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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Pray4Snow, Jul 8, 2012.
It was a little over $400 for me and the bike.
July 18th, 2012
· Up around 05:15. The ship didn't sail until 07:30, but friggin' BC Ferries requires you to be there 90 minutes prior to sailing, or else they can give your spot away. I thought maybe this was just the propaganda that the ferry service posts in order to get folks there in time to be processed (like the airlines), but when I asked Andrea, she said it wasn't just a hollow threat. After a hot coffee at Andrea's, and pocketing a couple of fresh blueberry muffins for the road, I was off.
· They were putting all the bikes into one lane at the ferry loading area, so I was able to shoot the breeze with a few other two-wheeled travellers. Didn't even have enough time to grab another coffee before they loaded the bikes (first) onto the ship - the mighty M. V. Northern Expedition.
· The loading and tie-down process went better than expected. The bike was centered between two recessed cleats, propped on its sidestand, and a tiered block placed under the low side of the bash-plate. Then a 3 or 4 inch tie-down was passed over the saddle, anchored between the cleats, and cinched down tight against the block. The staff member who did the cinching was over enthusiastic (in my opinion), but when I checked the bash-plate, it didn't look like it had bent or buckled.
All safe and secured
· Although they loaded the bikes first, it didn't hurry the loading process (they still had to load everybody else), so I had a fair amount of time to kill once I was on board. Took the opportunity to stake out a seat, and capture some footage of the activity around the loading process.
Relic is alive and well!!
The grain terminal in Prince Rupert
The ship seemed fairly new, and well appointed. Cafeteria (licensed!), fine-dining restaurant, gift shop, etc. You could book cabins or a spot in the first-class lounge for a fee (which I passed on) but the normal 'steerage' seating was made of comfortable leather lounge chairs. Just like the Caribbean cruise we did last winter, I seemed to spend the entire time trying to figure out where the hell I was on the boat - all those corridors and decks look the same.
· The crossing took around 15 hours, with one stop at Bella Bella to drop and take on passengers. The 'inside passage' route is quite picturesque, and calm. For most of the route, the channel is only a few hundred metres across - more like going down a wide river, than at sea - so the waters were quite calm. No real chop until the last little sprint across open ocean from the exit of the channel to the north end of Vancouver Island.
· Daylight broke while I was in line at the Prince Rupert terminal, and didn't fall until about 30 minutes from Port Hardy, so the sightseeing was phenomenal. Low cloud for most of the day, but clear as a bell at water level, so all sorts of wildlife were visible: bald eagles, sea lions, whales, and pacific white-sided dophins. I did my best snapping stills with the video camera, but after reviewing the results when I got home, I was really wishing I hadn't sent the good stills-camera with the Mrs.
Easily the highlight of the trip ... this is only a fraction of the wildlife I saw on the trip ... sorry for the camera-shake. My little HD video cam has an incredible zoom (40x), and without a tripod the image is pretty shakey, even with the stabilization option on.
· The ship arrived at Prince Rupert around 10:30pm. I was beat and just wanted to get to bed. Luckily, I had pre-booked a motel room not far from the ferry terminal, and had pre-programed the location into the GPS. I managed to beat most of the traffic from the ferry to town, and didn't have to wait to check in. After unpacking the bike-luggage into the room (I had been smart enough to request a ground-level room when I booked), a quick shower, and a brief use of the wi-fi to check messages, I packed it in.
· Libation: A couple of beers in the cafeteria
· Smoke: none - strictly verboten on BC Ferries - at least the normal tobacco kind.
· Tunes: Audiobooks: "The Lonely Men" and "Mojave Crossing" by Louis L'Amour. Assorted tunes while I napped.
July 19th, 2012
· Up around 8 to a beautiful, clear morning, packed the bike, and went for brekky at the motel restaurant; got a nice window looking over the harbour. Had just tucked into a nice plate of eggs, bacon, and potatoes, when I decided to make use of the wifi to check messages. Found out one of my staff had been in a minor 'incident', so spent about an hour on the phone trying to make sure everyone was alright, and getting the OH&S paperwork started.
· Pulled out around 9:45. Set the Drift up on the engine guard again - wasn't sure it was going to work, but thought I might as well set it up. Played with it along the way, but the GD thing seemed to be turning itself on and off - must be a loose connection.
· Even by 10am, it was already hotter than stink. The Inland Island Highway was more 'freeway-esque' than I had expected. The GPS and my map showed a secondary/tertiary road that would cut the corner between Hwys 19 and 4. I had lots of time and thought it might be a nice change. Had trouble finding the start due to a new subdivision, but eventually found it. The road was in good shape, but a couple of minutes in discovered that it was an active haul road for logging trucks, and was heavily wooded on the sides, so there was nothing to see whatsoever. Decided that discretion was the better part of valour and turned around.
· Hwy 4 towards Port Alberni was a little less 'freeway-ish' than 19, but still lots of tourist traffic. Either there are lots of folks trying to recreate the 'hippy' scene of the 60's, or this is just where old VW vans go to die - friggin' microbuses everywhere!
· Stopped in Port Alberni for water and to visit Island Rhino Surf Shop. Chatted with the lady behind the counter for a few minutes, and she set me up with a couple of stickers for the bike.
· Was starting to miss the wife and kids (who would have guessed?!) so decided to push on to Long Beach and the Green Point campground without any further delay.
· Pulled into the campground around 3:30 - sign said 'No Vacancy', but I knew the wife and kids were already here. Took me a while to find our site, and when I got there, there was nobody home. The van and bicycles were still there, so I knew they couldn't be far. I backed the bike down the long drive to the tent pad, and started getting changed out of my riding gear. I was just about to go for a walk and look for them down on the beach, when they came wandering up the road. They were on their way back from trying their hand at 'surfing'. Susan's pictures (not posted here) showed all the adults on that beach in full wetsuits ... and my two surf-monkeys in their bikinis! (Edmonton chicks are TOUGH!!)
· Went for dinner in Ucluelet - yet another feed of fresh seafood. Nice little town - definitely a tourist town, but not quite so busy as Tofino. Dinner was on a permanently moored ship called the 'Canadian Princess'. Nicely done, and a ton of sea life could be seen in the harbour - even just from the gangways to the boat. Bald eagles, deer, starfish, an octopus, and assorted fish.
· Headed back to the campground and did a bit of beachcombing, rock climbing, etc.
· Libations: A couple of local craft-brews at the restaurant, and some craft-brews that Susan had bought for me in Powell River back at the campfire. And a wee dram of Glen Breton 10yr that my buddy Scott brought back from a visit to the distillery in NS.
· Stogey: Macanudo
· Milage: 489km.
***EDITORS NOTE: From this point on, the trip became a very different beast. Instead of riding solo and answering to no one's timetable but that of my bladder and my fuel tank, it became a bit more of a traditional family road trip. We would travel separately during the day (the wife and kids taking the primary highways, and me on the secondaries or whatever I could find), and meeting up again in the evening. I actually got this idea from a former professor of mine who has travelled in a similar way with his family ("How not to score sex, drugs, and country music on a motorcycle")
Susan and the kids did pretty well tenting it. Susan didn't grow up camping, and hadn't tented since we had kids. The kids have only ever known the comfort of our trailer for camping. All in all they did pretty well. Susan was pretty resourceful and capable, and apart from a couple of nights in bear-country, they all slept in the tent.
Although the ride report from this point on will focus on the riding I did on the bike, there will still be lots of family stuff. I know, I know - not very 'ADV' of me, but it's what worked for us this year. Resulted in a decent balance of riding some new roads and spending time with the family.
Late to get to this one but a very nice read for the snowy Edmonton winter. I fully understand why you in particular want to see the Wacky Bennet Dam.
Thanks Lee. It wasn't the only water-related stop. Stay tuned!
July 20th, 2012
· The weather had turned overnight, so we woke up to typical west-coast weather. Intermittent rain showers, separated by periods of fog and mist.
· Only thing planned today was to whip into Tofino, have a look around and a bite to eat.
· I took the bike while the rest of the family went in the van. I had it in my mind that I hadn't really ridden to the west coast if I hadn't taken the bike to Tofino. Weather was shitty, and it was only around 25 km to Tofino, but it had to be done. (Besides, going cold-turkey from riding to caging might be bad for my health ;-) ) Nice road but lots of traffic. Never got above 3rd gear.
Hippy-wear ... also known as 'Tofino Camouflage'
· Tofino was a zoo. Found parking for the bike and the van, changed out of my riding gear, and went for stroll. Was still raining a bit, but bearable. Did a bit of shopping, and had lunch at The Schooner - a nice converted house with lots of rough-hewn wood. Fantastic chowder (just what the doctor ordered on a cold wet day) and seafood. Also, was introduced to the fine products of the Tofino Brewing Company. We had seen the sign for the brewery at the edge of town, and decided to try a couple with lunch. Fantastic.
· Stopped in at the other surf shop I had on my 'to-do' list - Storm Surf. Again, got talking with the guy at the counter, and he set me up with stickers for the bike.
· Went into the little grocery store to pick up a few things, and ran into Sarah McLachlan. Susan wanted to go and get a picture with her, but she was obviously shopping, and had her kids in-tow so we decided against it. Was a neat celebrity encounter none the less.
· Putzed around Tofino for a bit more, and then decided to head back to the campsite. On the way out of town, we pulled into the Tofino Brewing Company. They seem pretty new - the 'gift shop/tasting bar' was just a small space at one end of the production floor. Chatted with the girl working the shop/bar. Apparently, at the moment they only produce draft beers - no bottling. Hence, their products are only available in local restaurants. I had hoped to buy some bottles to take home as gifts, but since it's draft it doesn't last more than a few days once it's decanted. They do sell growlers, and even though it would take up a significant portion of our cooler we grabbed a few litres of their Reign In Blonde. I have to say, this beer, served at 'ice-in-a-cooler-full-of food' temperature was fantastic - easily the best one I tried all trip! It didn't last long. If we'd had more room in the cooler, I would have liked to have grabbed some more for the road.
· Headed back to camp. Had dinner and went to bed in good time ... in the rain, of course.
· Libation: TBC's Reign In Blonde
· Smoke: Pipe - Executive Blend
· Milage: 42km
Day 8 - 12
July 21 - July 25.
· Journaling went all to hell, but not much to report since riding was at a minimum.
· Left Tofino on July 21 and made our way to Victoria for a 2-and-a-bit day visit with Susan's cousin Anne, her fiancé Keith, and their munchkin Gibson. Took the slab the whole way - not much to report (apart from the fact that it had stopped raining!). Was vaguely aware of being on the same road as that retard who posted YouTube video of himself doing over 300kph last year.
· Had planned on making a stop at Island BMW to pass on some 'positive reinforcement' with respect to the fantastic support they (and BMW Canada) gave Alberto and Naomi through all their warranty BS in South America. I had looked up the address before I left (and confirmed against a number of other sources) but apparently they have moved in the not-to-recent past. Got a scenic tour of where they USED to be located, before hauling out the phone to find out where they were now.
· Got the new address - still more-or-less on the route to Keith and Anne's. Arrived in time to watch somebody take delivery of a new R1200GS - was quite a family event - wife and kids in tow. Went in and bought some more chain lube and a t-shirt. Apparently, Brian (the guy who was so helpful to Alberto and Naomi) has since left the dealership and is going to culinary school on the lower mainland.
· Spent a couple of days doing some of the regular tourist stuff in Victoria (inner harbour during the International Street Performers Festival, pickle-boat ride in the harbour, pigged out on seafood (again), etc.). Keith and Anne live a short walk from the water front in Esquimalt - cool neighbourhood, good company - a super visit!
View of the shoreline near Keith and Anne's house, with WA in the background
· Left Keith and Anne's place on the morning of the 23rd, and caught the ferry from Victoria over to Port Angeles on Washington's Olympic Peninsula .
A view of Victoria Harbour from the ferry ... waiting for the cagers to be loaded.
· We assumed that we'd get separated disembarking from the ferry, so we arranged to meet at the State Park office/ranger station on the outskirts of Port Angeles, and on the edge of Olympic NP. Being on a bike, and towards the front of the ship, I was way ahead of Sue and the girls, so I had some time to people-watch at the ranger station. Lots of folks checking-in with the ranger station to do some sort of backcountry hikes. Didn't seem like a lot of 'seasoned' backcountry folks here - lots of brand-new gear. Either the local REI was having a sale, or this is some sort of entry-level trail for city folks to be able to check 'backpacking' off their bucket lists. Susan and the girls eventually made it to the station, and we had a picnic lunch on the lawn of the facility.
· The destination for the next couple of days was Kalaloch (The US Customs agent at the Port Angeles entry point gave Susan a quick lesson on the proper pronunciation - tourists say 'Kah-lah-lock' - locals say 'Klay-lock' - who knew?). Sue and the girls were planning to take the most direct route - Hwy 101 right from PA to Kalaloch. Since we didn't have many miles to make, and since I was on a bike, I decided to try and stick to the coast as much as I could. Hwys 112 and 113 looked interesting on the map, although unless I wanted to back-track a bit, I'd have to rejoin Hwy 101 at some point.
· As much as it was only a short diversion from the inland route, this became one of my more memorable legs of the trip. Only a rider can appreciate the difference that smell can make to a trip, as compared to caging it. Hwy 112 is a narrow, well-paved but heavily forested road. It has lots of twists and turns, but the views are limited by the trees. The memorable point was when the road started to descend from the highlands, down the escarpment, presumably to the ocean. And the first indication you had of your proximity to the ocean was the smell of salt water - a good 5 minutes before you actually saw the coast line! Cool as shit for this Alberta boy!
· After the road swings away from the ocean and you start to climb back up the escarpment, there was a bit of logging-truck traffic, but the drivers were professional and courteous, and I was easily able overtake when it was safe. In fact, this was my first observation of the cagers in general in WA - nice as hell, courteous, and very rider-conscious. This would become apparent again in a few days at Mt. Rainier .
· Went through a small town called Forks. Susan had mentioned this has something to do with the Twilight movies - either filmed here or set here - although I didn't notice any tourist traps (not that I stopped there).
· Arrived at Kalaloch - Susan and the girls were already there and had camp almost set up. The bike would be parked for next three days. We did lots of beachcombing, eating of seafood, hiking amongst the temperate rainforest, etc. Met a super-nice family from the Bothell/Lynnwood (north-edge of the Seattle area) with sons the same age as the girls - Sean, Susan, Will, and Ian. Spent a lot of enjoyable time with them walking the beaches of the area, showing my landlocked-daughters the tidal fauna, cooking s'mores, etc.
F800GS, a mini-van, and a Barbie bicycle ... how's that for a 'split-purpose' trip!
Exploring the campground a bit.
Yea man, I'm in. There are a some RR on here that have little mention of the family and real reason we all want to get home so quickly element of making a trip like this. Glad to see you are having a great time on both fronts with your report. Looks like you ate some good food and had a good drink or two and enjoyed yourself. That appears to be living well in my book. One of these days I hope to ride up there in that area too.
Stay safe there man....
July 26, 2013
Ododmeter: 21,537 km
· Left Kalaloch just before 10am. Enjoyed a little too much of TBCs finest last night
feeling a bit groggy. Cant wait for a coffee
· Grabbed fuel and brekky in Amanda Park, WA
biscuits and gravy
· Sue and the girls are going to Centralia for a bit of shopping at some outlet mall, and a swim and a shower at Chehalis.
· Kind of cool and overcast. Intermittent cell coverage so Im not sure what the forecast is for the next few days. Made a leisurely trip to Mt. Rainier park. Took 101 out of the park, and all the way to south of Aberdeen, and then Hwy 6 east to Chehalis. Then 12, to 7, to 706, and entered the park
· Entered the park at the southwest corner (Paradise Gate?).
· Was a bit of tourist traffic, but an excellent ride. Paradise Rd. and Stevens Canyon Rd in the park were FANTASTIC!! Its a shame that the Drift isnt working
180degree hairpins, huge elevation gains and drops!
· The drivers in the park were extremely gracious with respect to pulling over into the pullouts to let me by. The first couple of times it happened, I thought maybe I was following too close and scaring them so the next time I came up behind a cage, I held back a bit further. Same thing
they pulled off into the next available pullout, let me pass, and then jumped back into traffic behind me. Either everybody is a former-rider, or they just grow a better brand of cager in these parts!
· Took my time and enjoyed the ride. Got to the Ohanapecosh campground (in the southeast corner of the park) ahead of the girls. Was starving, so I tucked into my stash of freeze-dried meals. As I was cooking, a woman from across the road wandered over. Judging from the plates on the vehicles she was from OR, and camping with another family from WA. But as it turns out, shes originally from Canada, saw the AB plate on the bike and wandered over to chat. In fact, she (Marcy) was from a small community in southern ON where my wife did her teaching practicum as a student. Small world!! Once Sue and the girls arrived, we got them fed and Susan wandered over to chat with Marcy. The kids from both families all ran off in one gang of Barbie bikes and skateboards
proof-positive that kids are only a half-step from a troop of monkeys.
July 27, 2013
· Spent the 27th doing touristy-stuff in the Park - a couple of short, flat hikes with the kids (got some good pics at the 'Grove of the Patriarchs', some photo-ops at Narada Falls, Paradise Visitor Centre, etc. Back to the campground for dinner, and taught the kids the finer points of S'Mores.
· Smoke: Some skanky old stubbies left over from our trip to the Dominican Republic.
· Libation: Cheledas!!! I can't believe they don't sell this stuff in Canada. I don't know many folks at home who don't appreciate a good cold beer-and-Clamato (especially if they come pre-mixed), and I have yet to meet an American who prefers Clamato over tomato juice for beer or Ceasars. (There's my retirement plan - Cheleda smuggler!)
Tomorrow ... back on the bike for a short-hop to Seattle.
July 28-30th, 2013
· Rainier to Seattle
· Split from the girls right away on the morning of the 28th.
· Pretty interesting road leaving the park. Weather was warm and the skies were clear, giving up great views of Mt. Rainier pretty much the whole way out of the park. The road shoots north up the east side of the park, meaning that all the shots of Mt Rainier were nicely lit.
· Girls are planning to stop and do some laundry and shopping on the way to Seattle. Despite dawdling my way, I got to the hotel in Bellevue, WA in mid-afternoon. Room wasn't ready and the girls hadn't shown up yet so I sat in the lounge (in my sweaty riding gear), watched some US TV coverage of the Olympics, and sampled a few of Puget Sound's best malt beverages. Once the room was ready, I unpacked the bike and changed out of my riding gear. The girls arrived a little later, and once we got them unpacked we beat the heat in the pool, and prepared for a few days of out-and-out tourist invasion. On the list were:
As much seafood as this kid could eat;
Space Needle (ended up doing it twice - once during the day, and once at night);
Mariners game (had booked tickets before we left - was some sort of 'Family Night' promotion - tix were super-cheap - $10 per person. The downside was that it was vs. the Jays, so the stands were full of obnoxious Canucks - including my wife and kids! Go Mariners!!).
Libation: Many and assorted goodies from the Pacific Northwest
What's a trip to the 509 without an R-dog!
... except maybe a Red Hook in a Sounders Glass!
· Smoke: Pretty sure that's a capital-offence in Seattle - unless it's the 'fun' kind!
I promise ... the riding gets better in the next few days!
· Pretty casual departure from Seattle. Waited for the commuters to get on their way, and then hit the road. Had to meet up with Kenny at Yakima at noon, so I just took slab the whole way.
· Even though Ive done this route (and similar routes) and KNOW better, Im always surprised at how dry the inland empire is
both in WA and OR. The lush coastal vegetation didnt last long heading east, and gave way to increasingly more arid landscapes. Real Highplains Drifter shit
kept expecting to see Clint riding out of the scrub-brush. At one point on way from Ellensburg to Yakima I got the distinctive aroma of sage wafting through my helmet
something the cagers definitely miss out on.
· The downside of riding through this beauty was the f-ing heat. Everytime I stopped for a photo or to shoot some video, I was instantly soaking wet. Once I got underway again, it didnt get any cooler (was like riding into a hair drier) but at least the sweat evaporated. Was chugging water like a bastard everytime I stopped, and wasnt pissing much out.
· Was surprised at the number of Hispanic people in Yakima (and Mexican restaurants) as I rode into town. Kenny explained later that a lot of Hispanic families had migrated north to work in the ag-operations in the area, and over time many of them had settled here. To be honest, Id forgotten that the interior of Washington was a horticultural centre until I started passing apple-sorting facilities with the huge bushelboxes stacked out front on the way into town. Lots of orchards in the Ellensburg valley, and irrigation pivots everywhere.
Overlooking the valley, just after the turnoff at Ellensburg
· Met up with Kenny for lunch at Yakima Sports Centre. Tried a couple of local craft-brews to beat the heat. Opted to sit outside on the shady sidewalk patio and watch the world go by. I cant remember what I had for lunch, but I remember not really wanting to get back on the bike and ride into the heat. Kenny had brought some stogies to enjoy, but between a) not being really sure what the Yakima bylaws were on public smoking; and b) knowing full well that Id have at least one more brew with the stogey, we decided not to partake there.
· Its only approx. 3 hours by slab from Yakima to Spokane (the destination for the night), so I asked Kenny for some ideas on off-the-interstate sightseeing options. Five minutes and a beer later, I had a plan of attack.
· Kenny sent me on my way with a nice Arturo Fuente to enjoy on the trip, and I left Kenny with an Edmonton Oil Kings ball cap. (Although, I have to admit it was the flat-billed, wannabe-rap-star style, and not the tried and true broken-in style that any self respecting adult would choose. The friggin Oilers store in Edmonton was surprisingly low on Oil Kings swag when I went gift shopping
and had nothing with their 2012 WHL Champions status emblazoned on it. Go Oil Kings!!) Ken lives smack-dab in the middle of the WHL's US Division
I hope he doesnt get beaten up for his lunch money for wearing Oil Kings gear in the 509!
BTW ... Kenny is a fellow 'fancy degenerate' from the 509 that I met online (long story ... sounds a bit gay no matter how I tell it ... note to self: never try to explain that one to the wife again) ... check out his online shit at SorryForYourLuck.com and on YouTube.
· Stopped on the way out of town for another photo-op
· Backtracked from Yakima to Ellensburg and got back on the i90 until just a bit past the Columbia River. I happened to spot signs for The Gorge, and thought I'd take a look. For those who havent heard of it before, the Gorge is a fairly famous concert venue; a natural amphitheatre set on the banks of the Columbia, with the river and the west-bank as the backdrop to the stage. Ive heard lots about the gorge, but have never seen a show there. There didn't appear to be much going on there, so I thought I'd ignore the Authorized Personnel Only signs, and idle my way towards the river and see what I could see. After passing a fifth sign warning that mere-mortals weren't allowed, my faith in my better-to-beg-forgiveness-than-ask-permission strategy was waning. Just before the road appeared to drop elevation towards the river it passed the site office and I decided to check-in. Mistake. Some jackass with a clipboard couldn't believe Id ridden past all the signs, and was pretty snotty about telling me to GTFO. As I was putting my helmet and shit on, he was talking to some one on a radio and before long I had an official Gorge pick-up following me to make sure I left. Didn't even get any decent pics. Note to self -
next time, stick with the plan.
· Kept going NE from the town of George on a series of secondaries toward Grand Coulee Dam. Landscape got really erosional
- lots of buttes and outcrops, and still drier than a popcorn fart. A lot like the Drumheller badlands at home, but older rock instead of sedimentary. Pulled into the town of Grand Coulee in late afternoon. Took a walk around the foot of the dam and took a few pics. Opted not to take the tour
- it was getting late and I wasn't sure how long it was going to take to get to Spokane. As far as dams go, its not a huge one. However, its one of the (if not the) biggest concrete dams in the world. If I recall correctly from the tourist propaganda they had displayed at the visitors centre, at the time of construction it was the biggest concrete structure in the world.
· Leaving Grand Coulee, I stopped for fuel at the top of the hill. As usual, the pay-at-the-pump didn't work with Canadian credit cards (we can send a fucking probe to Mars, receive colour, HD images back, but we can't figure out a better way to secure transactions at a gas-pump. I can use my cc in Nova Scotia (5000km from home), but not in WA (1000km from home)
whew! Sorry -
venting complete.). There was a bit of a line at the regular fuel pumps, and I was a bit conscious of occupying a pump for a measly $9 in fuel, so I was trying my best to hustle in and out. As I was walking in and out of the store to pre-pay, fuel-up, get change, etc. I noticed a woman pull out of the line and pull up to the diesel pump in a Camry. Right away, I knew either a) she just budded in line and theres about to be some shit go down; or b) Toyota now makes a diesel Camry. Shes all tarted-up (fake nails, big hair, oversized shades, heels, etc) and busy talking on her cell phone while filling her car. As Im putting my shit together to get ready to pull away, it becomes apparent that this dingbat couldn't figure out why all the people in front of her in line weren't using the pump with the pretty yellow nozzles, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. I was about to take pity on her and fill her in, when an elderly gentleman (who was in line still) let her know what she was going. And she gave him attitude for interrupting her telephone conversation. I was torn
do I wait for her to pull away and get some footage of the imminent blue-cloud? Or do I GTFO before I get stuck behind her on the highway and have to suck smoke. I opted to take off, so I dont know if she heeded the good Samaritans advice to stop what she was doing and have the tank drained, or if she continued refueling and tried to drive away. I guess Ill never know! It is, however, refreshing to know that every so often, karma comes through and taps ignorant people on the head.
· More cool landscape and a beautiful evening for a ride. I was able to take secondaries almost all the way to Spokane, so not much traffic on the road. A fantastic, relaxing ride.
· Pulled into Spokane just as it was starting to get dark. Had vague directions for the hotel, but wasn't really sure what turn-off to take from the interstate. Fired up the GPS, and tried to enter the address while riding (I know, I know
. Dumbass). It directed me to take an exit right by a big mall, and given that the wife had booked the hotel, I figured I was on the right track. However, once I was past the mall, it was a light-industrial area and I was pretty sure I'd entered something incorrectly. After pulling over to double check the address, I kept going, and sure-enough, there in the middle of trucking yards and parts-distribution warehouses was a little cookie-cutter chain motel (I cant remember what brand
but they're pretty much all the same).
· I trolled the parking lot for the mini-van, fully expecting the girls to be there already, but no luck. So I checked in, dropped off some of the luggage, and tried calling Susans cell. No luck. They were probably at dinner, and I was starving, so I just popped back to the choke-and-puke I'd passed on the way. Another good day of riding complete.
· Libation: Cheleda from the gas station beside the hotel.
· Smoke: none
· Tunes: Dont remember, and by this point, my journaling went all to shit. One good thing about solo-camping
lots of time for reflection and note-making. Not so much when doing the family thing.
· Milage for the day: 653km
Aug 1, 2012
· Pulled out of Spokane before the girls, and headed east. Nice morning, little traffic.
· Headed north around Couer d'Alene. I haven't been here for years, but I started to recognize things just before the Silverwood Amusement Park.
· Pulled over for a late breaky at the turnoff for Farragut State Park. Found a little ma 'n pa diner for perhaps my last nice, greasy, road breakfast (and last chance for food-porn) of the trip.
· Before I left, Junior and I were going to try and meet up somewhere on this leg, but things didn't work out. He was piecing another route together and was possibly in the area. I got a hold of him via text/email over breakfast and it turns out, he was in Osoyoos and pushing hard for Toad Rock so we weren't going to be able to meet up.
· However, Junior reminded me that I was within striking distance of Yaak, MT. Junior and his buddies have been making a semi-regular pilgrimage to Yaak for a while. A nice quiet spot, well off the beaten tourist track, spectacular riding, good camping/accommodations, and two bars in the middle of the woods. I now had a destination!
· Was super hot, so I pulled into the public beach at Sandpoint to try and get off the bike and grab a cool drink somewhere. Was pretty busy (and the bikini quotient was pretty low) so I pushed on and just grabbed a pop at a gas station on the north side of town, and kept heading towards Bonners Ferry.
· At Bonners Ferry, Hwy 2 turns east and crosses into MT. Just over the ID/MT border is the turn-off to Yaak. I wasn't exactly sure where it was, so I had to keep pulling over to check the map and GPS. I was sure I had blown past it, when, lo-and-behold, the sign for the Yaak turnoff appeared.
· Junior was right, the road was fantastic. Paved, but well maintained, almost no traffic (saw one car between the turnoff and Yaak), and twisty! Yet another 'smell moment' - deep scent of pines about half-way to town.
· One of the things Junior's tales of Yaak always include, is the Dirty Shame Saloon. As I pulled into Yaak, I was crushed to discover that the DSS was closed. But up for sale!! (Get rich idea number 2 for this trip - new ownership for the DSS!).
As seen in Junior's BT2008 and BT2010 (warning: second link contains drunken shenanigans!)
· So looking across the road, the Yaak River Tavern was open, and 'seemed' to be welcoming me.
· Parked the bike and walked into the front door. Discovered I had actually entered the corner-store portion of the place. Found my way to the tavern and noticed a nice patio out the back. There was a handful of tables on the patio, with only one other table occupied. The other table had the owners of the HD's that were parked out front, chatting up the waitress. I sat down, stripped off my riding jacket, unzipped the side vents of my riding pants, and waited for service so I could enjoy an ice-cold beer.
· 5 minutes later, the waitress is still chatting up the other table, and I'm still beer-less. Just in case my 'sitting in a bar looking hot and thirsty' ploy wasn't obvious enough, I try taking out my wallet and putting it in the middle of the table. Still no luck - not even a look.
· 15 minutes later, she's still chatting with the other table, and I'm getting thirsty and more than a little pissed off. Eventually, enough is enough - this is the US dammit - there's lots of places to buy beer! I pack up my shit, put on my jacket, and stroll off the patio right past her. Not even a glance from her. I'm not sure what I did to piss her off, but it must have been good.
· I get back on the bike and head out. There's two ways out of town (three if I head back the way I came). I opt for the NF road that looks (according to the GPS) like it should dump me out somewhere on Lake Koocanusa.
· While the road into Yaak was fun, the road after was FANTASTIC. Still paved, but good pavement and relatively tight turns with big elevation gains and drops.
· The road wasn't well marked on my maps, but the GPS showed it kicking out on Koocanusa near a ferry crossing. As it turns out, what I thought from the GPS was a ferry crossing, was actually just a wicked long bridge. As an aside - I've been to Koocanusa before, but never realized that the name comes from Koo(tenay) Can(ada) USA - a cross-border lake - my mind was blown.)
· The road headed north for a bit before cutting east at Eureka, only about 10km from the border.
· Pushed on to Apgar Campground in Glacier NP. The girls were already there and had camp mostly set up.
· We camped for two nights there. One of the nights, we had a wicked rainstorm roll in just after the girls went to bed. I sat out under the tarp, nursed the last of my US beer (travelling with a support vehicle affords such luxuries as cold beer), and enjoyed the stogie that Kenny had given me in Yakima.
Ok, Ok ... I know I didn't finish this. Sort of ran out of steam, and to be honest, there was really only one good day of riding left after this point in the story ... and then slab all the way home.
But enough excuses. I actually felt bad about this while on my trip this past year (2013) (hint ... headed east again). I actually had the Mrs email me my trip-notes file while I was on the roadso that I could journal the last few days of the 2012 trip before I got too far into the 2013 trip. But alas ... didn't do squat. But I WILL get 2012 finished off before I start journalling 2013.
Aug 3, 2012
Up with the birds. Broke camp, and got the girls on their way. Was on the road a bit later than usual -
around 9:45. This was a mistake, given that it was the Friday of a long weekend. Traffic on the road in the park was already getting thick. Pushed on to the main lodge (Lake McDonald Lodge?) in Glacier Park for a coffee, muffin, and a sticker for the panniers. Once again, noticed a lot of folks prepping for backcountry trips sporting a lot of brand-new gear.
As traffic proceeded to get closer and closer to nose-to-asshole status, I started to get a bit impatient and was doing a bit more passing than usual, and as such was probably (translation: definitely) going faster than the posted limit. Pulled into a small rest-stop for fuel and beef jerky. In the short time (MAYBE 10 minutes) that it took me to fuel up, pay the cashier inside, and remount, I watched the county-mountie pull over three different vehicles for speeding. He must have had a good trap set up a minute or so up the road, and was using the rest-stop to pull folks over. Thank-you Universe, for the reminder to slow down, enjoy the journey -
and not give local law enforcement any additional assholes to deal with on a long-weekend.
Old-school park vehicle at McDonald Lake lodge
Going To The Sun road was fantastic!! I cant say enough about this road
apart from, dont try to do it on a long weekend. While the traffic wasn't terrible (it was still before lunch time), it was thick enough to keep your attention on the road instead of the amazing views. And, not unlike the mountain roads at home, with a construction season only a few months long, there was the occasional lane-control section while they fixed, filled, or F-d with something. Despite the traffic, it was still a fantastic route, and lots of good photo-ops (again, kicking myself that the Mrs had the decent camera), good light, and occasional low-fog to make things look artsy.
Despite the traffic, lots of spots to pull over and enjoy the view.
VIP Parking at Logan Pass visitors centre
As close as I got to hiking the summit.
A hanging glacial valley
peeking out of the clouds.
As I approached the border crossing at Chief Mountain, I passed Susan and the girls
- just finishing a roadside picnic lunch. I cleared customs, and pulled over to wait for the girls -
only a handful of vehicles behind me at this point. As a matter of habit now, when Susan and the girls travel without me, we have a pile of paperwork that is meant to ease the fears of the border agents that she's not absconding with the kids as the result of some custody battle. IF the agents give a shit, it can turn an otherwise routine crossing into a bit of a hassle. Usually, if the agent is going to make an issue about it, they lead the conversation with "Where is the father of the children?", at which point Susan needs to dig out the documentation. On this crossing, when asked the question, she simply pointed to me sitting at the side of the road ahead, and said "Right there ...
you already let him in!". Apparently that was good enough.
Somewhere between the border and the Waterton townsite, I lost the girls. They must have stopped to take pictures or something. So I grabbed a bite to eat in town, and then grabbed some pics around the Prince of Wales hotel.
Prince of Wales hotel from town
And again, from closer up
And again, from the front lawn
After checking out town, and the Prince of Wales, I finally found the girls, and we went to the townsite campground and got everything set up. As far as camping goes, its pretty plain, but the location is really nice. Some friends from Calgary, Rich and Trish and their three munchkins, were meeting us here the next day. The proximity of the lake and some pretty pedestrian hiking trails within a few minutes helped occupy the kids time. And meant that Rich and I could drink and perform parental duty without too much difficulty.
After getting camp set, and cleaned up, we went back into town
... guess where ...
to the Prince of Wales hotel. (I swear theres a ton more things to see in Waterton
- I just didn't seem to take pictures of them!).
I might have gone overboard with pics of the PoW Hotel
All gussied up and ready for dinner
Had a really good weekend at Waterton Lake. Mom and Dad came down from Calgary and joined us for a short hike and had dinner with the two families one night. Lots of time spent throwing rocks in the lake, drinking, catching up with Rich and Trish, and generally having a good time.
Looking north up the lake towards the US end of the lake.
sit right back, and youll hear a tale; A tale of a fateful trip
Apparently they have elk-boxing
must have been closed for the holiday weekend.
All the trees down here look like this
stunted and leaning from the constant wind.
Keep in mind that this is a GLACIER-FED lake
those Edmonton chicks are TOUGH!
August 6, 2012
Odometer (end of trip): 23,755
· This morning was hotter than hell, as had been the rest of the weekend. Luckily, at this elevation things cooled off pretty nicely at night so sleeping was comfortable. But once the sun got above the yard-arm, it got too hot in the tent to sleep too late. And the friggin' birds. Nuff said.
· By the time we got the camp packed up and stowed, I was already dripping in sweat
and I wasn't even in riding gear yet. Eventually, I got the girls on their way, donned the riding gear, and said my good-byes to Rich and Trish and their clan.
· Normally, it wouldn't have been a taxing ride. And in fact, Hwy 22 (also known as The Cowboy Trail) from Hwy 3 north towards Calgary is normally one of my favourite rides in the province. But between the heat, and the holiday Monday traffic that was sure to abound, I wasn't looking forward to the majority of todays ride.
· The fantastic scenery lasted well outside the National Park, and the first bit of the day was quite nice. As you exit the mountains, theres a pretty well defined foothill landscape, before you run into the bald-ass prairie. With a quick deke to West to get onto Hwy22, I'd be able to follow the foothills most of the way to Calgary. As a kid, I always figured the views along Hwy 22 were right out of a Louis L'Amour novel.
Vistas for DAYS!
More of the same
· As expected, the scenery along Hwy 22 was fantastic. But being the Monday of a holiday weekend meant that as the morning progressed, the amount of traffic -
especially holiday trailers
- increased. Hwy 22 is only 2-lanes (one in each direction) with occasional passing opportunities. After starting the day quite relaxed and mellow, I soon found myself getting pissed off and making questionable decisions regarding passing traffic. After coming to this self-realization (after a bit of a close call) I calmed down. At the same time, I managed to find myself past the platoon of 5th-wheel trailers that I'd been passing, so I got a click-or-two ahead of them, matched speed, and felt like I had the place to myself -
as it should be!
· After a quick pit-stop at my parents place in Calgary to sign some papers, I headed north on Hwy 2 towards home. For those that dont know, Hwy 2 is the main, 4-lane corridor between Calgary and Edmonton. With record population increases in the province over the past couple of decades, its a gong-show at the best of times. On a holiday-Monday, it was a circus. I was averaging 130 kph (posted limit is only 110) and was getting passed -
by Greyhound buses!!
· Anyway, I finally pulled up in front of the house in mid-afternoon. Between the slight slope of our street, and the side-to-side camber of the road, parking a fully-laden bike is always a bit dicey if you dont do it properly, and in my rush to get off the bike and out of my gear
I didn't do it properly. And promptly executed a perfect slo-motion drop onto its right-side pannier. Luckily none of the neighbours saw anything, and with the panniers on, it doesn't fall far and is easy to pickup! I guess if this is the only accident I have on a 5,700 km ride, then I dont have too much to complain about!
Great report! It takes a real man to admit to a driveway tip after all those miles. If your ever in the Seattle area again hit me up, love to swap riding stories over good beers. Cheers.
Actually, I was just down in Seattle a couple of weeks ago ... had tickets to the Seahawks/Vikings game.