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Day 44

This morning we woke up in Drumheller at 8am (actually just past). Michael really wanted to sleep in, so we did. Unfortunately that meant we only hit the road at around 11am. As we got on the road, my chain started skipping. Not cool! Especially since I paid (way too much) to get a new chain and a new cassette! That is just not supposed to happen! Fortunately, after the first few hundred meters it stopped and didn't skip again, but it really makes me feel like “Ridley cycle” ripped me off! Our stuff was drenched, but the weather was looking nice enough so we weren't too bothered. We did, however, have a headwind. It wasn't as bad as yesterdays though, which is good! It was kinda funny how right when we got out of the badland valley of Drumheller, it was as if it never was. The scenery went right back to the prairie-look as before. It's almost like we imagined it! Our first goal of the day was to get into Hanna for some Alberta beef! (on the map it looked like the biggest town to the border so figured it was our best shot!). As we planned on (hopefully) hitting the border tonight, we didn't want to leave Alberta without a proper steak! We stopped off at the Esso station to ask where the best place in town for a steak was. We went and ate at a little restaurant in front of the Super 8 motel. The steak was not that great at all. We were a little disappointed, but we were nice and full! So after a supermarket top-up of chocolate milk and peanut butter, we hit the road again. The sun was nice and warm, even though the headwind wasn't so wonderful. As we cycled, Michael ended up breaking a spoke. Because it was warping his wheel, we decided to get it fixed the first chance we got! Unfortunately, we were essentially in the middle of nowhere so there really didn't seem to be any options! Finally we found somewhere (Michael didn't have to cycle too long with a warped wheel rubbing against his brakes, making it difficult!). It was a little hamlet located between Hanna and Youngtown. We cycled up and asked if we could use an adjustable wrench (the only tool we were missing that we needed to change the spoke!). A woman with two kids went and asked for us and we were ushered back into the yard. Two men who were doing work on the houses came to meet us and give us the tool. They were very friendly. It turns out that one of the guys, Bruce, and his wife, Lyanne, bought the hamlet and planned on turning it into a restaurant, petting farm (there were tons of animals!), ponny rides, ice cream store, and campground. It was still under construction (they ran out of money for the project and are desperately looking for help/investors! They went on Dragon's Den and will be aired in the fall sometime. On the show, he has a parrot on his shoulder). As Michael was fixing his spoke, Bruce asked if we wanted to stay the night. He said he would cook us dinner, we could use the hot tub and pool if we like, we can do laundry, whatever. It was so nice! He said that's what he's about. Just good (Albertan) hospitality! He's not after people's money, just looking to make a living. But he was so amazing! Then Lyanne showed us some of the animals and gave us a tour. Then Kim (the first woman we met with the two kids) showed us where we would be sleeping (we laid out our matts in the unfinished restaurant), and showed us how to use the laundry machine. We did all the essentials first (bike repair, showers, laundry) then offered Bruce and Jason (Kim's husband) a hand, and Bruce said to just relax and enjoy. So we went into the hot tub. It was amazing! It was SO big and had so many jets and functions! (It even had a tv with a dvd player as a feature!). It was so nice after a day of cycling! Then they made us dinner, and talked about their plans with the place. It really sounds amazing, and I really hope they can get the funding they need! It's in the middle of nowhere, on a busy enough highway that I'm sure they would do really well! And if tonight was any indication of how people can expect to be treated, they are in good hands! I would definitely go back there again (and hopefully I will when it's all finished....eventually.... middle of nowhere Alberta is REALLY far from Toronto!). But if anyone is cycling/driving through Hwy 9 between Drumheller and Saskatchewan, I highly recommend stopping by! And if anyone wants to donate/invest/find out more, their info is:
“The Cute and Cuddly Corner”
Bruce & Lyanne Hembrough
Box 147 Youngstown., AB

Michael and I had a wonderful dinner, and stayed up until around midnight, talking and enjoying their company! Bruce then told us to help ourselves to breakfast tomorrow morning (and added seriously, not to think we're imposing! This is the kind of vibe he wants the place to have. Good hospitality, where things like the petting zoo would be free, and if people like us, cycling across Canada, were to stop by, he wouldn't even charge for camping. Just because he's such a nice guy. I think I would be hard pressed to find someone like that in Toronto...). We were so impressed by their kindness and generosity and we really hope they find the funding to finish it!