09 July, 2012

Day 5, 493km: Highway 93

Today was amazing. The  highway 93 was simply fantastic, goes in my top 3!

The day started at the BMW dealership in Calgary to do the first service. Met many riders there and spent the morning talking to John from Fort McMurray and I have to say ... feels good to have a long conversation with someone! The 10 minutes highway stop chats aren't really enough to fulfill my social quota (though it's low).

Talking to him I realized that the "pioneer" spirit is still very much alive here in Canada. The country is so big and unexplored that there are opportunities everywhere. Gold, gas, diamond, the great north is starting to be mined. Towns are booming and people are becoming rich. Compare that to Europe where there's a city every 5 kilometers and some countries struggle to grow their economies. What can we mine in Greece?

Anyway. After that I headed north-west, destination Jasper.

This is a highway parallel to the boring one I took Friday ... wish I knew before!
2000km !
Soon enough I hit 2000km, so I have done about 6% of the trip ... in 5 days? I guess that will be much slower once I enter Mexico. This was just before entering the HW93. First time I had to pay to enter a road here in Canada. Canadian roads so far are superb, roadworks are everywhere and the result is very good condition even on mountain roads.

One, two. I should have 33 fingers on my left hand when I reach Brazil
And then well. A great road with amazing landscape, I'm sorry there will be a lot of photos today but it was really amazing. Lots of tourists, lots of riders. Prices going crazy around here in the mountains, I just paid $7 for 2L of water.
Oh and also ... wildlife! Today I saw 4 kind of animals along the road. A caribou (I think, didn't have time to stop safely and investigate), a deer (I think, it jumped across the road 50 meters ahead of me), half a dozen goats and ... a bear!

I swear it's a bear
Ok the picture is just shitty, maximum zoom on my camera and the poor thing is trying to eat berries or whatever while a dozen koreans and me are taking pictures. I guess I'll see more further north.
Then on again for crazy landscapes. I don't really know what to comment. Just stunning. Make sure you click on the pictures for a bigger view.

Right before reaching Jasper, my (lower) back was imploring me to take a break so I stopped at a waterfall on the way. Amazing place.

See how high the water gets at the beginning of spring?
There I met a couple ladies (Diane and Chantale) who were very nice and enthusiastic and immediately tried to help me when I told them I wanted to stay in Jasper for the night. They invited me in their Catholic retreat to go and pray with them and spend the night in exchange for a donation.
Now that was a complex decision to make. They were really nice and helpful but the idea of faking prayers, saying grace and all of that ... I told them that'd be abusing their hospitality since I don't believe in a god who turns water into wine. (Well I didn't say it that way). And they wanted to help me even more! Very kind and helpful ladies. So I arrived at Jasper around 7pm and looked for a place to stay. 

After wandering around the streets I am staying at a bed and breakfast, a small room in someone's house. At least my back will get some rest. Went into town a bit after showering and I understood something. When arriving in a city, do not look for accommodation. Instead, find the busiest street, the busiest cafe/bar/whatever and just hangout there. That's what I should have done, I'm sure this way I can find people willing to host me/let me camp in their garden for free.

Downtown Jasper, Patrica St

While thinking about that walking down the street I saw it before my eyes, half a dozen people gathered around the bike of a fellow traveler. He wasn't around but I understood why people were curious.
He had stickers all over his bike, his website, his nationality, countries he's been through. Ok this guy is smart and doing his personal marketing far better than me.

Lesson learned: hang-out in main road, stickers, flags. Dropped him an email, who knows maybe he's heading to Yukon too.

Tomorrow will be a long day I have 746km to do so I'm off to sleep.


  1. "DAT landscape"! Whoua looks nice and the roads are just an invitation. Hope you will get some twisties further north in the mountains!
    I think julien's stickers what not a bad idea: "Talk to me I travel alone". And if you remember the guy we met in Laddak had a small flag on his bike. It's always a good point to start a conversation though they might say "again a bloody French, better stay away from him';-)

  2. jean michel febrile09 July, 2012 23:47

    C est pas bien ce que tu nous fais.. j en connais plusieurs qui sont aussi fébriles que fragiles et qui vont finir par faire une connerie!!!
    A ceux qui se reconnaissent, je vous conseille de vous joindre à nous pour la réunion hebdomadaire des fébriles anonymes. c est open chips.

    Jean Michel Fébrile

  3. What a real big, nice bear's buttocks, kind of a trophy !

    You can also think of distributing flyers with full details, that's even more agressive as a technique - there is tough competition, obviously, you need to take whatever it takes to maximize your visibility! The hell with the budget, there is always a cheap backup with a few prayers anywhere in this country...

  4. told you would see wildlife...when you go further north you will see more...remember about the BISON...love you story about the religious offer...BTW..your hair is messy! LMAO JK

  5. @Marc-Philippe Haha! Great idea with the flyers. I guess I should also have a horn or something to announce my visit. "People! The famed wanderer is in thy towne today, offer him thy bed!"

    @Leslie ok I got a shampoo today ;)

    @Jean-Michel, lachez vous les febriles et rejoignez moi! (Suis desole de vous faire subir ca surtout a cette periode de l'annee)

    @Max, ok je fais ca des que je suis dans une vraie ville :)