2016 Schnitzel Run – Dining well in Cranbrook, Part 2

Frank's Parma Schnitzel

Frank’s Parma Schnitzel

With Dave G. leading the way through Bragg Creek and on the all-too-rare in Alberta twisty back roads, we join up with Hwy 22 (aka The Cowboy Trail.)

Riding south through the hamlet of Longview, which is the ‘backdoor’ entrance to Alberta’s beautiful Kananaskis Provincial Park, I’m happy to be one of the ‘followers’ in our pack.  If you have never been the lead rider for a group ride, you’re unaware what a more difficult job it is compared to ‘merely’ being a follower.  As the lead rider, you have to navigate, on the lookout for the needed junctions and turns, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory.

Then you have to be sure you’re leading at an appropriate pace.  Too slow, and your fellow riders will grumble.  Too fast and you’re at risk of losing the slower riders or even worse, forcing people to ride outside their comfort zone and potentially out of their riding capabilities.  Finding that golden mean is an art that comes only with experience.

Highway 22 is one of the most scenic drives in Alberta.  It runs through Alberta’s scenic cattle country, with rolling foothills and the always stunning Canadian Rockies on the horizon to our right.

“22” is smooth with long, long sight lines and the natural tendency is to ride faster than the posted speed limit, but because of this it is highly patrolled by Alberta Sheriffs and the RCMP.  A friend of mine was pulled over on 22 by a Sheriff who clocked him at 135-ish km/h and let off with a warning.  “We’re really looking to get the drivers doing 150-160 km/h”, the Sheriff was reported to have said.

The transit south on 22 to join up with Hwy 3 gives me a chance to rest my thumb on my throttle hand.  In April, I had tripped in the driveway carrying a bookshelf and hyper-extended my thumb.  Four weeks of physiotherapy had improved my thumb’s strength and range of motion, but pressure on it still caused pain.  This is another one of those occasions where I LOVE the cruise control on the RT, which allowed me to loosen my grip on the right hand grip and relax my painful thumb.

Dave (L), Ernie (M), and Gilbert (R), three of riders who ventured on the 2016 Schnitzel Run

Dave (L), Ernie (M), and Gilbert (R), three of riders who ventured on the 2016 Schnitzel Run

Despite the cool, on again, off again rainy weather, it’s good to be back on the RT and touring.  For this first segment of our tour, I’ve got the Airhawk cushion on the saddle, a good, interim measure that extends my comfort beyond the 3-ish hour range of the BMW’s too firm for me OEM saddle.

The RT purrs along and I’ve got the heated vest and heated grips on.  The RT is in its element, doing exactly what the German engineers designed it to do – transport its rider in comfort and superb weather protection.  Even with less than ideal weather, the ride is enjoyable and I frequently think how damn good this bike is for my touring style.

We roll into Cranbrook in the afternoon and pull into the Best Western, which is definitely more upscale (and expensive) than the Heritage Inn which we had been staying at for the last 7 or 8 years.  The Heritage Inn used to be a great motel with an excellent hot breakfast where we could order off the menu, a nice change from the typical Continental breakfasts most motels have.  Sadly, the Heritage Inn has started showing its age, and the once excellent hot order from the menu breakfast has been replaced with much poorer quality buffet-style service.

Our group of 12 meets at Frank’s Steak & Schnitzel House and the proprietor, Andreja, visits our table and sends us complimentary appetizers.  Our Edmonton group of riders have been making a pilgrimage annually to Frank’s since 2008, and it’s a nice way for Andreja to show her appreciation for our repeat business.

While I have raved about Frank’s to all my friends for many years, this year’s offering was a disappointment.  It could be because I ordered a different schnitzel, the Parma instead of Frank’s Original.  My schnitzel seemed over cooked and it was ‘good’, but not exceptional, and in ALL my previous and numerous visits to Frank’s, my schnitzel has been EXCEPTIONAL.  I’m not willing to write off Frank’s just yet.  It is still one of my favourite restaurants anywhere, so I will be back.

Next:  2016 Schnitzel Run – Part 3



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