Canada to Los Angeles on a Tiger 800XCx

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by V1ROT8, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Canada
    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been following this forum for a while and always enjoyed reading about other riders’ trips and adventures. Although I’m an experienced traveler, I am a new rider and taking on a “long distance” motorcycle trip was quite challenging, but with the advice of friends as well as countless tips from this form, I was able to organize and experience a solo adventure that I will never forget.

    In May / June of 2018 I rode my Triumph Tiger 800XCx from Winnipeg, Canada to Los Angeles, California, on to Seattle Washington, then Vancouver, BC and eventually back to my (then) home in the Canadian Prairies. The trip was 24 days, from June 16 to June 8, 2018. I rode more than 10,300 km (6,400 miles) through 9 States and 4 provinces: Manitoba, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

    My actual route:
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    As a result I’ve decided to share this trip with everyone here in the hopes that I inspire others that are thinking of doing something similar. I hope you’ll be patient with my many photos and hopefully accurate recollections. I will split it in two parts. Part 1 covering my trip from Winnipeg to Los Angeles and Part 2 the return trip via Seattle, Vancouver BC and the Canadian Rockies.

    I’ve always wanted an adventure bike and honestly, my dream bike was the BMW R1200GSA, but that was a little too pricey for my taste, so I decided to buy the BMW F800GS. I visited a number of dealers in different cities and although I liked the “Beamer”, it was a bit too tall for me (176 cm / 5’9”) and I would’ve had to lower it a bit. Also, it didn’t have cruise control and all the luggage, etc. were extra.

    While at a dealership in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan I also saw the Tiger 800XCx. That was going to be my 2nd choice, after seeing it at a dealer, earlier in the year, near Oxford UK. In the end the Tiger 800 made a lot more sense and it came with all the extras “included”. Cruise control, heated grips (added on for free), side and top cases, WP suspension, engine crash plate, crash bars, etc. Also it fit perfectly for my height and the “triple” engine was amazing. On top of that, I loved its look and instantly fell in love with it. I just had to have.

    The day I picked up my brand new Triumph Tiger 800XCx, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (April 2018)
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    Back to the trip... Originally I was going to do a shorter trip, to Utah, about 10 – 14 days, then fly to Europe and meet with my wife and daughter, who spent 4 weeks there visiting family. In the end my wife suggested that it would be pointless to fly to Europe for 1 week and in her words “Don’t stress, just enjoy your trip and we’ll go to Europe together another time”. The truth is, we travel a lot. Last year in Feb we spent 10 days in Oxford UK and before that I went to Australia, Ireland, Germany, Austria etc. It helps when we (“more or less”) fly for free. My job gives me that perk so we take advantage of it as much as we can.

    Second week of May the girls flew to Europe for some well-deserved R&R after which I turned my undivided attention to planning out the details of the trip... sort of...


    Even though I still had a week until I would leave on my trip, I actually had to work 4 of those days, which left me with just enough time for last minute plans and purchases. I spent the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of May flying all over Central and Western Canada. I finished my pairing in Calgary, after which dead-headed back home to Winnipeg, extremely eager to get on with my adventure.

    Last day at the office, prior to the trip:
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    Last leg before vacation time. I took this pic in Castlegar, BC. Remember this place, because it will come up again toward the end of the report:
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    The next two days at home, I bought a sleeping mattress, portable stove, portable coffee press and some other small camping supplies. I experimented with a few packing options, focusing on the bikes weight and balance. I tried to bring as little as possible, but that’s something everyone has an opinion on. Considering I was going to spend the next 24 days on this trip, I had to pack accordingly.

    I had a tank bag, two side cases, one top case, and a large yellow dry bag. Here’s what put in each:

    Tank bag: passport, wallet, phone, ear plugs, small photo camera, sun glasses, gum, etc.
    Top case: clothes (jeans, tshirts, shirts, undergarments, socks, etc), my iPad mini, chargers.
    Left side case: motorcycle clothes, rain gear, motorcycle cover, alarm, some basic bike tools
    Right case: camping cooking gear, shoes, toiletries, and some miscellaneous stuff
    Dry bag: tent, inflatable mattress, sleeping bag, sleeping pillow and a tarp.


    The three side cases / top case each had a maximum load of 5 kgs (11 lbs), which I didn’t think it was much. The dry bag seemed huge, but it was very light. I decided to compromise volume / space for comfort. Half that dry bag was occupied by the mattress, which was an awesome 10cm (4 inches) thick. It was so comfortable that I didn’t know the difference between my bed at home and my bed on the road.


    The general bike set up, minus the straps:
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    Wed. May 16, 2018 – Winnipeg MB, Canada to Fargo, North Dakota

    The adventure begins:

    On the morning of Wednesday, May 16th,, 2018 I woke up super excited, just like a kid on Christmas morning. I had everything ready from the night before, so after eating a quick breakfast, showering and making sure everything in our apartment was left in order. I took the elevator to the underground parkade, where I loaded my Triumph with the three cases, dry bag and tank bag. I also attached an inflatable Air Hawk “seat” to the saddle, which proved an arse saver on the long trip.

    The goal that day was to ride from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Fargo, North Dakota, where I had my first appointment for an initial oil change / service at Legendary Motorsports. I was happy that the weather cooperated. Although a bit chilly, it was very sunny and almost no wind . This was the only day that I would be pressed for time, since I had to make it to the dealership by 2pm. I rode about 115 km from my home to the United States border in Emerson MB / Pembina, ND. At the border, the officer asked me where I was going and how long I’d be in the USA. He was quite impressed to hear that I would plan to ride all the way to Los Angeles. After checking my documents he wished me a safe ride and I started my US portion of trip. I changed my odometer from KMs to miles and started riding toward Grand Forks, the first major city before my destination.


    Welcome to North Dakota, Unites States of America:
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    By the time I arrived in Fargo, the temperature was almost 30*C (86*F). It was extremely hot, but I was quite stubborn to remove my gear. I’m very adamant about riding with full gear on. Having worked as an air ambulance pilot for many years, I’ve witnessed first hand what improper / no gear can do to a human body. Unless I’d pass out from heat, I’d wear my boots, pants, strike vest, jacket, helmet and gloves.


    After a 2 hour stop at the dealer, the oil change / service was complete I stopped at the grocery store where I bought a few things to eat and a 6 pack of beer. I then rode to Lindenwood Park in Fargo, on the banks of the Red River (North Dakota / Minnesota border), where I would spend my first night of the trip; camping.

    I set up my tent, mattress, bag and got my bike ready for its first night outdoors. An awesome phone APP that came in very hand was the WeatherBUG app. I used it quite often, in conjunction to some aviation weather sites to stay on top of the weather forecast and avoid any issues. The forecast that night called for intermittent rain with a possible thunderstorm. Not ideal but I was prepared.

    Tent / bike at night in Fargo, ND:
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    The campsite in Fargo:
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    Thurs. May 17, 2018 – Fargo, North Dakota to Madison, South Dakota

    I woke up the next morning with the sound of raindrops hitting my tent / tarp. “Crap” I thought. “Oh well, it’s an adventure”. Once the rain stopped, I quickly packed up my things, loaded them on the bike and decided to leave Fargo ASAP. A big thunderstorm was coming that way and I had no intention of being caught up in it. I briefly stopped to get some breakfast and buy a SIM card for my phone, so I wouldn’t have to pay the absurd roaming charges my Canadian provider would charge me in the US. It even came with a nice ND number and free international minutes. I managed to get a quick call with the wife and kid in Europe and then started heading South on Interstate 29, toward Sioux Falls, trying to dodge the monster cell I was mentioning earlier.


    Entering South Dakota:
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    Once I was sure I’d be clear of the weather, I got off the highway and started riding the roads of rural America. I may be one of the few people that actually enjoy the Prairies. The endless farmland, with its farms, equipment, pick-up trucks, etc has a beauty about them. I loved every second of it. I continued toward Watertown, where I stopped to buy a small can of chain lube and then continued on toward the first “major destination”: South Dakota Badlands.

    The American Midwest:
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    Of course, I was still a long way from there, so doing it in one day was out of the question. The goal today is to ride as much as I can, while enjoying the beautiful weather, because once again, the evening would bring thunderstorms and hail. I rode South toward Arlington SD and eventually made it to Madison, SD. Camping was going to be out of the question tonight. It was calling for severe weather. I decided to play it safe and get a motel for the night. I ended up at the local Super 8, with a nice ground floor room. I was able to park my bike under the entrance roof the motel, where it would be protected from the hail. As I was enjoying my beer in my hotel room, watching TV the much anticipated thunderstorm and hail started coming down like mad. I was very glad I made this decision and well worth the $60USD I paid for the room.

    Fri. May 18, 2018 – Madison, South Dakota to Badlands National Park

    By morning, the next day, the most of weather systems were gone and the forecast for the day was going to be mostly sunny with a slight chance of rain. I packed the bike and started heading West on Highway 34, passing through the towns of Howard, Rosewell, Woonsocket and Fort Thompson. The ride was simply stunning and I enjoyed every minute of it.

    Highway 34:
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    Woonsocket, SD, where I stopped for a quick break and lunch:
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    At Fort Thompson I took route 47 and got on the Interstate 90, riding West until route 240 toward Badlands National Park. I arrived there midafternoon to sky full of puffy cumulus clouds, the sun lighting up patches of the park. After I paid the fee, I rode through it as slowly as I possibly could, taking in every sight, smell and view. I stopped often to take photos and enjoy the geological marvel that lay before me. I met a few people along the way, including fellow motorcycle rider, bicycle touring adventurers (another hobby of mine), and lots of people with RVs or just doing a good ol’ fashion “American Roadtrip”. I stopped the main park office which was closed by now. A park ranger told me that I could camp in the park, but I’d have to leave cash in an envelope... at that point I decided I’d keep going. Although I wanted to stay I realized I didn’t have any US Dollars with me. I wasn’t in a hurry to get any, since I figured I could pay everything with my credit card. You could, but not after hours. Instead I decided to leave the park and go to a nearby KOA campground. There was one just outside the park, with lots of good amenities. It turns out it was pretty quiet, so I got a site close to the main building to get good connection to the internet. I wanted to Skype with my wife and little girl in Europe.


    Entering Badlands National Park:
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    Badlands National Park:
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    Badlands National Park:
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    Badlands National Park:
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    That afternoon I unpacked my tent, set up my mattress, sleeping bag, etc and used my portable stove for the first time. I made some boiled bratwursts with cheese, mustard and of course, beer. I retired to my tent, checked my messages, watched a few episodes of Star Trek and fell asleep. Day 3 was fantastic. If this was a taste of things to come, this trip would be far above and beyond what I expected.


    My 10 cm / 4 inch Thermarest MondoKing 3D. I highly recommend it, if you’re not too concerned about its bulkiness. It’s actually quite light in weight.
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    Sat. May 19, 2018 – Badlands National Park to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

    I woke up the next morning, took a “nice” cold shower and called my girls in Europe. After chatting with them I slowly started packing up my camping gear and loading it back on the bike. This was probably the “worst” part of the trip; the packing / unpacking / packing thing. It took me about an hour every time from putting back the tent, disinflating the mattress, strapping the dry bag on the bike, dressing up in my gear. etc. None the less, it was fun. I had my BOSE wireless speaker, so I put on some good tunes, had coffee and made the best of it. I


    After leaving the KOA campground, I started heading toward Rapid City, South Dakota via the backroads. It got a bit chilly, so I had to wear my mask and add the under layers of my riding gear. I had a slight scare at one point, almost running out of gas, but just in the nick of time, a gas station pooped up and the day was saved.

    I didn’t stop in Rapid City, but continued on to Mount Rushmore, hoping to get there before it was too dark. I did stop an hour or so, for lunch, in Keystone, SD, an old town from the days of American Exploration. I really enjoyed it there and that’s where I met some fellow riders from Canada on a weeklong trip to South Dakota.

    Leaving the Badlands area:
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    Keystone, South Dakota:
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    That afternoon I arrived at Mount Rushmore under an overcast sky. I purchased the tickets for the National Memorial. As a European, having lived in Canada most of my life, I’ve always been fascinated with the might and grandeur of United States of America. They sure know how to make things “BIG” and the stone sculptures of President(s) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln is awe inspiring. You can’t help but try to imagine what these men were like; men that shaped America and as a result the modern world. You’ll hear me say this often in this report “I highly recommend it”. Well simply put: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.


    Mount Rushmore National Memorial:
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    After taking in the sites of the Memorial, I mad my way back to the bike and decided to find a place to call it a night. By this time, it was getting chilly. The forecast would be a low of +4*C (40*F), which is not exactly comfortable in a tent. None the less, I was not going to spend my money on hotel, so I decided to camp. When I arrived at the KOA Mount Rushmore I found out that they had heated cabins available for about $15 more than the campsite. It was a no brainer. Why would I “freeze” when I could have a nice comforting good night sleep. I opted for the cabin and off I went.

    By now I started getting into a routine: unload the bike, crack open a beer, unpack, dress in some comfortable jogging pants, cook food and find an activity to do. It was getting dark so I just drank my beer, listened to music and chatted up with some nice folks that were in the adjacent cabin. I called it a night pretty late, a little tired, but extremely satisfied of yet another awesome day.

    Inside the cabin:
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    Trying to cook some chilly and having a “few” cold IPAs:
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    Sun. May 20, 2018 – Mount Rushmore, South Dakota to Fort Collins, Colorado

    The next morning I woke up, surprisingly late. I made some breakfast, eggs, beans and coffee. I packed up the Tiger and off I went, riding through the phenomenal Black Hills National Forrest.

    The cabin and the Tiger:
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    I stopped in Custer SD for lunch, but mostly spent my day riding, taking photos and takin in the sites. I left South Dakota and entered Wyoming, a wild and barren landscape, compared to the lush green views of the Black Hills had to offer. For dinner, I stopped in a small town in Wyoming, having a burger, fries and a diet Coke (typical junk food) but I didn’t have much choice. The place was a “biker” dive bar, its washroom filled with cutouts of old nudie magazines from the 80s. It was awesome. The old lady bartender was quite nice and as I was her only client at the time, she took the time to chat with me about her life and a little bit about mine. She was working two jobs and taking care of two children she took in after their mom overdosed on drugs and passed away. A pretty sad story, but at the same time, one that shows the generosity and kindness of every day Americans. I gave her a nice tip (probably the largest tip I ever gave anyone) and left.

    Leaving the Black Hills, SD. The flat land is Wyoming:
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    Dressing up for the cold evening temperature, lingering slightly above freezing. The heated grips were now worth “their weight in gold”:
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    I kept riding that day and oddly enough made it into Fort Collins, Colorado. The altitude and the proximity of the Rocky Mountains was starting to take their toll on the temperature. It got quite chilly in the evening, with temperatures not too much above freezing. One again I ended up at the local KOA. By the time I set up my tent, it was already dark. I was exhausted. This time, without eating or having even a beer I passed out and slept till next morning.


    Mon. May 21, 2018 – Fort Collins, Colorado to Estes Park, Colorado (the long way)
    I woke up in the morning absolutely freezing. I dressed a bit warmer and somehow fell back asleep. I guess the constant riding over the last days have taken up their toll on me. I just wanted to sleep... That I did, but eventually I had to get up and vacate my camping spot. I got out of my tent and I was greeted by a stunning view of the lake adjacent to where I’ve set up my camp area.

    Freezing my arse off. Note the BMW tuque :
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    My campsite:
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    Nice view of the lake:
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    After breakfast, a quick shower, packing and so on, it was afternoon already. I wasn’t in the mood to ride to much today, so I decided to stick around the area. Someone recommended that I go to Estes Park and spend a night there. I looked it up online and ended up doing exactly that.

    I set up on my bike and headed South toward Denver, without actually getting there and at Longmont, Colorado I headed West to Lyons and kept on route 36 all the way to Estes Park. The road was amazing. It was my first time riding a motorcycle in the mountains and the “twisties” were amazing. The traffic was someone busy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I really got a feel for how well the Tiger 800XCx handles. One thing about me, I hate speeding, even more so on a motorcycle. For me it’s about the trip and the sights. I stayed on the speed limit and I never once had to worry about cops or being pulled over. Why? because I didn’t break the law. Pretty straight forward.

    I made to Estes Park in the afternoon and drove to the center street, parked the bike and went for a nice stroll. It was full of tourists. I could only imagine how this place is in July or August. It must be packed.

    Entering Estes Park, Colorado:
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    Stunning view of the Rocky Mountains:
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    Stunning view of the Rocky Mountains:
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    After taking in the sights, a lot of which reminded me of Banff, Alberta, Canada. I went to the grocery store where I picked up some food and what I thought was Bud Light Lime. To my disappointment, I found out too late that it was actually can size margaritas. How the hell could I make such a mistake? Oh well, booze is booze. I wasn’t going back to return it. It was pretty hot this day, in contrast to the previous evening when I was freezing, so a cooler was okay. I set up my tent and met up for drinks with a cool lady and her stepson, doing a bike trip across America, from the East Coast to Vegas.

    Estes Park, being a fairly touristy place, I ended up meeting lots of cool people. There was a group of young ladies doing a road trip to California and a couple of cool dudes from Israel, also on a long (car) road trip across the US. All of us ended up partying and having a good time.

    Before going to bed I “barricaded” myself in for the night, as a large thunderstorm was brewing to the South of us. It ended up passing by us. We heard the thunder and saw the lightning, but no rain came.
    #1
  2. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Canada
    Tue. May 22, 2018 – Estes Park, Colorado to Aspen Colorado (via Denver)

    The next morning I woke up, again the more or less “routine” (shower, pack, etc), however this morning I was too lazy to cook breakfast and make coffee so I decided to go to McDonalds and have some food there. I’m not a fan of McD’s but their coffee is borderline acceptable. (by American standards). Once there, as I was having breakfast, this dude pulls up in his BMW, fully loaded and parks beside my bike. Of course I had to talk to him. He was Argentinian, living in Atlanta and going to LA. We chatted a bit and he asked me where I was going.

    My campsite in Estes Park, Colorado:
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    The plan was to go Moab, Utah from there, but not before stopping in Denver to see some of the sights and buying a phone charger for my motorcycle at the Triumph Dealer in Denver (I know, nobody else had it... It’s odd). The guy, we’ll call him “R” told me that there’s no way I’d make it to Moab in a single day. He was headed to Aspen, Colorado, via some back roads and suggest I go there too. My tires are not made for off road and I clearly lack the experience for something so advanced, so I told him I’d meet up with him in Aspen. He gave me his number and I gave him mine and decided we’d meet up for beers in Aspen. I’d take the roads, he’d take the awesome challenging trails.

    My bike and R’s BMW.
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    As I was leaving the parking lot, an inattentive driver literally cut me off and I lost my balance, tipping the bike over. No issue. I bumped my leg a bit and had to take everything off the bike so I can lift it off again. As a result one of the front indicator covers snapped in half, but I was able to put it back together and tape it. I was more pissed off about the time I lost, more than anything else. Oh well, it’s all part of the experience I guess.

    I made my way toward Denver, stopped at the Foothills BMW / Triumph Motorcycles, bought the phone charger / adapter and also got a RAM mount for my iPhone. I now had a “proper” GPS, something that I knew would come in handy in Los Angeles.

    I made my way Westbound on Interstate 70 from Colorado toward Glenwood Springs and eventually to Aspen. I ended up climbing to an altitude of over 11,000 feet (3350 meters) above sea level, through the Eisenhower Tunnel, considered one of the engineering marvels of United States. The “Tiger” performed flawlessly, never skipping a beat, fully loaded and with me on top of it. As I increased in elevation, the temperature dropped considerably. Clear skies turned to clouds, then to rain and eventually snow, none of which (thankfully) accumulated on the road. I kept on pushing riding on the Interstate and enjoying the views. I had to remind myself a few times to pay more attention to the road and less on the scenery. I passed through Georgetown, Silverthorne, Vail and Glenwood Canyon, a ride that will forever be ingrained in my mind. Simply stunning.

    En route to Aspen:
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    Vail, Colorado:
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    Glenwood Canyon:
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    Once I reached Glenwood Springs, Colorado, I got off the main Interstate and headed South on Route 82 toward Aspen. Once there, I was supposed to call my new friend “R” and meet up with him for beers. I wasn’t sure where I would end up that night, so first I would have to find a campsite. As I was riding toward Aspen, around Woody Creek, guess who passes me? It was “R” on his “Beemer”. We pulled over to the side, talked about our day and our day / ride: (his was a lot more epic than mine, but I was still quite satisfied with the route I took. How could you not?). Anyway, he told me he’s staying at a hostel so I’d be more than welcome to see if there are any rooms available there.

    We ended up riding the rest of day into Aspen, getting there shortly before nightfall. The hostel did have extra rooms, so I also ended up staying there for the night. We parked our bikes, unloaded our stuff, I took a quick shower and then we both went out for something to eat and drink. It wasn’t very busy in Aspen and prices were... well it’s Aspen, but we had a good time, met some cool people, drank quite a bit and eventually made our way back to the hostel, St. Moritz Lodge.


    Wed. May 23, 2018 – Aspen Colorado to Moab, Utah


    The next morning we decided to ride together to Moab, Utah. We would take the “long” but scenic way and “R” told me that I can set the pace and he’d follow in behind. We had breakfast that morning in Aspen and then we hopped on our bikes. For the next 8 or so hours, we rode through some epic scenery. These pictures don’t even do it justice.


    My bike and R’s bike in front of the breakfast place, Aspen, Colorado:
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    We rode from Aspen to Carbondale, Crystal River, Hotchkiss, Delta, Gateway, eventually Moab. The scenery changed almost instantly passing from Colorado into Utah. From rocky peaks and lush forests, it went to mesas and desert. The weather was spectacular and the scenery equally satisfying.

    Colorado Rockies:
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    Great riding roads in Colorado:
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    Stopping for Gas in Colorado:
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    First stop in Utah:
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    The Utah landscape. My beard was also getting a little rough, since I have not shaved for the entire trip:
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    On our way to Moab:
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    We finally got into Moab, Utah, late in the afternoon. It was hotter than sh*t but I still refused to take off my gear. I stayed true to “I rather be hot than have road rash” philosophy. This would not last the entire trip. Heat “did win” in the end. At this point we were both starving, so we went to a restaurant and ate right away. We tried looking for a place to stay, but oddly enough, even though it was not peak season it was very hard to find accommodations. Once again KOA came to the rescue and we ended up camping just outside of town. It wasn’t cheap either. We ended up having some beers at the campsite and talked out lives, his time in South America, my time in Europe, our wives / girlfriends, career and obviously abut riding motorcycles. He had a lot of experience, I, not so much, but I was eager to listen and learn.

    Moab Grill, Utah:
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    Thu. May 24, 2018 – Moab, Utah to Mexican Hat, Utah (“via” Canyonlands National Park)


    I woke up the next morning and “R” was already packing up his tent. I made some coffee and had a quick breakfast then we said our goodbyes and he ended up going his way and I was going my way. He wanted to spend a few days in Moab, riding the trails and such and I was going to head South, toward Monument Valley. Cool dude. We still keep in touch via Instagram and FB messenger and next time I’ll be in his area, we’ll go riding together. He has since bought a brand new R1200GSA (my dream bike) so lots of places to bring that bad boy.


    “R” saying goodbye:
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    After “R” left, showered, packed, you know the routine and left Moab to go ride around Canyonlands National Park. At this point, I wish I had some better tires to do some epic off roading, but in retrospect, it was a good thing. I need to gain more experience before attempting those.

    As I mentioned before, the heat was unbearable. I said “screw the jacket”, I’ll take my chances, so I rode with just a thin shirt and my striker vest. It was either that or pass out from the heat, which was now over +30*C (86*F). I rode Northwest, then turned SoutWest, eventually entering the park. I purchased a pass and spent about 3 hours riding around the park. It was great. Lots of tourists, lots of bikers, but not busy enough to be a bother. I then backtracked back to Moab and continued South, toward Mexican Hat, Utah.

    This is Canyonlands National Park:
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    After leaving the park, riding South toward Mexican Hat, Utah:
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    I ended up in Mexican Hat pretty late. It was almost dark. It has been a long hot day, and all I wanted to was drink a cold beer and sleep. I was so exhausted that in the (dirt) parking lot of the motel I ended up staying at I lost my balance on some loose sand and I dropped the bike, snapping the end of the front brake lever. I was a little pissed off at that, but such is life. I unpacked my stuff, brought it to my room and went for dinner and beer. That made it all better. Tomorrow would be another day. Despite the small mishap, it was yet another day for the (memory) books. I could only imagine what the next day would bring...


    Fri. May 25, 2018 – Mexican Hat, Utah to Williams, AZ (via Monument Valley)


    The next morning I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle today’s challenge. Monument Valley and beyond. Little did I know that the day would start great, become epic and end in a bit of disappointment; but just a bit.

    After packing up my gear, making sure the brake lever still worked and the bike did actually stop, I hopped on the bike and continued toward a fairly famous place in United States; Monument Valley, on the Utah / Arizona border. Just South of Mexican hat, there is this place called “Forrest Gump point”. For those of you that have seen the movie, starring Tom Hanks, you can recall the scene where Forrest is running around America. At one point he’s somewhere in a desert with an epic background behind him. He stops, turns around toward his followers (fellow runners) and sais something along the lines: “I’m pretty tired now. I’d like to go home”. Well, I did stop at that point and it did not disappoint. :D (is that a pun?)


    Forrest Gump Point, Utah:
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    At this point, you can see the beautiful scenery of Monument Valley, but you’re not actually in the park. I kep riding through Navajo County and eventually entered the park. From what I understand, the park is not a National or State Park, but it’s on indigenous Navajo land and administered by the Navajo people. The fee was fair and I spent a good couple of hours taking in the breathtaking views from the Visitor’s Center.


    On my way to the park:
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    Panoramic view of Monument Valley:
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    As you can imagine, lots of tourists there, from all over the world. I’ve me Americans, Japanese, Dutch, Columbians, etc. I ended up having lunch and a non alcoholic beer and chatting with a really nice couple from Holland, on vacation to the USA. Shortly after, I left the park and started heading somewhere in the direction of California. My plane was to get as far as possible, before nightfall.


    A nice spot South of Monument Valley:
    [​IMG]


    The most logical thing would have been to make my way to the Grand Canyon. I didn’t want to do it, for two reasons. First of all, my wife and I spent 3 days there in Oct 2017, when we a RV Trip form Phoenix, AZ. to San Francisco, via Sedona, Grand Canyon, Mojave Desert, Pismo Beach CA and Big Sur, CA. On top of that, it was a bit out of my way. Instead I pushed South, toward Flagstaff, Arizona. I was going to spend the night there and then make my way to California the following day.

    The ride was really cool, but once I arrived in Flagstaff, I realized it was Memorial Day weekend (May 25 – 28) and everyone was out camping / partying. Oh crap! I must’ve tried about 5 campsites and hotels in the area and everything was booked solid. “That’s it. I’m sleeping in a park tonight”. Eventually I made my way out of the city and ended up finding a motel in Williams, Arizona. I was exhausted but happy I had a warm bed. That night I fell asleep without eating or drinking anything. I was OUT!


    Sat. May 26, 2018 – Williams, AZ to Lake Havasu City, AZ


    I woke up, well rested and eager to get back on the road. I was going to make it to California. Keeping in mind it was Memorial Day Weekend, I had to plan ahead and settle for accommodations early in the day, avoiding the misfortune to ride at night, looking for lodging.


    I made my way from Williams to Kingman, riding through some pretty hot and windy conditions, via Seligman, Hackberry and so on on Route 66. I’ve met a lot of bikers, mostly German and French, riding rented Harleys. I even met a fella that suggested I trade my Triumph for his (rented) Harley. He said it was a nice bike, but it rattled too much and he missed his BMW R1200GSA he had back in Germany. It turned out he was a pilot for Lufthansa Cityline (Regional carrier in Germany) and I told him I was a pilot for Air Canada Express, which is more or less the same thing. He flew an Embraer 190 jet, which is a little bigger and fancier than the 50 seat Dash 8 that I fly. That’s what I love about these trips. You never know who you’re going to meet.


    Somewhere on Route 66:
    [​IMG]

    Route 66:
    [​IMG]

    Kingman, AZ:
    [​IMG]


    Passed Kingman, AZ, near Franconia, on Interstate 40, I stopped at a gas station to fill up and grab some water for the road. A gentleman beside me asked me where I was going. I told him Los Angeles and he asked “Have you heard of the London Bridge? You gotta go see it. It’s pretty close by. Go check it out”

    Well a bridge brought from UK to America? That I have to see. Sure enough I make my way to a place I have never heard of before “Lake Havasu City”. Once I go there, something in my mind clicked “America... Lake... Desert... Memorial Day.... boats... topless chicks.... booze?”. I’ve heard of this place before. Actually I’ve seen this place somewhere; Youtube? I just never knew where it was or what it was called. It doesn’t matter. I was here on Memorial Day weekend and that was pretty fun. Good luck finding a place to stay.


    As I rode into Lake Havasu City, I rode by the airport. It was packed with parked business jets of all sizes. I imagine most of these are from the LA area. The city was in a general state of party. I made it by the London Bridge and parked my bike and decided to go for a non alcoholic drink and figure out where I’m going to stay (if I’m going to stay), and if not, where to go. Between Lake Havasu City and Los Angeles, there aren’t that many exciting places to stay. It’s mostly desert.

    None the less, I decided to try my luck. I ended up at Crazy Horse Campgrounds and to my pleasant surprise, he still had some “beach side” sites available, for the low price of $85 USD per night. Of course... It’s Memorial Day Weekend. I took it instantly. I rode to the grocery store, picked up some food, some beer and came back to the site and set up my tent. The beach was packed. A lot of people were already extremely inebriated.


    London Bridge, in Lake Havasu City:
    [​IMG]


    Party all day / all night... Reminded me of that song by Catalan DJ Sak Noel “Loca People”

    “When I came to Spain (in this case, Lake Havasu) and I saw people party
    I told to myself: What the f*ck!?
    All day, all night
    All day, all night
    Viva la fiesta, viva la noche
    Viva los DJ's
    I couldn't believe what I was living
    So I called my friend Johnny
    And I said to him: Johnny,
    La gente esta muy loca,
    What the f*ck!?”


    It’s a good song, look it up on YouTube.

    Anyway more Lake Havasu City:
    [​IMG]

    I set up my tent secured my belongings the best I could and quickly made friends with some people nearby. They were from Las Vegas and came here to party for the weekend. Needless to say it was pretty cool, meeting lots of people, listening to music and having a few drinks. I was offered a few other “enjoyments”, but due to the sensitive nature of my job / career I politely declined. I was fine with cold beer. Memorial Day and Lake Havasu did not disappoint. Within the confines of good taste, and knowing tomorrow would be another day on the saddle, I had an awesome time.


    My bike, near the crowded beach / tent area:
    [​IMG]


    Sun. May 27, 2018 – Lake Havasu, AZ – Los Angeles, California


    That night I actually managed to get about 9 hours of sleep. Ear plugs did wonders for the noise, as I decided to call it in “early” and not pull an “all-nighter” like many people there certainly did.


    I packed up my stuff surprisingly quick and then ended up going to brunch with my two Las Vegas friends. We then parted ways, they went back to the campsite and I started making my way to Los Angeles.


    It was a hot day. Once again, in the 30*C (high 80s F). I rode from Lake Havasu City via Route 62, by Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Pasadena and eventually Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

    Arizona / California border:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Hot day in the desert:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Near North Palm Springs. Some pretty insane crosswinds. I had to really fight to keep control of the bike:
    [​IMG]

    It was such an amazing feeling seeing the Pacific Ocean. I was very proud of myself for making it to my destination and extremely thankful that I got there safe and the bike in perfect working condition.

    Santa Monica:
    [​IMG]


    My Triumph Tiger 800XCx and the beautiful Pacific Ocean in the background:
    [​IMG]


    I’m going to end the first half of my trip here. The second part will cover my trip from Los Angeles up the Pacific Coast to Seattle, WA, on to Vancouver, British Columbia and eventually back home to Winnipeg, via the Canadian Rockies.

    I hope you enjoyed this first part and comments / suggestions are always welcome. I tried my best to cover all the details so something seems odd, bring it to my attention. I’ll try to correct it or elaborate more on it.

    Please come back for Part 2 in the next couple of days:

    Cheers,

    Vio
    #2
    dano619, RevyRider, CA Stu and 12 others like this.
  3. interceptor1972

    interceptor1972 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    298
    Location:
    Lawton, OK
    Excellent adventure and can't wait to read Part 2! Looks like you had a great time!

    Manoj
    #3
    V1ROT8 likes this.
  4. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Canada
    Part 2: Los Angeles to Winnipeg

    Well as promised, here’s the second half of my report. This will cover the portion from Los Angeles back to Manitoba, via the Pacific Coast to Seattle, Vancouver and across the Canadian Rockies and prairies to Winnipeg.


    Mon. May 28, 2018 – Los Angeles area

    As I mentioned before, I made it to Los Angeles the day before and hung around Santa Monica for a bit, then started riding North, trying to find a place to camp for the night. I quickly lost sense of time, enjoying the scenery the Pacific coast had to offer and I found myself around Santa Barbara. I ended up spending the night Cachuma Lake, which is quite far from Los Angeles. Damn, not exactly the “local neighborhood ride”.

    Anyway, on Monday morning, after packing up my gear and bike, I started riding back South toward the LA area, more specific Cypress, a small city beside Anaheim. I was invited by an old school mate to spend a night her place. We planned to meet around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, so that gave me a chance to take enjoy the ride via Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Ventura County, Malibu and Santa Monica, etc.


    My campsite at Cachuma Lake:
    [​IMG]


    Of course, along the way, I ended up stopping and taking many photos, meeting lots of bikers and just sharing stories. They were amazed that I have come all the way from Canada on my motorcycle. One of the guys I met told me about this place Neptune’s Net, where a lot of motorcyclists would meet on the weekends / holidays. I followed him down the coast and ended up hanging around for a couple of hours, having fish, chips and non-alcoholic beer. Of course, a lot of people were interested in my story and my travels from Winnipeg to LA.


    Near Point Mugu, California, heading toward Malibu:
    [​IMG]


    Neptune’s Net:
    [​IMG]


    Fish & Chips + Non Alcoholic Beer (one of the better ones out there)
    [​IMG]


    I eventually left the coast in Santa Monica rode by downtown Los Angeles and South to Cypress. I stopped on my way to my friend’s house to pick up a bottle of whiskey and eventually ended up at their home. It has been 26 years since I’ve seen her. We were actually old school mates in elementary school, back in Europe. We kept in touch over the years and when I’ve heard she actually moved to the US, in Southern California, I promised her I’d pay her a visit when I’d be in the area. Being true to my word, I did just that. We spent an awesome afternoon at their house, having barbeque, beers and hanging out. I met her husband, son and just caught up on old stories. They were awesome hosts.


    Tues. May 29, 2018: Cypress – Los Angeles – Beverly Hills – Hollywood – Malibu - Carpinteria


    The next morning she took me around the area, showing me Cypress and its surroundings. I also ended up going with her and her son to visit Anaheim Police Department. Her boy was to join their “Explorers” program, for young men (age 14 to 21) who are planning to join the police department. It was a very cool experience, having met some very nice officers. I was introduced as “the friend who rode his bike from Canada”, which lead to a few stories and laughs.


    Cypress California:
    [​IMG]


    After lunch, I said goodbye to my friends and rode my motorcycle to one of my favorite places in the Los Angeles area: The In’N’Out burger joint by LAX (airport). It’s an awesome place to enjoy a good burger and of course watch planes land. My number one hobby has been and always will be aviation. Although I’m an airline pilot myself and I’m always around airplanes, I can never get enough of them, and having the chance to “plane spot” at an airport I don’t normally go to is very exciting for me (nerd you say? Yes... I also like Star Trek :p)


    An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 777 on short final to LAX and my Tiger 800.
    [​IMG]


    Another selfie, another 777 at LAX:
    [​IMG]


    The weather was overcast and a little hazy, so not your typical “sunny” Cali. None the less the burger was good, the planes were cool and after a few hours of hanging around LAX, I made my way to Beverly Hills where I rode around, took some photos, had a coffee and couldn’t help think of one of the most popular shows of my generation: “Beverly Hills 90210”.

    I then made my way to Hollywood and up to the Griffith Observatory. It was a very nice view, but you could barely see the Hollywood sign. I was hoping for a shot of it with my bike in the foreground, but that never happened. Oh well, next time, if there will ever be a next time (on the bike) to that area.


    Beverly Hills, California:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Griffith Observatory:
    [​IMG]

    Looking toward Downtown Los Angeles area. You can’t even see it.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Can you spot the Hollywood sign?
    [​IMG]


    That evening, I rode North, hoping to get as far as I can before nightfall. I was hoping to camp in Malibu, at the Malibu Beach RV Park, but it was full, so I had to keep going. At one point it started raining, and I as in no mood to camp, so I stopped at a hotel in Carpinteria. I called it a night and the next morning I would begin my push North, following the Pacific Coast, to Canada.


    Wed. May 30, 2018 – Carpinteria, California to King City, California

    The next morning, I hopped on my bike, feeling that I’m a little behind schedule and I wanted to keep going. I’m not sure why I felt that way, considering I’d had over 9 days to get home, but I knew there would be places on the coast that I’d like to spend more time around and I’ve already spent 3 days in Southern Cali.

    The weather wasn’t the greatest, with intermittent rain. I rode from Carpinteria to Gaviota, by Vandenberg Air Force Base, Santa Maria eventually making my way to Pismo Beach (where I was about 7 months ago, on a RV trip with my wife), then onto Morro Bay.

    Vandenberg Air Force Base, launch site of the Pegasus, Taurus, Minotaur, Atlas V, Delta IV, Titan IV,etc rockets, as well as SpaceX’s Falcon 9. I would love to visit this place, but I imagine civilians are not exactly allowed there.
    [​IMG]


    Stopping for a coffee / lunch in Morro Bay, California
    [​IMG]

    The plan was to keep going up the coast toward Big Sur, California, but at that time, Highway 1 was still closed due to that massive land slide that washed out the road at Mud Creek (near Lucia) back in 2017. It eventually reopened after more than a year of reconstruction. Unfortunately for me, it was still closed, so a detour was in order for me.

    This detour proved a wonderful thing though, since I got to experience for the first time, the California “wine country”. The weather improved greatly once I left the Coast and I was treated to some amazing roads, views and awesome friendly people. In certain parts, if it weren’t for the road signs and cars, one would think they’re in Tuscany. It was magnificent. I would’ve loved to just stop at a winery and call it a night there, but I had to push North.

    California Wine Country. It reminds me a little bit of Tuscany.
    [​IMG]

    Beautiful farms / colors / scenery:
    [​IMG][/URL
    ]

    Near King City, California:
    [​IMG]

    I continued to Lake Nacinimiento, Lockwood and eventually arrived in King City pretty late and although there was a nearby park where I could camp, I opted for a cheap motel, since it was a little chilly. I must’ve got accustomed to a warm bed; too “good” to camp. The truth is, I’m not a fan of setting up my gear in the dark, and that’s exactly what would’ve happened if I chose that route. Instead I paid a bit extra and stayed at the motel.

    There were a lot of construction workers staying at the hotel and the motel organized a barbeque for them (and the rest of the guests) so I ended up having some good meat, beers and chatting with the boys for a couple of hours, before I called it a night.


    Thu. May 31, 2018 – King City, California to Point Rayes Station, California

    I woke up to a beautiful morning, showered, packed my bike and made it a goal to make it to San Francisco. This day proved to be one of the best days on the road. I saw some amazing scenery and rode on fantastic roads.


    The morning had me ride through the Californian agricultural land. Miles and miles of cabbage, lettuce and other crops were visible. People were everywhere, working in the fields. I couldn’t help myself and wonder who these people are and where they came from; hard working individuals that want to provide for their families, no different than myself. Here I was riding a $15,000 motorcycle, on a 25 day trip around North America and a budget that very few people in this world would be able to afford. We really are fortunate in North America to have the political and financial freedom to travel and see the world.

    Crop fields West of King City, California, heading toward Carmel Valley:
    [​IMG]

    I kept riding through Monterey County, by Sycamore Flats, Jamesburg reaching Carmel Valley. I stopped for lunch there and just took in the amazing sights and sounds.

    Riding toward Carmel Valley:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Carmel Valley:
    [​IMG]

    Me and my BMW tuque: :)
    [​IMG]

    Hopping back on the bike:
    [​IMG]

    I kept going through Rancho Tierra Grande, Quail Meadows, eventually reaching the Pacific Coast again, by Carmel by the Sea. I kept going Northbound through Monterey, Santa Cruz, Pescadero, Pacifica, eventually reaching San Francisco. I’ve been through there twice already, but never actually stayed. I really wanted to spend a night there, but I promised my wife I’d go with her and spend the weekend there, so I decided that I would not make it an overnight stop. I kept going North, riding over the iconic Golden Gate bridge, through Marin City, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, eventually reaching Point Rayes, California.

    Near Carmel by the Sea:
    [​IMG]


    Beautiful weather and the magnificent Pacific Ocean:
    [​IMG]

    Lighthouse South of San Francisco:
    [​IMG]


    The iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Of course I had to stop and take a few photos:
    [​IMG]

    Downtown San Francisco, seen in the distance. Photo taken from across the Golden Gate.
    [​IMG]


    Another stop. The views were extraordinary. I kept wanting to stop and take photos. It was hard to resist:
    [​IMG]

    Once I reached Point Rayes, it was time to call it a night. I stopped at the grocery store, picked up some food, beer and some other supplies, then backtracked a few miles South to Olema Campground. I set up my tent and ended up meeting a few people. There were an older couple, fellow Canadians from Quebec on a RV trip to California and a young couple Northern US who turned out to be some pretty fascinating bunch.


    Point Rayes, California:
    [​IMG]


    We ended up having drinks, eating and chatting about our travels. They were regulars at the Burning Man festival, something I’ve always wanted to do. I called it a night at one point and had a great night sleep.

    Fri. June 1, 2018 – Olema Campground to Albion, California

    I woke up the next morning refreshed and ready to tackle another epic day on the Pacific Coast Highway. I need to reiterate how important it is to have a good mattress when you’re camping. I think it was the best $300 (CAD) I’ve ever spent.

    My campsite at Olema Campground:
    [​IMG]

    I even went for a short “hike” in the forrest.
    [​IMG]

    I left the campsite and started riding North, through Sonoma County, Salmon Creek, Timber Cove, Gualala, Manchester, eventually reaching Albion, California. The road? EPIC. The views? EPIC. The experience? EPIC. The photos below highlight the experience by doesn’t even come close to the reality of it. I highly recommend it.

    Pacifc coast:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Wow! What a road:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Elk, California:
    [​IMG]

    Eventually I arrived at Albion, where I set up camp at Albion River Campground. It was still mid afternoon so I took my time setting up my tent, cooking, having a few beers and ending up meeting two very interesting fellow travelers. One was an older gentleman, from France, riding his pedal bike from Panama to Alaska, and the other a middle age lawyer from UK who decided to move to the US and become a tattoo artist. He was going to relocate in Boston, but took a few weeks to visit California with his rented convertible Mustang. It’s amazing how a hobby can lead people to make like altering decisions. I know I did it, changing careers from engineering technologist to airline pilot.

    We even got a chance to catch a pretty cool sunset, underneath the main bridge in Albion.

    Selfie by the bridge, the beard keeps growing:
    [​IMG]

    Impressive wood structure, Albion, California:
    [​IMG]

    Sunset:
    [​IMG]

    Albion River Campground:
    [​IMG]
    #4
    Holaday, RevyRider, CA Stu and 5 others like this.
  5. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Canada
    Sat. May 2, 2018 – Albion, California to Crescent City, California

    After packing up my campsite and bike, saying goodbye to my English / French buddies, I hopped on the Tiger and continued North. Again, I had no set destination, but trying to get as far as I can before sunset, while taking the time to enjoy the views and take in the sights. I passed through Fort Bragg, Newport, Rockport, eventually leaving the coast toward Leggett, California.

    More Pacific Coast:
    [​IMG]

    Pacific Ocean:
    [​IMG]

    One of the things I was prepared for was the cool temperatures on the coastal highway. As soon as I left the coast toward Leggett, I had a 15*C increase in temperature. I went from +16*C (61*F) to +30*C (86*F) in less than half an hour. It was amazing. All the sudden I went from being a little cool to sweating. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I was getting ill, then looked at the thermometer on the bike. Wow!

    I pushed North, inland (there is no coastal road, unless you want to reach the small communities, such as Shelter Cove, etc). The route brought me in “giant Redwoods” territory. I took a small detour, through the “Avenue of the Giants”, near Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Weott, California). The route did not disappoint. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Notice how small my motorcycle looks compared to the trees.

    Avenue of the Giants:
    [​IMG]

    Avenue of the Giants:
    [​IMG]

    Avenue of the Giants:
    [​IMG]

    Avenue of the Giants:
    [​IMG]

    Avenue of the Giants. Can you spot the Triumph?:
    [​IMG]

    I eventually got back on the coast, around Eureka, California, pushing North toward the California / Oregon border. By the time in started getting dark, I decided to stop. I made it to Crescent City, and after trying to find a campsite, which I was not successful, I ended up staying at a local motel, South of the city; Crescent Beach Motel. Once again, I was happy I had a warm bed, not that my mattress didn’t do the trick, but the temperatures on the coast were fairly low at night and made sleeping in a tent a little uncomfortable.

    Back on the Pacific Coast, South of Crescent City:
    [​IMG]

    Sun. June 3, 2018 – Crescent City, California to Wakoda Beach, Oregon

    The next day, I left the motel pretty quickly. That morning I left the great state of California and ended entered beautiful Oregon. I passed through Brookings, Gold Beach, Port Orford, Coos Bay, Florence, eventually making my way to Wakoda Beach.

    Entering Oregon State:
    [​IMG]

    Spectacular seaside views in Oregon:
    [​IMG]

    Oregon Coast:
    [​IMG]

    Oregon:
    [​IMG]

    I stopped for some great sea food in Bandon, Oregon at Tony’s Crab Shack. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is how good the seafood was. Chowder, fish, crab, etc were absolutely delicious and somewhat “fairly” priced. I tried to cook my own food, best I could but I still had at least one meal a day from a local restaurant.

    Tony’s Crab Shack, Bandon OR:
    [​IMG]

    From Bandon OR, I rode about 83 miles (134 km) to the Sea Lion Caves, near Haceta Head lighthouse, just North of Florence, OR. The view there was spectacular. Although I didn’t go in the caves, I could see and hear the sea lions from up high.

    Near the Sea Lion Caves, with the Haceta Lighthouse in the background:
    [​IMG]

    Haceta Lighthouse. Can you spot the animals?:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I eventually arrived at Wakoda Beach, setting up camp at the awesome Tillicum Beach campground. I ended up with a seaside campsite, feet away from the amazing beach. To make things even better, I ended up meeting up a couple from Southern California, two hippies in their mid 40s , camping there for the weekend. We had an awesome time, listening to music, eating great campfire cooked food, good music and even better stories. We were also treated to a one of a kind sunset. It was a fitting “good bye” to the Pacific Coast. By this time, I was literally running short on time. I still had over 3000 km (1900 miles) to cover before I’d get home, and I only had 5 days to do it).

    My campsite at Tillicum Beach:
    [​IMG]

    Sunset:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The beach:
    [​IMG]


    My campsite again:
    [​IMG]


    Mon. June 4, 2018 – Wakoda Beach, Oregon to Chehalis, Washington

    I woke up that morning with a sense of urgency, trying to make back into Canada ASAP. Half of me wanted to continue on the coast to Astoria, but I have been in that area before. For about 3 years, I lived in Vancouver, BC and have seen most of the Washington / Oregon Pacific Coast

    I had breakfast, called my girls in Europe (something that I actually did on a daily basis, even though I haven’t mentioned it too often in this report), said goodbye to my hippie friends and left. That day I rode on the coast through Newport, where I stopped for lunch, then on to Licoln City, Oregon. I then left the coast and headed toward Portland, Oregon.

    By accident, I stumbled across the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, SW of Portland, and I just had to go in there. Unfortunately, I got there 30 minutes before closing time, but the nice girls said they won’t charge me for half an hour, so I could just go in and take a quick peak. I was super excited to see some amazing aircraft, such as the Messerschmitt BF109, Vampire, Catalina Flying Boat, A4, Learjet 24 (I actually flew a Learjet for about a year or so; LR35A), F86, the Spitfire, Spirit of St Louis (though I’m not sure it was the original) and of course Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose.


    Spruce Goose:
    [​IMG]


    My Tiger, outside the museum, with a Mig 29, F14 Tomcat and B747 in the background:
    [​IMG]


    Evergreen 747:
    [​IMG]


    I eventually arrived in Portland, but I buzzed right through it. I’ve been there many times before and saw no reason to stop this time. I eventually rode up Interstate 5 stopping at a motel South of Chehalis, Washington. I went to bed right away, hoping to get an early head start. Next day would be a busy one.


    Tue. June 5, 2018 – Chehalis WA, to Langley, British Columbia, Canada

    I woke up that morning with the determination of “Gettin’er done”. I had two main objectives. One was to get my bike serviced at the Triumph dealer in Seattle and second was to get back to Canada. My friend Trevor was hosting me at his place in Langley, British Columbia.

    I rode North on the Interstate to Olympia, Tacoma, through Seattle stopping by Triumph of Seattle. I wanted to get my work done by a dealer so I could get the “stamp” in my book for the validity of the warranty. It’s a new bike and for a bit of extra money, I rather keep that “kosher” as they say.

    The guys at Triumph of Seattle were amazing. I could tell they were busy, but somehow managed to squeeze me in between other jobs. I did have to wait about 4 hours, time in which I had lunch, spoke with my girls in Europe, planned my route back home and just relaxed.

    Once the service was done, I got back on the I5 and kept going North thorough Bellingham, Blaine WA and eventually passing Canada Customs at White Rock. A short ride after, I arrived at my buddy’s house, where he and his girlfriend welcomed me with a great steak dinner, red wine and lots of new stories. Him and I go back almost 20 years, when we worked together in Alberta.

    Triumph of Seattle:
    [​IMG]

    The dealership:
    [​IMG]

    Waiting for my lunch (while the Tiger was getting serviced) in Seattle:
    [​IMG]


    Wed. June 6, 2018 – Langley, British Columbia to Grand Forks, British Columbia

    I woke fairly late on Wednesday. I wanted to leave earlier, but we ended up staying up late chatting, so I figured rest is more important than leaving at a set time. I ended up leaving my friend’s place around 10 in the morning. I rode the Highway 1 (Trans Canada) from Langley to Chilliwack BC, then to Hope. At Hope, BC I decided to take Highway 3, a road that I have never been on before. I’ve driven through the BC Rockies quite a few times from Vancouver to Calgary and vice versa, but I normally took Highway 1. This time, I wanted to see something different and the scenery did not disappoint

    Leaving my buddy’s house in Langley:
    [​IMG]

    Chilliwack Airport, where I stopped for lunch at the famous “Fly for pie”. I did some flying out of Boundary Bay airport back in the day and would often fly into this place, have pie, then fly back.
    [​IMG]

    Some beautiful shots from Highway 3:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I stopped on the way and picked up a bottle of wine at Harker’s Organics in Cawston, BC, then passed thorough Osoyoos, BC, Greenwood and eventually Grand Forks. Once I arrived there I called it a night at a local motel. I had no time / desire to pack, unpack, set, unset my tent, mattress and sleeping bag. I had to be back in Winnipeg by the 8th of June at 8:00pm when my wife and little girl would arrive from Europe (via Toronto).

    Getting some wine at Harker’s Organics:
    [​IMG]

    Osoyoos, BC, seen from the West side:
    [​IMG]

    Osoyoos, BC, seen from the East side:
    [​IMG]

    Thu. June 7, 2018 – Grand Forks, British Columbia to Lethbridge, Alberta

    I woke up early, ready, fresh and good to keep going. In the morning, I rode from Grand Forks, BC to Castlegar, BC. It was definitely a place I wanted to ride to for a few reason; Castlegar that is.


    On route to Castlegar, BC:
    [​IMG]


    If you remember from above, I posted a photo of the aircraft I fly, the Dash 8, just before I left on my trip. As a pilot, I fly quite a lot into Castlegar, BC, from both Calgary and Vancouver. It’s one of the most spectacular approaches, through the valleys. The procedure there has us make a 180* inside the valley and paralleling a mountain road, then close to touchdown, lining up with the runway. It’s super cool, because we end up “dipping below” that mountain road. If you park your car, or bike as I did, you can literally see the aircraft fly “below” you.

    Here’s a picture of the bike, on the road going up the mountain, with the Castlegar Airport in the background:
    [​IMG]

    The mountain road, in Castlegar BC:
    [​IMG]

    From there I pushed through, riding East toward Alberta. I passed through Creston, Cranbrook and Fernie, BC then entering Alberta, around Crowsnest Pass. The scenery was spectacular and even though I was a little pressed for time, I enjoyed every minute of it. Eventually I left the Canadian Rockies behind and around Pincher creek I entered the vast Prairies, a scenery that will be with me until I get home.

    Near Fernie / Crowsnest Pass: (Can’t remember where exactly)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Alberta Rockies:
    [​IMG]

    Just West of Pincher Creek, Alberta, South of Calgary:
    [​IMG]

    Pincher Creek, with its famous wind turbine farms:
    [​IMG]

    That night I stopped at a motel outside Lethbridge. I went to bed right away at a local motel. The next day would be a record (distance) breaker for me, on a motorcycle.


    Fri. June 8, 2018 – The Final Day: Lethbridge, Alberta to Winnipeg, Manitoba

    I left a lot of riding for the last day. I was still had about 1200 km (750 miles) to get home and only 15 hours to do it, including stops. That morning I woke up at 4:00 and as soon as daylight appeared I was off. I took Highway 3 to Medicine Hat, Alberta then hopped on Highway 1, that took me all the way through Saskatchewan and then to Manitoba. It was a long tiring ride, stopping for only minutes at a time to strech, gas up and eat a sandwich. I passed the time listening to music, podcasts and reflecting on my epic trip.

    I ended up making it home to Winnipeg about an hour before my wife and daughter landed at the airport. I didn’t even have time to unpack. I literally jumped in the shower and ran to the airport. It was awesome to see my girls and hear about their amazing 4 weeks in Europe.

    After arriving (to my then) home in Winnipeg:
    [​IMG]

    Total Odometer since buying the bike in April 2018:
    [​IMG]

    My wife and little girl, arriving from Europe, via Toronto:
    [​IMG]

    My little girl and I after landing in Winnipeg. She was too excited to play with her Paw Patrol baloon:
    [​IMG]


    For this trip, I rode more than 10,300 km through USA and Canada. It was an amazing trip. The scenery was amazing and I’ve met a lot of welcoming, fascinating and adventure loving individuals along the route. I think this trip gave me a lot of confidence and experience for future trips to come.

    Was it perfect? No, but nothing is. I’ve learned a few things about what to do and not to do, what to pack, what not to pack and hopefully I’ll be a little better at staying on schedule, so I don’t end up pulling a 1200 km ride on the last day.


    In a few years I’m planning a trip from London UK to Mongolia. It’s something that will take me at least 60 days to do and will require a lot of planning & experience. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my new home and the area around it. We just moved from Manitoba to South Eastern Ontario. I’m looking forward to summer so I can do some short trips around Ontario, Quebec and Eastern United States. Maybe I can even squeeze in a short UK trip this summer or maybe India, obviously on a rented motorcycle.


    Thanks for taking the time and reading my report. I’ve put a lot of effort into making it and any comments, suggestions or discussion would be greatly welcomed. I took over 3000 photos in this trip, so I can upload some detailed photos of place you’d like to see.

    Thanks again and what do they say? “Rubber side down?” Well Ride safe everyone.

    Cheers,

    Vio
    #5
  6. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    73
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    Canada
    Thank you sir. I just posted Part 2 right now. Enjoy!
    #6
  7. johnnybgood8

    johnnybgood8 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
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    332
    Im following. You should upload on imgur, those photobucket watermarks are annoying as....
    #7
  8. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Awesome. Thanks for the tip!!! I was actually wondering what to use. I had a paid account with Photobucket once upon a time. I guess since I didn't renew it, they put those watermarks. I'll use imgur next time.
    #8
  9. interceptor1972

    interceptor1972 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    298
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    Lawton, OK
    Just got done reading through it! Amazing pics and a great adventure! If things always went "according to plan", I don't presume it'll be near as much an adventure! Glad you had a great time! Thanks for sharing!!

    PS. I did mean to ask, I know you mentioned picking up a can of chain lube. Were you able to clean/lube the chain pretty regularly? That's the only thing that bothers me on my F800 GS is that I rake up miles pretty quick. And those 500-mile intervals seem to pop up pretty quick!

    Manoj
    #9
  10. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Canada
    Thanks for the reply. I think overall things went according to plan about 90%. The worst part is that I left a lot of riding left till the last day.

    As far as chain lube, yes I managed to clean it every 2nd day. Usually, after I had my dinner and I'd put on some tunes on my BOSE portable speaker, set my bike on the center stand, crack open a beer and spend 10 - 15 mins cleaning / lubing the chain. Then I'd let it sit for a bit. Sometimes I'd do it in the morning before breakfast, then eat, and start riding. I don't know how good of a job I've done, but it seemed to have worked. You are correct in saying that miles get racked up pretty quickly.
    #10
    interceptor1972 likes this.
  11. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    698
    Location:
    Atlanta OTP - Acworth/Kennesaw
    excellent bike for the trip too! great report!
    #11
  12. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

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    Aug 5, 2012
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    474
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Great ride report, thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the pics and your write up!
    #12
  13. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Canada
    I agree. The Tiger 800XCx performed flawlessly. Honestly I had no issue with it. I guess the tires could've been a bit better, but that's stock tires. I'll put on fresh ones this year.

    Thanks. I put a bit of effort into it. I ended up taking over 1600 pics on this trip. That's quite a bit.
    #13
  14. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    698
    Location:
    Atlanta OTP - Acworth/Kennesaw
    My utah/colorado trip on your bikes twin was on shinko 705s and they did great. Not aggressive enough for really crazy off road (and terrible in sand) but good on gravel and great on pavement, and lasted 6000 miles!
    #14
  15. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
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    Oh nice! Thanks for that tip. I'm actually a brand new "off road rider" I've done maybe 30 miles max on dirt / gravel roads. I'll need something that balances out the road / off road. How much are they, if you don't mind me asking?

    BTW, this summer I'll do a 3 - 4 days in Romania. I'll ride in Transilvania, more specifically the famous Transalpina and Transfagarasan. It'll have to be on a rented bike. I'm not flying my Triumph from Canada there. It'll be A. impossible and B. very expensive. To think of it, Air Canada has a "Fly your bike" program, but I can only bring it as far as Frankfurt, Germany.
    #15
  16. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    698
    Location:
    Atlanta OTP - Acworth/Kennesaw
    they are very affordable in the US. I assume similar in canada.
    #16
    V1ROT8 likes this.
  17. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
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    21,093
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Absolutely spectacular! :clap I always smile when I so many of the same photos I've taken.
    #17
  18. davidaid

    davidaid Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    70
    Good report and pics.
    #18
  19. V1ROT8

    V1ROT8 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Canada
    I can imagine. I saw quite a few pics here of people's trips and I thought: "Hey I got the exact same picture". The problem was that I wanted to stop so often for photos, even I got annoyed. I would imagine if I had a riding partner he or she would hate me.


    Thank you kindly! I put a bit of effort into it.
    #19
  20. CO1K

    CO1K Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
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    245
    Location:
    CO
    Hey, looks like you enjoyed a great trip. Good plans on riding Transfagarasean, i-ti recomand. Sibiu e de vizitat.
    #20