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North America 2004

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Journal for 19-June-2004 : Bassano

Thanks to a downloaded bike route map and navigation instructions taped all over my handlebars we rode across Calgary and found our way onto the shoulder of the excellent Trans Canada Highway. We could still see the Rocky Mountains in the distance, but once clear of Calgary it was very obvious we were racing across the prairies.

The prairies here are a rolling sea of grass and green wheat, with the occasional cow floating along for good measure. And they are vast! It is an awesome sight, and I still haven't got my head around the idea that they continue on for three provinces east, and three states south.

Everyone who talked to us said the prairies west of Calgary were completely flat. Cyclists know better than to believe this rubbish, and sure enough the “flat” road went pretty much dead straight. Whenever a hill is encountered, the road goes straight up and over it, and equally at any river or creek crossing the road goes straight down and straight back up again. Even so, the road was flatter than I feared it might be.

For no particular reason other than they could, two huge black dogs chased us from a roadside farmhouse. Every so often a prairie dog would sit up and stare at us. At least until I barked, then they'd scurry off into their burrows.

Wind generally kind to us today, even though it was mostly from the south. It only bothered us for the last 20ks to Gleistner where we had Lunch. Quite a bright sunny day too, so very pleasant if still a bit cool. I dozed off to sleep on the comfort of the concrete picnic table.

The frustrating thing about the prairies so far is the lack of places to stop. It's probably just as well, we need to ride 1500ks across them, but it'd be nice to be able to pull more than a few metres off the road, and even better to find a tree to sit under.

Overcharged by Chinese take-away place, but food pretty good. For some reason Chinese food in small towns in Canada has been quite acceptable.

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