Canada's Last Pass
Too Windy to Ride, so letsflykites!

August 29, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: We woke up to no wind, and an A&W fast-food breakfast. Since we weren’t really hidden that well on the wide open prairie, we made sure to pack up quickly, while the sun was still just coming up. There were lots of local “good old boys” at the Pincher Creek A&W, and it was nice to talk to a few. Still, I’m a man on a mission today, since I want to get to Lethbridge, about 100km distant. Why the hurry?

Well, in Elkford, I received approval to purchase a new kitesurfing kite from Amanda (the Chief Financial Officer), and I also noticed on Facebook that some of my friends were going to be kiting just north of Lethbridge this weekend. So if I could get to Lethbridge toot-sweet, then I could get in a few days out on the water. So off we went!

The smoke today from forest fires south of the border was terrible. Amanda rode with a rag over her mouth all day, and I didn’t, and paid the price. My throat was sore, my nose raw, and there was really nothing to see since visibility was so poor. I ended up just reading my Kindle much of the day as we pedalled along.

We pulled into Fort McLeod which was the halfway point of the ride. There was a Tim Horton’s there, so naturally we had a couple of donuts. What goes well with donuts? How about another flat tire! Amanda’s rear wheel keeps getting punctured in the same place. So while I searched for the thin sliver of metal buried somewhere in her tire, Amanda went to the store and bought a sandwich and cookies for lunch. I’m pretty sure that I got all of the foreign matter out of the tire and hopefully there won’t be any more flats. I figure four of Amanda’s flats have all been from this one piece of metal.

So there I am sitting on the pavement of the grocery store parking lot when I hear a super-loud, obnoxious motorcycle muffler approaching. It’s Mike and Nicki!It’s a rare weekend for these two as the kids are all away, so Mike and Nicki decided to go for a ride to Lethbridge, and then maybe take another way back home to Elkford. They spotted my headscarf from the highway, and it was nice to have company while I changed the flat tire. We waved goodbye to them again, wondering when next our paths would cross.

The smoke grew thicker east of Fort McLeod, and the wind started to gust and howl. We rarely had a full-on headwind, but there were times when it threatened to push us out into traffic, and the gusts were quite strong. The ride to Lethbridge was again uneventful, and I started to wonder if this kind of boredom is what epitomizes the prairies. Not necessarily flat and boring, because it wasn’t flat, but it was boring, and brown, and blah.

Lethbridge seems to be on the opposite side of a canyon, so we rode down, and then climbed up, up, up into the city. A glance at my watch made me leave Amanda in my dust, as I tried to get to the Greyhound station to pick up my package before it closed at 5pm. I reached the station with 5 minutes to spare and was rewarded with a brand new to me 10m foil kite. The waybill read “15.0lbs”, or about 7kg in additional weight for me to carry around. I’ll have to get this sorted out. Good thing I lost all that other weight recently!

There is a large park in the middle of Lethbridge, and I was able to coordinate over WiFi with Amanda and we met there and sat and chilled. I got a message from Mike and Nicki that they were in Lethbridge, and they came and joined us at the park for awhile. They had decided to have a “date night” which included dinner and a movie. They had also gotten a room at a local hotel, and invited us to share the room with them. Wow! Amanda didn’t want to intrude on date night, but I was just stoked to spend more time with my friends, even if it meant all of us sitting around in our underpants late into the night. Wait, that sounds a little weird…oh well..that’s what happened.

Amanda writes: As Andrew said the ride was pretty uneventful aside from another bloody flat. I really feel like it’s something we’ve done with changing these flats but I hope this is the last one. While we road over 100 kilometres today it didn’t feel like it. The tail wind really helped us along and when it was a cross wind didn’t seem to slow us too much, rather just made it hard to hang on.

At one point in the day I cautioned Andrew at trying to get to Lethbridge by 5pm for his kite because I didn’t want to rush things. He assured me that wasn’t his plan but as usual it’s all about the bloody kite. And when he took off around the corner just past 4:30 I knew exactly why. It sort of pissed me off but lately most things do with him. I tried to just shrug it off and was able to do that when I did meet up with him shortly after I arrived in Lethbridge.

We sat on a park bench after he picked up his equipment. I knew he was excited about it but I just couldn’t bring myself to ask him about his new equipment. I know I approved it but I just fear that we’re right back to the battles we had previously in that every decision we make will take a kiting destination in to account. Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying to compromise here. Heck I encouraged Andrew to meet up with his friends and kite his ass off and do what he loves. It’s still something we need to figure out. Apparently lots to figure out yet. Good thing we have the rest of our lives to do so.

After sitting on the bench, Mike and Nicki joined us again which was awesome. We were just sitting there chatting and when Mike offered for us to stay with them in their hotel I was totally against it. I know how hard it can be to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and have a night alone, and I didn’t want to intrude. They’re hard working people who deserve a night away. After continued persistence by Mike and me tapping into my “accept kindness from others” challenge I have, we got a key to the hotel. Not even a minute after the key exchange we met Helen and William, two locals from Lethbridge interested in the bikes and our adventures. What a great couple to chat with. We all hung out for a bit and then they too offered their home to us. I told Mike and Nicki now is your chance to have your romantic getaway back, but they said they’d like to see us more. We exchanged contact information with Helen and hope to connect with them on our way back to Lethbridge.

The hotel was like Christmas morning! Nicki and Mike went to a movie so Andrew and I were able to move our bikes into the room, turn on the baseball and football game and have a long hot shower. It was glorious. There’s just something about a hotel room that is luxurious. I’ll need to remind myself when we’re feeling dirty and like we’ve been on the road forever to splurge and get a hotel; it’s such a great recharge.

Today’s Photographs

Canada's Last Pass
Too Windy to Ride, so letsflykites!