Last Wednesday I'd arranged for the kids to spend and afternoon at their friend Hanna's. She lives on the northernmost edge of town - probably as far as you can go from our place and still remain within the city limits. I decided after riding up to Hanna's with them, I'd carry on North of the city to explore a bit, as I've never been up that way before.
Hanna's place was 12Km from our place - so the kids got in a 24Km ride themselves just going to her place and back.
One of the things I'd planned to check out what the North Commuter Parkway Bridge which is currently under construction. I wonder if there are cycling trails being built (or at least PLANNED) and a pedestrian/cycling walkway - or if it will later be tacked on as an afterthought?
Big sign along the Meewasin Trail about the North Commuter Parkway project.
This area - much like Sutherland Beach across the river was once used for Mountain Bike races, but like Sutherland Beach this has now been designated an "Off Leash Area" for dogs and Mountain Bikes are not-so-welcome here anymore.
Beyond the dog park I hooked up with the cycle path that follows Wanuskewin Road.
Wanuskewin Road and Marquis Drive looking west (which is often pronounced Mar-Kwiss around here...). marquis Drive is what the North Commuter Parkway will feed into.
Wanuskewin Road and Marquis Drive looking east towards the new bridge.
Just a little further along I came across AkzoNobel Chemicals - where Amanda had worked I think the summer after we met over 20 years ago. She was still doing her Toxicology program at the U of S and was hired to do... something with air quality monitoring... I think...? It was a long time ago. And she rode her bike up here everyday all summer long - and I'm pretty sure that was way before this bike path was built!?
Just past 71st street, just before leaving the city limits the path turns to a gravel (or crusher rock dust?) trail in the ditch. While that sounds rather ignominious, it was a really nice little ride - separated from the road which sees some pretty heavy traffic.
Being kind of in the ditch I wondered what it might be like in heavy rain - or in the winter..? But the warm, sunny, dry day I was out there it was just lovely.
Busy road on one side... field on the other.
I knew the path went all the way to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, and had assumed it followed the road all the way there. It did not. While the road takes you north of the park and enters the park from that direction, the trail cuts between two fields and enters the park from the south!
South entrance to the Park.
I've never actually BEEN to Wanuskewin Heritage Park - at least, not since the built the PARK and interpretive centre. I did come out here many, many years ago when to the archaeological dig at the buffalo jump as part of a summer program at the university my parents put me in when I was in grade school.
The interpretive centre.
I really should come out here with the kids sometime.
From here I rolled out the main gate of the park heading North.
Looking back towards the park from just beyond the north gate.
Just beyond the north gate - heading east now - I rolled through this little gully and briefly got hopeful that the road might have lots of scenic gully to roll through.
No such luck... beyond that the rest of my ride was extremely flat-ish.
Looking back west.
Eventually the road bent around North-ish, following the river, which brought me to Cathedral Bluffs - a development of huge freaking homes just north of the city. I turned up a newer road which wound through a newer part of the development.
Many of the lots are undeveloped - other than the overgrown gate pillars marking the entrance to the lots - and still for sale.
There is a lot still for sale between these two houses - if you look carefully you can see a little wooden platform with stairs leading up to it. There were a few of these on the for sale parcels of land - presumably for prospective buyers to climb up and get a sense of the view they will have from their future ostentatious monstrosity of a home.... I was tempted to ride out to one and climb up to have a look... but then decided not to.
The more developed (older) properties were usually surrounded with trees and nicely landscaped. So much lawn to mow!? This one had a nice etched stone at it's entrance. I thought of taking pictures of some of the homes... but then... just didn't care to. There just big ol' homes...
The pavement ended at this t-intersection. There I turned left (onto Township Road 382) and headed back West.
Sign post at intersection.
Parts were particularly loose so I stuck to the shoulder, which was luckily pretty well packed and solid.
At this intersection I turned south again (onto Range Road 3050).
Heading South again. Fines for littering, huh? Like, just on THIS road...?
Nothing out here but fields of Canola and the sky...
Well... fields of Canola, the sky, and The ROAD stretching off to the horizon...
Well.. fields of Canola, the sky, the road, and the occasional building or pump house.... and piles of garbage dumped in the ditch...?! Seriously?
Eventually the road brought me back to Penner road (Township Raod 380), which I had left Wanuskewin on.
On the little post across the intersection there was a little sign tacked to it indicating the road I'd just rolled up was part of the TransCanada Trail...?
along Penner road... Why would a field of Canola need to be under video surveillance?
Back through the pretty gully which I stopped and took a picture of (instead of trying togged maximum speed going down into it to have enough momentum to carry me up to the other side - as I'd done coming the other way).
Scots Thistle near Wanuskewin.
The pathway out to Wanuskewin seems quite well used.
Back to Wanuskewin Road and the parallel bike path in the ditch.
and back to the dog park just east of Hanna's
I didn't pick up the kids on my return trip. I instead headed for home so they could have a few more hours there.
When I got home there was a message that my new handlebars for the Karate Monkey were in, so I nipped out to get those!
The kids phoned just before supper time, as we'd planned, and I headed out to meet them. Actually they phoned a bit LATER than we'd actually planned and left even later and/or rode slower as I met them more than halfway to Hanna's... and we got home really late... and hungry....
Total riding for the day: 70.91Km. Not the longest ride I've ever been on by far... but I'm working back up to it. It's been a long time since I've done that sort of distance in a day.