This months Where to go features our members Craig and Jana as they put various petals to the metal on their way to Duck Mountain Provincial Park! Peg City has a selection of vehicles with dual bike racks installed and available until the end of October.
Camping and Cycling in Manitoba’s Mountains
By :Craig Kwiatkowski
In Winnipeg, owning a car can often feel like a necessity. I wasn’t introduced to the Peg City Car Co-op until I attended a PechaKucha 20×20 event (short lectures where speakers present while each of twenty slides is on the screen for twenty seconds). I was intrigued by the sustainability, convenient car locations in the city centre, and being able to pay only for what you use. After some number crunching it didn’t take long to realize the Co-op was a no-brainer. I became a fob-carrying member of the PCCC in November 2015.
Car sharing has been a great experience for my partner Jana and I. We have seen the co-op grow from around 20 locations and vehicles when we first joined to nearly 60, with new neighbourhoods receiving cars this summer! I book cars well in advance to attend golf outings or to play hockey and ultimate frisbee, we use the SUV on weekends to take our Australian Cattle Dog puppy on adventures or to visit parents for backyard BBQ’s, and we use the co-op monthly for larger grocery and shopping trips. We have even booked the nearby cargo van on the odd occasion to help our friends move furniture – It certainly is more affordable than renting a U-Haul for a couple hours. Due to the nature of my work, I often require a vehicle for construction meetings or inspections. Periodically needing to travel last minute makes the PCCC a fantastic option, especially since my office is located downtown.
This past year we have begun using PCCC for longer and farther trips. We absolutely love camping and going to the cabin. In the past we stuck to carpooling with friends or family, however we find ourselves needing the extra room and flexibility of having our own wheels since adopting our puppy in October. Additionally, the pandemic changed our original travel plans to visit the East Coast this year, so we decided to explore more of our beautiful province and take our bicycles camping for the first time.
In late July we booked Car #50, the Hyundai Tuscon at Lily & James, recently fitted with a new hitch-mounted THULE bike rack and a 2020 Provincial Park pass, for an extended weekend trip. The rack is very user-friendly, after a quick review of the instructions I was able to load and secure the bikes with ease.
We opted to leave the dog at a friend’s place for this trip (we had forgot what life was like just the two of us) and hit the road towards Duck Mountain Provincial Park. I recently spent some time working in the western portion of the province and discovered the beauty of the Parkland/Intermountain Region. The blend of forest and farmland, with the dark escarpments (our “mountains”) looming on the horizon is wonderful. It absolutely is worth the longer drive to get there!
Cruising through the Lake Manitoba Narrows is always a neat experience and this time was no different, passing below a huge storm cell with low spooky clouds speeding by as we drove through forest, marshes, and over the bridge on Hwy 68. We arrived at Blue Lakes Campground on Saturday evening to set up camp next to a couple of our friends for two nights. We stayed in the tent-only sites which are nestled in a grove of tall trees along the shore of West Blue Lake.
It was amazing having our bikes with us to make quick trips between our site and the beach, store, or facilities. We attempted to bike the Blue Lakes Loop, a beautiful 5.5 km hiking trail which follows the shores along East and West Blue Lakes. It was a little more rugged than we preferred, so we found ourselves walking/carrying the bikes over protruding roots, plenty of rocks, and fallen trees. However, the sections we could ride were quite an amazing experience.
Some other favourite highlights from our stay at Blue Lakes included:
-Waking up to a view of sun shining off the lake and through the trees;
– Cooking campfire breakfast (my favourite) and Philly cheese steaks for dinner;
– Watching the sun set on the dock with another amazing cloud display; and
– Playing Settlers of Catan at night (a travel-friendly version I helped craft).
On Monday morning, we packed up the Tuscon once again for the long journey home with plenty of stops along the way. We headed out the west side of the park towards Hwy 83 stopping in San Clara, MB to visit the birthplace of Jana’s maternal grandfather. It was her first time there and we were able to find her great grandparents in the town’s humble cemetery. We headed down to Roblin to stop for fuel (coffee and gas) then continued west to Lake of the Prairies. I had never been before and needed to do some research for a business proposal in the area – what a beautiful valley, I think Asessippi Provincial Park will be on the list to visit next year!
After one more stop near Grandview, MB for work, we were on our way to our last destination – Riding Mountain National Park! It was our first time visiting this gem and were impressed by the dense forest, roller coaster roads, and well-serviced facilities. We wound our way from the northern gate down to Clear Lake, where we stopped for a lovely picnic by the beach. After a wonderful ride along the Lakeshore Trail and through the Wasagaming townsite it was time to load the bikes up one last time and make our way back to Winnipeg as the sun was setting.
Although too short (as usual), it was an amazing trip in a beautiful part of Manitoba. I love exploring new locations in this beautiful province alongside my favourite road trip partner and am thankful that Peg City Car Co-op was able to provide us with a reliable vehicle and new experiences on our bikes.
Next up, Tulabi Falls in August!
There’s still some summer left! Sign up Before September 30th using our expansion promo code GROW100 for a $100 credit!