92km St. Albert to Vegreville
There’s a voice that keeps on calling me,
Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be.
Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again.
Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.
-Lyrics from the Littlest Hobo
Canadians of a certain vintage know those words well: the theme tune to the Littlest Hobo television show, where a German Shepherd goes from town to town, helping people out of crises. We grew up on this homegrown version of Lassie and today we couldn’t get the song out of our head as we put bags back on our bikes after an extended break and hit the road one more time.
Ahead of us lie the prairies, stretching out in endless lengths of wheat fields. Behind us, the Rocky mountains and a wonderful and relaxing two weeks spent with Andrew’s sister Marlene and her husband Dave.
We won’t lie. It was hard to leave. As much as we had itchy feet, we also had those butterflies in our stomachs that seem to reappear every time we begin a new chapter in our trip and the sadness that comes with knowing you won’t see loved ones again for a very long time.
Oh sure, we’re back in Canada now but it’s a big country at some 7,000km from side to side so even if we settle here, family reunions will be too few and far between.
So it was hugs all around, a few tears and finally a quick wave as we pedaled off onto the Yellowhead Highway, loaded down with Marlene’s freshly baked cookies and a gourmet sandwich fit for 10 people in our bags. Destination Saskatoon, a good week down the road. Now some people say the prairies are boring… all those flat fields and not many towns but how can you call a place boring when it boasts such wonders as the world’s largest sausage, the world’s largest mallard duck and the world’s largest Ukranian easter egg all in the mere space of 100km?
“Do you find this as tacky as we do?” two motorcyclists – James and Shana – asked as we took the obligatory photo by the giant sausage in Mundere. A little cheesy it might be but we love this kind of stuff. Some day we’ll do ‘Canada’s biggest tour’ and go all over the country snapping pictures by the biggest anything we can find. These ‘big things’ never fail to make us smile.
We smiled even broader as we arrived in Vegreville and discovered the town had kindly scheduled a free pancake breakfast in honour of our arrival. Okay, okay. It wasn’t for us. It’s a big festival but you can bet we’ll be there with our plates out at 8am. It’s a cyclist’s dream and the perfect way to fuel up for the road ahead.