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Old 07-24-2010, 10:16 AM   #16
Cannonshot OP
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Thanks for tuning in!

Besides being (hopefully) entertaining, the purpose of this thread is to document some detail that might be useful for others that are considering this ride.

The cameras I used on this were a waterproof Pentax Optio (used during inclement weather) and a Nikon D60 with a 18-200 lens that I carried in the tank bag. I still pretty much used the Nikon as a point and shoot.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:03 AM   #17
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Canmore and the Smith Dorrien Trail

I should mention that before you leave Banff, you may want to ride the 9 km Tunnel Mountain Scenic Drive. This ride runs on the east side of Banff and takes in views of Bow Falls, Bow Valley, the hotel, Mount Rundle, and the Hoodoos (fingerlike eroded rock formations with a hard cap).

(Red is bicycle only, dark blue is motorcycle track.)


Canmore is just down the road from Banff and was developed by the railroad as a source of train fuel (coal) and as a switching yard. The coal mining was good for a while but the last mine closed in 1979 causing the town to diversify. Now it is a tourist town much like Banff. There are some old buildings still around downtown. These include a union hall, four bed hospital, hotel, and Mountie barracks.

This log, straw, and mud Northwest Mounted Police barracks was built in 1893 at a cost of $450. It was big enough for two mounties and two horses.


The place was recently restored to its 1921 state at a cost of $450,000.




When you drive through the touristy downtown the air is filled with the delicious aromas from the various specialty restaurants.


It used to be that you had to go the long way to get where we want to go. Now you can take the Smith Dorrien Trail up and over the mountains.


The trail starts at the Canmore Nordic Center. The 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics held cross country skiing and biathalon events here.


At this time of the year, they were hosting mountain bike events.




One of the few places I saw guard rails.








Looking back down at Canmore. They have some kind of water/hydro power project going up here.


This is a good part of the road. Much of it is potholes, rocks, and stutter bumps.






Always beautiful scenery in this area.


As I was riding along I saw the hump and a strip of back hair from a grizzly right along the side of the road in some vegetation. Having had four encounters on a backpacking trip in the Northwest Territories I was quick to recognize what I saw and stop before I got too close to the bear. The bear reacted to me by taking a few steps into some trees, facing me for a bit to check me out, and then ambling off into the woods. By the time I got the camera out, this is the parting shot I got.


But here is a shot of a grizz just for reference.


These notable claws contribute to distinctive tracks.


Just a reminder to not be too casual about bears. About five years ago a 35 year old woman and two friends were jogging on a popular trail near Canmore when they encountered a grizzly. The woman took refuge in a tree while the others ran for help. The bear dragged her out of the tree and killed her.

I made sure I stopped there and took a good look around. After all, it was important.



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Old 07-24-2010, 11:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannonshot
The cameras I used on this were a waterproof Pentax Optio (used during inclement weather) . . .
Glad to hear it's still working for you, Bryan. Mine's still going strong as well. Nice to be able to just "rinse it off" if it gets dusty or dirty.

Looking forward to your report.
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Old 07-24-2010, 02:06 PM   #19
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Lougheed Provincial Park, Elk Pass, Highwood Pass

The red bicycle only track runs through Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The park is named after the guy that served as Premier of Alberta for 14 years. The park is beautiful and is home to grizzlies, black bears, elk, deer, moose, cougars, lynx, and wolves. The bike trail goes over Elk Pass on the British Columbia/Alberta border. The coal mines further south in Alberta got into it with the hikers over this pass. Instead of having to go way around, the coal companies thought this pass should host an all weather route over the divide. Environmentalists killed this proposal off.


Avalanche slides on the sides of some of the mountains are visible.


Rocky mountain sheep.






The alternate route takes us over Highwood Pass - the highest drivable pass in Canada. By the way, it was pretty cool temperature-wise that day.


While we pause on top of the pass, I'll pass on a little about the bike I was riding. I picked up an 09 KLR 650 for this ride as I figured it would work well to ride out and back and handle the roads on the divide ride well. When I started the trip I had 1,500 miles on the bike. I added some crash bars, a bash plate, and some D606s.


I also added a larger windscreen that I like when it is raining or bugs are thick. It also protects the electronics a bit. I messed around with rear luggage and finally decided to just go with a basic waterproof Cabelas bag. I ratchet strapped that and a tent on the seat and rear luggage rack. The white mesh bag has some laundry that hadn't dried overnight that will dry during the ride.


I used a 60 series GPS. Since I was solo I used a SPOT tracker - a good idea as some of this is pretty remote. I also wired in my satellite radio. I ran earphones out the line out jack which has variable output levels. Worked well except when I got into heavy cover or in the "shadow" of a mountain. I put heated grips on as well, which I used from time to time.


Even though this portion is on pavement, it is a fabulous ride. Very scenic and entertaining.






This guy crossed in front of me.


More avalanche slides.














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Old 07-24-2010, 02:42 PM   #20
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Great RR Bryan, sure enjoying this one as the other.

Tell me as you motored down # 40 through Kananaskis Country, did you stop off to view that awesome golf course????

Did you smack a few???

Looking forward to this RR!! Keep us smiling!

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Old 07-24-2010, 02:56 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gale B.T.
Great RR Bryan, sure enjoying this one as the other.

Tell me as you motored down # 40 through Kananaskis Country, did you stop off to view that awesome golf course????

Did you smack a few???

Looking forward to this RR!! Keep us smiling!
Glad you are enjoying the report. I did drive by that golf course on the way up to Banff. It is not along the track I show for the ride but it is on 40 about halfway between the entrance to PLPP and the Trans-Canada Highway. As I recall that was a well developed resort area in through there. The web site shows some beautiful pix of the course. If anyone is curious they can check it out here: http://www.kananaskisgolf.com/.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:02 PM   #22
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Your daughter has been wondering what Dad was up to..

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Old 07-24-2010, 05:17 PM   #23
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gee..er...gosh...that's not bad scenery...not bad at all!
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by scarysharkface
Your daughter has been wondering what Dad was up to..

Tell her there is no sand on these rocky Canadian mountain roads.
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:24 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggie
gee..er...gosh...that's not bad scenery...not bad at all!
Shane, doesn't NZ have similar stuff?
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:38 PM   #26
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Two Choices - Cowboy Trail or Forest Highway

Since motorcycles can't get over Elk Pass, we have to go around on the east side of the divide. There are two options there. One is the forest highway (940) that runs down the middle of the map, and the other is 22 which is a paved road on the east side of the map. One might choose to run one going north and the other going south depending on how you get to Banff.


I'll cover 22 in the next few posts. On this route we pass through Longview. This town was once known as Little New York. There is a nearby community called Little Chicago.


In 1936 this was an empty field. In 1937 someone struck oil and refugees of the Great Depression flooded the place looking for jobs.




Canadian Country music superstar Ian Tyson has a ranch near here. Tyson wrote "Four Strong Winds" (recorded by Neil Young) and "Someday Soon" (recorded by Judy Collins). He once hosted a national TV show similar to a Canadian Version of Nashville Now. In 2006, Tyson suffered scarring of his vocal chords which trashed some of the best features of his remarkable voice.

(photo credit http://www.hwfn.com/photos/the_serie...on_in_hwfn.jpg)

Tyson sometimes performs here at the local community center. In 2002 he recorded Live at Longview (his first live album) here.




This hat thing went on for at least a mile.


22 is called the Cowboy Trail because it passes through ranch country.


It would be easy to imagine a cattle drive through this region.




Further down the line we enter into the Crowsnest Pass region and come to the town of Bellevue. Bellevue was founded in 1905. There were big coal mines here. In 1910 an explosion killed 30 miners. Floods and fires tore this place up as well. The mines closed down in the 1960s. In 1957 the town incorporated and elected Alberta's first female mayor.


In 1920, three local miners robbed a Canadian Pacific train hoping to find a wealthy rum runner on board. After the robbery, one guy escaped to the US and the other two hung around the area. The two were spotted in the Belleview Cafe (maybe this one or maybe something similar) and three Constables raided the place to capture the men. They hit the front and back doors at the same time. In the ensuing shoot-out, two Constables and a crook were killed. One wounded crook escaped via a rubble slide but was later captured. During the chase a Special Constable was shot and killed by another officer. The guy who escaped to the US was captured in Montana after trying to sell a distinctive railroad watch. Back in Canada he was sentenced to seven years.

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Old 07-24-2010, 06:11 PM   #27
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Great Report -

Cannonshot, I have read many of your reports and have to say you set the gold standard on ride reports. Very very informative and the pictures are always superb too. Thanks for taking the time to give us all a great history lesson in addition to some of the best ride reports on ADV.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:32 PM   #28
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The Frank Slide

The town of Frank was a mining town back in the early 1900s. In April 1903, it was the scene of the biggest slide in North American history. They had been mining coal under the base of Turtle Mountain. By the way, local Indians avoided Turtle Mountain because they claimed it was the "mountain that walked". Local miners knew it was a bit unstable. In fact, the mine was kind of "self operating" in that coal regularly fell from the ceiling and only had to be shoveled up. In the middle of the night a hunk of the mountain that was 1 km wide, 425 meters long, and 150 meters deep broke loose and slid down over the valley over a period of about 90 seconds.


The slide took out the mine buildings and the people in them. It also took out much of the town and anything and anybody in its path. Some people near the slide were blown off their feet by the wind. A coal car was found two miles away.


The slide buried the mine opening. Seventeen miners in the mine dug themselves out via a fresh seam of coal and some rock covering it at the surface. They were desperate but they made it. A month later they found Charlie the mine horse still alive down in the mine. He had been eating timbers and drinking seepage water in the dark all that time. Soon after his rescue he died of an overdose of oats and brandy from the helpful miners.


Here is a shot after they rebuilt the railroad. Right after the slide, railroad workers frantically scrambled across the rocks to head off a train that they feared would slam right into the slide.


You can see where the railroad tracks would have been buried.


Of the more than 70 known dead, very few bodies were recovered. In fact, some were not recovered until some highway work was done years later.


The place was a mess. A river was instantly converted to a lake.


Lots and lots of rock came off of that mountain.


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Old 07-24-2010, 06:38 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Cup
Cannonshot, I have read many of your reports and have to say you set the gold standard on ride reports. Very very informative and the pictures are always superb too. Thanks for taking the time to give us all a great history lesson in addition to some of the best ride reports on ADV.
Thanks so much. There are so many great ride reports and styles of writing ride reports on this forum that there is bound to be something of interest for nearly everyone. I appreciate your compliments and am glad that you and perhaps some others enjoy the style I use with the history and such. Certainly it doesn't appeal to everyone but it is nice to know that some people enjoy it. The research ahead of time is often nearly as entertaining as the ride - to me anyway. The hard part is doing the ride report.

Thanks again for the encouragement!
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:40 PM   #30
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Beautiful scenery. You're living right!
(and I'd take rock over sand any day!)
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