Rolled out of SF with Claudio and Ben lending a huge hand and helping to keep the "what the hell did I just do to my life" pit in my stomach down to size. Tough to say goodbye after a whirlwind of SF wrapping up preparations and multiple great meals, drinks, and conversations with friends before becoming a "no-key" man.
Flight to Calgary into an epic Canadian Customs conversation with me holding my bike seat and post in one hand:
Agent: "How long are you going to be in Canada?"
Me : "15 days or so?"
Agent: "Or so?" "Where are you going to be and for how long?"
Me: "I'm riding my bike from Banff towards Montana."
Agent: "That's going to take you 15 days?"
Me: "I doubt it but I may stop along the way and ease into my trip."
Agent: Eyeballing me. "Then you're going to pack up your bike and fly back to San Francisco?"
Me : "Naw, then I'm going to keep going towards South America."
Agent: "You're going to keep riding, you're bike, to South America?"
Me: "That's the general plan.
Agent: "What kind of work do you do and how are they giving you so much time off?"
Me: "I left my job."
Agent: "You left your Job?"
Me: "Yes, yes I did"
Agent: Eyeballing my grin of "It's Canada, man... What's the big deal..." he put the hammer down on my passport and then let his guard down enough to say "well... good luck. Drink lots of water and have fun."
Me: "Thanks buddy."
Looming skies on the way from Calgary to Banff.
Straight into Banff Soul Ski and Bike to break out the Fixit Sticks and get the Colonel back together after a successful transport. Great local bike shop in town and Ben and Rich gave me some floor space to spread out. I chatted it up with Blaine Nester, second in the 2010 Tour Divide, who happened to stop by the store. Super nice guy who gave me a little recon but we mostly talked about the important things in life and not waiting until it's too late.
Ripe for a Tenkara rod once I get some weight off my bike and jettison a few things...
Banff's a great little town which reminded me in many ways of Chamonix. Pete and Erin Woods were fantastic hosts and instant friends. After a fun weekend with them, some good wine and conversations, it was time to say goodbye and move on
out under moody, Summer Solstice skies. Feels good to be finally hitting the Divide after a long time planning.