Published: July 8th 2011July 7th 2011
Wednesday July 6, 2011
Planning and Equipment
I now have 3 kick stands on my bike. That is 2 on the bike and 1 for the trailer. The initial kick stand was not holding the weight so well. The bike has not fallen over yet but has come very close a few times. Today has been largely uneventful and restful so I feel I should mention my good fortunes.
While I did some research on bike touring at Christmas time I went into all of this with no real experience. That being said, knock on wood (as the saying goes) I don’t think I could have planned, timed or equipped myself much better than I have.
I feel my timing has worked perfectly when making my decisions. I could not have started earlier in the year due to my heavy equipment course. But to start my trip hitchhiking and then to bus vs. hitchhike; giving myself the 2 days for the purchase of the bike; making the run to Drumheller have all worked perfectly. I feel that I have made the best purchases with the available resources available to me and my product research has paid for itself.
There is after all a more expensive and better quality and lighter “things” on the market. I have used all the camping equipment that I carry. The only thing I have thrown out is one of those $2 yellow egg holders. For the record they only give you a false sense of security that your eggs won’t crack. Notice the word ‘false”. If I could do 1 thing different it would have been to purchase a smaller much lighter lap top for this kind of trip. My lap top is way too heavy. That being said that would have cost at least $400.00 extra and that was definitely not in the budget.
As far the bike goes; had I bought a “touring” style bike vs. the mountain style bike or had I gone with more bike bags vs. the trailer or had I gone with clipless pedal like many bike tours do I surely would have run into real trouble by now. I am sure I would have killed myself on the gravel roads. I am so pleased with the decisions made.
I don’t doubt that hard times and equipment failure will come at some point. Spirits and
attitude have been high every day. But thanks be to God for watching over me.
I didn’t sleep well last night; well more like it took forever to fall asleep. First shower in 3 days, first beers in 2 weeks and first bed in over a week and I can’t fall asleep? I spent the first part of the day traveling through Canmore looking for some kickstands and getting a few groceries. Canmore is very clean, neat and built for tourism. It has that Rocky Mountain type Main Street that makes people wanna walk and shop. I rode through quickly. I took time to wipe my bike and gear clean of all the dust I had accumulated from the past few days. The rest of the afternoon I read outside with the Rockies in full view. The hostel was quiet and empty. I also investigated what is ahead of me regarding my bike ride. Supposedly the ride is fairly flat all the way to Lake Louise. But after Lake Louise all the way up to Jasper expect a lot of climbing. The thing is that there are 220 km’s between Lake Louise and Jasper. I think I am in
for my greatest physical challenge ever.
Thursday July 7, 2011
Bears, Elk and Big Horn Sheep All Within 1 Kilometer
I’m the type of guy who is up and out of the house in 5 minutes or less, that being said I it is rare to be on the road before 11:00 am while I am biking. I’m sure sleeping in till 9:30 every morning and then making breakfast has something to do with it.
Leaving Canmore this morning forces me on the TransCanada Hwy; which is very busy with posted speed limits of 110 km per hour. Fortunately just past Banff is the Bow Valley Parkway. The Bow Valley Parkway parallels the TransCanada but with posted speeds at about 30 km’s per hour. The low speed limit is because of wildlife on the road which I would find out about pretty quickly.
Minutes into my start down the Parkway 3 cyclist came riding by and exclaimed that there was a mother bear and 3 cub’s right by the road. Unfortunately these cyclists also made it difficult to get good pictures because they were riding around in circles on the road and talking excitedly. My
father taught me in order to enjoy wildlife you are to be quiet with no movement. It was as if these guys had never seen a bear before. Anyways the bear and her cubs did what any animal would do; move on. It occurred to me though that this was the first time I was near a bear without the protection of a car.
A few minutes later around the next bend was a bunch of vehicles stopped at the side of the road. They were watching an elk. Unfortunately he was a ways in the forest and was not going to provide me with any kind of picture; that being said either was the lady who kept asking me about my bike ride. I had never seen an elk before, at first I thought it was a moose it was so big. I never realized elk got so big.
A few minutes later around the next bend were 6 Big Horn Sheep. I had never seen these guys before either. Fortunately they are not camera shy and graze right beside the road. So within 1 kilometer were 4 bears, an elk and 6 Big Horn Sheep. A
few miles down the road was another bear but he would not provide with a very good picture. But with kind of start I think I will get plenty more opportunities in the near future.
Traffic was fairly light on the parkway; there were a few hills but nothing I could not handle. I drove 80 km’s today and am staying in the hostel in Lake Louise. It is far busier than Canmore and bit more money. $38.00 for the night; ouch; but whatever. I think there are too many bears in the area to camp if I don’t have to. My big concern is that I can’t store my food properly without a car. If I was in the wilderness I could carry my bear vault a ways away from my camp. I can’t really do that in a campsite without someone else walking away with it and it cost me $80.00. And it is not worth having a bear rip through my gear at this stage. There will be plenty of wilderness camping when I get past Jasper.
There are more photos below