Solo to Sarnia – Day 2 (Ian’s Story)

I rode down to Havre with Louise yesterday, but that’s as far as I was going with her. While she was continuing on east, I was headed back to Calgary without her. It was hard to say goodbye and leave – other than a few week-long trips for work, we’ve rarely been apart and this would be the last time I’d see her for 3 or 4 weeks. We had a bit of a tearful goodbye at the gas station next to the hotel …

Louise went left and I went right, headed for Wildhorse Road north of Havre back to Canada. As Louise and I road in yesterday, we noticed a few little things …

One was the birds – I think they were Swallows of some sort, they would sit on the road and I don’t know, eat gravel bits or something, one or more every few yards and as I reached them, they’d burst up in small clouds of little birds. Yesterday I said to Louise that the odds were that I’d be hitting a bird, but I didn’t then. Today though, I managed to clip at least two of them. I’m not totally sure they bought the farm, but I gotta think that a little bird coming in contact with the bike at 75 mph is going to leave a mark. (Pretty sure I got a gopher yesterday though).

The other was an old schoolhouse about 25 miles north of Havre – we blasted right by it yesterday, but on the way up I resolved to stop and get a picture of the “old” Old Cottonwood Schoolhouse.

From there it was a few more minutes to the US/Canada Border, where, stopped at the Canada side, there were a couple of cars, one in the shade and Jag one back in line. The fellow in the Jag hopped out and we chatted for a bit – he’s Doug from Georgia and he and his little lady were on their way to Banff for a week, but he was pretty pissed off at having to wait 30 minutes already for the guy up front!

After waiting another 15-20 minutes, with more cars and plenty of pirates … I mean Harley riders lining up behind, the first guy stomps out of the building, yells out, “They’re not letting us into Canada, dammit”, gets in his car and pulls a u-turn, heading back to the US. Doug in his Jag pulls ahead into the shade, gets the 50 question treatment, with the Border Agent heading back inside with their IDs. Five minutes she comes out and lets them go – now it’s my turn! Finally.

I simply say that I’m heading home, I get the 10 questions and I’m on my way.

The next stop was lunch in Medicine Hat, but first I wanted a picture with the world’s tallest teepee. What the heck you say? Yes – the world’s tallest teepee. Here’s the description from Wikipedia’s entry for Medicine Hat’s attractions:

Just south of the Trans-Canada Highway and overlooking the Blackfoot buffalo jump is the world’s tallest teepee, the “Saamis Tepee”. Designed for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary as a symbol of Canada’s Aboriginal heritage, it was moved to Medicine Hat in 1991. It stands over 20 stories high and was designed to withstand extreme temperatures and winds up to 240 km/h (150 mph). During a January 2007 windstorm, a portion of the tepee was damaged. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that extensive weathering was partially to blame. After repairs were complete, the Saamis Tepee now stands approximately 15 feet (4.6 m) shorter.

I went to the same place for lunch that Louise and I stopped at yesterday. Had the same waitress and the same meal BLT, coffee and and iced tea.

Fully fuelled, I hit the rode for the last leg home – all on the TransCanada 4 lane boring highway. I did manage to make it back on a single tank of gas.

Just as I stepped into the house, Louise called! It turns out that when I hit the “Reached planned destination” button on the Spot, she had just finished unpacking in Glendive! We arrived at our destinations just moments apart!

So that’s the end of my direct involvement in Louise’s trip – from now on I’m just a spectator along with all of you!

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