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July 10th, 2011 - Alberta By Coburn

Well it’s back on the highways and the kilometers just seem to fly by as we make our way south east towards Alberta. The wildlife continues to amazing us with herds of bison and numerous bear sightings. One day just along the edge of the highway we managed to see eight bears and we would stop to take a peek just a little too close for comfort. Heading south we are leaving the land of the never setting sun and although we have yet to see any stars we have been able to enjoy some stunning and colorful sunsets.

It makes me feel good at the end of the day when we have found a free campsite, some better than others but still free… One morning after enjoying the free campsites at Inga Lake we packed up and headed back for the freeway only to find the 2km gravel road leading to the lake had turned to mud in the overnight rains. After nearly laying my bike down I managed to watch in my mirror as Erin slid out and rode into the ditch. The worst feeling rushed through my body as I sat stunned with what to do. I hit the kill switch and left my bike in the center of the road, keys in it and lights still on I start running back my boots sliding out from under me on every muddy step. You can’t imagine the ridiculous amount of emotions and fear that you can cycle through in a 50 ft run when it seems like 50 miles. I arrive to Erin standing on the road looking disappointed at the mess in the ditch. She’s OK. Just as fast as all the emotions and fears rushed through me they melted away. What a relief I thought as my head cleared and my now working brain turned my attention to moving my bike off to the side of the road and switching the ignition off.  The first step to getting Erin’s bike out of the ditch was to take all the luggage system off the bike. We then had to push it down the ditch 150 meters to where it was shallower for any chance of pulling it out. The clay and mud mix made it almost impossible to ride the bike out, so we laid it back down and dragged the front tire out of the ditch. Now the bike was facing across the road and with Erin pushing from behind and me beside it walking the clutch, we shot it back up on the road. Only to confirm the roads terrible condition an F350 4×4 went by sliding and drifting on the slick muddy mess. The front tire and fender where so packed with mud that the front wheel wouldn’t turn so we spent a good chunk of time removing mud from the bike. For the next 1.5kms I leap-frogged the bikes back to highway, riding one 200 meters then walking back and riding the other next one 200 meters past the first one.  The whole ordeal from accident to getting back to the highway took about an hour and a half and was a long exhausting process in full motorcycle gear.

It’s experiences like that which build solid memories and granted that nobody got hurt it’s all part of the adventure. Sometimes it’s the hardships that you can look back on and smile knowing that you persevered and now have a gnarly story to tell.

Sorry that I don’t have any pictures of that whole mess but with the rain and my muddy hands I didn’t feel like running my camera. So enjoy these Bison!?! We are now stuck in the rains and with flood warnings out on most of the highways we head south out of Grand Prairie.

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