Archive | July, 2012

Big Muddy SK

31 Jul

On my way I got a personal tour of the CPR McCord train station by Joyce, a knowledgeable and dedicated volunteer. Thankyou.
It seems a shame that Canada must be one of the only countries removing railway lines so that the local roads get beaten up with increased truck traffic.

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This pump hasn’t been working for a few years so I filled up at the Co-Op across the road.

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I found my way to the store in Big Beaver that “has all you need”; for me that was a cold drink and a T-shirt, and some helpful tips about road conditions.

Saskatchewan gravel roads

30 Jul

Some old paved roads on hwy #13 in remote southwest corner of the province have been covered over with glacial gravel instead of proper repair.
It’s sort of like riding on ball bearings. Some of the deep gravel got the best of my front tire and I lowsided at about 45kph.

site of my lowside wipeout on old paved road recently graveled

No real damage, and no injury; my Road Crafter suit worked well, so did the lever guards. The tough aluminum side cases do a great protecting the bike. The nice irony about this gravel is that bikes and riders can slide nicely with minimal harm on it. No good for tire traction, but ok to slide on.
Reid, if you’re following, Jack’s Cafe in Eastend SK was closed but I ate a good sandwich across the road at Charlies Lunch. I was a bit off my game after my slide, and didn’t get to some places that you suggested. I’m revising my route this evening to get south to hwy #18 tomorrow. I’ve learned on this trip so far, that neither South Dakota nor Saskatchewan have much shade and both seem to be hot and windy. Strong crosswinds and loose gravel roads make for very technical riding; so on my fully loaded Vstrom I’m very challenged.
Another T storm is happening this evening, glad I in a motel in Ponreix and not my tent.
I stopped briefly for a break and quickly looked at the museum in Cadilac.


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I had some cold rootbeer upon checkin at the Parkside Inn; where there is a train out my window between the motel and the park.

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

29 Jul

On the way I saw a hail storm in the distance, I was riding towards it and you can see the swath of hail as it is falling. Although I never encountered the storm,  I later saw the large melting hailstones on the road side.

Alberta hail storm

I’m camping here for the night, at Elkwater townsite. Didn’t ride far today but saw lots. I had lunch on the top of the plateau, highest point between the Rockies and Labrador. This plateau didn’t get glaciated although everywhere around did. I looked towards Red Bay NL but couldn’t make it out. Need I mention that I found a neat rock to carry home.
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This slip, affecting the road, is at the very narrow transition at the edge of the glacial sheet. The fine mud doesn’t make for good road building.

Want to read more the Cypress Hills area ? I recommend reading  “A Geography of Blood” http://arts.nationalpost.com/2012/09/07/open-book-a-geography-of-blood-by-candace-savage/

Southern Alberta

29 Jul

Lots of highspeed sweepers and most of the paved roads have a good surface; some of the gravel roads that I’d planned into gps route are not suitable for me.There is far too much fresh loose glacial round stones for me to expect to stay upright.
I’ve had a good day with hail on the roadside, threatening skies mixed with hot and sweaty sunny conditions.

hail by the roadside

The Canadian National Historic Windpower Center aka Etziom Museum.

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Headed homebound – from Crowsnest Pass BC

27 Jul

Made a backtrack into BC just to ride the pass. Did a U-turn, took a picture, made a SPOT checkin, and began riding east; homebound.
Riding through Kananaskis, the Bow and Spray Valley parks, Peter Lougheed park was great. Good highways, no technical challenges except for some rain wetted road surfaces; but possibly my best photo opportunity yet with the changing weather.
I stopped for a break and considered a short hike until I saw the grizzly notice and closure sign.

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Apparently a bear was in the area feeding on carcas and they are rather possessive about their lunch.

Because of the T-showers that I experience during the day and weather forecasts including severe hail reports I won’t be sleeping in my tent and am staying in motels.

Hello Road Toads

27 Jul

I stopped for a break this morning and thought of you all. Tom, in May 2008, I was a Vstrom newbie, we were on our way to the Dragon, and you said that I was on a logarithmic learning curve. That day was over 100,000km ago and I’m still on the same curve; it does get steeper as I ride and learn along.  Thankyou, Tom, Bruce, Jim, Art, James, and Gerhard; I’ve learned much from you all.
The Dragons on my faring are still keeping me safe, and my name tag is on my neck.

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Kananaskis Country

26 Jul

Rain started in Lake Louise, serios rain as I passed through Banff and Canmore. Because of  changing weather I’ve treated myself to a luxury night at Stoney Nakoda Resort, there are few accomodations in the Kananaskis and I hadn’t had a shower in 3 days so I was due for a cleanup. Of course I don’t want to attract any more curios bears with BO.
The picture taken out my room window shows nasty clouds. Rich colours darkening and starting to rain.
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Outside pictures were better, sky colours were amazing …