Day 19 – Nelson, BC to Calgary, AB – End of Trip
Distance: 644 kilometres
Temperature: Low 11 (Nelson) / High 18 (Fernie)
Travelling Time: 6:15am – 2:00pm (loss of hour crossing time zones)
I got up early thinking I’d catch the first ferry across Kootenay Lake and get one last run down the 3A to Creston. When I checked out and loaded my bike I changed my mind. Not sure why, but I had a ‘little voice’ in my mind suggest that I’d already had enough of the twisty stuff and that I best just make my way home – so, I did. I left Nelson and headed out through Salmo and the Kootenay Pass.
The weather was pretty bleak to start the day. It actually felt more like coastal weather – very humid, damp and cool. The entire valley was cloaked in a thick damp fog which is unusual. Usually as you climb the Kootenay Pass the temperature drops but today it was actually warmer at the summit than in the valley below, must have been some type of temperature inversion.
I stopped in Creston for a little 7-eleven breakfast – read: pop and a donut or two 😉 Had a really good chat with a local. It’s odd, if I had been driving a car people are far less likely to approach and say hi. With the bike pretty much everywhere I stopped in Canada or the US someone would come up and ask questions about it, the rider/passenger, and then tell me/us something interesting about the area. It’s basically an excuse to start a conversation.
Quick stop for fuel in Cranbrook – didn’t even take my gear off and jetted back out to the Highway to take the Crowsnest Pass through the mountains. Normally I’d go through Invermere but I tried a little of the George Costanza logic – “do the opposite of what you’d normally do (video).” There is no telling what can happen because of this – well, actually nothing. It’s takes exactly the same amount of time. Although I did have a great breakfast/lunch at Smitty’s (or as I like to call it – Shitty’s).
I got to test my rain gear again for the rest of the ride home. A storm of biblical proportion from Blairmore almost all the way back to Longview. Before the trip, on a whim, I bought some rain ‘booties’ for my rain gear. They are basically like gators for hiking, except the toe piece has a ‘cup’ that wraps over the front of your boots. They worked swimmingly! I was completely dry from head to foot when I arrived back home.
I’d avoided mishap for the entire journey until returning to Alberta. I still uphold the theory that Albertans are the worst drivers in the developed world. I had a driver move into my lane as I was passing on the highway, one driving 40 kilometres below the speed limit (in a 100 zone), and a tool driving with no hands (yes, no hands) and texting on the phone while ‘driving’.
To avoid as much traffic as possible I snuck in through Bragg Creek on highway 22 and then highway 8 home. And so ends nineteen days on the road. What a trip!