Was awake at 6 and was up out and bike washed by 6:30. Not particularly dirty one has to admit as I am cleaning it everyday, but through the tunnels yesterday it did pick up some mud and it rained overnight and again it's covered in tree pollen. It is new and the chaps at Cycle BC seem taken by it so it's for them that I do this. I did have a crowd watching me from the third floor balconies, well a couple leaning over the rail having a fag watching me.
At breakfast for 6:30. Again want to be out and on the road early. Difference between the High Mountain hotel and The Glacier House at Revelstoke is that breakfast is included here but would have cost us $17 each at the Glacier House.So rather than go down the road for an hour, we stock up on carbs now. Second reason to stock up now is that we are going to take the Kananaskis Trail which has little in the way of stopping facilities for the majority of it (not true as it turns out, more in a bit).
Breakfast typical motel help-yourself fare of cereal, toast and waffles. A tourist bus had deposited a load of Cloggies during the night and they were all down at breakfast clogging (excuse my pun) up all the food points. Have to ask again, what is it about the Dutch and mountains? They love them. Look at the Tour.
Back to the room to finally pack. Although a tad dated the views from the balcony are impressive. Mountains surround Banff. Couldn't live here though. Revelstoke definitely for me. The Dutch tour were using porterage and they'd all left their bags outside the their rooms which where being collected and transported to the coach by a couple of very big, in the muscular sense, girls. At checkout t girl on reception was from Manchester. So many Brits, Aussies and Kiwis manning the hotels that we've been to. Can't say I blame them. I'd move to Canada tomorrow
We were on the road not long after 7. An absolutely glorious day in the offing. Slightly chill early on but virtually cloudless. Filled up at a Shell just down the road from the hotel at an eye-watering (for Canada) $1.479. Most of the fill ups have been around $1.409-$1.439 so was a little shocked at the price here. Took to the again empty 1 until Canmore. There is a cycle path alongside the route and I was surprised at the number of cyclists using it between the two towns.
Came off at the first Canmore exit and rode through the town to pick up the Bow Valley Trail again. Out the other side of town, under the 1 and we're on the Trail. Interestingly there are signs warning not to stop on the road as there is blasting underway. Won't stop then. Yet another virtually empty road. I'm really enjoying the driving through the Rockies, so little traffic. No doubt it'll get thicker later in the day as we approach downtown Calgary.
Much more scenic than taking the 1 riding close to the river past Gap Lake and through Kananaskis. Take the 1x at Exmore down to the 1 and take the 1 for one junction as it's pretty much the only way to get onto the 40 which will loop us through the mountains to the west and south of Calgary.
Off the 1 at junction 118 and head south on the 40. I'd been looking forward to riding the 40 ride from my original planning. Nice long detour through the mountains to extend the day's ride and hopefully see some bear. However, we were pulled up almost immediately by a sign saying that the 40 won't be fully open until the 15 June. It is closed 50 km down. Bugger. What do we do? Don't want to turn back towards Calgary too early as I came to ride not sight-see in a city. We agree to ride down the 50 km have a look see and come back. We have all day and it's barely 8 am and only 75 km to Calgary from here. Seems a good plan.
And it was.
Yet another empty road. Yet another wide and sweeping road. Yet another road with wildlife. Saw five elk. Loved it. Such a pity we have to turn around halfway, and do it all again !!!
After thinking that it would be a virtual wilderness we turned off at a ski village, Kananaskis Village to look for a drink. Huge place being refurbished. Lots of lodges and a covered hotel with restaurants, cafes, shops etc. Lots and lots of pickups int he car park. Major renovation underway. Still, most of the resort was open and we stopped for tea, coffee and cakes at a Starbucks inside the main complex. The girl was chatty. Obviously very, very bored as it is very quiet here in the summer and the workmen aren't allowed in. She said we were very lucky with the weather today as it had rained for the last 6 days here.
As well as there being lots of workmen there are also a lot of golfers. A golfing paradise in the wilderness. I find it bizarre, but then it is one way for these big winter resorts to make some cash through the off-piste season.
Walking back to the bike among the 4x4s stopped and had a chat with a bloke who on seeing the BC plates wanted to talk about riding through the Rockies, the weather and rental prices. Nice bloke as most bikers are. Confirmed that once the 40 is fully open you are virtually guaranteed to see bear. Argh!
Back down to the 40 stopping a couple of times in lay-bys to soak up the views, which are, as everywhere, too stunning for words. Finally, and all too soon, reach the barriers at the end of the road confirming we'd need to wait another week or so before we could continue. So close and yet so far. There is a little picnic place by the end and we took the opportunity to stop and have sit by a little stream with awesome views of the mountains above us. Probably one of the best views I've seen on the holiday. Absolutely idyllic. No-one near. Complete seclusion. Only the sound of the stream and birdsong. Ahhhhhhhhh! Could sit here forever. Almost made up for not being able to complete the 40.
So with regret we had to turn back and retrace our steps back up to the 1. Past the petrol station and the RCMP station and past 6 Hogs's on their way to the barrier. I will most definitely miss this road.
Reachd the 1 too quickly and headed back towards Canmore and Junction 113 up the 1x to Exmore and rejoin the Bow Valley Trail where we left it for our detour to the 40.
Starting to get really warm now as we head towards Cochrane on , getting bored of writing it, yet another empty, wide and sweeping road. So many good roads that are less travelled to explore, so little time. Did pass First Nations chaps on horseback with a foal following. Slowed right down so as not to spook the horses. We all waved.
Stopped for a comfort break at a dam just before Wildcat. Lots of water sports going on and without doubt the worst public ablutions we've encountered in Canada. I'll not go further than disgusting, but I was bursting.
On and into Cochrane for lunch with the traffic getting busier now the closer we get to Calgary. We stopped for lunch at a Dairy Queen in a very busy car park shared with a Timmies drive through. Absolutely sweltering now. I had a 'hot burger' which I have to admit was rather good.
Took the 22 down to the 1. There was a fearsome cross wind all the way. Really badly buffeted. We'd now left the mountains behind us and had entered the prairies again. Lots of farms with red and white barns all over the place. Quite a few ranches for sale. Now there's something I'd like.
Joined the 1 at Junction 161 for a blast into Calgary. Hit the only roadworks for the day. A girl at one roadwork yesterday morning had waved us through ahead of a couple of artics that we were sandwiched between. She said it would be safer if we were out from between them. Nice of her and another surprise the number of young girls manning the stop/go signs.
Considering the size of Calgary and the fact that the 1 becomes just another city street, the run in to the hotel was fairly straightforward. East west roads are avenues and north south roads are streets. In Downtown there is a strange one way system where each even number street/avenue is one way and each odd number both ways. It did take some getting used to.
Headed along the 1, which is now 16th Ave, to Centre St. Left onto Centre and over the bridge then left onto 4th Ave (one way westbound) and we're at the International Hotel and Suites before you know it. Simple as that. I waited on the bike in the street while Wifey went to find where to park. Turn right on 2nd Street, right on 3rd Avenue and then in the parking at the blur doors which automatically open. Pick any non-reserved space. Again easy.
De-bussed and up a flight of stairs, past the hotel gift shop and we're in reception. They didn't want to take our Visa Debit card and tried demanding a credit card. Stood firm as we've never had any problems using the debit card anywhere in North America on several trips so told them to try it before dismissing it. And, guess what, surprise, surprise, it worked. Originally the booking was showing a twin room which we said we wouldn't accept so a king room found instead. Checked that parking was complimentary and adjourned to room 3207.
Really nice room with a retro 60's/70's feel to it and it's a suite with food preparation facilities and a dining room. Great views to the north over the river. Planned the route for tomorrow and more specifically, how to get out of the city and back to the 22 avoiding rush hour traffic. Going to be lot of riding in the middle of nowhere so should be another quiet road day.
Walked down down to Prince's Island. Now I hadn't really wanted to like Calgary. I saw it merely as a stopover place and didn't want to sight-see. However, I actually ended up enjoying and liking the place. Bought ice creams and sat in the park watching the geese and other wildlife stroll past. Even though we'd taken a detour on the 40 we'd arrived in Calgary early afternoon so lots to see and lots still open. So, let's go shopping.
Walked down to 8th Avenue which has lots of shops and bars. Wifey desperate for a replacement pair of Fat Babies. Her current pair, and the pair she uses on the bike, are 2005 vintage from the first trip to the White Stallion bought in the Boot Barn in Tucson. Sole has no tread pattern left at all, but they have been an amazing boot. First stop on 8th Avenue is Riley & McCormick. Western apparel everywhere. But no Fat Babies. Just across the road is Lammle's Western Wear. Very helpful staff. They did ha e Fat Babies, but Wifey didn't gel with them. Ho Hum. Need a drink. Let's find a bar.
Now Wifey is tea-total and staid. Don't know why I left the bar selection to her or how she found the pole dancing bar that we ended up in. In our defence, it wasn't at first obvious. We chose seats out in the street and didn't really get a glimpse inside. Slowly dawned upon us as very embarrassed men scooted past us and up the stairs to the first floor lounge.
Picked up dinner on the way back to the hotel from a Timmies. After a big breakfast and lunch we didn't feel like eating too much Write up diary and bed. Another early start planned for tomorrow and breakfast on the road.