August 9

August 11th, 2007

Last night gave me a much needed boost of energy and confidence. It was a late night, but I knew I had to make up time today, so I started from Mannville nice and early this morning. It poured rain all night and the weather was supposed to remain rainy and cold for the next 2 days. My only hope was that the rain would keep the winds at bay. I must not have skated through the wetness for more than an hour before it started to subside. The clouds remained and looked threatening, but the pavement started to dry a bit.

 

When I arrived back at Innisfree, we stopped at the Petro gas station to fill up. The manager had been at the dinner last night and made a donation. But today she wanted to make another donation from the business. What started out as a stop for fuel turned out to be another one of my most successful collections to date! By the time I headed back on the road, Innisfree had contributed over $1300! C’mon, Canada! Follow this wonderful town’s example. We could all spare an extra dollar or 2.

 

I headed North out of Innisfree because we were told by some locals that there was a secondary road running parallel to the Yellowhead Highway and had just been paved last summer. It sounded too good to resist. It was about 15 km North before I turned West again on Highway 631. Sure enough, I was staring down the road to Heaven! Smooth, black pavement and not a car in sight. The wind was blowing from the Northeast which amplified my progress towards Edmonton. I’ve said time and time again that wind is my worst enemy. I can handle hills because for every incline, I’ll be coming down the other side twice as fast. It always balances out. But when it’s windy, I can’t make up the time. But I’ve studied enough sciences in my day that I should know better. Everything always comes back to equilibrium. Yesterday was a bad day, but I’m making up the time today. Eventually my luck ran out when this lush road bent toward the Yellowhead and I had no choice but to get back on the main highway.

 

We made a quick stop in the town of Mundare where we were planning to stay for the evening. The campground seemed decent, but I wanted to get a few extra kilometers in before the sun went down. And I knew it was supposed to rain all day tomorrow, so the closer to Edmonton I can get tonight, the better. Mundare provided a few highlights today. As we rolled into the center of town, a giant structure standing at least 50 feet high was erected and towering over our heads. It wasn’t a typical statue or monument, though. It resembled a spiral strand of DNA. I was staring at Canada’s largest Ring Sausage! Apparently this little town is famous for their Ukrainian sausages. We felt obligated to pick up a pack for lunch tomorrow. Hopefully that won’t slow me down too much.

 

The other highlights in Mundare were the 99.9 Cent gas and the big blue buffalo. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen gas under a dollar, so this was pretty exciting. The buffalo was painted in traditional Ukrainian art. Lots to see and do in Mundare!

 

I continued down the highway and completed about 115 km when I decided to quit for the day. I was within 60 km of Edmonton, so i wasn’t too worried about reaching the city tomorrow, even if it does rain all day.

 

Every province has unique characteristics that I can’t help but notice. I knew I was in Newfoundland because every kilometer was actually 1200 meters. I knew I was in Ontario because the rest of Canada seemed to revolve around me. I know I’m in Alberta because every vehicle on the road is a pick-up truck. We live in a diverse country and I love seeing all the differences across the land.

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