Having lived in Alberta for nearly 25 years, I've seen a fair bit of it. One part I haven't spent any time on was Hwy 93, the Icefields Parkway. Now that my g/f and I have been riding a few years, we took the opportunity to change that! So, we took a couple of days off and made it a three day trip.
Day 1. We missed our turn - we'd intended to head west at Leduc to Drayton Valley, but ended up on Hwy 13 instead. A side trip to Crimson Lake was certainly worthwhile. Hwy 22 is mostly straight, but full of incredible vistas. It was a bright and sunny day, with the mountains clearly visible to the west. Great day and perfect weather. Minor mishap when a Gatorade lid somehow worked loose and soaked some electronics...which miraculously dried out and worked fine.
Day 2 is when the adventures started.
1A was as fabulous as I'd remembered. We enjoyed every foot on a great morning.
As it turns out, lots of little stops made for a slow trip. Little stops like gearing up for rain. Like bike parts flying off - through no fault of her own, my g/f's Touratech lid blew off and we had to backtrack 20 kms to find it. A rock as a hammer, and another as an anvil later, and it was straight enough to keep stuff dry.
We found out the hard way that neither of us have waterproof boots. Fine for back and forth to work in a bit of a drizzle, but it wasn't long before we were both sloshing water in our boots.
We pushed hard through 5 deg C through the Columbia Icefields, but it was worth it. Every turn, every rise - was 'wow'.
Arriving late to Jasper, roughly 10:00 PM, we found out ours was the last room in town. How was Highway 16, the fellow at the desk asked. We came up 93, I said. Hope you're not going to Edmonton, he said - road's washed out. ...and that's when we found out we might have to backtrack to Hwy 11 to Red Deer. Might as well get some sleep and find out tomorrow!
And, as luck would have it, after a big omelette and several cups of coffee, we only had to wait about 20 mins for our turn at the washout. One-lane, alternating traffic. Wasn't too bad. From there, Jasper is of course spectacular, but from Hinton to Edmonton - well, it's fast - but the scenery is nothing compared to the previous two days. We got home just in time for more rain!
Incredibly fun loop, and I can see doing this many more times, with different routes. It'd be easy to do differently many times over.
Photo album - https://flic.kr/s/aHsmPgCYif