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July 14, 2006

Cruising to Canada turned out to be an okay experience and as it turns out British Columbia is a beautiful place. As I neared the border there were a ton of wineries (it's called wine country for a reason). Surrounding all of this are grand mountains and numerous lakes. The lakes were all very pristine and beautiful, but none would compare to what I would see in the coming day.


I made it most of the way to Glacier (I was about two hours away) before deciding to give up for the night. It wasn't really dark, nor was it getting dark anytime soon, but I was tired and hungry. It turned out to be a good area to stop in - the people were friendly and the camping was good.

I also noticed (immediately upon entering Canada) that there are people in Canada that aren't lazy. It was weird - there were people walking along the roads and riding bikes! I know that I've seen that occasionally here but not with that many people and not over that extensive of a distance. For some of them it was clear that, at least for the time being, walking or bicycling are their primary means of transportation. What a novel idea.

Regardless, I went to bed shortly after getting some dinner and that ended my day.

July 15, 2006


Squirrels and acorn gnomes. I've noticed that I start a lot of my journal entries with "today blah blah." So, I didn't do that this time. I woke up relatively early today, which was nice considering I woke up really late yesterday. I packed up and started driving for a while until I made it to a nice, small restaurant on the edge of a lake. I had breakfast there and continued on my way to Glacier National Park. I made it to Glacier in short order and realized that although the sights along the road were very impressive, there wasn't a lot to do. There were some trails that I could have hiked, but I was behind a little anyway and not really up for a lot of hiking. Thus I continued my way on to Banff National Park.


I should note that I actually passed through a few national parks in addition to the two planned ones - they're all sort of in a row along Trans-Canada 1 (arguably the longest federal highway in the world). I stopped at one of them (I'll figure out the name later) and saw a really cool natural bridge. Natural bridges are basically old waterfalls where the river has burrowed through the rock to make, well, a bridge. They're different from arches though - arches are formed by a more subtle geologic process that involves not a river or stream but instead seeping water and lots of time. Anyway, it was cool.


After that I made my way into Banff National Park and stopped in the Lake Louise area. There I made my way to Lake Maurene (probably spelled wrong) - the lake that I'm pretty sure is in the poster hanging in my bedroom back at Purdue. It was amazing. The color was unbelievably vibrant - it was like Crater Lake in intensity and clearness, but a completely different shade of blue in color. The glaciers in this area produce some amazing scenery, both in their role as a source of water as well as a knife with which to carve solid rock.


Having spent a good part of the afternoon in the Lake Louise area I decided to make it a little farther before calling it a night and headed southeast to the town of Banff (located still inside the national park). Banff is a very interesting and nice town - they have a pool fed by a hot spring, which I saw but didn't indulge in (it costs money). There are also some nice restaurants. I dined at one and sat up on the patio. It was a nice experience eating liver and onions surrounded by great landscape. And to those of you thinking "liver and onions, ewww!" I have one word for you: "Mooooo!"

Well that brings me to the Internet Cafe where I'm getting ready for the latest update. My journey is coming to an end, sadly. However, before we go into reflection mode I have some random things that I keep thinking about and forget to add to my journal:

1) Thanks to the guys at Lafayette, LA Honda for the T-shirts!

2) I saw a great bumper sticker that read "I love my country. . . .but I fear my government"

3) There are evacuation route signs in some cities that I've encountered along the way (there's a crappy picture of one on my way to Mt. Rainier). The catch is I've now seen three types: "Hurricane Evacuation Route," "Tsunami Evacuation Route," and "Volcano Evacuation Route". I thought it was neat. Shut up.

4) Americans are stupid. Now don't get me wrong, most of us are really nice, caring people. But we're stupid. This time we're stupid because we don't use the metric system. We should have switched when everyone else did, but no! God forbid we use some kind of sane system for weights and measures. No no, let's use one based on some random person's body parts! The metric system has driven me insane upon my arrival. The speed limits are in metric, and though my speedometer has metric markings, it's still a little off to look down and see yourself going like 57 mph. Not only that, but I felt like a complete moron when a guy, originally from Germany, came up and asked me about the fuel efficiency for my motorcycle. He was expecting litres per kilometer, and I gave him miles per gallon. I felt stupid because I couldn't do the conversion and disappointed because I know full well most other Americans couldn't do it either. That's what we get for having such a ridiculously backwards weights and measures system in the first place. There's another rant for you...

Well, that's enough for now I guess. To my family, Shelley, and anyone else interested in my well being, I'm still alive, there just hasn't been cell phone coverage anywhere lately. I'm sure I'll talk to you all soon!

July 16, 2006

There may be minor date errors on the website now - they're fixed in my actual journal, though. Today was yet another wonderful day. I departed Banff and drove to Glacier National Park, USA. It was good to be back in the states. Once I arrived at Glacier I found a campsite in short order and setup my tent, dropping off most of my belongings.


After that I drove around a little bit - seeing Saint Mary Lake (another glacier-fed lake that was an amazing shade of blue) and enjoying still being near the mountains.


Following that (I had eaten a relatively late lunch) it was time to go hiking. I chose an ambitious path - one that led to Piegan Pass. The trail was 4.5mi one way, and I took a detour on the way back that led an additional mile halfway to another pass. All in all I ended up hiking a good 10 miles that evening. It was well worth it too. I enjoyed being up in the mountains above the tree line, and the sights were amazing. I pondered a few of the questions I always ponder, came to the same answers I always do, and met some animals along the way. I even got to practice my singing skills on the way back (it was turning to dusk, a time when bears seem to frequent trails more often). It was a good hike.

Once I returned to camp (it was about 9pm) I realized that I was starving. So, I headed into town and noticed everything was closed. I drove another 8 mi to another town and realized everything was closed there too. So I drove back to my campsite and went to bed hungry. It wasn't a huge deal, though, I had a good breakfast in the morning.