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Monthly Archives: June 2007

There was a thunderstorm during the night but my tent kept me dry as usual. I took my time in the morning to let my tent dry, have a shower, etc. and was on the road by 10. I finally had a light tailwind.

Shortly after leaving town I saw an Edmonton transit bus on the highway. It’s a long ways from it’s route. This reminded me that I had seen three 98 B-Line busses on the highway after I crossed the border into Alberta. Those were even further from their route in Vancouver than this bus was today. Strange that I would see the same thing on my first day in two different provinces.

As per the usual, I had my first break at the side of the road in the grass. There just aren’t any services at any of the small towns along the way. I had lunch at the Halfway Park campground which was labeled on the highway as a rest area though I was able to find an unused site with a picnic table anyways. I don’t know what it was halfway to though.

After lunch I went 51km without stopping because I was enjoying the tailwind so much. After that I took a couple more stops heading into The Battlefords. I had to descend down to the North Saskatchewan River to cross a bridge which resulted in a large hill to climb back up to get to the campground.

At the David Laird Campground all the tenting sites were flooded due to the thunderstorm but I was able to get a RV site at the tenting price. When I had my shower after ariving I discovered that my shoulders are pretty sunburnt because I was wearing my sleeveless cycling jersey and obviously didn’t reapply sunscreen often enough.

I somewhat wished that all my dinners weren’t hot as I ate dinner this evening in the sun before the air had cooled down.

Distance 145.7km
Time 5:04
Max Speed 44km/h
Odometer 2052km

Nobody found me during the night so I got up at 7 and was on the road by 8:45. I’ve noticed that my shorts are getting pretty dirty so I’m going to have to do laundry soon. Until then I’m restricting myself to my one pair of less dirty shorts.

I took various breaks throughout the day as I was still fighting headwinds. They became more frequent later in the day. I had lunch in Vermillion in front of an A&W where I also was able to fill up on water again.

I finally got to Loydminster and stopped at Tim Hortons for some timbits. From there I crossed the border to Saskatchewan to get to the Weaver Park Campground. The border itself was just a line of pillars running down one of the streets perpendicular to the highway.

I checked the visitors center to get a campground/hotel guide for the province and also looked for a badge of some sort. They didn’t have them either. It looks like Yet yanother province without them.

2 provinces complete!

Distance 107.5km
Time 5:23
Max Speed 32km/h
Odometer 1907km

I was lazy this morning and got off to a slow start not looking forward to the continuing headwinds. It was a cloudy day and I took breaks about every 30 minutes. Since I couldn’t find anywhere for lunch I just lay in the grass at the side of the road on a bit of a slope to eat lunch.

10km later I gave up fighting the headwinds and found a small stand of trees not too far off the side of the road where I could hide my tent. I lay in the grass reading for a while longer before setting up my tent to test to see if I would be spotted. I wasn’t so I setup and had dinner. I would have to conserve water because there was no nearby source of it and I needed enough to make breakfast as well.

Distance 50.2km
Time 2:52
Max Speed 30km/h
Odometer 1799km

I had a late start this morning because I had to get groceries and also ate out again. Having rest days at hostels is probably going to be the most expensive part of this trip because I prefer to save my other food for camping.

On the way out of town I stopped at the Legislature building and Royal Alberta Museum to see if I could find an Alberta badge. Nobody seems to have them anymore. I guess I’ll have to look on e-bay or something if I want these when I get home. After wasting time looking for that, I finally started heading east where the roads were just as bad leaving as they were entering the city. I think this is what finally started the support bar on my handlebar bag to crack as it bounced up and down.

There were strong headwinds on the highway and I had to stop numerous times for a rest until I got to Elk Island National Park for lunch. It was already 3:00 and I was only half way to my destination for the evening. There wasn’t much to look at on the road so I just pushed on with more stops to rest from the wind.

I finally got into Vegreville and stopped for a DQ sunday because it had been such a long day. Once finished, I went down the street to the Elks Kinsmen Community Park which is next to the world’s largest pysanka (easter egg). It’s a pretty small campground and would have been very crouded if all 98 sites were filled. It was also quite noisy for a while as some high school grads were partying a couple sites down. Luckilly they lefy by 10:30 and I was able to get to sleep (hoping that there wouldn’t be too many trains in the night as the tracks run right through the park).

Distance 116.7km
Time 6:24
Max Speed 35km/h
Odometer 1749km

This morning started at 6am when someone else in the dorm had their alarm go off and they didn’t shut it off for 20 minutes when I finally gave up trying to sleep and decided to start the day. I then had to wait until 7:30 for to have breakfast because I couldn’t find anywhere open earlier than that within walking distance.

After breakfast I sat down at the hostel and planned my day using the Edmonton bike map. The city has marked bike routes, though they turned out to be normal streets with no special reason to make them more accessible to bikes other than being signed to warn motorists that there may be bikes on the road.

The first part of the day was simply riding through the parks along the river where there are off street bike paths. They seemed like nice enough parks but there really wasn’t much to see from the path I was on. There were also a lot more hills than I was expecting because it dipped in and out of the river valley several times.

After crossing the river I headed through downtown to MEC to replace my sunglasses which I lost earlier in the week and buy a few other small things. From there I went out to the West Edmonton Mall where I spent most of the afternoon wandering around. I also watched Pirates of the Carribean to kill a couple hours. The mall didn’t seem that special to me. If it weren’t for the ice rink, waterpark and other special features, it wouldn’t have even seemed that big.

On my way back to the hostel in the evening I went to the University of Alberta to use the internet and post my updates for the week. I had to get a temporary user-id and password from to use the computers, but it didn’t cost anything. I’m going to try to use libraries for the internet from now on.

Distance 47.5km
Time 2:45
Max Speed 46km/h
Odometer 1632km

I was woken by a thunderstorm at about 5:20 and quickly packed everything to move into the covered shelter. This included my tent which I carried while fully setup so that I would be able to put it away in a dry place. While having breakfast undercover, the rain stopped but I decided to wear my raingear for the ride anyways since the sky hadn’t cleared yet and the roads were still wet.

I was riding by about 7:30 and noticed pretty quickly that the land is getting flatter. I could see hills the road went over on the horizon about 10km away. When I stopped for my first break I got a flat tire from a tiny, pointed rock being forced through my tired. I bet if I hadn’t stopped in that exact location with my weight on top of it, it wouldn’t have managed to poke it’s way through. It didn’t actually let much air out but I discovered it when I heard the water on the road bubbling.

From the road I called the hostel in Edmonton to book 2 nights (tomorrow is going to be a rest day). At about the half way point (it’s hard to tell because the distance signs to Edmonton weren’t always consistent with each other) I stopped to take off my rain gear because I seem to have left most of the clouds behind and it was getting warmer.

I stopped at the Wabamun Lake Provincial Park for lunch. At this point I started to notice my allergies starting to bother me again. It’s probably the cottonwood trees. After lunch there continued to be nowhere good to stop for a break so I rode the final 80km to Edmonton and the hostel with only 2 breaks. The first break was at the Spruce Grove visitors center (the last town before Edmonton) and the second was in Edmonton when I got my second flat tire of the day only 6km from the hostel. This was a pinch flat caused by the bumpy, cracked, and uneven roads of Edmonton. Combined perhaps with not having pumped enough air into the tire after the earlier flat (I never know exactly how much air to put in it). I replaced the tube and put more air in than before and was on my way to check in at the hostel.

This hostel wasn’t as nice as the one in Golden and was also much more crowded. Only slightly cheaper too ($52 for 2 nights). I was in a dorm of 8 beds, all of which were full. After settling in I walked up and down Whyte Street looking for somewhere to eat. I was in the mood for a pizza and eventually settled on Boston Pizza after failing to find anything more local that had what I was looking for.

In the evening I did some laundry and sat down in the common area to read. A large group of international students just arriving in Edmonton to attend the University of Alberta checked in and probably took up almost all the remaining beds in the place. They had their orientation in the common area so I went to go to bed.

Distance 151.9km
Time 6:07
Max Speed 49km/h
Odometer 1584km

Still another cool, cloudy day. Where is the warm Alberta summer? I was on the road by 10 and stopped for a snack not too much later on an access road to a quary. It’s hard to find good places to stop for a break along this highway.

I got into Edson for lunch which I had at a picnic table next to the visitors center. Visitors centers seem to be a somewhat reliable place to find somewhere to sit down for a bit. I asked inside about routes into Edmonton for cyclists because I heard that the highway is very busy entering the city. Unfortunately, the girl there wasn’t very helpful but at least she gave me some street maps of Alberta and Edmonton.

I stopped a couple more times along the road in the entrances to the various range roads (All the roads off the highway are numbered “range roads”, though some also have other names). I almost stopped at the Club Nojack Resort RV Campground for $17 which includes a pool (extra charge), showers, etc, but decided to go on further to the Nojack Provincial Recreation Area that James had mentioned to me. It was a smaller self-registration site with no significant features. It was a little noisier because it was closer to the highway but it’s potentially free if they don’t check the self registration. Not to mention, it makes the ride tomorrow into Edmonton slightly shorter.

It had felt like a long day today because of the light to medium headwinds most of the way so I went to bed somewhat early.

Distance 110.2km
Time 4:53
Max Speed 46km/h
Odometer 1433km