Leg2 The Prairie

Photo album:Leg2: The Prairie

June 15
Calgary - Beisker - Carbon Corner - Drumheller - Hanna

The past few days were fantastic. In Calgary, we were lost on the street trying to find an internet cafe, a cyclist Rod, who also love bicycle touring, kindly invited us to stay at his home. We had wonderful time there with his family, sharing our life with each other, and know Calgary better. We saw the lovely baby horse in Kathy's(Rod's girlfriend) ranch, talked about their various outdoor activities, gliding, kayaking, and saw the pictures of their family bicycle trip in Cuba. We also shared our bicycle trips (Taroko, East Coast) with them. We're so happy that we even made dinner (fried rice with chicken)for them, in return for the delicious dinner and breakfast they prepared for us.

We've heard in the mountains that people are very friendly in the prairie and we'll be invited in when we ask for help. But we just don't expect that it would be just after we leave the mountains.

On the way from Calgary to Beisker, we met a small rain that soon became heils. Then there came a down pouring rain that we can't help but stop and find a shelter. We nocked someone's door and a lovely lady Paulin invited us in. We had a tea break (with home-made tuna sandwiches and the Sun Moon Lake Tea we brought) and the sky became clear again.

A few hous later, we were caught again in a very dark cloud. We have no idea what will happen, and still enjoy the sureal color around us, even the thunder. The wind became stronger and colder, soon we were hit by countless big heil stones, and it was white all around and very cold. The heil stones really hurt, and we're afraid that we would be injured. A pick-up truck stopped by the road 10 meters away from us and tried to help, but we just can't move any further. It was very cold since we're totally wet and it was ice water. After several minutes, we finally approached the truck and the kind gentleman took us to Beisker.

The next day on the way to Drumheller, there was still dark cloud near us. When we took a rest at Carbon Corner Gas Station, we were told that there was road construction ahead, and it lasted for 19km and was not good for cycling, especially when it is wet. We'd better take another road, but the dark could was just in that direction, and freezing wind blew from there, too. Either way seemed hazardous so we can't make up our mind which way to go. The owner of the gas station (and a cafe with very very dilicious foods) Vicky and Larry worried about our situation and invited us to go to their home with them. It was another home away from home, another family that open their door to us within just a few days. Vicky told us that one of her 4 daughters was helped and hosted by local people many times when she was traveling in south America, so she wants to help other one's child in return.

We don't know how to thank these kind people, Roger and Diane, Rod, Paulin, Vicky and Larry. I think the best way for us to thank is to help others just like them, and to become warm, friendly, open-hearted, kind and generous as they are. That's what I've learned from these people.

Anther thing we've learned is that, there will be many unexpected events or difficult times along the way and there will also be many many helps at the unexpected moment, in an unexpected way. The whole universe will help us, if we're doing what we really LOVE to do, especially those that benefit us and others. What we need to do is trust, let go of fears, and don't limit the way helps will be given.

Yesterday, we still had dark coulds near us, or thinders in the far distance. At first, we were nervous about it. The cloud was no longer a beautiful scene in the sky, but a sign of something we're scared. We tried to escape from or avoid them, but the dark clouds were always above our head, and the rain always followed us. There seems no way out. As the jouney proceeds, the inner journey is also unrolled. I finally realized that, I will draw (attract) what I'm afraid of to me, just like I'll meet open-hearted people, when I'm also open-hearted. The world is a mirror, reflecting what our inner world is. I can not escape from dark clouds, rain, heil, freezing wind and thunder. The better way is to face them, accept them as a part of the nature, a part of our journey, and do not be afraid of them. As I do so , they seem no longer to be a problem. I can even sing in the rain and enjoy them. It's the same for the journey of our life.

The prairie is not flat!

There are rolling hills and deep river valleys. There are endless farms and grasslands, numerous creeks and even some trees.Many people told us that the prairie is boring and there is nothing there. For people that grew up in a tiny island like us, even "nothing" is what we want to experience. We want to see the vast land that endlessly expands all around us toward the far horizon. In fact, the prairie is not "nothing" at all. I love the ever-changing cloud in the big blue sky, the many colors, white, gray, blue, milk, brown, yellow, green, the small flowers by the roadside, the various kinds of birds, the cute gophers, and the singing frogs along the way. I'm glad that we take secondary roads rather than the main highways, which lead us to more quiet roads, many small towns and also friendly people.

As I wrote this, we're sitting at the grass in the Fox Lake Park of Hanna town. Gophers are running by us, wind breezing, birds singing, the sky is beautiful (so far). Ah, what a wonderful world.

Once in a wilderness hostel in the mountains, I talked with the manager about our ordinary life in Taiwan. When he realized how big the difference is between here and there, he just asked me:"How can you go back?" This is also a question that always arise in my mind, how can I go back to the life I used to have? We do want to change the way of our living after this one-year break, and it is also why we are on this bicycle trip. We hope we can find, or more correctly, remember the courage that we need for jumping off the cliff, and I think we're remembering it from those provided by this trip, very deeply.

Sometimes when I'm riding on a downhill, the vast view of the prairie comes into my eyes with winds, I feel I'm soaring. Yes, we will soar, after jumping off the cliff.Although this is just the beging of the journey, we've already received far more than we expected. Once when I'm riding, I said thanks from my heart, and I felt the energy of thanks radiated toward all around me like ripples, and I know it will bring more joy back to me.

June 19
Hanna - Youngstown - Oyen

Whenever we asked, people always told us that the weather is very unusual in June this year. It should be much warmer and drier, rather than that much rain. The thunder, huge dark clouds and rain always followed us ever since we left Calgary. We still wear ODLO & POLARTEC like we did in the mountains and have no oppertunity to put on the shorts.

Three days ago, we're on the way from Hanna to Youngstown. It was a less populated area and we knew there may be no campground along the way, so we realized that perhaps we need to do free campiong for the first time. As usual, we had rain during that day, and when we arrived in Youngstown, a gentleman came and suggested us that the public golf course which is 1 Km away from town is a good place for us to pitch a tent. Actually it was an exellent place for free camping: there were beautiful grass and sheltering trees. In the evening, however, we were surrounded by dark gray clouds, and soon there came down pouring rain and very strong wind. We were in a storm. For the next two days since then, we could only stay inside the tent, helplessly looking at the outside. It was like typhoon in Taiwan, but we were in a tent. Time went by very slowly, and sometimes the sound of the strong wind and heavy rain was so scaring that we worried if the tent can sustain.

There were several birds stayed in the trees nearby, and they seemed screaming (or cheering!?) whenever the wind became strong. Although their screaming is not very pleasant to hear, but it made us feel that we're not alone in that endless storm. There was a period of time that the wind and rain became even stronger and we couldn't hear the birds any more. I thought they must had left for another safe place. We also thought if we should retreat to the town and ask for help, but it seemed not possible for us to even walk the bicycle in the storm.

Then I finally realized that we need to practice what we've learned from the teachings of books: to stay in the calm center in the storm, to seek peace and safty within, and to let go of the fears. We need to EXPRIENCE it, otherwise it would be still in the books.

Several hours later, we heard the birds screaming again. It was so good that we were not alone again. In the midnight of the second day, I was awaken by the sounds of cows and many birds far away. It was quiet, and no more wind and rain. I went out of the tent and in a piece of the sky which is not occupied by clouds, I saw the moon and some stars. It was still cold, but I reallized what celebration is. I celebrated with all the singing birds and cows and smiled to the moon from my heart. Iris also came out of the tent, and we gave each other a hug.

The next morning we woke up in glorious sunshine and deep blue sky. It was so good to see them again.

Nearly everyday, we met friendly people. Some send warmth to us via words of bliss or encouragement, some gave us a helping hand to make us more comfortable, and for many times, we're given a sweet hug.

(To be continued...)

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  • nepia
  • Dear TC&IRIS:
    It seems you were sufferring hard time these days, but with angels falling anywhere.
    Carry on! My friends!!

    ...the best way for us to thank is to help others just like them..
    I enjoy this thinking.
  • 出外旅遊會有小天使但須提防小人,單車旅行如有天候不佳須一切以安全為重,在台灣的我們只能默默祝福你們小心
  • Tina
  • 我又來了...
    看看TC & IRIS的近況.
  • rikulau
  • hello,
  • 蘑菇泥
  • 像在看公路電影一般,剛把照片全看過了一遍,只是這故事還沒完,期待接下來的續集
  • 蘑菇泥
  • 如看公路電影一般,剛把照片看了一遍,只是這故事還未完,更期待後面的續曲
  • inachen
  • ^^
  • 蒙面騎士
  • 旅遊﹐可以是一次蛻變的經歷。得到多少﹐視乎你如何付出;若你我真的愛上旅

  • 悄悄話
  • 豆豆
  • 不知何時你們二人才回台灣呢???

  • Thomas
  • 我們已經於去年九月底回來台灣囉~


    Thomas & Iris