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894 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As some may recall, this trip was originally planed by some of the orginal Kawboys for a 2016 ride. For some logistical problems and time constraints we ended up riding only to the edge of Montana, rode trough "Going to the Sun" road and some very nice mountain roads of Idaho and Montana.

We tried to plan it again for 2017, and again 2018 but we had a hard time getting our schedules to match on top of the regular hardships of long trip planning.

At the end of 2018 and start of 2019 we were trying again to make it work, for a while it look like it was happening but as we drew close the schedule match started to fall apart again. Poncho, my riding friend from Texas (and a kind of mentor on bike traveling for me) started to have schedule problems derived from family issues His window for making the trip was closer to the start of July and mine was more toward Mid-August.

By the middle of may, I was more or less committed to the trip and had set out 2 and a half weeks for it, my wife was enthusiastic for making the trip with me also. Her coming along meant a bit slower pace but also meant I had to put in some relaxing days in so I made the choice of making the trip more wife friendly and decided to plan for 26-30 days with a strong margin for adjusting on the fly.

The start date in early August was not meant to be, AGAIN, 'cus work related issues kept me tied up in my home town but, persistent as I am (persistent is not the word my wife would choose), I was not to cancel the trip again so it got moved 4 weeks to September 7th knowing I was cutting it very tight on the weather side of things.

First pix are from the end of prep of bike and trailer and first night camping in Joshua Tree National Park. One of the challenges was to have some adventure and scenery every day so routes were chosen on that criteria.



894 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
After that long intro I'll get right into the trip report. Needless to say I was very anxious to finally make the trip, you never know what might happen that can cut the trip short or affect the enjoyment of the whole experience, I had logged in a few long trips but in no way am I to be considered really experienced... but I had very good teachers (guys I rode with during some of those trips) and was doing my best to show confidence to keep the wife at ease.

So we took off on a Saturday with a plan to just get over the border into San Diego area and over the mountains to the east, ridding semi-rural roads and curvy hills with very good scenery, all of them well known roads for us as they are within the range of our day rides. It was still summer so by the time we rode down into Palm Springs the temps were in the 115 degrees range.

We did the smart thing and had lunch before getting down from the mountain and we were on our way to Joshua Tree NP for the night high on the next set of mountains but the bike did feel the heat and let us know she did not like it. My heat light came on and I had to stop for a while in a rest stop to let her cool down, after that we hit the next summit in 40 min and were at our camping site in another 30. Set up camp and spend the night among the cactus trees and big boulders.

Yeah.. repeat pic, sorry!

Next day was just meant to ge trough the desert but we did have a chance to go trough the Mohave desert way and if you disregard the looong and very straight sections of road connected by very mild and far apart curves it is a good road to ride, until you get to the I-15 hwy. We were very lucky to have this be the very first day of mild weather in the desert (score one point for the september launch date), once on the Hwy is just dealing with the typical traffic (not much cus it was a Sunday), many trucks and not much scenery to enjoy, had a good buffet lunch in Vegas and rode all the way to Mezquite, Nv, the last town before you get our of Nevada (we almost got trough that state in half a day).


Next day was to have more excitement, we were out of Nevada in no time and in and out of Arizona in about half an hour. Into Utah we went and straight to ZION NP, one of my favorite parks and always a beautiful place to ride trough. The canyons, the high cliffs, the long tunnel and out to another world on the east side.

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
After the ZION ride we did not stop much, weather on Scenic hwy 12 was not good so we stayed making progress North until we got to Circleville, UT for a late lunch and a good night sleep.


These pics are still from ZION.


We were hiting our stride and getting to enjoy the ride.


These 2 pix waiting for our turn in the tunnel.


Last pic from a beer I just had to try after reading the name, for a Utah beer it sounded very funny. Good beer, even funnier name.


894 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
On day 4, as we woke up and as the forecast had warned, I heard rain fallin' about 5:30-6:00 AM, it probably rain hard for 30 min with some light rain before and after that. By the time I got out all I had to do is shake off the rain from the bike cover, dry out whatever rain got trough to the seats and tank (That's what I get for taking an old cover) and load up.

We got on our way to a overcast sky and chilly air but with no rain, kept finding wet roads and we made some miles on I70 going over the mountains, I believe we went up to 7,000 ft on that summit and, even though it was cold, the sweeping curves were a welcome and enjoyed feature, the slope was steep for highway speeds and the mountain pass was over in a hurry. that was the firs section of roads I had never traveled b4 so I really enjoyed the feel of adventure new roads bring.


As the day started with a bit of rain, the threat of rain remained present all day, we never went trough a distinctive land feature or a scenery that stood out in a way that we had to stop and take a picture, not even my wife that was taking some pix as we rode, So, as I look trough the camera, my phone and hers, not one pic from that day.

At the bottom of that hill we got off I-70, going all the way to Green River would have meant at least an extra hour of ridding that day, we turned north again toward the 191 at Price, UT, the road took us to Castlegate and there, the 191 turned Eastward trough an unexpected mountain pass (I believe we went close to 9,000 ft high on that one, Brrrr!). Good road, almost no traffic but still dealing with the menacing clouds above, we had gotten sprinkles a few times during the day and I knew we were ridding toward rain.

At the bottom of that mountain a few drops of rain showed up again as we rode into Duchesne, UT, just about an hour away from our destination for the night on the Dinosaur Inn, should be easy to find, right? Turns out every other business is called Dinosaur this or Dinosaur that so it took a while to find it. Forecast for heavy rain that night and next morning. The 4 week delay on departure was starting to take its toll.

But, Flaming Gorge was within reach and one of the features of this route as we made our way North, I was really hoping weather didn't spoil that.

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The 5th day had us ridding from Vernal, UT to Pinedale, Wy. The CrazyBull (my bike) woke up soaked to the bone, I was able to move it under an overhang to protect against the light rain still falling while we packed, load and had Bfast. The sky looked to clear somewhat during the morning, not completely but we needed to make progress Northbound, even though we had good ridding getting here I could feel the first features of this whole trip at hand (Flaming Gorge this day and Yellowstone the next day (first time for both of us in either place and this was by far the furthest North my wife had ever been). For some it might not sound as such a big deal but it was for us.


The road up the mountain from Vernon was beautiful, misty and at times very dream like, looking down at the valley trough the clouds help us forget about the cold, the way up very curvy and somewhat steep so we reached the summit fairly quick and started our way down. Sprinkles started again so we did not stop on the view points and even bypassed the Red Canyon View Point we really wanted to visit, we opted for moving toward the Dam/Lake.


We really wanted to stop at the bridge but the edges were all dirt and I would not risk a fall on uneven ground with a heavily loaded bike so we moved on until we got to the dam and a chance for a "Pi...t Stop"

The rainy morning and over cast day made for slow progress so the afternoon was spent trying to beat the rain, we ended up getting wet a couple of times any way, at the end of the day as I did not want to stop 'cus the only thing worse than ridding in rain is ridding in rain at night. Never really risked getting caught by dark but rain did not show it was gonna let up so we opted for getting to Pinedale and having a late lunch (more like dinner) after unloading our stuff at our night stay, a very nice B&B by the way.

Next day we should reach Yellowstone with no rain... just cold.

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Day six was full of promise, we wanted to go visit Yellowstone for very long. Forecast had cold waiting for us but no rain, so we buldled up and got somewhat of an early start.

Obviously we took our bkfast first, in company of a Colorado hiker couple and another couple of travelers from way East, if you stay at a B&B you have to stay and eat, after all it is in the name.

As soon as we left the town the scenery open up in front of us, beautiful rolling hills, a lot of green and some picture perfect ranches along the way, the road bending time and time again as we lean into the easy curves. Very enjoyable morning ride as the excitement of getting closer and closer to the parks grew.


A lot of guys fishing on the river we were following, very light traffic really as we fell deeper into the canyons and started to feel we were going up in elevation... so maybe the canyons were growing around us.


Before we knew it we were at Grand Teton NP, and I thought I would try riding the 390 road along the foothills so we could go slower and enjoy the scenery until we ended up at the end of pavement, in front of us a stretch of just over 2 miles of a "Rough Road" (or so the sign said). "2 miles... how rough can the road be?" I thought to myself as I went ahead. BIG MISTAKE.


After much less than a mile, a really long, long and bumpy mile, I had to admit my error and turn around and ride back to the safety of pavement . We went back to the little town and rode the traffic trough Jackson Hole, a nice new section of town super extra touristy, full of bars and souvenir shops.

The only highlight of the place was the arches at each corner of the square made out of a thousand anthlers. To a couple that rarely sees deer in their natural habitat we had to stop for that pic.


Right after the town we hit the valley and the grandeur of those mountains hit us, really a sight worth the trip by itself. As much as we tried, the pix don't do them justice.





I had started to believe I was never gonna make this trip so getting here felt like a big accomplishment, the dream started to feel real and we were barely past mid day, still had Yellowstone ahead, and we had to ride around the main lake (a huge lake) to ride East out of the park for our camping stay that night.


The disadvantage of being here in the off season, this late in summer at least, is when we stopped for late lunch at the lake all eateries were closed for the season,we made our way east and as we were about to exit the park we manage to find something to eat.

It was getting a bit late and a bit cold, the place we were supposed to camp at was about 60 miles away to the East on a road "Subject to stops for road repair" and going that way was mainly to try to head out to Bearthoot Pass the next day. A problematic plan giving we had strong rain the night before and it had maybe (most probably) snowed at 11,000 ft, wasn't sure it was gonna even be ride-able or even open.

So another change in plans was due, I went into the lake hotel to try and score a room for the night, maybe for 2 nights if posible and just seeing the parking lot full and as we walked in my first thought was "this is not happening", than meant scraping Bearthoot mountain ride and Chief Joseph road from the trip but temperatures were not conducive to camping and if I kept to my original plan we were in for a miserably cold camping for the next 3 nights. We manage only one night but we were lucky to get it at the Old Faithful Lodge so west we turn toward a warm room and a comfy bed right at the hearth of the park.


894 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
When we registered at the Old Faithful Lodge we found out we manage to get one of two available rooms in the whole park for that night, at any price, out of about 10 hotels/lodges plus quite ab few cabins located all over. So we ended up lucky to get one at all. The hotel was a great piece of history and construction engineering and as a builder I could really appreciate the amount of detail involved. After settling in we went for some very good ice cream to eat at the lounge in the hotel lobby listening to some music by a piano and a saxophone.

We put in a request at the front desk for any type of room we could get for the next day, we really wanted to spend the whole day in the park exploring and getting to know it, in part just to appreciate the beauty of the place but also this was the first place we wanted to spend 2 nights at with out any travel, kinda of a rest from 1,600 miles travel (more or less) but also because we really had no idea when or even if we will get to come back this way again. Recharge batteries to a certain level.



We checked on the room for the next night and confirm the request for it, while they waited for some to free up we went for a walk around the hotel, plenty for us to see / smell/ admire.
in about an hour we manage to get a room, a different one but this time with a private restroom in a cabin, colse by but still we had to pack and unpack. We were able to unhook the trailer and go sped the day with just the bike.



Some scenery seemed out of this world, walking around those weird landscapes really made us feel how far from our usual world we were.



We did try to squeeze as much of the park as we could, we would try to get some views the next morning but day 8 had some miles to make up heading North-West to the Montana open country.



As you can see, we also had to compensate for some lack of pix on other days with tons of images on these days that had better weather and plenty to see.



This day completed the first week of our trip and we had not yet reached the US-Canada Border, having scratched the Beartooth Mountain ride from our plans and not wanting to $$$pend more than 2 days in these park put us one day ahead of schedule, it only meant we could pick and choose where we wanted to spend an extra day. I manage to move the next day reservation one day forward and we still had some reservation dates to meet so some more adjustment was required, first choice was to spend 2 nights around the Waterton National park in our first stop in Canada (instead of just one).... man, we were getting very close now.

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Still in the seventh day, we did have a lot of pix, here are a few more of them:


Here I am with my Vulcan Riders Association shirt, very appropriate for the








These sundown shots can show ew really squeeze all we could out of the day in Yellowstone, we had a blast there, only manage about 100 miles going between the different site.



894 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
We finished our first week on the road with a restful 2 great days in Yellowstone (was gonna write superb but we still have long ways to go so don't want to feel like we peaked in the first week, but they were 2 really good days). So we left Yellowstone early in our 8th day, a bit chilly but with clear skies, over all a great day for ridding. We wanted to exit the park trough the North gate to see some stuff we missed the day before, cus is a BIG park, but the north bound roads were getting "worked on" and we did not want to waste time on road blocks or getting into rough byways, so we got out toward the west and rolled into Montana in no time. Just out of the park we hit good roads, ridding by big lakes and open valleys.

Our ride toward Helena was not of much consequence ride wise, not dissing Montana roads but we after the previous two days it was feeling a bit bland. Right after we left Helena (did not even stop for lunch because all we saw was the usual fast food places and they did not appeal to us at all) the road got good very fast, going up the mountain, curvy but they were wide, long curves so basically between the few curves, good pavement, improved scenery it got less boring. It was, after all, a highway (going toward Missoula). It got even better after we left the main road and headed toward the blackfoot hills, smaller road, better landscape, less traffic + more joy ridding.



This was, after all, a day for making progress but I was not to just trow away the miles so I found a little town with a hotel (hunting area so hunters hotel, not many options in the area) as close to the middle point between Yellowstone and West Glacier with enfasis in mountain roads.
And I did Great :):cool:(y), we hit the little town with about 45 min of light left and it was in the middle of a beautiful valley, the hotel very small and colorful.




We enjoyed a short walk to a local Pub/Dinner for a beer and a very late lunch, walked back to our room for a good glass of wine and a warm nights sleep. We were one day away from Glacier NP and the Canada border.




894 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I had originally visited Glacier National park 3 years ago and since then I had in my mind the idea that I wanted to show the place to my wife, of course that also meant I would get to visit again. This was the day to make it happen.

First we woke up to another great day for ridding, we were past the middle of September and days were getting shorter, mornings and nights very chilly, we got on the hwy 200 going west for a short while before turning north again on the 83. Ridding along the side of the river and lakes for 2+ hours is hard not to enjoy, we even managed to avoid Kalispell and go straight to Columbia Falls for a pit stop. We decided to delay the crossing of the North border until the next day so we needed to make arrangements for lodging at the East exit of Glacier NP so we could enjoy the whole day at the national park.





A few days before we had to scratch a day from the trip cus the weather was too cold (Beartooth Pass will have to wait) but as faith would have it, just as we got to the park we found out that THIS was the last day Logan Pass would be open, if we had come trough Glacier on the Monday we had planned we would have missed the "Going to the Sun Road". That could have absolutely ruin the day.




It all looked very green (much much greener than my previous visit), we did not stop much for pictures but my wife was very active from the pillion seat so we manage to get enough to record the ride up to Logan pass.




894 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
That day was very picture friendly so here are a few more to show what a majestic place Glacier NP is, well worth the trip all by itself and very hard not to include in the route plan for this trip, even though this was not the main event or the reason for the trip at all.




Some of these photos show the "Going to the Sun Road" zig-zaging up the mountain, A feat of engineering and what must have been a nightmare to build back in the day.


And, since I traded my previous bike for "the beast" (V2K) I had stopped taking moto-selfies (no good chrome surface to use for reflection), my wife found a peculiar way of reviving the trend with some on her own style.


These are great selfie pix, in my view, b-cus they are very anonymous (it is her but fully covered and it is me but only the back of my head... but we know iit is us and that is enough for me) and we get a glimpse of the scenery to provide a sense of place, even if it need some explaining for the viewer to know where it was taken, so it forces a story to go with it.


.... and that last one is a view of the lake on the Eastern side of Logan Pass, just about 3 hours before it was closed for the whole winter until late Spring 2020.

We got to St Mary and got a hotel right at the first intersection, manage a room (a very bad and expensive one) and at least our late lunch/dinner was pretty OK, with some Sunday Night football to make it worth the cost of the room, I bet the campground we had booked in south Alberta would have offered any TV or warm meal at all. A crappy, warm room sure beats a freezing cold camp for a nights sleep. Falcons beat the Eagles in a good game before their season went to crap.

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I still fighting for time to complete my ride report but can't help starting the next post to get to the Canada border at least.

Got on our way early figuring we should find a place for a good breakfast along the way, we by-passed a couple of places but we had been out of town for a few miles and any type of construction was getting scarce so we decided to not wait too long and we ended up in a nice place, friendly people, good coffee and a fast well cooked meal, great way to say goodbye to the US before getting to the border.


Got on our way and the day started warming up, more like the cold receded some because there still was no warm at all. Very little traffic in that road that basically takes you straight to the Canada part of the same National park we left the the day before.


In no time we were at the border, stopped to check all our documents, even the ones we needed to get back into the us, We very much wanted to visit Canada but we did not want to get stuck there. Got across the gate and celebrated setting foot for the first time in Canadian ground... not too much celebrating tough, or else they would think we were smogglin' somethin'.



We manage to score a nice small B&B for the night right inside the Waterton park so we knew we had avoided camping in the cold once again. Up to now, in our 9th day of ridding we had managed to camp only once out of five night camping we had planned (score one for Fall weather on late Summer) and had only eliminated some photo opps and one planned ride from the trip son far (OK, score 2 more for rain and cold) but we made it pass our 2nd border crossing.

Officially we managed to do the trip we set out to do. I have read so many stories of people crossing the US West to East or East to West but my thing, what I wanted to do for a long time, even from before I actually came back to ridding a bike, was to cross it South to North and back again, it might be that I live at the Southern edge of California and I get to watch the first world standing from a third world reality, it might be that I get to visit the US on a weekly basis living so near to it, but to ride to Canada is what felt like an out of reach goal, a real extraordinary adventure, and we were finally here.

This is one thing I can check off the bucket list.


894 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
As I said, even though this was our 9th day we just arrived at Canada, in a certain way this was the main "destination" if such a vast place can be called a destination, or any one place can be called a destination in a bIke trip like this.

From the time I started planning and even before, when the trip was cooked up 3 years ago, this was not just one trip, more like 3 trips stringed together. all needed to have it's own feature places and interesting routes. First one was over with and the 2nd one just starting. Places in this stage were closer together and distances were shorter, a close attention to weather was more important and was to be a factor in lodging even more so than the what we had getting here.

We knew we would get to Waterton National Park before noon on that 9th day (Canadian part of a Binational park, counterpart to Glacier NP on the US that we rode trough the previous day), and by what was most probably a weird trick of the mind, the air and scenery seemed different even before we got to the gates of the park.




We were in awe at the beauty of the place, going over a hill and having the big lake and the little town between mountains appear before your eyes was stunning, as it was ridding into town to enjoy the day within the park, afforded actually thanks to the extra day the cold weather had given us back in Yellowstone.

The advantage of the extra time gave us the chance to take it easier and enjoy both travel and places more, instead of only spending the night and a quick look at this park we were able to spend the whole afternoon and part of the next morning. The extra time here was spent with a nice hike to the waterfalls in the pix and a nice walk to the center of town for dinner.



Next day we woke up to light sprinkles, we had to hurry to get out of town before the storm would catch up with us so we hit the road rain suits and all.


Rest of the day was spend ridding the cold roads toward Canmore, we manage to ride away from the storm and avoid the rain altogether. Wonderful roads (hwy 40), very particular feeling to ride among all those tall, white capped jagged mountains, we were able to feel we were ridding Canadian roads in Canadian scenery getting our first glance at the emerald green waters of its lakes.





Our day ended with arrival at Canmore, AB, other than the surrounding mountains and a few art stores we did not see any outstanding features to the town, still very expensive lodging and food... or maybe it was the fact that by this time we needed to do some laundry and there is nothing that kills the flow of a vacation more than household shores. Still, with limited space on the trailer, is not like we were gonna take 30 days worth of clothes, right?

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
DAY 11: Our plan for ridding a motorcycle in Western Canada was somewhat basic, visis some outstanding National Parks on the Canadian Rockies, Move west toward the Pacific Ocean on good roads, take a ferry to Vancouver Island, Ride to the south point of the Island and visit Victoria, take another ship ride to Washington, USA. That is really compressing it because we had 8-9 day for that and only plan the first 4 nights lodging, a lotta room for improvising.

We had already visited one park and manage to add almost an extra day in it, we did second day enjoying the roads going deeper into the Rockies, this third day had for us more roads, more moving but was all within the ridge of the Rockies themselves visiting Banff, Lake Louise, Columbia Ice Fields with the Athabasca Glacier to end up in Jasper National Park.

Getting to Banff for Breakfast and then to Lake Louise was a snap, big Highway 1 for 25 min and then 40 min with a good breakfast in between was a great start.




Lake Louise was beautiful and very full of people, we went up toward the lake not knowing if we could actually reach it, a lot of signs letting us know all parking lots were full but I was confident I could find a spot for my bike, even with the trailer (witch amounts to basically the size of a car together). I am so happy I was right, there were no spaces for any type of cars (handicap maybe) but thanks to the cold weather there were spaces for motorcycles and the attendant did not differentiate or discriminate for us hauling cargo behind us.


The road ahead held a lot more of nature's beauty for us:



One of the most rewarding things we get from this kind of traveling is the joy getting the full impact of the scenery, and not only enjoying it when you stop and get down from your car or bus but all trough the journey, every mile of it, having time for the images to sink in. Even the fact that we see all those postcard images without talking about them until we stop for a while and share the awe of what we just experience. Sharing our experience is as great as having it.





We got to a wet Jasper camp to bravely spend what was forecast to be a 36 degree first night, that was gonna really test our camping gear and our adventure spirit, second night was to be less brutal but first we had to see how the first was gonna hit us.

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Before I jump to next day, this one had a lot of picture potential so I have to add some more pix from day 11.









That last one is to give proof we were really there, with my wife in her pink rain suit... and proof that it was NOT warm and NOT dry.

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
DAY 12: Brrrrrr!!!! This was the coldest I felt for a long time, morning temps were really cold, even woke me up earlier than I wanted but I had to move the body to get some warm in it. Did a quick disconnect of the trailer so we could go and find a warm place to get some Bfast, did not even made any coffee, it was that cold.

After we mounted the bike it only took 10 minutes to find a place and warm up, we took our time letting the sun warm up the air outside before we built up enough courage to go ride for a while, we went into the mountain roads toward the "Maligne Canyon", named that cause an pioneer (religious man) had a couple of near death experiences trying to cross the river so he baptized it "The Maligne River"





Did not expect this kind of scenery this high up on the mountains, we originally wanted to spend more time in Jasper but the weather was not cooperating much, as we finish a short hike in the canyon we started feeling some sprinkles, very light, but the forecast was we would get some rain before the day was done.

We headed toward the Maligne Lake and knew we would pass Medicine lake before and by the time we got to the first lake it was clear we were in for some rain and on that stretch of the ride I decided we were not gonna try and spend an afternoon inside our tent just to endure a freezing night and wake up to more rain the next day. We skipped the 2nd lake and headed back to fold up camp trying to get ahead of the rain and head down the west side of the mountains.

This felt like a turning point of the trip as we were getting down from the Rockies and headed toward the pacific ocean to the west, we were at the farthest North we had ever been and the Northern most point for the whole trip, it felt a bit like "OK, lets turn around and go back home".

I know it was not exactly like that but in some way, as we looked west and south, we realized this vacation had an ending in sight.

As we packed the trailer and loaded up our gear it started sprinkling a bit, so without any lunch plans we opted for hitting the road to get down from the mountains as quick as we could and push the lunch more toward an early dinner after we manage lodging for the day, from this poit on we had no reservations for any of the remainder of the trip, this has an obvious advantage for improvisation but having my wife with me also adds some anxiety from her part that transfers to me to some degree.



We managed to get off the mountain and avoid rain for the most part, cutting the visit to Jasper short was not what we wanted but a good choice given the rain would had not allow for much of an outdoor experience, we got to Valemount late in the afternoon but plenty of time to unload at the hotel we scored, get a good meal (up to this point we had not gotten much luck of the food side, other than a few good meals on the 2 B&B we were kinda disappointed not finding better stuff to eat).

It was time to call it a day and go check if the following days held a better forecast or if some more route adjustments were needed.

AS everyone could see, I did had a big gap on this ride report, between extra hours at work and laptop problems I was not able to follow up, hopefully I will be able to keep this going until I finished up the whole trip.

894 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
DAY 13/14: After looking at all the weather data we decided it was not worth it to keep risking rain, it just takes a lot from the joy of the ride and makes it very hard to incorporate some walking / hiking into the mix. So from Valemount, BC we would start our South-West run toward the Pacific Ocean.

First we intended to stop and Visit a friend from the BC VRA, he was very helpful on suggesting routes and giving us the lay of the land when I was planning this trip, it took the better part of the day getting to his House right by the Lake.


His wife welcome us to their home and even had prepare a delicious soup for us and a great Lake Salmon Pate, best food we had in Canada up to this point and very happy to get a warm home cooked meal. We had a couple of beers with them and after thanking them for receiving us (and for the meal) we took of to make a little more progress toward the coast. We got to Clinton BC for our nights stay.

The plan for the next day was to get to Hwy 99 and ride it trough Lillooet, Pembertone, Wisthler and Squamish and eventually landing at Horseshoe Bay just outside Vancouver City.




As soon as we turned into hwy 99 things started to get more interesting road wise, firs of all we got clear skies and the day was warming up, we stopped at Lillooet for breakfast and as we left the town we hit the twisties, very intense and surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.



As we made progress westbound we started seeing more and more traffic, never crowded really but the increase of vehicles was noticeable, on some stretches the road was very steep both up hill but specially downhill. hauling a trailer I had to keep remembering to stay in control of my speed.

During the trip, there were several instances when people would see our traveling set up and get closer to figure out where we were coming from and in many (most) case they would do a double take when they saw the Baja, Mexico plates. The most usual reaction was a surprise expression on heir faces as they asked "Really? All the way from Baja? ....... and you rode all the way? WOW!!!

It did not fail to bring a smile to our own faces, it brought home the fact that this was a special trip to do for us. On this part of Canada is fairly common to find motorcycle travelers, we met a lot of them on the road, but for most people having Mexicans get here on a bike is not that usual.

At one point a bike with a young couple was on the same road as we were, we had passed each other a couple of times and when we got to a traffic signal we ended next to them and the guy, a very young (early 20's) asked "Baja? Really? We're going there" It turned out his girlfriend is from Ensenada, Baja, just about 65-70 miles south of Tijuana. They were coming from Alaska and riding all the way to her hometown. I guess the world is not as big as we think some times.




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Discussion Starter #18
The day was not over yet, as we got closer to the coast the scenery kept getting better, a couple of the towns we passed were really big towns, full of shopping malls and tourists. It got also more beautiful by the mile... or by the kilometer I should say.




As we got to the Ocean (we did not realize it was the ocean at first, we thought it was a lake) the road was at the edge of the water and that section of road must be on my top 10 road scenery I have ridden my bike on, just stunning.

As we got to the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay, not sure if we would make the 5:30 ferry to Vancouver Island, if we did it would mean we could do the crossing with sun light and maybe beat the rain to a hotel in Nanaimo (a hotel we did not yet have), paid our tickets and were directed to the Bike waiting area to board the ship and hte couple from Alaska were right there waiting for the same ferry. We had a chance to talk road stories with them and other bikers on the ferry.


As we arrived to Vancouver Island it started to sprinkle, already dark. We were glad for the wifi in the boat as we manage to secure a hotel room close to the ferry station so we got there very quick, still we ended up unloading in light rain. our other bike traveler friends were off to look for camping in the island and once again I am glad I am doing this in my 50's rather than in my early 20's and I got the sense to get a hotel room when is rainy.


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Discussion Starter #19
Day 15: Last afternoon we were in kind of a hurry trying to make the daylight boat ride to Vancouver Island that we did not take time to shoot many photos, but I have got to say the approach to the west coast from Squamish all the way to the ferry terminal in the North edge of Vancouver city (Horseshoe Bay) was stunning, beautiful road, new asphalt, and a view of the Bay to our right all the way in. One of the most memorable stretches of road I've ridden... ever, comparable to the ride trough Big Sur, the Grand Canyon, Zion NP... That good!!

So we started day 15 with sprinkles and a wet bike (my old bike cover was letting water trough), we loaded up the trailer and took our breakfast in a restaurant right next door to the hotel, all loaded up and checked out, ready to roll, just waiting for a window in the rain to get going. We knew we were only 90 min away from Victoria, 2 hrs. at the most if we rode easy, so we took our time, had breakfast with extra coffee at the end even some dessert.

Close to noon we did not see any clear window coming our way so we mounted and started rolling with sprinkles coming down, seemed we were still paying for the 2 week delay back when we started thos whole thing but with weather, sooner or later you learn, there's never a sure thing you'll get a sunny day.

After the first 30-40 min of on and off light rain the skies clear out some, just as we got out of the populated areas and started to climb the mountains that separated us from our destination. Again, dealing with uncertain weather, we did not stopped and skipped a couple of side roads that, o a better day, I would have taken for exploring, maybe even done some hiking.

Those tactics got us to Victoria early in the afternoon, with plenty of light we opted to unload at a hotel I had only secured at our long breakfast and went to see the town for a bit, ended up on a Mexican restaurant 'cus, well, we started to get home sick and also had to test if Canada could get a real Mexican taste right, maybe at least a little better than the US has a reputation of getting (hint: there is NO American cheese on Mexican Food, NONE!! ...and also, salsa is supposed to be hot).




Looking further to what the weather had for us, the next day was not looking good, but the next one was looking pretty ok. Sooooo... what to do? Stay in Victoria for one more day, obvious!!

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Discussion Starter #20
Day 16: A day for exploring Victoria under the rain... not much of a prospect, we much rather see mountains and forest and beaches and lakes and canyons, as our photos clearly show, but in a bike trip trying hard to stay ahead of winter, you take what you can get.

We actually did take some pix, my wife more than me, but they do not move me much so ost of them did not pass the "Nice, interesting or stunning" filter.

One of the things we had to do was check the schedule for the ferry out of Canada and back into the US to take the next day, we had already decided to do the option for the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles as opposed to ridding east and taking the ferry to Vancouver City and suffering traffic trough Vancouver, Seattle and Tacoma.To avoid the next rain fall we had to make ground fast Southbound and then we should be OK for the next few days, for now though, the was a city to explore and we found out there was not a big town, not having intentions to visit museums or old buildings our explorations were reduced to walk around for a good part of the day on downtown, shop for some souvenirs, some stickers for the trailer and just charge our batteries for the third leg of the trip.


Oh yes, a good Canadian beer on an Irish pub with good classic rock playing on the music system to say goodbye to Canada.


On day 17 we boarded the ferry close to 10 AM for a 2 hour water crossing, our third border to cross to get home.cross on this trip and the whole length of the US to get home.
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