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Alberta
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May 28- Day 21

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was the odd sight in the middle of downtown of what looked like an semi-old fashion (like 20 years ago) mailbox all in yellow.

It's for disposing of dirty needles.

I didn't get around to asking the survey to anyone... didn't find the right time or person. This is a nice place, but I'm not 100% comfortable here.

Alberta and the Rule of Tens: Everything you take for granted as being set is in fact 10 more than that. The speed limit is 110. Pay phones are 35 cents instead of 25. The prices are probably a good 10 percent more as well. Interestingly, the streetlights are mostly like in Quebec, on the side instead of vertical. And instead of symbols for walk and don't walk, it uses the words.

This is odd. Part of me wants to stay in Calgary another day and see the sights, another part is repulsed by the idea of staying here another minute. I want to see the zoo, the heritage village, and other things, but it all costs money. Also, it just seems so touristy.

So the plan is this, travel to Vulcan and see if there are any Trekkies there for the interview, as well as take pictures. Find a place to crash, then get to Brooks by Tuesday, since it's Elaine's day off. She's all hip to the idea of me dropping by, which is good. That's about it. Time to leave this dead city.

Alright, I didn't leave as quickly as I would have liked. I got lost in a dead end that ended in a bird sanctuary, so I wandered around that a bit. Then I figured I should get more Gatoraid powder considering the heat and exhaustion I might be facing over the prairies, so I didn't actually get started until 11 or so. About half an hour of biking was just spent wandering around Calgary.

I still can't get myself to ask the survey to anyone. Hopefully by Vulcan this will change.

I'm presently in Carseland. This is a place where there are maybe 200 people living in the area, and why everyone doesn't have a rusted out pick up truck, I have no idea. The sight of a half decent four door coup was a total surprise to me. The youth here all seem to be pudgy, while the adults are thin and in decent shape... just an observation. Within one block (pretty much the only block) I saw a bar, a liquor store, and a "spirits and eatery", for that mid afternoon drink, I suppose. The "post office" is just a room with post office boxes in it. Had lunch consisting of good ol' Chef Boy-Ar-Dee and chocolate milk... boy I miss the gang already... I was going to interview a teenage gas store attendant, but he was too busy and had to get going.

Time spent cycling: 4:25:50

Distance traveled: 101.56 km

Total distance: 1401 km

Average Speed: 22.9 kph

Maximum speed: 62.6 kph

Current Location: farmer's yard, 50k or so north of Vulcan.

Okay, don't let the distance fool you, this was a DUD of a day. A good 20 or 30 klicks were, in my opinion, needless. I couldn't find the way out of Calgary I wanted so I had to use the #1, which, by the way, has NO shoulder until you leave city limits. Think 401 going into Toronto. There was nothing but headwinds and crosswinds pounding me until I finally hit highway 24 and turned south towards Vulcan. I thought for a moment my problems were over. I was making great distance and time.

Then after Carseland, my tendons behind my right knee were acting up bad, it started to rain, and there was lightning not too far away.

I called it a day, and pulled into the first farm I found. The lady of the house let me stay, but I don't think I'll be getting much in the way of conversation from them. What's worse, the rain let up shortly thereafter. However, it's continuing in the direction I'm heading, and my right leg tendons really do need a rest. Also, it's only a few hours before I would have to stop anyways. I just hope I can somehow make it to Brooks by tomorrow evening. Elaine is expecting me then. Judging from the map, however, I am not convinced that will be possible, unless I want to go for the power ride of a lifetime. Have to wait and see.

So, today is all wrapped up, I guess. I think I'll finish that SF book I started so log ago. Then I can mail it to Gillian's with all my other keepsakes.

Oh great... it seems the #24 is used by very LOUD trucks a lot. I'm right by it.

Iona, the lady who let me stay, invited me into dinner. Who am I to refuse? There are a half dozen kids or more and just as many adults. Seems like I stumbled upon some kind of family gathering. We had turkey sandwiches and Saskatoon berry pie. Mmmmmmmmm... She even let me take two sandwiches with me in ziploc bags for the road! Woo-hoo! She offered to let me take pie, but that would have been a mess to carry.

What a wonderful family atmosphere here! I defy anyone to find one better in the city. We talked, laughed, and I watched the last half of The Black Cauldron and first half of The Little Mermaid in the background. The adults were interested in the trip, and a couple in the survey, but I never got around to asking anyone to take it. It would have spoiled the mood perhaps.

Am I ever glad I stopped here. IT IS POURING!!! It hasn't been this bad since Vancouver. For those of you who enjoy the hardship aspect of ths trip, I hope you're happy! But the joke's on you, because I'm not wet! Even if it keeps raining tomorrow, which the farmers here hope it does so I wont jinx it by hoping it doesn't, the rain gear I now have will be more than adequate. The bike and most of my stuff are in a huge supply shed, like a barn for mechanical parts, so I don't have to worry about it getting wet at least until tomorrow. Plus this rain will probably help me get to sleep. But it is only 8 right now, so I'll probably read first. Man the wind is pretty bad, banging the tent around like a ship in stormy sea at times.

Needless to say if this keeps up for days, I'll be staying in Brooks until it passes over. Any objections? No? Good.

At 9 the rain stopped. Who knows for how long? I could be like this, on and off, for days. I guess tomorrow will be an endurance day in more ways than one. The tent itself is surprisingly warm, too. Outside at 10pm you can see your own breath, inside it's quite comfy even out of the sleeping bag.

Going to sleep amid the constant dim mooing of a nearby heard is strangely both relaxing and keeping me awake. Reminds me of the farm I stayed at on Wolf Island back on the Halifax trip.

The blisters are all but gone, I should look 100% in a couple of days. Of course, what 100% for me is isn't exactly all that great.



Onto Day 22...