Today I woke up early and packed up camp and was on the road by 8.30am.
I rode on deeper into Manitoba and soon the forest disappeared and the like that, out of nowhere the prairies started. The land just goes flat. Farmland as far as the eyes can see!
When I arrived in Winnipeg I asked a lady in her car at the red light for a good place for breakfast. She said Stella’s about a block away. I made my way to Stella’s, ordered breakfast and two cappuccino and rested my eyes, my coffees arrived and a few minutes later the girl at the traffic lights walks in, pulls up a chair at my table and joins me for breakfast! How nice is that? She was a trainee teacher. She had half another to spare before heading to he beach at Lake Winnipeg and fancied having breakfast with me! I was glad of the company and willingly accepted her invitation! She was cool and breakfast at Stellas was Stella! Healthy start to the day, although by then it was 11am.
I headed to Osbourne Village and The Forks Market where I had a nosey around the shops and escaped the midday heat with a snack and another coffee.
Eventually it was time to hit the road again, so rode out of town to the last gas stations and filled up for the days ride ahead of me.
At the gas station the day got better. It got better in the form of a fellow European adventure bike rider called Tim, from Switzerland! We talked whilst filling up our bikes and were both heading the same way so decided to ride together for the day.
After 7 days of seeing old men and women on Harley’s with trailers on the back and trikes the same it was refreshing to meet someone on a similar bike and doing a similar thing.
We rode out of Winnipeg together and for the rest of the day. He was heading for Wasagaming and to the Mountain Riding Provincial Park to camp for the night, so I decided to join him and see what the fuss was about.
It was only around a 90 mile ride tops. The weather was great and we were in no rush. It was good to be riding with someone rather than alone on the long roads. (Inbetweeners Ahhhh friends, motorbike friend, riding friend, ahhhh friends!)
We eventually came to the national park via a few gravel tracks, nothing too technical, but after days of Tarmac if feels funny having the ground beneath you move! We paid our entry fee and rode on in to the National Park to find a campsite….which turned out to be full as its holiday weekend! 3 out of 4 were defiantly full the lady told us, the 4th doesn’t have a phone so we don’t know. So that left us with only one option. And it was a 30 minute ride away within the National Park. So with no other option we went to the “town” in the park to stick up on food and supplies, then headed back to a motel we passed a couple off Km’s outside the National Park to buy beer as they do not sell it inside the parks, then headed the 20 miles back in to the 4th campsite next to lake Audy.
14 miles of which were gravel tracks through the farmlands! Superb!
The tracks were pretty smooth with a few deep ruts here and there, but again at a gentle pace it was nice to get the confidence back up for off road riding.
We have to take the same tracks out tomorrow as its a one way road! To what turned out to be paradise, Canadian style. We rode up to the far end of the lake and set up camp. There were no trees for me that I could use a at ground level, so I walked down the banks of the lake and found some suitable trees just up from the waters edge.
Tim set up his tent in minutes and soon enough we had a fire going and were preparing dinner! Brochettes of red onion, pepper and mushrooms mmmmm!
We watched the sunset across the lake and then the storm clouds coming in from the west. It didn’t look good. Just as dinner was ready, it started to rain. So we jumped in the tent and watched the storm and lightening with beer and dinner! Good times.
It lasted about half an hour then went away, so we venture out the tent for a while to finish dinner and beige long the storm took up again but this time it lasted for two and a half hours of the most amazing rain, thunder and lightning I’ve ever seen.
The sky was lite up by the lightening all across the horizon, for 180 degrees you could see the storm and the lightening striking the ground in various places. We were both in awe of the power, and every time it hit big, you could hear the other campers (ourselves included) whoop and scream at the force & power of Mother Nature.
It was pretty scary to be honest. Siting in a tent that was not designed for this extreme weather on the edge of a lake at the mercy of Mother Nature and all she had to throw at you.
Eventually it passed and we watched it go east from outside the tent. I went back to my hammock to sleep and it was pretty wet! I emptied the water, squeezed out my sleeping bag and climbed in for a wet uncomfortable sleep.