Day 15. Calgary to the Icefields Parkway/Banff National Park

I woke up early, scrubbed up and checked out of the motel and rolled on down to Anderwerks to meet David and have the valves adjusted on the bike. I found the shop with ease and announced my arrival!

I met David the owner & Mike the mechanic & Nicole who organises everything front and back of house! He emptied the garage of all the sweet bikes they were working on and some they collect and rolled mine in. 

We had to wait for the engine to cool down before the work could start, so I made myself comfortable and talked to Nicole in the waiting area.
My replacement spoke was at Blackfoot motorcycles so I went along for the ride with Nicole to pick it up! My first ride in a Canadian truck. I have to say it was pretty fun! We picked up breakfast tacos (naturally) 

and headed back to the shop. 
I sat and waited again and then a chap called Tim came in looking for a fuel pump for his 2007 GSA. 

Wow. What a guy!! He’s ridden around the world, and then some! He was in no rush and neither was I! 

He told me stories of his travels around the world and I tried to do the same, he had way more than me though! We talked American politics and about my future travel plans and his! (You can read about his travels here

A really nice guy, we exchanged emails and I said i’t let him know when I’ll be passing through again next week for beers!

A while later the bike was ready and David the owner and showed me a trail through the foothills of the Rockies which was around 230 miles of gravel trails through the forests and old logging tracks. I was sold in the idea, no matter how crazy it sounded! 

I paid my bill, said my goodbyes and rode on out of Calgary towards Cochrane where the trail starts just outside the town. 
I picked up the road around 6pm and for the first 5 miles or so it was paved, then and without warning you cross a bridge and bang……gravel track roads for as far as the eye can see and the Canadian wilderness at its best! 

I saw a few deer and and a few eagles flying around, cows & horses! 
I went up and down the mountains around the loose road surface turning the bike in and out of the bends standing up on the pegs all the way. Standing up for hours at a time is hard on the feet and leg muscles!

I saw a big opening of a gravel pit at the side of the tracks at one point and attempted a hill climb! The ground looked firm enough and had other tyre tracks from 4×4’s. Silly move. The ground was so soft the rear wheel dug in and my hill climb attempt ended before it was over, the bike went down and I struggled to lift it up and out of the mud as the ground kept slipping underneath The bike every time I tried. 
Persistence and fact I’m out here alone got it back up again and I manoeuvred it back down the hill!! What a douche!

After a few hours the light was starting to fade, I still had 60 miles to go before the highway crossing where I had planned to find a place to stay for the night. I pushed on slowing down as the light faded as the risk of deer running out in the road In front of me was still present. I then turned on my Clearwater Erica lights! Boom! Night into day! I could see far down the track and each side of the tree line with ease! They are just such amazing lights. It was lots of fun riding through the forests, but you never get to relax as you’re constantly looking out for wild animals that could run out on you, constantly looking & scanning the road ahead for ruts, potholes & big rocks that could knock you off. You also have to maintain a certain speed for the bike to keep good traction in the gravel to prevent the front wheel sliding out. Set concentration to maximum and keep it there. 

It was a hard days riding, but one I’ll remember for a long long time. 

60 miles eventually dropped to 40, to 30, to 5, to oh wow, there’s a street light, and signs and a Tarmac road! Ahhhh so satisfying to sit down and rest my legs after 5.5 hours of standing up riding gravel roads! 
I hit the highway and headed west to the David Thompson resort David at Anderwerks had told me about. They have a hostel room which sounded great to me! Sadly though when I arrived at 11.25pm office was shut and there was no one around. 
I decided to hit the road to the nearest petrol station which was 25 miles away! Ha ha ha ! Pitch black, nothing but me on the road light up like day with the Clearwater lights. 
Around 23 miles on I entered the Banff National Park! A big sign saying “All bears are dangerous”(no shit??) welcomed me! Great! I found the petrol station which was situated in the grounds of the Icefields Parkway (resort?)but it was closed! On the booth it had a sign saying after hours to call this number. 

I used the phone provided and the nice young man answered and said he would be there in 5 minutes! Horray! Petrol! The young man came along, let me fill up with gas and I asked him if there was anywhere I could stay for the night. He said he could open up the guest room for me and let me sleep on the couch!! Yes please!! 

What a result! It was way better than I had ever hoped for! Soon I was in the warmth of a nice room on a soft couch! Perfect end to a long day! 

6 thoughts on “Day 15. Calgary to the Icefields Parkway/Banff National Park

  1. Well son, you really are travelling through some remote areas. Your legs must have felt like jelly after being in a standing position.for so long Had no idea you would need to do that. You are meeting some very nice people on your travels especially the guy who opened up the petyrol station for you. That must have felt so good after all that riding. Keep safe Love Dad xxx

    Liked by 2 people

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