7 –22 – 04  Pincher Creek, Alberta to Calgary, Alberta

            The Kawi dealer couldn't take anything until Monday, and I didn't want to wait.  I was on the 22 again, and after a few rural gyrations, on my way to Calgary and a dealership there.  It was a cold ride.  I ran through sprinkles, but not enough to get wet.  I thought about breaking out the cold weather gloves.

           The Alberta/ 22 runs along the eastern slopes of the Rockies.  The area is a very green and rolling ranch land, with a few oil derricks scattered here and there.  There were many small creeks in the ravines and a few rivers.  The sky was mostly cloudy, but not very organized.

            I stopped in the small town of Black Diamond for lunch.  What is neat about Canada is that the small towns have kept their uniqueness.  There were few fast food chains; few ATM gas stations, and I had a momentary panic the first time I had to push the old-fashioned gas pump lever (side mounted where the nozzle hooks up), trying to remember how to start the gasoline flowing.  I ate at a small Chinese restaurant.  The food was good, and the owner stopped by to exchange a few words and to check for my assurance that I was enjoying my meal. 

            Next up was the trip to Calgary.  In spite of the best efforts of a few people, I still managed to botch their directions.  I needed the 2 to get to the Blackfoot Trail to Blackfoot Motorcycles.  I needed to turn off  22 onto a route perpendicular to my direction of travel.  Instead, I took 22 all the way to the 1 freeway, where the speed limit jumped to 110 kph.  When I got off the 1, I was thoroughly lost.  The first set of directions put me in the general vicinity of where I was supposed to be.  Stopping for a second set of instructions and clarification, the person I was talking to was confused.  He thought he had just given me directions to the motorcycle shop.  It turned out that only minutes previously, another rider on an identical red KLR had stopped and asked for the same set of directions.  Doppelganger?  The second set of directions put me at the dealership.

            Major thoroughfares in Calgary are labeled *.Trail Road.  I hated driving in the city.  The traffic was erratic and my driving the same.  There were several last second lane changes to make turns, as intersections popped up faster than expected.  The bike work was scheduled for the next day.  Meanwhile, the shop booked me into the Blackfoot Inn, which appeared to be a “nice” hotel.  My appearance didn't fit their decor.            

           The hotel was stuck in an industrial area.  There was nothing of interest nearby.  6:30 PM and it was raining.  I took a walk to find a restaurant and settled for a Wendy’s.


           The ketchup for my fries was a cultural shock.  I was repulsed and fascinated by the taste.  It was sweet and had different undertones from the American version (molasses, maybe?).

          Also noted was that there were few sidewalks along the roads.  Most of the foot traffic was on paths worn through the grass.  I don’t know if this is unique to this section of Calgary or if it is the rule.

          I walked back to the hotel in a light, warm rain.

          My bee sting itched.  I had a nice lump on my neck, thanks be to the bee.