I didn’t mention it in my last report but the Immigration officer manning the Canadian border crossing recommended I avoid crossing Canada via highway 1 and take highway 13 instead. This he said would take me through all the little towns along the way and I’d get a better feel for the real Canada. My kind of border guard; a fellow biker and in fact one who rides a Kawasaki Versys, the dual-sport version of my Ninja. Bet the guys waiting in line behind me thought he was really running me through the wringer. Little did they know.
Taking his advice to heart I laid out a route on the GPS to do just that. I was ready for the road early but first I stopped for one of McDonald’s Big Breakfasts…. Mmmmm…..yummy. While there I was entertained by one of the local retirees who crabbed endlessly about the high cost of Canadian gasoline. You meet some interesting folks at the Golden Arches. I told him it was $1.50 a gallon at home. Mr. Nice Guy here.
Sunshine followed by more sunshine made for an outstanding ride once I got going. I chose a route that would take me east via Crowsnest Pass Highway to Medicine Hat and then drop down via 41 to 13 which I would then follow east nearly all the rest of the way to Nova Scotia.
Crowsnest is a huge area and absolutely gorgeous, lots of mountains, beautiful lakes and small towns that smack of local history. It took me a long time to get through the area as I kept taking side trips through the towns just to see what they were like. Most look like something out of old west history books and I couldn’t help wondering how the townspeople earned their livings. At one time there were a lot of active mines but I think most of those have closed down, and although there are lots of cattle ranches I doubt there are enough jobs to employ everyone who lives in the area. Maybe they’re all old retired geezers like me? Maybe they go back to the Mother Ship at night?
Lunch was not the greatest; I stopped at a chain restaurant called Smitty’s where I ordered their lunch special, fish and chips. Duh. Think about it LL, fish and chips in the middle of cattle country? At least the service was good which I mentioned to the waitress when she asked the usual “How was everything?” Being an honest patron I told her they might consider removing that item from their menu or maybe rename it as something without the “fish” word in it. She looked a bit crestfallen so I reassured her I thought her service was great and I was from the west coast where we had fresh fish available all the time, yadda, yadda. That seemed to cheer her up and I left her a nice tip to seal the deal.
On that note there was an older couple checking out ahead of me who were struggling with the entire tip concept. He was in his big beard and bib overalls livery and she had her black granny dress and bonnet on. If I had to guess I think they belonged to one of the local religious sects that live in the area, probably the one that begins with Mmmmennno… Anyway, he caught me watching him just as he asked his wife how much she thought he should leave to which she shot back “Nothing!” I guess that suited him so he paid up and they did a fast stage left without so much as a thank you. Praise the Lord. Cheap bastards. Oh well, that’s how it goes I guess.
Back on the road again I must have been dozing as I completely missed the turnoff at Medicine Hat and ended up riding to Swift Current on Highway 1 where I am for the night. Tomorrow I’ll head south via Highway 4 for a few miles, then hook up with Highway 13 where I’ll be back on track.
What about dinner you ask? It was really a no-brainer as there’s a Tim Horton’s place next door to the Thriftlodge motel where I’m camped for the night. I opted for their Turkey & Swiss sub accompanied by a donut and washed down with diet Pepsi. Bark. Urp. Ummm. I wonder what I weigh these days?
Ah yes, the ice machine works...