DAY 93

June 15, 1999

Soon after falling asleep last night I was awakened by someone snoring loudly. Then around 3am I was awoke again by the loudest fart I ever heard! My God, was that a bear roaring???

When I got up at 8:00am I met Ken, another cyclist staying in this room of 6 people. After brushing my teeth I headed for the café and ordered the "Natural", (Granola, bowl of fruit, and yogurt). I sat with Ken as we shared stories about our bike rides. Ken is from England and this is his first touring as well. It was a lot of trouble getting 3 months off work but after 2 years of trying, he was finally able to get the time off for a tour. He told me that he met a girl walking across British Columbia pushing a cart. I don’t know if I’d want to do that myself.

After breakfast, I hopped the transit bus into town. When I was getting on I didn’t have exact change so another lady paid the $1.00 for me. The ride was so short! Geez, it couldn’t have been a mile. Last night it seemed like miles making this last climb up after already biking 100 miles. And to think, people are paying a dollar to have a bus deliver them, maybe a mile, to the middle of town, and it’s downhill!

Outside the visitors center, I saw a young guy hangin’ out talking to someone. I asked him if he was a local since he looked like a local. He said "Yeah, sort of". His name was Dennis and he goes to college in BC and works summers in Banff. Dennis was able to give me directions to all the places I wanted to go today. Since he was walking to the bank and that was one of my stops, we walked down there together. He is studying International Politics And we discussed some environmental issues surrounding politics. We parted ways after the bank and I went to the One Hour Photo to have my film developed, which they screwed up by getting the colors a bit wrong.

Walking around town, I went inside Kokopelli Handcrafts looking for Kokopelli stuff. Well they had 2 things that were Kokopelli in the whole store! The girl that works there, Wendy, told me they really didn’t have anything with the Kokopelli Dude. She seemed to be a bit confused as to the whole concept of a Kokopelli store without Kokopelli stuff as I was. Anyway, I went to the BacTrax and bought a bicycle lock. Since I was staying at the Banff hostel they gave me 20% off, Cool! Then I found Bruno’s Café that Dennis recommended for lunch. Inside, I ordered a Thai Veggie wrap and a beer, mmmmm :-)

After lunch I went looking for a music store to buy a cassette for my Walkman. I went inside the 3 story mall and went first to Banff Mountain Wear to check out their stuff. The guy inside was pretty cool and we talked about the area here. With the mountains right outside the window, everyone here skis, snowboards, and mountain bikes. J.S. said that he had been a snowboarder for 11 years but now with the new skis, he has gone mostly to skiing, "It’s much more technical and challenging". After a few moments he grabbed a pair of binoculars and headed to the window. His friends were climbing a vertical rock face straight out from the window. One thing I’ve noticed about the Canadians I’ve hung out with so far is that they say "eh" and "f#!k" a lot. So we talked about "f@#!in" skiin’, snowboardin’, surfin’, and bikin’. We also discussed how "f@#!in crazy some of these guys are that do some of that  f@#!ed up shit, you know what I mean, eh?" That’s just an example of what conversation with J.S. was like. I hung out for a while and completely forgot about the music store.

While walking back to the hostel I decided to see what Fred was up to. He was sitting outside on the deck drinking a beer. He invited me inside and called Barney to come over with more beer. When Barney arrived, Fred called and ordered pizza. The three of us sat around the kitchen table trading bike stories. Barney pointed to a mountain out the window to show where he biked yesterday. He attempted some very steep, very technical, downhills that no one has attempted before. On one he took a dive over his bike, flipped over, then landed on his feet before tumbling down the mountain. Fred had seen it, otherwise it might have been hard to believe, even though Barney is pretty crazy. He will take these so fast that his brakes heat up the rims so hot that the tire begins to spin with the tube and will cut the valve stem. I was tempted to buy new tires and have him take me on some of these rides. But, I’ll wait ‘til another day. Knowing my luck, I’d break my bike frame or something.

When the pizza arrived, I tried to pay for part of it but instead, Fred said it was on them in exchange for more of my stories. "I can make up a hell of a good story for a free beer and pizza", I said jokingly. "Just don’t tell us they’re lies and we’ll believe ‘em, eh", Barney said. Soon, we made it to the back yard and sat on a grassy hill enjoying the sun. "What’s that smell", I thought, as a girl walked up; An old familiar smell. She sits on the grass with us and then I see that the smell was indeed what I thought. The reminder of a past a long ago, one in which might have sent me in a much different direction if I had not quit. I used to smoke this stuff in high school which did not do me well academically! But given time and the freedom to find my own way, I learned what was important for me in life. Anyway, these folks are having harmless enjoyment in this pleasant afternoon. But now you know why I changed their names :-)

As the sun began to set, it began getting cooler so we built a fire in the backyard. Ahhh, warmth surrounding my body. And being dusk, the wild life began appearing. We saw several elk and deer just 20 feet away on the other side of the fence. I had to use my 35mm lens to take some photos since they were so close. Man, this was so cool, I couldn’t imagine living in the mountains with wild life all around. And yet I’ve found another town with some cool people to hang out with. This morning I met Dennis, who was cool to talk to…then J.S., and now I find myself hangin’ out in someone’s backyard indulging in beer and pizza. Of course I changed the names of these last 2 guys because of their method of finding "oneness". :-)

Back at the hostel, I couldn’t sleep. It was 12:45am when I went to the community room. I looked through some old National Geographics, ate a candy bar, and drank 2 "Fruitopia’s". This was after eating a Powerbar and a Granola Bar in the dorm room. By 3am I was finally able to sleep.

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