after the storm
Its official I am a bloody idiot and what a day it feels like I have just done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. This is the toughest day since I began this trip and this is why. I got up looked out of the window and it looked like it had been raining and was damp so I slowly pulled my kit together I was glad I had not been in the tent last night and I went outside to load the bike chatting to a guy about the wind as it was a bit blustery. Me telling him I come from Holland and I am used to riding in strong winds blah blah etc. I finally hit the road and have to cross the river same bridge as I had fun with last night and it not just blustery but the wind is quite strong and it is difficult to stay in my lane oh well onward and forward I stop to fill up with petrol I have to be careful that the bike does not blow over and I decide to skip breakfast for a bit and see what the weather is going to do it is still dry but there are strong winds. I hit the road out of town and within 5 minutes I was regretting the fact that I had left the safety of Saskatoon and I was being blown all over the highway fortunately it was a 2 lane highway and I had very little traffic to contend with but the wind was horrendous so I decide to keep going struggling to get up to 100km an hour and the speed limit is 110km so for once on this trip on the right side of the law speed wise sanity wise I should not have been out there at all. I kept going just trying to get as many km under my belt as possible fighting the bike and the wind all the way I stopped looking at my instruments this was depressing 530km still to go and not any less at any speed. Then it started to rain so I tried to find shelter from the wind so that I could manage the bike and I pulled out all my wet weather gear I batten downed the hatches and I kept moving forward. After about 140km in North Battle ford I decided to stop for some food, as I needed some comfort food as I was not a happy bunny as I had been scared shitless for the last couple of hours. So Tim Horton’s for some nourishment. I took some comfort that maybe I not totally mad as I had seen 2 other motorbikes out on the road today. Time to hit the road again it was cold wet and windy and I was already knackered but I think the wind had let up a bit or I had just got used to it or I was getting hit from an another angle it seems easier not altogether pleasant but doable.
Next incident was the usual issue that there is never a petrol station around when you wanted one and I was busting for a pee and a poo (to much info I know but the next bit you will laugh at as it is relevant) I did a 10km detour to a 1 horse village with petrol station and I rushed in and asked for the loos and then had a hilarious struggle trying to get my waterproofs, boots and leathers off while trying not to piss and shit myself it was a close call loo covered in bits of wet motorcycle gear which I had to get back into afters. I walk out after god knows how long I had been in there, there was a different girl on the till than when I first went in which was a relief as I had really dashed in like a mad man.
I filled up the bike and hit the road again it was now dry and bit warmer and the wind had dropped or maybe I had come oblivious to it. I got to Edmonton just in time for rush hour, which was quite difficult as there where still strong gust of wind but this time with traffic to contend with. I went straight to Alberta Cycle to see about a service and new tyres for the bike and they told me to come back at 10am tomorrow and he will see if he can fit me in during the day which is excellent if this works as I was expecting not to be able to get anything done so fast.
Next to the hostel, which unlike all the others I have been to it was remarkably full, all they had was a space in a 2-man dorm still reasonable rate though. I went to get some food and I am now writing this and reflecting on the day I just looked at the internet and it says that it was gusting with winds of 25km/hr. currently but it had been as high as 50-75 km/hr. bloody hell and there where allegedly a couple of confirmed tornadoes today in the region I should have stayed in bed I am getting to old for this ;-0
Not many photos today as I was to busy fighting the weather and for the stats guys amongst you on average I am getting 21km per litre of fuel today it dropped to 15km per litre of fuel so it is not only me that was suffering but the bike had a tough day fighting into the wind as well so some TLC for her tomorrow.
serious TLC for me bike
A very domestic day the first thing I did was get the bike to Alberta Cycle Edmonton that opened at 10am there was a bit of queue but the guy I had spoken to yesterday said I could be served first. Cool. They where not able to do a full service at such a short notice and in such a small timeframe but they where able to do a an oil change fix a the tube from my chain lubricator and put on 2 new tyres and it would all be ready by 4pm this afternoon so you cannot get much better than that and at reasonable prices as well which was a pleasant surprise. I got the bus back to the hostel which is always exciting in a strange town as you have no idea of the route and only a vague idea of where your stop is I missed my one by one so a bit of an extra walk for me. I did my washing and while I was doing this I was researching routes to Alaska and yet I still do not have a clue. After all my domestics I wandered back into town hot sunny day and a big hills to climb I found yet another festival but before I could get into this it was nearly 4pm so had to go and pick my bike up. The question that I need to double check is there anything vitally important needed doing for the bike at the 12,000km service interval the only thing that needs replacing are the spark plugs but I think I can live with doing that for a while but I need to a double check on the internet to check for certain.
I picked the bike up and headed back to the hostel for me tea tonight I nuked a lasagne and it is 7.30pm and I am debating whether or not to drag myself back to the free festival in town or veg in the hostel as I am still very cream crackered. I have got itchy feet so I will be hitting the road again tomorrow so this could be last chance to see Edmonton. Decisions decisions?
Big Thank you today for Mike at Alberta Cycles Edmonton for looking after my bike and me so well at such short notice it is much appreciated.
I ended up staying in and trying to get blogger (replacement for iWeb) to work with a dodgy Internet connection, which was a pain. It is a shame that I did not get to see more of Edmonton but I also need some down time so I cannot be out and about all of the time and it was good to have a night doing nothing much.
Camping Grand Prairie
Back in the saddle again a great day and I have finally reached the Rockies. Got out on the road at a reasonable time shame I had not seen more of Edmonton but you cannot do everything and choices need to be made. I had breakfast at Tim Horton’s and I hit the road pleasant rolling countryside so it looks like I have left the prairies behind and later just coming into Hinton my first sight of the Rockies and I knew that I had got across the prairies. I hit the road to Grande Cache and it was a wonderful winding roads with interesting scenery and I finally ended up in Grande Prairie camping again which sounds wonderful except the place is crawling with mosquitoes and the campsite for tents is miles from the loos complex I am watching the sun going down but not sure how much longer I can stand this as the mossies’ are driving me nuts its only 10pm but I may be diving in my tent to escape them!!!
I couldn’t stand it any longer so I am hiding in my tent doing a Sudoku what an exciting life I am leading
Back into the Mountains Yeah 🙂
The surprising thing about sleeping in the tent is how well I actually do sleep so I did not wake up till 9.30am and slepped the miles to the shower complex. It had been raining and was still drizzling a bit so thought I would be packing a wet tent but it dried pretty quickly. Showers need a dollar coin to work of which I had but only one as I thought one should be more than enough but halfway through the water switched of and I was still covered in soap normally you are left with just cold water but this one stopped completely and it was miles back to the tent so I was well pissed of by now. By the time I hit the road it was 11.30am after I had some breakfast my usual at the first Tim Horton’s that I passed. The roads where straight and long as I had come out of the Rockies and was in the prairies again I guess the clue is the name of the place I was leaving but soon I hit the British Colombia border and Dawson Creek Milestone 0 of the Alaska Highway and the scenery vastly improved.
Right Road ?
I got some maps and info at the visitor center so that I have a better idea on where I am going and I am all excited and I cannot wait to hit the road. Cackling and giggling to myself in my helmet Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and now British Colombia at milestone 0 of the Alaska highway I have done about 9,000km already and yet it feels like this is just the beginning of the trip. Somebody at the campsite last night said the run from Grande Prairie to Fort Nelson was dull well if that was dull I can’t wait for the rest as I was well impressed even when it started to rain this could not dampen my spirits. I gained another hour coming into BC so got to Fort Nelson at about 7pm a hard day of more than 600km so the first port of call to see if there was any affordable (my budget) non camping options, unfortunately not bugger so I found a campsite in town and I am swamped with mossies’ yet again I hate the little fecker’s. I brought a little yellow bracelet today, which is supposed to keep them away for 200hrs! It did not work me thinks but what do you expect for 2 bucks. I have just finished a huge Prime Rib dinner with a bake potato that was just what I needed and I am charging my computer and updating this. I will go for a bit of a walk and see if I can get on the Internet to publish this back at the campsite and see if I can avoid the mosquitos but I think that is doubtful. It is Canada day tomorrow and there is a parade so I may hang around for that and then back on the road as the next town which is only 600km away!
Right Road guess it is!
On the road to Jasper
I forgot to mention yesterday an encounter I had with a brown bear as I was zooming down the road I came round a corner and in the middle of the road was a brown bear I was doing some speed and he seem reluctant to move, now when this normally happens with the smaller animals you just brace yourself and hope they get out of the way and if not there will be a bit of squish and a small bump no problem so far no bump with the larger animals they normally have a bit of panic but eventually move however with this fella he seem reluctant to move and I was bearing down on him fast (get the pun) mmm what to do luckily he decided to move and I whizzed pass safely but scary and exciting all at the same time.
Now on with today I pulled the bike out of the hot tub showroom she seemed reluctant to leave cannot blame her as she is in serious need of some serious TLC she already has 19,000km on the clock and as yet never had a proper service I need to think about new tyres, new brake pads and a bloody good service I am waiting till I hit the US for some reason I think it may be cheaper there. It was a hot day but unfortunately there was what I thought was a heat haze but I found out later that they’re where some huge fires in Siberia and this was the result so even if the scenery was gorgeous I was unable to see much of it. Luckily it cleared up when hit Alberta and drove into Jasper National Park.
I had checked at McBride to see if there any place at the Jasper Hostel the answer was no but I decided to try anyhow and hey guess what there was room there when I arrived as there had been a cancelation so quick drive back to town as it about 7km out of town in the mountains to stock up for some provisions for dinner and then spent the rest of the evening trying to get pictures loaded on Amazon Cloud and failing miserably I am giving up on technology and I just found there is a max of 5GB only on Amazon Cloud for Dutch users why it is beyond me so again I am reviewing the situation.
The clocks had gone back an hour and this is a real hostel and the lights went out at 11pm which was 10pm for me so an enforced early night in a room with 42 other people which is a new record for me.
I have been whining about being tired a lot so I decided to have a rest day in Jasper well that was the plan I did have a bit of kip in or as much as you can with 42 other people getting up at various times. The plan was to go for walk up Whistler Mountain which was 7.5km what they failed to mention is that it is all up hill and you guessed it loads of flies I made it the top of the cable car in about 2 ¾ hours very hot and sweaty.
It was another 1.5 km to the top which I did at a very leisurely pace as I was knackered but worth it as the views were spectacular I could see storms further down the valley and I was just happy to soak up all the scenery it was breath taking I am a very happy bunny I was glad that I had done the walk even though was mosquito and fly food for most of the way.
I had decided to get the cable car down as I could not face the mossies’ and they do not check for tickets on the way down so I saved a few bucks on this. I got back to the hostel at about 5pm and had a little lie down as I was a little bit tired!
I then had a shower and then got on the bike into Jasper for me supper KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken or PFK Poulet Frit Kentucky for the French among you I felt I deserved some grease after all the energy I had expended today I also went for a wander and I sat on a bench and watched the world go buy a lot less flies and mosquitoes here which was a relief. I also went for a bit of a spin on what was supposed to be a bike free day but it was a lovely evening and there were a couple of lakes I had seen from the top of the mountain that looked worth a visit and when you on the bike and moving the flies and mosquitoes are less of a bother. Back to the hostel and updating this I will be glad tonight for the 11pm lights out tomorrow the Parkway and I am staying in Lake Louise tomorrow night weather may be a bit stormy in the morning but sunshine later in the day. So that’s a rest day and I am tireder than yesterday but a happy tired 🙂
Lake Patricia for me Mum
It Looks like a bear to me
There had been a storm during the night and some rain was expected today so I packed my bike very quickly as the mosquitoes where already out in there droves and I hit the road to Lake Louise. I had done this road 4 years ago so I was very familiar with it it was very pleasant but very familiar so maybe there is a lesson to be learnt here that I should not go back to familiar places that I liked in case they may not live up to my old expectations or I may have a to high of an expectations. Nice enough drive stopping of and taking pictures at the same places I had done in 2008.
Jasper National Park
I had big plans to go out on the Glacier tour when I reached the Ice Parkway but when I got there it was crawling with tourists and the queue was enormous and I did not fancy mingling with all the tourists as I am not a big fan of mass tourism and I guess I had been spoilt rotten over the last couple of weeks as I had been in the far north where there are very few tourist who actually make it up there. I am going to have to get used to mass tourism, as I will be soon entering the mass tourism capital of the world the good old US of A so I have to get used to be amongst people again. It took most of the day to do the 230km from Jasper to Lake Louise as I was in no particular hurry and I was soaking in the views and latter in the day it was me who was soaking as it was raining again it had been just been keeping clear all day but it got me very briefly at the end I could see it up the road and behind me and it tried a few times where I nearly succumbed to stopping and getting the waterproofs out finally it had caught up to me but luckily it was only a brief shower.
Jasper National Park
I had buggered my leg walking to a scenic lookout point it had cramped up solid in the left calf I did this a couple of weeks ago for the first time when I was in Whitehorse so I will be limping for a couple of days again as I am not sure what it is but when I am knackered my leg has a habit of stiffening up or cramping up its actually quite a good warning system only problem is that I end up walking like a prick for a couple days. I got to the Hostel at Lake Louise but its about 5 km away from the lake so not sure old stiff leg here is up to that today so went for a shorter walk to the local supermarket to get some food for my dinner they had very little choice so my feast for this evening is Heinz bake beans and pita bread. I am living like a king me.
Spent a pleasant evening listening to 3 First Nation Elders talking about their relationship with the Banff national Park around a campfire. This was a session organised by the hostel and it was very interesting except for some young German prick asking irrelevant or not appropriate questions which I felt spoilt the flow a bit other than that a very civilised and pleasant way to spend an evening and dare I say it the mosquitoes situation does not seem as bad as it was in Jasper. Last night I was talking to a very attractive German girl at a camp fire and I could only last for about 10 minutes before been driven inside by mosquitoes so to sit outside for more than 2 hours is very pleasant as I was crawling up the walls after 5 minutes yesterday so those extra 5 minutes took some serious will power. I hate mosquitoes!!!! Hopefully there will be less and less here’s hoping.