Fernie to Pincher Creek
7 hours, 36 minutes
Average speed 17.9 km/h
Max speed 56.4 km/h
I was up at 5:00 to pack and load up. I was first in line to get my free breakfast at the Super 8. And the only one in line at 5:50. It seems to me that the free hotel breakfasts are improving, and I got my money's worth for sure.
It was still dark when I started out and it was raining. So on with the rain gear and off towards Sparwood. Thankfully the traffic was pretty light that time of day. I was glad I had lights and blinkies this morning.
By Sparwood the rain had stopped, the sun was out and it was time for a coffee. There is a little museum and displays about mining in the area and it features “The World's Largest Truck”. It seems a lot of people think this is a big deal. Before I saw it I thought it was a pretty lame thing to get excited about. But I ended up taking some pictures when I saw it. That thing is bigger than my house. Pretty impressive.
I got a coffee and a brownie, took off the rain gear and buttered up for the hot day ahead. The night before in Fernie, I had called my uncle in Lethbridge and he offered to meet me for coffee the next day in Coleman. He said it was his way of being part of my trip in some way, since he was unable to join me.
Our rendezvous was about 70 kilometers into my day and I got there around lunch time. He found me on the highway a bit west of town, took most of my gear in his car and went to wait for me at the bakery. I'd forgotten what an unloaded bike felt like.
My uncle Fred is hardcore. He has done several tours, the most impressive to me is the solo ride from Inuvik to Houston in about 8 weeks. Drinking out of ditches, stealth camping and outrunning bugs up North. He's a stud. He would have been on this trip with me except he was in the middle of a move.
Fred bought me lunch and we swapped touring stories for a bit. He went through my gear and we culled some more weight. I was now at the lightest I could achieve with limitations of my camping gear. Removing that weight really made a difference. The load was lighter and much lower on the trailer and it made the bike handle way better. Next time I'll take less stuff for sure.
The rest of the day was hot, hot, hot. And very hilly. This would be the hardest day of the trip with the distance, the heat and the rolling hills. I had a rear flat on a very steep hill and had to lay everything down in the ditch to change it. Flats suck.
I made Pincher Creek about supper time and went to the visitor center to get some camping info. There were two campgrounds in town, and I took their recommendation and headed to the mobile home park/campground. A bit of a step down from the last few days for sure.
The random groups of drunks wandering around town didn't make me feel great about camping right in town. And the shouting match that turned into a fight right across the street from where I had supper didn't help much either. The RCMP had to come to put and end to the shoving and yelling, hauling two guys away to sleep it off. I guess that's how they roll in Pincher Creek on a Friday night.
I got back to camp, had a shower and a few 'sports drinks' strictly for hydration purposes of course. In the tent by 8:30 to get away from the bugs. I dozed on and off while the drunk guys next door blabbed by the fire. But they shut down at 11:00 just like the rules say, and I had a very restful night.