August 16

August 18th, 2007

The first 30 km seemed to fly by today. Even though I had a slow gentle incline most of the day, the scenery and company helped occupy my mind. Mark had met up with me near Canada Olympic Park with his bike and we set off towards the base of the Rocky Mountains. I’ve lived in Vancouver for 3 years now, but there’s just something mystifying about the Interior Mountains. They are rightfully referred to as ‘The Spine of North America’. Having Mark along side me and the inspirational hills in the distances, I completed 30 km in the first hour with no trouble. At this point, Mark decided to turn around since he would be battling the wind all the way home. we’d been working uphill all morning, but the slight tail wind had definitely been pushing me helpfully. Shortly after we parted ways, I reached the top of Scott Lake Hill. Although it’s not quite the highest point on the Trans Canada, there was a significant downhill portion from here until I enter the mountains. The hill leading down from Scott Lake Hill quickly accelerated me to 60 km/hr. I casually rolled down the hill for miles and miles before I noticed a blue jeep pulled over near the bottom. I took me about 600 meters to come to a complete stop, but when I did, Barb and Ted Graham hopped out of the jeep to greet me! I had met Barb and Ted in Wawa, Ontario and they have been tracking me ever since. They missed me at Boston Pizza,so they decided to come out on the highway to find me. It was great to see you guys again! Thanks for the support!

 

I’m looking up at these jagged peaks which are practically hovering over my head now and I can’t help but to succumb to their hypnotic trance. I just can’t get over the fact that I have just crossed the entire country on inline skates and am now about to embark on the last leg of the trip through the infamous Rocky Mountains. I know I will be pushed to the limit in every aspect as I work my way across the Great Divide, but I still look around in amazement at the sheer beauty of this phenomenal range. Even with road conditions deteriorating slightly, the smile never left my face. I was now at the base and felt as though I was entering the Dragon’s lair. I was able to maintain a reasonable speed all the way into Canmore and finished my day at 90 Km. The best part about it was that I was done by 3:30! Time to go sight-seeing!

 

I stopped by Boston Pizza before we drove over to Banff to become tourists for the day. The Manager, Michel was one of the most enthusiastic guys I’ve ever met! He had changed the sign in front of the store telling the public that I was coming and all the staff were informed and ready to meet me. Even on such short notice, Michel was able to put together one of our most successful Boston Pizza stops. I’m sure the announcements on Mountain FM radio also helped.

 

After checking in at Rundle Mountain campground, we headed to Banff and fought the unbelievable amount of traffic to find a parking spot. I’ve been to Banff before, but I couldn’t come by this area and not make a stop to see it again. It’s hard not to be trigger-happy with the camera when you’re in a small town surrounded by mountains like this. We grabbed a couple souvenirs and headed back to the Canmore Boston Pizza.

 

Just as I was getting out of the RV to walk into the restaurant, another familiar face came strolling over towards me. It was Sterling. I had met Sterling in Espanola, Ontario when he was on his way out West. We’d been in touch a few times since then, but I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to meet up with me. He even plans to skate with me tomorrow from Canmore to Banff.

 

My day was just about over when I got back to the campground, but I needed to make one more quick stop. Liam, the son of the owner of the campground was pretty excited to meet me when he heard I was staying here. So I had a chance to chat with Liam a bit before heading off to bed for a peaceful night’s sleep… or so I thought. Living in Vancouver, I’m used to the sound of traffic at night. But I wasn’t prepared for the trains that came chugging past the campground through the night. Our RV couldn’t have been more than 9 feet away from the tracks. But I managed to get some sleep, anyway. You’d be surprised what you can sleep through when you rollerblade all day!

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