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A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #61
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/13.html

Our route through the interior provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We tried to stray off the main TransCanada Highway often, or we would have died of boredom! The fierce headwinds of the prairies really affected our fuel economy. With our large panniers and my huge Aeroflow windshield, our frontal surface area resembled the shape of a brick, and our range plummeted from about 350 kms/tank to 250 kms! Speed limits on the prairies are 110 km/h, which also contributed to our poor fuel mileage... :)

Saskatchewan's license plate reads, "Land of living skies"

We took a break off the boring flatlands of the Prairies and headed south towards the US border to an area called the Big Muddy Badlands. The town of Coronach runs a van tour that hits most of the touristy areas, but since we were mobile, we just visited them on our own. Most of the places on their web site are not that interesting anyway, and we saved ourselves $75!

Taking a break on the gravel roads of the Big Muddy Badlands

The Big Muddy Badlands are these outcroppings of rock that look like they belong in a cowboy movie. You know the ones where the outlaw is running away from the US Marshalls, takes refuge in a cave in the hills and is in turn ambushed by Indians, and then all of them are chased by alien bounty hunters that look like Olivia Wilde...

Castle Butte in the background

We spent most of the afternoon walking around Castle Butte, a large outcropping of sandstone and clay in the Big Muddy Badlands. It's the largest structure in the valley and was used by early settlers as a navigation landmark.

Bikes in front of Castle Butte

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #62

Exploring the spooky caves at Castle Butte. This one reminded me of the movie The Descent. Scary!

The badlands extend south into Montana, which boasts more desert landscapes, and is more typical of Western movies. Saskatchewan only has a tiny area of badlands north of the Canada/US border.

Neda's butt walking around Castle Butte

Neda surveying the view on top of Castle Butte

Walking along the spine of Castle Butte

Bikes in the background below

GQ, here I come!

Leaving Castle Butte

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #63
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/14.html

This is how it all starts

In Michael Crichton's book "Airframe", about an airplane crash, he documents that a disaster like that is never dependent on one single cause or event. Rather, a sequence of events have to occur to contribute to a crash. Here's my sequence of events:

Somewhere in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, my air compressor stopped working. It was one of those large 12-volt jobbies with the light, the attachments for volleyballs, air mattresses, inflatable dolls, etc., but the part that screwed into the valve stem started leaking so I junked it. I decided we needed something a bit smaller and less dependent on electricity, in case something went wrong with the electricals. So at a Walmart, $9.99 later, I picked up a foot operated pump.

Which promptly FAILED the first time I stepped on it... So we were now without an air compressor. Event #1.

Just taking a nap... after having the wind knocked out of me...after a huge speed wobble and lowside in deep gravel

After visiting Castle Butte, we headed out to find the Sand Hill of Saskatchewan. We had been doing fine on street pressures in the lightly graveled road of the Bug Muddy Badlands, so we were feeling over-confident that we didn't have to let out the pressures since we were without our own air compressor and gas stations were few and far between. Event #2.

I check the Google, online maps and my GPS and can't figure out a way to get to the Sand Hills. so I opt for the most direct route and force the GPS through several unpaved roads. Normally this yields good results. Not this time, though. The road turns from unpaved to deeper and deeper gravel. I'm sure the Sand Hills are just a few kms away. We don't turn back. Event #3.

We're traveling at 70km/h, much too fast for the road conditions, and waaay to fast considering we didn't let the air pressure out of our tires since our stupid Walmart foot pump broke. In my rear mirror, I see Neda slow down by a lot, and then the speed wobble hit my bike. The handlebars violently shake left and right, wrenching my arms in both directions. The motorcycle starts to weave left and right, as the front wheel moves side-to-side, each oscillation getting worse in amplitude. Logically, I know what needs to be done: I need to relax my grip on the handlebars, grip the bike with my knees, and roll off the throttle slowly. But my natural instincts kick in and I do none of that. In fact, I do the exact opposite, and that is the final event that led to this:

Aeroflow windscreen is not flowing air too well anymore

The motorcycle slides into the left ditch, resting on it's right side at a 45 degree angle, and I get bucked off into the middle of the road, I put my arms out to brace myself on impact and feel a searing pain in my right shoulder and my left ankle. It takes me a second, but I get up and signal to Neda that I'm relatively ok, I don't want her to worry too much, but she comes on over the intercom, and her voice is shaking with concern and fear anyway.

Although the bike is not laying entirely on it's side, the ditch is about 4 feet lower than the road, so we have to get it upright and ride it back up. That's when I notice I can't raise my right arm more than a few inches. This is not good. Neda struggles with the bike while I can only stand by helpless. Somehow, she manages to get the 600lb bike upright, almost all by herself and I can get on the bike in the ditch. Using my left hand, I grab my right hand and place it on the throttle and start the bike up. It fires up without a problem and I ride it up and out of the ditch. There is considerable pain in my right shoulder but I still am able to handle the controls properly.

Maybe I should get engine guards... On a ride, Gadgetboy from ADV once looked at my guardless jugs and asked me, "What are you, some kind of tough guy?". I don't feel like one anymore...

We rest at the side of the road and I lie down, exhausted by the effort and adrenalin is starting to leave my body, leaving me lightheaded. My pain in my ankle is actually a bruise right on a spider bite I got the night before, lot of pain but nothing serious. I still can't raise my right arm though which is worrisome. Neda does a survey of the bike, the Aeroflow windscreen is toast, the handguard's mount is broken, so is the right front turn signal but other than that, the bike is still rideable. A few trucks (carrying fresh gravel!!!) stop to make sure we're okay, and when we tell them where we were headed, they all look at us puzzled, "We've never heard of no Sand Hills around here...", and "We're bringing fresh gravel to the end of this road, it goes nowhere right now...". Crap! All this for nothing...

We let the air of our tires for the ride back, it felt much more stable. As it turns out, the riding position (after I manually put my right hand on the throttle) is the most comfortable one for my shoulder, as we ride away from our aborted mission to find the Sand Hills of Saskatchewan. I know the first thing I want to do right now is buy a large electrical air compressor, you know: one of the 12-volt jobbies with the light, the attachments for volleyballs, air mattresses and inflatable dolls...

I'm guessing I'll need a few days to fix the bike and figure out what's wrong with my shoulder, so we stop at Cypress Hills provincial park for the night. Two extra strength Advil dulls the pain as I feel sorry for myself in the tent for messing up our trip, and right at the beginning as well!

West Koots, I'm here....
3,226 Posts
Geez, sorry to hear about your mishap. I hope you didn't seriously injure your arm/shoulder and that you can carry on with your trip after a healing period.

306 Posts
Wow, sorry about the off, but I'm really enjoying reading about your trip! Every time I see the update I wish I had the gumption to do what you're doing! I hope someday I can! Of at least for a few months!

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #66
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/15.html

We had planned to visit our good friends, Paul and Karen for the weekend in Calgary, but after my unfortunate accident, I called Paul at work and asked if we could come a couple of days early. Did I mentioned they were really good friends? :)

Saamis teepee in Medicine Hat, AB

The next morning, my shoulder still felt the same. Pain when I moved it, and no mobility save for a few inches to my side. Neda poured me onto the bike and I manually, but gingerly, placed my right hand on the throttle and we were off to Calgary. We passed through Medicine Hat and took a break at the Saamis teepee just off the TransCanada Highway. It's a monument built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Saamis is the Blackfoot word for eagle tail feather headress (or the hat worn by the Medicine Man)

Close up of Saamis teepee

There are informational plaques all over the teepee, and I read up on the history of the First Nations tribes in Canada. All of their stories and traditions centre strongly around dreams, and I found it interesting how devoid it was of the overt moralism and story-telling structure of the fables and folklore of Western culture. In other words, it made absolutely no sense to me...

Paul and Karen and their boys, Kai and Ewan. Yes, Ewan. And a GS...

We approached Calgary in a thunderstorm. Through the pain of putting on my rainsuit over a bum shoulder, I thought how unfortunate it would be to also get struck by lightning now -- seeing how my 1.5m GS was the tallest thing on the open Prairie highway by about... 1.5m...

Paul and Karen moved to Calgary from Toronto over a year ago and it was good to see them again, even though we just saw them in Toronto a few weeks earlier when they came to visit. That afternoon, we rode my GS into Blackfoot Motorsports to see what they could do for me. 2.5 hours and one used GS windscreen later, I rode out with my bike all patched up! Unfortunately they were out of stock of spare rotator cuffs...

Although I loved my big-ass, ugly old Aeroflow windscreen, it was always doomed to shatter in any tipover or crash because of how far it sticks out at the sides. The stock GS windshield is terrible but at least it's out of the way in any fall unless the bike lands upside-down. *knock on wood*

Horse sculptures in the Courthouse Park in downtown Calgary

We spent a lot of time catching up with P&K and playing with their kids. While they were at work during the day, Neda and I rode over to downtown Calgary to walk around the Eau Claire market and do some shopping. We wandered around aimlessly around the Eaton Centre (not sure if it's called that anymore) for a while before we realized that we needed and wanted nothing that the stores had to offer. We weren't interested in any clothing, furniture, household items, or electrical gadgets. They didn't really fit on the motorcycle and besides we didn't have a home to store them in anyhow... We spent more time in the Mountain Equipment Co-Op perusing camping equipment, and even then noticed that we had everything we needed already!

Hiking in Kananaskis Park

Karen took an afternoon off to take Neda and the kids hiking in Kananaskis Park, just west of the city. I heard the word "hike" and suddenly the pain in my shoulder flared up again and I begged off to stay at home to work on the blog... :) I did end up seeing a walk-in clinic, they confirmed my Googled self-diagnosis, I had severely strained the soft tissue in my rotator cuff and it would take a few weeks to heal.

Neda is skilled in all manner of two-wheeled vehicles

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #67

Paul makes sure the car is locked before we head into the rodeo

On the weekend, we all visited a rodeo in nearby Rockyford, about an hour east of Calgary. We had missed Stampede (Calgary's largest rodeo party) by about a couple of weeks, but Rockyford's rodeo billed itself as the "biggest little show in Alberta".

Buckin' bronco! 8 seconds never seemed longer!

Rodeo clown tells bad jokes between events

Not sure who let these hockey players into the rodeo...

Calgary Ground Pilots and fellow adventurers, Jill and Curtis

I've visited Calgary a couple of times before on a motorcycle over the years, and I've kept in touch with the local motorcycle scene via CGP forum. Curtis and I have exchanged messages on there a few times and we finally get to meet in person! We had a late dinner at Wurst, and had a great time chatting away about bikes and travel. They are also two adventurous spirits and we hope to see them again on our travels.

At Wurst, these guys come out to play Happy Birthday to the customers.
Seems there was a birthday party at every single table that evening!

We spent almost a week in Calgary and we have to thank Paul and Karen for having us over, they were such gracious hosts! The shoulder seems to be getting a bit better, but for now Neda is still hiking up my R1200GS onto the center-stand at every gas stop, bless her soul!

285 Posts
Sorry to hear about your off. Great pix... Keepem coming.

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #69
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/16.html

After our much-needed break in Calgary, it was good to be on the road again. We're headed west towards Banff National Park where we'll spend a couple of nights in the National Park to do some sightseeing and ride the amazing roads in the area.

Neda spots wildlife again on the Bow Valley Trail

From Calgary, we bypassed the main TransCanada Highway and took the smaller, more scenic Bow Valley Trail, which follows the Bow River all the way to Canmore. We saw tons of motorcyclists, mainly sportbikes, zoom by on the twisty road, taking advantage of the beautiful, sunny Albertan weekend-weather.

Rocky Mountains loom ahead on Bow Valley Trail

Posing on the main strip, Banff Ave

In Banff, we parked next to two Ontario GSes! One with an RTI sticker (where we used to teach)!

We've visited Banff many times over the years, mainly to go snowboarding in the amazing resorts in the area. It's a classic alpine tourist trap, very pretty, overpriced storefronts selling the latest Arcteryx fashions to Starbucks-sipping vacationers with permanent Oakley tan-lines on their face. We know, because we used to be one of them back when we had jobs. And snowboards. And a home to store all that stuff in... :)

Posing on the main strip

Ride back to our campsite on Bow Valley Parkway

Once again, Neda's keen eye spots more wildlife

Waitin' on a train. Please use your imagination. Or Google Image "Morant's Curve"...

Paul told me that there was a famous spot in Banff National Park called Morant's Curve where people camp out for hours in front of the S-shaped turn waiting for the eastbound Canadian Pacific trains to pass by with the picturesque Bow River and (usually) snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the background. Sure enough when we arrived, a dozen photographers had set up tripods to capture the event. So we broke out our groceries and proceeded to make lunch while waiting for the train. The CP rail schedule is about as reliable as a chocolate camshaft, and over the NEXT TWO HOURS, one-by-one the photographers got fed up and left, as new ones arrived to take their place. We couldn't wait any longer - we wanted to ride. So, empty-handed (empty SD-card?), we rode towards Lake Louise.

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #70

While I waited for the train, Neda went hiking and took some pictures

Rental canoes on Lake Louise

Next stop, Lake Louise, the site of the most photographed lake in the world. We arrived in the pouring rain, so we hid out in the very posh Chateau Lake Louise, waiting for a chance to dash out to hike around the area. Once again, we were inundated by tourists of all nationalities. Tour buses swarm the Banff/Lake Louise area like GS-owners to the latest Touratech catalog. We really needed to "Get to da choppa!" and just ride where other people weren't...

Riding through the rocks at Radium, BC

So we did my favorite loop (er triangle?) in the Calgary-area: Banff->Golden->Radium->Banff. Kilometers of twisty roads, most of it with very little traffic south of Golden, and all of it with the majestic Rocky Mountains surrounding us!

Relaxing in the hot springs at Radium

The loop takes us into Eastern BC for a while, and we stopped at the hot springs at Radium to dip into the naturally heated wading pools to relax our riding muscles (posteriors) before the trip back to our campsite in Banff.

Kootenay Highway at dusk

The Kootenay Highway runs from Radium, BC through the Kootenay National Park, all the way back into Banff National Park. Although not as famous as Deals Gap, Sea-To-Sky or Cabot Trail, it's a destination highway for many motorists as well, and we hit it at just the right time, as the sun was low in the horizon. The colours took on a beautiful, lazy hue lit by the setting sun and for the first time on this trip, I felt that zen-like feeling, when all the turns in the road come to you telepathically and everything is right in the world. It was such a magical ride on that road that I didn't want it to end. Neda chimed in over the intercom telling me she was feeling exactly the same way and it was wonderful sharing the ride with her that way.


Riding into the setting Alberta sun

This was such a great riding day, and I felt I really needed it after the eventful week I've been having.

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #71
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/17.html

Banff to Jasper. With terrain like this, how can a motorcyclist not drool?

Pretty stream in Banff National Park

Neda took advantage of the beautiful hiking weather to snap some pictures of Banff National Park in the morning. I took advantage of the beautiful hiking weather to work on the blog...

The trails in Banff are marked for different-sized groups depending on the bear activity in the area. There are trails suitable for solo hiking, and others that require a group of 3 people or more to hike together. The thinking is that if you hike solo in bear country, you are bear-food for sure. But if you are hiking with at least two other people, you just have to be faster than one of them, so the odds are in your favour.

Good thing Neda bought a bear bell while we were in Calgary. Not sure why all the other hikers laughed at her bear-bell, I'm sure I heard one of them call it a "dinner bell"...

Neda's bear bell comes with a built-in silencer so you can turn it off and on. Handy, because I'm sure all the movie theaters in Banff require you to silence your cellphones, pagers and bear bells before the movie begins.

Ink pots at Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon was just across the way from our campsite, so Neda took a 3.5 hour hike to visit the famous Ink Pots, which are 6 blue-green pools fed by underground springs. The colour is from glacial sediments suspended in the water.

ATGATT *especially* when hiking in bear country

In the afternoon, we rode the famous Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper to take in the view of the Canadian Rocky Mountains all around us. We pass by a couple of beautiful-looking glaciers along the way.

Cold! Gerbings to the rescue!

R12GS needs some love too

I've noticed Neda's F650GS gets the lions share of attention on this blog. I know it's a newer bike, but now that my 12GS has shed it's ugly Aeroflow windscreen, I think it deserves a bit more screen time as well. I'm proud to say that the only Touratech item I've installed are the handguard spoilers...

Checking out the Athabaska Glacier at Columbia Icefields

Touratech commercial. When do you get the cheque, Neda?

Skies are roiling on the way to Jasper

As we venture into Jasper National Park, the skies darken, so the first thing we do is immediately set up our tent before the rain begins, which is imminent. The park has provided bear lockers where campers can store their food away from their tents. So we raid the other lockers for some free food before we head out to hike around the area.

Just kidding.


A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #72

Shoutout to Neda's old hometown

Jasper Tramways operates a cable car that takes you up to the top of Whistlers Mountain just outside the town of Jasper. At the bottom, is a pinboard atlas where tourists can pinpoint where they came from. Tons of pins around Toronto, so I don't even try, but Neda notices not a lot of folks from the town where she was born.

That triangle down there is the town of Jasper

We continued to climb at the top of the tram to the summit of Whistler's Mountain. The views of Jasper and the surrounding rivers below were amazing, and even the light drizzle didn't dampen my enthusiasm to climb higher.

Some hike all the way up here to contemplate the meaning of life. Others just hog all the good seats...

Up at the top, we find snow!

Me and my new buddy Inukshuk check out the view together

In the evening, we ride into Jasper to get some Interwebbing and blogging done in a coffee shop. I don't know how these places make money when you can hog a table for hours and only pay a couple of dollars for coffee. We're kicked out at closing into the pouring rain, but when we ride back to the park, we're greeted with a warm and dry tent. Well, a dry tent, at least...

Singin' in the rain - Gene Kelly-stylez in Jasper

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #73
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/18.html

From Jasper, we rode Hwy 5 through Kamloops with a quick detour through 5A, the Princeton-Kamloops Highway, a very scenic twisty ride past a series of pretty lakes in the valley, to end up in Merritt. We met Veronica, another ADVer outside the Starbucks at Merritt. She was covered head to toe in dust, and with her dirtbike gear and astride her Suzuki DR, she looked completely hardcore. We talked for a while and on her map, she showed us some great dual-sport roads in the area. We hope to visit them in the next few days.

Princeton-Kamloops Highway

We had made arrangements to meet Kevin and Manon in Vancouver for the long weekend. Yes, Kevin and Manon from Ottawa (from our very first blog entry are now Kevin and Manon from Vancouver! They've moved clear across the country just to provide us with a place to stay for the weekend!

Beating the heatwave in Vancouver with Kevin and Manon

It was so nice having a real bed to sleep in, and a couch, and a wide-screen TV, and a fridge, etc. We caught up with all the MotoGP races we had missed and ate pizza and drank Cherry Pepsi and it was all so decadent! K&M spoiled us to bits and we let them! Vancouver was having a heatwave, so we spent some time in the park next to their new condo to cool down.

Thanks Manon for the picture!

We spent an (extra) long weekend with them, parking the bikes for a few days and doing nothing but watching the Olympics on TV, eating and sleeping. It was amazing to spend time relaxing with good friends after being on the road for only just a few weeks.

Sasha Koop from Funhouse Tattoo

So, to commemorate traveling all the way from the east coast to the west coast of Canada, Neda decides to get inked! Actually, she had been planning this for quite some time, having had to change tattoo artists from Toronto because of timing, and arranging an appointment with a Vancouver artist while we were on the road. Sasha Koop from Funhouse Tattoo came highly recommended and we all came to watch the action and provide support.

A future tattoo artist looks on while Neda gets inked

"Take the road less travelled"

Neda explains the meaning behind the tatto:

"The blue heron feathers are a style mash-up. The inside of the feathers is done in Haida First Nations-style, and the outside is a more realistic feather to soften the design. The beads represent Gene and I. Blue is Gene, red is me, and yellow represents my bike and the sun."

Personally, I'm not into tattoos for myself (more a fan of making new holes in my body), but I think the design is cool and the tattoo turned out awesome. Neda was ecstatic!

Suspension bridge at Lynn Canyon

Because everyone knows how much I *love* hiking (not), Kevin, Manon and Neda drag me out to Lynn Canyon. Since K&M are still new to Vancouver, they had to TripAdvisor where to take us. Right now, they're still "Kevin-and-Manon-*IN*-Vancouver", and they've got a long way to go before they become "Kevin-and-Manon-*FROM*-Vancouver"...

Lynn Canyon

Hikers in Lynn Canyon

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #74
So, seeing how I've probably visited Vancouver more often than K&M, I lead "Kevin-in-Vancouver" to the Gastown district downtown to take some touristy shots of the area.

A gaggle of GSes stop traffic in Gastown...

Gastown Steamclock

I was dismayed to find out recently that the Gastown Steamclock does not run entirely on steam! It is actually electrically powered and the only time steam is utilized is every 15 minutes when the clock gives a little show and plays a tune. Felt *so* totally ripped off...

Walking around Gastown

And of course, rain in Vancouver

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #75
updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/19.html

We left Kevin & Manon's place with a bit of reluctance, not just a warm bed and comfy couch and TV and stocked fridge, etc. but the fun and laughter of good friends, and familiar company. We rode to Tsawwassen just south of Vancouver to take a 90 minute ferry to the island.

Riding around downtown Victoria

Uh oh, Neda spots a market and immediately, I know where I'm going to be for the next few hours...

We came back from walking around downtown and noticed that we got stupid parking tickets after paying for parking on the street. The cause was parking too close to the parking lines. There were no bloody parking lines! We took pictures of our parking spots, but it's going to cost us time and more parking money just to fight this thing. We feel so ripped off, and it took us a while to get out of this foul mood.

Seaplanes taking off and landing in Victoria Harbour

This is the first thing visitors see when they step off the seaplane. How inviting!

Victoria harbour is such a pretty place to spend the evening, you can watch the sun set on the waters and the city has done a really nice job with maintaining all the flowers and gardens in the area. Neda's favorite TV station is The Food Network, and one of the shows she watches is called Eat Street. She saw an episode called "Red Fish, Blue Fish", and she told me, "If we're ever in Victoria, we *HAVE* to go there!". So here we are:

Red Fish, Blue Fish, Orange Sunset

Red Fish, Blue Fish is a food truck right on the harbour by the seaplane terminals. We lined up for over an hour (!) and just squeaked in before they closed for the evening. The food was delicious, as promised and we had a spectacular view of the setting sun over the waters of the bay while we noshed away on great seafood.

Sleepy yachts in Victoria harbour

Neda found some great riding roads just north of Victoria on the east coast of the island. From Campbell River, we rode west on Hwy 28 as it cuts through Strathcona Provincial Park, staying the evening in Buttle Lake. As we pitched our tent, we heard scores of sportbikes ripping it up on 28, so we knew we had a great day of riding ahead of us. In the late morning, we completed Hwy 28 out to Gold River and then back again, eyes glued to the inside line of all the tight curves, trying to ignore the distracting scenery lest we end up as another roadside attraction on this awesome twisty road!

Hwy 28 from Campbell River to Gold River

We headed north through Nanaimo, debated about whether to be cheesy and buy Nanaimo bars for lunch, decided against it, and then took the very scenic and twisty Hwy 4 west through Port Alberni. As most of you know, when the riding is good, the pictures get scarce, so you'll have to trust us when we say, if you're in the area, Vancouver island has amazing riding!

We reached the west coast and stayed in a very expensive and uninspiring camp site in Ucluelet, just south of Tofino. So Neda went off in search of a new campsite while I pretended to blog.

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #76

Hero shot on the way to Mussel Beach

Mussel beach is at the end of an 8km gravel road in the wilderness, nothing but trees and a bear that lives about 1 km in. We know this because we've seen him everytime we go to and from our new campsite on the beach!

This is shot 5 of a 10-shot sequence... :)

During one of our trips on the bumpy gravel road, Neda's sidecase vibrates off the bike and she has to stop and walk back to pick it up. I guess I could have helped her but I was too busy documenting the Walk of Shame. I had to turn the intercom off because the obscenities were getting too vulgar for my delicate eardrums...

"Do you mind giving me a hand?"... so I clap... It's a tough job being the staff photographer...

The rocky beach at our campsite

Mussel beach is one of our favorite campsites so far. The owner has built funky sculptures and treeforts out of the driftwood lying on the shore. The treefort sites are bit too pricey for us, they fit 2 or 3 tents, so we just get a spot by the beach and the scenery is beautiful. The owner, Curtis, is super-friendly as well and we talked bikes with him and our tent-neightbour throughout our 2-night stay. Everyone loves talking motorcycles! They either have one, want one, is curious about ours or knows someone that has one.

Goin' fishing! Not really, I'm not a fan of fishing, but I'll happily eat the end-product...

I helped Luke push Curtis' fishing boat out into the waters. By "help", I mean watched a bit, then pestered him with questions, and then hopped in the boat for a paparazzi shot. He showed me some of his catches on his digital camera, one 50-lb fish half his height!

We asked a guy in Tofino to take a picture of us, his three-legged dog decided to hop over and pose with us. So cute!

We rode out to Tofino for the day to walk around the town and get some wi-fi. Now BC is a pretty bohemian province, but Tofino is the hippy-central capital with a surfer-twist. This picture is kind of special for us, since we've got a shot of us in Cape Speer out on the east coast of Newfoundland, and now we're in Tofino, out in the west coast of Vancouver Island. We've crossed Canada coast-to-coast and seen a lot of the country along the way, and I feel this was a proper way to say goodbye to the place that we've lived in for so long.

Waves and wavy lines in Chesterman Beach

Chesterman Beach

Sarah from Island BMW put us on their Facebook page! Cool!

We both got new shoes in the back at Island BMW. Taylor, the service advisor recommended Hidenau K76s in the rear for better wear than the Tourances. They seem very noisy, but we'll give them a chance once they break in to see how well they handle and then decide if we want to stick a K76 in the front as well next time or go back to Tourances.

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #77
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/20.html

After having spent almost a whole week on Vancouver Island, we took the ferry back to the mainland and decided to ride north into the mountains. Vancouver to Whistler is a route we have driven many, many times on our snowboard trips. We haven't been back since the 2010 Winter Olympics and it was very interesting to see the changes the province made to accommodate such a world-class event.

Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler

Highway 99, or at least the part between Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton, is also known as the Sea-To-Sky Highway and is *the* motorcycle destination highway on the Canadian West Coast. Fast sweepers hugging the coastline overlooking Howe Sound used to be a two-lane undivided highway, and I remember there used to be lots of accidents from motorists either not paying attention or trying to pass on blind corners. We were very surprised when we found that most of the Sea-To-Sky was now a divided four-lane highway! Sweet! Trying to keep up with Neda was a full-time left-lane affair as I watched the bottom of her Touratech panniers scoop lower and lower to the pavement on each turn.

Olympic rings at Whistler Village

The scenery is astounding in the summertime, it was hard keeping an eye on the turns in the road when just to our left, the sheer drop to the waters below and the mountains on the other side of the sound provided constant distraction. Further up the highway, we started to notice other tiny Olympic changes: all the signs announcing the small towns along the Sea-To-Sky were now on smart, shiny, engraved rocks. Very snazzy! When we arrived at Whistler Village, we noticed a hubbub of activity. Lots of young people milling about, which was strange since it was the off-season. We quickly discovered that we were in the middle of Crankworx 2012, the "Colosseum of freeride mountain biking"". So many events were going on, downhill racing, dirt tracking, trials, etc. But the event that caught the most attention were the tricks and jumps.

Crankworx 2012

We must have spent half the day watching the mountain bikers launch themselves off a platform 50-feet from the ground, perform physics-defying feats of acrobatics and then land on a huge downhill dirt ramp, all against the backdrop of the magnificent Rocky Mountains. I don't know much about mountain biking, so I'll do my best to provide commentary from my point-of-view:

I'm sure this wouldn't be too much harder to pull off on a fully-laden R1200GS...

25,000 people in attendance for Crankworx 2012

This was a popular trick. It must be easy or something...

At the bottom of the landing ramp, the large crowd screams their appreciation for each trick

Most of these athletes were performing while not feeling very well. Many young people commented that they were sick. I felt sorry for them...

This event was like synchronized swimming, but with bikes. And without the water. And not at all very synchronized...

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #78

I was told this one is called a Superman, not sure why.

Crankworx is a 10-day long event at Whistler mountain, and we stayed to watch the events for two days, commuting back and forth from our campsite less than 30 kms north in Pemberton. Although motorcycle parking was free in Whistler, the food was far from free...

Sea-to-Sky Highway north of Whistler to Pemberton on the way back to our campsite

On a sad note, the province's Olympic committee must have ran out of funds for the smart, snazzy stones announcing the towns north of Whistler, where tourists rarely ventured. Our arrival in poor ole Pemberton is heralded by the same old metal sign that's been there since before 2010...

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #79
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/21.html

When we met Veronica in Merritt, BC <a href="http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/18.html">last week</a>, she pointed us to a spot on her map called the Highline Trail and told us that it was a great dual-sport road with amazing views. So we took her advice and rode up there. The Highline Trail starts at a town called D'Arcy, at the end of Portage Road which runs off the Sea-To-Sky at Mount Currie.

Anderson Lake, D'Arcy, BC

While we were adjusting our tire pressures for the gravel road in D'Arcy, a few residents drove up to us in their trucks and ATVs and recommended that we just ride around the corner to the lake and hang out at the docks. We were glad to take their advice because the lake was beautiful, clear and blue and the waters were just as refreshing as they looked. We ended up putting our swimsuits on and stayed for a couple of hours, sunbathing and swimming. If this was one of our normal "Cant Stop! We're on a Schedule!" trips, we would have totally missed out on the lake and a great rest stop.

Bonsai! (tree?)

This was the neighbourhood dog, Scout, who trained me very well to play fetch with him

The Highline Trail climbs rapidly from D'Arcy, and you soon can see Anderson Lake from a high vantage point. Open only in the summertime, it is only recommended for 4WD vehicles. Or 1wd...

Beautiful, but distracting view of Anderson Lake from Highline Trail

Parking in the Lillooet Fire Zone. Wonder if we'll get tickets here as well... :(

If you look closely, you can see Neda riding the trail on the left side of the picture

The trail was a great dual-sport road as promised by Veronica. And the views were amazing! Hard-packed gravel and lots of elevation changes had us moving our body weight back and forth on the bike.

Rounding the bend on the Highline Trail

Rounding the bend part II - don't look down, steep drop on the right!

A long way from home...
1,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #80
30 kms later, we stopped for a late afternoon lunch at the Highline Pub in Seton. It seemed like the only business in town and we stayed for a couple of hours because they had wi-fi. When I asked the owner what the roads were like back to Lillooet, she replied that it was another 70 kms of the same gravel but worse (worse? cool!), so we decided to head out before the sun robbed us of visibility.

Sun is setting on the Highline Trail

The road to Lillooet had steep switchback climbs where had amazing views of the man-made Carpenter Lake. We saw some great wildlife, I should say Neda saw some great wildlife, since she was in the lead. I just got to hear about it on the intercom, "Oh my god, a bear!"... "Where? Where?"... "Oh, it ran off, I scared it away"...

Neda returns to the BatCave after a long day fighting grime.

The trail follows Bridge River for quite awhile before ending up in Lillooet

We reached Lillooet as the sun disappeared behind the hills and we set up our tent in the dark. What a great day of dual-sport riding!
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