Wednesday, July 15, 2009

AK '09 - Day 25

The trip is taking a little different dynamic now that it's just John and I. The pace is more relaxed and we leave when we leave. We agree on a time to leave but it's more of a suggestion than any thing.

This morning we were both up before 6am, working on our laptops. After showers and packing we were on the bikes by 7. There was a gas station next door so we went over there to top off. As luck would have it my American Express didn't want to work so I had to deal with that. Luckily the attendant was very understanding and I left after paying for the gas with my Visa.

John took us into the huge town of Valemount and almost immediately we found a restaurant for breakfast. Once our orders were placed I called American Express to resolve their issue. I informed the lady I spoke with that this was the second time they shut my card down on this trip and that I had a new slogan for them to use in Canada, "American Express, LEAVE home with out, it's useless". She was very apologetic for the continued inconvenience, thanked me for being a customer and said she noted the account so  I would not have any more problems. I'll bet I have to call at least once more before I get home. Amex really isn't the traveller's card any more. Mastercard seems to be the best card to carry, at least when going to the northern parts of North America.

After breakfast we headed north back to Hwy 16 which went to Jasper. There was no reason to go into Jasper so we took 93 south into Jasper National Park. Remember when you ride in National Parks the speed limit is slower, and this park was no different. Plus we had to face idiotic RV'ers towing trailers they had no business towing and hogging the left lane in passing lane areas. Really, there should be a different licensing program for RV'ers.

After an hour and half we made it down to the Ice Fields visitor center and pulled in. At first glance it appeared there was a road leading up onto the glacier. We both thought it would be too cool to have the bikes on the glacier. We inquired at the information counter and discovered that we had to take the bus tour to get on the glacier and that our bikes would not be allowed. Bummer. I had already decided that I wanted to do the bus tour if it didn't cost as much as a small car (or a new Spyder) and when I found out is was only $49/person I knew I had to do it. So I went over to the ticket counter and bought us both tickets. We were going to stand on the glacier.

(The terrabus, with 4 foot tall tires)

A short while later and 1 transfer from a regular tour bus to a Terra Bus, and we were on the glacier, walking around, taking pictures, and John was even tasting the glacier melt water. It was really amazing, we were standing on almost 1000 feet of ice below our feet. Standing on all that ice was a little cold, especially with the steady wind. Our guide told us that it snowed 365 days a year on the Ice Fields and that's what kept the glacier going. It was an incredible place to be, and we were lucky to have great weather.

(sitting down on the glacier)

After the ride back down, we decided to get away from all the tourists and continue our southward track to the gas stop 30 miles down the road. The stop included $1.349/Liter CAN full service gas without service, overpriced cafeteria style prepackaged food, and an encounter with a traveller we had met in Fairbanks. Good stop but a little expenisive.

Once we were done with the stop we rolled on down Hwy 93 toward Banf. At one point I regretted packing up my liner because it was getting a little cold as we climbed in elevation. The chilli was making me sleepy too. If I had seen a park bench I probably would have stopped for a nap.

We turned off for Radium Hot Springs and found some great twisties. John was riding his peaceful pace and I decided it was best not to pass him since I didn't know where the hotel was. The ride going into Radium was invigerating and scenic. The hotel turned out to be a great find. Dinner was had just down the street at a German restaurant.

All in all today was a great day with 300 miles of riding. Tomorrow will be a shorter day with only 216 miles planned on the GPS. We are going to leave a little later so I can get some work done before we leave. Since we are now in Mountain time I'm only 1 hour behind home, which make life a little easier.

Tomorrow night I'll be back in the USA and hopefully far enough south to see a sun set. It's the little things in life that you look forward to.

1 comment:

Fred said...

What do you mean a more relaxed pace? The start time was always determined by the group the night before. Several times I was on my bed with my boots still off when Dick told me yall were loading up getting ready to go.