Awake at 6 again but felt I could stay in bed longer as now beginning to feel the fatigue of riding every day. All packed and ready to go by 7 am hoping to beat Calgary's rush hour. We are heading out of the city so hopeful it should be a fairly simple matter for us as we'll be heading against the traffic.
Whilst checking out saw a bloke with the most massive pair of cowboy boots I've ever seen. Soles must have been an inch thick. Hand made and very expensive I'm thinking. Woman behind reception tried to charge us for parking despite the girl last night telling us that it was complimentary. Wifey not having it. The other girl manning reception told the original girl three times that they wouldn't charge us but it took a while for it to sink in. Finally she gave in under the three-way pressure.
Looking a bit grey and miserable this morning so put the waterproofs on in case of rain even though the bike was saying it was 19.5°C. Escaped the basement parking lot with meandered in a south westerly direction to 17th Avenue. Followed 17th to the Sarcee Trail south and then onto the 8, the Glenmore Trail. Traffic getting lighter and lighter the further east and south we got. Followed the Glenmore Trail until the roundabout with the 22 and swung south. Little bit of rain but quickly stopped and before you knew it we had blue skies. As we went around the roundabout the traffic just seemed to disappear and we were all alone heading south.
The 22 really doesn't run in a straight line but weaves left and right with many a right angled corner and lights and stop signs turnings to deceive the unwary. You really have to keep an eye on the signposts.
Stopped at the hamlet of Priddis for breakfast. Tiny little place and if we hadn't realised we were deep in the heart of cowboy country, we have now. At the cafe, Priddis Cafe and Grille, opposite the ice hockey rink and by the petrol station, even the seat covers had cowboys on horseback chasing a herd of cattle. There were also large wooden cowboy and first nation carvings on the walls to help the thinking along. Place even had a pair of Moose antlers on the wall. And if any of that wasn't enough the constant stream of good old boys and gals in boots and stetsons really did give it away.
Wifey had full Canadian breakfast and I had egg and sausage in a bun with the ubiquitous HP sauce. Loving it.
At Black Diamond we filled up at a Fas Gas. First petrol station in Canada that we've stopped at that didn't require us to pay first. Chatted with a female police officer who was filling up her patrol car. After talking about the fact that the weather has been pretty good for us so far she mentioned all the rain they've had said she hoped she hadn't jinxed it for us.
(UPDATE: after we got home this part of Alberta has had hideous floods and a lot of the roads we cover today are now impassable after bridges over rivers were washed out. How prophetic the police woman's words seem in hindsight. Roads still closed so can't get the route map downloaded off Google as it won't map over the washed out bridges)
Whilst Wifey was paying I watched the police officer washing the patrol car in the most startling pink foam in the washing station attached to the petrol station. Did not look right at all. Completely pink police car. Like something out of Animal House.
Mentioning having to keep an eye on the road signs and turnings I didn't in Black Diamond and rather than turn right at the lights to follow the 22 I travelled straight on and onto the 7. It wasn't until Oktoks that I realised that the mountains were behind me an no longer on my right. Another give away should have been the increase in traffic. Had to replay the 7 with a total detour of 36 km. Wifey not happy but I'm just riding a bike for another 36 kms.
Back to Black Diamond and turn left back onto the 22 heading south. Immediately a lot quieter. Vurtually no traffic. This is more like it. Dead straight to Longview although very strong crosswinds for the rest of the 22. After Longview there is nothing. I mean nothing until the Crows Nest some 140km away. A few ranches here and there. The occasional National Park, but nowhere to stop for a drink or for food or for fuel. Nothing. Loved it. Fantastically empty road again. Nice an wide and sweeping. Too easy to speed. Stuck again, religiously, to 10 kph over the limit but there was nothing to catch me and I caught nothing. Great ride.
We did stop for a break at Chain of Lakes park. There was supposed to be a cafe that opened at 11 but we were there until 11:30 but no one was there to open up. We had vending machine cookies and crisps and a very sweet, very brightly coloured can of orange fizz. Bloke turned up on a GS and we had a chat about the world. He was just out on a day ride. On hearing about our itinerary he nodded sagely and said, "sweet". Couldn't believe he'd said it. Almost asked him to repeat.
Back on the road and again fairly empty> I did have to overtake a couple of RVs though. I was doing 120 kph with ease. The wind was very difficult in places and remained so for the rest of the day. Sun absolutely beating down and the bike was showing 24.5ºC. Like of the Rockies on our right shoulders as impressive a wall as I've ever seen.
But all good things come to an end and all too quickly and rather unexpectedly, we hit the Crows Nest and straight into a line of traffic. More construction and lots of people incapable of maintaining the speed limit over the lumps and bumps rising up to the pass itself. Thought everyone here had cruise control. Constantly changing from 5th to 6th and back again as we cross 100 kph gear cutover point on the RT. Most frustrating ride we've had since leaving Vancouver.
Was beginning to get tired now and so stopped at Sparwood next to the world's largest truck. And it is big. Had lunch at a Subway managing to throw Wifey's cup of tea all over their floor. Bloke behind the counter took pity and gave us a refill for free.
The last 30 kms to Fernie passed quickly and as the Best Western is on the 3, we couldn't miss it.
Rather impressed by the Best Western. Nice and clean reception and very comfortable room. Unpacked, snoozed a bit then went down to the in-built Boston Pizza for dinner. A couple of the waitresses were not very attentive but thankfully the one we had was great with a good sense of humour. She got a goodly tip. Too much eaten again. Cactus potatoes were nice but their sliders were not a patch on those served in the Kampinski in Doha. Them Kampinski sliders are the best burgers I've ever eaten.
Wifey managed to drop my Smart PC on the slate floor but luckily it passed the drop test and continues to work.
Quick write up today as it was a fairly quick day with few stops. We'd ridden for 5 hours and covered 363 kms today.