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Days 15 - 28
Day 15. May 30, 1999. 120 km. Total 1260 km.
9 hrs. Canmore.
With my heart soaring from the splendor of the morning sunrise I flew all the way into Canmore. On the way out of Field I climbed my last mountain pass of this journey (Hurrah!) and in total the strenuous portions of the climb was only about 9 km long with the remaining portion fairly easy. Again, the scenery of Yoho National Park was breathtaking. The sights in combination with a gentle tailwind pushed me onward to Lake Louise, passing the Continental divide and the BC/Alberta border in the process. It's downhill (mostly) from here on!!! Yippee!
At Lake Louise I left Highway 1 and turned onto the Bow Valley Parkway to continue onto Banff. The Parkway had much less traffic than the TransCanada Hwy and was very scenic as well. The road did not have much of a shoulder but this was not a problem as traffic was so light. Perhaps during tourist season it might be a different matter. The road gently meandered through the park, going over some small hills along the way. I stopped along the way to watch two deer and an Elk browse. They were only 20 feet away and it was really fascinating to see them so close. I guess since they are in a National Park they have no fear of humans.
I have now noticed that my hill climbing technique has evolved and changed. Before I would just gear down and down until I was pedaling slowly in my lowest gear, then when even that became too much I would get off and push. Well now as I approach a hill I go to a higher gear and stand up to force my way uphill. Although this would likely not be sustainable on the really long climbs through the mountains it works well on these small hills I am traveling now. I can push on without loosing too much momentum. I find that I reach a Zen like state, my legs pumping up and down, my body swaying side to side while my bike floats beneath me. In this state I can climb, and climb, and climb.
Boy oh boy, another aside. I sure do seem to have a lot of those. I guess it that it is because I am always writing this late at night and my mind just wanders. He he he I guess I did it again with that last sentence as well. Errr This one too. Ok, blabbering aside, back to the story. I pulled into Banff around 7:00 pm and cringed from what I saw. The best way I can describe Banff to those of you in Vancouver who have never been there would be to say that it is just one big Robson Street. Not any real character, just little trendy shop after little trendy shop and a mass of people crowding the sidewalks. I wanted to find a decent place to eat but I could not find any locals to ask! The streets were absolutely packed but they were all tourists and I could not ask anyone in the stores because they were simply students from all over working for the summer. In disgust I just ended up buying enough food at McDonalds to get me to Canmore
Back on Hwy 1 with a slight downhill grade and a good tailwind I covered the 20 km to Canmore in under half an hour. Trevor the speed demon.
While in Mission on Day 2, I met an older woman during dinner who told me her son had bicycled up to the Arctic circle and was now living in Canmore. She gave me his number and asked me to call him when I got to there. So after picking up some groceries from IGA and a Frosty from Wendy's (excellent cooling fluid for tired cyclists), I game him a call. He told me that he was in a Condo so he did not have a yard that I could pitch my tent in but that he did have a spare room I could sleep in if I would like. Of course I accepted! The idea of not having to unpack everything and the chance to have a hot shower was exciting.
What a nice guy and family. He and his wife are both under 30 and they have a beautiful 3 year-old son and a 1 year-old daughter. We sat around until midnight, trading cycling stories over beers and food. Meeting great people like these restores ones faith in humanity, newspapers should be covering people like these instead of murders and crime. He is a university grad who is working as a roofer to support his family while his wife (also a university grad) stays home to take care of the kids. I told her that being a stay at home mom is one of the most important jobs she could have chosen to do and that she has done a fantastic job. Both of their children are just amazing, dynamic little kids and I can see that they are flourishing under their love and guidance. For example, this morning the kid was flitting around the room and he comes up to me and says, "Butterflies drink nectar." Holy, moly that's quite an observation for a three year old. Right now the wind has picked up and it has started raining, I sure am glad to have a roof over my head. Well, it is now late and I have over a 100 km to go to Calgary tomorrow, err... today, so I am going to call it a night.
Day 16. May 31. 125 km. Total 1385 km. Calgary.
I woke up this morning to a house full of the sounds and smells of life. Fresh coffee was brewing and the kids were playing in the living room. I had a leisurely breakfast, played with the kids a bit, and talked with Tan and Shelly for a while before heading out. My legs were still somewhat tired from yesterday but with a nice tailwind at my back the next 50 km just flew by. I left the mountains behind and entered the foothills of Alberta. Along the way I met a couple cycling the opposite direction but were stopped with bicycle problems. It seems that the fellow had broken his chain twice but did not have any spare links. I stopped and gave him some of mine and while talking I found out that they are from Holland and for their honeymoon they are cycling from Calgary to Kamloops via Jasper and then back to Calgary via Revelstoke. I wished them the best and gave them my e-mail address and they continued pushing on into the 40 kph+ headwind which up to know had been my tailwind. I remember thinking that I hope the wind gets better for them for their honeymoon. Well not more than 10 km down the road my wish came true. Unfortunately, like most wishes, the true consequences were not fully foreseen. Their new tailwind was now my headwind! DOH!!! This headwind would stay with me until Calgary.
I pushed on for 30 km to Cochrane where I called my friend in Calgary to let her know that with only 30 km to go I should be there in 2 hrs. I got her address and some directions but as it would turn out I really should have asked more questions but more on that later.
From Cochrane I had to climb a good hill ~3.5 km long to get out of the valley and at the summit I could see an approaching storm. It was a huge black mass of clouds coming from the Northwest following the Rockies and heading right for me. I could see the rain falling as a black sheet and lightning flashes were clearly obvious. I thought that since it was still at least 50 km away I would be able to beat it to Calgary where I could find shelter. As I am now in the habit of talking to the weather I gave it a piece of my mind, "You think your so tough don't you? All big and black and acting bad. Well your not going to catch me!". Big mistake taunting mother nature! It seemed to have heard me and with the storm rapidly bearing down on me I started sprinting for Calgary. The wind had become more of a crosswind, neither helping nor hindering, so going full out I was averaging 30 kph. With only 20 km to go to the city limits I thought that I could make it easily but I forgot one crucial thing. Cities are BIG and Calgary is definitely a city!!! You need to recall that for the last 14 days the biggest town I passed through was probably Revelstoke (pop ~10,000) which I could cross in 10 min. Well after 25 km of bicycling I hit the outskirts and as far as I could see was just urban sprawl! That's when it hit me, finding where my friend lives might not be as easy as I thought. I picked up a map of the city at a gas station and saw that she lived over 100 blocks (~20 km) away on the other side of town! Then at that very moment, nature took its revenge for my escape a few days earlier and for my continuous taunting. The first blast of wind nearly knocked me off my bike and the battle had begun. I am sure there were gusts of wind over 100 kph and they hit me like a sledgehammer! The wind was so strong, it felt like it did when I was in Edmonton in 1986 when a tornado struck. We just don't get storms like this in Vancouver so I was asking people on the street if there had been any tornado warnings. With adrenaline coursing through my veins and fear in my eyes, I started out along the road recommended to me, the John Laurie. That was big mistake #2. This would have been a great direct road if I were in a car because it is an expressway!! Not suitable for cyclists at all. With visions of tornadoes dancing through my head I said to hell with it and took it anyway. With the enormous tailwind and adrenaline I was spinning at over 50 kph even up hills! After nearly 10 km on the road I had a close encounter with a truck and decided that being on this road was more hazardous than possible tornadoes so I went hunting for quieter roads. By now the storm had hit with full fury. The rain was falling in sheets making it hard to see, lightening was everywhere and the wind was tossing me around like a rag doll. After another 10 km of biking I arrived at the house, shaking like a leaf and badly in need of a warm drink, preferably an alcoholic one. I looked at my odometer and watch and realized that I had covered over 45 km in 1.5 hrs. That's when it hit me how much better shape I was in compared to when I had left home. I had just bicycled full out, giving 110%, for 45 km and 1.5hrs after already bicycling 80 km!
Well time to veg for a while then hit the sack.
Day 17. June 1. 0 km. Total 1385 km. Calgary
All I did today was laze around and recuperate from the past 15 days on the road. I typed up more of my travel diary and because it was cheap night at the theater I went to see the Phantom Menace. Definitely worth the $3 but it does not compare to the originals. I still get choked up hearing Chewbacca crying as Han Solo gets frozen.
Day 18. June 2. 0 km. Total 1385 km. Calgary
Two days left until I have to fly back to Vancouver to give the Valedictorian address to the student body at Convocation. Since I really have nothing written so far I am starting to have little anxiety attacks about it. I am not worried about actually giving the speech, I just would really like to have a speech to give ;-). I have to go work on it now.
Day 19. June 3. 0 km. Total 1385 km. Vancouver
I wrote the bulk of my speech last night and spent today packing up all my gear so that I am ready to leave as soon as I get back on Sunday. My friends, roommates, mother (get that?) is coming to stay for a few days and she is uncomfortable having me stay here. What? Here I am, 23 years old and just graduated from University, a Christian, and bicycling across Canada, yet she does not trust me around her adult daughter?!? Give me a break! Oh well, never look a gift horse in the mouth, it was good of them to let me stay for the past few days so I will just pack up and move on.
I took a bus to the airport and caught my flight back home. With the time change I left Calgary at 4:10 pm and arrived in Vancouver at 4:30 pm. My parents were waiting at the airport for me with a suit that I quickly changed into and headed up to the University for a reception. The dinner lasted until 10:00 tonight and so I did not get home until 11:00. I still want to polish my speech and practice it a bit so I will be up for a while yet. No rest for the weary.
Day 20. June 4. 0 km. Total 1385 km. Vancouver
I did not get to bed last night until 2:00 yet I woke up feeling fine this morning. It's funny but I am not nervous at all about talking today, I guess after spending two weeks asking complete strangers if I can sleep in their yards and use their showers, giving a speech is a piece of cake.
I arrived at school and found out that today's ceremony has over 700 graduates! Yipes. With a conservative estimate of 3 guests per person that would make for around 2800 people. We proceeded out through the grounds of the University to the convocation mall. The mountain was shrouded in fog and the procession being led by out by our world class bagpipe band made quite a scene. With everyone in their regalia and the pipes in the background, it could just as easily been the highlands of Scotland.
I sat on the stage in the front row with the Deans of the school and looking out over the crowd I could tell that even 2800 people was a low estimate. It looked like the graduates made up only 1/6th of everyone there which would mean that there was over 4000 people present. It sure was a lot of people but it seemed that this made talking even easier than talking to a small group. I think that once a crowd reaches a certain size and you can't distinguish individual people, it is like you are just talking to yourself. My speech went over really well, with laughter at all the right spots. Piece of cake.
I went home after the ceremony to a "family" gathering which turned out to be a surprise party of friends set up by my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Here is a transcript of my speech for those of you interested:
When I was asked to address the student body at this convocation, with my reflections on the past years here at SFU, I felt somewhat overwhelmed with the task at hand. How does one concisely address what University truly means to us all? Although we come together from different faculties and diverse programs, I wanted to focus on those things at University which are common ties between us all. In the end, what I came up with was not the similarities between departments but rather, it was the attributes that belong to each and everyone of us as students. We all share the experience of sleepless nights cramming, the anxiety of waiting for laboratory results and the joy one feels when all the hard work pays off with a good mark. And yet there is more to it than this. I believe Theodore Roosevelt captured this idea best, when he said:
"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short. And again who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Each of us at one point, set as a goal to obtain a University education. Well we made it, four, five, six years or more, here we are. Older, more mature and with a fuller understanding of the world within which we live.
We have struggled and fought our way through difficult courses and trying times and today we are here to receive our prize for work well done, our diploma. But what we have started, does not end here. The challenge remains to set new, loftier goals.
For some it will be graduate or professional school. For others it will be to find challenging employment within their field of interest. Or perhaps there are physical challenges to overcome, to conquer mountains and oceans or to travel the world. All are admirable goals and yet I think we need to recognize that sometimes we will fall short. The experiments just will not work, our business may falter or fail. And yet, what President Roosevelt said all those years ago still rings true today. It is in the act of trying that we are made great. In our struggle we are made strong, and we become tempered by our experiences. When you aim for the stars and miss, you might just hit the moon. Well today we did not miss, our aim was true and we have reached our goal. Congratulations Graduates!
Day 21. June 5. 0 km. Total 1385 km. Vancouver
I spent the whole day on the computer scanning in pictures and putting text up on my site. In total I took 11 rolls of film in BC alone! I thought that might have been overkill but looking over them I don't regret a single picture. The landscapes are beautiful and the memories are priceless. Every mountain had a different character so no two pictures are alike. However, I do think that my rate of picture taking will be much slower through the prairies. I have scanned in around 40 pictures and will be putting them up in galleries with comments as time permits. I think I should have booked an extra day at home because with the flight back to Calgary tomorrow I am running out of time fast.
Day 22. June 6. 25 km. Total 1410 km. 1.25 hr
I have pretty much cooled off now but earlier tonight I was absolutely furious. I arrived in Calgary at 8:30 pm and my friend was kind enough to pick my up at the airport and drive me back to her place, I was still being evicted though. I had everything loaded on my bike at 9:20 and I headed out. This is much later than I like to be on the roads even though it really doesn't get to be dusk until around 10:00, I just don't feel very safe on these city roads. Looking at the map, I knew my relatives were at 150th st in the South East and I though I was at 52nd st SE which would mean that I had 100 blocks to cover which should take me 30-45 min, not too bad. Well I was wrong, I started at 52nd st NE which meant that I had 200 blocks to cover, all at night!!! This did not improve my mood! To make matters worse, the map I had bought was outdated so some of the roads that once were through roads were now subdivision construction sites. In some cases I would have had to backtrack 4 km so I decided to just push on through the sites. Because of the recent rain the ground was just gumbo, that thick, sticky mud gets and clogs everywhere. Gumming up cleats and pedals and caking up between the fender and the tire this muck just covers everything. Needless to say this put me in an even worse mood. In Canmore I slept in a complete strangers house with their 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter and they trusted me but here I was kicked out, at the time I felt rather insulted and hurt.
Now I am feeling much better and am glad that I did leave. I arrived at my relatives at 10:40 pm that night and sat around talking with my cousins for an hour or so before heading to bed. I have not seen them for over 10 years to it was nice to get back in touch.
Day 23. June 7. 0 km. Total 1410 km. Calgary
Today was just another day of lazing around. I typed up a bunch more of my diary and spent most of the day just catching up with my cousins who I have not seen in over 10 years. I am glad that I had to move because otherwise I probably would not have been by to see them. It all works out in the end. Have to go now, we are going out to a pub for cheap chicken wings. MMmmmmm Cheap wings .
Day 24. June 8. 60 km. Total 1470 km. Calgary
Ohhhhhhhh...... I ate too many wings last night and I think it was those HOT ones that really did me in. I had a really crappy nights sleep with bizarre dreams that had to be brought on by the meal. I must be getting older, back in my teens I could eat double what I did and be unaffected. Oh, oh, I'm turning into a certified old fart already ;-).
Today I went out to do some errands and see the city. I biked to the bottom of the C-train (their light rail system) and took that up to downtown Calgary. The city is somewhat strangely designed. Each of their little suburb blocks (perhaps 2 km by 2 km square) is completely isolated from the neighboring ones except for one major artery. None of the small side streets connect! It seems to me that with all the rapid growth, the city is dealing with it by spreading outward with single family dwellings instead of going upward with apartments. The sprawl is unbelievable. They did have some foresight and saved all the land bordering the rivers and made it into parks with bicycle paths, however since I did not have a bicycle route map, getting around was difficult.
I went to Mountain Equipment Co-op and picked up a bike map and some more gear then went to check out the University. The campus seems nice but I could not find any computers to use to update my site.
Day 25. June 9. 146 km. Total 1616 km. Drumheller
I can't tell you the number of people who keep telling me how boring the prairies are and how long and tedious bicycling across them will be. I keep telling them that it is different going across on bike but they just don't believe me so I will try to express the differences here.
The day started out beautiful, with brilliant blue
skies and large, fluffy white clouds drifting slowly overhead. I took
the 22X East out of Calgary for 20 km then turned North on Hwy 797. It
was at this junction that I hit my first thunderstorm of the day. It was
a big, black mass of cloud moving fast toward me. People in cars were
likely not paying him a second thought but on my bike I was giving him
plenty of attention. It really is something else watching these storms
approach. The bulk of the storm looked like it was going to pass south
of me so I pedaled north along the 797 as fast as I could. When the front
of the storm hit and the wind started to toss me around like a twig, I
decided to head for cover. I saw two guys working in a carport so I ducked
in there to wait out the storm. I spent the next 45 min playing with their
dog and talking about my trip until the storm blew over. During this time
they kept telling me that I needed to get a motor on my bike or buy a
motor cycle. The one guy could not even understand why I was even going
up to Drumheller if my end goal was Newfoundland! They just could not
grasp the fact that I am riding a bike BY CHOICE, and that my goal is
to SEE Canada not just to go across it.
Once the storm blew over I continued on my way. All along the road the songbirds were flitting and singing among the rushes and every once and a while I would have the start of my life when a duck would flush from 3 feet away, a real heart starter as this large, brown object comes bursting out of the grass with a thundering clatter. Just one more thing car drivers don't experience.
I pedaled along the 797 until it turned into Hwy 9, both roads were in good condition and Hwy 9 had a small shoulder. All the while I could see another storm building in the distance. These storms start out a pale blue haze on the horizon but as they approach they turn darker and darker until they loom huge and menacing overhead. At the absolute center of the storm, only visible as it passes right over you :(, the clouds bubble downward just like in the Ghostbusters movie, pretty freaky looking. It is hard to tell how fast a storm is moving so I pick a landmark about 7 km away and when that starts to look hazy (because of the rain) or the thunder takes about 7 seconds (~7km) to reach me, I start looking for shelter. This time it was a lone farmhouse about a 1/2 mile off of the Hwy. I guess I cut it a little close because I was being blown around pretty bad by the time I reached the barn. There was an older fellow just coming in from the field and he invited me in for a cup of tea. So that's how I escaped another storm, warm and snug in a farmhouse with a cup of tea and having a nice conversation with the couple. The gentleman did keep trying to talk me into buying a motorbike, another person who could not understand. They offered me their spare bedroom to spend the night but I really wanted to get to Drumheller today so I thanked them and pushed on. I reached Beiseker at 6:30 and stopped for groceries. I was tired and hungry having traveled 90 km so far but I still had 60 km to go so I took in a sugar injection. I ate 5 apple fritters, two pears and drank 1 L of Coke. Once that started to digest I rode the sugar rush to Drumheller.
The roads to Beiseker were all in pretty good shape and it was mostly flat. Hwy 9 from Beiseker to Drumheller is in poorer shape and the terrain is much more rolling. Because of the cracks I stayed off the shoulder much of the time and only rode on it when a car was passing which was not very frequently.
Does not look like there will be any more thunderstorms tonight and right now there is a fabulous sunset. Time for bed
Day 26. June 10. 45 km. Total 1661 km. East
Absolutely gorgeous scenery today. This side trip to Drumheller was 150% worth coming out from Calgary. All those tourists staying on Hwy 1 have no idea what they are missing. How can I describe the Badlands? They are sort of like what you see in the Grand Canyon but on a smaller scale. The hills are all eroded into interesting shapes and the rock strata is clearly evident. I took it easy today, writing it off as a sightseeing day. I entered town around 10:30 and picked up some food from IGA. I then continued 6km along the dinosaur trail to the Royal Tyrrell Museum where I spent 3 hrs wandering around their collection. What an amazing museum! They essentially trace the history of the earth from formation to the present using fossils from the area and around the world. The exhibits are outstanding making this a must see location if you are ever in Alberta.
When I left the museum I could see yet another storm coming so I headed to the public library to wait it out. I spent 3 hrs in the Library trying to update my web page while two other storms blew over. I did not want to spend the night in Drumheller so I left for East Coulee and the Hoodoo rock formations. 7 km down the road I could see another storm approaching so I ducked into a coffee shop and within 45 min it had blown over. I sure do like being able to see them coming and getting out of their way unlike in the Rockies where you turn a corner only to have a rainstorm pounce upon you.
The Hoodoo rock formations were really interesting although much smaller than I expected. I envisioned 100 ft high structures but in fact they were really only about 15 feet or so tall. They were still really interesting to see, columns of soft sandstone rock weathered by wind and water and capped by a flat piece of tougher rock, they are sort of mushroom like. As I was looking at them a young guy pulled up and asked where I was going. I told him and he said he was from Newfoundland himself and he gave me his parents address and phone number for me to get in touch with when I get there. I had heard that Mari timers were friendly but this clinched it for me.
I really scored an awesome place to stay tonight. I pulled into East Coulee around 8:30 and started looking for a place to camp. I found a great looking yard with a fantastic camping site (trees/out of wind/rain/sun) so I knocked on the door. The fellow who answered the door said that I could camp there but while I was unloading my gear he said that they had a spare room that I could use if I would like. Since it still looked like there could be one more storm tonight I accepted immediately. Woo Hoo!!! A hot shower AND a roof over my head! On the downside, he does have cats and right now I am feeling a little itchy, I hope they don't have fleas .
Day 27. June 11. 139 km. Total 1800 km. Brooks. 10 hrs.
10 km of Hwy 570 from East Coulee to Dorothy was in the process of being paved so the dirt road was a bit of a rough ride. From Dorothy there is a 3 km long climb to get out of the canyon and at the top you return to the prairies. I stayed on Hwy 570 then turned south on Hwy 36 to Brooks. Both of these roads were freshly paved and with a great shoulder, must be all that oil money I have been hearing about.
The entire ride today was extremely level so far and I am really enjoying the prairie scenery. One cool thing that happened today was that I saw my real FLAT section. On one part of Hwy 36 I could look 360 degrees around me and it looked like the horizon was cut with a razor. The transition from ground to sky was so sharp that my eye could not focus on it, it was simply too brilliant and my mind would not accept it. Along one section of road I heard a squawk and looking around I saw a fox chasing a pheasant through a dusty field, what a site! The dust kicking up behind the fox and the bird dodging left and right with the sun setting in the background. Today was also the first day that I have run out of food, all I had left was unsubstantial junk food. I now understand why the cyclists motto is "Eat before you are hungry, drink before you are thirsty". By the time you get hungry you are in serious trouble and it is already too late. When I pulled into Brooks I was so famished my legs were ready to give out. I inhaled a quick meal and went looking for a place to stay. In fact I ate so fast that I think I actually strained a muscle in my throat if that is possible. My neck is really sore when I swallow. That should teach me a lesson J
Day 28. June 12. 145 km. Total 1945km. Irvine.
Last night I stayed with a guy who runs an apiary (bees) and this morning he sent me off with a jar of his honey, YUM! I had forgotten how good peanut butter and honey sandwiches are.
I saw my first antelope today, actually I saw five, as well as two deer. They were all really close to the road so I was able to get a good look at them. Most of them just stood there trying to figure out what exactly I was. I stayed on Hwy 1 the whole day since there really is no other direct route to Saskatchewan. It has a full 4 foot wide shoulder but I much prefer riding on the smaller country roads. Traffic would be much less and the views would be more scenic.
With the wind at my back and traveling in a straight line I have found that I now have time to think. I can keep a small part of my mind on the road while the rest is busy daydreaming or thinking. It was quite enjoyable, I was reviewing storylines of favorite books I had read, and analyzed goals and desires of mine. I also had plenty of opportunity for another of my simple pleasures (as the title refers to). I like mooing, neighing or baaing (whichever the situation calls for) at farm animals along the way. I just love how they look at me like I was a creature from another planet. As soon as they spot me they stare and try to figure out what exactly I am (they pay no attention to cars). Whim I make animal noises at them it really throws them for a loop. Horses usually do nothing but sometimes they race me. Sheep and goats tend to stand around and talk back to me. Calves (young cows) usually look at me with a clueless look on their face and then spook as I pass by and start running away. I can usually get at least one cow out of a herd to start mooing at me which soon gets the whole herd going as those farther away try to find out what all the commotion is about. Bulls on the other hand are just plain stupid, their mind is solely consumed with eating and waiting to mate. Actually I have passed by a whole herd of young bulls and when I mooed at them they perked right up and started following me. I sped up and they started running after me. When I stopped they would all gather round right against the fence and stare at me like I was their god. They looked so foolish that I had to take their picture. I though that perhaps the farmhand that usually feeds them might always wear something yellow and so when they saw my yellow jersey they thought I was him. However, when I related this story to a farmer I was staying with he just laughed and said, "Son, do you know what time of year it is? Those were young bulls, they weren't thinking about food!" Ahem, well yes, perhaps I will try to moo a little less sexily. ;-) See what all you car drivers are missing?
As I was approaching Medicine Hat I met up with another cyclist and we road together talking for 20 km or so. I placed him in his 40's but he will be retiring at 60 next year (see what regular cycling will do). He is an avid cycle tourist having bicycled throughout BC several times, around Asia, and he said he had been to Australia/New Zealand 4-5 times.
I am beat, will break 2000 km tomorrow, ~1/4 done.