800 + km in a day, a bit much but we made it

July 6, 2012





Fog. Steam rising out of the earth. The green and the gray and the blue mixing.


It’s hot. Hot. Hot.


I made my day harder by taking the wrong turn out of Thunder Bay and ending up down the 61 South at a border crossing. I doubled back while swearing mildly, the road had been absolutely gorgeous, ripe with summer smells, wild flowers, greens and greener greens all wrapped in this luscious summer heat, brimming with life and sensuality.  But still, I needlessly added 120 km of road, burnt gas and time when time is an issue and money should not be wasted like this.

After trying to decipher the minimalist road signs, checking the GPS, having to turn around again for gas as I realized no stations were ahead for miles all the while sweating under my helmet, I finally found my way onto the 17 West. But here again… one has to be thankful for GPS-Google technology that afforded me the knowledge about the exit and the location of the gas stations.

The day rolled through and the wheels turned. I made it to Kenora, hoping to go to the Backpacker’s hostel but found out that the place was shut down. At this point I was fried. I had been on the road since 10 in the morning and it was now 7 PM. I was so fried, it was hard to think straight. I found a cafe with full on air conditioning and WIFI and cooled down there until they closed at 8 PM.

What do I do now? I didn’t feel like staying here, a room would cost around or more than $100 and I don’t have that sort of budget. So I elected to get back on the road and stop at the first campground. I was yearning for another campfire.


But I got on the road, on an on and further and further and there were no campsites. Hmmm… then, I saw a sign : Winnipeg 200 km. Hmm, hmm… at this point the road is straight as can be, the traffic is light, the mood is calm, there was a definite change of mood when I crossed into Manitoba. Much calmer… So I thought, lets get to Winnipeg.

I was rewarded.


Heading straight West, literally riding into the sunset it was a magical view. The trees and lakes and hills have flattened right out. The horizon is way far out. Everywhere I look there is a symphony of colors covering this endless horizon, behind me it is pink and soft blue, ahead it’s the white silver of the clouds brushed like the sand on a beach, the sun is veiled and offers a warm vortex of yellows and orange muted by the clouds. The fields are alternatively green as grass and the yellow and green of the canola fields. No painter can come up with those matches successfully, but mother nature does. It’s very beautiful. In places a very light fog lifts from the earth. The bike rolls on, so easy to handle. It is a brave one this Arkadash. I feel so lucky to have such a machine, so solid, so honest, so strong. A worthy partner in this adventure.

As I ride and think I realize that it is almost a year to the day that I arrived in Ottawa.  A year… so much has taken place and in yet in a way it is as if I am at the same place I was last year, except that I am heading West instead of East. I leave behind some things and someone that meant everything to me and for a moment I am torn to pieces.

I am back to being this lone speck gliding across time and space. The heart that is not mended yet, makes this not such a carefree affair as it used to be. They say better to have loved and lost than not loved at all, but there are moments when the ignorance of what love is, is indeed immensely blissful. There were no open wounds to contend with.

I make it into Winnipeg easily, I end up downtown. I wanted to see downtown I find this city incredibly fascinating with its mix of history, newness, red-neckness and artsy penchants. I stopped at 425 Main. Sat on the sidewalk with the GPS, my cell which has a different type of GPS and the backpacker’s booklet. I called the two hostels. One gives a response, the other one rings on and on.   A burly guy, by the sound and manner of his voice greets me.


“Main Street?!? What are you doing down there?!?”


“I just wanted to drive around…”


I enter the address in the GPS and proceed. Ah sometimes it is so good to just follow the arrows and the voice and not know anymore than that.  So the GPS lady got me there. A pretty old house. I’m so burnt, I feel it now, all the weight of it.  My body is angry at me.  The bike feels so heavy I can barely park it.  My head buzzes a strange pulse.   I get inside, the guy takes my money with very fast moves… really greedy moves. He gives me a key and rattles the information quickly, I’m trying really hard to grasp at his words and not look totally as dumb as I feel right now.  I lost the key 3 times between the moment he gave it to me and the moment I grabbed my bags to head up to the room. I lost it again a few times. I feel like my whole body, brain, thought waves, are vibrating, unsteady, I’m so hot.


The first thing I did was to drop the leathers, jump in my jeans and head for the shower. I was in there for a long while, groaning as the water came down.


I come out of there and ask : when is check out time?


“Oh we don’t have that, people come in late normally so you can sleep in.”




I ended up sleeping until 1:30 PM… I could not believe it.


“You must have needed it!” said my bunk mate, a beautiful young German girl traveling through Canada. She was right and I needed more sleep.

I gathered my stuff. Packed the bike. Handed the keys and headed out for my friend’s home. Again the GPS guided me through town. I arrived, parked, got off the bike, headed for the door where little Alex greeted me. He’s so sweet. 4 1\2 years old. He grabbed my helmet and invited me in.

I made it. Rode over 800km on the last day, that was a bit too much but we made it. I realized today that I lost my clothes on the way here. There were in a separate bag… I’m not impressed with myself… my new jeans, swim suit, couple T shirts, my long cycling pants I would wear under the leathers or to sleep outside if it was cold and the bag, I had them for such a long time…  and I lost the bag these things were in, which was  a really nice OR bag that you could take the air out and compress the clothes… Oh well. Besides the jeans everything was old. I will not mourn a bunch of old clothes, but I’ll have to shop a little bit…

Tomorrow it’s time to get down to business with the upcoming shows. Get in touch with the presenters, give them whatever they need, get a little flyer together, try to get as many people as I can out to the shows,  put the set list together and start rehearsals.

I feel good here with my friends. I am so lucky, they are true, deep, loyal friends that I have known for a long time.  This is precious right now.  I thoroughly cleaned the bike this afternoon and mooned over it afterwards.


One has to be grateful. One is.



2 Responses to “800 + km in a day, a bit much but we made it”

  1. Danielle Liard Says:

    So you lost a bag, after thinking you had to lighten the load. Ooops! The old saw about being careful what you wish for. Glad you made it safely. Hope someday you’ll make it back here. ❤


  2. yeah, I had that exact thought… !! I did wish for it!

    for sure I’ll be back sooner than later, we will meet again!

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