August 18

August 19th, 2007

On our way out of the campground we bumped into the people from the trailer beside us. We came to find that the Janzen’s were from Kingston and actually live in a neighborhood only seconds from my parents house! Their boys even go to school where my Dad used to teach. What are the odds that 2 groups of Kingstonians would be camping beside each other in Lake Louise? I guess they’re higher odds than I realized.


Being so close to Lake Louise, I couldn’t resist taking another run up to the water for a few morning pictures. The mountains and the lake seem to change in appearance almost by the minute as the sun shifts through the sky. When we pulled into the parking lot, our hearts skipped a beat. There was a National Park Pass check point set up and we didn’t bother to buy a pass! We figured that we’d just be rolling through so there would be no need. The park Rangers thought otherwise. After a bit of sweet talking, we convinced the Ranger to let us go since we’d be out of the park in a few hours.


I was just about ready to get back on the highway when a woman came running across the parking lot to see me. She told us that she had seen me in Calgary, then again in Banff, then again yesterday at Morraine Lake, and now today. She wasn’t going to let me get away this time without making a donation.


We drove back to the BC border where I had stopped last night. There I was standing directly on the Great Divide and looking towards Kicking Horse Pass. I had goosebumps as I took my first stride into British Columbia. It’s been a long time coming, but I was finally in the last province. In a weird twist of irony, my Ipod which was on random, began playing some suitable music. Three of the first five songs included “I’m Coming Home” by City and Colour (who were also at the Edmonton Folk Festival), “I Wanna Go Home” by Michael Buble, and “Sweet Home Alabama”. I must have been running on adrenaline because I had completed 50 km by lunch even though I had a later start than normal. In fact, we had set our clocks back another hour for the time change as we entered BC, but later found out that the time change doesn’t take effect until Rogers Pass. So it was actually later than we thought now.


I wasn’t far from Golden, BC when a construction truck pulled over and told us he had received several complaints about me. But he was a great guy (and even donated) and told us that he didn’t even know who complained. He figured that it was just some cranky truckers. I’d say that’s pretty good to only have a couple complaints out of the 50,000 cars that had passed me. I guess that means I received 49,998 honks of encouragement from the rest of the people. The construction worker also told us that the next 10-15 km was under heavy construction and I would have a tough time getting through. But I was confident and determined, so we pushed forward. I hit some amazingly steep grades with some wildly bending roads. The highway seemed to hug the mountain like a vine growing on and around an old stone building. There were a few areas that I had to be careful with rough, dirty roads. But for the most part, the speed limit was only 40 km/hr due to construction. So I wasn’t holding up any traffic. I was actually doing more like 50km/hr! I was really enjoying the terrain. It was so different from anything else I’d ever skated on. I glanced back at my parents with a wide smile stretching across my face and could see a familiar look on my Mom’s face. Her eyes wide with terror and closely resembled my encounter with the black bear in Ontario. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Mom’s always worry so much.


If you’ve ever driven through the Rockies, you know what I’m talking about when I mention the transport Runaway Lanes. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, it is a steep gravel uphill lane, typically at the bottom of a long hill, which transports can use in case their brakes were to fail. Today I had a chance to test a Runaway Lane out. As I came down the mountain side, the road bent sharply to the left and crossed a bridge over a river. But before I crossed the bridge, my Dad indicated that we should let some traffic by me. I slowed as much as I could and then headed for the runaway. Mom got a great shot of me doing this. In actual fact, I wasn’t out of control and didn’t really need the runaway lane. it was just a funny coincidence that I happened to stop there. But the photo looks great!


Just on the edge of Golden, I had my first encounter with real mountain wildlife. As I came around a bend in the road, I was face to face with the dreaded mountain goat. I’ve seen enough movies and cartoons to know that if I got too close, this thing would give me a vicious head butt right off a cliff! No way was I going to confront him. But the only problem was that there were nearly a dozen of them and some were directly on the highway! I stopped about 20 yards away and tried to evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action. The Traffic Gods must have been listening to my thoughts, because I hadn’t been stopped for more than a minute when a huge transport slowly came around the bend from behind us. He, too, saw the goats and slowed to almost a crawling speed. Using the transport as a giant moving barricade, I hopped back on the road and snuck passed the goats while following inches from the bumper of the transport. Mom got another great shot of this, too.


My steepest hill of the day was undoubtedly the decent into Golden. It was a magnificent view looking down into the valley and seeing the city, but the hill really punished my rubber wheels. I’m finding that I’m wearing the wheels out a lot faster now that I’m carrying a higher speed more often. But again, I can’t complain because it was incredibly fun streaking down that monstrous hill.


The mountain skies are unpredictable and ever-changing. They had been threatening to storm since lunch, but I seemed to be one step ahead all day. A few light sprinkles fell on my cheek as I was leaving Golden, but I worked my butt off for an additional 30 kilometers and managed to arrive in Donald before any significant precipitation came down. Donald isn’t really a town, but the Camper’s Haven Campground was happy to provide us with a site there for the night. Lightening suddenly flashed all around us and rain began to come down in buckets. Hopefully our buckets would catch any drips that make it through the roof. But like I said before, mountain weather can change on a dime. And that’s just what it did. Within minutes, the heavy, dark clouds had vanished and we were treated to a gorgeous evening surrounded by spectacular peaks.


I was able to catch up on journals and photos today, so I hope everyone appreciates my dedication to providing you all with some entertainment. I know a lot of you will be happy on Monday when you get to work and find several new entries to read. I’m not too sure why I keep falling behind with this, but it may be because I rollerblade all day everyday and still have to find energy to put my thoughts into words. At any rate, I appreciate everyone being patient and not sending me hate mail when I don’t get a new journal up every day.

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