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Day 222 – 18th July 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 18, 2009

Saturday – Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

I finally had a good night’s sleep and slept in, probably because I had ear plugs in, whatever it was, I felt refreshed. I started packing my gear up, but Mike and his family were all ready to rock and roll for their family day out, see ya and have a great day, thanks for everything 🙂

So, I dawdled along because I was going to meet Matt, but not until about 10.30. I was planning on doing some writing for the blog but the sun got too hot and in the end I just headed off to Matts place.

On the way there I realised I had had no breakfast so I stopped at a supermarket across the road and stocked up on noodles and sausages, and had a couple of donuts for the belly. I saw this great old Galaxy outside, excellent condition and the owner said it was a 57, nice stuff 🙂

So, I found Matts place easy enough and after short wait, where I found that Dan was not able to come along, we headed off south with his daughter Mikela along for the ride, I hope I got that spelling correct 🙂 The first stop was the visitor’s centre where Dan had told me I could pick up a camping guide for all of Alberta, British Columbia and Alaska, but the one on offer was quite pricey at $30, so I just used the free giveaways that they had. For something I was going to toss after a few weeks, it was not worth it, to me anyway.

The next hour and a half was just a boring run down the main highway to Calgary at a reasonable clip, the weather was good and we had light winds, we stopped at Gasoline Alley to fuel up and I grabbed some lunch, I needed something solid 🙂

We then kept heading south until the town of Olds where we swung west.

The further west we went, the better the view I had of the upcoming Rocky Mountains, but it was not until Cremona that they were prominent enough for my camera to pick them up. I can say that as they came closer the smile on my dial just kept on getting bigger and bigger 🙂

We had swung south and parallel with the mountain range and after an hour or so reached a certain town called Cochrane where we swung west again. From this point on, I was leading, as I had dialled in the Lat/Long co-ordinates for the Calgary riders Geocache into my GPS and we were about 30km away from it.

We found at that particular spot, a turn off to a picnic area down near the river. Now, we had no photo to point us to the cache, the only clue we had was ‘Up under the shade” Well, this place was covered in trees of course and we scoured the area, asking campers etc, but we found nothing that remotely looked like a clear waterproof box hidden there.

The only place that looked to be where it should be was a large fir tree next to the water’s edge, but there was nothing up there we could see. I guess either it has been nicked, or picked up already!

Well, there goes the plan for taking it to the Arctic Circle for a joke, the joke was on us 🙂 Never mind, off we go again. Matt had been trying to find out where Smurf was but it was still too early, so he was going to come for a ride into Banff with me and show me a few things as well as a good campground, nothing like local knowledge I reckon! As we got closer, the mountains loomed ever higher, they still had a bit of snow on them up high which meant cooler temps, but they promised twistys 🙂 🙂

There was a bit of a line up getting into Banff National Park. This is where I had to make a choice on how many days I would be staying as the passes varied in cost depending on duration of stay. After a discussion with Matt I chose a 12 month single person entry pass for $67.50 as I only needed to spend 7 nights total in all of Canada’s National Parks and I would break even. As I was going to be heading up through all the parks north, then back down south on the other side of the Rockies, this made a great deal of sense. Plus, I may be able to flog the pass off for half price with 10 months still on the clock when I leave Canada, although you are not supposed to do this 🙂

It was now only a short ride into Banff, a small township that serves this area. Once into the township Matt took me straight up to the Tunnel Mountain camp ground where I paid for two nights and in record time got the tent set up. I was doing it fast for practice, but it still takes time, as there are some fiddly bits 🙂

Matt had been advised by Smurf that he was on his way back already, so Matt and Mikala were going to have a lazy time, maybe stay out for the night and head back tomorrow, so we headed down town for some dinner. Matt had been here heaps of times and knew a nice place with cheap but great tasting food, it was called Melissa’s Missteak 🙂 Here we were served by an Aussie chick called Tanya, she is from the Gold Coast, came here for the snow, working the summer and staying for more snow, what a sucker for punishment 🙂

The tucker and beer was nice and I was shouted dinner by Matt, thanks m8 🙂 He had been trying to pay for my Parks pass, which I refused, then my camp site costs which I also refused, but beer and food, well you know, it would be an insult to refuse three times in a row wouldn’t it! I chose the pasta and bacon with garlic bread, very nice stuff 🙂

After dinner Matt and Mikela headed off to Calgary where they could probably stay with some friends. As we left I took this photo for Stoney(Mike), just to show him that you can fit a great big canoe on the roof of a small car, forget the kayaks m8, go canoe like you wanted, that way the dogs get to go as well 🙂

One thing we talked about during dinner was the fact of riding in the wet. I had mentioned that with an individual waterproof jacket liner and a separate over pant I was always ending up wet in the fork. This was because when riding in heavy rain, the water would be pushed up the outside of my pants and under the jacket and get wicked down by my t-shirt, so I always ended up with a wet crotch. I said that I was thinking about buying an oversize one piece rain suit to go over everything, so that hopefully I could ride for a lot longer and be drier. Well, blow me down he gave me one, honest!!! He just happened to have a bright orange suit that is used in the oil industry up here, well I mean he had one with him, but heaps more at home, so he gave me one. Thanks a million, hopefully I will never need it, but even though I will look like a great big orange popsicle with it on, I will hopefully be dry and visible 🙂

I headed back to the campsite and got things sorted for later, this meant shower, which turned out to be cold, although as I am writing this a few days afterwards, I can say I tried a different shower the next day and it was a hotter one, so I just lucked out tonight. As you can see I am quite close to the shower block, I requested this so I can charge some stuff from the only power points in the camp ground.

Just over the road from the shower block is the tucker room, this is the storage spot for all food items to deter bears. I made sure everything that was food was in a locker, just in case 🙂

I wrote a little on the blog until my laptop battery went low, and I also met a chap called Bob and his missus Heidi just over the road, no photo sorry. He rides a KTM and asked me over for a beer, what, me refuse free beer, no way 🙂 So, I had a couple while they had a few Vodkas, they had been here three days and were back off home to Edmonton tomorrow. Thanks for the beers, I enjoyed the chat, safe travels, although I do not think I convinced him to trade the thumper in for a Vstrom 🙂 I crashed out quite late, but tomorrow was going to be a rest day for me. Well, when I mean rest I mean work, as in I have 5 days of my blog to catch up on and there was no internet up here in the boondocks, so I would have to write some then hit town and find some Wifi.

Day 280 miles and 451 km
Trip – 25,532 miles and 41,090 km


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9 Responses to “Day 222 – 18th July 09”

  1. Saab said

    Keep an eyr out for some friends of mine form Tassie. Dan & Rosie. They are in the same part of the world as you and heading towards Alaska on a 1200 gsa.
    Hers a link to their blog

  2. TSV-Strom (Pete) said


    I would have thought by now that you would be used to wearing all orange. All you need are some horizontal reflective stripes on it and 3 large letters on the back.

    Awesome countryside, keep having fun.


  3. ybg said


    Rain Gear. I use a simple two piece made by Coleman over my Joe Rocket Jacket and Pant set. It’s called a Coleman Packer. You by them separately so you can have one oversize and one to fit. You can get them at Canadian Tire Stores, which are everywhere.

    They are goretex lined, wind and water proof. My last ride in the rain kept me drive for over 500 kms.

    Good luck

  4. smurph said

    Hey TS !

    Great to see you’re still enjoying your journey! I have much reading to do and catch up on your progress. If you’re heading back through Edmonton, I’ll buy that park pass from you! It would be a great souvenir for myself too!

    All the best!

    Scott (smurph/smurf)

    • Hi Smurph, I doubt I will be going back through there, I am heading south, Vancouver way and down the coast.

      I can sell the pass to you if you want it, I can mail it, you pay by paypal?

      Cheers TS

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