Saturday, 4 August 2012



And a delightful rest day was had by all. That is all really!

Coming into Radium Springs township


It was the day of the animals today. We saw elk, deer, mountain sheep and bears all on the side of the road. If that was not enough there was a magnificent eagle nest (complete with resident eagle ) on one of the arches of a old fashioned river bridge .

An eagle's eye

And mountain sheep

And more stunning scenery

Then it was down to the flesh pots of Banff. That sounds a little off putting and that is unfair. Banff had a lovely touristy feel to it with lots of happy little tourists all playing at being happy little tourists. Then the penny dropped. Instead of being observers we were being happy little tourists ourselves!

After Banff it was up to the ski village come summer resort of Kananaskis. When on the bikes one of the reasons we carry a tent is because all other accommodation might be full. At Kananaskis it was the reverse. All the camping grounds were ( reportedly) full but there was a luxury room available at the hotel ( sigh!).

DAY 31. TO CALGARY. 230km

Today it was the slow route to Calgary as we could not arrive in Calgary too early

Farming Alberta style

We took a back road up thru the Turner valley to Bragg creek. What a delightful surprise. The country side was full of gently rolling hills, copse of trees, wooden-fenced paddocks and quaint houses. It was just like riding through the green English countryside and I was half expecting to see a village square with fresh faced maidens dancing around a maypole. There was even a little Bambi deer grazing by the roadside. I was reminded of the Shakespearian quote used at the Olympic opening ceremony. - "This is a green and pleasant land." It was indeed.

And talking of English one of the things that has intrigued me on the motorcycle trip has been place names .

First back up to the Yukon. I have to say some of the place names up there were characterized by a singular lack of imagination. One day we passed a ginormous lake called " Little Salmon Lake". Then having spent some considerable time passing but just a part of this lake we crossed a small saddle and lo and behold there was a very small lake called - would you believe - " Big Salmon Lake". Then there are umpteen lakes, creeks, streams and rivers all being "Beaver " this or that.

But Alberta place names by comparison were delightful and imaginative. There was a side road leading to a place called "Widow Maker ". I thought of going down to have a look but decided it might be a dead end (at least for me!) Now, what story lies there?

Then further down the same road was a side road leading to " Picklejar". Now there is a name for you. Imagine living in a place called that. Just picture this conversation -

Police officer. " Name and address please"
Self. " Hubbard from Picklejar"
Police officer. "OK smart Alec - you are under arrest for drunken

With all these delightful names I was half expecting to see a side road leading to a place called "Motorcycle Dick "

And to finish off on the question of names I was interested to see on my map we were coming to a place called. " Texas Gate". Well I now now Texas Gate on a map means cattle stop!

And thus we arrived in the cattle and oil city of Calgary. It is a delightful city and two lovely days were spent there getting the bikes serviced and looking around.

Hey,you are not milking a cow!


The rolling prairie

Today we crossed the border to Montana. After a very wet start leaving Calgary it was down to a run over the cliffs to a place called " Head-Smashed -Buffalo-Jump". This is a UNESCO world heritage site where for 6,000 years the local Indian Blackfoot people have been stampeding Buffalo over cliffs to kill them. As many as 300 Buffalo could be sent over the cliffs to their deaths at any one time. It was fascinating to feel the sense of history and timelessness of the place as it was also reading about the sophisticated techniques used to persuade the buffalo to jump over the cliffs.

The Head Smashed Buffalo Jump cliffs. Thousands and thousands of Buffalo died here

And now we are in the land of Uncle Sam and tonight there is the Stars and Stripes fluttering from a flagpole across the street. With a sweet ride, a belly full of Hamburger and a motel roof keeping out the rain, life is indeed sweet!

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Dick. Catching up with photos and the action. Looks like all is going well with the adventure.
    I was reminded of the lines in the John Denver song - "Up in the meadows in Jasper Alberta, two men and four ponies on a long lonesome ride".
    How about two bikers, two molls and two bikes!