Thursday, July 3, 2008
Banff, Alberta to Dawson Creek, BC-529 miles
Day 8. July 1, 2008. Happy Canada Day!! Today was a good one. We left the Homestead Hotel around 8:30am and decided to ride to Lake Louise via Hwy 1-A, which turned out to be a good choice. It is a two lane road that parallels the big highway and basically goes through the woods to Lake Louise.
At Lake Louise, we decided not to go into the town; from the maps it appeared to be a tourist trap. So, we got on the Icefields Parkway , Hwy 93. We rode a few miles and discovered that gas was a long way down the road, so we turned around to go into Lake Louise to get gas. Our guess was right; mostly a tourist trap.
Gas was an ordeal, and seems to be an ordeal as we travel. Had to wait to get to the pumps and hurry away to let others get gas. Maybe Canada is a good place to open a few gas stations! They seem to be few and far between up here.
The Icefields Parkway is awesome. I can't begin to adequately describe it. Basically, it's a wide, two lane highway with speedlimits about 55 mph that runs between two mountain ranges for a hundred miles or so. HUGE mountains on both sides, many with snow in crevasses and on the tops of them. Waterfalls along the way from melting snow and ice. Rivulets of water running down the sides of the mountains, getting larger as they go lower and run in a gush into the creeks and rivers. Simply beautiful. So glad we chose this route and got to ride the Icefields Parkway.
The weather was pleasant; not hot nor cold. There was one area on the Parkway where it got pretty cool, but I was wearing the bumblebee and pretty comfortable. The skies were mostly cloudy, but not threatening rain.
Rode to Grande Prarie and decided to ride another 80 miles to Dawson Creek so we could be at the beginning of the famous Alaska Highway. Stayed at Mile 0 Campground in Dawson Creek.
So far, we've ridden over 3,500 miles on this adventure. We've had only one day of really difficult riding; the day in North Dakota fighting the wind. We had one day of torture in Chicago sitting in traffic. And just a little rain mixed in one day. All in all, 8 days of good riding so far.
Weather has been great, overall. Only one day with rain, and one day with difficult winds. So, we've been fortunate.
The bikes have done excellent. Mine has used a couple ounces of oil since the oil change (now 4,500 miles since change). Gary's started out overfilled and is still overfull. They look like crap! BUGS, dust, and mud. All over them!! Each morning I wash my windshield, headlight, and Motolights; otherwise, I'd not be able to see or be seen. I dab at some of the bugs' spatter, but it will need a good washing and detailing when I get home. Maybe have time and opportunity when we're in Anchorage?? They will get an oil change in Anchorage before we head home. Tires look fine on mine, but I don't know if they will hold out all the way back home. Gary will need a rear tire before home, probably, since they had some visible wear before we left home. But the bikes have held up well.
Tomorrow we hope to ride to Laird Hot Springs and camp there. It's about 500 miles, but will be great to jump in the natural hot springs. I've never done that, so it will be a first that I've wanted to do for a long time.