June 23, 2008

6/23/08 Hanna, AB


There must have been a conspiracy of sorts to get both Mike and I up at 5am. There were the sea gulls (why in Alberta?) here and they were very loud, especially when fighting over scraps from the dumpsters. And of course, the sun was up already. But don't forget about the trains heading through town blowing there whistles at every intersection. We were able to break camp and be on the road by 6:30am.

Remember that 8% downhill grade we had coming into town yesterday? Well, we had just as steep climb to get back out of the canyon. I think it took us thirty minutes to reach the rim and see open country.

Hwy-9 goes north from here for about 20kms. Since that was the direction we had the worst winds from yesterday, I wanted to get through that section as fast as we could before the winds picked up today.

We had hoped that the 'normal' winds out of the west would give us a huge tailwind but we just are not that lucky. Besides headwinds, the road had lots of ups and downs. Mike's GPS said we climbed 1550' today. What made it hard for me was my stomach was a bit queasy, which didn't help.

The land is so open here. I mean you can see for miles and miles. Most of the fields don't even have fences. There seems to be a farm every couple of kilometers but other than the cars on the road, we didn't see anyone. Plus all the towns are built at least a kilometer from the highway.

As far as the eye can see

We reached Hanna about 11:30am. Over lunch we decided to stay here because the town had all services and to do more would require a huge day and there was no way to know what we would find in the next couple of towns. Plus, I think both of us would rather wait a day to see if the winds would change direction.

We stopped off at the Hanna Inn which also had an RV Park out back but they adamantly refused to have tenters, even if we were cross-country cyclists. But while getting supplies at IGA, a woman approached us and asked about our trip so far. "You probably need the free internet at the library." she said. Turns out Mary is the Library Director.

I got caught up with my blog and uploaded all the latest pictures, while Mike checked his email. I asked the other librarian Colleen about places to camp. When I told her about being refused at the Hanna Inn, we walked next door to the city offices. Gwen told us to head down to the Fox Lake Park outside of town and they would make sure they had a spot for us there. By the time we left the library, the sky was covered with black clouds as we raced to Fox Lake.

Catching up on a little email

Turns out Gwen had called ahead to the campground hosts and they were expecting us. Because of the impending thunderstorm, they suggested we camp in the shelter of the pavilion. Good thing too as it started to rain.

What a show by Mother Nature!

Mostly we took naps during the storm since we would get drenched walking to the shower building. But by dinner, the skies were empty of clouds and the sun was a shining. This is a nice quiet place. Mike saw a few pelicans down at the lake and I thought I saw a blue heron. The camp is only half full and with the rain, most people are keeping indoors. Since we stopped so early in the day, I was able to do a bit of yoga and practice on the technopipe. A pretty good ending to the day, don't ya' think.

Our cozy, dry! campsite in the pavilion