June 26, 2008 GMT
Canada Week 3

17 June Calgary to Jasper

Calgary was a relief as we could now see the mountains,

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With that came a change in the weather. Perhaps it was just because we could see snow

We joined the throng heading west on highway? The pace seemed more frantic than on the plains. We had decided to travel north to Jasper and had plotted the road changes..., both of them.
The Garmin was staying in the pannier, There seemed little point in having any further distractions, what with the eccentric Canadian road signs. There just aren't that many sizable towns . Navigation does not require the constant attention needed in Britain. There aren't that many choices.
Trying to listen to music just doesn't seem to work for us. Even at slow speeds there is so much to take in that even familiar and welcome tunes get in the way of appreciating the changing scene. On the bike, we have admittedly ,rain and wind to contend with, but we are rewarded by the changing and at times seductive aromas. The wild sage when whipped by a heavy lorry releases a pleasant perfume. Freshly milled timber also tantallises.
We eventually made our way to Lake Louise, after back tracking to retrieve Tasha's glove that flew away as she managed to catch a road sign for yet another tourist lake.

We ended the day up one glove, as we found another one before finding Tasha's. Oh the joy of stopping, turning on such a fast section.
We had just entered the Jasper National Park where we were welcomed by a woman who must have failed the US Immigration Officers School of Charm. Its as easy to get into Poland, but you don't get the feeling you have been ripped off in Poland,
Being a National Park seems to mean that the road signage becomes even more challenging. Firstly they reduce the font size so the letters are about an inch high, then they are yellow on a brown background. That is in places where they bother to put signs.

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But once you are in the park - it is worth every bit of inconvenience possible. The scenery is exciting and magnificent - snow capped mountains, lakes and glaciers.

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We were treated to more wildlife. At first we thought there was an accident ahead, but we were to figure out that it would be a bunch of motorists crowding around a bear.

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Mountain goats didn't seem to warrant interest to our boxed bretheren.

Lake Louise was pleasant and a break from the road. A bit too manicured perhaps.

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We arrived in Jasper about 3 pm and headed to the Tourist Information Office. For the first time we came across someone who while very nice and friendly, seemed not to be the possessor of information useful for a tourist. We did discover that the Information Office did seem to exert a magnetic influence as we kept finding it. All we wanted was a room for the night.

Lobstick Lodge was welcoming, reasonably priced and available. None of these points were indicated in the Information Centre. The desk staff seemed to be young Australians who were great fun, and had as much local knowledge as the official sources. There was even a New Zealand wine on the wine-list. (Of course we tried it!).

18 June Jasper to Clearwater.

We had a few difficulties leaving Jasper, as the road signs can only be read as you enter the town.
We followed the route to Yellowhead Pass which led us through Mount Robson National Park. Natasha's concerns about the Rockies had receded, as we seemed to simply follow broad valley floors.
At last, the climb that started at Medicine Hat was over and we headed down. It did wonders for the fuel consumption.
We had decided that as we were not too far from Merritt and the Horizons Unlimited meeting that we would have a short day.
Natasha chose a Lodge in Clearwater. What a great choice. After we had unloaded the luggage, we headed off to explore a road into yet another National Park - Wells Gray - that led to three spectacular waterfalls. Unfortunately we were caught in a downpour. When we wandered to the viewing places, we just plodded along with our crash helmets on as rain hats. We explained to people that gave us inquiring looks that we were afraid of bears. The falls were all spectacular as the amount of rain had raised river levels considerably.

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19 June Clearwater to A.P Ranch

The next day we had a comparatively short ride of about 300km to Merritt and beyond to the AP Ranch, the venue for the Horizons Unlimited meeting.
A relief to get there, and an even better surprise to find we had been allocated the best room in the place.
The HU meeting was splendid. there were at least 4 couples on UK bikes. There were also some ex-pat Brits. As usual, a good bunch, and there was plenty to learn.

22 June Penticton in Okanagan Valley

We were a bit sad to say farewells and get back on the road, but just a few miles down the road and we were both happy to feel the miles slipping away.
We have about two weeks before we leave for Japan. We “discovered” Penticton, while stopped in a queue of traffic waiting for emergency vehicles to clear a horrendous accident. The driver of a pick-up truck had failed to notice a stationary car about to turn into a viewing spot. The rear wheels of the car were under the drivers seat.

Penticton is placed between two lakes. The area reminds me very much of Central Otago. And the cherries are just getting ripe. We have decided to have a few days here and do day trips without all the luggage.
We have also shed some of our gear in an effort to lighten the load. It will probably get back to the UK after we do!

Posted by Brendon Ball at June 26, 2008 08:57 PM GMT
 

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