We hated to leave Fernie but it turned out to be one of those rides you imagine while browsing through the bike tour catalog: a smooth winding road past a hidden lake, more pastures and happy cows, and an off the beaten path burger joint just when we needed it. The hills were small and the weather was perfect. Ahhhh, 2,000 miles of this? No problem. Then comes that exhausted phase where the last few miles take forever and again, of course, are uphill. We pedaled into another of those “primitive campgrounds” and got the last campsite available. We set up our tent, cleaned up in the lake, then rehydrated some noodles and were ready to call it a night by about 7:00. We have learned that when you have only a tent and bikes in a large RV site it’s inevitable that someone is going to show up late and ask if they can share the space. We lucked out in that it was a Russian guy celebrating his birthday with his adorable 12 year old daughter who joined us and they kept us awake and laughing for hours. We learned that Russians make up a large portion of the population of Calgary and this is their get away of choice because the lake here is warm. After treating us to watermelon (and introducing us to cinnamon whisky?!) they brought us down to the lake to show us the turtles. We were happy enough to stand on the shore and see their little heads popping out of the water but the next thing we know, the guy jumps off the swim platform and charges through the water as if being chased. We were a bit startled but suddenly he stops and holds up a flailing turtle! “They’re not all that fast” he says.
As we crawled into the tent our new friend mentioned that another couple and their 4 children (Natalia, Natasha, Sasha, and Nasasha I think it was) would be arriving a little later. It takes about one minute to fall asleep these days but when I woke up a couple of hours later it was to the sound of a parade passing by, or so it seemed. Kids giggling, dogs barking, car doors slamming, tents flapping in the wind, tent poles clanging…… Every campground has a camp host but this place had “Lorraine” and Lorraine doesn’t like anyone messing with her campground rules. She was OK with 1 car joining us but 2 was putting her over the edge. I have a never heard anyone talk so loud or so fast while still whispering but she was giving a lecture about how it wasn’t fair for us, paying guests, to be disturbed. She didn’t seem to see the irony here. Once they agreed to pay her again for each car she seemed content to go away and let everyone get to sleep. Lorraine ain’t afraid of no big Russians!
Today was a long day. It was a pretty ride with a lot of different types of scenery, including a very big down hill, then steep climb on a busy highway.
It also included a hitch hiker. I had a butterfly land on my riding glove that wanted a free ride. It hung out with me finally taking off about 3 miles down the road.
All was pretty good until we had to climb the last two miles off the route up to our camp ground. We were out of water and assumed the camp ground would have water. Well wrong. Fortunately the nice lady running the camp ground felt sorry for us and gave us enough water to cook our food.
Days Totals – 53 miles, 5 hrs 16 minutes, 1919 ft climbing, 2497 descent
Ride totals 7 days – 243.6 miles, 29 hours 21 mins, 12,127 ft climbing, 13,412 ft descent
Riding the divide with you, vicariously. Love the stories and details. Hysterical while reading some of the adventures. Think of you daily, ok many times throughout the day. Following your trek with my copy of Cycling the Great Divide. You two have a significant and special bond.. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Hey you two! Finally found internet (in fiji) and time to catch up with you! Love your blog!! Sounds like an amazing adventure (how does it compare with sailing and island hopping??) Impressed with your strength, determination, and fortitude (Denise, you are my hero!) We are relaxing on deserted islands (Cooks, Tonga, Fiji) with our feet in the sand and a cool drink in our hand (lol..not really..a few tense moments with the weather and dragging but at least NO BEARS..and the sharks here are really nice!) Hope to catch up with you both soon!
ps We will be in CA and Oregon for hurricane season and then back to Fiji in the Spring!