With Dusty, we started out of Fernie with a four kilometre climb out of Elkford. At 12:17 we end up meeting up with Betty( she had taken a short cut on the main highway), Mark on the recumbent, and two other riders we had met in the previous days. Could not have been planned, or worked, if we had taken time to plan. Thanks to the GPS tracker, Ashley, a friend of our daughter Kathleen, from Sparwood, dropped in waving a "Go Bern and Jim" sign.
Stayed at the Fernie Hostel where we re-met the "American" Mike Shriek. Had dinner at the Curry Bowl with Dusty, Areha, Mike and Ashley. Great meal.
First crossing of the Divide in the pouring rain.... not an easy chore.
-Lesson 6 - When pushing your heavy bike up a goat path, Keens are better than mountain bike shoes.
During a map check break, after we descended from the top, we met Dusty from New Zealand. His buddy, Carl quit on him after just one day and is headed back to New Zealand ....so the three of us now joined up and carried on together.
After a hour of riding we came across a woman pushing her bike up a short and not too steep hill. Betty Haynes Smith, a high school math teacher from Corpus Christi, Texas. She signed up to do the ride with folks she met through the Adventure Cycling web page. Unfortunately they had to leave Banff without her as her bike did not arrive and when it did, it had a bent gear hanger that made changing gears difficult. Now alone, with a malfunctioning and overweight bike, she continued on. She slept on the side of the road every night after about 30km of riding each day. Nothing was going to stop...
It was 18 months ago that I had my left knee replaced. Bernadette had her operation for carpal tunnel syndrome last month. With this as background we start out and a few things rotate through my mind as we start off from the back of the parking lot of the Banff Springs Hotel. Yesterday we went into the outfitter store to do our "not permitted on the plane shopping. We asked for bear spray...and how to use it, feeling inept. I mutter to Bern "After this trip we will feel like we belong in a shop like this". I had a conversation with my daughter Kathleen a week before and pronounced that, through the research I made on the internet, I am at the same level of experience as folks in "before internet time" of two 2 years in the skills of wilderness bike touring. She laughed. I agreed.
I always have a tendency to think that hard things won't be so hard, but hard things ARE hard. That was the lesson for day 1. The magnitude of what we had set out to accomplish made it self readily apparent......
Turned off my cell phone email. It's 2:30 am. 100+ emails per day...thats over 5000 emails into the either, I am sure the universe will distribute accordingly. This is what happens when you vanish...for six weeks.
It started with some random thoughts and grew to an obsession...little by little and bit by bit. I am not alone, we are a nation of 'weight weinies'..we have our web sites, and we discuss, debate and decree. I pretty much know when it became serious..I bought a scale... a digital luggage scale. Since then, I can't help myself, I look at anything that may want to come with us on the trip, and think 'is it worth it's weight to carry up 200,000 feet?' Another pair of socks? Is it worth spending $100 more on a tent to save one pound? It will cost over one pound to afford the luxury of having a coffee in the morning...needed? I stare at our table of "luggage", picking up each item and hook them up to the luggage scale...and ask the item, are you worth it? Sounds like luggage torture and by the way don't put me on the hook.
I thought I would just note some thing that I have heard from talking to friends about this crazy trip or random thoughts I have had on my days on the bike.
1) Getting to the start healthy and with some fitness, is the biggest challenges to finishing. I mean, so many things can go wrong and stand in your way before you even start...It seems almost impossible that nothing goes wrong and you can start on that day you planned 6 months in advance. I keep thinking about what could go wrong, sick parents, sick daughters, work shit, Bern or I am sick or injured...or divorced over the whole insanity of this trip. If we get to the start I will feel, not one to say blessed, but very fortunate for my situation in life. Corny but ya.
2) When Bern and I started hanging together, courting as they use to say, there are those moments you realize that you belong together. We used to do so many crazy things, jumping on the back of a moving truck, cycling down a hill with Bern perched on the handlebars, br...
Pile of stuff in the corner of our living room and plane tickets purchased. We have our maps and GPS device. I don't think we will feel ready until we are at least half way through the adventure. Confidence will come by doing.