The delayed start this morning was due to the ripples in puddles being consistent. By the time we got back on the road pointing east, the wetness had dried up which meant no vehicle splash.

DSC01833-1280x853Virden has had more rain than usual making everything green look greener. It’s the first time in a long while that native bush and trees skirted the highway. Stopping to take off the apparel under the sunshine, it was also our introduction to what folk refer to as the ‘Manitoba Air force.’

Mosquito’s!

They could even launch lips through the bike gloves to release the subsequent itch that came from a bite. The kamikazes were the ones we managed to swat and squash; dog fights became a hand swish and slap as often as we stopped.

The more puddles from rain equals more breeding of the mongrels! A google search reveals that only the females are the blood feeders!

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Not sure what made us hang a right at another dot on the map showing the settlement Griswold. Perhaps it was because the road had curvature up ahead and we thought we could shorten the distance by taking a short cut. Wasn’t to be as a road we thought we could take had ‘No Exit.’ We had to turn right again and was now going in an opposite westerly direction to the one we were supposed to be going.

DSC01843-1280x853It led to the Griswold Cenotaph. We usually stop at these to take a picture. Have done so ever since our walk from Istanbul to Gallipoli to commemorate ANZAC day back in 2011.

Claire happened to notice a crawling bug on her shoe. On inspection, it was what we thought was a tick. After giving the tick the flick, I was trying to take a picture of it when this elderly chap rode up on his ratcheted old bike.

DSC01846-1280x853He said, “I’ve never seen a bike like that before” referring to the tandem. “Does the one on the back pedal at all?” With grins all round, we introduced ourselves and then conversed some more. He confirmed the bug was a tick! Aaaaaarrrrrrrgh, get bitten by these and you could end up with Lyme’s Disease and that would not be a souvenir you want to take home.

His name was Ed; he was 73 years of age. When we mentioned our interest in the Cenotaph, he pointed to a name on the list of fallen soldiers. “That was my Uncle.” Wow, and with one eye on Ed and one eye on the ground where the tick was flicked, he spoke some more and we listened.

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The unexpected encounters having gone off the beaten track was just a cool fluke. How could we lest forget.

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DSC01872-1280x853The valley just before Brandon was absolutely stunning. Lush green valley floor with forest surfing the walls. It was a climb up out of it back onto the plateau before we trundled the last kilometres into Brandon to Bob and Faye Bradley, our end destination.

They are the parents of Charla (who we visited in Red Deer) and Clayton (who we caught up with in Kelowna). We were welcomed into their home as if we had known them for a life time, except this was our first meeting in person.

It felt like we had arrived home. Happy hour, home cooked meal, washing laundered and dried and a bed to rest the bodies. Neighbours visited to be introduced to and answer inquisitive questions asked.

A rest day tomorrow. Wonder what our adoptive Mum and Dad have got planned for us.