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Got back last night from another "Gopher Safari" at a friend's ranch in southern Alberta, in the foothills of the Rockies.

Rode 1,515 kms (941 miles), EXACTLY half of that each way, as I didn't ride at all once I arrived at the end of an 11 hour day. The first 85% were in BC w/ temps around 28C (83F), but as I neared the AB border thunderstorms started poking up, the temps cooling down. His 5,500 acre ranch is "way back" in the Hills, so I had a freshly 'graveled' 20 km ride from the pavement to his place, which despite my background racing enduros (on a MUCH LIGHTER bike!!!) scared the CRAP outta me!

The stuff was up to 6 to 8" deep, and some places where it had 'piled up' - much deeper - so I spent those 20 kms standing 'on-the-pegs', weight BACK and using body-english to keep from 'going down' WHILE praying to God to help keep me from crashing. (For any of you that've ridden deep gravel - you'll understand. For those who haven't - it's a 'life-changing' experience, which I suggest you AVOID!)

A few beers chatting w/ Harry and his wife, then a nice 'ranch supper', and it was off to bed, serenaded by the rumbles and crashes of the CBs.

MORE coming tomorrow.
 

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Here are a few pics from Day 1: (BTW - been having some 'probs' w/ my camera, so it "lived" in my tank-bag instead of around my neck, so FEW pics.)

leaving home at 0600



stopped for a "pee" break along the Kettle River



and saw this Canada goose family across it



My lunch-stop near Moyie Lake



and my GPS info at Harry's ranch - note the AVERAGE speed....

 

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Up early on "day 2", breakfast w/ Harry, then off for my morning walk while he went to search up a cow-calf combo that had somehow been screwed up: the calf from one had been taken to an other part of the ranch w/ the OTHER mother, so NEITHER mom would nurse the WRONG calf. Once Harry got it sorted, he came back to get me, and took us to part of his ranch near the Oldman River where we 'set-to' to protecting his cattle's legs from the gopher holes....0:)

By mid-afternoon the skies were darkening up, drops of rain hitting the windshield, so we decided to head back home to await his wife's return from 'minding' the grandkids. Harry asked IF I'd like a beer, so what could I do?;) We had to wait till she got home....

The three of us were going to try-out a NEW 'brew-pub' in a near-by town - wings-and-beer!!! I could go for THAT!:clap:, and starting on the beers while waiting would get us 'prepared' (his wife was planning to be our designated-driver!). By the time she arrived the rain had stopped, the sun peaking thru, so we headed to the Pub.

By the time we returned home the rain was back ON, but as it stopped for a little while I grabbed my camera for this shot.



Then, after ANOTHER beer or two, it was off to bed, so I put my ear-plugs in to INSULATE me from the crashing, flashing and banging, soon snoring away....
:rolleyes:
 

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Day 3

Harry was planning to go to a neighbor's place to help w/ the branding, so after our usual breakfast, he showed me to his Kuboto 'side-by-side' then headed out, while I shouldered my rifle, headed for a 45 minute walk - there ARE grizzlies around his place, so what GOOD a .22 rifle would do.... :badidea:

The walk done, I started up the Kuboto, then circulated around the 1,000 or so acres that includes the 'home-quarter', on the look-out for fierce man-eating gophers, during which time I 'kicked-up' a group of six young mule deer bucks in velvet, a white-tail doe then a mule-deer doe/ fawn combo.

'Bout mid-afternoon the clouds which had been gathering all day decided to 'rain on my parade', so I got back to the ranch-house, under cover, then wiped-down the rifle and began packing for the ride home the next day.:goodidea:

Day 3 ended pretty much the SAME way that "day 2" had, but I was worried about the affect that the rain would have on the dirt road AND its load of gravel for the next morning's ride S....

:censored:
 

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Day 4 - riding home!

At oh-dark-thirty [ACTUALLY 0530!] the clouds were gone, the sun already up as I joined Harry for breakfast, and my relief was palpable when he said that he would follow me for the 20 kms to pavement in case I had any problems ( AND to help pick up the GREEN HORNET TOO IF I did come to a 'grinding halt')!

Everything was loaded as we headed out at 0700 - the gravel was a LITTLE less scary than it had been when dry, BUT the tracks where it had been 'kicked-out' by truck tires had areas that were as slippery as snot, so, AGAIN, I rode "on the pegs", weight back (and praying like MAD!...) till the pavement appeared 50 feet ahead.



I thanked him again for EVERYTHING, but ESPECIALLY for following me thru the gravel in his pickup, then re-mounted and headed W.

As I neared the 'Burmis Tree' I stopped for this pic,



Turtle Mountain in the right back-ground, then around the curve to the 'Frank Slide' which destroyed the town of Frank back in 1903 when the whole side of the mountain broke loose, burying the town under THOUSANDS of tonnes of rock, killing an estimated 70 people!:crying:







The pics done, I 'saddled-up' again, headed for home, w/ a planned stop for my lunch sandwich at the same place I had stopped three days previously, and arrived back home at late afternoon, my butt rather 'tender' for the last 1/5 to 2 hours of the ride - I GUESS that is a product of my advanced age, as it's NEVER happened before - EVEN on 12 hour days!

Here's my GPS at the end.



Note that my AVERAGE speed was 87 km/h, 54 mph, for the just UNDER 18 hours of the riding portion, and w/ PDG fuel mileage.

:exactly:
 

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