Banff AB to Calgary AB - 10,404 kms
Jul 28, 2014
The thumbnail is a shot of the bikes in front of Minnewanka Lake. Really pretty. This is a dam which has had it's capacity increased by 14 feet in the early 90's then another 65 feet in the 1970's as water was directed from Johnson Lake via a large canal we ultimately rode past.
And another view of Minnewanka as we rode the Loop Road further around the mountain.
From here we headed back toward Banff as we had seen a sign to Tunnel Mountain which had intrigued us so we set off to find it and find it we did. Turns out at the time of the original Railway Survey of the area in the 1800's the mountain to the right of the shot was deemed to be a hindrance to the line and it was decided a tunnel was needed. At th end of the day an alternative route around the mountain was built but the mountain retained the name. Doh! Picturesque ride anyway.
We headed off on the Trans Canada Highway and at the first opportunity diverted off onto 1A which was a great ride though when it was the main highway it would have been an incredibly frustrating drive I would think with limited spots to pass or pullover. We called into the little town of Canmore for a coffee and talking to the locals who realised we were Australians referred to us having 3 mountains called the 3 Sisters and then directed us to see their 3 Sisters and here they are, from left to right, Frances, Olive and Grace. I don't know if our own 3 Sisters in the Katoomba Mountains are individually named or not. Does anyone else know?
Then cruising along the road we spotted a great mirror image of Nakoda Lodge in a lake and decided to see if we could get a shot. We didn't get the Lodge from the angle we could reach but I was happy with this shot looking back to the Canadian Rocky Mountains which were beginning to shrink behind us at this point.
We gradually saw the great Canadian Rocky Mountains disappearing into the distance and as I'd stopped for another photo shot Norm thought it was a good chance to record a farewell shot.
As we progressed toward Calgary the mountains continued to shrink behind us and the river dropped into a deep valley and the hills were covered in fewer trees and flowing grasslands. As we approached Ghost River Dam we must have been in Reservation Territory as we saw a sign to 'Chief Stoneys Rodeo' and went past a massive building obviously an indoor one. A bit later on we spotted a sign to Stoneys Medicine Hut but this is what caught Norm's eye, the remains of a massive old barn.
We fuelled up in a Reservation compound site attached to what looked like a massive Gas Fraccing operation with temporary accommodation back on the highway. The reservation has gained a nice new Youth Centre and very smart Servo complex and what looked like a big Casino. Hope it ends up a long term plus for them. Just beyond here we came across the Ghost River Dam (above) and soon after we were within site of rapidly developing outer suburbs and then Calgary where friends Frances and Trevor have attended the Calgary Stampede (Frances many times). We rode past a huge centre where some of it at least takes place.
The Chinese Cultural Centre, Calgary.
And a view across James Park to two very different towers of two very different times.
Bits and Bobs:
After missing a great 3 in 1 sign of a Caribou Bear and ? Not sure what, I wasn't going to miss this one where there was room to pull up. Didn't see any on the ride.
And this is typical of grates on the footpaths in Calgary so a handy reminder to keep right.
And a nifty way to accept deliveries in multi-storey buildings. Drive in and onto the turntable which then turns to the right spot and then you can reverse to the appropriate unloading dock. Handy for cities with limited space but also caters well for their brutal winters.
Last 2 Night's Accommodation:
Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa Banff, 521 Banff Avenue, Banff AB T1L 1H8
A lovely place to drop for a couple of days. Lovely welcoming atmosphere and staff. Great facilities. Comfortable room and bed. Beautiful swimming pool and spa complex on site. Included underground parking and wifi. Great bar and restaurant on site and the service throughout has been excellent. Considering the proximity to town and a lot more expensive options thought this was good value.