Monday, August 29, 2016

Summer Adventure Tour - Vernon BC - Cranbrook BC

A cool and mostly cloudy day (although I still got more sunburned on my face, with SPF 60 and having the face shield - which also is supposed to have SPF protection - down all day).  A day of mountains, valleys, babbling rivers, train tracks, snow sheds, tunnels, eagle nests, and the world's largest paddle!

At Albert's Peak, there is a train track through a rock cut, and a tunnel on the other side of the river.

Albert's Peak - this lovely warning sign on handling unexploded charges

Albert's Peak pull off - view the opposite direction as above

World's largest hand paddle - near Golden
Rest stop with a monument to the TransCanada Hwy

Tile mosaic of Canada and the TransCanada Highway

Avalanche control artillery

Avalanche control artillery placque
Lots of eagle nests along Hwy 95 south of Golden - most are on poles erected just for this purpose - right beside hydro poles with tented pointy anti-nesting-looking devices at the top.  Lots also had one or two or three residents.  These residents were screeching at us wildly as we were taking their glamour shots.
Eagle's nest


Just past Radium Springs

Radium Springs - view of the road ahead

Vernon BC -> Cranbook BC

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Summer Adventure Tour - Vernon BC - Farquier and back

Bath Day for the bikes!
After their cross-country trip, the bikes desperately needed a bath!  Bugs and mud and dust and more bugs.  Love the car washes that take cards! 

Rest area along BC#6

Wee wild lupins

Wee lake at the rest stop
BC #6 is a beautiful road of hills and curves.  Hills from 6% grade to 12%.  The hill down to the ferry is a fun 11% grade.  It was a blast doing this both directions.

At the river and ferry crossing, there is also an area set up to corral logs - a spot for trucks to offload, and a boom around a huge area to keep the logs in order. 

Log booms in the river at Farquier
The ferry held lots of vehicles.  Livestock loads have priority, say the signs.  There is no wake from the ferry - three cables guide the ferry back and forth on its journeys.

Cable ferry at the river crossing to Farquier

Took a small side trip to Edgewood for a cool beverage and there was this beautiful number on my odometer.  Right at Edgewood General Store.  They have hardware, groceries, beer, wine, liquor, hats, ice cream treats, candy and also sell gas.  One stop shopping.

On the way out to Edgewood, Don spotted another bear!  He turned around to try to get a photo, but the bear disappeared into the bushes.

Fun odometer reading at Edgewood BC

Coming back into Vernon, we can see there is another wildfire underway ...

BC #6 both directions!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer Adventure Tour - Kamloops - Vernon BC

Another beautiful BC day - full of sunshine!  Gorgeous backroads most of the day, in good condition with not much traffic.  My kind of day!  Right up until we got to Summerland then Kelowna all the way to Vernon - then it was heavy traffic.  Too early to be rush hour, but maybe people heading out for weekend playtime?

Two bears spotted today - one just after we started up the small mountain road #3A - a good sized black bear, loping down the road, then scampering off into the brush.  Then at the other end of #3A - at an abandoned garbage dumpster site - big fella sitting on the top of the dumpsters.  He just stayed there when Don took his picture!  

Rest area along BC #5A

Lunch at Keremeos

Serious picnic tables!

Best road of the day!  Mountain road #3A - bridges over babbling brooks have wooden decks

View from the other direction from the wooden deck bridge on #3A

Big, beautiful elderberries! Tons of these bushes along the roadway.

Saw another of these warning signs today
Moose crossing warning.  The first few times I saw this version I couldn't get my head wrapped around which direction the moose was facing

This was the sight we saw when we arrived in Penticton - so many people floating in the canal!

Today's route

Summer Adventure Tour - Prince George - Kamloops BC

A glorious day for riding!  Started out coolish but beautiful clear skies, finished up hot, hot, hot.
  • Navigating by Tim Horton's
  • Construction season goes on - a very long stretch of grooved pavement - yuck. So many wiggles on those grooves.  Just have to hang loose and let the bike wiggle.  And a long wait at a construction site - people were walking their dogs while waiting.

Viewpoint from Lake Kamloops overlook

Navigating by Tim Horton's

Waiting ... waiting ... melting

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Adventure Tour - Edson AB - Jasper - Prince George BC

What a delightful day!  We started off by visiting Runaway Quilting, a beautiful quilt store right down the street from our hotel.  They had a terrific array of tools and fabrics.  A few treasures leaped into my arms to come home with me :)  Including a thimble I've been on the lookout for, for months and months!  

Jasper National Park
Just look at the day we had!  Glorious skies, mountains, streams, wildlife.

Wild goats coming up from the lake to cross the highway and head for the mountains

Just breathe in that mountain air!
Lunch at the De'd Dog Bar & Grill in Jasper.  We were too early though for the dinner menu, which starts at 4:20.  
Lunch in Jasper

Mount Robson
We didn't get his pix, but a bear poked his head out of the grasses along the side of the road, checked for traffic before he headed across.  He waited until we passed by.  Didn't see any cubs, just the one pretty big black bear.
Babbling brook at a rest stop about an hour outside of Prince George

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Summer Adventure Tour - Lloydminster -> Edson AB

Monday was a rest day!  Also our 35th wedding anniversary.  Wow, what a journey we've enjoyed together.

There was also a huge storm hitting the area where we were headed next ... there was a tornado and some areas were flooded - a Sobey's parking lot in Westlock was transformed into canoe/kayak hot spot.

Today was still grey and gloomy with the storm system still swirling but with breaks, and we thought we could manage through.  It was 11* when we left, between 13* - 15* for most of the day.  After we were west of Edmonton, the cloud cover did break and there was some sun.  And then we got soaked! Ah well.  Such is the lot of riding.  We were pretty well dry by the time we reached our destination for tonight, Edson AB.

At our first stop for a stretch, we pulled into a fuel station, with this view overlooking the valley. Right beside the parking lot is a wee prairie dog homestead.

Gloomy day but nice view over the valley
Prairie Dog watching us
Found a rainbow!

View from our hotel

Random thoughts along the way ...

  • How is it determined who gets to bale and harvest those bales along the roadway?  There was one bale showing evidence of litter that ignoramuses decide somehow belongs along the road.
  • Magpies - lots of these along the way - I love their bright white bars.
  • So many pickup trucks
  • A few fields of corn - must be for haylage?
  • Discovered the Edmonton Pioneer Research Station!
  • What does a Peace Officer do?  There were a couple of their SUV's along the way.
With the weather so iffy, we didn't stop to explore anything along the way.  We did see a sign for the largest Pysanka at Vegreville.  Neither of us knew what a pysanka is ... this is what we missed!
Vegreville Pysanka

And the world's largest dragonfly at Wabamun.

This is what happens when you research after you've already gone past these fun sights.  And it's crummy, stormy weather.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Adventure Tour - Yorkton SK - Lloydminster AB

We're arrived in Alberta!  Just.  We're in Lloydminster for the night, on the Alberta side of 50th Ave, which happens to also be the Sask/Alta border.

Had beautiful views of the North Saskatchewan River for much of the day, passed over it a couple times.  Town names are so interesting - we passed by both Kandahar and Highgate, Mozart and Foam Lake.  There is a quilt store in Foam Lake - Quiltworks Studio, but it was closed on this Sunday.

So. Much. Canola.  Most still standing but very green.  Some swathed.  Some combines running in the wheat.  Seems to be very late for wheat or canola harvest, even for this far north?  

Along the route today, we continued to see thousands and thousands of white butterflies - we think they're cabbage butterflies.  They seem to like the flooded sloughs.  The trucks have huge collections of these butterflies plastered on their rads.  We have hundreds of gut spots on our bikes from these butterflies unfortunate endings when they fly into our path.  

Have to find a car wash!  Covered in cabbage butterfly guts, which bees apparently find delicious.
Cabbage butterfly

Speaking of bees, we drove by alfalfa fields dotted with these fun little blue huts.  They looked a bit like giant beehives.  Turns out, that's exactly what they are!  Polidomes for the Leafcutter Bees, at work pollinating the alfalfa fields.  Apparently you need one of these shelters for every four or five acres.  Details here ...  
Bee shelters dotting the alfalfa field
All across our route through Manitoba and Saskatchewan, we've found lots of sloughs, seemingly higher than usual - over fenceposts.  These are fine spots for waterfowl - and they are full of ducks and geese.

Slough is such a funny word.  Pronounced "slew" when it describes these swampy areas, but does not rhyme with tough or rough or cough or though.  Or when 'slough' is describing what happens when a snake sheds his skin, then it does rhyme with rough.  Oh, English.

The other kinda quilty find today, was just as we were arriving at our hotel for the night, in Lloydminster - "Sew In Tune".   Also closed, still being Sunday.  They sell sewing machines and musical instruments.  What a terrific combination!  

We often stay at Best Western hotels, and this one is a gem!  A new property, they also upgraded us (they have 4 floors and are not full, and we have tons of loyalty points) - we have a fireplace in the sitting area and a Jacuzzi tub in the bedroom.  And a steam shower.  And a kitchenette.  It is really, really nice! 
Today's route - Yorkton SK - Lloydminster AB