07 July, 2012

Day 3, 428km: Entering Alberta

Guillaume reporting live from the Rockyview Hotel.

Cochrane, Alberta
This place smells far west! I'm on the first floor (the window on the left) right now. The hotel is above a bar/saloon/steak house/karaoke. It's likely that rooms where rented by the hour at some point here. But it's cheap (by Canadian standards, $50 a night - camping last night cost me $35!) and relatively clean.

Trans Canadian Highway
So this morning I left camp, realized I was covered in mosquito bites and headed east again. Destination Calgary's BMW dealership for the first service of the bike. Called them in the morning and booked for 3pm. Departure 9am, 430km - that should be fine. Or so I thought!

Great roads from Glacier National Park to Banff
The first part of the road was narrow, winding around the mountains. Great riding! Lots of RVs (camping cars) and they are ENORMOUS. Some of them are towing cars! Passing them is like passing a truck. Is this why hotels are so expensive here, because people sleep in their RVs? I don't know. Talked with a few owners on the highways stops, apparently it's a common way to spent the weekend out. For sure that must be comfortable.

Photo dédicacée a Franck V.
The landscapes were simply amazing. Reminded of me Ladakh where I would stop after every single corner thinking "I have to take a picture of this". So I guess I lost a bit of time on the way taking photos. Worth it!

Can you smell the forest?
The last stop before leaving the mountain areas, I met a couple living in Calgary, originally from Quebec. They told me I was lucky to be in Calgary this weekend since it's the yearly rodeo festival, the Calgary stampede. Plus this year is the 30th edition! So this explained the cowboy hats I've seen people wearing at almost every stop I made today.

Breathtaking views
See the shape? Looks like some part of the earth's crust simply popped off
After this stop I was on my way to Calgary, final 150km before reaching the dealership. I had 2 hours in front of me before the appointment! Great!

The last road to Calgary isn't quite as exciting as the rest...
So imagine my surprise when I arrived at the dealership only to be explained that it was 4pm. 4pm in Alberta and 3pm in British Columbia. Oh. Right. I guess I forgot the country's so big that different provinces have different time zones. So I rescheduled for Monday 8am. I guess I'm spending the weekend around Calgary then! Well the good thing is I met a few people there, including Jim another Quebecois who invited me to join him on his way to the US with his wife next week. We'll see if this turns out to be possible!

People are very curious seeing a lone French guy on his fully loaded bike so conversations start easily. Today I also got my first "You're going to Argentina? God you're crazy!" which I'm very proud of.
So since I have to wait Monday, I'm staying in a small hotel 30km from Calgary and will take this time to purchase the few bits and pieces I need before heading north to Yukon on Monday. Such as a proper sleeping bag :)

Also the town (Cochrane, pronounced Kokraine - not Coche rain, you'll just confuse people like I did) is nice, although very small. At least I won't get lost. Apparently ice creams are a big think here, just look at the people queuing for it. Probably 30% of the town's population were there at that time.

This road is out of a western movie!
Oh and the city has 17,580 souls, making it the ... second largest city of Alberta, a province the size of France. Guess this explains the "Next gas station 150km" signs I've been seeing.

Off to bed, that was a long day again.

PS: I've been getting comments that I am signing my blog posts. Aren't they supposed to be signed? What kind of uncivilized behavior is it not to sign what you're writing!

PPS: Bonus pic. Amazing landscapes.


  1. Oh yeah! Guigui, merci pour la "cassededi"! Tres appreciee. Je te prierai, toutefois, de faire de la fleur le sujet focus de la photo... Elle est toute floue :(
    Sinon, on attend aussi un rapport gastronomique... Quid des grizzlies? Elans? Ou Eagles Royaux pour le brunch du dimanche???
    Bonne route :)

  2. Extra tes articles. On était dans cette zone l'an dernier, tu vas te faire plaisir ! Reste vigilant, des ours traversent souvent la route ! Pour les moustiques, rien ne vaut un bon feu le soir au camping ;-)
    Enjoy buddy !

  3. Francky je suis desole je m'en suis rendu compte en l'envoyant sur le blog et vais rectifier ca a la premiere occasion!

    Hubert je savais pas que vous etiez alle aussi haut! Tu me conseilles quoi comme coin a visiter?
    Pour les moustiques oue pas con ... et puis ca aide pour le froid aussi :) Comment se passe le permis?

  4. En te lisant, on se dit que, finalement, echanger la BMW contre un RV, ca serait pas un mauvais plan: plus de nuits d'hotels a payer, sieges confortables, et pour ce qui est des rencontres, au camping le soir, on s'arracherait le frenchie allant en Argentine seul au volant de son RV ! Idee a considerer un soir de poker au saloon lorsque les mises derapent...