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July 13, 2010


Jasper National Park


Leaving Parker Ridge I was shortly at the Athatbasca Glacier and in Jasper National Park on the Icefields Parkway.  There are big snow machines that let you go out on the glacier which I skipped.  The $49 fee certainly had a lot to do with that.  Besides the day was starting to pass and I had to get a camp.

Canada Day was the day before, but I soon discovered that lots of people were now out for a long weekend.  The first two sites I tried had self registration and were completely full.  The next had 228 cites so surely there, right?  Nope!  All full, as is the one with 1,000 sites!  Off to overflow camping.  I beelined straight for it not knowing if that could/would fill.  Finding a secluded site in the trees I was happy and even more so since it was only $10.80, the cheapest I’d paid in Canada for a night by half.

I was now 10 miles north of Jasper, and 50 miles further north than I’d expected.  Guess I won’t be exploring the icefields any more.  So in one of the most frequent parts of traveling I revised my plans.  The next day, Saturday, I’d try again for an oil change, laundry, etc.  Sunday tour the Jasper area and leave the park in no hurry on Monday to start heading north.

Yeah, that lasted till noon.  The ONE auto shop in town didn’t wasn’t open on the weekend (despite the two open bays and people working) and besides they didn’t touch bikes anyway.  “Try Hinton on Monday” they said.  Well yeah, but it’s Saturday now and after swinging by the laundromat charging $4 to wash and $4 to dry I decided to try a new technique – air washing defined, by me, as strapping the dirty clothes to the outside of the bike and let the clean air take the smell off as I drive.

Ok, move everything up a day and try for an oil change a couple hundred miles past Hinton on Monday.  Problem solved.  It forced me to rush Jasper, but I was glad to gain the day for heading north.  More of the same highlights are found here; streams, waterfalls, lakes, and animals.  The animals still get me going, but I have found myself going less far out of the way for the others without good reason.  I think that’s pretty normal as trips progress.

The plan also worked out as the overflow camp was closing back down after the second night and people left on Sunday.  I thought the overflow camp was going to be even more of a free-for-all than it was and the train track nearby was the only loud part.  I met a biker from San Diego on his way up to Alaska.  He was German, but had lived in San Diego for 31 years and is 68 years old.  He says he still dreams of doing the trip to South America, but doesn’t know if he has it in him.  Wish I’d gotten his name so I could have found out, maybe I’ll see him out there doing it while I am one day…

I’ve decided that most of my route in Canada will be as far north as possible (while heading to Alaska) so that I can make a loop out of the trip when I head back down.  This means leaving from the north entrance of Jasper instead of the west.  Along the way out I passed a hot spring which is now used to heat a big swimming pool.  Not the natural experience like in Big Bend, but I was still game for a hot soak before leaving the park.

Once I did, I soon came across my turn for 40 to take me to Alaska.  Turns out I made the right choice in choosing to come this way 😀  I also find it hilarious that this is the scenic route when there is still 2,000 miles to go.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 13 2010

    The photo of the stream is gOrGeOuS!!!

  2. Jul 14 2010

    I have met a lot of people who come all the way from Alaska to South America on a bike.. A friend that I met while volunteering is from Oz and just made the trip down to the Southern end of the S.A. He was going to India next so he gave the bike away! Let me know if you come this way..

    If I hear back from him I´m featuring him on my blog tomorrow!


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