Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Photos are in

Finally, 9 months later.
See the 2014 GDR III Photos page on the left.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Banff - July 16 and beyond

A short day of riding into Banff, only 19 miles. I was up early and riding by 6:30. There is no traffic on the dusty Smith-Dorian road at that hour. As I rode I noticed that the trees nearest the road are not green but grey, they are covered with dust if they are within 10 yards of the road, the prevailing winds must be from the west because the trees on the east side are less green than the ones on the west side. After 5 miles I started looking for my left turn onto a trail which leads into Banff. I came around a corner and there was a moose in the road eating something. I stopped and watched, it heard me and looked over but didn't move. I waited for about 15 minutes for a vehicle to come by but none came. I could see a road to my left which I assumed was my turn so I got off the bike and started pushing it cross country. A little closer to the moose than I liked but it didn't seem to care. When I hit the road there were bike tracks and I started down hill. After a little riding it dead ended and it was obvious that this wasn't my turn so I backtracked to the main road. When I got there the moose was gone, I hoped that it wasn't just off in the woods where I might not see it before I got to close. A little more riding down the maim road and I hit the trailhead. The next 15 miles were on a multi-use trail. It was posted closed because a bridge was washed out in last years flooding but there were bike tracks so I kept riding. About 3 miles from Banff I came to the stream crossing. The water was over my knee and moving fast. I couldn't pick up the whole bike and keep my balance while crossing the rocky stream so I used the front wheel as a point of balance and lifted the back end as high as I could. I rode into Banff and really just wanted to ride out as quickly as I could. This happened two years ago; too many cars and people. I ended up riding through town because it was the route I knew and it passed Tim Horton's. After eating I rode up to the Trans-Canada and headed to Canmore. Because I had gone to the wrong end of town I had to ride on the shoulder for a few miles before catching a bike path which paralleled the highway. Unfortunately it had been washed out in spots and was moved to the highway shoulder for a few miles. I hit Canmore after 20 more miles of riding and stopped at the info center to find out if there was somewhere I could get cleaned up. They directed me to the community rec center which was beautiful - library, climbing wall, weight room, pool. The bike racks were full and as I was looking for a spot to park my bike a woman came up and said she was just leaving. We talked and she ended up giving me a pass which saved me $8. I got to shower and then soak in the hot tub. I forgot to bring in my pack towel and I was wearing my running shorts in the pool so I dried off under the hair driers. After cleaning up I went for lunch and then an ice cream cone. On the way back to the rec center John called. John and Deighen are paddling friends of Diane. John drove from Calgary to Canmore to pick me up. They picked up a bike box for me and let me stay with them, and fed me, Wednesday and Thursday while I boxed the bike, did laundry and got ready for the trip home. Friday morning they dropped me at the bus station in Calgary. I'm now sitting on a bus headed for Thunder Bay. The ride was supposed to take 30 hours but due to a driver shortage I'll get in 3 or 4 hours late.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16th--41 days, 2 hours, 10 minutes

The end of the trail

Spray Lakes CG - July 15

My penultimate day of riding and it just keeps getting better. It rained last night driving me into my tent early, the mosquitoes were so bad I was heading there anyway. A gradual climb this morning leading to a steeper climb to get over Elk Pass. Then a very steep descent to the Boulton Creek Trading Post for a very expensive lunch. I saw a group of at least 25 riders heading south; all heavily loaded. At the trading post I ran into a woman from Hawaii who is riding solo. From there bike path down to Smith-Dorrien Spray Road which was 15 miles of unpleasant riding on a loose, dusty and heavily trafficked road - no one slows for you, this isn't Montana. Finally I cut west to catch a combination of trail and closed two track which cuts around the west side of Spray Lakes Reservoir. The mountains around me are spectacular. I finally saw a bear today. A large black bear crossed the two track about 50' in front of me. I stopped and yelled but it didn't seem too worried. It stopped about 20' into the woods and just looked at me. I ended up just riding past. About 5 miles later I hit the last campground before Banff. At 5:00 I could have made Banff but can't afford to spend the night there so I stopped to set up camp. After having dinner I've got 3 Cliff Bars left to get me to Banff.

80 miles today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blue Lake Rec Site - July 14

A fantastic morning of riding. Very rough road, flooding out in spots, several bridges out. Following the Flathead river along land owned by a mining company which means the road is not maintained and is only passable to ATVs or bicycles. This is where I saw a grizzly bear on the road two years ago. Here is what the map says:
 This scenic drainage is called the “Serengeti of North America” by biologists for its unrivaled wildlife populations, and it’s the last major valley in British Columbia to be completely undeveloped. The rolling road following the Flathead River is known to locals as “Grizzly Bear Highway” so be very “bear aware.”
The road ends at a coal mine in Corbin. From there pavement into Sparwood and on to Elkford. Then gravel again up to Blue Lake which is loaded with mosquitoes.

81 miles today.