July 19, 2010 – 40 miles
Although the Great Divide is finished, Mathieu and I are continuing North to Jasper. The route is paved the whole way and passes through the Ice Field Parkway – possibly the most scenic drive in Canada.
It’s roughly 200 miles from Banff to Jasper, and our first stop, Lake Louise, is only 40 miles away. On pavement and without any monstrous climbs, we decided to start the day very slowly. Upon waking, we found a laundromat and cleaned our clothes one last time. While waiting we went to Timbers again for breakfast. I had the same meal as yesterday but with extra hash browns. Afterwards we went to a grocery store to stock up for the next three days.
Afterwards, we went back to Bumper’s to pack up. Just before leaving, I noticed my front tire was feeling a bit flat so I decided to change the tube. I pumped the new tube up to its maximum pressure – we’ll be riding on pavement, so I want them as efficient as possible.
We left Banff at 13:00 – just as some threatening clouds rolled in. Not 10 minutes later, it started raining. It wasn’t a pleasant summer sprinkle, either. It was coming down cold and hard. For two hours we suffered through the cold and the wet. Ironically this was the most rain we rode through on the entire trip!
The scenery wasn’t too great, but I did see a moose near the road. Of course, there also were a few dozen motorists idling nearby with their heads and cameras sticking out the car windows. Someone in the car ahead of me clearly wanted a picture and slammed their brakes, almost sending me into their rear. Ugh. Now I remember what it’s like to ride with cars.
Although the distance and elevation gain indicated an easy day, the rain made it tiring. We decided against camping in this weather and procured a hotel room for the night. After dinner the clouds gave way to sun and we got a peek of the glaciers above us.
Looking at our maps we realized there we miscalculated the mileage for the next two days. Instead of the next to days being split 50%, tomorrow would be relatively short followed by a near-100 mile stretch to Jasper.