Week Three in Review: Banff, AB to Edmonton, AB

What a week! We explored the beautiful Icefield Parkway between Banff and Jasper (click here to see photos and a recap of that amazing ride), saw lots of wildlife, then left the Rockies behind and got to our first major city since starting — Edmonton! Along the way, we’ve been spoiled by some very generous people — putting us up, feeding us, showing us around. A special thanks to John and Leni, and Terry and Rob who have made Alberta feel really welcoming.

Day 12: Rest day in Banff, AB

Riding everyday, we put our bodies through a lot! So every 5-7 days or so, we take a rest day to give our bodies a chance to rest and recover. Not only that, but it gives us a chance to actually spend some time in the city we’re in.

Unfortunately for us, this rest day was spent on the go; we had to take our bikes on a bus to Canmore, AB (20 minute drive away). There, we had our rear wheels replaced to stop the torrent of spoke breakages we’d been experiencing. As a happy coincidence, we were also able to pick up a Vega nutrition package there as well. Thanks Vega!

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A cloudy morning in Banff.

Day 13 – 15: Banff, AB to Jasper, AB

Our last blog post covered the trip between Banff and Jasper in greater detail, including photos! Click here to go read that now.

Day 16: Unplanned rest day in Jasper, AB

After battling massive climbs, icy winds, and even snow, we decided that it would be a good idea to take an extra rest day in Jasper. Besides… have you seen Jasper?!?! It is gorgeous! I definitely plan on going back and spending some more time there, hiking and mountain biking.

Day 17: Jasper, AB to Obed Lake Provincial Park

It was hard to leave Jasper, and even harder to leave the Rockies.  But all good things must come to an end. And so with heavy hearts, we packed up and pedalled out of Jasper.

As luck would have it, some wildlife showed up to see us off! Mountain goats and elk were the flavours of the day:

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Mountain goats! Taken outside of Jasper, AB.

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Skittish guy is ready to fly. Taken outside of Jasper, AB.

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Skittish little mountain goats doing their mountain goating thing.

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We’ve got a jumper!

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Just hanging with my bud, eating by the river.

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This is SO tasty — you have NO idea!

We also noticed that the mountains rapidly changed the further we got from Jasper. Here, they’re a lot less sharp and eroded-looking.

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A sudden change in the appearance of the mountains occurred within 40km of leaving Jasper.

Right outside of Jasper National Park, we turned up a steep drive way and made our way to Leni and John’s house and cabin. They very generously fed us, including some homemade cookies and date squares. Delicious!

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Jon’s bike felt jealous being left out while we feasted at Leni and John’s. So, it threw a bike temper tantrum and flipped itself over. And all the king’s horses and the king’s men….

The day ended on a sad note, as we looked back and glimpsed the Rockies for the last time. But, it also marks the happy completion of the toughest terrain on this trip!

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Good bye, Rockies. Fare thee well!

When I’m towing the trailer, I always have to be careful because every move I make with the bike is amplified by the trailer. For example, if I swerve around a pot hole, the trailer will swerve too, but will swerve wider, and then will take its time coming to “rest” behind me by oscillating left and right. Meanwhile, the trailer moving to the left and right pulls on my bike, which means I have to be constantly vigilant to maintain control. Luckily, I’m completely used to that now, so it hasn’t been a major problem.

However, shortly after that last glimpse of the Rockies, and only a couple of kilometres from camp, I had a scary flat. My back tire suddenly went flat on a steep downhill. All I knew, though, was that the trailer was suddenly going haywire behind me. It was bouncing left and right really quickly and just felt out of control! I was afraid I was going to wipe out, so I quickly braked and looked back to see what happened. Oh, the beginning of our flat tire woes.

So, after changing that tire, we arrived late to camp, with the last light from the setting sun.

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Final rays of the setting sun, reflected in Obed Lake.

Day 18: Obed Lake Provincial Park to Edson, AB

Ugh. The day of flats. Not only did day 17 end with a flat, but today started with one too! Jon had a slow leak in his tire from the previous night’s riding, and it was completely flat in the morning.

After fixing Jon’s flat, we finished taking down camp and eating. So, when we finally got on our way, Jon’s tire was soft again. Uh oh! We got as far as the park gate before we stopped to pump it up again.

Unfortunately, I thought my tire could use more air, too, so I also pumped it up. But in doing so, the valve broke, so the tube wouldn’t hold air. So, we had to change it! If you’re keeping count, that’s two changes!

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If a plant can push through pavement, we can endure the day of flats!

After a couple of stops to fill up Jon’s tire on the road, we eventually came to a hill where his tube just gave up the ghost and went flat. And thus began the fun experience of changing an elusive flat at the side of the Yellowhead Highway, a highway with a speed limit of 110km/h and many, many transport trucks.

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Doctor Jon on the job. The fragment of metal that was causing Jon’s flats was so small, he had to pick it out with his first aid kit tweezers!

Luckily, after Jon replaced his tube, we had no more issues. And believe me, it’s not for lack of the road trying — the shoulder was strewn with tons of gravel and other debris. Sadly, because of the time spent dealing with flats, we decided to cut our day short and stop and camp 11km east of Edson (at a place called East of Edson, coincidentally!).

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‘X’ marks the spot… next to our camp site, I guess.

Day 19: Edson, AB to Carvel, AB

Leaving Edson behind (what a relief!), we were flying! With relatively flat terrain and no head wind, we were averaging nearly 30km/h. What a great feeling! And with that, we optimistically decided to push as close to Edmonton as we could, to make up for the previous day.

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This chain was cleaned the previous morning. Alberta, you have diiiiiirty roads!

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The clouds are the stars of the show in Alberta.

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Jon jete’ing with joy. And a scary smile that still haunts my dreams!

Our fast pace continued for most of the ride, so we were making excellent time and decided to see if we could push to Rob’s place (the boyfriend of Terry, who’s B&B we stayed at in Jasper), 40km outside of Edmonton. Shortly after we made this decision, though, we saw a huge storm moving in from behind us! Go go go — gotta stay in front of it!

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Racing the storm front!

It was a close race, but, despite some raindrops, we held on and squeaked out the win! Special thanks to Rob for putting us up for the night in his beautiful house!

Day 20: Carvel, AB to Edmonton, AB

After a quick 45km ride, we officially arrived in Edmonton — the first major city since we departed three weeks ago! Most of the day was spent doing maintenance tasks, though: dropping the bikes off for a tune-up, getting a replacement pole for Jon’s tent, and then waiting around. Still, it feels like an accomplishment to be here!

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Hello, Edmonton!

It’s hard to believe we’ve been on the road for three weeks now! Finally making it to Edmonton has been really exciting for us (though, the city traffic less so), and we can’t wait to keep going! Next week we’ll be passing through Calgary and then heading to Drumheller to check out the Royal Tyrell Museum and the badlands!

Now that we’ve passed through the Rockies, what landscapes/skyscapes are you looking forward to? The badlands in Alberta? The “living skies” in Saskatchewan? The lakes in Manitoba? Let us know in the comments below!

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