We were riding against the wind.

Cycle Day #17 Coleman to Lethbridge – 147 kms 678 vertical meters

Elevation profile is incorrect for some reason.

Waited in line for breakfast at Chris’ Restaurant in Coleman. We have been through Coleman MANY times, but actually never into town, and definitely never to Chris’. Think Alice’s Restaurant – you know the song right? Of course you don’t. But Terry put it on a cassette for me years ago and I used to run to this ludicrous song by Arlo Guthrie and it still plays in my psyche. I think this is the reason I don’t run anymore.

Changed our route from heading south as weather forecast showed one day of strong westerlies, then strong east or northeast winds until well, forever!!!! We enjoyed the push, almost felt like a Road Biker, averaging 35kmph, until mid morning when the NE winds started earlier than promised. Our speed was cut in half – visualize those car ads where the car hits a wall at high speed, but the air bag saves the people. That was us without the airbag. With forecasts of 20 – 30 mm of rain and steady east winds with up to 50kmph gusts and daytime highs of 5 degrees, we agonized about where to wait this out for a day or 7. In the end, not wanting to make our epic ride more epic-er and preferring not to ride on a long weekend, we returned to Fernie for a few days. DON’T BE CRAZY, I don’t backtrack 40 meters for a meal! We rented a truck and got home in time for a hot tub and dinner.

We have friends that did this ride across Canada in jean shorts. We know people that camped the whole way across Canada. We read about people that cycled across Canada in just over 200 cycling hours. Indomitable? Stalwart? Dauntless? Whatever those people are, we are none of them. We are determined to enjoy this very long adventure, and in this case, it meant retreating home for a bit.

Cycle Day #18. Lethbridge to Taber. – 54 kms 40 vertical meters

After 4 days in Fernie, we returned to Lethbridge, dropped off the rental truck, put on our long underwear and headed east, determined not to let the cold, rain or head winds discourage us. Steve K’s iconic adage “Sure is cold and windy. But at least it’s raining.” was funny when he said it, not so much coming from Jay, four times today. I grimaced and wiped off the mud and gravel his wheel was spitting at my face. Apparently we did not hunker down in Fernie long enough.

These two galloped to the road to greet us!

Came to rest in the corn capital of Taber, Alberta – unfortunately several months ahead of harvest time. A lot of our ride destinations are currently being dictated by available accommodations. And by that I don’t mean “acceptable” accommodations. I mean something with a roof and a furnace.

Cycle Day #19 Taber to Foremost. – 88 kms 213 vertical meters

Plan made, plan amended. We were to continue on the same side (paved) road that brought us into Taber, but it turns out that on the east side of Taber it is a freshly grated gravel road – think deep, back tire sliding, stupid gravel.

Three options:

  1. Continue on this road for 40 kms then head directly into 28kmph north headwind to end up in Bow Island – chosen for the sole reason that it has a motel of sorts.
  2. Head straight north to highway 3 and travel along this busy highway and land in Bow Island – see above.
  3. Head south, enjoy the tail wind, and camp in Foremost Alberta. Yes I said CAMP!!!!

A betting person probably would not have guessed number 3, but that’s what we decided. Desperate times…

Not sure what I’m smiling about, we are heading into it at this point!

The ride was fantastic! The gravel roads were better than the first road we were on, and we enjoyed some pavement AND a tail wind for a while. But the highlight of the day was Hugh, who stopped his semi and wanted to know if we were lost. Hugh said he hadn’t seen a bike rider out here for years. “And he was lost”. After a short but entertaining conversation about our ride, our preferred routes and his life, he pushed money into our hands, insisting on supporting either our ride with dinner or our special needs bikes. His will be our first donation! (We are still finalizing the logistics, and will let you know!!!)

Quite a threessome – this llama, goat and donkey seemed to be best friends. They chased us along the fence line when we left!
Jays next vehicle

Not to take away from Hugh being our highlight today, but after careening down a coulee into Foremost reaching 70 kmph (oh, and digging our butts out the other side) there IS a motel in Foremost – AND it had a roof and a furnace. And even if we did want to camp (which we didn’t) the campground is full of workers who are building 500 windmills (Trudeau would be proud) this summer between Foremost and Bow Island! I love Foremost.

No, not our hotel.

I loved the endless exactness of the newly planted fields. Lines almost as straight as my brother’s lawn.

Harvesting the wind – a west wind would harvest marvellously as well. Just sayin’.

13 thoughts on “We were riding against the wind.

  1. Gord Otto

    My takeaway:
    A. Really hard to leave Fernie, and always worthwhile to return.
    B. You are visible to truckers (a good thing).
    C. Jay will one day travel cross the country on a tractor. Probably alone.


  2. Margareth Carrothers

    Debbie and Jay, really enjoying your post very much! Personally squirming through the wet and cold a few times with you:) . Thinking of you lots. Sure hope Jay brings you coffee in the morning. 😀



  3. Heather Doucet

    I don’t get why you don’t run though I think it is a horrible activity and I have never tortured myself with it but it is not Alices fault is it?

    I love the truck driver story.

    And I love your perspective… have fun!

    Love you too. Heather



  4. Larry Todd

    Gotta say….love reading these blogs. Your road experiences so interesting….and honing your coping skills !!! Hope there are lots more Hughs on your route! GO ZAMMITS!!


  5. Marianne and Gary

    A Canadian blessing.
    May the smooth paved roads rise up to meet you.
    May the winds always be at your back.
    May the sun rise warm upon your face.
    May the rain fall upon the fields and forests but not upon you.
    May spring actually arrive in Canada.
    May there be many more Hughs on your path.
    And until we meet again, may God hold you safely in the hollow of His hand.
    MA and G


  6. M and G

    Neither wind, nor sleet, nor rain, nor snow….
    Shall keep the Joy Ride from the completion of their journey!
    We hear the Pony Express is hiring.
    Jay should apply.
    Tractors welcome.


  7. jenfkoury

    we are now going to stop at Chris’ restaurant in Coleman! 🙂 Love reading these blogs…..gotta’ love the Hugh’s of the world!


  8. Gord Otto

    Following your journey continues to inspire me.
    I now feel that I, too, must have a llama, goat and donkey vigilantly guarding the perimeter, and keeping pesky cyclists away…


  9. Jodi Zammit

    Love these pictures of the animals and the old buildings!!! Hell I would have taken the horse for the rest of the adventure!! Beautiful horses!! Of course they would come and meet you! Horses are very intelligent The donkey not so much lol but is very cute!
    Well hope the weather is better and not so heavy winds


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