Part 5, the final push July 7 – July 12, 2022 116.6 miles / 2,832 Ft Elevation climbed
It’s bittersweet but we both agreed that we felt like we were missing out on the fun stuff back home. Fun stuff like tending our gardens, which we rely on for canning foods. Fun stuff like the rapidly changing life of everything that makes UP Michigan so incredible. We LOVE to cycle tour, but we LOVE our little red house in UP. Touring UP in the fall is incredible and we’ve decided, at least for the time being that we are going to spend summers in the future at home. There is entirely too much cool, fun stuff happening right out our back door. Somehow we will have to figure out the logistics of long distance touring, but in the winter. What does that even mean? At this point, we are not sure. But in the meantime, here goes the final push of our Canadian Rockies Tour.
We left out of Lundbrook Falls campground and immediately started our climb back into the mountains of Alberta, Canada. We would be passing back into British Columbia, Canada soon. The terrain changed rapidly and I have to admit that I would much rather cycle in the mountains than the flat grasslands.
We passed through an area where a huge rockslide took out a town many years ago. “The Frank Slide was a massive rockslide that buried part of the mining town of Frank in the District of Alberta of the North-West Territories, Canada, at 4:10 a.m. on April 29, 1903. Around 44 million cubic metres/110 million tonnes of limestone rock slid down Turtle Mountain. Wikipedia ” Estimates of those killed was about 90.
We knew we had to hit a pass, CrowsNest Pass on our way back across the mountain range. The elevation wasn’t bad at 4,298 Ft above sea level. The cycling was pretty easy for the most part.
Our destination for the night was Sparwood, British Columbia where there is a campground, Mountain Shadows Campground with hot showers. We both were pretty ready for a shower and we looked forward to it. The campground was incredible, we were even entertained by a cute chipmunk.
We slept great again in our little red tent. It’s funny, I just realized that our living quarters both on the road and off are red. Little Red Tent and Little Red House near Lake Superior. Anyway, we packed up and rolled this morning, heading into Fernie.
We saw Mike the Bikes bike and trailer in the ditch so we stopped. Mike was drying wet clothing out across a log in the ditch. He joined us for lunch at the 3 & 93 Dairy Bar for lunch. This is at the intersection of Hwy 3 and 93, which makes sense as to why they call it that. We all enjoyed burgers and fries and ice cream. It’s a rule, if it’s an ice cream place we must indulge in said ice cream. So we did and it was excellent!
Mike joined us for our remaining night in BC Canada. We headed to the Kikomun Creek Recreation Site. This time there were about half a dozen RVs pulled in. We pitched our tents and Mike joined us for a lentil soup supper. His bike is not really all that suitable for gravel roads but he did good as we wove our way to the rec site.
The next morning, July 9, 2022 we departed way with Mike the Bike. He was continuing his journey and we headed south towards the US/Canada Border.
The Elk River Bridge is one of those river bridges that I have developed a definite Love-Hate relationship with. Maybe it was my imagination but it seems like it has gotten easier. That and the realization (over and over) that hills are a mind game. I have learned, NEVER EVER look at the top of the oncoming big hill. These monsters always look like they go on forever but to just hit it and not look up makes it a whole lot easier.
But then again, cycling is more mental than physical. A positive, can-do attitude goes a long way in completing longer tours.
We exited out of Canada and back into the US just north of Eureka, Montana. We headed for our truck, loaded the bikes and gear. From there we met up with Sheila, Nate and Alex at Fire & Slice, a local pizza place.
It’s time to head for home.
We camped again at the Yellowstone River the evening of July 10 . The sunset was incredible. Devil’s Tower has been a land feature that I have always wanted to see. On July 11, 2022 enroute back to Michigan we got to see it. We ended up just driving through since every parking lot was full. The National Wonders are way too busy for our tastes. Our final night of camping was a boondocking site near the Badlands.
When we departed the Badlands on July 12 we opted to drive on to home. The bike tour was a fun ride all in all but the limited grocery store options and resupply options for us brought back a lot of miserable memories from 2016.
Canada is beautiful, there is no question about that and we both are very pleased with our Continental Divide bail out. We had wanted to revisit the Icefields Parkway and we did. We had wanted to revisit some of BCs Rec Sites and we did. But now that we redid some of this we are ready to move along from revisiting Western Canada.
Our local UP Michigan tours will happen and we are excited about the rides we have planned in 2023. It has taken me way too long get this tour written but life just seems to keep us very busy.
Words of “You are too young to retire or Won’t you get bored?” OMG, there isn’t enough hours in the day to do all we do. Spring, Summer and Fall we will be staying home. We have a garden to tend, foraging for wild fruits, canning up foods and just watching UP come to life in the spring to look forward to. The “Bones” to our September UP Ride are pretty much set. We are also looking toward embarking on a multi-month tour winter of 2023-2024. The planning has started but details and logistics have not been finalized.
A Bicycle Tour has started to formulate in our brains and the call of the wide open spaces reverberates through our minds. We are definitely not ready to hang up our panniers or touring bikes. The possibilities are quite endless and who really knows where we will point our bikes to, but we will bag up and head out again.