2 August – Day 11
Calgary! Such a blissful morning spent sitting in a café in downtown Calgary… after my previous coffee experiences, I did my research this time and was not disappointed: thanks to my googling skills, I landed at a place that served both a “cappuccino” (see this previous blog post) and, a “traditional cappuccino” …with the latter causing my tastebuds to sing in ecstasy. Finally! It turns out that “traditional cappuccino” is a synonym for “high quality Australian flat white.” Yay!
Meanwhile, in man biker land, Adrian was at Anderwerks bike mechanic shop washing his bike and just generally doing man biker things ahead of the bike being serviced.
He arrived downtown about lunch and we spent most of the afternoon just walking around the city. It obviously gets very cold in Calgary: they have a network of skywalks connecting various building so you can effectively walk around the entire downtown area without having to go outside. So we spent a while getting lost in the maze of skywalks and just doing as the locals do.
After a minibreak in Prince’s Island Park, we walked the 5 kms back to the bike shop. Yes, another ‘walking as a method of commuting’ (with the result that Adrian is now committed to not walking, at all, for the next two days!) We were pushing to get back there before they closed (at 6pm on a Friday on the eve of a long weekend)… and made it with ten minutes to spare.
Well… sort of. As it turned out, Adrian wheel locked the bike outside the workshop after he washed it… then pocketed the keys and brought them with him into town. As we’re phoneless, the guys at the workshop couldn’t call him to get him to come back. It apparently took 4-5 of the mechanics to physically lift our 400kg bike into the shop and up onto a workbench. They did what they could without keys.. and then they did the rest once we were actually back at the shop. After closing time. Did I mention it was after 6pm Friday on the eve of a long weekend? Seriously, to any other riders going through North America out there, this is the place to get your bike serviced or fixed in Calgary: http://www.anderwerks.com/.
1 August – Day 10
Jasper, Alberta to Calgary, Alberta
Today was the day we rode the road Adrian was most looking forward to: the Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park. the Icefields Parkway is a 232km road through the Canadian Rocky Mountains National Park. Our route from Jasper included the Columbia Icefields, Peyto Lake, Lake Louise and Banff. Wow. Just wow. I feel a bit like I’m running out of superlatives to describe amazing natural beauty!!
We had lovely weather – at least at first – which made an already gorgeous place even more stunning. It was a beautiful road, past multiple glaciers, sheer and scraggy mountain faces, sub-Alpine and Alpine topography, glacial lakes and more.
And then – it hailed! It was the first time I’ve been hailed on while riding a motorbike. It’s not necessarily an experience I need to repeat, but in its own way it was very appropriate: ice on the Icefields Parkway.
We made it into Calgary by about 3pm and rode straight to the place where Adrian wanted to get his motorbike serviced (he’s already, in three or so weeks, done about 10,000kms!!!) and booked it in for the following day. Or rather, they were able to squeeze it in; they were actually booked out already.
… And then it was a walk from the motel to downtown Calgary for dinner. It was lovely being amongst the hustle and bustle of a city again after a couple of weeks of small towns. We found a mostly vegetarian restaurant for dinner that also happened to have a jazz/blues open mike night which was great! I think we were the only non-locals there, the food was excellent and the jazz was good and/or at least the singers were giving it all they had. As someone not particularly renowned for her singing voice (although my sisters may beg to differ!), I have full respect for people who get up and give it a red hot go.