Day 23: Tuesday, June 25

Today was a bad day of battling headwinds and the grueling heat. I made the “intelligent” decision this morning to dump my extra bottle of water to lighten the load. I figured the ride would be short (77 kilometres) and if I needed to get more water, we could stop at a gas station. I forgot that there are no towns along the highway between Virden and Brandon. We both ran out of water about 10 kilometres before Brandon. I didn’t consider that there are no rest stops with shade. The temperatures climbed into the 30s, plus it was muggy. We had to eat lunch in a ditch.

Here’s another lesson we’ve learned after being on the road for almost a month. At the end of the day we always have the worst time, and it’s not due to exhaustion but instead circumstance. It’s guaranteed we’ll have the worst weather, the biggest hill, bad roads, or some other huge problem when we are about 10 to 20 kilometres from our destination. Today we had hot weather, lack of water, and the worst shoulders to travel. For some reason about 10 kilometres before Brandon, the highway planners forgot to pave the shoulders! Instead it’s a sandy, rocky mess that reminded us of the rail trails in the mountains. Pure torture at the end of a bad day. I was ready to curl up into a ball and die of heatstroke when BB said, “Hey, there’s Brandon!” I asked if it was a mirage because I just couldn’t believe we finally made it!

The evening got better when we arrived at our former co-worker’s mom’s place in Brandon. (Thank you Shelly for setting this up for us!) Muriel kindly opened her home to us sweaty, smelly strangers! What a lovely lady! Her home was beautiful and she is a terrific cook. She had stew waiting for us when we arrived. Shortly after we arrived, a storm moved in and the rain poured hard! It was nice not having to camp in that weather!

We travelled from Virden to Brandon for a total of 77 km.

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