Thursday, 1 July 2010

Sad to be leaving the mountains behind

1st July: Canmore to Airdrie

Odometer: 125 km, Start: 9.00am, Finish: 4.45pm, Avg: 19.4 km/h,
Weather: Sunny then Cloudy then Sunny. Windy all day, Temp: 8-17°C
Bear count: 5, Moose count: 1, Mosquito Bites: 31, Hills walked: 0
Road Conditions: #1A, Narrow two lane. 1.5m shoulder, but it goes missing from around 25km to 50km. Traffic moderate (Midweek, but it was Canada Day. All traffic was heading towards the mountains). #22, 3m shoulder good, #567/768 1m shoulder good. Traffic moderate (because of Canada Day probably). Gas station at 16km (Exshaw), then full services Cochrane 77km, gas station 88km at #22/#567 junction. Ascent: 800m up/975m down.

Happy Canada Day! Canmore had a Canada Day parade planned for the morning but I intended to do 120km to Airdrie and couldn't stay unfortunately. It was sunny as I rode away from town on the Bow Valley Trail, but deceptively cold. I had to stop twice to put on more layers.

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Rode this road to Cochrane
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My mid-morning stop

It didn’t take long before the mountains were behind me. I’ve had a great three weeks playing in the hills. I’m sad to be leaving them behind for the flatter terrain that lies ahead…

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Last look back at the mountains
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Final mountain meets river view

I did a tourist thing today! (Well it was a chance to get out of the headwind. See later...). I had a look around the pretty white church of Morleyville. Some info in the third picture.

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Morleyville Historical Mission
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Looking back towards the mountains
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Information about Morleyville

I met a real character on the road today. Fred was his name and he sounded European but I’m not sure where from. He was my first “world traveller” and he said he’d been on the road for around TEN YEARS. There was a board on the back of his bike listing the countries he’s been through. He seemed pleased that I’d stopped and spent quite some time giving me travel tips about all the Canadian places I’d be going to. A great person to meet and chat to. I’m perhaps wondering if he’s been on the road a bit too long, though?…

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Fred - a seasoned traveller
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His country list

It was quite a hard ride today because of a strong cross/headwind. Not quite up to the chuckle levels from the ride into McBride, probably one grade less. Still pretty aggravating though, especially when you know your stuck riding in roughly the same direction all day. The traffic was also a bit heavy with a lot of people heading to the mountains for their long weekend.

I brushed past Cochrane, the main town en route, because I turned north just at the city limits. This direction change gave me a welcome few kilometres rest from the wind. I had to climb for 5km away from the turning and as I was doing that I thought this could be my last long climb for quite a while.

After turning onto the #567 to Airdrie, the terrain changed again, this time to rolling hills of grass. There were a lot of horse ranches along this stretch. I’m into cowboy country. The #567 was very straight and with it’s rolling nature you could see a long way ahead. At one point I spotted a landmark I thought was a few km ahead. It took me 1/2hr to reach it and it was nearly 11km away! Distances seem strange around here. The same thing happened when I spotted Airdrie. Nearly there I thought. I turned at the Airdrie junction – 11km to go!

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Nice silhouette at ranch entrance
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This road was dead straight for 20km. I think they decided to put this bend in for giggles!
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Secondary roads to Airdrie

From what I saw, Airdrie’s not geared up for tourists. (I’m being kind here). I asked a few people about a campsite but nobody could think of one nearby. Oh well, I tried...

1 comment:

Bryan said...

I did exactly the same route as you did from Canmore to Airdrie last summer but I stayed at Irricana a bit further down the road. If you can't find a campsite, you can always try camping at the back of a school's grounds. Canadian kids are out of school in July and August. As a non-Canadian citizen, you don't have the same rights to camp on crown land but I can't see it being an issue. :-)

bryan
--
new westminster, bc, ca
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/X-Canada-2009