the time I left Morris, and about 8:20 when I got to St Malo.
Heading east on MB 23, pretty flat and not much wind or traffic
Heading south on MB 59 - too much traffic
I rode for 20 miles to the end of MB 23 and then rode a few miles on the, much busier, MB 59, to St Malo. Not a problem, but not much fun after having low traffic all day. Speaking of traffic, when MB 23 crossed MB 3 near the end of MB 3 today, there was too much traffic and no shoulder on MB 3. I don't know how 3 is west of there, but you might want to pick an alternate route, e.g MB 23 which runs a dozen mile or so north of MB 3 though most of Manitoba. Since this province does not believe in shoulders, low traffic roads are a lot better riding than the higher traffic routes.