Holy crap, what an eventful week.
As you may or may not be aware, the Calgary Stampede (self-billed "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth") was held last week, from the 8 - 18 of July. Horsies! And... stuffs. The city is basically turned upside-down for this annual display of cowboy pride.
ministerphobia Drove up from the coast to hang out, and visit the Stamede and whatnot -- he arrived last Sunday, and left yesterday afternoon. A couple of light-and-noise shows aside, the rain mostly held off for his visit... although it got pretty hot and muggy in the last couple of days.
That was pretty awesome.
He was looking for some company to relieve the boredom of the long drive up (starslab was at one point maybe going to accompany him, but couldn't get the time off work, as I understand). We were wondering at first about the possibility of my taking the bus half-way out then joining him at Salmon Arm, but it wasn't really financially feasible, so I did the next best thing, and biked a quarter the way out and joined him in Golden.
That was really awesome.
I rode 262km in total -- 195km from Calgary (at 1149m) up to the Kicking Horse Pass (at 1650m), then 67km down into Golden (at 785m). I basically did it in one long 20-hour push (19 hours on the bike, interrupted by an hour for "dinner" in Canmore, 105km out from Calgary). This is my second time biking over the Continental Divide (the first being of course on my cross-canada trip), and it is an awesome awesome experience. I intend to do it again and again... and heartily recommend to every one out there to try it at least once.
I left Calgary at 7PM Saturday, rolling to a stop in Golden just past 3 in the afternoon on Sunday. This took me over the top at roughly 8AM... and at those altitudes, it gets pretty cold early in the morning, even in July. I didn't see any snow, but it was down to 3 degrees (according to the weather report posted at the info booth in Field), and I was regretting bringing only a t-shirt.
Anyway, I'm not much of shutterbug, but I kinda regret not bringing a camera with me. Riding overnight through Banff National Park was pretty cool. I took the Bow Valley Parkway (a scenic route running parallel to the main highway, on the opposite side of the river) between Banff and Lake Louise, so there wasn't really any traffic (maybe 4 cars on the entire 58km stretch). I just kept my lights off the whole time and rode by starlight.
All kinds of wildlife came out of the, er, woodwork, to see what this contraption was cranking up the road. I saw all kinds of elk, deer, wolves... random 4-legged furry things (both with and without horns). Wandering around right on the roadway, not concerned at all.
That was incredibly awesome.
Then after passing Field on the way down the BC side, it started to rain, and the last 50km managed to completely soak me through and through. I hate that province.
Ah well. The rain stopped shortly after reaching Golden, and I managed to dry out somewhat while passed out on a bench. I was almost dry by the time MinisterPhobia came by, I threw my bike in the back of his truck and we headed for home.
The answer is Yes. Yes I would do that again, in a heartbeat.
Altho' I will have to do something about my handlebars first. I think I managed to totally gimp the nerves in my wrist -- it's a week later, and I still have no feeling on the ring finger of my right hand. I'm slowly re-learning how to type now that I can't feel whether or not that finger has hit the keyboard. Not so incredibly awesome.
So anyway. What else? Even aside from this last week (yes, Stampede was fun!! as was MinisterPhobia's visit in general!) this is shaping up to be an excellent summer. I was just thinking about this the other day. Right now, I have very few worries. As a general rule, there's always something that I'm worried about... either money, or schoolwork, or job stress, or grades, or getting behind on things that I should be doing but am not, or... like I said, there's always something.
But I have no worries right now. I just have to make sure I show up on time for (easy) work every day, and that's it. All my time off is indeed time off. I don't have any work to take home with me. I only work 4 days a week, so I have plenty of time to goof off. I don't have to worry about being broke, or failing classes or anything. So so chawesome. Kinda like last summer... where things were much the same. And really, These are the only 2 times I can remember feeling like this for many many years; well over a decade. Maybe that's why last summer was one of my favourite ever.
Things're going real well. It's gonna be another perfect summer. And it's real nice outside right now. I think I'm going out to play in the sun. Call me when it's dinnertime!