Posted by: Silver | July 15, 2011

St Albert to Fort Saskatchewan

Distance: 46 km
Ascent: 189 m
Cycling time: 2 hours, 44 minutes

I really wasn’t much liking the look of the weather while I was in St Albert: a tremendous windstorm with lashing rain one night, followed by steady, cold rain pretty much the whole of the next day, and a not-much-better forecast for the day after that, when I was due to ride over to Fort Saskatchewan. Magically, however, the day itself actually dawned dry and calm, and the short hop, skip and jump over to the other side of Edmonton was considerably more pleasant than I’d been gearing myself up for. 🙂 Of course, the one advantage of wind and rain is that it’s not just people who think twice about venturing out under such conditions… I ended up pedalling pretty fast the whole time – even while I was eating – just to keep the breeze up enough to keep the bugs down enough to be bearable… 😦

Fort Saskatchewan isn’t as big and busy as St Albert – and yes, by that I do mean that no-one tried to reverse into me – but the hearts of its people are certainly no smaller. Now that I’m almost out of Alberta, I’m prepared to confess that this province has not been easy – not in terms of the cycling especially (although the headwinds have been brutal at times), but in terms of finding people prepared to look after me in each of the towns I’ve visited. The people who have taken me in though, have been truly wonderful: my host here in Fort Saskatchewan, for example, not only provided me with the basic food and shelter that is all I ever ask for, but also bought me a big bottle of vitamins to keep me going through the constant variation that constitutes my normal diet these days, thrust more money into my hand as I left (‘for the next time I need an ice cream fix’, she said – but when I unrolled it some time later, I discovered it would buy me considerably more than just an ice cream…), and then went on to make an extremely generous donation to SOS Children’s Villages as well! And this has not been untypical: Albertans may be a little shy about opening their hearts, but when they do, they certainly open them wide. 🙂 I’m not going to name names, of course, but thank you to you all!! (Of course, I am not in any way trying to imply that my hosts elsewhere have been any less totally wonderful – it is simply that the difference between the number of people who wouldn’t help me in Alberta, and the kindness of those who did, has been particularly striking.)

Seems that most of my blog followers are still a little shy about opening their hearts to the SOS Children though: the ‘photo fund’ has crept up to $200, but I’m afraid that only gets you this far:

My feet, looking beautifully primped and pampered after one of the people taking care of me in St Albert (a beautician by trade) very kindly gave my hard-working feet a pedicure

The water tower in Fort Saskatchewan is covered in happy children: it just seemed so appropriate for my journey, I had to take a photo!

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