Day 23 – Ponteix to Assiniboia

Day 23 – Ponteix to Assiniboia. Every day I drop enough trail mix (as I scoop it from my handlebar bag and eat it while I ride along) to stop a family of ground squirrels from eating their close relatives for a week. I’m thinking of tipping everything else out of the bag and filling it with just trail mix, then taping a coffee scoop to my index finger for easier dipping. The reason I haven’t done it yet is that it would clearly be insane. 

  • Today’s Distance (miles/km): 74 / 119
  • Time in saddle: 6h 09
  • Max/min temp (°c): 36°/10°
  • Climb/descend (feet) : 855 / 787
  • Calories used: 3,229
  • Cafe time: 3h 18

Today is something of a wildlife blog. I cleared out early from Ponteix, and hit the road in the cool of the early morning with all the amazing bird life making the most of this part of the day too. I kept up a good speed until I heard the call of coffee, and stopped in a small town called Hazenmore. This highway has many more possible stopping points, and all of them are more interesting and friendly than is the norm on the Trans-Canada. At the Co-Op I met Ricardo, and lovely guy from Manila, Phillipines, who told me he played the guitar and the uke. I was straight out to the bike and back in a trice with my uke for Ricardo to have a go on:

He kept apologising for his rustiness, but I quite like the crazy imaginary chords he strummed away at. I can’t identify the one he’s playing here, but it’s unique.

After receiving so many wonderful limericks over the last two days, you will never believe where I stopped for lunch today:

I celebrated by breaking a personal rule and having a beer with lunch and I paid for it. After lunch, with only 20-odd miles to go, the wind picked up and I had a tough, long, hot and dusty afternoon.

I stopped by a small lake to rest, and was transfixed by the birds around the water and the astounding variety of songs that were burbling away into the prairie air.

At the. very back of the lake a fox (I think, different colouring to ours) was prowling around a big nest/den, then set off across the field watching me closely all the while. He was still trotting about when I finally left. I recorded some audio of the birds but can’t yet find a way to put it in the blog.

    Yesterday I had a head-on collision with some genuine Canadian wildlife.  A butterfly came hurtling down the highway towards me, all over the empty road, and too fast for me to dodge it. I braked hard, but it slammed into my left thumb knuckle with a gentle “toc!” then careered on past me, flying very erratically. I do hope it makes a full recovery. I’m just glad to see so many more butterflies now I’m off the main highway. Gill and Stewart, back in Canmore, had a very close encounter with a youngish black bear a couple of days ago, and Stewart sent me the photographic evidence:

    Very impressive, and it made me wish I’d at least seen something of them bears in the mountains, even a footprint. 

    I came across a heartbreaking bird-tragedy. I’ve seen this stunning yellow bird around a lot in Saskatchewan, but never wanted to see one close up like this.

    As I finally made it to Assiniboia for my stop, I saw something that qualifies as a NFC (Normal for Canada). Huge power pylons, except they’re made of 6 huge pieces of timber in an elegant and simple design. Mile upon mile of them stretching further than the eye can see.

    A sign that really made me laugh today:

    Can anyone please explain this to me?
    And finally, because I’ve very much run out of steam this evening, a very welcome bit of lime-green solidarity, courtesy of Mr Stewart Buchanon:

    I’m off to cook and sleep now, so night all! Bx

    9 thoughts on “Day 23 – Ponteix to Assiniboia

    1. Ah, Royal Green, my favorite colour! Great blog post. After Limerick, any chance of passing through Clerihew? Oh, the possibilities! Sleep well.


      Liked by 1 person

    2. Susie here.

      Apparently ‘nuisance ground’ is Canadian for garbage dump. You were there on a Tuesday which accounts for there not being any garbage in that pristine green field – just a day later, and it would have been full of rubbish, fridges, old mattresses, rotten food, etc. The sign is for the bears, coyotes and squirrels, but apparently scavenging is still quite a problem in Canada because animal literacy is quite low there.

      Very impressive bear picture, Stewart – I hope the mother wasn’t anywhere near?? How did you get so close?

      Susie x


      1. Susie, the bear crossed the road just in front of our car and went in to the trees, so I got out and took a couple of snaps, making sure there was no mother bear behind me. Then it began to retrace its steps, coming straight at me, so I got back in the car (pretty quickly!) and we watched and took some more snaps as it brushed against Gill’s door, rubbed up against the front bumper, and went back the way it had come. Neither of us has ever been so close to a bear. A short, but exciting encounter.



        1. Hi Stewart,
          That’s the kind of contact you might have at Woburn safari park – amazing to have it in real life!
          Susie x


    3. Sam or Seb do you know what bird? Made me think of the Monty Python sketch. Off his twig. Pining for the fjords.Very poignant with its legs so neatly together.

      Beautiful pylons, like the beginning of a god’s eye or straw stars.

      Looking forward to meeting up with Susie tomorrow for her end of term art show.xx

      Liked by 1 person

    4. This one’s for you, John.

      There once was a young man from Limerick
      Who tried to come up with a limerick.
      He nearly succeeded
      But finally heeded
      That nothing rhymes with Saskatchewan.


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