When we left Jasper we thought it was possible to ride to Niton Junction or to a campground close by. Helen left Jasper first riding with a warm cup of tea. - it was cold that morning. Alan and I went back to the camp site and looked at all the wet gear and wondered "why"; why not stay in a motel, why not call for room service, why hurry , why, why, why . . .
After we shoved all the wet stuff in several garbage bags we started down the highway to find Helen. We found her several kms past Jasper and with her we found the sun! It was going to be a beautiful day after all! We stopped at a road side rest area and pulled out all the wet gear. After something to eat Alan proceeded down the highway towards Hinton while Helen and David stayed behind drying out gear. It looked like we were having a garage sale with gear covering bushes and rocks. Seems like people passing by thought the same thing as one couple stopped to see what we were selling! Too bad they were not at our camp site that morning as they could have had everything for a hot cup of coffee.
We proceeded to make the miles disappear as we passed Hinton and then Edson. Alan and David rode up the pre-ascent for the Obie summit and Helen, who wanted to ride up the Obie summit did just that. It is the highest point on the Yellowhead highway and a good challenge for cyclers. Way to go Helen!!! You made it and the hills that follow it.
David's job today was to find a camground for us to stay at that night. Unfortunately the one campground along side of the highway just east of Niton Junction was closed for renovation. This sent David looking for a dry place to stay (that was also cheap). What he found was unbelievable and turned out to be trip highlight.
David stop in at the Niton Junction School to see if there was a phone number he could call for advice on where to stay. Luckily there was still a teacher in the school who offered an innovative solution to our problem. "Why not stay in the school? said "Saint" Margaret. After she checked with staff, we had a place to stay. They set up two cots in the community library and we were in heaven! Not only did the school have the community swimming pool which meant we had access to showers but we also had access to the home ec. room to cook our breakfast.
The only downside for David was having to walk 50 yards down the school hallway to go pee in the middle of the night. David also mentioned it was very hard to sleep in the library with so many books whispering " Read me, Read me, Read me"
The next morning we missed a hard frost and therefore woke up warm - Yahoo!!
The students piled intot the gym for our preseantion just after 9:00 am. The big surprise for us was the grade eight students who sat in on the presentation. It was the first time we did our presentation to older students and we were very impressed with their participation and interest.
Two of the teachers want to exchange places with us however they withdrew their offer when it seem that David, as class room teacher, might wreck the good job they had already accomplished. I mean who would want to come to school when the teacher was offering free food and fun everyday!!!! Actually that already sounds like Niton Junction School - except for the free food part.
Our Niton Junction experience is one I hope I remember for a long time. I even learned how to properly say "Niton Junction". Our expereince of Niton Junction is not unusual. A man called Tim Johnson also writes about his experience at Niton Junction. Maybe there is a lesson here for all schools to learn.