The Great Divide / Banff to Mexico
Broken spokes :1
Broken bottle cages: 2
Broken pannier bolt : 1
Wild campsites: 1
Lakeside camp: 1
Back garden camp: 1
Forest camp: 1
RV site: 1
Trailer & highway nightmare: 1
PRE DEPARTURE DAY 1
Flew from Manchester with P and J via Heathrow and collected by Larry and Shay who were like angels at the end of a long day......privileged whinge because non of us could sleep. Despite our red and square eyes Fromm too much on-flight TV, they welcomed is like heros about to embark on an epic adventure....aka "exciting holiday". We had a feast en route to Hostel Bear in Canmore where bunk beds called us.
PRE-DEPARTURE DAY 2
Despite missing a day all 3 woke before 7am and found a diner for coffee and eggs before unpacking bike boxes. The sun was shining and the mountains looking down-WE ARE IN CANADA!
Bikes built, time for lunch in the cool and funky town of Canmore. Larry and Kristi our hero hosts came too and got into the positive mood by eating at a Mexican restaurant in anticipation of our ultimate destination. Wrong to start an "expedition " without a margarita... So we did. Let the holiday oops I mean expedition begin!
Larry and john went for a long chat to reminisce about old times while driving to collect Jill from the airport leaving me and Phil to eat ice cream in town.
DAY 1 37 miles from Canmore to Spray Lakes West CS
Gill got bike ready, cycle to Banff with Shay and Larry for ice cream before starting from Banff Springs . CAMPED by lake. Boys swam girls paddled. Bear alert and AMAZING scenery WOW!
DAY 2 : 44 miles Spray Lakes CS to Bolton Creek
"What's the procedure?!" This was john call in the night when we were woken by our neighbours thinking a bear was around.
First 20miles simply stunning classic Canada. ... WOW X 1000!!! Next20 hard work on wash board and exhausting heat. Stopped at Boulton Creek Trading post and camped and showered. Tired!
DAY 3 -53 miles to Elkford (47 OR)
Elk Pass steep but short and stunning. Tobermory Cabin with Phils hillbilly solo (see video!). Loads of downhill fun then Weary Creek lunch with local lingo misheard by JP "crushing cake" - anecdote by request for correct local lingo.
Mechanicals of flat tyre and broken spoke for Phil - rescued by JD"s flexi spoke AWESOME PIECE OF KIT!. JP"s bolt on his pannier was exposed as broken after he accidentally locked off his wheel by strapping his pannier straps threw them . Oops! But FUNNY!
Camped in Elkford and HUGE pizza!
DAY 4 : 64 miles to ELKO CS (20 OR)
Felt like a rest day as loads of road riding and speedy miles in our super pelaton. I got top tips from everybody
. Sparwood gave us our first coffee and donut chain and we loved it! Saw the worlds largest truck called Titan. Good photo opportunity then off to Fernie, a cool ski town with 4 bike shops! After Phils spoke and Johns bolt mended and more coffee we were off to ELKO, a small one horse town with a campsite among local communities and by a road .... Not quite wilderness camping but it does the job.
DAY 5: 56 miles (6 OR) to EUREKA /FORTINE RV PARK
WORST camp site ever LAST NIGHTCamped between 2 trailers and 20m from a busy highway and it felt like the cargo train ran through the camp and the loving couple on tequila and tacos until 2am!!!! Lessons learnt.
Made it via a truly "rural" stereotype store/gas station in GRASSMERE which was a world removed from the one in the Lakes. The wooden pallet seat was very pleasant .
Made it to the border with some super helpful guards but wow were they slow at everything, talking, moving, laughing! USA brace yourself!!!
Hot hot day on the road to Eureka camp. Unfortunately a huge forest fire means we are losing a beautiful section of the route over Flat Head Pass and have to cycle the highway.
DAY 6: 64 miles To Pat & Toms back garden south of Columbia Falls
Road biking early to avoid heat so at Whitefish for an amazing brunch before doing laundry and cafe culture to avoid heat until late afternoon ride where we found paradise with Pat & Tom who open their back garden to Great Divide cyclists and have a table, box of cold drinks and chat to engage us for days. Both elderly in body but not spirit and a man shed full of restored vintage motorbikes to drool over. Stunning location too. Fans for life!
DAY 7: Tom &Pats garden to river side wild camp south of Swan Lake. 60 miles (40OR)
Long breakfast while enjoying the surroundings and chat with our hosts. Reluctant goodbye but 2iles later at Big Horn next to Lake Flatwater for algae lunch and loads of friendly chat with folk. Picked up 2 days of food and off road to a great wild camp next to river. In too late for a swim but good for a dip of parts that count which gave rise to screams to keep the bears at bay!