Day 1: Calgary International Airport to South Calgary 30km.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Cloudy and wet with a north wind. 12C.
We were up later than expected packing the bikes into the boxes and then stuffing all of our essentials into just a few bags each. This time we have also packed a small tent, sleeping bags and therma-rests because we aren’t quite sure what to expect when we get up into the mountains.
7am came quickly and we loaded up the van. Dad and Charlie drove us into Toronto to the airport and it seemed like we were on board the plane in no time. Both of us caught up on a little sleep during the flight. Without a window to peer out it seemed like all of a sudden we were in Calgary.
Reassembling the bikes went well so our next task was to confirm our route from the airport to downtown. We spotted some hospitality ambassadors in white cowboy hats and thought that they would be a good place to start. We learned that there was a bike path right from the terminal, but now a new terminal is under construction and they aren’t sure that it exists anymore. So we all end up at the information desk. The maps come out and a few calls are placed. Another staff member arrives and tells us about his secret short cut.
Well after nearly an hour of troubleshooting we stop yakking and actually leave the airport with our fully loaded bikes and it is raining. Now a few quick adjustments, rain gear, lights and plastic bags for maps and cameras. Now we are off.
We follow our map and Karl’s secret route and it actually worked. After a few kilometers we end up connecting to the Nose Creek Pathway. This bike path takes us south to the Bow River and right past the Zoo. I stopped another rider to ask him the best way to cross over the river and he suggested the Prince’s Island Bridge and that worked out perfectly for us.
One stop we needed to make downtown was at Mountain Equipment Co-op for bear spray. By the time we got there we also needed a bell for Mom’s bike and a minor repair of her brake cable. After looking around in the store for awhile we figured that we should probably get going. Back out into the rain. We had a snack and then found our way south on a well signed bike route through a neighbourhood of really big houses near Elbow Creek.
Eventually we found the Travelodge and went inside to check in, but they don’t have our reservation. Turns out that the Travelodge that we are looking for is another few kilometers south. So back out into the rain. We rode on the sidewalk the rest if the way. Sure enough there was the one we were looking for and we check in.
It is 8 o’clock at this point and feels like bedtime for us. I had spotted and Indian restaurant nearby and we figured that anything hot would be nice after being cold and wet for most of the afternoon.
After a delicious meal we walked back to the hotel in the rain and hopped into our respective cozy beds. We are still entertaining ideas about the early stages of our journey so we decide to sleep on it and discuss it further in the morning.