Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Across Canada!

The Rockies gave way to the rolling hills of Alberta and then suddenly there it was  - the Prairies. They say you can see your dog running away for days here. I didn't have a dog - only Rhonda and my drone Marvin, and if it just stopped blowing, it would be the perfect place to practice my drone flying skills.  

Some days it felt like I was just floating along in a dream like state, with nothing much externally to catch my attention. I actually like these days. Just me, the road, and my daydreams. Other days the weather forced me into reality with ever changing winds and gusts that unapologetically played with me, occasionally throwing me across the lines and trying my patience. On the good days, I would smile to myself and blast the 70's disco music in my helmet. If you can't beat it, get in the grove right? Go with the flow! On the bad days however, I would curse my aching body, tense up and go head to head with mother nature herself. Several hundred miles of this can be exhausting with not even a tree to hide behind! 

The weather can be unpredictable to the point of surreal. You can go to sleep in your tent one warm evening, listening to the prairie dogs shuffling around you, and wake to snow blizzards with sub-zero temperatures chewing on your fingertips, as you frantically try to pack your gear back on the bike (of course it never fits properly in a cold rush).

It’s not for the faint of heart and it’s times like these I wish for a bigger, heavier bike! After all, there is nothing technical to worry about here. No dirt or tight spots where small bikes rule - just miles and miles of straight, flat, open road. If you plan to fly through on Highway 1 then you won’t get much more than this. The beauty and warmth of the prairies lie within its people and THEY are worth a beating! 

The man who provided me with fuel when I had run out (rookie mistake); the Cairns family, who invited me to stay on their ranch, to ride dirt bikes and horses; the man who saw me crawl out of my tent on the side of the road and ran over to give me $20 for breakfast! (I really must have looked bad!)

From Winnipeg and into the lakes, I found a network of bikers who reached out to each other to provide a tight network of pit stops and warm welcomes for any bikers passing through. I was given the full Canadian experience with rustic lakeside cabins (where I could rest and wait out the next short-lived snow blizzard) and great company. I was overwhelmed with the kindness of my fellow bikers once again, always being sent on my way with a full belly, a big smile and in many cases, much more!  

Thanks to a chance meeting with a guy at a gas station, who filmed me and put it on Facebook, I was found by Rick Bradshaw of Shrader's in Yorkton. Rick organised for a set of tyres to be delivered to Ottawa for me. He also introduced me to Andre Laurin. Andre runs a shipping company (OTSFF), as well as a motocross team (Rockstar OTSFF)! He just happens to have the right size crates already made up for Rhonda and has offered her free passage to South Africa! 

This is amazing news for me! The cost of shipping on top of the new Carnet, agents, new health insurance, visas, servicing, and flights has been a weight on my mind. I have been working hard to raise the money through organised talks, and writing as I go, but the costs were mounting faster than I could talk or type! 

Thanks so much to all involved in seeing me to the next leg and to my final continent! 

Thanks Canada for being extremely kind to me! See you next time around! :) 

I must admit I have been finding it hard to write lately! I have so many mixed emotions at this stage that it has been hard to clarify to myself, let alone write it down, just how I'm feeling right now! The busy mind of someone preparing to ride across Africa; the money worries; the excitement of starting a new chapter; the sadness of finishing the current one (especially without Tim); and of course the fact that I can see the lines on my map getting closer to meeting up and creating the circle as had always been the mission. How will it feel to finish? Do I want to finish? I'd say my brain was 50/50 on the matter but I guess my body is more like 80/20 in favour of getting this done and starting on something less repetitive! Despite lots of company, loneliness plays a part at times too if I'm honest. Making new friends and constantly leaving them behind takes its toll after a while, especially if you are riding off alone. I like riding solo BUT there is another part of me beginning to emerge perhaps! 

..........................Now if I could just find that single, rich, guitar playing bike builder who is happy for me to come and go as I please (oh and loves dogs!) ......... 😂😂😂😂  (just kidding obviously. I mean he doesn't HAVE to play guitar!😇


  1. Always welcome Steph, glad Buddy and I could be part of your experience.

  2. Africa will be the icing on your cake...and I'm sure there must be white wine and borsin cheese in africa! ;-) All the best!

  3. Big wheels ( well 19&20" at least) keep on turning... Travel safe!

  4. Steph you are not on Petreon ???

  5. Awesome blog mate keep battling on eh it looks pretty dam harsh up there HUGS X

  6. Shite, already passed by us at Lake Ontario?

    Keep on trukin'.


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