Posted by: Silver | May 19, 2011

Brooks to Drumheller

Distance: 143 km
Ascent: 586 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 43 minutes

OK, so, hands up everyone who wasn’t expecting that! (Have a look at my route on the map page if you don’t know what I’m talking about!) A newspaper editor earlier on my travels described my route as ‘taking “circuitous” to a whole new level’, and trust me: you’re only just beginning to see how right he was…

Quite apart from my straying off the straight and narrow (and apparently already very well-pedalled) west-to-east path, this journey was also notable for breaking two of my previous personal records. The distance, I knew, was going to be the furthest I’d ever tried to cover in a single day, but with the aid of a quite miraculously co-operative wind – which not only started out at my back despite the fact that this meant blowing in exactly the opposite direction to the ‘normal’ prairie westerly, but then continued to follow me even when my route turned through 90 degrees half way through the day – I breezed through the ride (pun intended) with unexpected ease. My speed record, however, I was not expecting to break in Alberta. As previously mentioned, though, the province does have some pretty steep-sided river valleys, and Drumheller is nestled in the bottom of one of these, so, with the aid of a quite miraculously co-operative car driver, who stayed behind me all the way down (maybe he was courteously keeping out of my way, or maybe he, too, just wanted to see how fast I could go… ;-)), I was able to discover that, contrary to my earlier assertion, my instinct for self-preservation is actually prepared to allow me to reach at least 74 km/h…

Drumheller itself is famously full of dinosaurs, but this certainly isn’t a reference to the age or outlook of the members of the Drumheller Rotary Club, who invited me to speak to their meeting, then proceeded to waive all fines for the week* in favour of having a whip-round for SOS Children’s Villages which, from their fairly modest membership, produced an impressively princely sum for the charity. Thank you, Drumheller Rotary! I was also invited to a very enjoyable potluck supper by the local quilting club: they have been making quilts and diaper bags for an orphanage in Honduras, and were very interested to hear about the difference that SOS Children’s Villages is making in the lives of orphans all round the world.

And finally, a very well-deserved plug for my host in Drumheller! As you’ll be aware if you’ve been following my blog for a while, I don’t normally mention much about my hosts, out of respect for their privacy. However, my host here in Drum runs a very lovely B&B (http://delsbnb.com/) and, although I was staying with her as a house guest rather than a B&B guest, I was still treated to the full, delicious breakfast experience she offers, and can attest that the accommodation, location and service are all excellent! Drumheller was also a really beautiful, fascinating place to visit (the new header photo shows a view of the local scenery), so if you fancy a little vacation here, give Del a call!

* For those of you unfamiliar with Rotary Club meetings, ‘fines’ are imposed on members for spurious misdeeds each week, as a way of raising further funds in a light-hearted manner.

Ranger outside possibly the poshest rest area ever, on highway 1: no wooden outhouses here...!

It's been a very wet winter this year, leaving huge amounts of standing water around the prairies (no, this isn't normally a lake - look closely and you'll see the semi-submerged hay bales); the farmers are worried about getting a crop planted, I'm worried about what breeds in standing water...

These hoodoos are just to the east of town. Drumheller is a wonderful place for anyone who has an interest in geology: hoodoo? You do! (Sorry, joke for my friends Britt and Jo there... ;-))

Me on the suspension bridge in Rosedale. What d'ya mean: I'm too small to see? I'm there, aren't I? 😉

And so to those aforementioned dinosaurs: the Royall Tyrrell Museum is everything a museum should be - interesting, informative, creative and beautifully presented

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