|Ten Peaks (not all seen)|
Now that I am fully retired, Phyllis and I felt we deserved a special trip to celebrate this momentous occasion. We chose to make a cycling trip through the Canadian Rockies, including Jasper and Banff National Parks. Since time is not an issue, we chose to drive, both to see more of the west (US and Canada) as well as to make bringing our own bikes easier. We took three days to drive to Banff, which is about an hour and a half west of Calgary. After spending the first night in St. Cloud, MN we spent the next night (our first in Canada) in the town of Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan. Primarily a farming and transportation hub, the town has the nickname of "Little Chicago" due to the fact that one of our more notorious former citizens, Al Capone, was known to vacation there. We stayed there in a lovely bed and breakfast. The following night we stayed in Calgary. In both Moose Jaw and Calgary, we were able to take short bike rides and I'm happy to report that both had excellent systems of bike paths.
|Mt. Edith Clavell Glacier|
|At Columbia ice field|
The next day was the Fourth of July and while I later learned that back home there was triple digit heat, the local temperature never even reached sixty. This was our longest riding day, almost eighty miles to Lake Louise. The highlight was shortly after leaving in the morning where we had an almost ten mile downhill run. We stayed two nights in Lake Louise and on the layover day did another uphill ride to a lake with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The final day's ride took us back to Banff and the conclusion of the ride.
We stayed two additional nights in Banff and took one more ride on our own while there. In this time we only scratched the surface of the multitude of things to do in this incredibly beautiful area. Coming home, we took side trips to Yoho National in British Columbia, which has the highest waterfall (over 1000 feet) in Canada and to Edmonton, where we again were able to take advantage of an extensive system of bike trails in yet another very bike friendly Canadian city.
For the most part we had favorable weather. We did have one day of rain but were able to shelter in a covered campground for the worst part. While the first few days were overcast and cool, the last three days were spectacular and had in the afternoon temperatures in the eighties, almost unprecedented for the area. We were advised to bring gear for almost every cycling condition and were able at some time to use all, including long underwear. Even on the warmest days, overnight temps would go down to the forties.
|Showing club colors|
The tour itself was extremely well organized. Our cycling companions were three other groups of Americans and two of Australians. The tour was organized by Rocky Mountain Cycle Tours. We had a two man crew to attend to our every need, Peter who owns the company and Dieter, his 72 year old father. On this trip, Peter rode with us and Dieter drove the van, but usually it is the reverse. The hotels we stayed in were first class and the food was excellent. I highly recommend this tour for anyone looking for a truly unique cycling experience.