What an incredible day of extremes. Not only do I have to put up with Norbert’s verbal diarrhoea, but I have to suffer through every piece of weather that the gods can throw at me. We started off this morning in 40-50km/h gusty headwinds. Then Norbert and I had an argument about peanut butter. I told him I wanted to make it to the next food store at Good Hope Lake by today, but he argued against it. For me it was easily within a day’s ride but for Norbert it would be a long day. And Norbert didn’t like riding too fast as he didn’t like to get a sweat (why the hell he chose to ride a bike then is beyond my understanding). He offered me his remaining peanut butter ration, but me; ever so self-reliant, bloody minded and bloody stubborn wasn’t about to dig into Norbert’s food supply when I possibly had all the food I could need within 60 miles.
It was at this point that Norbert wondered aloud as to how I always seemed to know when the next food stop, albeit rarely open food shop, was going to be. I sheepishly showed him the milepost list that I’d had in place of a map for the past two weeks. He questioned why I had kept it from him, as if it was some sort of betrayal of the trust that we had built up over the last few days. I let out a small bitter laugh and admitted how much it killed me to know exactly at what mileage we would pass another food shop, and have my hopes dashed again and again to find that it was closed. Not good for the psyche.
“We’ll probably get sunburnt today” were the last words I said to him as I took off again. I rode with extra purpose, no longer checking to see if he was keeping up with me. It was sunny at last. Then five minutes later I got hailed on, so hard that it stung my face and chilled me to the bone. Luckily the hail only lasted for five minutes and then it was just a very heavy rain for a good half hour to ensure that none of my clothes remained dry. And then back to the heavy wind. Well at least I didn’t get snowed on. And at least it got up to a balmy 9 degrees Celsius, not the usual 1 or 2 degrees that we’ve suffered through over the past few days.
I eventually got to Good Hope Lake and bought a bunch of stuff and had a long toilet break. It was enjoyable to take a dump in a proper dunny rather than shitting in the woods constantly with a frozen arse. I helped myself to a wonderful sugary coffee. As I was paying, a guy wearing hunting gear asked me if I was the guy on the bike.
“You better watch out man, I had you in my rifle sights back there as you were coming down the hill. I thought you were a moose”.
I asked with a naive laugh what he was talking about, there’s laws about not shooting animals within twenty metres of a road.
“Not around here there ain’t…”,
I walked outside to drink my coffee and found a forlorn, tired looking Norbert sitting, waiting for me. Another guy that had overheard the hunter talking at me walked out of the shop and approached me, smirking,
“What kind of a hunter does he think he is? Mistaking a guy on a bicycle with a yellow helmet for a moose??”