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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thar she blows!

She being Gaia/ Terra / Mother Earth or whatever you want to call that bitch that was blowing me around all day like a rag doll. more on that later.

The day started out pleasant enough. Stopped at the Tims in Lloydminster and had a morning coffee. I chatted with a dude for a little while (missed his name) and when I was just about to leave, he ran over and cleaned my disgusting windsheild. guess he kept a can of cleaner and a roll of paper towel in his saddlebags. I hadn't cleaned it in a long time so it was nice to be able ot see through it again. thanks winshield cleaner dude!

I noticed right away that the landscape was changing dramatically. first is the appearance of highways with curves, followed by trees and the start of gentle rolling hills. I would have taken a picture but it was too damn windy.

The winds were gusting quite strongly again and it was wearing me out pretty fast. I stopped in at Greg's Truck stop in Innisfree and saw this over Birch Lake.

I asked about it and the waitress and another customer told me it was the alkali on the beach being pushed around by the wind. yup... it was that windy.

Had a good trucker breakfast while writing in my log book and eavesdropping on what other customers were talking about. Seems the wind is a common topic with most people. One customer said that it was on the news due to so much wind recently.

Filled up on the cheap gas ($0.88/ Litre) and met Greg.

Meet Greg.

Greg is from Indiana was just coming back from a loop around the Cassiar highway and down the AlCan highway. That's his sweet GL1800 and trailer. Neat setup. He also used a SPoT device and said it's a great device to have. Next trip i'll be getting one, just for the piece of mind for the folks back home. It's not a get-out-of-jail free card, but it's close. Nice meeting you Greg and thanks for the advice!

I kept going down the yellowhead trail and stopped over in Vegreville, to check out the Pysanka. the last time i saw it i was probably 10 years old. Hasn't changed from what i remember and it still looks cool. I love big things.

a lame picture of a Bison. I had just passed a herd of them at Elk island national park, and this guy moved at the last second. bah. I didn't feel like spending the park entry fee to see Bison that i've seen before. it brings back memories of camping there with the scouts as a young kid and getting out of the tent in the morning and having a bison about 40 feet away. ahhh memories.

For anyone travelling through this area, take the time and visit the park, it's quite nice if you like that kind of thing.

Onwards i rode into Edmonton. Did i say before that i hate big cities? Well i'm saying it again. hate it. I was just passing through and needed a break (ie: coffee and a smoke). Saw this bird, don't know what it is(magpie maybe?), but was neat looking. looked all black at first but when it flew away it had a white stripe on each wing (in a V shape)

Leaving Edmonton, i headed forever west and had to stop over due to high winds. so very tiring.
I stopped over in Mayerthorpe. I like little towns like this. wouldn't want to live there. no timmes. murals and grain elevators. small towns are neat.
kept riding and again had to stop over because the winds were tiring me out and saw a sign for Tim horton. coffee good. wind bad.

Took and break and met Lindsay (fellow biker) that told me all about the area and gave me some pointers along the route i'll be taking. While chatting we kept getting hit by sandstorms. Seems this is normal for Whitecourt due to being built essentially on sand. nasty. think i still have some grit from whitecourt up my nose.

Here's a picture of the highway after Whitecourt. you can see it's really starting to get hilly. Very large wide open lanes, but the winds were brutal at this point. I think i avoided 3 or 4 crashes due to the high crosswinds. At one point, the crosswinds were so bad that i thought i was going to scrape a peg... while going in a straight line. I pulled over at that point because i was a little freaked out since the crosswinds picked up my tank bag and almost flew off the bike. the only reason it didn't fly off was that it hit my throttle arm. On the side of the road, the wind almost blew the bike over off the side stand. the wind was that strong.

took a short vid of it. in the video, this was the constant crosswind, not the stronger gusts that blew in from either side of me at any time. nasty business.
I checked in and went for a short ride around town. Needed some food, coffee and it was nice to finally ride around without having wind blowing me all over.
stopped in to a Tim's and chatted for a while with Ron. wish i had my camera! Ron gave me some great tips for my journey north and even gave me some Inuvik connections. Thanks Ron for all the info and tips and the great chat. I'll be putting those to good use!
The wind really kicked my ass today. Wish i could return the favour, but how do you kick something you can't see. Before now i was just travelling through Canada to get to this point. Tomorrow, i start my 'trip'.


  1. Nice to see that your trip is going well...nice pics btw. To bad that wind is always there. get some sails to save on gas. X-D