North By Northwest: A Solo Motorcycle Adventure from Georgia to Alaska (Day 9)

July 30, 2019

Day 9 – 7/6/19

One must always remember that a riding day with less ground to cover doesn’t mean it will be an easy day. My first minor challenge of the morning was a reverse trip from yesterday on the gravel and dirt service road between my hotel and the “highway.”

With that off-road adventure successfully completed, I headed towards Regina, home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy “Depot” Division and Heritage Centre. It was just over two hours of uneventful riding, though once in Regina, I had to adjust to more vehicles on the road, traffic signals, and the other trappings of a city. I arrived when the Heritage Centre opened at 11am, but decided to eat my lunch before beginning my tourist activities. They have a Sergeant Major’s Parade at noon on Monday through Friday, but unfortunately, my schedule put me here on a Saturday. Even without a parade, there are lots of interesting exhibits at the Heritage Centre.

Not that much to see on the tram tour of Depot, but I still recommend it for a behind-the-scenes look at their Academy.

As I was gearing up to leave, I noticed some very threatening clouds on the horizon. I stopped for one photo on the way out.

Sure enough, I was just outside of town when it really started pouring. Visibility got bad very quickly, and I saw an occasional lightning bolt that kept things interesting. I wanted to find some overhead shelter, but there was nothing around but a few fenced-in warehouses and industrial areas. The road surface would have been rough in dry conditions and was especially treacherous with standing water and invisible potholes. One of the nice features on my bike (and other late-model BMWs) is having ride modes for different conditions. I selected Rain mode, slowed down to a speed commensurate with the hazardous conditions, and just concentrated on the task at hand. I stacked the Scale of Risk as much as I could on my side.

I finally turned onto the Trans-Canada Highway, and the surface was much smoother, with less standing water than the secondary road I’d been on for the last 12 miles. After about 20 minutes, I was through the storm.

I didn’t envy the few riders pulled over on the opposite side of the road donning their rain gear before heading into the big storm. Kudos (again) to my riding gear for keeping me dry and the electronic nannies on my bike for keeping the rubber side down.

Once I got past the rain, I had about two hours of riding until Swift Current. The hotel was in an area with lots of traffic and no sidewalks, so I had to settle for a treadmill run in a very stuffy fitness room.

Portrait challenge of the day: "Back in my day…"

Today was a good reminder of the fallacy that a short riding day will be easy. Tomorrow was planned to be a long riding day from the prairies to the mountains, covering a lot of ground. Would it be easy or hard? Stay tuned.

Total mileage: 279.2

Lodging: Coast Swift Current Hotel, Swift Current, Saskatchewan