Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Calgary Here We Come!

These folks are pretty excited! We're traveling the third to the last day of our journey, from Pincher Creek to Maycroft Camp, HWY 22. Biking with us are Edwin and Nancy, their dog, and Curtis, helping us celebrate the final days.

The "stats" of our arrival home. 4:32 p.m. August 23, 2009, 5 hours 17 minutes of ride time that day, 85.81 km, and a trip total of 14,206.6 km ridden.

All the clothes we carried washed and drying in the sun. Edwin and Alice Knox hosted us for a wonderful evening and ride out the next morning from their home in Pincher Creek, AB. We'd met them on the road 9 months earlier as we both traveled down the salt plains of southern California near Barstow.

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. We certainly didn't rush our ride home, but took in the beauty on the way. Our day off in Waterton, included hikes to waterfalls and campfires, hosted by a fun household of park interpreters. We were rested and ready for the 3 day ride into Calgary.

Align Center
Our friend, the cricket, tickles Tarn's arm.

Haircuts for all, schools starting soon after all! We stop in Geraldine, Montana for a swim and a shortened day. As we approach the end of the trip, we savour each day.

Another game of cards, a light game packed with hours of enjoyment.

14,000 KM
6 birthdays (Tanya x2)
17 USA States
2 Canadian Provinces
6 Mexican States
innumberable thumbs up
multiple friendly homes
three sets of tires
three sets of chains
several switch-outs of tent poles
same Thermarests - one new patch
4 pairs shoes - Tarn
3 pairs of shoes Markos and Sampson
2 pairs of shoes Rick
1 pair of shoes Tanya

one year (July 15, 2009 to August 23, 2010)
five people - healthy, happy and home

We're back in Calgary. Bags and boxes are in various states of dispersal. Sampson, Markos and Tarn are off playing with their friends. School starts day after tomorrow. We've been back a week, yet it feels like yesterday that we rode into town. Every day is a new day. We're enjoying a relaxed immersion into a different, yet familiar way of life. Things that haven't changed: we're eating well, we're spending lots of time with each other, our bikes are still integral to our lives. Instead of talking with new friends every day, we're catching up with old ones. We sleep on beds, but keep the windows open to feel the cool of the night. I can sense that the impact of the past year effects our every decision and move. I feel the success of imparting upon my children an experience that will effect who they will become. They are strong, open minded, world-wise, yet trusting and fun loving. Sampson, Markos and Tarn know that working hard and playing hard equal a great life. The variety of the extreme, the constant of the unknown, the oddity of fun surprises and the constant of family - these joint experiences have created within our family unit a bond of respect and trust for each other which will forever be with us.

Last night of the journey journal entries, Aug 22, 2010:
Sampson: Tomorrow is going to be our last day of our trip and I am going to go to William's house when we get back. I liked La Paz (Baja California Sur) as the best place we went because there was a "Serpentario" (reptile zoo in Spanish) and I got to hold a corn snake. I also liked biking down the Baja Penensula through the desert and green. We did a longer day (today), we went 90 km - Maycroft campground to Longview. In Longview we got some of the "Best Beef Jerky in Alberta". Last night Tazman and Kadin and Diane and Peter came out and so did Tom and Mo (friends from Calgary who camped with us.) We are about 80 km from Calgary and we will probably make it there tomorrow if we have tail wind. We are going to meet a newspaper man from the Calgary Herald. He is going to bring out some TimBits for us. We did 14,120 km on this trip.
Markos: Today is the last day on the trip. I liked biking down the Baja because we saw lots of cactus and lizards. I liked La Paz too because we stayed in a hotel for a week. In that week we rode our bikes with Lanier to La Ventana to see Joe. This is the last day of the trip and I am writing in my journal for the last time.
Tarn: I liked Dad making pancakes.

For those of you who have followed our blog, thank you for your energy and support. As you have read, we have met so many amazing people who have been integral to the success, learning, comfort and fun of our journey. Thank you!!! The journey is done, we are back. Of course the boys have already dreamt up our next bicycle expedition, but you can wait a few years for that! We're enjoying the friends and community of Calgary, a wonderful place to call home.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wheat Fields and Wild Weather

The Mosby rest area offers us shelter from a wild storm that blew up. North Dakota and Montana plains stir up some crazy systems. Thankfully we've found shelter and met some great people in the process.

The wheat harvest means lots of combines and plenty of bales of hay.

Echinachea is one of the beautiful native flowers that line the roadsides.

The oil boom in North Dakota is "work wonderland but not wonderful" according to Dale, the pastor's wife who offered us the shelter of their Lutheran church basement. "It's hard work and long days." On the road we've been treated considerately by the multitude of oil industry service vehicles and met many workers on our travels.

We've made friends with wandering salamanders, grasshoppers and more. Prong horn/antelope watch us from the fields and hawks from the skies. We've got a whole lot of time to take it all in - westerly headwinds have meant 8mph travel and six hour ride days between tiny wisps of towns.

Tarn's journal:
July 29 - I played with a bottle at the swimming pool.
July 31 - I just sorted out my bag.
August 1 - I weighed myself on the scale.
August 4 - The grasshoppers went nuts today.
August 5 - I found a fake grape in the park.

Markos' journal:
August 2 - Today we woke up and got dressed. After we got dressed we got out of the tent to have breakfast. For breakfast we had oatmeal with craisins in it, on top we had granola. When we were done with breakfast we talked to Scotty for a little bit. He drove the earthmover to make a dirt road flat. When we were done talking to Scotty we got our helmets on and got on the bikes and rode away. In an hour we stopped to have a break. It was a view(point) and we could see the layers of dirt (in the Badlands butte formations).
August 4 - Today we woke up and got dressed. After we got dressed we got out of the tent to have breakfast. When we got out of the tent we went into RaeDeen's house to have breakfast. For breakfast we had pancakes. RaeDeen made us hot cocoa with lots of marshmallows that were not from the box. We are camped out in Brockway. Brockway is not much of a town. All it had was a post office and a bar. We are camped at a park.

Sampson's journal:
August 1 - Today we went through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We went to the visitor center to see if they had a Jr. Ranger Program and they did. The Jr. Ranger Program is a little book you get that has things you find out in the park. After that we went on a hike about a mile down the road called Buckhorn Trail. We just went through the North Unit. Dad told me there would be lots of rattlesnakes in the park so we watched out for them. The ranger recommended the trail closest to the front (of the park) because the buffalo were in the other part. The male wanted the females for themselves and wanted to protect them so they would charge at us (if we rode our bikes in that area.) I bought four post cards and a patch at the visitor center. We camped in Arnegard in the church.
August 5 - Today I woke up pretty early and then I went outside and I helped Dad make hot chocolate for breakfast. We had a really long day and we did fifty-eight miles. In the afternoon we bought some cold drinks cause it was hot. We haven't been having cold drinks for a long time. Now we are in Montana and it is getting to look like the Badlands more. There was not many towns today, only the start and end towns. I drank a lot of water today. We have been having more drink mix than normal now. Tarn found a "pet grape" today ( a little fake grape) in the park of Jordan. There is lots of yucca plant on the side of the road in the Badlands. Dad is making spaghetti dinner right now.