Monday, August 29, 2011

The odd couple rides again - South of the boarder

Day 3 - surely the 'real' riding starts today!

Jerry and I got a slow start, by local time anyway. After all, we crossed into mountain time, though neither of us felt much like changing our clocks.

This did give me an opportunity to find out that this Super 8 didn't throttle their bandwidth (unlike the one the night before) and it allowed me to download the motorcycle races from that weekend. :)

After breakfast we checked the bikes and got to chatting with a guy who parked his old Kawi next to us. 300,000 km and at least 10 trips across Canada. We agreed that riding motorcycles was much cheaper than therapy. Some time on the road fixes many issues by providing perspective.

Once we headed south, along the same long boring highway, I'd meant to pull over at a grain elevator we spotted the night before. But I decided the light wasn't right that morning... mostly because I'm not very smart. I should have pulled over. So some time later on a vast open stretch I decided to get a somewhat 'representative' photo of the area:

It's pretty flat... and they like to grow wheat

Jerry tried to take a matching photo using is go-pro

Just before the border I remembered I had an apple in my pack, and that they don't like you taking fruit into the US so we stopped and I quickly ate it. The crossing itself was pretty easy and when we got to the other side we had to take a photo to document the crossing.

Welcome to Montana indeed :)

Now, if you have looked on a map and zoomed in, you know that the road through Glacier National Park is very windy. Jerry and I were quite excited to take it and start running some proper, tight and hairy twisties. If you've been to Glacier National Park during the summer, you might also realize just how busy the place is.

When we gassed up before hand we were completely ignorant of all this however and very excited to head towards some true hard riding.

Aside: It's always amazing to me how many people will talk to you when you're stopped on a motorbike. During this stop we chatted with a guy on a cruiser (he corrected us and said it was something else, but it was a cruiser ;) ). Nice guy, we enjoyed the chat. This happened during so many stops this trip and it was always a good time.

We got into Glacier, after paying for the access and immediately found ourselves in traffic. Followed by seeing a park ranger with someone pulled over giving them a speeding ticket. Followed by more traffic. Not ideal for what we had come for.

BUT, with some amazing views to make up for it. Once again, the day didn't quite provide the spectacular riding we'd come for.

The scale and scenery are not just hard to describe, but also very challenging to photograph. When we pulled over due to construction and the rain which was starting, I took the opportunity to try none-the-less

You can see the clouds and weather coming over the summit.

Just on the other side of the summit

Fast riding was not in the cards.

But once you looked past the cars, that didn't seem to matter very much

Just up the road, once we finally got moving, the sun was out and I was getting very hot under my raingear. So we stopped and I got back out of it (which of course, involves unloading the bike a bit so it takes 10 minutes or so).

But the scenery was still spectacular

These guys were all over the mountain in their tour buses

We briefly chatted with the driver. I'm not sure if I'd enjoy someone else taking me through there on their schedule.

Of course, immediately afterwards we get caught in a major rain shower. Right _after_ I took off my rain gear.

I was wet, traffic was bad and a I got bit cranky so when we got off the mountain I stopped by the river to dry out a bit and to have a small snack

Eventually Jerry and I were both starving so we stopped for lunch, though it was pretty late at this point, I think it was 3 pm. Appropriately enough this was in a town called 'Hungry Horse'.

We headed into Kalispell and found a place that seemed decent enough. It was a day of amazing scenery, but still, no 'hard' riding anywhere to be found.

Would we ever get to some lonely & twisty roads?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Deep End

Shot using a $20 'dry bag' for one of my older point & shoot cameras while swimming.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Walking to breakfast

I'm trying to find new ways to shoot my neighbourhood ... and to enjoy doing it.

Deconstructed Stairs


Parking above

(that was actually on the way back from breakfast ;) )

I am enjoying the sun being a bit lower, it allows me to do more with the shadows and light.

Have a great weekend.


Friday, August 26, 2011

The odd couple rides again - Into the Rocky Mountains

We were hoping that this would be the day where the 'real' riding started.

After a good night and a nice chat over breakfast a guy who also rides (and who's family was really looking to leave the hotel but he was intent on chatting with us for a good 10 minutes) we got ready to go.

The KLR was down on oil again, a theme on this trip. I'll be doing something about that over the winter I think.

I also managed to get some grease on my visor when cleaning it in the hotel sink the night before and couldn't see much when facing into the sun. Which, when you're heading east in the morning, is pretty much all the time ;)

Alpine summit lake on the way to Creston

For anyone who read my trip report from '09 you may recognize both the lake and this guy (or his grandfather ;) )

Once we were through Creston I was as far east as I've ever ridden in Canada.

We stopped in Cranbrook for some lunch and to get my my daily supply of oil for the KLR

Jerry and I tried a bit harder this year to not just go to chain restaurants, but instead to visit the one-off diners and small restaurants we found along the way.

Riding out of Cranbrook and getting a good look at the Rockies for the first time, it's pretty amazing. I couldn't really find "just the right place" to stop for a photo, so we kept pushing on.

Traffic got a bit hectic before Fernie. And it got to me. So I decided some passing was in order just to maintain my sanity. Jerry decided that he didn't always want to follow (not enough power left in the 954 perhaps?! ;) ). Anyway, we stopped in Fernie to let Jerry gas up.

Lots of mountain biking and heli skiing around Fernie from what I understand

Then it was onto the crows nest pass. The wind was blowing pretty good, which isn't the most comfortable on the KLR and Jerry once again stretched the Honda's legs, so I pulled over to take a few shots of the crossing into Alberta:

BC behind us:

Just up the road we encountered the 'Frank Slide'

All those rocks came from this mountain on the other side of the highway:

Many people are still buried under the rocks.

We turned south in Pincher Creek. Now, if we'd been smart we would have stayed at the hotel we spotted there (they had a water slide, which should have tipped us off). But, we decided to push a bit further, after all there were a number of 'dots' on the map that seemed to be about the same size.

Twin Butte ... had nothing.

We stopped south to get some rest at this amazing spot where we were looking over the high plains, to the Rockies in Montana:

We were getting pretty tired and hung out for a while, so I took more photos

When we got into Cardston, the 'better hotel' according to the person we asked at the gas station, looked flee and potentially rat infested and you couldn't pay us to stay there.

From this angle you can't see the drunk slumped in the doorway

Only one thing to do, head further east and back north (very much the wrong direction) to Lethbridge. It was a tough decision. But I think the right one. A giant almost hour long straight stretch.

Eventually we found a decent clean Super 8 with a bar walking distance (i.e. next door).

Day 2 had some nice scenery, but still none of the hard-riding roads we came for.

Maybe tomorrow?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The odd couple rides again - Departure

I didn't sit down to create a ride report last year, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that getting to the ride was hectic as I had a bike stolen shortly before we intended to leave.

This year was different, though it was still Jerry and I, which means touring on bikes that couldn't be more different. Jerry on a full on sportbike (minus some miscellaneous parts lost in crashes) and I on the trusty dual sport, with 110 hp less than Jerry's ride.

The goal this year was to ride California, or, Montana. We decided early on which way to go (I think with about 8 or 9 hours to go before leaving ;) ).

I was pretty much packed by Thursday night

And everything went together nicely so I didn't have to take my saddle bags:

Saturday morning Michelle helped me carry everything down and took the "before" photo:

Jerry and I met for breakfast and headed out east. By the time we reached Hope we realized that while it may be mid-August, in the mornings you need to layer up if you want to head into the mountains

Along the way Jerry tested his go-pro video camera and everything seemed to work fine. Just after Osoyous Jerry tested the 954 a bit more (i.e. he took off up Anarchist summit) and that worked fine too.

I really don't have much more to say about the first day. We rode through to Castlegar and found a Super 8 to stay in. They had a water slide to go with their pool and we had way too much fun. I'm surprised we didn't get kicked out of the pool :D

Monday, August 15, 2011

When you look up 'Stunning' in the dictionary

... maybe you should see this:

Day 3 of our road trip at 6000+ feet in Glacier National Park. I may have to get that printed very large to show some sense of scale, the place is amazing.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ice cream girl

Ice cream after dinner last night in the last bit of sunlight of the day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My kind of deck

Location? Well, it's somewhere well above the Sea-to-Sky. Away from traffic cops and most traffic for that matter. And you can't get there on a sportbike.

But you can get there on a dualsport, even 2-up, which really was the first time I took someone 2-up while offroading. Riding with someone on the back in those is definitely more challenging :)

Michelle and I enjoyed a little snack, sat in the sun and enjoyed the views.