The blog begins here -Trail's adventure

June 6, 2012

Day1-June4- 42mi/10mph avg/approx 4hr pedal time

Our hostess Eleanor and a friend of hers rode us to the Brentwood Ferry. It was a hilly and pretty ride. Temps have been in the low/mid 50's F which is very cool for me. I was swimming and it was 90 F when I left AL ! Big change. It was spitting rain as well so we got our little taste of what it can be like here in BC.

The ride was approx 1 1/2 hrs. Our 3rd person, Janet , lives nearer the ferry so she joined us there. We had a lovely good bye with Eleanor and then took of on the ferry. It is a 30 min. ride and allowed us to miss riding Malahat MT. We were not ready for that kind of climb this early in the trip. The ferry ride is beautiful. It goes up Saanich becomes a fjord. Just beautiful. Janet's DH sent her a text on her cell and said he could see our ferry as it was making its way across. He was on Willis Point at work. They live near Gowlland Prov Park so have a gorgeous view of the area.

When we left the ferry it was a hilly and chilly ride with spitting rain. We kept taking off and putting on clothes. That has remained the trend so far. It never stays the same more than an hour or less :)

We camped for the night on Osborne Bay in Crofton BC . It was $28 for the 3 of us. Great deal and very clean. Beautiful place and we right on the water. I went to bed at 8 PM as I was so tired. It doesn't get dark here until 10 PM and then gets light at 5AM ~ Short nights. I am plenty warm as I have a good tent and down sleeping bag. Good warm clothes so I am all set.

Food. We had granola and fruit and juice and coffee before we set out. Then we stopped for a nice lunch. I had a bowl of seafood chowder and a chicken salad sandwich on a bagel. It was a LOT of food so I saved 1/2 of the sandwich for later. In camp I fixed the instant red mashed potatoes that I like but then I was too full to eat the sandwich. I had to toss it :( I did laundry for everyone...I always do as it is my way of helping out. Hit the hay and slept great.

Day 2 -June5-55mi/12mph avg/4:31 min pedal time

Slept great and we got up and got of at 8:30 AM> Yesterday we got off at 9 AM. We fixed instant oatmeal -raisin is my favorite and coffee in camp. I cleaned my chain this AM and also reloaded my packs so that the back ones are heavier and the fronts are lighter. In spite of what others say on the blogs etc it is NOT true that you can have very heavy ones in front. It throws of the steering. But things went way better today.

Yesterday was emotional and with the bike being set up badly and the weather and the excitement it was a lot. Today was so much better for us all. Janet is in GREAT shape. She is 40 and bikes the hills here 25 mi round trip to work 5 days a week !! She is awesome and a great sport with us old foagies !!

We stopped in Ladysmith mid morning today and I had a coffee and a lemon muffin...yum !! We rode through Chimainus and had to get on the Trans Canada Hwy for a time. Whew...BIG trucks and a lot of traffic. Not pleasant. We got back off and were on Cedar Rd in the county and that was much better...but HILLY LOL. Can't have everything. In Nanaimo we had a long way around town and then got on 19A. This is the original Island Parkway. There is now a 19 to replace the old on and we will have to get on it on day 4..bummer.

WE camped at Rathtrevor Prov park. Beautiful and right on the water. Walked some while the tide was out. A little smelly :) but really interesting a lots of drift wood. We saw so much logging :( They are stripping the mountains of Douglas FIr. And to make it worse they have closed mills here in the Island and they export the wood to be processed elsewhere. Really awful and the mountains have giant growing scars from the tree removal . Victoria also dumps all their raw sewage in the Ocean. They decided that nature can handle it. As for Seattle they hate it and many won't come here because of it. At least Victoria is planning on building a treatment plant but they can't decide how it should look...don't want an eyesore. Many arbutus trees have also been cut down...they are like the Madrone. And also the Gerry Oaks are all being cut down. Progress...people who live here hate it but there are those that want money more than trees. ( sorry that was all the ranting I will do )

We stopped at Milano's for lunch . I had a ham wrap and chicken cauliflower soup. It was fantastic I saved 1/2 sand . and this time I did eat it later. We went to a health food store and the guy was so nice and made me a 2# fruit salad with red raspberries and strawberries and pineapple and blueberries. I had 1/2 and saved 1/2 for the AM> I did eat it. He charged $5 for all organic fruit ! He was an angel.

OK I had planned on writing about today but I have been too wordy and I haven't eaten !! It is almost 7PM and I have to finish the dryer LOL. Too much to do. It is raining ...bummer. XXOO to you all !!

Comments (77)

  • trailrunner

    It is SO sunny and cool here today. we are in for about 5 days or so of upper 60's -low 70's daytime as we head to the Rockies. We are all set to leave Prince Rupert in the AM. I am doing laundry now. I posted more pics a minute ago.

    Sure love to hear what you are doing. Would have liked your weather the past few days :) Guess we can't have anything but what we have !

    We leave here and head to Jasper-Banff-then due east through saskatchewan. We will be just below saskatoon. we then head toward the US on Hwy 34 and go into MN at Rousseau. we stay in the US till the Sault. Then back into Canada. We will head up to Thessalon and then down through Manatoulin Island. From there to Kingston and then up the St Lawrence to the Gaspe' and turn down across New Brunswick at Mont Joli. we will cross the Confederation Bridge and do PEI for a few days. We then will take the ferry to Nova Scotia and do the Cabot trail if the weather and time permit and then the ferry to Newfoundland and ride around the long way to Gander and then St Johns where we end. Will be early Sept. when we get done. You can follow pretty well from that on a map. And using my posts. Appreciate the nice notes :XXOO c

  • mitchdesj

    I'm glad you are in for clement weather, I was in Banff on Memorial weekend, the views are spectacular !

    I will go look at your pictures tomorrow morning, happy trails to you !

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  • oldhouse1

    Wow trail, I am so happy I decided to spend some time on the decorating forum tonight. I haven't had much time lately. I am fascinated by your journey across Canada. You may or may not recall that I live in Ontario. I've also lived just outside of Banff and in Moncton, New Brunswick as well. What an incredible experience. I am in awe of you (and Pete and bear). What you are doing is simply amazing and the fact that you have the energy to check in with us at the end of each day, so that we can follow along with you on your journey, is beyond anything I can imagine. My husband has been bugging me to get a bike. Bug me no more. I might even do an overnight trip somewhere lol.

    Thank you for being so complimentary of our country. We think it's pretty nice to. I hope we continue to treat you well! Happy trails to you....until we meet again. Safe travels!


  • lynninnewmexico

    You're going through Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan? (pronounced "soo saint Marie" for any readers here who don't know "Michiganese") ;^D
    Beautiful, beautiful country . . . said from a born and bred Michigan girl. How wonderful! Wish I was going to be in Michigan then to say hi, but I'll be back by the time you get there.
    Have you tested your bear spray yet? I'm going to worry about that, as I have a real fear of bears . . . except for sweet ones like Karl (LOL).

  • trailrunner

    hey mitch: may have spoken too soon but cross your fingers for us that we can get more sun !! Thank you for the good wishes !!

    oldhouse: I am so glad you are going to get a bike. It seems everyone in Canada rides for sure. We are loving every minute here. I really like checking in so it is no effort at all !! XXOO to all my deco friends :)

  • Delilah66

    Catching up on your progress..."willy-waws" - love that word!

    Will try to create 'nother map with your intended route to the end and progress. Gives me perspective.

    Sounds like you have to keep a tight rein on Karl. What a scamp!

  • nanny2a

    I am just in awe of your journey thus far. I wish I was Karl, he has the easy end of it and gets to ride along. BC is just so lovely and we enjoyed all our visits there so much. Banff was breathtaking. I�m avidly following along and reading each update with anticipation.

  • PRO
    Diane Smith at Walter E. Smithe Furniture

    You two in your 'cowpuccino' outfits are hilarious! And man, Pete's steak sandwich looks so good.....I should have had more than an egg for breakfast.

    Safe travels!

  • maddielee

    just want to say that I am throughly enjoying your adventure! thanks for the updates.


  • rilie

    Another Canadian following along here. :) I'm from New Brunswick. Your commentary & photos are wonderful Trailrunner, I appreciate the time you're devoting to the updates. I've been charting your path on Google satellite maps, it's really fascinating. When you get to the east coast, I would highly recommend the Cabot Trail if you have the time. It's jaw-dropping beautiful... as is the country you're in right now, I'm sure, unfortunately I've never been west of Ontario in Canada. And also the Gaspe Peninsula, and Newfoundland. There is much natural beauty in Canada. I look forward to following your journey. :)

    Lynn, there is a Sault Ste. Marie Ontario ("The Soo") also, just across the river from the one in Michigan I believe.

  • midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

    Carolyn - I was sooo glad to see your trip, and thanks to whoever posted the link onto the Cottage Forum!! That trip is quite an undertaking!! Then again, you are an amazing lady. Glad you are riding and blogging. I have been in many of the area in BC that you describe, and down the inside passage - such a beautiful part of our country. You will pass just south of me when you come to Kingston,ON - another gorgeous area, if I may say so!! The East is amazing - I've been to the Gaspe(watch out for Desperation Hill - our coach nearly didn't make it up this one, then again, after the Rockies, you may be used to the climb). Beautiful. NB, PEI and NS are renowned for their hospitality and I hope it is the same for you. Will you get to Tadoussac on the St. Lawrence? - another scenic highlight, imho.

    Anyway, I am enjoying your trip vicariously- take care!!


  • lynninnewmexico

    Rilie, you're right! They are sister cities right across the bridge from each other. I think the name of the bridge that connects them is the International Bridge. Been over it many times. Gosh, it's a gorgeous part of the world up there!
    I'm missing my Michigan a lot, but I'll be back there on vacation in just 6 days . . . yipee!!!

  • trailrunner

    java,,thank you !! A map for everyone will be great. Karl is definitely a paw full !! Thanks nanny..I will continue to post. I wish you were here too !! Karl is definitely giving me more back than he takes :) deedee..when we saw those cows we KNEW we had to have a pic. Pete is a funny friend. Glad you are enjoying the tales . Thank you ! ML glad you are enjoying them . I sure enjoy telling them :) Thank you !! Lynnyes it is the one in MI !! I knew you were a Michigan girl. It is indeed too bad we can't meet. Karl is a sweet bear. Haven't seen any since that one. So don't know where they are LOL. I am sure we will see more sooner or later. Will have to try the spray I guess...I will ask Pete. rille..we have heard amazing things about NB and yes we plan to do the Cabot if the weather and time permit. I will keep you posted. Just LOVING your country. Thankyou !! Kathy I am really looking forward to the area. Pete has ridden the Icefield before and will be narrating I am sure. Thank you ! Nancy thank you for the info and the great note !! I am so glad you find my descriptions to be mostly accurate. I have a very very detailed route for up the St Lawrence. When we get to that area I will post it. Not sure about Desperation Hill...sounds like a doozy !! Thank you !! Lynn have a wonderful time.

    We hit the 500 mile mark today. We will be off to Smithers tomorrow. Here is the update through today. I will do the photos in a minute . XXOO to you all for your wonderful notes. Thank you from my heart and Karl's !

    Day 9- off day

    We stayed over in Prince Rupert for day 9. It was beautifully sunny all day. You have seen the pics by now. We walked and ate and walked some more and walked some more ! You would think we would get enough exercise with the biking but we do love a good walk. When Kim was with Pete and I on the Southern Tier in 2010 we did a lot of walking then too. Pete and I walked on the beach every chance we got last year as we made our way up the Atlantic Coast.

    Pete's bike needed some work done on it and mine was acting funky about changing gears. We also both needed to use the computer. So I used the computer first and he did some cleaning out of his bags. Then we switched and I set him up with the Mac...if you know Pete you know how funny that is but he is getting better. I cleaned and cleaned my gears and got it working perfectly so I didn't need the bike shop...more on that later as I am glad I didn't let them touch it. Pete and I rode there late AM and they said the mechanic would be in at 2:30 PM. So we left his bike and locked mine out front.

    We proceeded to walk the whole area and eat lunch etc. You have seen the pics of that. I had a wonderful time talking to Judson , the chef at Cowpuccino's. He is great and self-taught. He has had the place for 16 yrs and works very hard and has a big clientele. Lots of locals come in as well as tourists. I heard about it on Crazyguyonabike as I did with Sue's cafe too. Word of mouth is the best advertising.

    We finally walked back to get the bikes. Pete later found out as we were riding up a good hill today that the guy managed to fix the 3rd chain ring shifting only to mess up granny gear ! Great time to find that out...on the uphill. Pete says it is now better but still not right ,,he paid $35 for the work :( So now we have to see the bike shop in Smithers to get it worked on in a real bike shop not a sport shop. Too bad JAMES BROS BIKES isn't here !! ( my wonderful Auburn bike shop )

    We went to Safeway and got stuff for dinner to cook at the hostel. I got a fantastic organic tomato bisque that they carry fresh. It was incredible and I saved 1/2 and had it this AM for breakfast. I also had my dessert from was called Sex in a pan. Mostly whipped cream and some creamcheese and a cookie crust. I had to toss a small amount I was so full. Yeah..I am never full. Pete fixed a steak and stirfried vegs.

    I was really beat . I had talked to Robert earlier...we use Facetime every day that I have wifi. It is great. I went to bed at 9PM. Slept fair most of the night. Had already packed up for today.

    Day 10

    96 miles/12.7 mph avg/7:30 pedal time max speed 33.4/min 4/5

    We got up early at 6:15 neither of us could sleep. We still hadn't decided whether to go on to Terrace at 94 miles or stop at Kasik's a 1st Nation resort and campground at 57 miles. See the stats above ...we went on. We ate at the hostel. I had the soup from last night and also 2 warmed pbj bagels. ( the mini size) and 2 cups coffee with cream and sugar. it filled me up just right. We packed up and as we were getting ready to leave the sun came out for a minute and then it started to rain...sigh. We rode on out of town and at the first intersection there were 3 elk in the road...all the cars waited for them to slowly make there way across. They have no fear at all. We rode on and had 30 miles of steady cold rain and long rolling hills. It was pretty grim. I finally got my body temp warm enough by adding my fleece over my wool t shirt and then putting my rain jacket over that. I had my new Neoprene gloves on and although I had to get used to them being so tight, they are kayak paddling gloves, my hands were finally perfect and dry ! Yeah. We didn't stop much along the road even to drink as it was 44 F and just too darn cold. At 30 miles the rain stopped. We rode on with more down hills and flats for the next 27 miles. There was one place that had construction so we had to wait for the escort car and then we had to wait for the big trucks and cars to go first then we rode alone. They were very very nice to us and made it very safe for us. It was several miles long. Cost of the work they are doing is 8.2 million. Oh we are on the Yellowhead Hwy... ( Tete Jaune) Named for the blond settlers that first came to the area. Bet the 1st Nation wishes most of them had stayed home :( A new treaty has finally been signed and the 1st nation is getting back a lot of their original land in north Vancouver Island . I don't know the particulars but will look it up when I get a chance.

    We stopped at Kasiks to eat lunch. Earlier a couple passed us on their touring bikes. They were very fast and the woman didn't stop to speak at all...just called hey and went on. Her husband was much nicer and rode a bit with us and chatted. Nice man. After they went by I noted to Pete that they were very fast but that the man had 4 panniers and she had only 2 rear ones...this is VERY important. Fast forward to lunch. We got there and they were just getting there order in. I am not sure why they weren't further in front and I didn't ask...she was not someone you could ask anything . Anyway another wonderful chef !!! works here at the resort. He had 4 large servings of a pasta dish made up and also salad. He asked if Pete and I ate meat. I said yes sir !! He smiled and asked if we each wanted a whole serving..Pete and I laughed and said we would share...they were huge dishes. So we split them and he made us each a lovely salad. Keep this in mind for later. The chef then said the other 2 were vegetarians and he was making them cold wrap sandwiches and fries...yuk !! We got the better deal believe me :)

    So we are chatting mostly with the husband but the wife would chime in about the house they own in Mexico, not far from San is on a beach., where they spend the winter and the farm they have in eastern BC not far from Alberta . And the friends they have that have a place they use in Cape Cod and they fly to Chicago all the get the drift. Anyway we ate and then I went to pay. It was 8.95 each for Pete and I ! Wow...a fantastic bargain and a great chef. Another one..I seem to be my son and his wife are also in the class of greatness. As we were walking out I commented to the woman that the reason she was so fast on the bike was she didn't have to carry as much as her husband. She almost shouted at me that she has 4 panniers...4 panniers !! She raised her voice again and repeated it. I was astounded...I said well sweetheart if you have 4 panniers I sure didn't see them..I said you only have 2 on the back. She ran out the door of the resort...looked at the bike and gaped and turned to me and said where are they ?? huh ??? the hell should I know ??!! Pete and I looked at each other and were almost laughing..except I was afraid she would hit us. He said you didn't have them when we saw you...and I said nope since I commented to Pete that you had it easier than your husband. She turned to me and said , " why didn't you say something to me then I could have gone back to Prince Rupert at that point it was only 25 kilometers ??! Oh uh..well..let me see ...I would have brought up the fact that you had 2 panniers on the rear of your bike and none on the front when ???? As you were hastily passing us and barely speaking ? Of course dumb me. So she then got mad at her husband that he had failed to bring them up from the basement of the home where they did the "couch surfing" free stay last night. He just stood there and let her blame him. Ha..she is the one that rode all 57 miles and never noticed 2 missing FRONT bags !

    So they were still there when Pete and I left and went on up the road as we had decided to get to Terrace. We rode on and on. At about 3PM the sun came out which was great. We had a lot of downhills and flats the last 30 or so miles interspersed with 4 good hills...two were 4-6 mph one and 2 were 7-8 mph ones. They were long but since the weather had decided to be good it wasn't bad. The couple caught up with us and were really booking along. She barely spoke. Her husband slowed and I asked him if they found the bags. He said no they couldn't get in touch with the woman and were going on to Terrace and call her and arrange something. As he passed me I saw a pair of bright orange gloves laid on top of his left rear pannier. I remembered them as she had had them on when she waved at me the first time she passed me earlier that AM. I called out to him...her gloves are on your rear left pannier...he reached back and down...made me so afraid he would fall and picked them off. He then called out thank you it has been a day for forgetting things I guess. Yup...I bet when he told her I saw her gloves and rescued them, she loved me even more than she already did :)

    We were to stay with a warmshowers in Terrace. I had her phone numbers. I called and called from the visitor's center. No answer and no return call. Great. Just now got to email and it is all my fault. I don't know how to use Warmshowers...her address was in the darn website ! Arrgh. Oh well next time.

    We stayed a short way up the road at Ferry Island campgournd , still in Terrace BC. It was very nice but the bathhouse was very cold as the whole roof area is open air and also the hot water isn't very hot. It sure woke me up !!! No wifi so no messages yesterday . We cooked from our supplies as we had plenty and neither of us wanted to ride the 2 miles back to Walmart. Pics are in the album. I put Karl in the tent early on so he could warm the sleeping bag . It was forecast to get to 40's in the night. Karl did a great job...he is such a good companion :) No laundry so we both fell into the tents by 9 PM> My watch battery died so I got up later and looked on the computer. It was 2 AM. Went back to sleep and got up early at 6:15.

    Day11 - June 14 Thursday- 63 miles/12 mph avg/5:15 pedal time/max 27 mph- min 4.5 mph

    We try to get up by 6:30 AM and out of camp by 8 or so. We have been getting a good start every AM. Pete makes the Frecn Press coffee ( remember the "French Press Boys LOL ). I had my leftover blueberry yogurt from Priince Rupert ( really was OK LOL ) and a banana. We made gatorade for the day and packed and left.

    There were no services along the way to Katwanga. We briefly thought about going on to Hazelton but neither of us wanted to do another 25 miles. The weather is fine but we are tired. We have had to ride up Hwy 37 the Alaska Hwy to get to the campground here. It had one very steep hill , don't they all LOL ! ? It is much nicer than last night except there are huge slow moving smossies ! That is what they call mosquitoes. The don't bite so much so not like the ones in AL. Thank God !

    Along the way today there was almost all down or flat for the first half of the day.. Unfortunately the downs were the ones you get to pedal if you have a mountain bike ...difference in hubs, the mt bikes don't coast like a road bike. Down and down...flat and flat. We saw so many waterfalls on the sides of the rocks. You could hear them as you rode along and then you would look as you got even with them and they were so beautiful. Also lots and lots of creeks that are rocky and fast moving. A word about this. They are running left to right and flow into the Skeena River. It is the 2nd longest river in BC...the Fraser is the longest. We will ride by it later on. Both rivers were very recently out of their banks. It is huge and very very fast and full now. There was a lot of evidence of flooding in the roadways as there were small rocks left behind from the water. Also I tried to get a pick to show how the trees on the river side were 1/2 under water . You cross and re-cross the is on the left of us most of the way. We have now ridden for two days in the Skeena valley. The last 1/2 of the 60 miles was up and down. The usual 4-5 mph and then 7-8 and a couple nice downs at the end.

    So here we are. I am doing the laundry for 2 days worth. Wow...who knew we could get so much so dirty ! We stopped at the cafe/truckstop before we got here at the intersection of the Yellowhead/Alaska Hwys. It was very good homemade food. I took pics :) I am SO tired. My left big toenail is also sore...left over from the pedicure I think. I am going to download the photos and as other stuff comes to me . I will add it here.

    Oh wow...I forgot about Sir Winston ! How dumb of me. We were riding along and saw a man in an orange reflective vest on a bicycle. He was in front of us. We watched him get off the bike and slide down the hillside. He then climbed back up and was standing and waiting for us. We stopped to see what he was doing. Here is Sir Winston's story. He gets in his truck and drives up the road a bit from Terrace, where he lives. He then gets out and rides his bike slowly along the roadway collecting soft drink cans and beer cans. He gets 10 cents for EACH ONE ! There are premiums added on your grocery bill here in Canada for cardboard boxes that juice comes in and glass and aluminum cans. He only does the cans. He smashes them and turns them in every day. He said he had passed us and waiting to meet us. He already had 12.00 worth and said he had to have 22.50 before he went home. He was older...hard to say but late 60's probably. He said he gets out for the exercise and the money. What a story. Pete has decided it would be slow but he might be able to fund a trip across Canada this way if he pulls my old trailer. Go Pete ! I will film it. We also met a young man from Tasmania that was on his way from Alaske. He had been mountain climbing near Denali. He said he was on his way to another climbing place. I couldn't understand his LOVELY accent. He said someday he would return to his country but shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know when. Very nice young man. He told me he was glad to meet me as he had thought he was the only person that never had enough to eat LOL. OK...enough. Hopefully tomorrow we will be in Smithers and we will have wifi. Bye from me and Karl and Pete. c

  • lynninnewmexico

    Oh, what a lovely way to end my day, reading about your awesome trip in that wild, wild part of the world! So very interesting to hear about the fascinating people you meet and the wild beauty you ride through. Thank you for taking the time to describe it all to us. Take care and enjoy!

  • trailrunner

    Lynn...thank you...I have detailed some more folks we have met or heard of today.

    ogoopogo..I had not heard of it. Had to look it up !! You are so funny..I hope you will post it..I wasn't sure what was in I know why it was so filling :) Below is today's post.

    stats: 77 miles/10.1 avg/ 7:35 pedal time /max speed 28 mph / min 4.8 mph

    As you can see from the above stats it was a day. We had a great campsite last night and it was very quiet. I woke at 5:30 AM and went back to sleep for an hour. We had already decided to go to another cafe in Kitwanga for breakfast. There is an interesting story about this. We stopped at the Pepco gas station yesterday ( Thursday) on the corner of Hwy 16 and Hwy 37 the Alaska Hwy. We had the beef sandwich etc. We noted they had a small grocery in the gas station. Our waitress was a very young 1st Nation girl named Raylene. She was very very nice and we really enjoyed talking to her. I asked her if there was anything more in the area and she said no only the totem poles on the other side of the river. I said , "there is no other grocery or town then ?" and she said very firmly " no". We rode on up Hwy 37 to our campground. As I was doing the laundry I noted the bulletin board had 3 cafes listed with menus. Hmmm....I went into the office and talked to the manager Wilhelm ( Bill). He laughed and said of course there is a town..he has a home there. And yes there is a store and 2 more cafes ! Well this is curioser and curioser !!

    Now to digress---I was doing laundry and as often happens all the machines were full. I emptied one and added my things to the machine. I was sitting outside on a bench when a young woman came up and apologized for her clothes taking up space. I said it wasn't a problem. Just then 2 young children walked up carrying a ver small baby. All were strawberry blonds . I couldn't believe they were carrying this small infant as they were both so young ! The mom took the baby and then explained. She said the oldest girl is 6 and the baby girl is 2 months. The little boy is 4. There are 2 more that I didn't meet. Thus the story begins and blends with the incident with Raylene. The woman is there in the " white" part of the area of Kaitwanga with her husband and 5 children. Her husband is contracted by the University in Alberta to go to areas , primarily the 1st Nation, and teach building/construction. They are in the last week of 2 months. He then goes back to Alberta, their home and awaits the next assignment. She has the 5 kids and they are all in a 20ft RV. gasp...that is what I did. She is the most calm and efficient mom I have ever seen. She went to University at Missouri on a Fulbright track scholarship. She had been to AL and did a meet there in which she qualified for nationals . She had a picture. She is as lean as she was then...running after the babies . What a treat to meet this wonderful powerful woman. I admired her so much.

    Now for the rest of the story. She explained that there are 2 tribes/reserves. The "white" area where we were staying is in the middle. The 2 tribes do not get along...thus Raylene stating that there was no where else to eat or shop. As far as she is concerned there isn't. "The young Mom" bad for not getting her name, stated that the natives that leave the reserve do much better than those that stay. So there you have it.

    Now to Mindy...she has the cafe where we had breakfast this AM > It was wonderful. Pete and I had Western omelettes and toast and hashbrowns. It was all great. The cafe is very very busy she said , she is the owner, and only is patronized by the local whites. The town of Kitwanga is all white. The grocery didn't open till 9 AM so we missed it. Mindy was SO sweet and gave me her business card as she wants to see the blog. Everyone asks and I keep adding folks to the mailing list. Everyone is so interested.

    Now to Wilhelm ( Bill). He is the manager of the campground. He was for many many years and then stopped. He has a home in the town . He is Dutch and has been in Canada 50 yrs. He is 71. He has been married 3 times and we met wife 3. She is in her 30's, Her family name is Halverson. They were the original loggers in the area from the early 1900's. They still own a lot of the area. The mill is closed now but he said it is going to reopen soon under private ownership . He said he did very well in his early life and retired at 55 . He has always owned and managed property , He now manages everyones property in the area if they go somewhere. He said that he also goes to Europe very often but his current wife never goes...she prefers home. Her brother owns the campground now.

    Other people we have met or heard of : there is a woman that we have heard about but have no met and now we are past her so we will miss the opportunity. She has walked back and forth across the USA a couple times . She is currently walking from the most northern point of Alaska to Chile. She has an interesting history. She is currently in her mid 30's. As a teenager she had such severe epileptic seizures that she was unable to do anything. The surgery for relief of seizures was still very new and her parents wouldn't let her have it. They were going to put her in an institution/nursing home. When she turned 18 she was able to sign the consent for the surgery. It worked and she has never had another seizure. The man/woman of the missing panniers debacle yesterday, have met her and talked to her. They said she is very overweight and they showed her picture to us. She walks about 12 miles a day.She stops and works when she has need of money. She also gives out bibles ,...but ther is no real preaching. She just feels such a powerful need to express her gratitude for her life.

    Today we met Julian. He is riding his bike from Patagonia to....he says he doesn't know when he will go home for sure but probably September. He left in Oct. 2011 ! He is young and strong and amazing. He rode up the West coast of Mexico and California and then came to OR and WA, He rode up over Whistler and then through Jasper from the bottom ...we will do it from the top. He told us we will likely see Lorenzo. He met him on the road. He said Lorenzo has been cycling for 15 years...has not been home and does have a plan...Julian says we must ask Lorenzo. I hope we get the chance.

    Now to the trip today. You can see from the stats we had a long one !! It was beautiful weather with sun for the first half and then the clouds and a headwind moved in. Up/down/mountains/Skeen River/trees...repeat over and over. I have pics:) We had some serious hills today and they were pretty relentless. Several were 2 miles long and 4 - 6 mph up with only 15 mph down due to the wind. On the steepest when I looked down and saw 4.8 mph I quit looking down :) At 50 miles into the trip we were at 10.5 mph so we did really well as far as maintaining for the last 27 miles. It began to rain at 15 miles before the end. Only mist but was cold and getting darker.

    We are now at the Aspen Inn. We are treating ourselves to a motel and free breakfast. I had a wonderful burger and 1/2 order fried and 1/2 order salad. Also a local IPA. It was OK but very dark and a little too sweet for me. But it was a wonderful meal at the motel's restaurant. I must put in here that the USA could take some tips on preparing A+ restaurant food . This burger was fantastic. When I asked for it to be med...the waitress Dana said that the chef would prepare it the way he knew it needed to be prepared ..OK...and he did . We haven't had a bad meal yet in this country. It is a real pleasure.

    We have to go to a bike shop here in Smithers tomorrow as Pete's front derailleur must get tuned. He had to do the climbs in 2nd chain ring..he is SO strong. I would still be out there if I had had to do it. I will get the laundry done up the street while he get his stuff done. We will get late check out. We have "Hungry Hill" tomorrow and a 36 mile day. Short but very difficult from what we hear. I will check back in when we get to Houston BC.

    As far as Karl...well he was in the pack all day and he and Pete are watching the news now. Starting tomorrow I am thinking of putting Karl on the front rack. I had a very very near miss with a careless RV driver today. They were so close to the white line that I felt the warm metal as they passed me. I have no idea how the side mirror missed me. Pete was equally amazed. I was in the biking lane and over from the white line but not all the way to the far right as there is often gravel so I stay towards the middle. I can only think this person wasn't paying attention. I would have to think they were trying to hit me. But it Karl is on the watch maybe he can license numbers etc :) Time to say goodnight. c

  • Delilah66

    "he can get license numbers etc" - truly made me LOL!!! Good bear!

  • hhireno

    Thanks in part to reading this journal, I was inspired to finally buy myself a new, better bike. I don't think I'll ever do the trips that you do but who knows? Now maybe I need to find myself a Karl.

  • JennaVaNowSC

    Caroline.... just want to thank you for allowing us to live, vicariously, through your journey. Actually I am back on June 14th entry, taking my time, and savoring... Love the pictures. Safe travels, and keep writing!

  • midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

    Carolyn, what a great adventure you are having!! This is an article that was in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper today - I know you route is researched and planned, but I had to share!! This is about the Charlevoix region, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, past Quebec City, heading east. It is quite a foodie destination now. Agrotourism, they call it!! I remember that as went up the 'Kings Highway' there were bread baking cone-shape brick ovens, and you could stops for a coffee and a slice of freshly baked bread with butter for a loonie!! Yum, as I recall! Also, when you get to the Gaspee, or as the french call it, Gaspasie, there is a fabulous local blue cheese that is quite renowned. I hadn't ever heard of it, but noticed it in a cheese shop (shades of Monty Python) in Ottawa, and a man from Texas was trying to find it!! lol. The very French Canadian owners could not understand the poor man's accent. Fortunately, I speak a little Texan, so was able to translate. After that, we just had to buy some to try it - double yum!! Anyway, I may need to go back to this area, Charlesvoix (pronounced sharle-vwa) to do some serious eating!!

    Enjoy! Nancy.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Charlevoix article

  • trailrunner

    java..always glad to get a Karl is a funny bear. Stay tuned for more adventures from him ! Thank you for your sweet notes.

    Oh my hh,,,you have MADE my day !! I am so glad and would love to see a picture of you and your bike. As to Karl...someone who loves you needs to give him to will know when it is the right person/right bear :) XO to you and thank you.

    Jenna what a kind and sweet note. ??? ( that is Canadian LOL ) I find myself saying it all the time. I hope I can continue to share and bring a smile to ya'll's faces...( that is Alabamaese )

    Nancy !! Thank you for that article. The one thing to know is that our journey is NOT written in stone. So any and all suggestions are wanted. We both love to eat and I am a real proponent of gastro tourism. I will cut paste the article and study it and we may just change our plans. Really looking forward to all the ice-cream shops in New Brunswick.I have heard they are great . THANK YOU again..I am so glad to share this trip with you all. Here is the latest update and there are lots of new pics . c

    I forgot a couple things from Friday so I am going to start there first. We saw an eagle !!! It was so majestic and floated along on the currents and then landed in the top of a tree near us. No pic as my camera isn't good enough for that. We see "Caution Moose next ? Km" but so far no moose. Too bad as I sure would like to see one standing in one of the low grassy/watery areas we have passed.

    Another thing I forgot about Friday was the food. We had the amazing breakfast at Mindy's cafe. When we got to Moricetown I needed some calories due to the climbs and the headwinds.
    We went across the street and I had this very nice man in the deli make me a roast beef and cheese sub with all the trimmings..including cucumbers ! It was so YUM later . Later on miles up the road I went into an Esso and bought a litre of 1% chocolate milk and a Litre of OJ. I drank all the chocolate milk...640 cal ! I put most of the OJ in my bottles and drank a small amount. That set me up well for the rest of the ride. We were so worn out and you have already read the rest of the day , so on to Saturday.

    Saturday June 16th 42.29 mi/9.6 mph avg/4:23 min pedal time/ max 36 min 3.8 !

    The weather was to have been bad on Saturday but as happens frequently here in BC it changes as fast as the blink of an eye. We decided to skip laundry and went for breakfast at the motel. It was , as usual , wonderful. I had two sunnyside ups and 4 slices of ham and hashbrowns ( they used last night's baked potatoes ) and 4 slices of toast and jam. A word on food ..again LOL...I plan ahead so I ate the eggs and 1 slice of toast and one slice of ham. I always use 1 pack of jam for each 1/2 slice of toast. I then made a sandwich from the rest of the ham and toast and 2 more packs of jam. Usual 2 cups of coffee with 2 creams and sugar. I get the restaurants to give me a foil bag and I take this as my snack fro later. At the top of a climb this is very satisfying. On the Southern Tier I had pie. There is a LOT of homemade pie in Canada but so far I have only had the one piece at Sue's. I will see what transpires on down the road.

    We checked out of the motel and went to the sport/bicycle shop. They were extremely busy as there was a street fair going on all day. Also the dirt bikes were doing fun stuff right outside the store on a man made hill of dirt. I had not originally planned to have anything done except have my kickstand put back on . Pete needed his front derailleur looked at as he had no granny gear. So the guy wouldn't do our bikes first even though he knew we had a long hilly ride to Houston. He finished up with one guy and then left and finally came back. He messed with Pete's bike and told him to replace the chain in Jasper. In the meantime his son looked at mine and said my chain was already at 90%. Great..and my rear cassette was also getting screwed up/worn on the smallest parts because of the chain. I had it all replaced in VA last year on that tour. I never really thought about how often to change the chain but this guy said to preserve the drive train it should be every 1500 km. Now I know. I had them go ahead and put one on and hoped for the best with the dang granny gear. ( It still isn't perfect and won't be till I replace the cassette ..again...sigh) I will try and keep it all going for the nonce. He tried to put the kick stand back on but it wasn't the right one for this bike as it never fit correctly and when we looked inside it was stripped. Great. So I had to get another kickstand. He charged $17 for the kickstand ( which does work and is the standard adjustable height kind like Pete's ) and $28 for the chain and $15 labor. He was not particularly nice so we were glad to get out. He charged $10 for Pete's work. ( It lasted a whole 10 miles...he is back to no 3rd chain ring now but does have granny ..sigh)

    We went across the street and I had a ham/turkey 12" sub with all the trimmings..including cucumbers made up at Subway ! It was so YUM later at the top of hungry hill. Pete and I split it.

    If you look at the stats you can see the story. It was one hell of a climb up Hungry Hill 8% . I have it all documented in pics so you will have to look at those. suffice it to say that when they say YOU will be hungry when you get to the top it is true LOL. If we hadn't had a headwind it would have been easier than it was. The reality is that with a headwind and panniers you are a sitting duck for the winds that come off of passing cars and big trucks and RV's as well as the changing winds as they come off of the hills in the area. I grannied down and started up. I go "someplace else" as I pedal up these long climbs. I had no idea how many miles it would be but I looked at my odometer so I would be able to tell you later. When I reached the 2 mile mark the road flattened out somewhat. I stopped and drank some and ate part of my Subway. I then got back on " Old Paint" and we headed toward the top. 3 miles later I was at the summit !! YEAH !! So a 5 mile climb to almost 2800 feet and one stop. I was very pleased. I took a pic of the story board that tells why it is called Hungry Hill...think grizzly bears ...yep...and I ate the rest of my Subway. Pete showed up and rested a minute and we were off.

    Due to the late start we were exhausted and it was getting so late by the time we got to Houston...nope not the one in TX . Poor Karl the bear was completely beside himself at having been cooped up all day !! I made it up to him later with lemon drops from the restaurant. We got a room at a little motel ( even the little mom and pop's are HIGH here in Canada) . It was clean and very very quiet. No washer /dryer though. We now had 2 days of dirty stuff. We walked a mile or more to the laundromat which was closing at 6 PM...that gives you an idea of how are day was fading fast as were we !! They were kind enough to stay open and we put the clothes in and Pete wanted a beer. I don't like Canadian beer all that much and also when I am dehydrated it gives me a headache. We we waited 30 min and went back. They stayed open late just so we could dry out clothes...very very nice people. We then walked back to the motel dropped everything off and went to the diner next door to eat dinner. I had homemade lasagna...a 1/2 serving...God save the person who gets a whole one LOL. And a very tasty Ceasar salad and toasted bread. It was all good. When you are as tired and hungry as we seem to always be you know the food tastes better.

    Back to the motel and we packed almost everything so we would be ready Sunday AM to head out. Slept pretty well.

    Sunday June 17th 52.25 miles/11.3 avg/4:35 pedal time/ 32.5 max - 3.5 min !!

    Again look at the stats for the day. We got up and cooked breakfast in our room. cost saving and weight saving as we are having to spend more than we would like on the rooms. Hopefully as we head further south it will all work out and we can camp more. We allow $1 per on a 70 mile day we have $70 each to spend and still be on budget. I had an apple left from the grocery in....hmm...can't remember. Anyway I cored and diced it and cooked it with 3 packets of sugar for 3 min in the microwave. I then stirred in a packet of cinn/raisin inst. oatmeal and added a bit more water and cooked for 1 min. It was SO yum...almost like apple crisp. We set out and it immediately began to rain. I have shoe covers and rain pants and neoprene kayak gloves. I didn't put them on as it wasn't a cold rain just a steady one. It lasted for the 20 miles to Topley. At Topley we had the distinct pleasure of finding Bonnie and Earl's cafe. As we walked in we were met with the " where have you been welcome". Everyone treats us like family. Earl headed towards us with the coffee pot. He looked at me with his sparkly eyes and said , " you look like you could use some warming up !". I said I sure could , and was he offering ? Next thing I knew I got a nice big hug ! Sweet and kind people. Bonnie and Earl have been together 21 years and married 14. She is 57 and has diabetes and DVT. Anyway I am tired of eggs so I ordered pancakes and ham and had my coffee/cream/sugar..2 cups. I ate all the ham and 2 pancakes and soaked the last one in butter and syrup and had it when we got to Burn's Lake as a snack. So yum. Bonnie now collects pigs. They are everywhere !! She said it started with the ceramic windchime that was her Mom's. Someone saw it at the cafe and the next time they came in they brought her a small pig. She showed them all to me. People send them from all over the world. Do you see Karl in the picture with the pigs ???? No ??? Well believe me he is VERY unhappy about the missed photo op and the friendships he could have had...sigh...I have had to coddle him all afternoon as he is very hurt at being left out.

    I put on my rain gear , belatedly and we headed out after exchanging emails and best wishes and more hugs. Of course the rain slowed then stopped and the sun came out for a while. We had been told that there was a 6 mile hill before burns lake and also the road was washed out just up the way and there was an escort car. We got to the escort car and it was just taking off. The road was OK for a short way and then we got to the washout. was a very short steep climb and it was mud/gravel...not paved. I almost went down as my front tire slid. I held steady and felt a little ill but made it to the top. The drivers were waiting there and called cheers to us that we had made it. I took of the rain pants as they constrict my movement. We went on to good weather and no headwinds to speak of but no tail winds either. Then we saw it..."chain up on right for 6 mile hill". ooops. Just like Hungry Hill there is an area to pull off and put chains on your car if it is snowy weather. I let Pete go on and I had a drink and prepared to suck it up for 6 miles . This hill has big slow curves and not the flattened plateaus that the other had. I could see ahead to the curves. I grannied down and started up. I "went somewhere else" immediately. My breathing slowed and I could hear " sunshine on a rainy day being had to be there for the pig performance at Earl and Bonnie''s !! ) . I smiled and breathed slowly. When I reached the sign to " remove chains" I did...just kidding as my bike would not do well w/o the chain ..silly me. I drank and headed the rest of the way to the summit. One stop and 6 miles...almost 2800 ft. It wasn't an 8% grade but it was pretty darn near it. I got as low as 3.5 mph . With no wind today it was a heck of a lot safer and easier.

    We had more climbs but none of note. We had some good downs and so here we are in Burn's Lake. It is now 5:15 PM. I have skyoed with my son and daughter in law and grandson and Facetime with my Robert. The wonders of modern technology. I am so loved and I love my family so much. The hardest thing in the world is being away. And yet it is the only way to do what I feel I need to do to stretch myself. A to be gone and be home. XXOO to all and to all the dad's today..Happy Father's Day from me and Karl the bear. c

    The folks at the next table were so nice and asked us all about what we are doing. The suggested a motel in Burn's Lake as this is their home . We are at the Traveler's Motel now and indeed the people are very nice. Originally from Mumbai, 20 yrs ago and now here after several moves and family problems...not sure how come I get so many stories from folks , but I am glad they feel they can tell me. I talked to the man about Vipassana and he said if you practice it every day you will live a very long time...good to know :)

  • trailrunner

    Monday June 18th.
    85.56 miles/12.5 avg/6:48 pedal time / 33.7 max- 4.8 min

    What a day it has been what a rare mood I'm in...pretty well expresses how it has gone for us today. More later after I add some stuff from yesterday.

    After I left off last evening Pete and I cooked in the room. We needed to lighten our load and also need to conserve on money as we have spent too much on buying food in restaurants and on motels due to the rain. We neither one felt like going out anyway so it was great. We both make the sides by Knorr and add a can of chicken to it. I had a pesto/pasta and it was very good. It makes a lot and I was full.

    Our laundry was done by the wife of the owner of the motel. She usually charges $10 but he said since it was such a small amount it would be $5. That is about what it costs anyway so that was great . He delivered it to the room , all folded and ready to go. I sensed that he really wanted to talk some more but I was Skyping with my daughter-in-law Amanda and baby Griffin and my son Collin so I couldn't chat further. He seems lonely and sad. He had said earlier that he was divorced and lost all to his ex. in Vancouver. He moved and bought another motel...can't remember where and then sold it and moved here to Burns Lake. It isn't much of a town or much of a motel. He said they make some money but that family is the most important thing to him so they spend whatever it takes to go back to Mumbai every 3 years. He and his new wife have the most beautiful little girl about 4-5 I think. So that is part of his story.

    We packed up everything we could and got to sleep early. We now seem to be out by 9 PM was 8 PM !!! before. So I guess we are getting used to the pace. We both woke at 6:20 AM this morning. It was 44 degrees out...cold if you are on a bike. I added layers knowing that they would come off later but I can't stand to be cold. We ate in the room. I had blueberry yogurt and a banana and a cup of coffee that Pete made in the room. We were on our way at 7:20 AM...a record. We headed for the grocery store as we needed stuff for lunch on the road as there was no place to stop till we got to Fraser Lake at 47 miles. Ah...the store was still closed. Bad bad. We should have gone out last night. So snack bar and gatorade for 47 miles.

    It was hilly and cloudy and not a very inviting ride. This area has so many lakes , every where you look. We were told by a lady in Fraser lake that there are about 40 lakes just in that area. Lots and lots of pasture land and cattle. I took some pics but not many. We arrived in Fraser lake right at noon. We were doing very well at a 12.3 mph avg even with the climbs up long slow hills. We stopped at a nice restaurant next to a motel. The food was amazingly good , as usual. I asked the waitress why the beef in the burgers is always so good. She said that all the meat is local from the cattle farms we see as we are riding. So that is the local. I had a wonderful 6oz burger and a bowl of home made cream of broccoli soup. It was really good and had nice chunks of broccoli that weren't over-cooked at all.

    We headed out after removing all the extra clothes that we had had on all morning. It was starting to lighten up a bit but still no sun. We finally got a tail wind ( it is famous in this area as far as the other reports I have read from other cyclists..we have yet to have it though till now ). It started at 40 miles and was still going as we left Fraser Lake. Lucky us. The sun then came out ! Yeah. We had one 1.5 mile to 2 mile long hill after another and then nice downs and then long flats...repeat and repeat and repeat. We did so well and it was truly amazing how powerful we both felt. We stopped to have a drink and a motorcycle pulled up behind us. He said he had cycled across Canada with a friend last year. He had some good tips on routes etc and was fun to talk with. He set off and so did we...after spending 30 min chatting :) More ups and downs...some at 4-5 mph up and good 30 mph downs. We were able to consistently get 15-20 mph on the flats with the tailwind.

    Pete saw a bear this AM but it ran back into the woods as soon as he called out to me. I guess I may never see one at this rate.We cont to see moose crossing signs but no moose. We saw lots of saw mills in the ride today and they are all very active. I have pics. The pine beetle is still very much a problem and you can see a lot of evidence of it around Smithers.

    We arrived in Vanderhoof and are staying with a bicycling host. She is a retiring school teacher and is right on the Nechako river in a lovely log home. We are very fortunate to have such a great place to stay tonight. Lovely dinner and all you do is pass it forward to someone else when they need a place to stay...very nice. We had meatloaf...made with local organic beef and baked potatoes and salad from her garden. Lovely meal and conversation . Talked to my Robert just now. Love facetime ! Karl didn't have any adventures today and is tucked up in the sleeping bag awaiting me. I think it will be an early night as we have a 66 miles to go tomorrow. Bye...c

    I have posted a lot more pics so you can go to the photobucket link as you have time.

  • patty_cakes

    C, I just have to ask, are your legs sore? Hope you're having fun seeing the country 'by bike'. ;o)

  • trailrunner

    oh no patty they never do get sore. One of the lovely things about having the right equipment is that it all fits and you never get sore. We are having a wonderful time. Rain all day tomorrow so we will be in for a long cold day but then it will get better always does. Thanks for the note ! c

  • rilie

    Trailrunner, if you don't get to see any moose out west, I'm sure you will when you get to Newfoundland!! Possibly in New Brunswick, but it's almost a sure bet in NL. :)

  • blfenton

    If you're going through Jasper you may see them there as well. The only time I've seen them is in Nova Scotia and they are they funniest looking things. Hope you see one at some point.

    Love reading your postings. I just wish the weather would improve for you but it isn't going to. We are on track for the coldest June on record.

  • lynninnewmexico

    Am loving the daily blogs and the pics, Caroline. We're flying to Michigan early tomorrow morning and won't be back until July 1st. Our lake cottages don't have internet, so I'll be checking back in here on the 1st. Wishing you good riding, safe travels, yummy meals, beautiful scenery . . . and minimal bears. Best wishes! Lynn

  • trailrunner

    rilie we are in Prince George today. Have been really putting in the miles. The weather has turned out to be incredibly beautiful and sunny so I have decided that the weather predictors here in BC at least need to find something else to do :) We will cont to look for moose LOL !!

    bf it was SUNNY ! today and no rain yesterday. We have a day off here in Prince George and not sure what we will do with it tomorrow. Something not tiring for sure. Glad you are enjoying the posts. Thank you !

    Lynn have a great time in MI !! We will be there in July I guess. Looking forward to it. See you soon back here. Thanks for the good wishes. c

    June 19th Tuesday Day 16

    69 miles/11.7 avg/ 4.0 min- 34.3 max/5:53 pedal time

    We had a very nice time last night talking with our hostess. She had homemade chocolate chip cookies and tea for us. I saved one cookie for today. I finished the laundry and we chatted a bit more till 9:30 PM or so and I was exhausted. We had to use our sleeping bags and air mattresses on the basement floor as the furniture is mostly gone from the house. She is trying to sell her home on the river as she is moving to Smithers . She will be retiring in a few days from teaching here in Vanderhoof. She has already purchased a condo in Smithers and is hoping to sell soon . She said that folks do want the house but can't sell the one they have...much as it is in the US.

    We slept in a bit and got up at 6:30 AM. Our hostess made homemade currant scones from her own currants. We also had yogurt with her raspberries that she froze last year and her strawberry jam. I have never seen such a garden. She says they have no problems with insects or deer. Everything is SO green and lush. We took extra scones with us and said farewell. We rode back to our route and stopped at the grocery store in town and got 2 sub sandwiches for the road.

    We finally got out of town at 9 AM. Arrived Prince George 2:30 PM !! We rock !! You can see the stats above. There was supposed to be a 90 % chance of rain...right. As usual the weather report in BC bears no resemblance to the reality of the weather. It was cloudy and cool but not too uncomfortable. We put on rain gear to be prepared though. At 24 miles we arrived at Brookhaven RV park. There is also a cafe run by Mary Ellen. As we pulled up a group came out carrying a large box of sticky buns. They were off to go fishing. They said they pre-ordered the buns...oh no....BUT...there were more inside. We made a beeline for the inside. Indeed there were more!! See the pics. Oh wow...just when we think we have had the best of the homemade goodies of BC we get more. Coffee and a bun and we were good to go.

    As we walked out the sun came out. Beautiful. We removed all the outer wear and prepared for a gorgeous day...we certainly got it. The sun is still out and it is almost 5 PM We had miles of farmland and trees . Lovely countryside but nothing special. Could have been almost anywhere in the US. We had hills and downs and flats. Some pretty memorable for how easy and a few as we neared the last 10 miles to PG that were back to 4 mph and 8% grade. The only bad stretch of road / shoulder was right after the cafe. That was less than 2 feet wide and gravel to the right of that. No place to go at all. As the 18 wheelers with 2 trailers on their back would come up on us they would get over to their could hear them coming and the sound the rumble strips made in the center lane. But if there was anything coming toward them they hugged their lane and we were treated to a really terrible shaking and close call each and every time. It didn't happen often but it was often enough. They are going 100 km per hr....they are is quite frightening. After 6 miles we got our wider shoulder back. This one has a rumble strip between " us and them". This is a mixed blessing. It is lovely to stay to the right of it and feel safe. But ...and there is always a but, the right side sometimes is covered in grit/sand/gravel for half of the shoulder. If you hit that just right you can skid. If you get too far to the left and you hit the rumble strips they jar you and your teeth and can cause you to feel out of control. The very best situation is, believe it or not, on the long uphills. I yearned for them as then the highway widens and we have a passing lane on our eastbound side. The trucks are then way over away from us. So hills are our friends.

    We didn't see "chain on-off" till we were about 10 miles from PG. It was a long long hill and no harder than the others we have encountered. It was .6 miles at 8% and lowest was 4.8 mph. Once we got into town we had an 8 % down that I actually had to use my brakes. I just got freaked and couldn't do it...never know when that is going to become your own worst enemy. Along the way I had my cookie and one scone. When we got closer to PG there was pull of so trucks could check a good thing :( So there we were another 8% down and then a 7% and then a 9%. No bad ups till we neared the home where our hosts for the next 2 nights live.

    When we first hit town we did the most expected thing an American would do...we went to Wally World !! I needed a watch battery and Pete needed a toothbrush. That taken care of we headed to where we thought our hosts live. Nope wrong end of the street and it is 15 blocks further toward the river. So we headed out...luckily we have a map of the town and we found it easily. The neighbors came out and saw us and next thing you know we have a Coors Light to go with our sandwiches we bought this AM. We are waiting for them to come home from work now.

    It has been a good day with sun and no wind and no hills we couldn't do pretty easily. Every day we get stronger. We continue to hope for good weather and for wide clear shoulders and no close encounters with big trucks ! We are sitting in the carport surrounded by roses in bloom and cottonwood fluff blowing around. It is certainly a lovely day and a very quiet afternoon/neighborhood. We are steps from the Nechako River again tonight. I am on my way to get Karl out and let him have some free time in the yard. He has spent way too much time inside and is getting to be a grumpy bear !! More later.

    Ou hosts are very young graduate students. No services here except bed and bath. So we probably should have picked the other hosts that were offering us luxury surroundings but they were pretty far off route...oh well. Have talked to R and all is well. Will make an early night of it since we don't have to get up early tomorrow.

    Glad everyone is enjoying the stuff I write. . XO c and Karl

  • rilie

    Trail, are you seeing any flooding? I understand Prince George is under flood watch - as is much of the Fraser River Valley. From what I've read, it sounds like it could be quite serious. I don't believe the water is expected to peak until Friday.

  • trailrunner

    Nope , rille , hot and sunny here and business as usual as far as people out and about. We were all around "the bowl" and we are right on the river where we are staying and no one has said anything. We will keep our eyes open though. Hope all is well with you and thanks for giving me the heads up.

    Day 17 taking it off in PGBC--June 20th
    This is only our second day off since we started on June 4th in Victoria BC. We had sunshine all day yesterday and the same today. It is very hot in the direct sunlight. We got up later than usual...7:30 AM . Our host had to be at work/school. He is a Master's candidate in Geography at the U here studying a particular glacier that he says we will see on up the road in the Rockies. He hasn't offered to do anything for us so we are fending for ourselves. I read the reviews of 2 past visitors and it was apparent that when the fiancee is here things are quite different. Ah well. It is what it is. We almost got up and left this AM but I was just too tired and we really did need a day to re-group.

    You can look at the new photos and see how we spent part of the day. We have now finished lunch and cleaned bikes and repacked our bags so we are good to go in the AM. We have a short day miles wise tomorrow to Purden Resort where we will camp. It has a good cafe so we will fine. It is only 41 miles. The next day we will stop at Scarecrow B&B and camp and they also have a cafe. it will be a longer day but worth it not to have to wilderness camp at Lasalle Lake..way to many bears and no water etc.

    Talked to some of my family just now...Maddie and Maryann and Eddie are all with R in Opelika . He is going to have a nice few days with them. Garett's birthday is tomorrow...he is in San Diego so I will send him a missive too. That's about it till tomorrow. Enjoy your day and look at the pictures. c

  • PRO
    Diane Smith at Walter E. Smithe Furniture

    Karl never fails to make me laugh! I had no idea grizzlies got over 1000 pounds - watch out for Phantom III!:(

    Stay safe and thanks for sharing!

  • daisychain01

    Hey trailrunner, I've just done a search to see if I could find a thread where you detail your path across Canada and can't seem to find it. Are you following the transcanada hwy or taking the road less travelled? We are in central Canada (the flat, mosquitoey part). Unfortunately, we are away most of the summer, but I'm going to follow your progress while we're around. Keep sharing.

  • cat_mom

    I hope you are wearing your sunscreen lady--you're looking a wee bit tan there! LOL

    Sounds like you and Pete are doing well and having fun along the way--hooray!!! Give Kurt a squeeze for me!

    "Hi" to R when you Skype, FT, or speak with him next. :-)

  • anele_gw

    I am just getting caught up . . .fascinating what I have read so far! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • trailrunner

    deedee..neither did I !! I understand that they can rip the door off of an RV and also tear open trunk of a car...sigh. Usually you will never see them they are shy :) We are OK. Thanks for reading my mess !!

    daisy I have detailed it a couple times. In this thread too I think but anyhow we head east through Drumheller etc and then head down to Duluth and then to Sault St Marie and back into Canada. Then through Monitoulin to Kinsgston an then up the St Lawrence. Out the Gaspe to Mont Joli and then to PEI and then NS and then NFL...where we ride the whole way around so we can see Gander and end at St Johns/Cape Spear. Glad you are reading all this drivel !

    cat...wind burn !! Believe me it hasn't been sunny till the past couple days. I get really bad wind burn from all the head winds...sigh.It is Karl the bear :) He is insulted !! R and I FT almost every day...he is doing great. Will need to fill you in when I get a chance. XXOO to you and J.

    Anele thank you !! I think of you and your sweet girl all the time. I hope all is going well. I have NO time to read threads. You will see why when you read the reports below . XXOO to you. c

    June 21st --roughly 40 miles/10 mph/4hr pedal time.

    We got up at 6:15 AM and finished packing up. Our host here in Prince George had nothing planned for any meals or for our visit. On our first night Pete and I went out to a Thai restaurant and had a very good meal . I had glass noodles and prawns with peppers and mushrooms. We saw a double rainbow on the way back to the house. The next and last night we took our host out to a Mediterranean cafe for their special pasta night. It was quite good. I had a chicken/sundried tomato/artichoke pasta that had a ton of tomatoes and artichokes. We had a basket of foccacia too.

    Pete and I bought stuff for the road when we bought the chicken that we had for lunch . We ate our yogurt and banana and made coffee and bid our host good bye. We left town at 7:30 AM but had to ride a ways to get out of town and also stop several times to pee :) Finally got on the road. It was SUNNY and lovely the whole day. There were a lot of moose tracks by the roadside so I took a pic. Otherwise there was nothing to see but trees and more trees and hills. Most of the hills are long long and we do them at 5-6 mph up and then not all that fast or steep going down either but that is OK . Very little traffic as the big trucks take another route out of Prince George.

    We arrived at the Purden Resort and they were closed !! Oh no.They consider this low/off season till July so are only open on the weekends. They did have some sandwich provisions so they made us turkey salad sandwiches and chips and oranges and peanut butter cookies ...$15 for the 2 of us. We also bought 2 small OJ's a piece for $5/2...a rip off. You really pay if you don't have a store nearby. Our campsite is 12.50 a piece...the bear that is causing havoc in the campground is "free"...haha...not. He has been tearing into people's refrigerators ( they have them outside their RV's) and also tearing up tents etc if he gets any scent of food. We have been warned and warned so we will be careful tonight. Pete has the bear spray :) I told him he better make room in his tent for me if the bear comes around...

    It was supposed to be a short day and we got into the Purden Resort camp at 12:30 PM. But as it happened with them wanting to mow the grass and waiting for the food it was around 4 PM before we were really set up in camp. We had showers and washed the clothes and hung them out to dry. We had a long evening with a lot of sun so we sat by the lake and then took a walk into the woods. It is like a tropical jungle here in BC. We saw a lot more huge moose tracks. We also saw a pair of eagles and I tried to get picks but needed a much better camera for that. See the photos I did get.

    We have a long day tomorrow as we will be out in the back of beyond. It will be about 80 miles and then we can camp at a very nice place called Scarecrow Farm. I am looking forward to it. We will make supper in camp tonight and have saved our oranges and cookies for tomorrow as we have nothing for on the road to eat...sigh...

    June 22nd ---
    76 miles/7:45 min pedal time / 9.4 mph avg ( all approx...I can't remember now :( )

    So this is being written on Friday night as I sit , finally, ensconced in comfort at the Scarecrow. What an evening last night and then a day today. I don't even know where to start.

    Last evening I was talking to a gentleman that lives on Purden Lake. He has had a place for 29 yrs. He and 8 others have homes around the point, you can see the point in my picture. It is only accessible by boat in warm weather and by snow cat n winter. He has solar for electricity and has a generator. He and his wife of 40 yrs have 6 grands and 3 children. They all come out there for weekends and holidays. They have spent 29 New Years Eve's there. What an amazing life. One the other side there are 40 homes that have road access. There are many RV's here and they all are from Prince George. They spend weekends and odd days out here. Many have boats.

    I forgot the LOONS. and the owls ! It was so wonderful to hear them call to each other across the lake.

    ( repeat of above story about the walk ) Pete and I walked in the woods here trying to get to the cabins by a path in the was under water. We did see moose tracks ( not the ice cream) can see the pic I took. We put our bikes in the laundry to protect them from the bear as we have food in our panniers. We put the food in the dryer to be sure he/she wouldn't get it. You can see the pic of the paw print on the window of the laundry !!

    I fell asleep and then woke up crying out " help me help me Pete Pete...". I was sure I felt the bear shaking the tent LOL !. Pete yelled ," what do you want ?" . I woke up and realized it was a nightmare. No bear...except Karl . He was buried in the sleeping bag :) I didn't get much sleep after gets light around 4 :15 AM. sigh..

    We gor up and made coffee and oatmeal and had our oranges. We had a 1 mile steep grade dirt road to get back up out of the campground. We were off at 7:30 AM. The weather was SO sunny again today. it was amazing.

    Oh and check the pics...Karl asked for my bear necklace as protection and I couldn't refuse.

    We had the road to ourselves. it was simply beautiful. We saw a fox walk across the road. Yesterday we saw 2 eagles..check the pics...wish I had a telefoto lense the pic would have been better. Pete is gazing at the eagle in the pic. Check the sun sets. We then saw bear cub sitting at the edge of the woods first good bear sighting.

    We had been out about 30 min and I felt a bump bump tire...the NEW one on the rear had developed a tumor on it. Pete took it off the rear and tried to reuse the didn't work and he ended up using a new tube and new only spare tire . My pump doesn't work right, is BRAND new and Pete's is not working with my valves either. I don't know what I am going to do. He then got on his bike and his rear tire went flat. Oh no...he changed the tube and checked the tire. After it was all set up he started out again and had another flat in 5 minutes. This time I checked the tire and found it was ruptured completely...he hadn't realized that it was torn. This was a new tire for him also. So much for good equipment. He put on another tire. This was now a total of over 2 hrs that we had messed around with the tires. We set out again but our tires had very little air in them due to the poor pumps...mine is a NEW pump...sigh.

    I finally flagged down a car that was going the other way as they had bikes on the back of their car. Do you know how to flag down someone and let them know you are in distress ? You tap the top of your head with the flat of your hand...ha..I didn't know that...folks stop immediately. They gave us water and filled our tires...they only had 20-30 # in them not the 80 they should have. How upsetting have no idea. We thanked Will and Anna . They are from S. Carolina and are on their way to meet a friend from Tuscaloosa AL to go on to Alaska...everyone you meet is on their way to Alaska it seems.

    Saturday June 23rd-- 49 miles/10.5 mph avg/4:40 pedal time ( we will have 1000 miles so far on this trip in 3 miles ! ) stay tuned for a pic on Sunday AM )

    So I am now finishing this on Saturday. I will cont . Friday's report first. After I had flagged down car #1 ( DONOT ask why I have to number will soon find out...and you will note that the top of head is now flat and sore !!) We got underway and were quite confident that things would now be just jolly. Ha.. We rode on up and down and up and down. Long long hills and headwinds and never a good down hill or fast flat surface. We have headwinds every single day but one. arrgh. So we are riding and riding. I had painstakingly copied out a km/mi by mile guide to this road and was sure I knew where the B&B was located. We pulled into a rest area to eat some of our stash of food. I asked a man if he knew where the B&B was and he said " OH yes I know those folks well and have sole Peter ( the man that owns the B&B) a crane ". So he tells us it is 40 more miles. Hmmm. We are now about 3 hrs behind schedule. We expected to get there at 4 PM. So It is now 3 PM and we are 40 miles away. With the headwind and hills we figure that 4 hrs will do it. We start pedaling. We go up and down and then we get to Goat Hill/creek. I already knew about this . It is 6 km long and a 6% grade. That isn't too bad if it is earlier in the day but remember we left at 7: 30 AM and we are now so many hours into this day and it is looking like our calculations are off. Great..just dandy. So we ride and ride up the long 6 km hill. When we get to the top it is 7:30 PM and we have done the 40 miles and.....there is no sign of a B&B. it is starting to cloud up and the wind is starting to get chilly so I pull out a sweater and we stand there by the roadside and contemplate our situation. We have no idea how much further we need to go. We are almost out of water...again. So I "tap the top of my head" when I see a pickup with an empty bed coming from the way we are headed...not the way we are going. My thinking is they will know where the B&B is since they will have seen it as they passed it.

    As it happens they have no idea where it is and the one they DO know about is way past where I think this one should be. The guy, Jamie and his wife, are on their way home ...remember the opposite direction we need to go. We stand there and he says that we can't possibly camp at the rest area just up the road as there are way to many bears and also crazies on the road. NIce. So we stand there looking at each other. I had already started to sob a bit when they first stopped but was better now. Finally he looked at his wife ( I can't remember her name ) and slaps the roof of his truck and says ," I'll take you to the B&B, you can't stay out here ! ". YEAH !! This is now truck #1 ( note that we have numbered cars and trucks...not a good sign.

    We piled into the truck after Pete and Jamie lifted the fully loaded bikes into the bed. We then commence to chat about grizzlies and black bears and crazies and chocolate bars.... In 10 miles we are there. Yep if we had stuck it out a another hour we would have been there. The owners came out and treated us all like we were family. They bid farewell to our ride and we were ushered in and made to feel like we belonged. Tweezle ( yes that is her name she is former pub owner in England ) and Peter got us settled at a campsite complete with a wood burning stove to keep the voracious mosquitoes at bay. You have no idea how bad they are up here. Also I had horse fly bites all over my hands and all down the backs of my ears/neck. They itched and were swollen like huge lumps.

    We got showers and Tweezle made us a lovely spaghetti dinner with home made bread and a lovely salad from her garden and a huge glass of red wine. It was was also going on 9 PM. Lovely people. We sat up talking to them and to their other guests till 11:30 PM. We then headed to our tents. I had a mosquito coil lit for my tent and we had the fire that Pete stoked up so we had no bugs. We did have owls etc calling . Then it NEVER got are far enough North that it stayed somewhat light all night. I finally slept a few hours.

    Pete had Peter help him with his bike. Tweele and Peter made 12 of us a huge breakfast with toast and scones and eggs and yogurt and fruit and bacon and sausages. Coffee and juice. it was so nice. For all of this care we paid ...drum roll here...$38 a piece !! You just never know when you will find angels on the road.

    So off we went into the unknown...full and happy and even though it was cloudy it was humid but not hot. We had begged for sun but it was 88 out all day yesterday . So we are riding now in the Robson Valley named at Mt Robson , where we are headed only 56 miles up the road. Oh I forgot...before we left town we went to the IGA and got more being caught without and we went by the hospital pharmacy and I got a tube of Benadryl. I have cortisone and neosporin but I have to get relief from these bites.

    We are now 11 miles from our destination for the day and we come to a brand new....mud slide that covers the whole road ! Yes...the whole road ( at this hour it is still there and there is no time given for when it will open). This is due to the heat melting all the snow and also all the rain they have had. Great...just lovely. So what to do ? The foreman of the work crew says we should go back 5 miles to the last place we passed that is resort of sorts. He says to ask for Karen the owner and she will get us set up. OK...we do this.Nope no set up. Rooms are $150 a night and she will give us one for $125. Nice...not. Also no food and if we want to camp we put up our tents by the river..this would be the Fraser river that has been near flood stage since last Wed and it will be 12.50 and there are no " facilities". Sounds just ducky ..right ? So the woman behind the desk listens to this and when the owner goes away she offers her yard and home to us ! Nice. It is 8km back the way we came. We get ready to set out and Eric drives up , he works at the resort. We tell him our plight and he says " you can get in my truck and I will take you on the logging road to where you need to be " !! Wow.. guess what he is driving...yes truck #2. So we put our fully loaded bikes into truck #2 and off we go. It is 15 miles back to get to the logging road. Then it is at least an hour on that dirt road to where we need to be. But...and yes there is always a but. We arrive and the road is CLOSED...another mud slide, we are told. Oh this is just too good. You can check the photos. Pete had the good sense to talk the nice woman at the resort into selling him 2 beers. These were for later at her house. We are not at her house . We are on the road and we are once again stranded...our truck #2 had to go on home. Pete breaks out the beers and we stand and wait for the hwy dept to give us and idea of when this will be open. We wait well over an hour. They say not tonight ( they lied it turns out and it was flooding not a slide ). So there we are . I go and talk to a woman from the hwy dept and she says we should ride a couple km up the road to the truck stop where we can get food and also where the local bike shop's owner's wife works. Oh ..did I forget to tell you ?? Pete's replacement tire that he had put on yesterday has now got a giant threadbare place on the side. This was noted by a guy on a motor bike that was also standing by the road with us. Great. It isn't safe to ride it the few km to the truck stop. So we need ...yes....truck #3 !! And there, low and behold ,comes a late mode pickup with an empty bed. Thank God Canadians are not put off by the $1.45 per liter gas prices !! They love their trucks and so do we . John is willing to drive us to the truckstop. He can't get to his cabin till the road is open. So off we go. And yes before you ask it isn't a few is more like 5 miles. Folks who don't ride bikes just don't know. He waits with Pete in the truck and I find the Mary Sue and her husband , Sean, does indeed have the bike shop. He is also at home napping. But she calls and wakes him. So off we go in John's truck...#3 and we go to the bike shop. John leaves. We get a tire for Pete...this is to replace another bad one so he still has no spare and I buy a spare. I hope I won't need it.

    We ride a block up the road and get a room at the Yellowhead Motel. Guess how much ???? The usual...$84 + tax. it is the rate everywhere. At least it is HUGE and clean and dry. Oh I forgot to mention the pouring rain is back. We walked across the street and had a mediocre dinner but it was filling and only 10.40 + tip. Karl was there and he was glad to be out. All of this uncertainty has taken a toll. He has been very distraught. So we heard while eating that the road is open. We are now 20 miles off route. So in the AM Pete will put on the new tire he bought ( made in a foreign country and it had better be OK ). We will then ride only as far as the destination of Mt Robson Prov Park , which is where we were headed today. This will put us 66 miles or so from Jasper . We will then be in Alberta and a new time zone. I will not have internet till Jasper.

    If you have stuck with this insane story this long then I give you my thanks. We hope tomorrow brings us closer to our destination and that we are safe and sound at the end of the day. c

  • blfenton

    I got nothing. I don't know whether to cry at your misfortunes or to laugh at the way you tell a story. I do hope that Alberta treats you better than B.C.! I too hope that you are safe and sound at the end of the day. Where are you going after Jasper? Jasper is a beautiful spot with some great hiking (and it will be light until really late - or early depending on how you look at it) and hopefully some more wildlife for you. It's much nicer than Banff which is just a tourist town.

  • mitchdesj

    oh my, that was quite the time you had ! hope today is much better !

  • nanny2a

    I have been checking in here daily to catch your latest entry, and these stories are just so entertaining! Hopefully the journey to Jasper - hey, that sounds like a book title!! Well, as I was saying, I hope the biking to Jasper was not too eventful and you are back on route as you should be. The saga has entranced me thus far and there are times I almost feel like I�m on the road with you. Has Karl put a hex on your tires? He�s easily got the best seat in the house! Hope you are safe and getting some better weather. Perhaps I should follow the Canadian weather reports to find out what has been happening each day in your part of the world. Keep us updated whenever you can!

  • daisychain01

    Wow! What tales you will be telling for years to come.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like you will be skirting around my city when you head back down to the states around Duluth. Can't say I blame you, it is flat as a pancake -although there are some very scenic valleys if you take the backroads.

    Remember, that our average income is higher here so, for us, it evens out the higher cost of food and lodging. I remember travelling to the south USA and being astounded at the low prices you could find for hotel rooms. And if you fall off that bike (heaven forbid!) you won't have to mortgage the house to pay your medical bills.

    Sending good karma your way (is there a saint of bicycle tires?)

  • PRO
    Diane Smith at Walter E. Smithe Furniture

    Good grief! So glad there wasn't a bear (up close) mixed in with those 'adventures". I know I would have had a good cry and would be calling dh to come pick me up - in a helicopter.

    ps. I have learned to read about your travels while eating lunch, not before. Sure enough, the first pic was a juicy hamburger!

    Safe travels to you and Pete.

  • leafy02

    Really enjoying the tales from your trip, Trail! What an adventure and it sounds like you're meeting lots of interesting characters. The best part of traveling--and you're getting up close and personal with all that scenery, too. Hats off to you!

  • nanny2a

    Has anyone heard from Trail? It is worrisome that her last post was on Sunday, and here it is five days later without word one. I�ve been enjoying every mile of her Canadian journey, but no word for five days now has me worried that something�s gone wrong on this adventure.......

    Sending best wishes for her safety!!

  • trailrunner

    HEY !! I am here in Banff ! I am at a coffee shop with free wifi...only thing free in this very expensive place. It is gorgeous here. Look for lots of pics in a while to be uploaded . Karl and Pete are OK and so am I . We had no access to computer along the Icefield Jasper road. We camped in Prov. Parks and no hot water either. guess which I would prefer LOL !! I missed you ALL !! Thank you for thinking about me. XXO and I will get back on the computer later. Having bike fixed ..again. c

    Sunday June 24th 25 miles/10.5 avg/ 2:27 pedal time 30 mph max

    I forgot something important from yesterday ...don't I always ? So I will cathc up from there. When we arrived at the very first road wash out we met Bryan the Hwy Dept worker. He had another guy there with him who is an AUBURN Graduate ! likely is that going to happen ? He was there when Bo Jackson played and Building L was still in existence LOL. He said Wiley Hartzog was one of his profs. That is not someone I know. But we did have a nice few minutes to chat about auburn. He still has friends there. Last night we were both so tired and the rain was coming down so we slept great !! Pete had so much to do with his tires this AM that he was up at 5:30 AM !! aarrggghh. I didn't get up. I put my earplugs back in and rested for another hour.

    We packed up and I had the rest of my 500 gram cup of Greek yogurt and a banana. We then walked back over the road to the cafe from last night and I had my regulation 2 cups of coffee with 2 creams and sugar and a whole grain bagel toasted with butter and raspberry jam. We checked out of the Yellowhead Motel and rode to the gas station at the corner. Pete looked up and we saw the by now familiar Canadian Road Trucks with flashing yellow lights and men in orange vests...oh no. He went in to get a bottle of water and I was sent to talk to them. It was the idiot from the day before at washout number 2...I hope you are keeping notes as this just gets better and better LOL ! ! So "dumb dumb" says the road is out. I say well yes but that isn't the way we are going...and he says well it is out and you can't go to Jasper. I said but we were told they fixed the road last night. Hmmm...he says that ANOTHER road washed out at 3:20 AM. aaarrggh. He then says we can get as far as Mt Robson. Since the washout is past there and it is the whole road. I say " you are on " ! And I run in the gas station store to get Pete. This would at least put us 25 miles further up the road. He says lets go fast. I need toothpaste and then we are off. We go about 2 miles and guess what we see ??? Oh you are ahead of me on this aren't you ??? We see....drum roll here...a Canadian Road Work Truck and flashing lights !! Yes indeed the creek has stopped running and they won't let us go past it. I ask if that isn't a good thing and of course I know that it isn't but the road is dry after all :) He says NO !! You have to wait till the backhoe gets here. And sure enough we hear one coming fast up the road. The problem of course is that the creek stops running due to logs and rocks that wash down the mountain. If it is left blocked then it floods up and over the debris and washes out everything below. Scene repeats over and over .

    They got it cleared in about 30 min. and we were off. Mostly downhill and very relaxing. We headed up past Tete Jeune Cache and on towards Mt Robson. We get to an area where the Fraser River has the highest falls of its course. This is where only the most hardy Chinook salmon get back to. Pete and I hiked down to see. Whew...the Fraser is SO high that it is almost up to the observation area. The wood is wet. I get great picks and then get out of there. It is really amazing and scary. I later reported the deep danger and they said they would go and post a "keep out" sign. Good Idea. They have been so preoccupied with the roads. Anyway back to the salmon. They live 7 years The males and females return to where they were spawned and then they spawn and then they die. The babies go back to the ocean and then in 7 years they make there way back to the exact spot they were spawned. How do they know ???? Pete says they all have an inner GPS...funny guy that Pete.

    We entered Mt Robson which is a Prov Park. A very very nice park. The day had been sunny and then got more and more cloudy and cool . We were told to go one and get a camping area and get set up and then come back to the cafe and get something to eat. So that is what we did. None too soon as it happens. It started to rain. Sheesh...give me a break will you ??! We hurried and got all done. I got us a site right next to the bath house. My priority every day is a hot shower. No matter what !! I found the "family room" shower and it was huge and had a handicap area with a regular handle and not a push button shower...sorry Pete ( he got the push button shower in the men's room ) was wonderful.

    We put on our raincoats and walked back a mile to the cafe/visitor's center. We had a very expensive lunch....a steak/mushroom pot pie...good but small and a very nice fresh salad...10.50 !! We then sat and talked as it was pouring out. This is of course the last thing the Hwy dept needs. After a while the rain stopped and the sky lightened and the SUN came out !! Absolutely gorgeous. The sky is radiant and a lapis lazuli blue. Mt Robson , in all it's glory peaked through the clouds and then it cleared completely. We sat on the deck of the Visitor's center and talked and looked at the map for the Icefield parkway. This is where we will head from here..when they get the road open. Jasper is the start of it and it goes 280 km down to Banff. We will stop at 3 hostels on the way.

    I decided I was hungry so back to the cafe and I had a large slice of warm mixed berry pie and a large scoop of "hard ice cream" , as they call it here 6.95.... Pete had 2 day old muffins 1.75 a piece. We then walked back to the camp and washed out our clothes and hung them to dry in the SUN and BREEZE ! Lovely. I took my panniers off and rode back with Karl and he got to have his picture taken. He was ecstatic. We chatted with several folks. A couple from Dusseldorf who are biking from Calgary to Vancouver. So they did the Icefields in reverse. They have almost nothing with them. They stay in hostels and buy all their food so they don't cook in camp. They got through the road closing this AM by going through the woods !! When the highway men saw them they yelled at them and told them to get out of there !! No wonder it was very fool hardy. They are young and dumb I guess.

    I rode back to camp and decided to type this although there is no internet in the area. The VC won't let anyone use it anymore since they had some kind of privacy thing happen. We have purchased some mosquito coils and they are lit and smoking. They work great. Our only mistake so far was not stopping at a liquor store in Valemont on Saturday night ! What were we thinking ??? Oh well...sober is good :)

    Pete has just left to walk over again to the VC and see if there is any news. Maybe we will get out tomorrow. All highways are currently blocked in all of BC . Even the Trans Canada. Valemont is having to boil their water. So booze is probably being sold. There were some folks going to the grocery store but I was too slow on the uptake and missed the ride. Sigh. We will have to wait and see what happens next. What an adventure. There is a wonderful hike to a lake up 3 miles on Mt Robson. If we are here tomorrow Pete and I are going to do it. So we are good no matter what. Later...

    As it turned out we made friends with 4 guys that were all going into town. They offered to make a pick up for us. I went along and chatted with the young men . They were all 24-26 and really great kids. Two were civil engineers and one was an apprentice builder in Vancouver and had just completed working on the new sea wall there. The last was in the army reserve in Canada and continuing his studies. We made our purchases and started back to camp. The town was packed with people waiting for the road to open.

    When we got back to camp Dave ( from England) and Sean and Levi ( from Edmonton ) and Barry from Edmonton , set up their camp by ours . They played frisbee and drank beer and Pete and I had a bottle of wine and dinner and we all had a great time.

    Monday; 66 miles/10.5 avg

    Fast forward to the AM. I will never know what happened but Pete and I walked to breakfast and when we got back I noticed my bike computer was gone. Great. The evening before my 2nd kickstand broke and was not fixable. Pete and I set off on our ride. It was a long day to Jasper but a great ride. We were going along just fine and Pete saw a bear right by the road. He yelled at me to stop and I said "no !" . Then I thought better of it and decided I would get a picture. I stopped...Pete was trying to get out his camera with one hand ( like Allen used to do :) ) and he ran full speed into my stopped bike. Oh boy...I went flying as did Pete You can see the pics. My bike rack was broken on the rear and Pete's knee was scraped. We did get pics of the bear...he watched us and probably wondered what the hell was wrong with the stupid humans.

    We had seen the momma bear and 2 cubs before we saw the male. We didn't stop for her :) We rode on after Pete fixed my rack with 2 spliced spare spokes and electric tape. We got into Jasper and went immediately to the bike shop in town. He said he was there till 10 PM and so we left and went back 3 km to the Whistler c/g and got a site...$21 a night. Very beautiful site. I got my shower and as I was getting dressed I dropped my glass bear amulet and broke the part that holds it on the rops. At that point I lost it...Pete was kind enough to give me hug when I got back to camp. We rode into town and left the bikes. I decided not to get a new computer...mindfulness will have to do . I also decided to leave the rack alone as Pete's fix was perfect. I did have the guy clean the chain and he also sold me what has turned out to be a very good kickstand ( this one is the old fashioned kind like I used to have ..should have stuck with that type i the first place).

    Pete and I went to the laundromat and we did the laundry and I called Robert on facetime. I told him I am not going to send out anymore emails for awhile. I am worn out with all that keeps happening and want to just get my focus back. We then went to Cassio's and had a marvelous Italian dinner. I had a lovely Ceasar salad with gran padano cheese and then a manicotti stuffed with veal and a lovely sauce. It was a huge dinner !! Pete had an amazing burger and fries.

    I for got to mention what it was like to ride on the Yellowhead with wide loads coming. In my mirror I would see a truck coming and it would have lights flashing on he would get even with us he would toot his horn...then he would go would then have a minute to GET OFF THE it was a wide load and they take 1/2 of the shoulder !! Chilling experience but you sure get fast at getting off of the road.

    We forgot to set out clocks forward an hour so we ran to the bike shop and got the bikes. All was good. We rode to the campground. Had some JD and slept well till 6:30 AM.

    Tuesday 52 miles/9.4 avg/5:30 pedal time

    Up and ready we rode our unloaded bikes into is 3 k each way and had breakfast at same place. 2 eggs over easy and hashbrowns, 2 slices of toast and jam and 2 strips of bacon and a slice of tomat...2 cups coffee with lots of cream and sugar. All set. We then went to the grocery and I got 2 more canned chicken, one more Knorr dinner, a pint of blueberries, a qt of raspberry full fat yogurt, 3 oranges, 3 apples, 2 bananas and 2 different kinds of cinnamon rolls. All for $20.

    We went back to camp and loaded up the bikes and headed down the Icefield Prky. Has wide shoulders and all were in very good cond. till near the end of the day. We stopped at the Athabasca Falls and got pics. We had a long day due to LONG climbs and then the Suwapti Pass too. We are now in Jonas Creek c/g and we have a wood cookstove. You can see it in the pic of Karl and the end of the JD. It is amazing and puts out huge heat. It is exactly like what my grandmother used to cook on. I want one now for sure. It is great to use and draws very well and takes very little wood. Such a wonderful day. cap site $15.70 and we are right on the creek. Pics to follow.

    At one point we stopped by a viewing area to rest and get a drink. There were no bathrooms but there was a huge RV with the 4 popouts. They were asking us about the bike ride. I casually mentioned that it was too bad there weren't any bathrooms at the rest stop. The lady said "come inside and use ours " . Cool. I have never been inside one of these huge RV's. She had everything in there. An oven and washer/dryer and lots of furniture. It was pretty cool. Can only imagine how much gas it takes to run it. Although I bet our food bill would give it a run for it's money LOL. I told Pete we should total up all the cost of food for the trip and see what it is and compare to an RV rental/gas. We are probably more expensice.

    We stopped at Sunwapati Falls and had lunch. These resturants have you as there is nothing else up here. We each had a bowl of very good beef stew and a roll. 9.75.

    Lots of hills and more hills...we are in the Rockies so why am I surprised. When we got to Jonas Creek I had a "pan bath" with cold water and even washed my hair. A very chilling experience I can tell you .

    Wednesday June 27th -40 miles and 10.4 avg

    So we were riding along and it was 12:51 PM...just past noon. I hit a big bump, something I was trying to avoid due to the mended rear rack which was still holding but just barely. I heard something fall off of the bike and I saw something black bounce. I yelled at Pete that I was stopping and got off the bike and ran back to bike computer on the shoulder . WTF !! How could this be ???? Pete said he had no idea. We finally puzzled it out sort of. When he turned my bike upside down to try and fix the kick stand he knocked the computer off. He didn't realize it. He had checked the ground as did I but it must have lodged somewhere on the bike although we can't figure where. Anyway I am back in business with the data.

    We saw a group of 4 mt sheep in a parking lot..they look thin and funny as they are losing their winter coats. Stopped at Icefield Center after the 2 mile climb up to it. It was so cold and slow !! We had a bowl of chili and cheese...9.75 !! The rack rebroke and Pete put in the spokes now on both sides. It seems to be more stable now but will have to replace asap.

    Rampart Creek c/g tonight. Great place. Hot water on our wood stove so my pan bath was more comfortable and I filled my water bottle with hot water and used it to squirt my hair and wash it again :) Luxury !! Saw a bear along side the road. We haven't seen too many though. Hills and wind. Coming down from the Icefields was very frightening . The wind off of the glaciers is so cold and strong. I used my breaks for sure.

    Thursday. June 28th 41 miles and 8.7 avg ( approx)

    We are still on the parkway and we now have Bow Pass today..note the lower avg mph . It is 5 miles up. Not bad but slow. I later learned that my cables needed replacement when I got to Lake Louise I had that done at a great bike shop. Took Rob's pic as he did a great job. We climbed and had head winds. It is beautiful but you really have to watch the road. As we were coming down a long descent I was going about 25 mph and saw folks stopped by the roadside . This means that there is some wild life to see. It was a grizzly !! We didn't stop :) We camped at Mosquito creek. A gorgeous c/g . NIce as there are no mossies. Lots of pics and we rested as we got in early due to the downhills.

    Friday June 29th 53 mi/11.9 avg !

    We rock. When we left Mosquito Creek we had almost all downhill. We headed for Lake Louise to get a new rack for me. The bike shop is great !! Will and Rob were wonderful. Got an axiom rear rack put on and new cables . RIdes like new. Also nice to have a shop that isn't trying to soak you for prices and repairs you don't need :( We get plenty of that. We noted the bear fence that surrounds the whole town and has gates to keep out the bears. They also have Texas gates...the wide metal bars set into the road to keep cattle in/out. Very cool. We got on the Bow Parkway as it is scenic and also leads into a paved bike path into Banff. It was wonderful riding. Saw a baby bear running by the roadside. No we didn't stop . But a bunch of tourists did and were taking pictures. They then ran down the middle of the road back to their cars. How stupid...too bad the Momma bear didn't snatch a couple of them LOL. They were idiots !

    We had fantastic weather and almost but not quite all downhill. We arrived in Banff. Very pretty bike path into town past a beautiful lake. Very quiet. The town is bustling with tourists as it is Canada Day on Sunday. We finally found out where the c/g is. UP the mountain. Sigh. We took the bus and I managed to mess up my front derailleur on the holder on the front of thebus. Sigh. Will see to it tomorrow. Hit the liquor store and got a large beer. We then went on to the campground on the bus and set up and had showers !! Yea...first one since Jasper :( Feels great. Road the bus back to town as my bike is messed up and talked to the bike shop they will look at in the AM ( We are there now ) . Had Aardvark pizza and a ceasar salad for 2...$29 with tip for us both. So not as bad as it could be. We then walked to the Safeway and Pete got us a 1/2 gal of vanilla icecream. We caught the bus back up..we get seniors rate for $1 a piece. We are the WHOLE thing. So good. Slept well for a while then at 4 AM the idiots aussies in the next camp site had visitors and they all whooped it up. I yelled at them and they finally stopped. They will be reprimanded by the c/g people as it is supposed to be completely quiet all night. They are very strict about that at all the c/g.

    Saturday June 30th day !
    We are at the coffee shop by the bike shop. I think the guy is trying to upsell me on stiuff....sigh. Will see what is what in a minute. Had another shower this AM nice. Slept LATE !! 7:30 AM>.. We rode to the town and got a large coffee and a cranberry/lemon muffin for $5. Nice to not have all things cost so much. Free wifi too !! We are going to do laundry soon and then Pete has to have a nap he says. Karl and I will go explore so expect more pics. XXXO to all. c

  • blfenton

    You made it to Banff down the Icefield Parkway. I'm so glad you made it safely. That road, at least in a car, has awe-inspiring scenery so I hope you got to enjoy some of it. It's neat to see some of the glaciers. Now where to?

  • trailrunner

    Hey !! I just got back down to the hostel here in Banff. It is pouring rain and I decided I didn't want to sit in the tent :( Pete is taking a nap . They let you use this great place even if you aren't staying here...nice.

    We are off to Canmore in the AM. It is a bike path all the way so very nice . We have had lots of adventures for sure but have landed on our feet . Got a great haircut today right in the same bldg as the coffee shop and the bike shop. One stop shopping. The town is FULL !!! So many people due to the holiday tomorrow. Lots of RVs.

    I should have more wifi in the future so will hopefully be able to check in more often. Will have to look at all the threads now. Good to hear from you bl !!

  • blfenton

    Hope you have a fun bike ride on Canada Day. Happy Canada Day, Trailrunner!

  • trailrunner

    thank you bl ! you will have to check out the pics of the parade in Canmore. It was great . The bagpipes were wonderful...never thought I would say that. The Mounties were very impressive. There will be fireworks soon here in the c/g.

    While Pete napped I rode in the rain back to the hostel and worked on pics. I have been very absent minded lately. I discovered later in the evening after supper that I left my camera on the sofa. I also had misplaced my passport earlier in the day while at the bike shop. I then misplaced my little notebook that I write important things in. I was tired after we ate dinner at the hostel in Coyote Pete's and as I was walking my bike up the steps ( a dumb thing to do BTW) it fell toward me and I went down backward onto the concrete with the bike on top of me. Luckily Pete grabbed the bike up and then me. No harm done. I think I am quacking up LOL ! We had a burger and I had them give 1/2 salad and 1/2 hand cut fries as it is too much if I get a whole order of fries. They fixed them just like Collin does and they were really good. Pete and I settled on the route for today and then we went to bed.

    Sunday July 1 day 28
    It rained in the night and the tent was soaked this AM. We had put our bikes in the shelter so they were dry. We loaded up the best we could and rode down to town to get a breakfast sandwich at Safeway and some juice. ( the breakfast sandwich proved to be a mistake...enough about that ) . We took off and had all downhill and tailwind today !! yeah ! We saw a bunch of cement plants along the 1A. They are very unsightly. In Exshaw I asked a guy about the plants. He said that the one up the road has 100 yrs of product left there to get out and sell. There was a townhome for sale and Pete said it was $379,000 whew...this is the smallest nothing of a town you have ever ever seen. Hard to believe that anything there is worth even 1/4 th that. It seems to be populated by the workers from the plants in the area.

    We saw a guy on the other side of the road and he was SO loaded down with panniers and a trailer that we had to find out where he was going. He was very young and had never ever toured. He said he had left Calgary and was basically moving to Alaska. WHAT ??? I wish I had taken a picture. He was shorter than I am in his 20's . He had a full sized guitar strapped on the trailer and then a fishing pole and a lock/bar set that had to weigh 10# to hold it all safely. He said he was only doing 18 miles a day...oh my. He also said he had given a lot of stuff away already. We saw him a few miles out of he had only been on the road a few days as Calgary is just up the road...but at his pace. Then he told us about his route. He called it the Cowboy Trail and said he had it in his phone if we wanted to see the route. We declined and wished him well. We told him there was a gas station a short way up the road and he could camp there and get water if he wished. He had a headwind too...sigh. So tonight Pete and I looked up the road he mentioned/route he said he was taking. Well he should have stayed on Hwy 22 ..where we are. So not only is he carrying WAY more than he will ever be able to handle but he is on the wrong road. I now feel like I could cry for this poor messed up boy.

    We made great time into town and started to go to one c/g and then decided we were making a mistake and headed UP the huge rolling hills on North 22. We made it to Spring Valley RV park . They have grass but you can't camp on it as you might puncture the irrigation lines. They have showers but they are $1 for 2 minutes and they aren't hot till the end of the 2min. I had 2 loonies with me in the shower so when it shut off and I was still soapy I grabbed the 2nd one...the machine wouldn't take it !! AARRGH... I opened the curtain and ran into the main bathroom and grabbed my change purse and got another loonie. It worked. I was swearing and slipping and really pissed. I HATE PAID SHOWERS !! There I got that out of my system. I then washed the clothes. The machines are great. In contrast to the ones yesterday in Banff. I had yogurt and a whole 1# box of fresh strawberries for supper. I don't feel like cooking and the gut is still messed up..sorry TMI !

    I am sitting in the laundry as there is wifi and it is out of the wind. Oh yes we are now out of the foothills of the Rockies and on the prairies. I love it but not the wind. It is beautiful. The sky is huge ! It is Calgary Stampede time as well as Canada Day so we were lucky to get a place here at all. We are camped on ROCKS !! you will see in the picture. Karl was not happy. He took the computer and sent R a note to tell him to come and get him ! Funny bear...I couldn't be here without him. He is my sanity most days.

    You will see pics of the Canada Day parade in Canmore where we stopped to eat and also I needed the bank. We had burgers and I had homemade split pea and ham soup. It was very yum. I had them cut the burger in 1/2 and I had it at the gas station on the way here to pep me worked.

    We saw pastures and sky and sky and more sky !! We had a great and fast ride with a great shoulder and no traffic till we got in North 22 . That was bad but we are now headed to Irricana and then Drumheller. So stay tuned. i am sure I have forgotten a lot but you will have to use your imagination..I do :) Oh and there will be fireworks tonight at 11 PM...yes it stays light till then. I wlll hopefully have my earplugs in and be sound asleep. Since we rode so far today we have a shorter day tomorrow. We will have a lovely town park with HOT showers .

  • lynninnewmexico

    Am back from our almost two week vacation to Michigan, C. No internet at our cottages on the lake there so I had to catch up on your travels and pics yesterday. Sounds and looks like a beautiful trip for you this year. I'm anxious to read your next installment.

  • trailrunner

    Hope you had a great trip Lynn !!

    Here is "the rest of the story". I have added a LOT of pictures with captions. c

    So I am working at somewhat of a disadvantage. I have been taking "notes" in the mail program. I love the "yellow tablet" format. I cut/pasted it below and will attempt to go inside it and fill in the little tidbits . Hopefully this will help me with my memory :)
    I know R sent out an email saying i managed to mess up the computer with water. You will hear all about it later in the report for Tuesday. It is working great..thanks to Pete ! I have some things I have forgotten to cover so I will do those first. Maybe there will be something interesting in it .

    Sunday's data...I forgot it...this was the ride from Banff to the RV park at hwy 22/567.
    Sunday 74 mi/11.8 avg/6:13 min pt

    ravens : I never mentioned the birds . We encountered them as we entered Jasper. Wow...they are huge. Cousins of the ones in London I think . They are a nuisance. Kim ( our companion in 2010 to San Diego ) will relate to this. They are as much trouble as the grackles were. Also as noisy ! We turned our backs and they had taken Pete's packet of moist bath wipes that he carries for clean up emergencies. This was NOT a small pack either. The damn bird grabbed it and started to fly away. It dropped it and Pete noted it and another guy also saw it happen. They were recovered. The man in the next campsite said he had been grilling a 300 gram steak and a raven had picked it up off of the grill and flown away with it. It was NOT recovered , needless to say. We went to get showers and the birds came in an started emptying my handlebar bag, deja vu, that is what happened in Texas !! I missed the action but the lady in the next campsite reported all as we returned. Wow...the bird had also torn holes all through my food bag and eaten/scattered most of a bag of inst. oatmeal . It had also torn open the bag with my clothes in it and tried to pull out my black tights . Crazy. We had to secure every little thing till we got out of the Rockies at Banff. No more ravens now. ( Banff restrictions) ---this is the most interesting and convoluted story concerning residency. You should follow the link and read it. Someone asked me how I liked Banff, and I said it was OK but very high priced and a lot like the Aspen's of the world. He asked me if I knew about the restrictions on residency and I said no. That is what prompted the research.

    story about the deer skin jackets- In Banff we took our bikes to the bike shop as I had managed to mess up my front derailleur on the bus the first night we were in town. We left them with Dave ( see pic ) and went to the coffee shop next door. In fact it opened on the bike shop...very convenient. As we waited I noticed there was a haircut place also in the shopping center...don''t know what else to call it ..more like a very small business plaza I guess. Anyway I went in and the lady said she could take me in about 20 min. I came back and we began to chat about what I was doing in Banff. One thing led to another and she told me she was originally from Kenora. I asked her if she knew of Oak Island. Lake of the Woods. She said yes she sure did. She said her Mom was a wonderful seamstress and that all the hunters brought her their hides to have deerskin coats made. She said her Mom supported all 10 children on the money she made. She told me she had nothing of her Mom's sewing left and none of the coats. I told her my Dad and Mom had coats made in 1952 or so. That was when this woman lived there and sewed. I remembered Dad telling about the way the woman arm , the chest and the length and that was that. He and Mom were so impressed that a coat could fit perfectly with so little data. She described the particular way her Mom did the fringe...arms/across front etc. She described the lining...this woman's Mother made the coats that I have now that were Mom and Dad's . I am going to send her a pic of the coats..I have to try and find the one of Mom and Dad in them but if not I will model and send it to her. Only 2 degrees of separation...indeed.

    oil and gas drilling - I haven't mentioned too much about this as I was waiting to talk to someone to get a little more detail. The locals call them oil patches. Brian ( he is the gentleman here in Hanna - on July 4th ) said that the farmer's do not have mineral rights.He said the oil companies are fair and they come in and when they find oil they pay and they send regular checks. He said there is oil and gas drilling. I think Eric , my nephew, will find this interesting. He said the farmer's consider it easy money as they do nothing to get it. It helps subsidize the farming and ranching that goes on in this area. Brian said they are currently in a down cycle but that it always bounces back when "someone" needs more oil. He said the big bldg boom that we noted in Cochranc and Canmore was due to all the oil money. It seemed that they were putting up a huge number of single and multiple dwelling homes in both towns. He said that in Calgary, the center of the oil operations, there is even more. He said all the tall bldgs there are oil related offices. Housing prices have held there and go up about 10 % a year and in bad years about 3%.

    At the RV park I talked to a young man that works on a rig just up the road. We passed it as we pulled out of the park.
    He works the rig and lives in the RV park at Hwy 22/567 - says he works 2 weeks on and then flies home to Nova Scotia to see gf and family. Worls 3rd shift. wish I had asked how much he makes. He said they ( not sure what company ) are going to start drilling off of Newfoundland soon.

    farms- canola,wheat, rye, oats, barley. See the link below to learn more about Canola. I took so many pics of it. It is in bloom and makes me smile every time I come over a hill and see the yellow glowing amongst the bright green of other crops. With the backdrop of the dark sky it is a beautiful painting. When I rode through NM 2 yrs ago I loved the farmland. Also PN last year. Once again I find I can breath here better than anywhere. I love the big sky , the fragrance of the crops, the waves of grain...which in a 30-40 mph wind is pretty impressive !! I never tire of the miles and miles of prairie. Many have said they won't even drive their car through the Canadian prairie provinces. I feel they are missing so much. I prefer it to the mountains. I guess this Ohio girl is still planted in the soil.

    more farm details from Bryan ---early settlers to this area in the 1930's were from the US. They were offered for free 1/4 ---4/4 makes a section. They could barely scrape by and most died . He said his Dad had 11 1/4's. He said that was barely enough to make a living and it was not a good living . He said he and his family moved off the land when he was a boy ( he is in his 50's now). He said that it takes 60 acres for one cow. Lately, the past 2 years , they have had rain but usually they get , at most 13 in a year in this area. You will see in the pics that it is GREEN here now this year. He said to do well here you need a minimum of 30 - 40 1/4's - a section is 640 acres so 40 1/4's is 10x make a living. Thus the oil that is sold to make the extra money.

    can take the girl from the farm but not the farm from the girl. I feel like I am home. . As soon as I get out and see the fields and the horizon...the fragrance of the alfalfa I feel like I can breath. I think I need to move to the prairies :) gets -20 c here in winter and nothing to do. They don't do the sports like further East in the mountains and BC.

    tree wind breaks around houses- I have taken a lot of photos to show the wind breaks. You couldn't stand it here without some relief from the wind. it is constant and strong. I can only imagine the winters and the drifts if you didn't have the trees planted thickly around your homestead and barns. When you are at the top of a hill you can see for miles and note the farms far into the distance. Defined by the tress.Most are cottonwoods.

    Brewsters for lunch Airdrie . Linsey - sweet on Karl ! Alberta beef steak med rare and onion ring, rosemary bread, mushrooms and smoky tomato bisque. 12.63 + tip ( just a bit of info..see the pic)

    Monday 41 mi/11.3 avg/pt 3:36 min

    Hills for 13 mi out of Spring Hill RV park on 567/Big Hill Spring deserves the name. Then we turned north and then east again and it was almost all downhill and gentle hills till near Irricana..2 big ones

    camp now on Monday in Irricana...Gateway to the Country. Beautiful tiny town. One main street. All commute to Airdrie and Calgary to work . Chinese man owns the liquor store the restaurant and the pizza parlor. There is a huge art culture here. Gallery closed for holiday..too bad. Great murals. about 21 or so..see sample pics. I went back into town and got more mural pics. Very interesting culture here.

    Beautiful quiet c/g...treees and grass. washed by hand. HOT free showers. Karl is happy...Thumper American IPA.

    Have to say this is WAY better than Banff :)
    slept great. Neighbhors gave us blueberry muffins and also vegs. We had a nice chat with them. man was an undertaker...kept making bad jokes :( He told us he had been contributing to " Boys and Girls " camps for years. Last year he won their lottery...20 K ! He used 13 K to buy the small RV they have and still has 7K put aside. Nice for he and his wife. They live not far away and simply come here to Irricana and park and have a weekend. They enjoyed the fireworks here on July 1 . ( seems many of the towns and parks had them )

    Tuesday 47/9.6/4:53_ up late...6:45 AM. Took another shower...bliss. ate muffins and had one OJ left. Packed quick and rain started. On our way to Drumhellar. The Dinosaur Town !! World's largest is here...see pic. This area is known as the BadLands. Funny but they have never had grass here , the c/g host said. Unless you irrigate you never had grass till the past 2 yrs. Now it rains and the hillsides all around the town are covered with vegetation. it is amazing. There has been a lot of flooding in the area. There is a large berm/seawall to keep the river in its banks.

    . We rode into the headwind all day. Very tiring.
    We rode 20 miles in headwind 20 mph and gusts greater. pouring rain., Had on so many layers and shoe covers and rain pants.

    stopped at Beiseker and had 3 egg cheese wmpette and hashbrowns. 2 cofffee. Saved 2 slices wheat oast and jam and made them into sandwiches for later.

    HILLS.....long long long slow glrade...little if any down. At 20 miles changed direction with the route on Hwy 9 and now cross wind and rain stopped. 30 mph and gusts. Very very hard as blows from South and pushes into road. Stooed on road and ate soem toast and jam. STAsted good !!

    Sun finally came out and we had a good but extremely windy ride in Drum. Took pic with biggest dinosaur in the world...see Karl for more :) Made it to RV park. Supposed to be " on the river" but due to the wall of dirt to protect from flooding we can't see it from camp. That is OK it is a muddy brown. We never got to the museum as it is not " on our route" and we decided not to pay another taxi fee ( see computer glitch ) We missed seeing the hoodoos !! Oh no..they are very cool. Here is a link so you can read all about them. Will have to come back...w/o Karl...he doesn't like dinosaurs or hoodoos LOL !!

    . Computer not working..sigh. went to computer shop. Said due to wet. Later used now !!

  • blfenton

    I cannot believe the experiences that you are having. So very interesting. Be careful though there are tornado warnings throughout the prairies right now.

    OT- my sister lives in Calgary and a few years ago we were visiting her for a week. Now, we live in the North Shore mountains in Vancouver. We had our 2 kids with us, and we're driving around Calgary (for us, kinda flat),driving out to Drumheller (very flat), up to Edmonton (more flat) and by this time both of my kids have splitting headaches. We're leaving Edmonton and driving to Jasper and the closer we get to the Rockies the better my kids start to feel and by the time we get to Jasper (going through a helluva hailstorm requiring us to pull over under an overpass) my kids are feeling perfect. You mentioned you're a prairie/farm girl - there is no doubt about it that my kids are mountain kids. It's interesting thinking about where we feel most comfortable.

    Those of us in B.C. are always highly critical (tongue-in-cheek)of the fact that Alberta drivers can't drive in anything other than a straight line and now you know why. We like to avoid being behind them when going through the Rockies. Keep in touch and thinking of you.

  • PRO
    Diane Smith at Walter E. Smithe Furniture

    We did get pics of the bear...he watched us and probably wondered what the hell was wrong with the stupid humans. lol!

    So enjoy your stories c. Safe travels!

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