Journal Entry - May 11, 1999 - (Medicine Hat, Alberta to
Gull Lake, Saskatchewan)
Now I'm not the most intelligent fellow on the planet, but I was kind
of expecting March & April to be challenging in the weather department
with May & June my sweet travel months. But here I am in Gull Lake,
Saskatchewan on May 11th in a forced rest day due to a snowstorm. We
received 15cm last night and today it is still blowing like crazy. So
I'm taking the day to enjoy the library and my wonderful room at the
Lazy Dee Motel.
What does it mean when someone says "Isn't it a great day outside?" or
"Great weather, wha?" I think these are incomplete sentences since
there is no such thing as great weather unless you have a particular
purpose in mind. What good is a sunny day? Perhaps it's good if you are
at the beach seeking a tan, or your crop fields are too mucky, but if
you're staying inside all day, who cares? My best days are overcast,
with a slight breeze from the NW or SW, about 15 degrees and 50%
humidity. I have no need for sun, and I will not be growing anything
that needs rain or snow as far as I know.
After I've spent 3 hours running into a glaring sun, twice lathered up
my exposed parts with sunscreen already, changed my layers 3 times due
to spurious clouds, sweat more, therefore drank more, therefore peed
more, tried to find shade in the prairies to eat lunch and dealt with
the upsurge of wind created by a sunny day at noon, the last thing I
want to hear is, "Boy, it sure is a great day for being outdoors!"
Gimme overcast anyday. But I'm just a bitter guy spending most of his
days in the outdoors, so pay no heed...
Why do we think a sunny day is a great day anyway? It's kind of like
saying any of the following:
1. I like that song because it has a lot of C sharps.
2. I like going to restaurants to check their cutlery.
3. I eat chocolate because I'm concerned about the cocoa industry.
4. I want to be a wagon wheel builder because my great grandfather was
a wagon wheel builder.
And so on... But that's enough about the weather for now. Don't you
So I'm in Saskatchewan. Holy smokes. The variations of interest from
town to town, city to city appear to be as vast as Canada itself. While
some towns and media show unbridled enthusiasm (although street parties
have yet to develop...), others seem to say, " Yeah, so what?" These
wide variations have caused me to reflect on the trip by asking myself,
"Is it interesting, or not?" The answer is an absolute maybe.
Like any endeavour, there will be supporters and detractors. The
project itself may not change, but the opinions from person to person
will vary. To keep this theory simple, I will relate it to tofu.
Tofu is just tofu until you involve people with opinions. If we
assembled a pro-tofu person and an anti-tofu person to discuss the
appeal of the tofu, it is unlikely that either one will convince the
other to alter their tofu stance. So it is with most things.
So is Running Into 2000 interesting, exciting or worthwhile? It depends
on who answers the question. In itself, it's simply a solo,
self-supported run across Canada to celebrate the new Millennium. To
some, it's more than that. Others would just look you in the eye and
say, "It sure is nice weather to be outdoors".
To me, of course, the trip is the ultimate discovery of Canada and
Canadians. It's a visual feast. It's an outdoor adventure with urban,
rural and remote conditions. It's an exploration of weather and an
indepth study of my own personality, frightening as each of those may
be. It's an unending pageant of Canadian characters and a celebration
of dreams. It's a physical ordeal and a mental exam. It's a cherished
memory in the making and it's the focus of my entire life right now. I
love it. Others may not.
With the ups, comes the downs in any type of travel. Only recently did
I hit a loneliness downer. So far, the telephone and internet has
combatted that pretty well, but the dark spectre of lonely hit me hard
in Medicine Hat. As soon as I had experienced it fully, the Roche
family came to my rescue to spirit me away with them for a special
evening. How did they know I needed them then? Glad they were paying
I rarely write about the day to day visual details, but here's an
observation. Just before Maple Creek Junction in Saskatchewan, there's
a dip in the Trans Canada Highway called Eagle Valley. I paused there
to witness a Blue Heron take flight. Then I looked upstream to see 3
large white Pelicans! My view was disturbed by a Canada Goose lighting
upon the top of a tree. Never saw that before. The goose didn't stay
long due to the Golden Eagle that engaged it in air-to-air combat going
for it with full talons. The eagle abandoned pursuit once the goose
landed in the river. I saw all this in about 30 seconds then remained
there observing the now tranquil scene realizing it was a temporary
I'm told that the Golden Eagle actually attacks small antelopes for
goodness sakes. Good thing the RoadRunner is orange and they'll think
I'm ill or something...
And now I am presented with this rest day in Gull Lake. My next
destination is Webb, only 23k from here but with only camping
possibilities. The next stop is Swift Current which has plenty of
motels and it's only 35k further. But I cannot get there in one day,
especially on a wet snowy shoulder...So I wait until it's time to
Then I will arrive somewhere and the town will deal with me how they
deal with me. I've had towns set up school visits, gather the media,
pay for a motel room, give me gifts or even ignore me completely. I've
had people share their homes, their food and special moments in their
lives with me, but I've also had people charge me for tapwater. The
unending pageant of Canada unfolds and each moment is a treasure.
May all your days be treasures and may "good weather" find you.
(next update from Regina, Saskatchewan on May 21st unless I'm stuck in
Gull Lake for week...then you can expect a real ramble...)
PS Rob is doing a great job keeping the Daily Run Log updated every few
days. Check it out sometime...
Running Into 2000
somewhere, out there...
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