Monday, August 15, 2016

Day Thirteen - Banff to Calgary

Can you believe that this is the 13th day of riding. It's also the last day so while I'm excited to be riding, it's also bittersweet, knowing that at the end of the day, we will all be saying good-bye!

Again - another excellent dinner last night.   And then to top it off, a few of us had s'mores!   There's nothing like a good s'mores around a camp fire (or the camp stove!).  But it was great.  We really have an excellent crew and they have taken very good care of us.

After our after dinner snack, it was off to bed.  There had been a few drips of rain, but nothing too bad.  Then as I was laying in  my tent, a flash of lightening that was so brilliant, I thought I was blinded.  Don't forget we were camping in the trees!!!  The thunder was loud and close and shook the ground and sounded like it was traveling from one mountain top to the other.  There were several more lightening bolts and thunder and then it started to rain.  I think I fell asleep to the sound of rain.  Woke up in the middle of the night - wide awake. For no reason. I hate when that happens!!!

Finally back to sleep and obviously in a deep sleep because I was dreaming about all kinds of things.  Everything was mixed up.  I actually slept in by about 6 minutes as well. It makes a difference depending on how far apart the tents are.  And if the early birds are on your site or not!

While the temperature was cool, it wasn't too bad and the big question was what to wear?  Oh yes - I should mention that we woke up to DRY tents.  The rain didn't last very long and everything dried up overnight. I decided to not take my big rain jacket.  It wasn't going to rain and for the little bit of cold that I would experience until the sun came up - well I could bear that. 

I was off to visit Sugar Pine Company which is a quilt store in Canmore. The store doesn't open until 9 AM (thankfully not later than that as I don't think I would wait around).   I picked up the row by row stuff -  I know - I just couldn't help myself.  It was in the plans and well you'll just have to wait until I get home to see what I got.  I did have to wait 15 minutes before the store opened and I was even taking my time!  There is a beautiful bike path along the highway from Banff all the way to Canmore.  Makes for very pleasant riding.

Then back on the road to get to Calgary.  The roads were in pretty good shape, but after leaving Canmore, there was a lot of dust and I picked up something in my throat that was ugly.  I was coughing and hacking like I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day.  Finally after some disgusting throat clearing and some water, I was back in business.  It was pretty dusty in this area so I tried to ride with my mouth shut.  Doesn't work!

The traffic wasn't so bad and then at some point, we're riding along the foot hills, little traffic and it was just glorious.  The sun was out, the temperature was beautiful and it was just one of those days when you feel so glad that you can ride a bike. Had a quick stop in Cochrane to pick up more row by row stuff and then a jug of chocolate milk and a sandwich and I was off.

If you've ever been to Cochrane, there are a couple of things to note.  One - the urban sprawl out the west end is obscene (like most big cities) and secondly, it is easy to get into Cochrane from the west, but if you want to get out, you can take one of three routes.  Each of the three routes has a massive hill.  We were on the 1A and the hill was HUGE.  Not overly steep, but it went on and on and on.  Once up top of the hill, it was pretty clear sailing to Calgary.

Again, I rode by myself.  I really should learn to ride in a group, but this was a very strong group and I really hate to have the strong riders ride at my level, so I'm content to do my own thing. Then I don't have to harass anyone whenever I want to stop.  OK - I suck at hills and can't keep up!

The worst part of arriving in Calgary is getting from the main highway to the University.  There is a major highway (the same one that we were on). Which isn't too bad when there are no exits and entrances, but once you enter the city, well - it becomes a challenge. I decided to explore it for a bit - not a good idea. However there was a note in our maps about the train.  Whoa?  I like this idea.  So I saw the first station, but not before I realized what it was.  Then I hit the exit for the second station, bought a ticket and took the train right to the university.  It doesn't get much easier than that!!!!   Was that cheating?   Nope - it was on the sheet and way better than twisting and turning through the neighbourhoods.  And I didn't get lost!!!!   That was the important part!

And so ends my 6th cycling trip!   Hard to believe.  It feels like we just left Vancouver and yet I think I'm feeling every meter of climbing in my legs!  The crazy things we do in life!!!!

Got all my stuff lugged up to my room which is FAR away from the front door - of course.  Then texted Belinda (my Calgary Row by Row saviour!).  She brought my goodies over to the university.  I knew I wasn't going to have enough time to hit the stores here so Belinda was AMAZING!!!!!   We had a good chat and now I have another face to a name on the internet.  I love how accommodating us quilters are.  We will do anything for each other!  Thanks so much Belinda and so nice to meet you!!!!!

Back up to my room to get my bike apart and packed in the box.  I threw all the rest of my stuff on the bed.  Yikes - how am I going to get that all in the duffle bag????   I still have to finish packing tonight!

We had a great last dinner with everyone.  Pizza and beer.  So fun to reminisce all the stories.  Then everyone said goodbye and now I'm trying to finish packing my stuff.  I didn't buy anything (well just those darn row by rows), but there seems to be a lot of stuff.  Mind you, I can really cram things in the duffle bag!

On that note, there is NO ONE to tell me that 7:30 is too early for bed!  OK - it's already past 7:30 and I'm still awake.  I've got a few things that have to be done tonight in preparation for the flight in the morning and then it'll be back to reality!

Thanks for following along on the trip.  Once I'm home, I'll be going through my pictures and posting them so stay tuned for that.  It's just too difficult to do pictures in this set up and takes too long to load the blog posts.

Have a super super day!!!!!


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