Prologue I'm a bit reluctant to post this RR in the "epic" section after following numerous RTW rides over the years but ultimately decided to do so since I'm riding a section of the TCAT that rarely gets any press, the locals know nothing about it, and when wet...doesn't get ridden. In short, the Prairies sections of the TCAT (and the TAT) gets no respect...no love. I've been playing in the Rockies for the last 25 years and it's a brilliant playground but with all the forest fires (and smoke) this summer when the opportunity came up to ride the middle bit of the TCAT, I got really pumped. 21 Aug, 2017 - Calgary to Cypress Hills The bike is loaded, camping kit packed, my stupid fork is leaky (again), 4 hrs sleep, riding solo, and everyone is wonky with a looming eclipse....what could go wrong? I'm heading out from Calgary and traveling east on the TCAT through SE AB, all of SK and western MB to meet up with my wife and kids. They're more intelligent so are flying to Winnipeg. I'm taking this comically circuitous route through eastern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba as though the prairies are trying to redeem themselves for all the boring drives I've done across the bottom third. We'll see. I've already done about 40% of the TCAT in BC and all of Alberta except for these last few tracks heading SE towards the Cypress Hills so I'm looking forward to what SK has to offer us ADV types. Here's a few of my escapades this summer. http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/powderzones-adventures-in-the-great-white-north.1231156/ I transited east of Calgary to hook up with the TCAT at Carseland and jumped on the canal roads. OMG... there have to be hundreds of miles of these canals. I wound my way from Carseland most of the way to Vauxhall, AB on canal roads. I must have seen hundreds of hawks/ falcons, thousands of ducks, a few cranes, and one big owl. East of McGregor Lake the trail veers off a gravel road (you need to be paying better attention than I was)....a tractor track winds 10km through the largest field of wheat I've ever seen. It was just gorgeous. I was going to bypass this bit since setting fire to a field of wheat is low on my list of "to-do's" but the farmer had driven the track a few times which laid the crop down enough to mitigate the risk. I also stopped periodically to make sure nothing was wedged between the skid plate and the cat. I dined at one of those classic prairie drive-thru's in Vauxhall where the same girl takes your order on one side of the tiny building then hands you the food order once you've navigated the 5 point turn to get around to the other window. It's a weird little setup but everyone just went about their business while periodically glancing over at the guy in the spaceman suit. The TCAT track between Vauxhall and Bow River is a bit "meh" although the Grand Forks are pretty. I fuelled up in Bow Island then stopped to clean my visor outside of town when two psychotic farm dogs (Cujo 1 and 2) went into attack mode. The horn followed by the bike starting up bought me just enough time to escape. I must have looked pretty comical with a bottle of lens cleaner in one hand, rag in the other frantically getting the bike in gear as the beasts were descending on me. The ride into the Cypress Hills is great. The road is loose marbles but the scenery makes up for it. I rolled into the tourist town of Elkwater, grabbed a campsite, showered up and popped into the store for a few beers. Back at camp, tired from the day's ride the crazy drunk rockers a few camp spots over were drowned out by my iPhone piping Vedder's "Into the Wild" soundtrack into my head. Distance: 510km planned. 515km actual.