Cycle Day #17 Coleman to Lethbridge – 147 kms 678 vertical meters
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.
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.
- 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.
- Head straight north to highway 3 and travel along this busy highway and land in Bow Island – see above.
- 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…
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!!!)
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.
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’.