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Day 224 – 20th July 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 20, 2009

Monday – Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

I was up and at em quite early as I had a fullish day if Matt was correct. He had said get on the road early to miss the traffic. Here is a photo of the bright orange waterproof suit he gave me, probably good for the SES as well 🙂

I headed down to the bakery place, I intended getting some breakfast and posting a few days worth. It was very cold but it did not seem to stop these chaps, I saw quite a few on the way down.

The breaky was quite nice and I managed to post using my new method very easily, so as long as the photos are already uploaded I can do it anywhere.

After an hour or so I fuelled up and headed on up the main highway towards Lake Louise, I stopped after a short while to add another layer which I had forgotten to put on.

I cannot get away from construction zones, but I guess these roads are always in need of repair due to the freeze and unfreeze. It was not too long before I crossed into British Columbia where we had a 20 minute wait near a downhill creek 🙂

Just up the road is a place called Spiral Tunnels. The original railroad went down a very steep track and quite a few trains crashed and burnt. So, they modified the track and dug these big loop tunnels out of the inside of the mountain and this made all the difference.

The tunnels in the mountain itself were hard to spot, but apparently when the train is a long one you can see it going in and out of the tunnels and going in three different directions at once. The economy has slowed the traffic, so I saw no trains while I was there. Next stop just down the road was some waterfalls, this involved a side road and some wicked switchbacks. Now, the sign says if you are over 7m in length, drive up the first grade into the layby, then reverse up the second etc and continue in that fashion. Well, some wankers in long RVs decided they could turn the corners as normal either that did not bother to read the signs at all, idiots!! You will see what I mean on the way down.

I managed to fly by the idiot and get myself ahead of the traffic, the bonus of having a bike rather than a cage. Next stop a bit further on was the Emerald Lake, this needs no further description, it was an excellent view, spectacular, I will have to learn some new words soon 😉

Now, I have been seeing these road signs but cannot work them out, I think it is to do with ‘no overtaking’ but the driver is on the wrong side of the car. If the cars portray cars coming towards me, then fine, the drivers are fine, but why would I care about these signs, they are for the other direction??? I usually saw these when the oncoming traffic had an extra passing lane, so I am totally confused.

From here on in it was a short ride into the town of Golding where I looked around for a nice place to eat as I was a tad peckish. But I spotted an electronics shop and went in for a look, beauty, he had a DC-Dc laptop power adaptor, so now I can charge the lappy from the bike. I did have an inverter back home, but weight wise I left it at home, maybe I should have brought it, but too late now!

I was hoping to find a spot with free internet, but the place I did try had nothing on offer except great food, and guess what, I found a sausage roll, and it tasted absolutely fab 🙂 🙂 No meat pies though, but it is a start 🙂

From here on in it was a fast easy ride down to the town of Radium Hot Springs through the valley, it was about 100km or so and I kept an eye out for bears but I saw none, I am not sure whether I am glad or not 🙂

Here I fuelled up and headed back to Banff a trip of about 150km, I started by following a sports bike, we were hoofing it, but he soon cranked it open and took off 🙂 The scenery was as always ‘insert your own word here” 8)

Now, these funny bridges are used by wildlife, they are about 30m wide and as the roads have been fenced to restrict animal deaths, these bridges, as well as a lot of tunnels are used quite frequently and are a great success. They are building quite a few more and that is what all the construction was about near Banff itself.

I managed to get back to town for a quick drink and check email at the Wild Flour, also I posted a made up entry from last night which worked real well and saved a lot of time there. After that, it was back up to the camp, but on the way stop and look at the Hoodoos

Back in the camp ground there is a reminder about bears and what is safe from them.

So, I had some more noodles for dinner and watched this little squirrel run around madly. Eventually he dug under some ground and found a mushroom that had not come up yet and sat there eating it 🙂 The funny thing was, after that he ran up the tree to right of picture and after a few minutes came back down with a full grown mushroom in his mouth and headed off over the road to who know where?

I had a quiet evening writing up some more catch up on the blog. The camp ground was a lot quieter now as a lot of people had gone home.

Day 286 miles and 460 km
Trip – 25,830 miles and 41,569 km


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26 Responses to “Day 224 – 20th July 09”

  1. Nick said

    Wow, that is some spectacular scenery!

  2. Eric & Alison in Oz said

    Hey TS,
    Really enjoying your blog.

    One little request: we enjoy reading the information boards you photograph. However often there is scenery to the left of the photo and the right hand side of the info board is missing. Would it be possible to aim your camera a little more to the right.

    Other than that, really impressed with your photo taking skills, particularly those taken from the bike on the move.

    Ride safe.

    • Hi can you point me to an example?

      Sometimes, especially up here in Canuck land, the right hand side is all french to me, so I try and get the english side only. I have also been posting photos with the wrong conversion settings, so the info boards have been hard to read, I have found the conversion error and fixed it I hope.

      Cheers TS

  3. southroads said

    Great pics Richard

    Thanks for sharing them mate,,

    cheers Skip,

  4. Donunder said

    Great shots Rich. Breathtaking stuff. Bit different to central Qld hey? Those Hoodoos are similar to the fairy toadstools at Cappadoccia in Turkey. I like the orange suit. Were you wearing it in the pic? Looks like the position you could have been in after one of your legendary nights on Yank piss. Safe travels mate.

    • Hmmm, I was NOT wearing it OK, but I may model it soon 🙂

      Yeah, it will all be different back home, but never ever forget, this only lasts for a few months of the year, then it is covered in snow. I can ride 24/7/365 at home 🙂

      Cheers TS

  5. GrahamD said

    That looks a lot better than the last few days up there.


    Thanks for the reads, Richard.

    Much appreciated. I know it can be a pain keeping up with all this.

    Rubber side down.


    • Yeah, it can be a pain, but if I stopped, then what would I do 🙂 As for the views and scenery, it makes up for all the bad days, so I may bitch and moan on occasion, but overall I still would rather be here 🙂

      Cheers TS

      • ybg said

        Don’t sell it too short. If you are crazy enough you can ride the roads in winter too. But I suspect you have not had a big enough knock on the head to put you in that kinda mindset.


  6. Art Wallace said

    Welcome to the Alaska Hwy… You’re in for quite a ride!!! IIRC, you’re about 430-miles from Liard River hot-springs. A hard day’s ride tomorrow (or an easy 2-day ride) will be rewarded with a soothing soak! Haven’t been able to determine if the lodge across the road from the Prov park is still open but here’s a link for the hot springs-

    Safe travels, m8!

    • G’day Art

      I have sort of remembered some of what you told me but that was a long time ago. I reckon on another 3 days after today to get to Fairbanks, if I take it easy, I have no real wish to push it, but who knows eh!


      • Art Wallace said

        Have you planned your route beyond Whitehorse?? The North Klondike Hwy was one of the easiest roads on our trip… But of course that was also 7-years ago! ;o) Anyway, if you go north from Whitehorse, you’ll probably want to spend an extra day (or two) in Dawson City.

        If you stay on the Alcan, the Kluane Lake region will have some really excellent photo opps. The section of Alcan between Haines Jct & YT/AK border is notoriously rough… I remember my ST getting airbourne about a dozen times from the frost heaves! Watch for the orange cones along the roadside. They’re used to indicate a rough section of road.

        Enjoy the ride!

        • Thanks for the tips, I have no actual plan beyond Whitehorse at this stage, I am still waking up:)

          Cheers TS

          • Art Wallace said

            One thing I forgot to warn you about… Place called Fireside. It’s about 75 klics north of Liard River. Get your petrol @ Liard because it’s very likely the pricks @ Fireside will tell you they’re out. Not a bike-friendly place at all!

            If you haven’t stocked up on adult beverages you might want to do so either @ Pink Mountain or Fort Nelson… It’s pretty slim pickins after FN!

            • Thanks for the tips, I still have a bottle of rum, I have not touched it, maybe tonight 🙂 I will see about the fuel thing, maybe they have changed?

              • Art Wallace said

                Enjoy the rum… Save some for apres hot springs! Where’d you land this PM?? Spot shows south of Ft Nelson. Location map shows you *in* Ft Nelson. Road gets nice & bendy a little ways north of there… I especially have fond memories of the pass over Stone Mountain. Prolly the best twisties on the Alcan-IMO.

                How are the road condtions & weather treating you thus far?? They still getting over 21hrs of daylight up there?

                • G’day Art, so many questions 🙂

                  I am in Fort Nelson caravan park with my site right next to the bar WTF, lol. Currently in the bar with power and internet writing a blog entry.

                  The roads have been pretty good, a few bad sections, a bit like Oz really, the weather has been great, a bit windy today, but fine nonetheless.

                  Tomorrow will be a bigger day as I had a big night last night and slept in 🙂

                  Cheers TS

            • Hello friend,

              I think I’ve found something just perfect, you’ve got to take a look at it here

              Yours, TravellingStrom

  7. Bruce in WA said

    Well, you’ve convinced us … July next year the Organic Speed Brake and I will be on those roads on our bike. Can hardly wait. PS: Banff (remember F-Troop “The Burglar of Banff”?) is one of my favourite towns. We stayed at the Rimrock (?) up on the hill overlooking town. Marilyn Monroe is said to have liked the Fairmont (Stalag 17) so much when she was making a movie (River of No Return) there, she “twisted her leg” (!) — and had to stay and rest for a week. 🙂

    • What can I say? I do remember F Troop, but not Marilyn Monroe, I must be missing something, maybe I should ask me dad?

      I would honestly wait until late July like I have managed to do, the weather is bloody awesome up here 🙂

      The roads are not all that biking roads as yet, except for the mountains down south of me, at this time it is just a journey 🙂

      Cheers TS

    • Hey,

      You are going to be surprised a lot! I’ve finally found the stuff I told you about some time ago, just take a look

      Best wishes, TravellingStrom

  8. Jan Ferrari said

    Those pics are stunning especially the Emerald Lake definitely have the WOW factor…Absolutely gorgeous

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