Day 21 – Eureka to Whitefish, MT

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Jul 272015
Day 21 - Eureka to Whitefish, MT, 84 km (1620)      559 alt. (15059) This was the last day with my friends Sylvio and Flavio. It started off with a shock: A few minutes after leaving Eureka Flavio and I witnessed a road kill: A small truck with a boat trailer was coming towards us when a deer ran down a short steep hill on the left hand side and onto the road. It was hit by the truck, stumbled across the road on to our side, collapsed and died! What a shock! The driver called the police but astonishingly laughed - maybe from shock, I don't know, but it seemed quite callous to me. After a few minutes of stunned paralysis we pushed ourselves to continue the ride, and convinced ourselves that this happened here in Montana every day. We were proven right because after about 40 km we saw another dead deer in the ditch. When we got to Whitefish, a fairly big town, Sylvio told Flavio that he had decided to continue alone due to the conflicts the two had been having from the beginning. I myself decided to take a room in a motel for the first time because the coming days will be very tough: Approaching and then doing the climb to the "Road to the Sun" in the Glacier National Park. Tomorrow 75 kms will lead me from Whitefish to Avalanche Campground from where the long ascent will begin the day after at four in the morning, because the road is so narrow that it is closed for cyclists between 11am and 4pm.  Sylvio and I went out to treat ourselves to a wonderful steak meal!    
 Posted by at 1:06 AM
Jul 262015
Day 20  - Baynes Lake to Eureka, Montana 57 km (1536)  355 alt.(14500) Today we crossed the border to the USA! After a hearty breakfast (as usual of "Granola" with fruit and hot chocolate for me - my personal "Müsli") we climbed up the long way out of the Campground 😉 30 minutes later we heard: "Hey, care for some pancakes?" As we passed the community center of Baynes Lake a laughing bearded man called out to us and I decided not to let the opportunity for a nice second breakfast pass, this time "Canadian Style". It was Saturday and as every Saurday the community got together for a mixture of fair, garage sale and some community gossip. Well, it turned out we were early but the nice bearded man and everyone else hurried things along to finish the breakfast preparations as soon as possible. Sitting in the sparingly decorated but very cosy community hall we had pancakes with maple syrup, sausages and scrambled eggs while talking to Neil,the bearded guy. When he heard that two us were from Germany he asked if we spoke Danish - his parents' language. Neil works in the big mine in Sparwood which we had come through yesterday. His work in the millery entails reparing mining machinery. The coal is mainly exported to China at an o bviously fair price because Neil earns 43$ per hour. Neil is 63 and has 4 kids, all miners and when asked how he feels living in such a small community of about 250 inhabitants he answers: "I can't see myself living in a city. I hate great numbers of people in one place. Cities make people think mean of other people. But my wife says I'm just a big pussycat", which sounds strange coming  from a tall man with a huge grey beard who rides a big Harley Davidson bike! "That big truck you saw yesterday in Sparwood, that's only the smaller version of the trucks installed after KAiser sold off the mine to another company" was another surprise Neil gave us. After a wonderful meal and some nice exchange with an elderly Irish couple, who are planning to finally go on that often-postponed trip to Italy and Ireland next year because of the 100. anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1916, we finally got off towards the border to the USA and to Eureka. Here we are now, planning to attend a big rodeo show tonight... More about that in the next post ...

Neil, making pancakes - as every Saturday


Quilts - this is for Bettina


USA, here I come


Stopping for coffee behind the border


The line is the border ....


Strange: a whole group of houses smaller than the RV-vehicles beside them

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 Posted by at 2:18 AM

Day 19 – Sparwood to Baynes Lake

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Jul 262015
Day 19 - Sparwood to Baynes Lake 91km  492alt. (24.07.2015) From the old mining town in Sparwood it took about 6 hours to find a campsite at Baynes Lake. We came through the small town of Fernie, where I used WiFi while Flavio had his bike repaired at a bike shop. I was surprised to find a memorial to hononr the casualties of Fernie soldiers who died on the Britishh side during WW I in Flanders and Ypern. A detour away from the highway suggested by our 2! gps machines led us into a sawmill area with  dusty gravel tracks and a lot of ups and downs.  Finally a very talkative lady directed us to Baynes Lake Campground. It was full, we must have been allotted the very last site. In any case it was the largest campground I have ever seen: After checking in it took us another 10 minutes!!, several kilometers to finally reach the lake and the campsite. We had a very refreshing swim in the Kookanusa Lake - access to the lake would have been impossible at that point if not for a long rope that had been attached to a tree by some previous guests ...

Historical oil rig in Fernie


WW I memorial in Fernie


Logging road ...


brand new machinery


... and a new Ford

 Posted by at 1:57 AM
Jul 242015
Day 18 - 23.07.2015  102km (1390) 772 alt. (13800) BC Forest Service Recreation Site to Sparwood After a quiet night with my bear spray always at hand we went on a long descent down from the heights of the Elk Pass to the Elk River flats and in direction of Sparwood. After a lunch at Elkford (where I imprudently had a pizza) and some shopping in Sparwood we finished the day at the campground in Sparwood with our second warm meal of the day - what luxury! Unfortunately my stomach didn't like it as much and I had a uncomfortable night ...
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 Posted by at 7:22 PM