20 August 2012 – We had done most of the packing the night before, so we had breakfast and packed up the bikes and headed out of Grande Prairie in the rush hour. Wasn’t too bad.
We were heading south on Highway 40 – the plan was to get to Jasper for the night where we’d camp in Whistlers Campground across the highway from the Wapiti Campground that we stayed at on the way north a few days ago.
This is one of my favourite shots – it was an over the shoulder blind photo while I was riding along at like 100kph – it turned out almost like I was aiming it!
So we rolled down a somewhat familiar highway, seeing as it had only been a few days since we were heading north.
The scenery was pretty cool, not spectacular like the Icefields Parkway was, but with rolling foothills and forest everywhere it seemed very remote.
We stopped in Grande Cache for gas …
Because we weren’t too hungry we just decided to eat some trail mix and chug some water. We chatted with some other bikers on older bikes heading north to Alaska. They were just kinda winging it though, neither bike was really the kind of bike you’d think of taking to Alaska and with what they had packed on their bikes, they made our bikes with our loads look like giant enormous pack draft horses instead mules. Oh well, we’d be a hell of lot more comfortable …
After a couple of more hours riding, we stopped for more water and bit of a break for Louise. It was getting more and more cloudy and I started to suspect that we might get some rain before we reached Jasper.
Eventually Highway 40 crossed Highway 16 – the road between Edmonton and Jasper, so we turned right onto 16 and just past the Jasper National Park gates we ran into our first bit of rain. It wasn’t very hard, not enough to make me stop and put the thumb wiper on my glove, so we just motored on. The rain stopped before we got to Jasper although it continued to sprinkle on and off.
Just past Jasper was the Whistlers Campground where we were going to camp for the night. Heading into the campsite, we found a long line up of motorhomes and fifth-wheel rigs ahead of us. By this time the sun was out again and it was pretty hot just sitting there not moving very fast. Eventually though we were up to the checkin booth, behind some folks from Ireland if I recall correctly. They asked a couple of questions about bears and elk that had me laughing out loud – silly tourists!
Anyway, we checked in and setup camp …
… and shortly after, we had some “food in a bag” from MEC. Louise had brought along some spices and thank God she did, otherwise it’d be tough to finish enough of the food because it’s so so bland.
After dinner a fellow riding solo on a Honda ST1300, the Honda equivalent of my bike, came over to ask about the showers and to have a wee chat. A nice guy, he was from Vancouver Island just tooling around for a couple of days. We only chatted with him that one time, we went to bed pretty early and he was on the road earlier than us.
Before bed, though we went on a short walk around the campsite just to walk.
We had stayed in Wapiti Campground a couple of kilometres south and on the other side of the highway. There was no comparison between the two campsites – Whistlers, where we were tonight, was no where near as nice as Wapiti. Next time we come through Jasper we’ll definitely be staying at Wapiti. The main differences were in the amount of tree cover and access to washrooms – Wapiti was way better.
Anyway, we crawled into sleeping bags early and slept the night away …