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Rant Log: Alberta

Day 11

June 23

Lake Louise AB

Hostel

173.6 km

8.18 hr

Av 20.8

Max 63.0

It was all downhill (more or less) to Golden which was 80 km away. There was one more climb thought after Rogers pass. I saw a couple loaded touring cyclists going the other way. I stopped but the didn't want to chat. They were from Germany. I saw another later but this time I only waved.

Heading out from Golden was kind of treacherous. The road winded around very rocky cliffs. With steep inclines up and down to the river, criss-crossing with trains below. The shoulder disappeared in some places. I was reminded of my Dad a bit. He did survey work in the mountains when he was younger. There was a landslide and one of hist coworkers died. I keep on looking at these cliffs, what is to stop them from having more rocks fall down?

At Yoho park the road became flat and straight... strange for BC. Sometimes there was headwinds sometimes tailwinds. Near the end of the day the tailwinds were strong with what looked like rain coming but it didn't.

I took a picture of a deer... I'm not sure why... I saw them all the time in Ottawa. They'd run right in front of me on my bike commute from Nepean to Kanata.

Strong winds blew me into Lake Louise, but I frustrated to find no tenting is allowed due to bears. This seems to be the case in all parks. So many campgrounds have been "closed/ferme". They told me the next campground could take me, but I was so tired and the next one was 38 km away. I am amused when people give me direction and saw it is about 20 minutes away... I look on the map... 38 km... that's not 20 minutes! I started that way but turned back and came to this hostel. It is very big and clean. It should be good.

9 subs

Day 12

June 24

Calgary Outskirts AB

Just 4 Fun RV/Campground

181.7 km

8.14 hr

Av 22.0

Max 52.0

uh... I screwed up today. I planned to camp between Canmore and Calgary. I almost made it to Calgary before I found something, but I was not a happy biker today.

All day there were heavy winds. When it was headwinds it'd slow me to 11 km/h. When it was tailwinds I'd be at 30 km/h, but it mostly swirled. All day I had rain to my left and my right. I could see it coming down. The road was wet but it did not rain on me today. I guarantee it will tonight. It will test my tent which is getting moldy from dew at Sicamous. As I hurry to write, I see rain about 1 km away.

Coming into Banff I saw an elk. At Banff today I saw everything. I saw a loaded tandem bike touring couple. I saw a recumbent loaded touring biker and several like me. I really had not seen that many thus far, but Banff is filled with them.

To start my day I biked up a hill to see Lake Louise. At this point I didn't feel it was worth the effort. It sounds silly, because of course I have to see Lake Louise. But it's just a lake, similar to other's I've seen along the way.

Banff is a cute place but hard to find anything. I searched for a Subway for a long time, but settled for a Wendy's Pita.

Outside of Banff I caught up with a loaded touring Japanese cyclist, Kanaishou(sp?). I traveled with him briefly but he was going to camp at 3:30. Maybe I should have too because I went too far for my liking in windy cool weather. Coming out of the rockies the ground gets flatter and flatter. I passed Exshaw which seemed to be some sort of large mining operation. In a way I am looking forward to the prairies and hope for strong tailwinds.

This campground is beside an amusement park.

Day 13

June 25

Strathemore AB

Town Campground

99.6 km

5.27 hr

Av 18.2

Max 44.5

This morning was misery. It rained most of the night. This morn was so cold. I managed to pack up in a break in the rain. Then it rained again. I hid in the washroom for 1.5 hours to see if it will pass... shivering in the cold. I eventually gave up and headed out. Damn this is cold for June 25 in Calgary. I worried my hands might get frost bite. My rain jacket/rain pants/rain booties held up pretty good, but I need better gloves then my 2 layer solution of thin gloves.

Got to Calgary and contemplated going to the airport and quitting. This is nasty. Got a sub and hid from the rain. Proceeded to go though some bike paths. Calgary seemed nice enough. It seems to be designed by a mathematician. All streets are numbered. 10th Street goes North-South. 10th Ave goes East-West... or is it the other way around?

I traveled downtown a bit. I had a police officer tell me I was not allowed to bike down the street mall. As soon as I took a road a car almost hit me, running a light.

I was contemplating a rest day here, but after this misery I proceeded out of town a bit. I want to get this trip moving, but that will be hard, because there are strong North winds slowing me down. Ben spoke of tailwinds on the prairies getting him up to 80 km/h. The best I can do right now is 20 km/h. If it stays like this, the prairies will take forever.

I stopped at Strathemore. The rain stopped by then. I went to the campsite and it was raining there. I went back to a motel instead and it was sunny. I waited 1 hour and camp back to the campground. I hope the rain is gone.... but the clouds don't look good. It's weird on the prairies you can see far and see where it is raining. With North winds you can figure out where they will go. It is still cold but hopefully no rain. This is a cheap campground... only 6.00 $.

10 subs.

Day 14

June 26

Bassano AB

Motel

103.8 km

6.13 hr

Av 16.7

Max 37.5

Misery. Today was misery. Luckily there was not much rain last night, but as soon as I got up I see dark skies as far as I can see. I packed up just as the rain started. The rain would continue for the rest of the day.

Let me describe what today was misery, 1 headwinds 2. rain 3. Cold

  • Headwinds: When biking winds are frustrating. With hills, what goes up must come down. So it evens out. Wind can push against you all day and feel like you are climbing a mountain all day. The winds are usually from West to East( or so I am told). Today they are strong from the East. They were almost stronger than me, sometimes slowing me to 9 km/h, not much more than walking speed.
  • Rain: My rain gear is pretty good except for gloves, so I kept my hands in the jacket sleeves. But still my hands were wet and cold. When it rains all day like this, not matter how good your rain gear is you are still going to be wet all over.
  • Cold: Why are the prairies so cold? I can see my breath. Cold makes the wet rain that much worse.

Here's an example. Because I was moving so slow I could not make it to the next town before I had to eat. My lunch comprised of me sitting in the rain, snot streaming from my nose. I was eating from a can of tuna half filled with rain water. The whole time I was wondering why I would be dumb enough to do this trip.

All in all. The prairies are way harder than the mountains. So much so that I have been contemplating quitting and flying home all day. But tomorrow is a new day. Things will feel better in the morning, they always do.

Day 15

June 27

Medicine Hat AB

Gas City Campground

162 km

8.21 hr

Av 19.4

Max 42.0

This is the 4th straight day of unfavourable winds. It is very frustrating knowing that if I had tailwinds I'd be hundreds of km ahead of Medicine Hat. Winds from the South-East were so strong it felts like climbing a mountain all day.

It was sunny today. I got burns from where the wind was pushing clothes up past the already tanned areas. I had a sub in Brooks(known for the Dinosaur stuff). I headed to Medicine Hat and almost killed myself trying to get there. I was low on water and was walking the bike at points the wind was so bad.

Apparently a storm was chasing me all day. Ahead I saw clear skies but behind me was thunder showers. I just never looked behind for hours until it was nearly on top of me. I was able to get the Medicine Hat a few minutes ahead of the rain.

I met Roy from Nanaimo BC today. He is crazy. He bikes 10+ hr a day. He is doing all 10 provinces in a month. If he can do it that is amazing.

I decided to camp even though it is currently raining. My thinking is it will be a clear night or so I hope.

Medicine Hat is kind of a nice city. Maybe, it's just the name I like. In the McDonalds I got some ice cream(I wouldn't eat a burger there). I was the only one there. A baseball team of boys walked by, the girls working got all excited.. but they did not come in. I was amused.

I cannot take another headwind day like this... please let the rain go away and wind come from the west.

11 subs.


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