Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tour De Jasper: Getting home

After bicycling for 4 lovely days, the time has come to pack up and head home. The Tour De Jasper crew has had 8 years of experience in packing up.  They will have to fit the largest number of bicycles ever, since the Tour began, into a 24 foot trailer.  They had 25 bicyclists participating in 2010, whereas in 2009, there was 22.

The mechanic takes off the pedals and moves the handlebars in for each bike.  The other crew sorts boxes tht will be used to divide the bicycles and help avoid any damage to them.

I can see how easy it would be to transport a bike by plane, train, or bus.  You just need a good strong bike box...and pack it good.  I felt pretty confident that my bicycle would be in one piece when I came home.

After a good night's sleep, we walked to Jasper, which is about 2 kms away.  We had a little bit of time to explore, and eat breakfast before the train we were taking would depart to home.  I got this cool shirt for my Birthday, which was on the train ride day!  It was XL, so it will make a good night shirt.  I like the theme though, and it is SO me!

We all met up at the Train station at noon.  The train runs from here to our city once every 2 days.  I have taken it once before, and it is a nice slow ride.  The CN cargo train has priority, so we did have to stop for a 1/2 hr twice to let one go through.  They are old cars, well, except for 1st class.  We were in coach, which still had great views. I believe that you can bring your bicycle on board in the cargo car, but there wasn't enough room for 25 bicycles!  There was enough room for our bicycle group in the Coach car, even though we filled up 1/2 of it.

Views from the train trip.  Notice that Mt. Robson is clouded over this day, and the weather is not so nice as we had on the bike ride.  We were so lucky!

Moose Lake

It was pouring heavily when these people left the train for their tour van.

I bought a bottle of wine to celebrate my Birthday.

One of 2 stop and waits we had for cargo trains.  We were allowed to go outside, but only did so when the rain stopped.  This is the Coach Car.  In front is the cargo car and the engine, so it is not a very big train.  But it was completely full!
Below:  This is the 1st class train and at the end is the dome car.  I was lucky enough on my last train ride to be able to sit in the Dome car, and there were lovely views.  But we still had great views in the Coach car too.

 So what did I think about Tour De Jasper?  I really enjoyed it, and it was a great way to experience my first bicycle tour, and I am sure the others felt the same way.  If you want to try out bicycle touring, but are too afraid to try, you should go on this tour.  I really liked that it was very reasonably priced.  I have yet to see any other fully supported tour around North America that is as cheap as this one.  Sure you camp, but I really like being able to hang around a campfire with your new friends, rather then hiding in a hotel room.  It added to the experience.  Good job Nicole!  I am sure I will return on this adventure, or any other one you decide to organize.

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