The first time I woke up, at 4:30am, it was to the sound of a train whistle. Always trains, wherever I stay. But of course there are always trains because the Trans-Canada highway, at least at this part, follows the original rail line. But you get use to it. I’ve come to love the sound of the trains klickity-klacking over the tracks.
After the train passed all I could hear was the sound of some animal knawing on something. Noise supressing head phones and watching “Hawking” took care of that.
The second time I woke up it was almost 9am. I zipped open the fly and was confronted with a beautiful morning.
The view from my tent
I could have laid there for quite a while, but no, it takes a long time to pack up and coffee is my first priority. No matter how organized you are it always takes a long time to eat and pack up camp. By 10:30 I was on my way, climbing the hill back out of the park.
I stopped at the camp store on the way out. Baked goods hadn’t arrived yet. But a double chocolate chip icecream sandwich hit the spot.
As I left a German Sheppard comes up the hill dragging a lady on roller blades. I don’t really get along with German Sheppards so I asked politely if she could tie him up. “German Sheppards seem to think my bike is lunch” I said. I forget her dog’s name but he was super friendly.
A few days ago, just outside of Lytton a German Sheppard came barreling out of the driveway and definitely intended to have me for lunch. It was pretty stupid (of the owner) because this is the Trans-Canada Highway afterall, with lots of 18 wheelers. The other day I saw a blood spot on the highway that lasted from about 300 yards. Yeah, that’s gross.
But this lady’s dog, a puppy really, was nice. Did you know in Germany the just call them “Sheppards”? Makes sense doesn’t it? My dad use to train Sheppards for the police force in Germany. I remember him telling me Sheppards could easily jump over a seven foot fence.
Pretty soon I figure I’ll be able to out run anything on four legs, except mayba a Cheeta. But I should be ok there unless there’s a breakout from the zoo.
Yes, it’s beautiful around here, near Canmore. This is my idea of camping.
I think Wile E. Coyote lives in them thar hills
I set out back on highway 1A (not the main highway #1 which is like the 401). There’s not much of a shoulder on this part. But there’s very’ very little traffic on the road, and the condition of the highway is excellent. It feels a little too isolated even. To get anything, like food, water, accomodation, it pretty much means heading across a bridge to the main highway. But I definitely recommend taking the 1A.
At one point I frightened a small deer that was crossing the road as I came around a bend. I scooted off in to the bush. It’s mother, which wasn’t far behind leapt in the other direction, unfortunately straight through a barb wired fence. It got stuck for a minute and then kept going. I felt back for the poor thing.
Later, Dave told me that in this area there are wild mustangs. This is First Nations land, the Stoney Indians, and they let them run wild. I did see some later but they weren’t afraid of el Torro (my bike).
If it isn’t enough just to worry about bears…
Uopn seeing the sign above, I had a strange thought – and if you’ve been keeping up with my daily blog you know I have a lot of stange thoughts. With all this loose wild stick roaming aroound the bears have lots to choose from so I shouldnt have anything to worry about. Why, I’m just skin and bones compared to some of that cattle over there.
The beautiful Bow River Valley
As I’ve said this is a beautiful ride as you follow the Bow River valley. The Bow river has a beautiful turquois colour but it’s ice cold. You’ll see many other cyclists on this road, so you know it’s a good one. There are gentle rolling hills and mountains to the right and left.
I crossed the river at Morely to look for somewhere to eat. There was a sign saying “welcome back Ottawa transfer students”. Morely is a First Nations settlement, the Stoney Nation. There were drums sounding in the background (no, really). I asked a youth if there was a restaurant nearby. He couldn’t hear me at first because he had is iPod earphones on so I had to repeat myself.
I had lunch at the Chief Chiniki Restuarant off of highwy 1. When you’re on a bike for a long time you seem to know excatly what you want to eat. I had a craving for chicken and frech fries with gravey. It was on special. I tell you, I have horseshoes up my… The server, a Stoney native and probably the owner, invited me to bring my bicycle instead the restaurant. “Someone tried to steal one just last week” she said, “I had to chase after him”.
Eventually, down the road a bit on the 1A, you get the wide shoulder back. I passed the historic McDougall Stoney Mission. I love the way they described the mission:
The historic church at the end of this pathway was constructed in 1875. At that time native people were still huntiing bison on the praries. The young nation of Canada was only eight years old; the Canadian Pacific Railway still nine years in the future.And this church would become the heart of a thriving community, Morelyville, and for a time the largest settlement in what would become southern Alberta.
That’s fine writing.
Morelyville Historic Mission
I passed a memorial much like the one in Vard. This one “dedicated as a pledge of everlasting friendship to the United States of America and to the gallant fighters from her every state who joined the Commonwealth of Nations in the fight for democracy during the Second Great War”.
The other side tells the story of two members of the Royal Canadian Airforce, a Canadian and an American, who were “stayed by the hand of death” in this very field in 1941.
Next came the town of Cochrane and a lot of traffic and an enormous hill. For some silly reason I though I was done with hills. Later I found out that “Big Hill” is a popular training ground for cyclists from the area, who take advantage of its 7% grade and 3.5 km distance. I should have stopped for some of the famous Cochrane ice cream before tackling that baby.
The rest of the ride was uneventful and I pulled into Dave and Lise’s house at around 5pm where they has a tall glass of cold water, a shower and a cold beer ready and waiting for me.
Calgary, here I come
Another great day on the road. Now for two days off. Tomorrow I plan to do as little as possible.
Distance travelled today – 89kms
Average speed – 18.4kms/hour
Elevation – 1246kms
Cycling time – 4 hours and 44 mins