Berwyn, Illinois to Winnipeg, Manitoba
Saturday, June 27, 2009
5:15am to 8:15pm; central time zone
Rode 899 miles today

The day began with a beautiful sunrise. The temperatures were great and in the 70's with sunny skies until we reached the middle of Wisconsin. Showers threatened but we rode through Wisconsin and Minnesota without getting wet. As we reached North Dakota the rains began and temperatures dropped. The last stretch to Winnipeg seemed extraordinarliy long because of the rain and the high winds. We saw deer and egrets even though we were on the highway.

As we neared the Canadian border crossing, the GPS weather radar showed nothing ahead, but we could see a huge black cloud ahead of us. We soon hit the storm which had very high winds and driving rain. After about 25 miles, it began to let up. Obviously, the weather radar feature on our GPS would be pretty worthless for most of our trip since it cut off almost exactly at the Canadian border.

The scenery was beautiful as we neared Winnipeg and the sun was low as it peeked below the storm clouds. The colors were spectacular and it seemed fitting since we began the day with a beautiful sunrise in Berwyn. There was a cafe in the hotel where we enjoyed a quiet meal and realized that we had been though 4 states in the last 15 hours and ridden 899 miles.

The hotel had a big sign out front advertising its Topo Gigio Arcade. Obviously we had to check it out. The only thing representing Topo Gigio was a 12-inch wooden carving of that famous mouse. Everything else was the typical arcade machines and decorations. The hotel guests and staff were almost all Philippino, and I understand Topo Gigio is a huge thing there, so maybe that explains it.

Winnipeg, Manitoba to Moosejaw, Saskatchewan
Sunday, June 28, 2009
8:41am to 4:30pm; Mountain time
420 miles

Had a bit of breakfast and then we hit the road. It was a later start than yesterday, but after that long day, sleeping in and a leisurely morning was just the thing. We arrived in Brandon for a break 200 kilometers out of Winnipeg. Called and checked in with Samantha, our daughter who was expecting and had a due date of July 11th. She is fine.

We rode another 100 or so k's and stopped in Whitewood for lunch. We found 2 geocaches today, one right on the edge of a golf course where we left a golf ball and our signature chip, this cache had a moose travel bug with a destination of Calgary that we will be happy to drop off in Calgary when we pass through. At the second cache we left our signature chip, no travel bugs.

Today was very windy; the winds were strong from the time we first started out. They reminded me of yesterday when the winds picked up, whipping the bike and pressing hard against our helmets. I prayed for the wind to let up; not long afterward we rode into a storm and the rain poured down. Interestingly enough the wind died down during the storm. So as we rode with the wind whipping us, I thanked God for the wind because it was the lesser of two evils compared to the rains. We reached our destination, Moose Jaw at 4:30 local time.

Moosejaw, Saskatchewan to Canmore, Alberta
Monday, June 29, 2009 5:30am to 4pm; Mountain time
530 miles

We were up at 5:30 to look for a cache. No luck so we went back to the room to pack up. Stopped in the lobby to grab a cup of coffee and were on our way. After a stop in Medicine Hat for a yummy lunch, we were back on the road.

Riding up the hill as we left Calgary, about 20 miles before Canmore, we saw the Rockies for the first time on our trip. They absolutely take your breath away! Can't get enough of the scenery.

Our room in Canmore had a great view of those gorgeous mountains. The town is set into the mountains so that every view is awesome! Gotta get some laundry done and then look for some dinner. After a great dinner we went back to the room and sat out on the balcony. It was here that we began to notice that it stays light well into the late hours.

We discovered that Joyce had forgotten to bring her Gerbing heated jacket, but the temperatures have not been bad so Joyce was willing to tough it out and do the trip without the Gerbing. Let's hope the warm weather continues.

Canmore, Alberta to Grande Prairie, Alberta
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
7:00am to 6:00pm
465 miles

We ate breakfast at the Canmore hotel and hit the road. The view was breathtaking! Temps were cool and in the low 40's as we rode through the Banff-Lake Louise area and onto the Icefields Parkway.

The Columbia Icefields is considered one of the most scenic highways in the world, The Icefields Parkway offers an ever-changing view of waterfalls, emerald lakes, alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks. For two hundred and thirty kilometers, from Lake Louise to Jasper, the Parkway winds along the shoulder of the Great Divide and passes by the spectacular mountains of the Eastern Main Ranges of the Canadian Rockies. It follows the headwaters of three major rivers and crosses two major passes en route.

We hit a couple of spots of very light rain (really just a heavy mist) and at one spot we rode through some falling sleet. Did I mention it was cold. When we stopped at the Icefields Visitor's Center, there was slush on the stairs. Obviously it had snowed not too many hours before we got there. You can ride a big all-wheel drive IceExplorer bus out onto the Athabasca glacier, the source of the Athabasca River, for $50.00 per person and we considered doing it, but it would take about 2 hours and we didn't want to lose that much time.

We continued riding north and watched the little trickle from the glacier quickly become a mighty river. We stopped for pictures a couple of times along the way and then ate lunch at a lovely Greek restaurant in Jasper. The restaurant had huge trees and plants growing all over the place inside the restaurant to the extent that some seating spots were almost unusable.

There aren't any words to adequately describe the mountains, 30 foot fir trees, aspens, and wildlife--a white long-haired mountain goat was feeding with her young near the edge of the road. We saw several deer. Cars would stop on both sides of the road to let them cross. We saw a coyote running near the road. We arrived in Grand Prairie at 6:00pm and settled in.

The road we took to Grand Prairie is highway 40. The signs say it is, 'The scenic route to Alaska', but it only goes to Grande Prairie. We ordered pizza in the room and relaxed after another full day of riding. The sun set very late today. It was still light out at midnight.

We decided to try to get Joyce's Gerbing sent up here, but we have a Holiday weekend coming up and we need to allow sufficient time for the delivery so we called our daughter, Samantha, to have her ship the jacket and arranged with The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage, where we should be by Tuesday, to hold the package until we got there. They were all very cooperative.

It is not far to Dawson City and the start of the Alcan Highway. We will get there early tomorrow.

Starting odometer reading: 54133
Gas stop in New Lisbon, Wisconsin
Postcard of canola fields
Sunrise in Moosejaw
High winds in Saskatchewan
Calgary Fields (Stock Photo)
View from Canmore hotel room
View from Canmore restaurant
Canmore mountains
Canmore mountains
Canmore mountains
Canmore mountains at sunrise
Canmore mountains at sunrise
Icefields parkway glacier
Icefields parkway emerald lake
Icefields parkway
Icefields parkway glacier
IceExplorer bus (Stock Photo)
IceExplorer bus on Athabasca glacier
Mountain goats
Grande Prairie oil platforms (Stock Photo)
Panoramic view of how flat the Grande Prairie plains are




Follow the links below for more pictures and narrative of our trip

Intro page for our Alaskan trip

Berwyn to the Alcan Highway

The Alcan Highway to Alaska

Fairbanks and the Arctic Circle


Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula

Homeward Bound

Route Map

Ride Planner's Notes


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