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809 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Sorry! Sorry! Sorr-eee! Geez!
To start off a ride report with Dylan Thomas, dude, what are you thinking? Not nearly shiny enough for the shortattentionspan theater crowd.
So, I'll throw in something just for gratuitous entertainment. These are the Sexah Monkeys from last year's Mardi Gras.

Ok, so this is what I am thinking...This is the third ride I've done without reporting, and that's a shame, right? Not because it is MY ride report, but ride reports stimulate the wanderlust in us as riders. We dream of the fantasy ride, the "Man, I'd really like to go there someday" response, and these reports will get someone somewhere to get off their fattening a$$ and just do it.

So, then, why the F "Dylan Thomas," especially since I have never been a fan of death and dying, or considering death and dying, or anything like that?

A few reasons exist for that and, believe me, you young 'uns, you will face this.

There comes a time in your life and, more specifically your motorcycle riding life, when you must consider the time when this thus far enjoyable pursuit must, of necessity, be closeted, put away, back in the toy box of toys you no longer play with for some reason or another. It is an existential thing. Put another way, you may just no longer enjoy it, it may be too much work, family pressures, but most pointedly, in my case, as one ages and the changes inevitably happen with age...you just don't want to kill yourself.

That is what I was facing, I think. No fool like an old fool, and no greater fool than an old fool riding a motorbike. Two wheels and well being can be at odds with with one another, right?

Ok, for the sparkle seeking crowd another picture to keep you reading, or gawking, or drooling (you know who you are).

The Sirens of NOLa

So, advancing age, and the damn reality of it, may have pushed Dylan Thomas to "rage, rage" and can you imagine a poet raging? That must me a snicker-inducing sight! But, I am not into rage, or "rage, rage"--is that doubled or squared?

Though, I may flail my arms a bit, it's only for a short time and I usually stop when onlookers start pointing and laughing at me as seen below in my (much) earlier years.

Nah, not rage rage, but more like a roach (me), hit by RAID (advancing age), skitters around, ultimately on their backs, legs a-twitter...if I were Dylan Thomas, that's where I'd go with that...and that's where I have gone.

Reaching back about 24 or so months, I started what I was considering to be my Swan Song(s) of riding, some bucket list items.

First up was the Circle Tour of Lake Superior...this was an awesome ride (solo). Recommend it highly. One tipover, lots of mosquitoes, and just plain beautiful.

I went here and bought some pants ( that I love, btw )

and here

and here

and here, too

Lots of waterfalls, waterfalls out the wazou

met this guy, Bruce T, outside of Kakabeka falls near Thunder Bay,

and talked about New Orleans music, and we just lost another one, Art Neville of The Neville Brothers (keyboards)

All in all a very cool ride on my third foray into Cannuckistan.

But, wait! There's more!

Loving the ride around Lake Superior, and really liking Wisconsin along the way. I planned another ride, this time with my best riding partner, in the Fall to enjoy
1) the color
2) the apple harvest
3) the roads

As it turned out though, of those three things...Pick NONE

It was cold and rainy the whole damn time--so the roads were sloppy.
Any color that may have existed, was severely muted by the leaden skies.
I never saw an apple.

Couple this with the low back pain my colleague was experiencing, so that at every stop, he was complaining about his back, and just miserable, plus some discussions about motel choices, and his consideration of an early exit from the ride, and what was in the cards at the outset, was nowhere to be experienced in real time.
This ride was so, uh, un-pleasant, that it made me reconsider this whole motorcycleenjoymentthing. I told people afterwards that "if this is what motorcycle riding is like, I would not do it again. It was not fun...at all."

Of course I knew better--it IS fun; I prefer to ride solo to avoid other's problems shading my ride, to make my own decisions about where to stay, where to eat, to accept my own mistakes, not magnified by other's second guessing, and my own aches and pains are quite enough, thank you.

I only took 27 pictures the whole ride and most were after my friend decided to turn around early and head home, and I rode on.

So, with a bit of trepidation I planned the next ride, a solo epic (for me) ride, from my driveway to Vancouver Island. Would it be my last, could I do it, was it prudent, misgivings right and left, but plan I did, starting in February of this year, with an estimated date of departure June 17, the day after Father's Day.

809 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
British Columbia is a B I G place, covering a significant part of the planet. And it's really far away.

So, as fortune favors the bold, but REALLY favors the prepared, I started planning. Needed new tires before the ride.

My favorites are Pirelli Scorpion Trails II and Metzeler Tourance Nexts.
I chose the Torance Nexts because they are a bit better on dirt, though they ride a bit firmer.
I did not plan on doing any off-road, mostly for safety (and some skill) reasons. Going down, even unhurt could be a problem for a 73 year old and a fully loaded 1200 GS. I might be there a LOONG time.

Still, on whatever ride I've ever taken I have found myself on less than ideal road conditions. You always do. It could be the road turns to dirt or gravel or some mix of the two, or there is a significant stretch of roadwork...whatever. I had been happy with the Nexts and that's what went on. Historically I get well over 8k miles out of them, and that's what looked like the ride would be. At the end it came in around 7500 miles and there was significant tread left on the Metzelers.

Also, needed to do a 12k service...check and a biannual brake flush...check. The girl was ready

This is her the night before departure.

I would be remiss if I did not give huge thanks to the inmates over on ADVRider.com. They were great, with recommendations, suggestions, evaluations and generally invaluable advice. And they were enthusiastic about the swamp headed "foreigner" visiting their stomping grounds. Again, they were a great asset in all regards and too many thanks are not enough!

Leaving NOLa in the height of summer and riding through the heartland can be hot, so, I planned on leaving in the early am, and stopping mid afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat. I usually do not ride out of NOLa in the summer, prefering to travel in Spring and Fall, but this time it was unavoidable.

Days before I was going to depart, I had a patient who had just returned from BC/Alberta, the Banff/Jasper area, and the Icefields Parkway--a major destination for me, was closed for them...by snow... and this was not unusual. Last year when I met up with P'man and Mrs P'man in late summer they had a similar experience just a couple of weeks before, so planning something "up north" requires some meteorological luck, but knowing when it is least likely to be thwarted by a m"wintry mix."
that meant leaving NOLa and traveling in the convection oven of June/July (for me).

On the way out of town I pulled over to get a shot of the bike in the swamps, soon to be very far behind.

Day one was uneventful...NOLa to Mena, Arkansas. Stayed at the Ozark Inn. I am not sure if there is a good part of Mena, but I suspect this was not it. Just across the parking lot a construction crew was busy doing something indiscernible, but it involved a back hoe, a front loader, noise and a lot of guys talking. Shovels could have been present, but soon enough they stopped.
Night came and went and Tuesday, June 18th dawned on what would turn out to be the worst day of the trip.

Again, I wanted to get an early start, so at dawn + 30 I was loading my bike, fueled by bad weak motel room coffee and the no-breakfast the Ozark provided. Ok, par for the course, no real biggie.

I am loading the bike and at the abandoned garage, also across the parking lot, the one that looks like a repository for old window A/C units, disassembled and rusting dishwashers, flat squares of grey metal, leaning against other grey pieces of metal, I see some movement, a scurrying, human in shape. I am thinking someone who works there is arriving. I continue to pack.

Soon I see that the moving shape was in fact human and headed my way.

You've been there, you're packing or refueling and someone approaches to talk with you about whatthehellyouredoing, whereareyougoing, whereareyoucomingfrom...you get these questions all the time, right? As the shape approached and I was prepping for the conversation, no real conversation happened.
50 ish year old sorta white male, picket fence dentition, and a plaid shirt that would have been kinda red, if color had remained. Earth tones, I mean like REAL earth as in dirt and mud.
I am reminded of the coffee shop scene between Jules and Vincent in Pulp Fiction; Jules announcing he's going to walk the earth... "like Cain."

Yep, definitely a bum... now encroaching on my personal space. I say hello.
He mumbles something and is holding out a styrofoam cup that has something black and ashen in it at the bottom...maybe an old cigarette butt, maybe something else like the remains of a chew, but he's holding it out to me, though not offering me any, just out.

His speech is garbled, not with an Arkansas drawl, not with some speech impediment, not drunk (I think), and I make out that he's telling me he has no coffee.
Right, he has no coffee, well, brotha, this is your lucky day!
I tell him I can help him with that.

I go inside the room and get the motel pack of the "Mountain Colombian Josef" decaffeintated green packet "coffee" and bring it out to him.

He studies it, like it's some thousand year old theorem no one has ever proven or solved.

He tells me he has no water, things are starting to get a bit dicey security wise, I am thinking , and he then starts walking into my room, I guess, to get water.

I stop him, now raising my voice, "you're not going in there!" stepping in front of him. There is no one around, but in my motorcycle ninja garb and with a fully functioning frontal lobe, I must have been "imposing," and I have never been "imposing" in my life.
He shuffles off, disappears toward the front of the Ozark inn.

It was just a bad karma feel to the whole exchange. And then...and then...

So, my wife and I went to Mass the day before leaving. Cover all the bases, right? The gospel is the one "if you've done it to the least of your brethren, you've done it to Me," you know the one.
And I realize, 12 years of Catholic School guilt rearing its sometimes imprudent head, that this bum was by any measure whatsoever the quintessential "least of my brethren." I think i'd have to travel to Calcutta to find lesser. This was that guy, no doubt.

No, he wasn't Jesus, wasn't Jebus either, but on day two of this epic thing, this happens, really no big deal, I can blow it off, but I have had the experience before where I've done something on one of these rides and bad luck seems to follow me for a while, long enough to connect the dots, to add 2 + 2 and maybe get a solid 5, but it could be a 4, you know?

So, my plan is...I have water in my side case--I had forgotten that. I get one out and on leaving Mena, I look for the guy to give him a bottle of water.
I look, I miss a turn, manage to get lost in Mena, all the while looking for the guy aka the least of my brethren.
I never see him. In an ironic twist, I am bummed.

But some good riding lies ahead today, though so does some BAD riding.
First, the good.

The Talimena Trail traverses the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Winding with elevation changes it is a nice change after the getouttadodge interstates of the day before.

There was rain all around my trip out of NOLa, but I managed to ride between the drops, and the dry continues on my first scenic part of the ride.

I notice what appear to be box turtles crossing the road, presumably to get to the other side, and I am careful to avoid them, thinking now that my karma balance may be equilibrating, until...

THUMP . THUMP, oh man, I just rolled over a box turtle, now definitely in the red in my karma account. Sorrr-EEEE!

The Talimena only goes so far and soon I am in the environs of Tulsa or something like Tulsa, a TLO, a Tulsa like Object, and it become H O R R I B L E and H O T. Quickly.

The garmin, Oh Ma Gawd! I HATE the garmin, get me out of OKLAHOMA. I wind up with the school marm voice telling me to Make A U Turn, and Stand On Your head, and WE JUST WANT TO DICK YOU AROUND. And Make that Turn You Just passed, I swear I heard some giggling.

It's now very hot, sweating in my armor, struggling to see the GD garmin screen that just disappears to blackness in anything brighter than an 8 year old's birthday cake. It is horrible. I look at my paper maps and tell the garmin to aim for anytown OK, that is in the direction I want to go, about 25-30 miles away---get me to sweet sweet Kansas and out of OKLAHOMA.

The garmin never fails to please <sarcasm>. I put in the name of the town about 30 miles away, actually the first 4 letters of the name, and because the stupid garmin lists towns in ALPHABETICAL order, rather than by proximty, I am told of places in Poland and Indonsia, 6, 7, 8 THOUSAND miles away, but not the town down the road a piece. I could have put in more letters of the town, but the input system leaves a LOT to be desired, like the delays between tapping a letter and it actually appearing on the screen.

So, it starts "directing" me, sending me on the WEGOTHEREFIRSTWHITEMAN Turnpike. WhaaaT? I don't want to be on a toll road.

Dealing with a toll road on a motorcycle is not a fun experience, right? I thought I told you that, garmin, yet... Let's exit, no wait, the garmin is telling me to exit...uh oh, unmanned toll booth. Doesn't take cards, I have a 10, that's a non starter, so I snake around the barricade, a scofflaw and an outlaw in OKLAHOMA, and the garmin, instead of sending me on a local road as I thought the exiting of the WEGOTHEREFIRSTWHITEMAN Turnpike would lead to, the Garmin is sending me right BACK onto the WEGOTHEREFIRSTWHITEMAN Turnpike. I don't realize it until it is too fricking late!

Another scofflaw moment ensues at the toll booth at the entrance of the t'pke, and again when I get off at the next exit, and find my way OUT of OKLAHOMA and into Kansas, and the rain.

I've watched storms brewing in my general direction for a while and eventually we meet.

I pull over to wait it out and even in a storming rain, lightening and thunder, it was better than OKLAHOMA.

The end of day two finds me in Penny's Diner, in Wellington, watching Dorthy-Weather broil the skies from my booth with my tasty burger.

The next morning dawns grey then pink then bight overcast, and I am in Kansas, officially far from home.

Some can't stand the ride across Kansas and Nebraska. Not I, said the pig.
First, the plains are not always flat, but rolling to slightly hilly. Louisiana is flat, Kansas, Nebraska, not so much. It appeals as a minimalist landscape, land and sky and not much to break the horizon. Blue, gold, green in a tableau painted in watercolors by a 6 year old.
It stirs contemplation, almost a meditative experience. You're usually alone "out there. " You and the red tail hawks, the odd F-150, broken wind mill and a tarmac that could continue to Tatooine for all you know.

Rolling along the GS is doing its thing, Point A to Point B, and I finally stop in Sidney, Nebraska, near where Colorado and Wyoming and Nebraska meet.
I stop at the Comfort Inn, you know the one right by the Love's, Comfort and Love's woo hoo. A natural.

Turns out the Love's incorporates an IHOP, maybe not my favorite cuisine, but now they have burgers and other cow parts and that's what I have, that part of Elsie that becomes a Philly Cheese Steak.

Have you ever taken a shower at a Love's Truck Stop? You can. I wonder if they have beds? Hmmm.

So, as I mange my IHOP Philly Cheese Steak, the PA system is alive.

me and my fellow diners

Lemme set the scene.
I'm eating at anIHOP, for the first time since I've known better.
Actually an IHOP Express. It is within a Love's truck stop in Sidney, NE
An aural cornucopia awaits. I got the Philly cheese steak and it, and the attendant fries are good! On the radio is Faith Hill's cover of Take Another Piece a' Ma Heart, on the TV, Hannity is interviewing Trump, and over the intercom:
Customer 24! Your shower is ready! Please proceed to shower number 3!
Trump is talking about the wall...
Customer number 25. Your shower is ready, please proceed to shower number 7.
Occasionally, the overhead tells a driver of DH TRANS that his truck is in the way of the driver behind who wants to be on his way.
A family arrives to take the table next to me...Tattoos abound.
Mom sets the table for 4 kiddos , 11 and under.

Sitting at the window, I tell you what, Nebraska skies are gorgeous.
I'm doing fine.


809 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The next morning I hit US 30, The Lincoln Highway and enter Wyoming. There are backroads that sort of parallel 30 and I hop on to take me to Laramie.
I am definitely in The West now and the first big rocks are starting to appear.

When the backroad meets US 30 again, there's a welcomed rest area, and a H U G E bust of Abe.

Making tracks and heading toward Thermopolis, the winds are brutal, often from the side, but more often headwinds as I watch my mileage dip to the mid 30s. Getting low on fuel, I am looking. Garmin tells me there's a place in Hiland, Steelman's Bright Spot. Will it be Shell, or Chevron or Valero?
Is this it? (Thanks google)

I pull up to a pump, hidden by the trash. Everything's analog. Ruh Roh.
The glass cover over the display is missing, there is silver duct tape mostly covering the price, half of it is flapping in the wind. It looks for all the world like a dead, ex, former pump. It proclaims 85 octane, but the GS could probably run on mung if push came to shove.
Push meet shove.

I sit staring dumbly at the pump. The other pump is diesel. I have a half a gallon of the good stuff in my pannier, but to get to Thermopolis I needed more than that.
The door to the Bright Spot in Hiland, Wyoming says


I go in. Mostly brown tones greet me in the half light.


I hear shuffling and a woman's voice, but no woman,

the L O U N G E part of the Bright Spot is off to the left, and I peek in.

The proprietrix appears, shuffling out of the back, Grey haired, looking like Auntie Em, but older, worn, probably by the wind. He!!, she's probably younger than me, but Wyoming is rough on the skin and harder on "youthful look."

This is Auntie Em, the one who's NOT
1) the dude
2) Judy Garland

Y'all have gas?

Auntie Em nods, shuffles and affirms at the same time as we walk out to the short yellow school bus gas pump.

How much do you want?

OK< gotta admit, that question threw me a bit. 85 octane, no price on the pump,

uh, 10 dollars

That winds up being about 3 gallons, but 85 and 3 and $10 are a whole lot better than pushing this rig. Pumping done we go inside to settle up.

Where you headed.
I tell her
Where you from?
I tell her.

Oh, I spent some time down there after Katrina...with the Red Cross.

whoa that gets my attention...and we chat about her and my experience. She was helping out for about three weeks after Katrina, first I thanked her, then we traded notes. At the Bright Spot in Hiland, Wyoming I meet one of the angels that came to NOLa after the storm to help. Man, did we appreciate those people!

This is how I got around town in the weeks following

washed up refrigerators on Lakeshore drive

My house as I was cleaning up; "0B" was the code for "zero bodies."

The National Guard in Audubon Park

Katrina was in August. This is my Christmas Card that year.

I thanked the kind lady again and rode on. The Elk Antler Inn was my destination--there were antlers everywhere.
See the Antlers on the ceiling? Moose motif shades, velvet murals, oh yeah, movin' on up.

Now, one thing about the Elk Antler Inn, though, and that was the friendliness of the lady at the desk. Asian, maybe Vietnamese, all of 5 feet, always listing to port, often with a jerk. and and she would have been offensively cheerful if her smile weren't so damm infectious!

The other thing about the Elk Antler Inn was the paucity of three prong plugs in the room and the Gordian Knot of extension cords all vying for the single far wall 3 pronger.

I didn't burn up.

The next morning and the destination is Kalispell which will be my staging spot for the border crossing. But first, there's some riding to do, some old friends in the neighborhood; Chief Joseph and Beartooth in the house.

I head up 120, through Cody (cool town if you've never been, really good Tapas restaurant there with some nice wines ), and hang a left on WY 296, Chief Joseph Hwy, which along with Beartooth Pass are two of the most iconic motorcycle roads on the continent.

Sometimes what you wanna do and what you do are two different things.

wasted shot here just to show what my garmin screen looks like in bright overcast with the display on full brightness. This is the way it has always been, bordering on worthless.

basta garmin

Chief Joseph.

Chief Joseph goes on like this for a long while until you take a right on 212 and you are on Beartooth Pass. I do.

There are a couple of signs at the beginning of Beartooth, one no more impressive than the other. One says: Road Closed ahead.

The other says: Construction Ahead; Expect Delays.

A Wyoming state trooper is sitting in his car right there, marking time and space, nothing more. I decide to believe the Construction Ahead and I expect Delays and ride on and Beartooth is everything it always is, but it's getting colder on this the first day of summer.

Elevation increases, now in 5 digits, snow is alongside the road. I stop for a picture and...

654 Posts
Great write up. Did those roads in Sept once, going opposite direction. Had to wait in Red Lodge for coupe hours while they plowed the snow from roads. Well worth the wait! Beautiful ride.

809 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The day to day aspects of the ride evolved on a day to day basis. Up until the day I left I didn't decide which way I would head up; which way I'd head back. To be clear, I had a good idea, but the actual route on day one was not decided until the last minute

There were some roads I wanted to incorporate, but the variables of rain, snow, fire, heat, asteroid, disease, famine, war, etc meant "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Coming from the Gulf south in full summer to the north that could be like our winter or worse suggested prudence, or, you just ride through it, shiver, swelter and dry out. I aimed somewhere in between.

It was the day before, in Thermopolis, I realized I could do Chief Joseph and Beartooth. Hey, it was on the way. Yeah let's do this. Chief Joseph went without a hitch, hung a right on Beartooth, considered the signs promising either road closed or construction delays, and rode on.

I climb Beartooth, the road surface better than I remember in 2016 when I last rode it. Beartooth is not a particularly challenging road. It's got some switchbacks, but not really hairpins with elevation changes, still it is fun and it is gorgeous, top of the world stuff. These pix are from my ride in 2016. Not this ride on the first day of summer, 2019.

The "Bear Tooth" of Beartooth Pass.

But, on this day, none of that was very visible...as I said at the close of the last entry, elevation rose to 5 digits, snow was on the sides of the road, though not falling, I stop for a picture, now 32 degrees.


To be sure the road was fine, no active snowfall or ice on this, again, the first day of summer, little traffic. Just before I shot the video, a car stopped from the other direction telling me the road was closed and this was the best place to turn around. We both said the LEO at the beginning did nothing to stop either of us, but really, had he been there to advise me of the closure, if allowed, I probably would have ridden up anyway to "take a look." And it was almost to the end of it.

So, Plan B was not shabby at all... go back down Beartooth and do Chief Joseph again, but now going the other way. Not a shabby choice at all.

On the way back I took this of the Clark Valley, a beautiful valley extending southward (I think) from Chief Joseph.

The appeal of this area is immediately obvious

as Chief Joseph winds it's way toward Beartooth, which, i think would be off to the right.

From Wyoming Tourism:

The Chief Joseph Scenic Byway is named after the Native American chief of the Nez Perce Tribe. Following the Battle of the Big Hole in Idaho in 1877, Chief Joseph fled east through Yellowstone. He and 1,000 members of his tribe ran from the US Cavalry, who were trying to force the tribe onto a reservation so that white ranchers could have their lands. While crossing Yellowstone, the Nez Perce briefly captured several tourists before going north up the Clarks Fork River. The Nez Perce were trying to flee to Canada (an 1,800 mile trek), but surrendered after the six-day Battle of the Bear Paw in northeastern Montana. The tribe was stopped only 30 miles from their destination, the Canadian border.

In his speech of surrender, Chief Joseph expressed dignity and defeat with his famous words, 'Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.' The Nez Perce tribe was forced onto reservations in Oklahoma and Washington despite promises to allow them back on their lands. Yellowstone's Nez Perce Creek is named for this valiant attempt at freedom.

Onward to Kalispell for the evening, and tomorrow I cross the border at Roosville


and, I have to give some cred to the

Across the street from the motel. Comfort Inn??? iirc, was a casino with an adjoining restaurant. I'm always a bit leery of casino restaurants, fearing smoke and really plain forgettable fare. Not so at the Montana Club (at all!).
I had a really good salad, but the appetizer was delish and deserves mention:

Battered Steak Strips
Tender Filet Mignon Strips lightly battered, fried
and served with housemade Southwest Ranch. 12.99

My tummy very satisfied and The Blue Dog (and Loup Garou if I'm not good) and I will be crossing the border tomorrow...

To learn more about The Blue Dog, check this out:
Musings of an Artist's Wife: Meet Tiffany, the Original Blue Dog

But the takeaway here is, I made it to British Columbia...in one piece.


809 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Crossing a border is a little bit unnerving, at least for me. Will they discover the rocket propelled grenade launcher, collapsible version (folds down to 14"), in my pannier. Would they think the Dirt Napper device strapped to my seat is some kind of scatological device, banned in Ontario, Alberta and the Czech Republic? Are they going to ask me trick questions? These concerns and more always make me sweat a bit.

Back in my Up The Gut report a couple of years ago, I talked about how I was "selected" for more than a basic interview, had to go inside, spoke with Officer Creamer (not making that up) everyone except me in flak jackets, black is the new black. and the honorable Officer Creamer giving me the third degree about how I get off of work so long, why didn't I just fly up, real obnoxious stuff, with absolutely no sense of humor, a real credit to the uniform. Other border guards protecting Canada's southern border from illegal migrants from The Great Satan couldn't have been nicer, but Creamer sticks out as a very memorable ambassador-straight from the Department of Anal Affairs-of our neighbor to the North. And as I approach the border, his memory does nothing to make me comfortable about this transit.

In the stop and go, I get my passport ready, I turn off my Sena, I take off my gloves. I pull up, I turn off the engine, flip up my helmet.

This version of Creamer, about the same age--30 ish, same build, same short hair, black, same demeanor, grim.

He's sitting in an enclosed booth, never facing me I strain to hear him, and he's peeved. He asks me some questions, and I can barely hear him, because in my preps to meet and greet, I left my ear plugs in.

He's right up there on the left.

I ask him if he could speak louder because I have ear protection in. And in a very WelcomeToCanada way he sneers and speaking to my left pannier says---and I hear this fine--- "No shit, why didn't you take them out before." Because I didn't want to, CaputPenis, I wanted to make you suffer in your little box, and I am not going to tell you about the plans for Grand Coulee Dam that I am going to give Mosheef Al-Sabbad at The Friendly Bean Coffee Shop in Kamloops, and if you have a minute, let me show you how the rocket propelled grenade launcher works...stand over there.

Nah, I really didn't say any of that when he laid out the Welcome mat, didn't even think it until now. Nothing like a first impression, right?
He mumbles something else and hands back my passport. Nothing more. So I say.
Are we cool?
Are WE COOL? with a big feces consuming grin.
And he actually smiles a bit and says
yeah, we're cool

I rode on ready to begin my excursion and really glad I talked back to the dude. It gave an unpleasant situation closure

Off I go. I am heading to Cranbrook for the evening. It looked like a place where I could kinda circle the wagons and be ready for the next week in BC. Easy food and lodging, and a bank to change dollars for dollarettes, the ones with that lady on them. It served that purpose well.

The next morning I head out now beginning the recommended roads from the good people on ADVrider, I am heading to Nakusp. I am no longer able to ride in between the drops, they catch up with me. It wasn't a washout, but it was raining just enough to make stopping for pix nearly impossible.

crossing the lake on a free ferry

I have the garmin weather app on my 665 and now discover another reason to have such a strong distaste for the brand. The weather app, as poor as it is, does not work at all in BC. Canada appears just as a map, no weather info at all, it stops at the 49th parallel. So, now, as I suggested somewhere, it is best to just watch the clouds. Watching the clouds tells me rain and sometimes sunshine, correctly.

So, I get to Nakusp, and I must say that this route was a very nice motorcycle ride, especially after crossing the lake at Balfour. I almost killed Bambi and his sister (or brother--I didn't notice the package or lack of). Mom crosses as I am coming along at a prudent, but fun, speed, and the two fawns wait until they see me, then Bambi starts to cross. Horn and heavy braking, Bambi gets a WTF look on his face, legs look like tumbled match-sticks, he stumbles, and then rushes back to the side of the road. Mom is watching all this as is the other fawn. But no harm done, and a maybe valuable life lesson for Bambi. Or not.

It was a good road for sure.

As I am approaching Nakusp, the rain is still off and on. I check in to my motel. I again get the room with a view of the stairway and I'm getting antsy to start taking some pics; I head out with my camera. Have Nikon, will travel. Disclaimer, some of these were taken the next morning.

and...so good they had to name it twice

Chances are we have it? Ok, Ok Let's see...
Soooo, lemme get this right, you don't have Swedish twins named Helga and Ilsa.
What do you have?
How about a rhesus monkey?
A grilled cheese sandwich?
A slimming effect? Linoleum? Oleomargarine? Shorts a size too small? Sam Cooke's gravestone? Huh? Look! I don't want a sunny disposition, don't give me that.
Truth in advertising must not exist north of the 49th parallel. Sheesh.

I ride on. I will say this is not the last time on this ride I come across a store promising far more than they can deliver.

I continue on BC6 and it continues to please, all the way to Vernon, then on to Revelstoke on 97A, which was OK, and then Ca 1, the Trans Canada Highway.

I liked Revelstoke. It was a cool town. In late june it looked like the major portion of the population consisted of 20-30 somethings who didn't have much to do, and who could simply be year rounders who work in winter sports, summer bringing leisure time. Lots of young dads with kids, Lots of young moms with kids. A sprinkle of older people, I may have been the oldest person in Revelstoke. It had a good vibe though. I ate at a place called The Old School House Restaurant and it was really pretty good and far more than just the typical on the road burger (or Mexican) place. It was in a part of the old school house, an old classroom, complete with school house globes for lighting and the old blackboard. The windows overlooked the old playground of the school.

To be continued

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Discussion Starter #7
continued from above

After dinner, this far north, this close to the summer solstice, the days were long.

I liked Revelstoke.

369 Posts
Crossing a border is a little bit unnerving, at least for me.

Back in my Up The Gut report a couple of years ago, I talked about how I was "selected" for more than a basic interview, had to go inside, spoke with Officer Creamer (not making that up) everyone except me in flak jackets, black is the new black. and the honorable Officer Creamer giving me the third degree about how I get off of work so long, why didn't I just fly up, real obnoxious stuff, with absolutely no sense of humor, a real credit to the uniform.
And I thought it was just me? I crossed at a minor "station" in upstate NY and was selected for a conference. Was it the Virgin Islands Plate and Operators License? There seemed to be an assumption that I was taking the bike into Canada to sell, or something. Asked if I knew anyone in Canada I replied yes, Pierre Trudeau. After producing more and more paperwork I was told that Canada wasn't a good choice of places to go "right now" due to forest fires in BC, what 4,000 miles away? I maintained an agreeable attitude and a smile on my face and was allowed to enter the Country. Judge not the country by the demeanor of its Border Agents.

369 Posts
Oh and by the way Sawbones, your photos from Carnival to Canada made me smile. Carnival is alive and well down here and memories of my last trip through Canada were fondly recalled with your beautiful photos.

Local cheering section at an athletic event


6 Posts
Doc: just back from 3 weeks in same area. Have a x couple of same pics, including Revelstoke... and Thomas poem is the new motto for this 66 yo cancer survivor! Go man, go!

809 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I lied.

I said I travel solo, but that's not the truth. I do travel with a friend, and my friend travels well.

There are little snippets of life that happen, insignificant at the time, and taken alone insignificant still, but when viewed in the context of the timeline of one's lifetime, well, you remember "That was the first time I...," or "That was when I saw..."

Flashback, early fall 2005, post Katrina, only 4 guys back on our block, me, Steve, Mike, and Jim , no electricity, everyone armed, and in the afternoons we compared notes, what notes there were to compare. We were it for weeks.

I'm on a Jim's front porch with him, talking trash, most likely. Guy talk. Probably our worst aspects spilling forth, he!!, I don't know, I don't recall, but I remember a couple of "things" not from a particular conversation, but from our conversations in general. I remember Jim talking about what happened on some day, middle of the day. Said he was sitting on his front porch, watching, chilling, passing time, when a car slooowly rode down the street, stopped in front of David's house--across the street from Jim. David and family were still evacuated. David's house is empty, right? But Jim is watching and the "occupants" of the slow ride don't see him. The car stops, occupants emerge and start walking toward David's house, according to Jim, "like they are casing it." Three of them.
Jim described their look as "thugs."

Jim stands and says, "Can I help you fellas?" Startled, they turn to face him, our narrow streets put them about 25 feet away. They stammer something about "looking for <unintelligible>" as they see Jim standing, fit and probably close to 6 feet, on the "high ground " of the porch," and to hear Jim tell it, and he pantomimed it, patting the overly big 45 on his hip. Again they stammered and got back into the car and left more quickly than they arrived. In those days post Katrina it was not wild west, but as close as I would want to come to it. So, I remember that, and that was interesting but a total tangent to where I was going with this. texture for "Jim."

Jim was a stay at home dad, his wife worked, I think, and was an heir to a liquor distribution company. In his early years he was a ski instructor/coach to the US Olympic ski team, and he raced motorcycles. I had my Vespa. He gave me a leather Walter Dyer motorcycle jacket, some sponsor had given him two. I chose the black and red one. Still wear it on occasion. That's a tangent, too.

So, one afternoon I am on the porch with him and a UPS truck pulls up. We were both surprised to see that. There were NO city services, no federal services, no electricity, no one to pick up all the trash we are cleaning from out yards. A UPS truck pulls up. The driver carries a big box to him.

He's not surprised and says his mother in law thought he'd need this. He opens it, right there.

"This" is a case of Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch.

"Here, you want a bottle?"

Uh, yeah sure, my brother is a single malt fan, I'm sure he'd like it. Thanks

That bottle never made to my brother, and thus began my affair with single malts. I just adore a new vice. There is nothing like a new vice, it's like falling in mad love, you caress the vice, you enable it, you handle it gently, and you learn the nuances of it.
You work with it, make excuses for it, and you think you want to try others. Very much like a woman, vices are.
I have favorites in the seven deadly sins, but maybe single malts should be the eighth. J'adore un nouveau vice

In an ironic twist, my brother, the same brother for whom the Glenmorangie was intended, nearly 15 years later gave me a bottle of scotch for Christmas, and, ironically it was Glenmorangie, though an 18 year old version.

So, coming around back to where I started, that, this was my companion on the trip. It never complained of any pain, it was fine with where I chose to stay, to eat, it was always there, never had to look or wait, and it is so goshdarn smooth that if it were any smoother it would slide from the glass.
This bottle.

So, there were many an evening that, upon arrival at the Suoer Huit my first stop after dumping my bags was a pour of that Glenmorangie pictured above. Oh, soo good. I am having some as I write this.

Aside (as if all of this wasn't): I have divided the single malt crowd into two camps: there is the Glenlivet Oban crowd and The Macallan crowd who overlap with the Lagavulin crowd. I am in the latter.

Digression aside. I was in Revelstoke and now definitely in the meat of the ride. Tomorrow would be a big day.

I take CA 1 to Tekakkaw Falls.

This could be the prettiest portion of all of the Trans Canada Highway. It goes through Rogers Pass, a spectacular part of the Canadian Rockies. Unfortunately, unlike US highways passing through very scenic areas, there are no turnoffs to admire the view!!! WTF, and the TransCanada, at least in this part is not a place where you can just pull over. I will say that as I passed through, twice, the last time actively looking for a place to pull over and finding none, both times foul expletives were said in appreciation of the beauty of Rogers Pass. If you get there, I hope it will be different for you and you find a place to capture it.

But, I am headed to Tekakkaw Falls in the Yoho National Park, and Rogers Pass was an incidental finding. I read about Tekakkaw Falls

from Wiki

Takakkaw Falls is a waterfall located in Yoho National Park, near Field, British Columbia in Canada. The falls have a total height of 373 metres, making it the 2nd tallest waterfall in Canada. The main drop of the waterfall has a height of 254 metres. "Takakkaw" translates to "wonderful" in Cree

To get to the falls from Revelstroke I did this route

However what this glosses over is this part of the ride

Looks pretty benign, right? And if you go to youtube and look for a video showing the ride to Tekakkaw, it still looks benign. I did that because I heard that tour busses are no longer allowed up there because of these switchbacks and I thought, "that doesn't look so bad." I can't recall if I said it looked like a "piece of cake." but I may have.
Life lesson: Never ever ever never believe yourself when you hear yourself say something will be a "piece of cake."
I am 73 years old and I learned that lesson over 30 years ago. I kinda recall thinking it. I should have known better. Trust me on this, young'uns!

It is not benign. It's full on malignant.

On the way up, I am on the outside and get through and then see the second one that comes very quickly, with a huge elevation change. Discretion being the better part of valor, I pull off the road at the apex of the switchback, and execute a 5-15 point turnaround and point myself uphill and get through.

So, I am riding a GS, right? And there is this "aura" with riding a GS--or maybe only GS riders tell themselves this, and I suspect the KTM crowd is the same. If you've bought and ride such, a GS or KTM, there is nothing on the road that is "daunting" and to be "concerned" about going down is definitely a sign of weakness.

So, I look around and no one saw me execute the 6->23 point turnaround in the pull out area of the second switchback.
My manhood is intact for the outside world. False within, but lookin' good on the outside! You betcha.

I continue onward and get to the parking area of Tekakkaw Falls. The parking lot is a little difficult, lots of traffic, very bad surface, leaning at once in 6 dimensions, but I manage to land safely. Let's go see the Falls. But in the parking lot, this greets me first...Oh those Cannucks!

I march onward

yes that was the color of the water--more on that later

This is the kind of stuff you see right and left in these parts. I saw this pull off on the way up and knew I would be stopping here for a pic. Places to stop are in short supply. Places begging for pictures are not.

So, now I am on my way down, and i know what's coming with the switchbacks, and I am ready.
I slow down a bit and make sure there is no one in front of me or behind me. I downshift and I am coming down in first and get through the first switchback, the one where I had pulled off to turn into it. I am looking far down, elevation wise, not distance, on the second one planning my attack, now on the inside.
There is a gaggle of cruiser types coming through it and I watch them as I slowly and cautiously approach it, They all make it and I am listening for screams as they hit the second one, the one i just passed, I hear none.

What I should have done was head straight out to the apex of the turn, swallow pride, execute a 24 point turn around and head down.

That's not what I did though. I was alone in the turn, but could not see well what was coming up at me, so I didn't want to swing wide into the other lane, so I slowed to nearly a stop and tried to tip toe my way around the inner part of the slanted and downhill apex.

I can't say I almost did it, though I may have. Almost being the key word. Close to 250k miles on two wheels and I always think how horrible it would be to go down on a switchback especially a steep one. Now I know.

Before I could say "slap my a$$ and call me Charlie" I was going down , slow enough that I remember cursing the whole way down. Foul expletives befitting the experience emerged, one after another, colorful.
On these slow "descents" you have time for that. I didn't hit hard, but enough to knock off the rubber "GS" pad on the tank! and my tank bag, knocking off the lid, spilling the contents of the tank bag--I was able to repair with a couple of tie wraps--, breaking into 4 pieces the plastic winglet on the right side of the windscreen--glued that back together when home, breaking the lens on the turn signal right--replaced, and knocking it out of place--re-situated that afternoon, and I even managed to go over far enough that the upper edge of my windscreen was a bit scraped!

Immediately, people came over.
Yes, I'm ok, just my pride, with a laugh.
There was a guy on an RT who was smirking and said,"these bikes are made for this, right? they can take it, right?" I shared a grin with him. He then said, you got through the really nasty one. A group of people helped me get up, after I collected all the pieces on the ground and threw them in my pannier, and I was on my way.

That was the only mishap in the nearly 7600 miles of the trip...a little embarrassed about it, but in truth, not that much.

There is an 18% grade switchback on Mt Nebo in Arkansas, but it is not as tight. On California 4 I think there is a 26% switchback, but again, not as tight.

Oh well, you pays yo moneys, you takes you chances--I think Little Richard said that.

For the rest of the day, i was concerned someone would see me and say, Hey, Look! There's that guy! and maybe they did, but I didn't hear it. I am that guy.

Anyway, there were places to see up the road, and I head toward the Icefields Parkway.
One of the places I really wanted to see in planning this ride was Peyto Lake. It is one of the lakes in Banff National Park which is kinda adjacent to Yoho National Park...they all run together. Pictures of Peyto Lake actually do do it justice, but you don't believe the pictures until you see the lake. Remember I said that "yes, the water really is that color."

continued below

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Discussion Starter #12
continued from above

This is Peyto Lake

just gorgeous and good for the soul, especially after a fall. I think all of the water up here is this color. It is caused by the mineral content of the glaciers feeding the lakes and the rivers so it is not the only one this color, in fact it appeared that this was the typical color of the waters in this area.

another lake

It was really pretty amazing to have planned this trip with this being one of the destinations, a check box, and to actually be here on this machine that carried me all this way. It is hard to fathom even now. When I tell people what I did, and they say, "you went all that way?" I realize that they don't realize how far this is and the effort involved.
Y'all do, and it is part of the reason why ride reports are so instrumental in getting people to think beyond oil threads or which backpack, or getting the latest bike. They all do the same thing, or can do the same thing. Two wheels in the weather, inches from the ground, self reliant, and seeing stuff that is not possible any other way.


809 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Sorry for the delay, life got in the way...BRB, getting some of that Glenmorangie...BRB

got it...now for those of a certain age a total tangent, but this came up in the Strangelove household while I was in search of scotch.

Two postmen times three animal control officers divided by two gassed meter readers equal how many bendable integrated community workers?
Decode your answer now...........................................<baaaahhhhhhhhhhh>
Did you remember the carry da bum? Good!

OMG those guys (Firesign Theatre) were funny. And those who don't know the source are saying, huh? But I'll bet there will be someone out there who catches the reference and that makes it worth it. Totally.
Yes, I digress. I do that...and it plays better on some forums than others.

After Icefields Parkway, which is a park, btw so you have to pay to get on it even though it is a major road between Banff and Jasper, no biggie, but I thought I'd mention; after Icefields I backtracked a bit, headed south to Radium Hot Springs for the evening. In Radium I re-situated my right turn indicator and assessed the damage from the fall at Tekakkaw. Everything looked like it could be repaired either with a couple of tie wraps (the greatest invention ever), or, worst case, after I got home, but all was manageable.

Radium was a quiet, but neat little town. They must have a significant German presence there...ok, I say that because there was a German bakery, iirc, and a fine German restaurant where I dined that evening al fresco though by dessert--a home made apple strudel--the wind was whipping pretty good.

I did not take the waters.

I went back to the motel after dinner for a particularly boring evening. I've been requested, ok too strong a word, actually no one has asked, hey John, where do you stay at night? Tonight I am here, in Radium Hot Springs. You'll have to look it up. At The Gateway Motel. Clean, economy and only one little picture on the wall. All other walls are COMPLETELY bare. No black and white of a yucca in the desert, no gaudy vaguely Spanish street/rain/night scene. Nothing except for the thermostat and something, either a circuit breaker or where the AED used to be. Most places are not as Spartan as this one is. Comfy though.


I did sleep well, though.
I went to the breakfast room, got a couple of hard boiled eggs, coffee, a yogurt, sat by the window. There were probably about 8 people in there, a small room, polyurethaned pine it looked like, and NOBODY was talking, not the young couple, hiker types, that came in after I arrived, not the other couple, older, who sat across from each other though looked passed each other, no conversation, silence, couples came and went in complete silence with not even the beeper of the waffle machine to break the silence. Weird. No "where's the coffee," It was a black hole of sound, couldn't even tell you if the chairs scuffed the floors. I got up and no one looked my way, I was invisible as was everyone. Completely asocial.

The next part of the trip was a bit unfortunate, for no reason than the weather and the traffic conspired against me, and it was laundry day. It was notable though because per routine the countryside was beautiful and I missed the one picture on the trip that I regret not stopping for. There's always a few of those.

I was headed to Kamloops and by the time I arrived I was in full rain, cold and wet, but it was laundry day, they had one, and a good restaurant next door.

I ate at Storms on the River, walking distance even after a Glenmorangie. I had the mussels appetizer ( i'm a $lut for mussels) and seafood saffron risotto---both delicious. I figured I was close enough to the coast to be getting fresh stuff now. I almost never order seafood away from New Orleans, but if on a coast or close to one, I do not hesitate. I had some great seafood in Nova Scotia, and this trip was just as good. It seems that wherever you go, if they have fresh seafood, there is some version of fish and chips...could be cod or halibut, catfish or speckled trout, whitefish or sockeye, but it's always a safe bet if you are in the proper location. IOW, don't get it in Des Moines or Denver.

I like to dine alone on these rides. I am never lonely. You get to set your own pace, and watch the crowd, eaves drop, voyeur, let it soak in.

When I was in Nakusp, I was in the restaurant at the hotel, and my server was a girl who was covered in tattoos, "sleeves," and had a piercing in her upper lip. As she is answering questions about the menu, I could hear air squirting through her lip piercing. I mean, wtf. Is that supposed to make her more attractive? And to whom? So, I am again eaves dropping at the conversation she is having with an older couple--50s I'd guess--and the guy is raving about how great her "work" is referring to the sleeves on her arms. I just don't get it, and I am thinking why would an otherwise attractive girl do that? Ok, cultural thing, youth thing, but ****...I guess I've just seen too many in the operating room...and YES we do talk about them, and some are particularly memorable for various reasons, many of them not good reasons. Some are incredibly obscene.
But, all we can think of is how they are going to look when that arm has a waddle, or the back or abdomen is sagging...She comes back to my table and whistles her conversation to me.

Ok, and I suppose they all have some "significance," and when she looks in the mirror she is reminded of this or that. I am not talking about a butterfly on the shoulder. That was something noticeable in BC though, the amount of ink on young people...it was almost universal, especially on the lower legs.

However, at Storms on the River my server had no visible tats, no visible piercings, wore a long black dress, was a late 20s early 30s willowy brunette, stylish. You know how you take a sip of a wine, and it's fine, but as the bottle wears on, you start looking at the glass, and looking some more and yet again, maybe smack your lips and think "that is good stuff." That was my server. and she had a funny sort of accent...French? and she was wearing ballet flats and walked like a dancer. She was a beautiful girl who became more and more pleasing to the eye.
I couldn't finish my risotto and got a doggy bag and I finished it at breakfast...just as good. But, as I was confabulating mentally who she was as I was finishing my risotto, she came over to the table. When you dine alone the servers, I think, are more apt to come over and hang a bit with you. And if they are beautiful young girls, so much the better.
I had to ask her...and I did...
Where are you from?
No, where is your accent from?
I've been told I have an accent, but I've lived in Victoria all my life.
I was trying to place it, thinking French, or ?
Ok, and I have to ask...are you a dancer? you walk like a dancer. (Have you seen how a ballet dancer walks? there's a certain style to it; it catches your eye, or maybe mine.)

She giggles, No I am not a dancer, but thank you.
More small talk and I thank her and leave.
Beautiful girl. Memorable then, memorable now.
Let me impart some wisdom of the ages to you young 'uns.
If you come across a girl who has an "accent" when no accent is expected, this should serve as a shot across the bow. Don't ignore it. There may be some craziness lurking beneath. Now, that said, there may be no craziness involved at all, jus' sayin', but there may be...damhik. Ok, now, if we accept that some craziness is involved, or may be involved, you have to decide whether to proceed or not...again, damhik. What is unfortunate and disquieting is that they may be the most appealing femme you happened on in a long time, a moth to the flame, a web of attraction, and the best thing since pain tranché. Proceed with caution. Yeah, proceed with caution, Yeah. Now...if they were to have, say, a little girl voice, a musical voice, maybe throw caution to the winds and rush headlong...YOLO

I offer this as a public service. And I am sure some of you are asking if she would have been worth the risk? In another world...absolutely...I promise to be careful. I also promise not to be stupid and how's that working out?

The next morning dawns grey, but the good news is I am going to ride the Cariboo and then the Sea to Sky. The bad news is to come.
Breakfast is social, appropriate noise and conversation, the risotto aged well.

I head out and stop along the way for a few pics at the beginning of the Cariboo

Progress note: I am now finished the Glenmorangie, just a couple of sips left. tant pis!

You know what comes next? The Sea to Sky...and the bad news. It's raining the whole **** time and it's cold. I have my rain gear on, but it is no match for the rain. I am getting wet. And my visor, despite the pinlock thing, is fogging. So, it's wet, I'm wet, I have trouble seeing. And I'm on the Sea to Sky. I am going into first on the switchbacks, concerned I could slip, but I don't. Even though it was miserable conditions I could tell that this was a GREAT road and I really wish I could do it in the dry. Fortunately, there was little traffic and what there was respected my cautious riding. I tell you, the drivers in BC, the BC drivers were very courteous and it seemed good drivers. I learned to become cautious if I saw Alberta plates, but maybe that was sample size.

I dried out ins Squamish, just cocooning that evening, ready for the ferry ride in the am to Nanaimo (NAN-Imo).

I arrive a Horseshoe Bay for the ferry and everything went pretty smooth.

TIP: if you don't know what you're doing don't be the first in line of motorcycles to get on. That said, the group of bikers was an eclectic but very nice group of people. There was am Israeli guy on an Africa Twin, an Aussie girl on a BMW 650 I think, and some other guys, but generally a very nice bunch of people. We chatted a lot while awaiting embarkation. The Aussie girl said just follow her when the time came and I did.
continued below

809 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
continued from above

sorry for the focus, but you can see the "wedges" used to prop the bikes, no issues on transit

and we are underway!

that's Vancouver's skyline

so, it is here I will leave off, disembarkation was uneventful on Vancouver Island at Nanaimo, and I am headed to Port Alberni

369 Posts

The Canadians and the Americans were having a race to complete trans-continental railroad tracks. All the experts told the head Canadian guy that Rogers Pass was impossible, too steep, too narrow. Rather than accept delay to relocate he had crews dig cork screw tunnels into the mountain on one side, at an acceptable grade. They were in service for a number of years until more modern locomotives could make the grade in the actual gorge leading up to the pass. In separate places on the downhill as I passed through there were three logging trucks taking naps on their sides in the ditch line on the high side. Yikes!

809 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Disembarkation at the ferry terminal in Nanaimo was easy and non-eventful. That's probably the way it is in most circumstances, but my first two ferry exits were adventures, but, fortunately uneventful also, depsite giving me more grey hairs.
The first was years ago, crossing Lake Champlain on the Essex Charlotte ferry. When you exit you are going uphill, fairly steeply and must take an immediate left or right, and, because of the steepness of the xit you really can't see well what might be coming...it's a crap shoot. I did it in the day time and there wasn't much traffic, but it was pretty hairy to do.

My second was on the Portland, Me, to Yarmouth, NS ferry. We arrived around 11pm and the lights of Yarmouth had long since been turned off...read D A R K. The exit ramps from the ship were metal grates and they were totally covered by sea fog, my feet just slipped along in the false impression that they were in fact giving me any increased stability. Oh and there were a couple of 90 degree turns on that downhill ramp. Again, for me, scary stuff.

So, I am always wary about ferries, having seen the worst they can do.

That said, getting on and off the ferries in BC were a non issue.
So, I am off and heading toward Port Alberni...the now infamous Port Alberni


It was only the salmon capital when I was there on the weekend of Canada Day. Actually, there was something untoward. I was going to stay there two nights, but couldn't get 2, only 1, and I am glad. I was able to do whatever I wanted in the time available, and I spent an extra day in Victoria.

And there was another reason. I stayed at The Riverside Motel. I arrived around 230pm. There was like a patio area, picnic table and a canopy. It was right outside my room. There were about 6, 7, 8 millennials there, male and female, complete with their "music," their alcohol, and mostly their loud voices screaming over the volume of the "music." I'm thinking, Uh-Oh. When I checked in the lady at the desk kind of laughed about the saying "they won a ball game," and we both agreed, or maybe it was wishful thinking on my part, that "it can't go on forever, right?"

It did. Fortunately, I had a place to visit in the afternoon, Cathedral Grove...I passed it along the way, and I was going to eat in town, so thinking I would maybe be away for a few hours and maybe by then....But noooooo.

Before I left to sight-see, there was one guy whose voice just boomed, far louder than any of the others, I could hear his "humor" and it was not close to funny enough (or at all) to elicit the cackles from the girls it produced. And the laughter was that obnoxious drunken laughter that is like fingernails on a chalk board. Topics included "vaginas" and "scrotums." with peals of laughter.
Ok, so I think you may have correctly assumed I am not a prude, and to prove that:

What would you never hear a woman say?
"My, that's an attractive scrotum!"

OK? I think that's really funny, these people were not so glib, not glib at all, glibless, I just wanted them to STFU.

When I returned they were setting up some kind of "toss game," the music just as loud and now they were starting to BBQ. Ugh. And it was old music, stuff I've heard a jillion times. Ironically R-E-S-P-E-C-T played.
I didn't want to complain about the noise, for more than one reason: I was the only other guest they saw, the office was now closed, and the room I had, had a second bedroom in the back, so I could go back there, close the door and almost have quiet. Also, ok, I am a bit of a curmudgeon, but I didn't want to be the GETOFFMYLAWN old guy. So, I endured, and in the back bedroom it was mostly quiet.

So, where did I go that afternoon, escaping The Riverside and the denizon of same?

Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove | British Columbia | Our Big Tree Heritage

It was later in the afternoon, though early summer. That allowed the light to filter down from the west sinking sun and created some interesting contrasts. On this Sunday afternoon, there were a lot of people there, but it was a big enough area to avoid them and get, I think, some decent shots.

They are mostly Douglas Firs, "Christmas trees" and the scent was the same. In addition the carpet of needles and dense vegetation absorbed sound so mostly what you hear are the sounds of the forest, or less.

It was a beautiful area, free and easy to find, you ride right through it on Hwy 4, the major east west route on the island.

Now, my baser instincts too over...I was HUNGRY, and I went to Bare Bones Fish and Chips, Ordered well, Fish and Chips, choices were halibut or cod, and the server recommended the halibut. Sounds good to me, I dig in and I am not disappointed.

Afterward, I head back to the Riverside Motel and the fellow guests, now setting up the drunken toss game, which probably precedes the drunken vomit game.

You know, there are places that can do drunk well, or better than most. With Mardi Gras and all the other things we do, New Orleans does drunk well and I am sure there are other places that do also, but Port Alberni is not on that list.

Doing drunk well...

more on the way

809 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
from another forum
Beautiful story, beautiful photos. AND Firesign Theater.
Don't crush that dwarf, hand me the pliers...
For the Subman...a tribute! Granted that was an easy one, but still, knowing it, quoting the source, is the mark of something like a gentleman, and, something like a distracted scholar!

and "they never come up into the hills."

But I did. So, my plan for this now Canada Day Eve was a ride I'd been looking forward to, the ride out Hwy4 to Tofino, which would be the the farthest extent of distance from home. After Tofino, I would be officially "heading home," albeit a purty fair piece of riding, and will include the hardest two days of the trip, but that's a while away.

I was glad to get out of the Riverside. No breakfast available, so it was some kind of a "bar" I brought from home, maybe a Larabar, or something with "real" sea salt. Anyone with high school chemistry should know that the modifier "real" was put on by marketing, like the sodium and chloride and other electrolytes are somehow dependent on anything but, as Aristotle would say, their "souls." Points of origin, Indian Ocean vs Columbus, Ohio, the ions couldn't care less, if the ions could care at all. Sorry, but that's the mindset the Riverside and it's occupants, your humble narrator excluded, produced. Pack up the Dodge and get out, to far far more pleasant climes. As I was packing, it was a bit of schadenfreunde ( if only they were my freunden ), to see the pained looks on their faces, the furrowed brows in a weak morning sun, to hear them talking so quietly to each other that almost everything resulted in a "huh" from the recipient. Yes, their heads were probably not the best, and I packed.

Hwy 4 was a nice road, pretty scenery, and I arrived in Tofino in the late morning. I probably hit it at the wrong time, but on this day, a Sunday and, as I said, Canada Day Eve, it was pretty crowded. I couldn't get out to any of the beaches because all the parking lots were filled or looked to be a lot of sand. I decided I didn't want to go exploring in unknown terrain on the laden GS, so I limited myself to the town.

Tofino was not the typical New England coastal resort, but it did have the feel of a small sea side town that was becoming more and more commercialized with trinket shops, quick bites to eat and not much else. The scenery was very nice, but I saw no knock-your-socks off views and I wasn't expecting that nor was I seeking them out. And I had had my socks knocked off in the days previous, even the cold rainy wet Sea to Sky. Still, it was the kind of town that you walk around for a bit, stick your head into a shop or two, and each shop seems to be stocked with the same items.
I found a couple of stickers for my panniers, but surprisingly no T shirt shops---they would've fit right in. And I likely would've bought one.

Do you have that in a large?

Not having access to the beaches probably made a H U G E difference, admittedly, but otherwise it was a nice ride on this sunny Sunday, a nice place to wander for a bit, and then move on. For me it was worth it, but I could see how some could say "not worth a detour." Though that may be too strong, it's only by a bit.

A "First Nations" souvenir shop...

"First Nations" is a generic term popularized by the sensitivity police in the 1970s and 80s to refer collectively to the indigenous peoples of Canada, exclusive of the Inuit and the Metis. They are the ones south of the Arctic Circle and not mixed with Europeans. In the US individual "nations" exist, eg, Sioux, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Ute, Navajo, etc, but it appears not so in Canada, just the collective term, First Nation. First Nation replaced "Indian" which was considered insensitive. But, and I do not mean to stir the pot of controversy, and maybe someone could educate me, doesn't using a generic collective term for all indigenous peoples south of the Arctic Circle steal or homogenize the autonomy of the individual groups? It's kind of like the word "Indian" in a way though without reference to the INdian Subcontinent.
If that term were used in the US, no more would be the individual groups such as those listed above. It could be that there was only one indigenous nation of peoples south of the Arctic, from Pacific to Atlantic, but the Hurons and the Iroquois extend into Canada...are they considered First Nation and if so, how did they keep their autonomy and others did not? I've researched this a bit during this report, but have not found a satisfactory answer.

I considered this:

but I didn't have the time---next flight would be at 4pm. I was willing to roll the dice on the safety aspects of flying in a small plane like that, but just didn't have the time.

A couple of years ago I was at the other end of this road, and of the farthest reach of the trip in the farthest town, this was probably the farthest spot. The Orca is wearing a found hoodie.

It was lunch time and I knew I had a few hours before I would be settling down for dinner, so I looked at the street fare. There were a number of places to eat. My priority was shade as the summer midday sun at these northern latitudes could be pretty brutal. This looked to be the easiest spot to get a quick bite. As along the way, I pushed fluids as I could feel myself getting more dehydrated by the day, a real risk on these rides, and a condition that at best can make you headachy, and at worst could lead to dizziness, loss of balance and a faint...none of that is good at any time and most certainly not on two wheels.

I chose the Cod Burger, checking to see if the server from the night before was right about the halibut being better than the cod. She was right. I found the cod to be decent, but a bit oily. The halibut was lighter and flakier, better. Still, on this Sunday afternoon in Tofino, BC, far far from home it was still fine and bordered on tasty. (sorry, a bit out of focus). The onion rings were truly forgettable. Get the fries.

and don't feed the **** birds, ok???

The ride back was just as fine as the road out. Despite my garmin trying to derail me, I found the Buccaneer Inn and checked in in Nanaimo. I had misgivings when booking the Buccaneer. It seemed like it was maybe in a sketchy area of a port city, but I couldn't have been, happily, more wrong.

Nanaimo was a good sized town, but easy to navigate and not at all sketchy. As I walked to the restaurant along the marina there were some homeless looking kids who were in the throes of a serious argument. I didn't want to become a diversion for them, but other than that I liked Nanaimo, more than Port Alberni for sure, and I really liked the Buccaneer Inn. There was a nice sea breeze, a nice view of a real neighborhood, a choice of restaurants, IOW it was head and shoulders above the Riverside and no drunken millennials to keep me company. It was one of the best places I stayed on the trip.

My wife is of Irish ancestry, so I took this for her. G.K Chesterton described a paradox as "truth standing on its head to command attention." "Carlos O'Bryan's EAT DRINK BE IRISH" wraps up a paradox and an ethnic stereotypical slur all in 6 words! Of course I sent it to Mrs Strangelove, and she laughed, but maybe she had already begun her afternoon Pinot...JUST KIDDING! I did not eat at Carlos's, but across the water from C o'B's.

and back at the Buccaneer and my neighborhood view with the quiet and the so-nice sea breeze, all night long


809 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
The next day was Canada Day and my itinerary was bringing me to Victoria. I didn't initially want to go there, generally eschewing cities on these travels, but the peeps on ADVrider talked me into going and as the trip developed it made sense.

And I was very glad I did. It was the ONLY stop where I stayed 2 nights, ie did not have to pick up and leave every morning, and that was very welcomed. I usually stay a couple of nights, sometimes 3 in one place and do day trips, but the ambitious nature of this ride dictated otherwise.
Turns out, those recommending a stop in Vic knew their stuff, it was a very nice town and I very much enjoyed being there. It had a good vibe, and was worthy of the "city" moniker. Stay there if you're near.

There was a really fine road between A (Nanaimo) and B (Victoria). And I figured there may be fireworks, and being a guy, I like things that go BOOM, so the ride continued toward Victoria and to get there meant The Pacific Marine Highway, on the short list for coolest roads of the trip.

Why was it cool, I'm glad you asked.

For one thing it doesn't get the glowing reports of its cousin, Hwy 4, and I think that is because people can get to Victoria a lot quicker by going straight down. So, it is less traveled.
For another it goes to Port Renfrew...say what? Port Renfrew is in a beautiful area and there is a park there, but it IS out of the way. And The Pacific Marine was narrow, too narrow for road markings. Nada, Niente, Rien, None. It is tarmac, but it is about as wide as a driveway. What it offers though is solitude, and hills and curves, some up and down, but definitely peaceful riding. It is the kind of road that you ride across a continent to experience. No, it wasn't that good, I suppose, but it was VERY fine and most certainly enjoyable...enjoyable enough to remember it and report here. It made me grin if that tells you something.
Let me put this another way: if you are in the neighborhood, you want to ride this road.

This is the very beginning of it. It gets MUCH narrower as I said above, too narrow to stop safely, but even if I did, I couldn't show you much beyond a road curving just ahead into greenery. This is a google satellite view of part of it.

For me it was a 40 mph ish road, a road to savor, rather than gobble. This road is where, I think, I saw the only bear of the entire trip. I was riding along and as I passed, I saw some leaves rustling to my left and when I turned in passing I saw something like a black shadow moving away from the rustling. At the time I thought I saw a bear. Again, the only time on the trip.

It was at a vegan friendly cafe (I'm an omnivore, but I was very hungry so I stopped) that I met the most interesting person I encountered on the entire ride.
I get this sprouts and avocado and cucumber etc etc etc on toasted whole wheat with their potato salad at The Coastal Kitchen Cafe. I had gotten lost, just a bit and would up on a road even less wide than the Pacific Marine, and just as fine. I sit on the veranda.
It was a chilly, grey and maritime air, but I had a mug of coffee to warm me, munching my sandwich and watching westward, next stop Fukushima.

There's a guy there, mid to late thirties, looks like a cross between David Byrne and Bill Nye. He is neither, but it's this guy leaning on the railing of the veranda playing with his Ipad, looking at the GS parked right across the small lot.

That's your bike?
Where to going, where you're coming from?
Victoria, New Orleans.
This stops him.
WOW that's far.
I grin outwardly, but even wider within. It is far.
He asks my how did I get here, then specifies, Which States Did You Come Through?

I rattle them off...Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, back in Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, then BC. Impressed he asks if I am going home the same way?
No, probably Washington, Oregon??, Idaho?? Nevada??. Utah, Colorado. New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana.

He was one of those guys who tell you they always wanted to get on a motorcycle and ride away, but never did.
Aside: There are guys who HAVE motorcycles and never do it.

I tell him I didn't ride until I was 58, so there's time.

He starts talking about Kansas, but I stop him. I tell him I really like riding Kansas and Nebraska, that, to me, it is a beautiful minimalist landscape, a meditative experience on the middleofnowhere backroads, a Great Spirit Thing.
I've ridden Kansas many times and always enjoyed it, and I tell him. He says he crosses the US a couple of times a year, and it sounds like he thinks Kansas will never end...it is the Ground Hog Day of states.

He says something about having more than 12 years of school, and that always gets me thinking about the number of years to be a finished doc, something north of 20 years, then board certification. When he says this I am doing the math.
He asks me if I like photography?
Uh, yeah, and I tell him what I am carrying in the topcase. He walks over...
Here I took these in Kansas and he shows me exquisite pictures of the Milky Way, complete with silhouetted foreground objects, really nice shots, publishable I think. Then he tells me that he is a senior in med school, and trying to decide on a specialty. I just gotta stop him right there.

I tell him I am a semi retired anesthesiologist and that I've been taking pictures for over 50 years and I love shooting astrophotography.

We talked for more than an hour, until he had to go, but ****! the places you'll go and the people you meet on these rides. Nothing like it.
Maybe the most interesting thing he told me was that he wanted to go into Emergency Medicine and he could not get a residency in Canada because the government would not allow it because there "were already too many emergency medicine docs" and the government was putting the brakes on producing more.
Whoa, if that is true it is extremely short sighted. He said he was looking at US residencies as a result.

I ride the rest of the way along the western coast to the Days Inn in Victoria, check in and work on the bike a bit, tightening the right mirror which loosened in the tipover a few days past. That night was Canada Day and there were supposed to be fireworks over the harbor. The view from the hotel balcony.

At about 1030 I hear a couple of Boom Booms. As I am deciding whether to go out, the Booms stop! I was warned at the desk when checking in that Canada fireworks are not like US fireworks. It'll be over in "5 minutes" they said and they were right

The next morning dawns raining, not cats and dogs, more like puppies and kittens, but enough to stop an excursion for the time being, but by late morning I am taking the bus into downtown Vic on this mostly grey, now dry, day.

Victoria was a very pretty city and most definitely worth a visit.


809 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
From WIKI...

The Chinatown in Victoria, British Columbia is the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the second oldest in North America after San Francisco's. Victoria's Chinatown had its beginnings in the mid-nineteenth century in the mass influx of miners from California to what is now British Columbia in 1858.
A pedestrian friendly city, indoor malls, lots of restaurants, Victoria is a treat.

I'm confused, or am I? Does that mean hips AND lungs, or "hip lung(s)" like really cool, woke lungs? Actually, I need neither since most of my parts mostly work. However...I could use a little Kwong on my Tai.

Fan Tan Alley nearby the Hip Lung, and the narrowest street in Canada


And sometimes I think I could use training wheels on the girl

I head back to the Days Inn and head over to the GLO restaurant for dinner. It is one of those modern restaurants that hire slinky young girls in fashionable garb as servers, and you know, there's nothing wrong with that...as long as the food is good, and it was, a seared tuna salad that hit the spot. It was about a mile of a nice walk from the Days Inn.

and a mural to Victoria's namesake done in Banksy style.

Tomorrow morning I depart and head back to the USA after more than a week of Canadian hospitality.
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