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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ruffntuff, Oct 2, 2012.
Agreed. Anna has made it clear that each new post is harder to write than the previous. Let her post when the spirit moves her. I could never write with such emotion, passion, and honesty as she has, and I commend her for the effort she has been putting forth for our following. When the next post comes, it will be here, not before.
and worth the wait
I'm only on page 21 but already I know how sorry I'll be when this RR ends. Damn, girl, you've got true grit. I think that thing that grabs everyone who reads your report is that your writing is so open and honest, which shows that you trust your readers with your innermost thoughts and feelings, and that makes us really feel as if we're on the trip with you (and Dan). Takes your report way way beyond a simple travelogue of mileage, meals, and sights seen. That's a rare gift to bestow on us readers, and thank you for it.
June 17, 2012
Williams Lake Vancouver, BC: 351 miles
A nervous edge of anxiety woke me early. A million thoughts swarmed my
head in a furious battle of nonsense quickly weighing into deep sadness. I left the room to sit in the hall and write in my journal, hoping to settle my mind.
I wrote about my ride through the storm, the epiphany feeling I felt, the peaceful calmness I experienced, the happiness. Why had all that left me now? Why was I so sad? Why was I so tense?
I was sad this would be my last day riding for a while. I was sad it would be my last ride with Billy. I was sad I felt this was the end of my journey. Although, it wasnt even close.
I knew I still had 10,000 miles of riding to do before the summer would end. I knew I would probably see Billy again in California. This was hardly the end of my journey. So why was I so sad?
I was nervous about working at the Aquarium, knowing adjusting back into a normal working and learning state of mind would be challenging. I was nervous about living and commuting in a large city, larger than I had ever lived in. I was nervous about meeting my host family, wondering what they would be like.
I snuck back into the room and tried to rest a while longer, waiting for Billy to wake. I wanted to move, I needed to leave. The dry lump in my throat made swallowing strenuous and the butterflies in my gut made me want to run from everything. Vancouver was just 350 miles and I just wanted to be there already.
Billy stirred before too long and I explained my desire to hit the road soon and get to Vancouver early. I said I didnt want him to feel rushed and we could meet up later in the day if he didnt want to leave so soon. He said he wanted to get going too however, so we went down for our complimentary breakfast and coffee before packing up the bikes.
It didnt take long in Billys company for me to feel more at ease. He had a calming energy about him that encouraged me to slow down and relax. I asked myself, Why are you in such a damn hurry anyway? Just enjoy this.
After filling up on waffles, bagels, pastries, and all the carbs we could consume, it was time to pack. It only took me ten minutes to be ready to go. Billy however, took an hour. It was a trying lesson in patience on my part. I jokingly offered to help with my arms crossed while tapping my foot. Typical woman, I know.
Although we got off to a much later start than I desired, I was still enjoying having someone to ride with. Especially, someone that made me smile.
We had lots of rain of course, and I was trying not to be in a bad mood. I was still having anxiety about getting to Vancouver at a reasonable hour after several of Billys 30 minute breaks at every fuel-up. But with him having me constantly laughing and smiling, I learned to enjoy the entire day taking my time. It was good for me to slow down and share the ride instead of dwelling on everything else that really didnt matter.
We turned onto the Sea to Sky Highway and I was blown away by the change of terrain. I suddenly felt I was back in Wyoming with rocky dry mountains surrounding a deep winding canyon.
This section of my trip was by far one of my favorites. Unfortunately, it was raining for the majority of it. But, if I were to revisit any road on my trip, this would be one of the first, along with the Denali Highway and Icefields Parkway.
I remember reading about this road in The Milepost when I was route planning.
CAUTION: Northbound travelers expect 13 to 14 percent grades, some of the steepest in British Colombias road system, next several miles . . . is steep and narrow with several hairpin turns.
I knew this was a must-ride-road. Those words are like porn for any motorcycle enthusiast. This is how it was translated in my brain.
ATTENTION MOTORCYCLISTS: Badass road ahead. Dont miss this ride.
It poured down rain on us as we ascended and descended the steep and twisty curves along the canyon of the Fraser River. It felt like the most technical road I had been on and I was getting nervous. My visor kept fogging up making it impossible to see and judge the turns, so I asked Billy to lead giving me lights to follow. I felt very fortunate to have a riding companion here.
We stopped for a late lunch in Lillooet. Its a cute town perched above the river and we found a little Greek restaurant to dry out in. I devoured an amazing salad and half a rotisserie chicken thinking once again, I would never have stopped here had I been riding alone.
I looked at Billy and said, Dont cry Billy, but Im really going to miss you. Then I spit water in his face with my endearing impression of a cherub fountain I have a habit of doing only with people I really like. I choked on my own spit in laughter. We got a few strange looks from the owners after that.
After lunch we stopped for fuel before leaving town and the sun popped out for a bit. Within moments another group of riders rolled in and every pump was taken by a motorcycle. It was a great sight to see.
Before long the group of riders had surrounded me asking questions about the Radian and where I was from. They were all dumbfounded an old bike like that could make it all the way to Alaska. I think they were more astounded to see a chick riding solo. They neglected to notice my riding companion.
One of the guys asked to take my photograph. He said he wanted to show his wife that girls can ride too. I bet you dont get a lot of pictures of yourself riding solo. He asked if he could email it to me provided I emailed him back when I returned home safely. He was ecstatic when he received that email four months later.
Billy teased me as we were leaving, Figures the CHICK riding back from Alaska would get all the attention.
Yea well, you have a GS.
The remainder of the day the rain subsided. While riding along the Lillooet Range I couldnt stop thinking about the astonishment of the guys at the gas station. I had covered 8000 miles in four weeks. That sounded crazy to say out loud. But it didnt feel that way. It felt like no big deal, like anyone could do that.
It was reassuring what I felt was sheer ignorance, insanity, and stubbornness, others saw as incredulity.
We rode through Whistler and Squamish, two areas I wish I had more time to explore in. It seems like the outdoor capital of the world offering rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and camping in the summers and skiing in the winters. The mountains there are magnificent, especially for motorcycling.
Billy and I stopped in Horseshoe Bay for fuel and to say our goodbyes. I was sad to lose my riding partner, but I knew Id see him again in California. We hugged and I shook his hand like a man and said, Until we meet again.
I didnt get to my hosts house in North Vancouver until 9:30. His name is Jules, originally from South Africa, and he is a friend of a friend in Virginia that offered to let me stay during the course of my externship at the Aquarium. He introduced me to his girlfriend Jean, two other house mates Julian and Cliff, and Bonny the house owner.
I felt very welcomed and immediately comfortable with everyones hospitality. It was a beautiful large house and I was to have my own room. I even had two packages waiting for me; a box I packed at home and had my mom send of all my street clothes and work clothes, and a box with my replacement SPOT I had called about when in Anchorage. I just hope this one works, now that Im done with the remotest part of my trip.
While unpacking and trying to figure out how I was going to get to the Aquarium, bike or bus, I received a message from the technician I was to train with. She said to not come until Tuesday, something had come up.
I was relieved I was to have an extra day to sleep in and find my way around Vancouver before starting work immediately. This would give me time to learn my travel route and stock up on some food.
I was a little self conscience about one thing however. I hadnt done any laundry in ten days. I asked Jules if I could start a load even though it was late, and he said, Just make yourself at home, anything you need.
I have no doubt I was carrying a stench around with me and didnt want to ask if they noticed.
Jules offered to show me around the city tomorrow and suggested I take the bus. Traffic was terrible he said, and I shouldnt risk it on the bike. I suggested we take the bus to a brewery.
I rested comfortably feeling it will be nice to be in one place for a little while; having my own room, my real clothes, working and learning. My anxiety had left me. My sadness had left me. I was excited to explore the city on foot. I was excited to start work at the Aquarium. I was excited to go to a brewery.
(This was such a beautiful ride and I'm sad I don't have more pictures, damn rain.)
I didn't know about that Sea to Sky highway...I'll have to check it out.
Damn...wish this was live...I live on the 12th floor of a building right on Stanley park in Vancouver over looking the aquarium...I would have taken you everywhere :)...your report was, and is, in the top 5% of ADVRider's road reports I have read...and I have read a lot! Honestly if you condensed this into a report you could submit this to Outside magazine and it would be a feature...if you could continue to write at this level with your honesty and realism you could be the best writer they have ever had! I salute you...I respect you...and, most importantly, I think you are awesome!!!! You Rock Anna!! And your brother was right there with you...Awesome!!
The ride on Hwy 99 from just north of Cache Creek, BC to Vancouver, BC is spectacular.
I made the ride up and back from California on my GS WITH A BUDDY, and thought I had done something worthwhile. Here's a youngster on a much longer ride, on a bike that wasn't really designed for the Alaska carnage, doing it alone.
This is a well-written tale of gumption, grit and grime.. definitely fodder to warm the heart of any ADV rider.
Here's a link to our RR from the '09 ride up.
The Great Ride North.
We rode a lot of the same territory, as would say anyone who has made the ride, but each one's experience is different.
..and as a post script, pay no mind to those who are clamor for more updates. We did a frikkin ROLLING ride report, and guys were getting mad if we didn't post up every day...no matter that there was no wi-fi or phone half the time up there. Do it as it comes to you! This whole thing is priceless.
Good on ya, Ruff. Keep it upright.
We went in August.. LOTS of rain. WIND and rain. HAIL and rain. Effin' RAIN and RAIN. But.. we had fun
The Great Ride North.
Great ride, great writing, great heart. Found this RR a few days ago and just caught up. I don't post much but felt obliged to give you credit for a special RR.
I just spent all evening reading this, it was a great evening.
This is a most excellent ride report and expression of grieving and of healing. To truly comprehend it's depth it would take a like experience as Anna's in her loss, and as many reading this thread, myself included in the loss of my son. The ship of life we sail in is made up of our dear friends and loved ones. There's no replacing friends like these. We're just grateful to have made our journey in their company. And the beauty of this is, that it's not for us to judge what is a full life, or how long it should have been. The reality is, they lived a full life and we're all the better for having known them. That this RR report expresses to me.
Be safe in your journey Ruff and thanks for sharing it with us.
EXCELLENT RIDER REPORT!!! i'm finally caught up....
Thank you for all the efforts in writing this, it was really fun and interesting and emotional to read. Great adventure by a brave young woman. Can't wait to hear about the next 10k miles
My old hood. Learned to ride there too.
I say we get a donation together so she can keep riding and writing!
Wow, awesome report. 150k views, if everyone gave a dollar she would be set for the RTW trip (and report). I'd read it. This report caught my eye because of the Radian from VA bit. I bought my 86 blue radian in 88 for $1600 and sold it for $1000 ten years later.
I told her I would donate $100 to get the ball rolling if she puts up a donate button. She really wants to do South America. I'm sure all of you want to see that as much as I do.