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We managed to get get organized and ready to go fairly quickly, despite being distracted by the Tony Curtis film festival on TV (who among us can honestly say they don't have a soft spot for 'The Great Race'?). The weather was cool and grey, but otherwise looked perfect for riding. A quick stop for fuel and we were on our way.
Soon after we left the city limits we discovered that the weather only appeared to look perfect from the comfort of Alex and Ruby's well-treed neighbourhood. Once we were on the open prairie (the ride from Regina to Winnipeg is ALL prairie with an unobstructed horizon - to -horizon view) we found that there was an incredible cross wind coming from the direct south. This meant the we had the bikes leaned well over for hundreds of kilometres, we were essentially turning right for 400 km in an attempt to keep the bike going in a straight line. The heavy load and the extremely un-aerodynamic aluminum panniers and large duffle bags strapped to the back of our bikes only served to exacerbate the situation further. It was down right scary and dangerous at some points. We stopped a number of times to adjust the load and fine tune our suspensions, we found that softening the rear shock made the bikes a little more manageable. The wind kept up until a little past Brandon, MB. When we stopped for coffee we were approached by some truck drivers on the same route - they congratulated us for keeping our bikes in our lane under the conditions. They said they could see the bikes were hard work and they could see how far we had to keep them leaned over.
We were glad to reach the Winnipeg city limits after our initial 550 km jaunt. It was a beautiful humid evening and everything was very green. Both of us are from Winnipeg and it's always nice to be back in our home town. We headed for Jordan's brother's place, Patrick and Cindy had kindly offered to let us stay with them while we were in the 'Peg. They had a previous engagement, so we let ourselves in, unpacked and had a long hot shower to ease our aching muscles. A short walk to a great local restaurant rounded out a very eventful first day on the bikes.