Austin to Banff on a Tiger 800XC

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ElJefeATX, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    I had not seen an elk until today. Not in Idaho, not in Montana, not in Canada. The place is supposed to be crawling with them. We made it up to the Columbia Ice Fields today. The fire had been contained to a smoldering stand of forest. Firefighters were still working the smoking brush, but the road was open and we got through and back without having to do a Clark Griswold at the Grand Canyon scene.

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    We saw the bear on the way in. Several cars were stopped and we got the best spot on the side of the road. The grizzly was just wandering along eating berries. He started up toward the road like he was headed straight for us, but he just wanted to eat some plants growing right on the shoulder. He seemed oblivious to the audience around him.

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    On the way back to Tonys place we lamented the lack of elk. Of course, after about a 300 mile journey, one goal of which was to see elk, we got back to Canmore about Acmile from Tony's condo and there's about 20 elk scattered down the power line right of way. Go figure.

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    #61
  2. bluestar

    bluestar the rain maker

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    That last pic is funny. He's looking at you and thinking WTF is this guy doing. :rofl :rofl
    #62
  3. FongMan

    FongMan Been here awhile

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    :rofl Ignorance is bliss............:lol3
    #63
  4. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    That is indeed a look of smug disdain. Like "seriously? I'm eating over here."
    #64
  5. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    Nigel creek joins the Athabasca River at a big looping switchback. There are a couple of gravel roads that are blocked with a couple of large stones, but not too well. We parked right off the main road at a spot where the river just disappears into a hole about 10 feet wide. There is a rift in the earth rarely more than 4 feet wide that the water has cut over millions of years and I estimate drops at least 200 feet. I estimate because I never did clearly see the bottom despite crawling out over to the edge on my belly and just holding my camera out hoping it would record what was at the bottom of the gaping gorge. I have video that gives a better perspective than the photos but I can't process and edit it until I get home. This is the most fascinating geological feature I think I've ever come across.


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    #65
  6. Berger

    Berger Been here awhile

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    Just found this thread! Green Tigers are the fastest! :D

    I broke my OEM clutch lever early on and discovered great, cheap, adjustable levers from China (eBay)....$30US shipped.

    How are you liking the Madstad?
    #66
  7. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    My replacement levers are $30 eBay jobs too.

    The Madstad is a must for long distance highway travel. By far the best modification I've made for the trip. I think I'll remove it for any significant off roading though.
    #67
  8. Daytonacharlie

    Daytonacharlie 2 Wheeled Backpacker

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    Following!
    Toured the same area in Canada in 2002 with 3 other riding buddies.
    Fantastic scenery, friendly people, clean roadsides.
    I plan on getting a Tiger 800XC as my next bike and return. We stayed at the youth hostel in Lake Louise and traveled up the Ice Fields Parkway for about 40 miles but time restrictions kept us from making it all the way to Jasper.
    If you hadn't planned on it yet you should take the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier in Montana. And get a pie at the Park Cafe in St Mary. And have a Moose Drool on tap! Pure heaven!

    My adventure http://www.triumphrat.net/ride-trip-reports/46620-canada-glacier-yellowstone-trip.html
    #68
  9. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Adventurer

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    You can also get folding levers. That's what I did.

    #69
  10. StrokedNBored

    StrokedNBored Been here awhile

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    Amen...
    #70
  11. StrokedNBored

    StrokedNBored Been here awhile

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    I was on the Ice Fields parkway on the 15th as well. they were still working the fire at 1 spot early in the morning but looked to have it contained. Awesome scenery.

    I like the ride report style.
    #71
  12. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    Thanks. The ice fields trip was awesome. I'm going to have to come back and narrow down some locations for serious exploring next time. The creek and river gorges really intrigue me. Also I'll probably opt for a trip earlier in the spring so there more snow and ice in the elevation. Plus it's unseasonably hot right now. Hard to believe my visit is almost over and the trip south is looming day after tomorrow.

    I had a great day on the bike today. A nice shakedown for the trip home down the east side of the Rockies.


    Great ride, stunning destination and met some great adventure riders. I'll post it up tomorrow.

    I'm whipped.
    #72
  13. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    You will love the Tiger 800. I did Going to the Sun Road on the way up. The west side was spectacular, but the east side was under construction with delays and low speed on mud and gravel. Glad I did it though. Still a great ride.

    Skipped the pie and moose drool but the guy who runs the gas station next door is an entertaining conversationalist.
    #73
  14. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    Put about 400 miles in yesterday. I hopped over the mountains to the British Columbia side. Saw lots of deer but no other critters of note.

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    There are several man made pools fed by hot springs on the other side but there was one natural spring that I had heard about and of course it was the furthest away. No biggie. Today was for riding.

    But first, lunch in the little logging town of Canal Flats. The entire town was just a huge pile of logs. There is only one option for eating in Canal Flats: The Fire Valley Cafe. It is overseen by a delightful French Canadian lady who is tiny and must be 100 years old. She hasn't been up to Lussier spring in at least 30 years, but her honey takes her to a secret one you can only get to by riding a quad. That there is a picture in the mind's eye.

    Lussier hot springs are on the White River in the White Swan Lake Provincial Park. It's about 12 miles up a windy gravel road with shear drops down into the canyon, but the road is wide and well maintained. There's about a half mile downhill hike to the springs and the river. Of 3 or 4 pools two are hot and a couple are cold. The hottest is the one at the top and few people dare to do more than dip a toe. I opted to go deep. In seconds I was in a trance just soaking in the heat and almost fell asleep. Then I wasn't sure if I was hallucinating or if someone was talking to me. Someone was talking to me and couldn't see my closed eyes behind my shades. I was healed by that time anyway and opted out of the traditional plunge into the ice cold river. I dipped my toes in and headed up the trail. Then it was down the mountain and back through the Kootenay forest the way I came in.

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    #74
  15. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    These guys.

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    I ran into Brazilians Adair and Ernani at an overlook in the Kootenay park. They flew to San Francisco and bought a couple of used KLRs and rode them to Deadhorse.

    On KLRs.

    Neither of them speak English and I don't speak Portuguese, but they told me their story through locations and hand gestures and pointing to parts of the bikes, and I got it.

    Find Adair Teixeira on Facebook. He has some spectacular photos from their journey.

    Adair snapped a pic of me in full battle dress in the Kootenay park. Not many pictures of me on the trip because I'm just not into selfies. So here's one.



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    #75
  16. moe50

    moe50 Adventurer

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    :lurk
    #76
  17. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    This trip was almost a full year of obsession and preparation. Hard to believe this is my last evening in Banff. I will cross over into the land of the free some time tomorrow around midday. Will be interstating it to Great Falls Montana looking for a good campsite and then heading towards Spearfish Sunday, which happens to be my 50th birthday. I'm doing a little side trip to Devils Tower in Wyoming and May camp thereabouts if it gets late on me. If not Sunday night, I will meet up with Amber and spend a couple of nights in Spearfish South Dakota so she can show me her old stomping grounds. You'll notice there has been very little posting regarding fishing. The fish are winning. I have only landed the one little guy I posted a picture of a few days ago, and hooked a couple of others. I opted out of hiring a guide because they are about 4 times as expensive here than they are in other places I've hired guides. No biggy but it proves that a good guide is indispensable when fishing unfamiliar territory. Gonna give it one last shot tonight.
    #77
  18. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    Should have held my tongue about the fishing. I went out one last time this evening and landed this little guy. Had tons more strikes but couldn't hook and land them. A cold front came through last night, and the winds really kicked up changing the behavior of the fish. They would get aggressive for short periods and then disappear.

    Tonight's wind concerns me for the long ride tomorrow. It could be a difficult ride. I'll just have to be prepared for delays.
    #78
  19. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    I just keep rolling along.

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    419 miles today. As predicted, the crosswinds were brutal. I was relieved to wait in line at the border crossing to escape the wind and was glad it was over. Then I remembered the weather does not respect international boundaries and the pummeling continued. It was like going 12 with Ali.

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    #79
  20. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

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    With a name like Fort Whoop Up, you know the Americans were involved.

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    #80