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Day 43

This morning we woke up at 7 to get a nice jump on the day. We didn't finish packing last night because it was so late we couldn't be bothered! We got everything packed up and Mrs. O'Farrell made us the best, biggest sandwich for lunch. Both Mr. and Mrs. O'Farrell were so lovely and fun to be around! Staying with them was a really nice way to finish this chapter of the trip (ie. The chapter involving Travis, mountains, and the west). Travis woke up to see us off, which was nice, and sad to say goodbye. Then we hit the road. It took a little while to get out of Calgary. We went the way Travis recommended and once we were out, we had light rolling hills all the way through to Drumheller. Because of the killer northerly headwind (we were travelling north or east, so either we had a brutal straight-on headwind, or a brutal cross-wind) we didn't know how long it would actually take us to get to the Tyrell museum. The good news is that at least it was sunny (mix of sun and cloud, turning into mostly sun by the time we got into Drumheller). It was open until 9pm, so we knew we would make it there, but we hoped we would make it with enough time to see the museum tonight! Turns out, we (painstakingly slowly) got there at 5pm (after leaving Calgary at around 9:30am, about 140(give or take)km ago!). We went straight to the Tyrell museum (obviously!). There weren't tons of cars, and so there was an entire back parking lot without any cars, and out of the way. We decided to tie up our bikes there because, from the main lot and the museum itself, our bikes would be hidden behind some trees. Right as we finished locking everything up and left the lot, we noticed a car going into that lot. That seemed really weird to us because there was NO reason for anyone to park so far away from the museum. There was nothing there other than the museum, and there were TONS of spots closer (and let's be realistic, people are intrinsically lazy!). So Michael kept watch while I went inside the museum to ask if we could put our panniers anywhere inside (although we can lock up our bikes, there is no security for any of our gear in our panniers. We always take out our valuables (ie money, cards, electronics, etc), but we would still be screwed if our “non-valuables” were taken. They were super nice and let us use this one hallway, only for staff, so everything would fit! Then we locked our bikes up outside. Maybe we were just being paranoid (and we might have been.... even after we moved our bikes, the car was still there, so who knows what they were up to, and they may have still been opportunists and taken our stuff if we didn't move it, but maybe not. We just couldn't take the chance!). But after Travis scared us by hiding our bikes, I NEVER want that same feeling of panic again, ESPECIALLY not on this trip! Then we paid the (only!) $10 admittance into the coolest museum ever! I mean, people only go to museums for the dinosaurs anyways, right? So why not JUST make the museum about dinosaurs?! (I'm only partially kidding). But it was really cool! And it was nice to do something different! We haven't yet been to a museum on this trip, so it was really cool! The badlands themselves were really cool too because it went from stereotypically prairie scenery (only, slight rolling hills, not SUPER flat (still very flat though)), to all of a sudden, down into a valley with sand-dune looking humps of rock and shrubs everywhere. Unfortunately we couldn't see the Hoodoos because it would have been about a 50km detour, and that was just too far to justify (and we have to draw the line somewhere on this trip or we'll never get across!). After we left the museum (and re-packed all our gear onto our bikes), we cycled out of the parking lot, and even before we hit the road, we were BLINDED by a flash of light (I've never seen lightning so bright and blinding before in my life!). We decided to just get to the first campground we can find (instead of the original plan of trying to get some distance out of Drumheller. We thought it would just be too dangerous to cycle in a storm!). We unfortunately had to cycle a good 6km before we hit anywhere, and in that time got SOAKED! We pitched our tent as fast as we could (it was the first time we actually had to pitch a tent WHILE it was raining!). We just ate bars for dinner in the tent and passed out! We were originally thinking of getting a hotel room to dry out, but decided to opt for the cheaper route (especially after spending an arm and a leg on my bike!). We were glad we did because we were really comfortable and dry in the tent!