Saturday, June 17, 2017

No Kms Friday;
127.0Kms Saturday
On Friday, after breakfast with Dave & Johanne Reid and Heather Reid, and a drive to last day of grade 12 for Frances Reid, we went for a walk with dogs Ruby and Sam to Lethbridge's Old Man River.

We didn't see pelicans then, but we did after our Mexican lunch. A flock were fishing as they drifted down the river and then took flight and soared overhead and back up the river. The evening included a lively Reid family reunion dinner!

On Saturday we headed out about 9am, and did quite well with distance in the first few hours out of Lethbridge and made time to take photos of the Alberta landscape near Lethbridge. Dave and Johanne met us with a picnic lunch just as a cloud burst over Fort McLeod.

We learned today that Albertans do not usually utter the word "wind" for fear of conjuring it up - oh, so that was our mistake. We now know that West to East is the way to do the Alberta section of a cross-Canada bike ride. If we hadn't known before, the thousands of wind turbines flinging their arms gaily to the West Wind has now confirmed this. The rest of the uphill, windy ride to Burmis was punctuated with kindly roadside check-ins from Dave & Johanne and we arrived at Bedside Manor about 8:30pm and then went with the Reids for dinner in Blairmore at Rum Runner Pub. The Burmis fishing lodge accommodation (Bedside Manor) was gorgeously located on a river with sweeping vistas of the surrounding valleys. There was a common, stocked cookhouse, which we were invited to use at our leisure. As it was quite late when we arrived back from our pub dinner in Blairmore, the Reid's stayed overnight in their parked camper van, with plans to leave early in the morning.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Our ride to the Reid's place in Lethbridge from Bow Island went really well, with some strong wind at us in the beginning and later part of the long ride, but for the most part the wind was okay. We put most of our effort today into just getting there and not focussing on photos. A particularly fun part of the ride was the final 5Kms, as Johanne Reid rode out from their house to meet us and ride home with us. We met Dave Reid's brother Mike for the first time and reacquainted with Heather Reid, whom we had not seen for about 25 years. Two of the three Reid children, Jonathan & Frances were around for dinner, which was super, and we chatted with Frances a bit about her upcoming transition to UVic, as she will be living at our house.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

No time for banana peel photos. Or, a cucumber chunk photo, as would have been the case today. The driving rain and wind from the West on a gentle up-hill climb felt like a 4% grade (so, in other words, good preparation for the Rockies). Only, it is somehow easy to manage to climb a hill when it is visible. Not so much when it is the wind, which can not be seen. So, it takes a different kind of strategy.
For a while, Y kept herself distracted by imagining a pencil drawing of the silver grey clouds with a rubbed grass and canola blossom wedge of fields and foreground of slick grey highway shoulder marked in chalk with numbers from a race or something. But the best strategy was one we use when canoeing with all our might into a storm by looking directly down at the water whizzing past, in spite of dragging along. Or, in today's case, watching the exposed aggregate shoulder whizzing past as we pedaled along at about 12Kms per hour. We kept in pretty good spirits and had a good laugh at seeing the piece of cucumber. At one point Y asked B if he was considering taking off his orange parachute rain jacket, and he replied that he wasn't as he wouldn't want to get going too fast for concern of getting wind burn. We did the 64.4Kms without stopping. That was not a good strategy and we need to remember to stop frequently, even when the going gets tough.
We were welcomed in to our accommodation in Bow Island early, and spent some time considering some changes to the next few days of increasingly heavy winds from the West. We called home and spoke to house sitter Meredith about things there, which was particularly uplifting. We've decided to keep our plan as is until after Lethbridge, as we will be getting closer to the mountains, where we anticipate that wind is less of a factor. Tonight we learned about Pinto's importance to Bow Island (known for it's dry bean industry) and posted to our Blog.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Glenn made us an expert breakfast, served in the Saloon - he said this was his first B&B hosting when the second B was for Breakfast and not Beer. We shared stories about travel and education and creative pursuits for a couple of hours and then we were on our way in the rain.

Happily we whizzed along with the wind and arrived at our Dunmore B&B by 5pm (Friendz of Ours). We had lightning and thunder with the rain at the half way point about 10Kms before the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, so stopped at the Alberta side information centre for over an hour to dry out a bit and warm up.
The staff there were welcoming and gave us a special snack pack for cyclists and B signed their cyclist guest book. They told us that cyclists rarely travelled East to West, as we are doing. So far, for many reasons, we are happy with our choice to travel East to West, but it does look like we are headed into some long sections in Southern Alberta with the wind from the West!

Monday, June 12, 2017

No Kms Sunday;
107Kms Monday
Sunday was a day of bike care for B and administrative work for Y in Swift Current, Saskatchewan as a storm passed. B also made our annual bear spray purchase at Canadian Tire and did the laundry. By Monday morning we were like new again, which we somewhat doubted after our relatively short ride of 50Kms into the wind on Saturday! Monday was a fantastic, gorgeous day with the wind swishing us like a feather to Piapot from Swift Current. The Canadian flags we passed along the route were all with us today!

We made time for a few more photos of the beautiful Saskatchewan landscape in blue, green, gold and white. The roadside was quite littered with unfortunate animals and often in clusters which made us think the hawk was after the field voles/gophers that were also being sought by the coyote, and then, *w*h*a*m*, lights out for all three. We also saw lots of birds and a few antelope (called pronghorn here). Y has also, since Regina, being seeing daily banana peel data (and one orange peel). So far, since leaving St. John's Newfoundland, she has seen at least one banana peel a day, with many on most days.
Late in the day, we met Kane Mercer who is from Victoria riding East in memory of his father Rand (Ride for Rand) and we let Kane know we had seen another trio decked out for a long haul East, and that he might catch up with them, as it sounded as if he was doing long distance days.
We arrived at the Piapot Saloon and Guesthouse (both closed, but still with off sales) and were met by the cheery owner Glenn Bonnet. He let us into the hotel and said that it was more like staying at his house and he would make breakfast for us, as there are no services in Piapot. We are in a cute, western theme room and can feel the train when it goes by - this reminds us a bit of the Wells hotel and we feel comfortable here.