The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
Gear Up! is a 2-DVD set, 6 hours! Which bike is right for me? How do I prepare the bike? What stuff do I need - riding gear, clothing, camping gear, first aid kit, tires, maps and GPS? What don't I need? How do I pack it all in? Lots of opinions from over 150 travellers! "This DVD will save you a fortune!"See the trailer here!
So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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Achievable Dream The definitive guide to planning your motorcycle adventure! This insanely ambitious 2-year project has produced an informative and entertaining 5-part, 18 hour DVD series. "The ultimate round the world rider's how-to DVD!" MCN UK.
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Ride TalesAn easy way to post your ride reports, whether it's a weekend ride or around the world.
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The route for this trip began to take shape in 2008. Over the past two and a half years of researching, a solid route has formed. A general route was first arrived at by plotting points of interesting locations in Google Earth and then connecting the dots. The route, over the course of planning, has gone through many modifications, and will likely see more changes while on the road. Since the decision was made to stop for 6-8 months in Portugal to work and rest, this route has been broken down into two parts. The first part of our trip will take us from Canada to Portugal.
While in Portugal, we will solidify the plans for the second part of our journey. This part of the route, as it is now, is somewhat uncertain. The plan is to ride through Europe and into The Middle East through parts of the world that are somewhat unstable, partially due to the so-called “War On Terror”. After riding through Pakistan and India, the intention was to ride through mainland China, but, after finding out that to do so would mean a costly guided government escort, this part of the route was written off. If we can meet up with a group of riders who are willing to share the cost of an escort through China, this part of the trip can be reconsidered. Otherwise, heading south into Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia is a viable option. I’ve always wanted to visit Bali, Indonesia again anyway.
Born: Hamilton, Canada
Lives: Hamilton, Canada
Profession: Electrical Engineering
Looking forward to the most: freedom
Will miss the most: Mama and Belle
Will miss the least: Mondays
Born: Ponte de Vagos, Portugal
Lives: Hamilton, Canada
Profession: Customer Service
Looking forward to the most: really pretty landscapes, delicious food, and interesting people
Will miss the most: My little furry meow-meows
Will miss the least: Winter
2007 KTM 990 Adventure
After doing quite a bit of research, I decided that the KTM 990 Adventure would be the ideal bike for a trip around the world. *Its main competitor, the BMW R1200 GS Adventure, is an excellent long-distance touring bike, but is very heavy and reputed to be a handful in the off-road. The KTM 990 Adventure, according to many, is the best dual-sport motorcycle in the world, especially off the tarmac. Being an inexperienced rider, a bike’s ability off road was an important factor. The 990′s fuel efficiency and tank range can be seen as shortcomings, but can be remedied by carrying additional fuel canisters.
In June of 2009, I took a motorcycle training course and obtained my motorcycle licence. Shortly after, I began the search for my dream bike – the 2007 KTM 990 Adventure. I searched locally and online, and eventually found a new one available at Mid-America Powersports, in Wichita, Kansas. Being a new rider, more experienced 990 riders tried to dissuade me by telling me I was going to kill myself. Being a reasonable person and not one who responds to alarmism, I gathered my confidence and took the plunge, flew down to Kansas and purchased my bike. I didn”t want the 2,200km ride back to Canada to end, but I knew there would soon be more miles of road to come.
Way to take the plunge and hit the road. A giant success surely awaits you. Well done on acquiring your bike, planning the "general route" and pre-planning exceptions. We all no the best laid plans are the plans that change.
Keep up the good work!
If you have any questions about Central and South America, feel free to drop me a line, or read any part of my ride report her: NJ, NR, NBTTN
For Central and South America, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile are pretty well equipped in terms of KTM dealers and parts. Argentina is pretty good, with the main dealer being located in Juy Juy (a little north of Mendoza). Brazil is well equipped, I imagine, but I never went there, so can only speculate.
One thing to note is the adjustment of the headlamp when riding fully loaded - with my 950 there was not adjustment in the lamp to accomodate the extra weight on the back, meaning that the lamp pointed towards the sky, not illuminating the road at all - not a brilliant thing to realise for the first time when you're 75 miles away from a town on a dirt road and in the pitch black in the highlands of Peru! Just something to check....
All the rest will be on the net somewhere, but if you have any questions just give me a shout.
Oh yeah, change oil often (before the recommended mileage) because of poor quality petrol. And fit a second cooling fan!
After a few delays and a lot of built up anticipation, we were ready and excited to finally greet the road. The house was sold and my belongings were either donated or traded for some shiny quarters. It was sad to part with the past eleven years of my life, but it was also liberating.
Being accustomed to comfort, convenience and close relationships with my friends and family, it will take some adjusting to this new lifestyle. I will miss many things and people, but the toughest thing I am currently dealing with is being separated from my cats. I can’t yet forgive myself for leaving them. Mama is 16 years old and Belle is 11. Although they are safe and being well taken care of by my mom and brother, I hope they will be ok for the next few years.
August 20th, 2011 was day 1 of our adventure. We packed up our gear, exchanged hugs with loved ones and rode through Hamilton one last time until we return.
Good ol’ Hamilton is where this adventure was born. With a population of half a million, it is just the right size for comfort. Known as “Steel Town”, Hamilton is an industrial city located in southern Ontario at the center of the golden horseshoe. With an escarpment separating the upper and lower parts, it is also known for having over one hundred waterfalls.
From Hamilton, we headed north to visit with Rocky’s dad. The weather was beautiful and traffic was flowing for the first few hours, but the roads quickly became congested with vehicles and clouds began to turn the skies grey. It didn’t take long before we got hit with a lot of rain. We chose not to stop and we continued north until the skies cleared. The ride wasn’t as bad as I imagined it could be, but my butt was definitely sore.
Larder lake is a really small town with less than 1000 people. We arrived with just enough sunlight to catch a glimpse of it’s beauty. *Rocky’s dad, Conrad, and his wife, Lorrain, have property that faces the lake. The view is perfect after a long day. We were spoiled with our own apartment above Conrad’s garage and we stayed a few days to spend some time with him. I now know where Rocky gets his charm from.
Three nights and many s and cigarettes later, we awoke to dark clouds and packed up to ride towards Timmins, Ontario. We went on route to visit with more of Rocky’s Family. His cousin Brandon had offered us a place to stay for the night, and Brandon’s wife Tracey prepared a yummy dinner. Wine, candy and a lot of laughs made for a great night. It is a short but sweet visit in Timmins.
On August 24th, we spent a long day on the road. We saw many gold mines, forests and lakes. The roads were busy with construction and trucks, but I always enjoyed when a truck full of freshly cut lumber left it’s scent. We rode towards Lake Superior and set up the tent near the waters edge. Our first night in our new home was beautifully located, and the thunder helped me to sleep at night. The following day we prepared for another long ride along Lake Superior. We now regret rushing to make up distance because we didn’t take any pictures of the stunning scenery. “Ontario, yours to discover!”
The following day, we made a trip to the university Rocky went to, and took a break for a couple of hours to wash and shower at the recreation center before getting back on the road. By sunset, we reached a town called Ignace and set up the tent on the side of the road. I have to admit, I didn’t want to set up camp there. It was beside a motel truck stop on a small patch of tall grass under a street light. It was an odd and random place, but I slept well.
Having planned and thought about this trip for so long, the anticipation had me wishing that time would somehow speed up so that I could finally realize this journey that had lived inside my head for all that time. In the month or so leading up to our departure date, there was still so much to do that I found myself needing more time to ready ourselves for the trip.
Our original departure date was set for July 23rd, but delays in selling Paula’s house and getting my full “M” motorcycle license set us back about one month. This was somewhat frustrating, but, at the same time, was a bit of a relief. The delay allowed us to better prepare, tie up all loose ends and spend more time with Mama and Belle, and our families and friends.
Our date of departure finally arrived, and we set off from my mother’s house on Kitty Murray Lane in Ancaster, Ontario.
We said good-bye to our families and finally hit the open road. The weather, heading off, was warm and sunny. My motorcycle, Almeida, and I were not accustomed to riding with so much weight. Halfway between Toronto and Barrie, the traffic came to a stall, and was stop-and-go for about, what seemed like, two hours. When it finally broke, we were hit by a torrential downpour. We rode through the rain and the sun finally broke through the clouds as we rode into North Bay. Shortly after leaving North Bay, a bird, flying up from the center of the road, met my forearm and its demise. 656km later, Paula, Almeida and I pulled into my father’s driveway just as the sun was setting. It was nice to arrive after my longest day ever on the bike. All three of us welcomed a good rest.
We spent three nights with my father and his wife. For one reason or another, my father hadn’t been around for much of my life. During these three days, I felt that I got to know more of my father than I did in the first 33 years of my life.
Our next destination was Timmins, Ontario to stay the night with my cousin, Brandon and his wife, Tracy. It was a short ride of roughly 150km, with a brief stop at a bike shop in Kirkland Lake, where Adam, a mechanic at Northern Freedom, helped us changed our clutch oil. That evening, we had dinner and wine with my cousin, his wife, my Aunt Marianne and her husband, Jean.
We left Timmins the next morning to try to make up some distance. Over the next few days, we stopped in Marathon and Ignace, Ontario and, for the first time with no place to stay, we had to find spots to pitch our tent.
Heading out of Ontario, I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t gotten out my camera much to take photos of the scenery. This was, in part, because I had been trying to make up some time and distance and, trying to get use to the riding, needed to concentrate much on the road.
Oh yeah, change oil often (before the recommended mileage) because of poor quality petrol. And fit a second cooling fan!
All the best
I was wondering about fuel in South/Central America. Are there octane ratings at the pumps, and, if so, are they reliable? Should I just be disconnecting the fuel map switch under the sea when down there?
I've been on the HOW a bit. I think I did my valve clearance check and water pump rebuild from the tutorials on that site. I'm not much of a mechanic, but I am learning.
Sorry about my earlier post - I thought you were still planning and hadn't actually started.
Fuel is clearly marked and usually pretty good. The lowest ratings are 80 and 84 octane, found in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. I unclipped the wire when running on these fuels and the bike ran fine. I have the carbed model and didn't have an inline filter and the bike still ran fine. Lower octanes are better at altitude (ignite easier) so all in all, no problems.
On August 26th we crossed from Ontario into “Friendly Manitoba”. It was strange riding from thick forest, smelling of pine and cedar, to flat grassland, filled with the aroma of hay and manure. It was a nice change of scenery, but strange because it was so immediate upon crossing the Ontario-Manitoba border. We rode into Winnipeg, set up camp in Assiniboine Park, and, the following day, we rode out of Manitoba and into Saskatchewan.
“Naturally Saskatchewan” looks a lot like Manitoba with many acres of farm land, checkered in all shades of green and gold. We found a great place in Wascana Park to set up the tent and spent the night in Regina, the provinces capital. Saskatchewan is very pretty and, as we rode away the following day, the land began to show it’s beautiful curves.
When we got to Medicine Hat, Alberta. We stopped to meet Piet and Ina, a couple we met on the website .
Unsure of what to expect because the experience was our first, we were comforted by a warm, kind welcome and invited to join them and other guests for dinner. They prepared a feast and introduced us to their son Josh, his beautiful wife Amy and a pair of musicians who were also staying over. Piet and Ina enjoy having concerts at their home and had planned to have one the following night. Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki would be performing and we were invited to stay another night. With a full belly, a comfortable bed, a few drinks and great company, how could we possibly say no¡ In the morning, we decided to explore Medicine Hat and it’s sloping valleys, by evening we were ready to party. The concert was amazing! Romi and Jason are great people and performers. At midnight, the group of them serenaded me with happy birthday and passed around some cake, it was a perfect way to turn thirty two. To say the least, Piet and Ina are incredible beings. Even with such an amazing trip ahead, we were sad to part from our new friends.
Our final night in Ontario was spent camped out next to the highway. We parked and set up next to a truck stop restaurant and hotel at the side of the gravel shoulder on a nice patch of tall grass. It seemed, at the time, like a logical place to pitch a tent.
Passing into Manitoba the next day, there was an abrupt change of landscape. The long, straight stretches of highway of Manitoba were a welcome change.
Not having had a proper shower for several days, we decided to give CouchSurfing a try instead of tenting out another night. CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travellers and the local communities they visit. It is a social network of people who offer travellers a couch or spare bedroom for a night or two. We were contacted by a guy in Winnipeg and were offered a spare room for the night. As we got closer to the city later in the day, we received a text message from him explaining that he had to cancel. This left us having to find a place to stealth camp for the night. We pulled onto the University of Winnipeg campus in the hopes of finding some sort of locker room shower in the campus rec center and a place to pitch our tent, but we were disappointed. We weren’t able to find accessible showers, and all the security cameras on campus didn’t make it a viable option for hiding out over night.
Slightly more hungry than we were tired, we decided to grab a bite to eat and weigh our options. Looking on the GPS, we found a large park in the middle of Winnipeg. This seemed to be a safe bet. We drove over to Assiniboine Park to find hundreds of people gathered with their kids for, what we later learned to be, Friday movie night in the park. We set up our tent in an inconspicuous location, unpacked the bike and settled in the the night. We even managed to snag an unsecured WiFi connection!
The next day was a pretty steady and uneventful day of riding, though finding premium fuel proved to be a bit difficult. Gas stations were few and far between, and many of the ones we stopped at didn’t have anything higher than an 87 octane.
We spent that evening camped out in the central park in Regina, Saskatchewan, pulling in at dusk, setting up the tent, and riding off early the next morning.
Still in need of a shower and not yet brave enough to jump into rivers or lakes to bathe, we decided to give CouchSurfing another try. Paula contacted an older couple in Medicine Hat, Alberta who said that they would be able to host us. We pulled into town just after 5pm and were greeted by Piet and Ina. They offered us their shower and laundry room, and we graciously and anxiously accepted. After washing up, we were treated to wine and cheese, followed by a delicious supper where we were joined by Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki, a Canadian music duo who would be performing the following evening in Piet and Ina’s garage. Piet and Ina suggested that we stay an extra night to watch the performance, and, without giving it a second though, we accepted.
We spent part of the next day exploring the town and working on trying to get a blog post ready. Evening came and it was time for the show to begin. The opening act went on and, about an hour later, Romi and Jason took the stage only to find out that neither of Romi’s guitars were functioning properly. While everyone waited for a replacement guitar to arrive, I tried re-soldering the wires in the guitar to see if the issue was due to a failed electrical connection. This didn’t solve the problem. The replacement guitar arrived, and soon Romi and Jason were rocking’ out. They put on a great show.
Morning came, we packed our belongings onto the bike, and said our good-byes to our new friends, Piet and Ina. We said our good-byes to Romi and Jason the night before. Rock stars don’t wake up before noon.
We pulled out of Medicine Hat and headed for Calgary.
Entering into the province of Manitoba
Stopped at the side of the road somewhere in Saskatchewan
Paula on a bail of hay in a farmer's field in Saskatchewan
Paula somewhere in Saskatchewan
At the welcome center entering Alberta
Romi Mayes & Jason Nowicki performing at Piet & Ina's
On august 30, the weather turned bitter and it was a cold ride to Calgary, Alberta. Luckily it was a short trip because we weren’t wearing the weather liners on our riding gear. The tread on our back tire was wearing thin and since we have to learn to do all the repairs on the bike ourselves, we were about to replace our first tire. Fortunately, we were offered some help from a man named John. He lives in Calgary with his family and he replied to a post that Rocky had placed on the website Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum. After entering his garage, it was obvious that he loves motorcycles and his enthusiastic stories had me wishing I had my own. It was very kind of him to help/teach us and I thought it was really cool that his wife was also celebrating her birthday that day. With the weather still cold and wet, we were very thankful to have been invited to spend the night in Calgary. It is a great feeling to be treated so well by strangers.
The rain remained by the next morning and the ride felt longer than it should have. As we reached Canmore, Alberta we were only able to get a few peeks at the mountains as we literally rode through clouds. That is when we finally decided that the weather sucked! We had an entire day to waste so we pulled over and spent it at Tim Horton’s. We were hoping the rain would stop, but it didn’t. So, we rode into Banff National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies and before it got dark, we found a great place for our tent.
The following morning we rode to the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper, Alberta. On our way, we stopped at the famously beautiful Lake Louise, but everywhere I looked was jaw dropping. The mountains were majestic, the lakes and streams were all aqua marine in color and I love the smell of fresh air. “Alberta, Wild Rose Country” is incredible but no words or pictures could properly describe it’s intensity.
Just as the sun began to set, we passed the border into British Columbia and stopped in a town named Fields, BC. It was definitely a scenery I wanted to wake up to. The morning was beautiful but during the night, a storm almost blew us away. The tent swayed viciously and at first, I thought it was a bear attack. Ironically, we fell back asleep too tired to care.
When we were in Calgary, John recommended we take a different route than we had planned. We trusted his opinion and am I ever glad. We rode through “Beautiful British Columbia” on winding roads that took us up, down and all around the mountains. These mountains were green, covered in trees and their peaks, smooth. We took ferries across a couple of lakes giving us the chance to stretch and enjoy a different type of ride. After a long day on the road, we pulled into a town named New Denver. We found a very small park on the edge of Slocan Lake and the view was breathtaking. It was a great home for the night but our morning was a rough one. As we packed up, I tried releasing the tent poles to take apart the tent. I was having a tough time but finally managed to bend the pole just enough to have it pop my front tooth with all the built up pressure. Imagine me with a missing front tooth? Haha close call, but thankfully, I still have them all. With everything finally packed, the motorcycle refused to start. A local who lives across the street, had seen our troubles and offered us a boost from his portable battery charger. Within a few minutes, the engine begun to purr. Thanks David!
We finally headed out towards Grand Forks BC to meet a local named Nancy but since we arrived late, she had to go to work and her sister Joanne greeted us instead. Nancy is a kind lady we met on CouchSurfing.org and we were the first she had hosted from the website. When she finally made it home from work, we were pleased to meet her. We shared stories, drank wine, walked around town, and shared many laughs. Two nights later, we had to part ways. I love meeting new friends but I always feel sad to say good bye. We were on our way to Vancouver and the roads we took were a lot of fun. At times I wished I was the one steering but who am I kidding, I’ve had the best seat on this trip. I once thought I might be crazy for wanting to join Rocky on this adventure but, everyday I have been reminded by every moment passed how amazing it is to be experiencing this. I have traveled a lot in my life but nothing beats doing it on a motorcycle.
Looking for a place to take a break, we came across a town called Osoyoos. We didn’t stay there for long but I just want to mention how much we liked it there. Rocky said that it looked like a great vacation spot, I thought it looked like a great place to live. It was really pretty.
The entire ride through Canada, I don’t remember seeing any police, it must have been because they were all hanging out in BC. They were everywhere pulling over groups of vehicles. At one point, the car in front of us and about four cars behind us were asked to pull over. We weren’t sure if we were asked as well so to avoid trouble, we did anyway. As soon as we realized how many of us were waiting for a ticket, Rocky decided that the cop had his hands full so we did him a favor and left to make his job easier.
With Almeida’s original rear tire tread thinning, I had posted on a internet motorcycle message board asking for tips on changing tires. I was contacted by a couple members of the website Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum who were willing to help. A guy in Calgary named John emailed me his contact information offered to show me the ropes.
Heading towards Calgary, the clouds became increasingly dark and the air much cooler. We pulled into Blackfoot Motorsports in a frigid, drizzling rain. After picking up a new Pirelli Scorpion, we followed the directions entered into the GPS and arrived with John waiting for us in his driveway. Pulling into his garage and seeing seven or eight motorcycles, including a KTM 990 Adventure, we knew we were in good hands.
After getting the tire changed, Paula and I washed up and headed out for her birthday dinner — all-you-can-eat sushi. John had offered us a place to stay for the night, so we finished up dinner and headed back to his place in the rain.
The next day was just a cold and rainy as the previous. Nevertheless, we loaded the Almeida up with our gear, thanked and said our good-byes to John, and headed towards Banff. Arriving in Banff after enduring a bitterly cold rain, we found a Tim Horton’s to camp out at for a while to rest, dry off and get warm. We waited for several hours for the rain to stop. It didn’t. After about five hours of sitting, we decided to find a place to stealth camp. We found a suitable location on the outskirts of town, set up camp and endured a long, cold night.
We awoke the next morning to some breaks in the clouds that had been overhead for the past few days. The day was spent riding along the Canadian Rockies – to Lake Louise, Bow Lake, and up to the Athabasca Glacier. The scenery was awesome. The sun shared the sky with the clouds, and the temperatures cold, especially while riding. With nightfall quickly drawing upon us, we pulled off the side of the road to camp just outside the town of Field, British Columbia, a picturesque town of approximately 300 people situated along the snowcapped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
We were awoken in the middle of the night to a fierce thunderstorm. I was sure that the tent would be blown apart by the winds, but I was too tired to care, so I shut my eyes and went back to sleep.
Coming down in elevation the next morning, the sun began to shine and the temperature began to rise. We followed the route John had made up for us through Golden, into Revelstoke, and down along Upper Arrow Lake where we had our first ferry crossing. We continued along twisting and winding roads and beautiful scenery, and stopped just before sunset. We camped out in the park next to a lake in the small town of New Denver along the edge of Slocan Lake.
The next morning, the bike refused to start. My initial guess was that the battery was drained from charging all of our electronics the previous day, even though it was while Almeida’s alternator was turning. The several attempts of fire up the engine were in vain. The battery just didn’t have enough juice to crank the starter motor. Luckily, a neighbour, just across the street from the park where we were camped, heard us trying to start the engine and offered his assistance and his battery charger. After about fifteen minutes on the charger, I tried the to start the bike and the engine immediately fired up. We thanked our new friend, David, for his help, I put the bike in gear and we headed towards Grand Forks, British Columbia.
In need of a rest, a shower and a friendly conversation (Paula and I get sick of each other after several days with just each other), we decided to give couch surfing another try. We contacted a lady named Nancy who agreed to host us for a night or two. We arrived in Grand Forks, and were let into Nancy’s apartment by her sister, Joanne, who lived across the street. Nancy worked at a local pub, and wouldn’t be arriving home until later that evening. We were surprised at how trusting someone could be to let strangers into her home without ever meeting them. Nancy finished work and arrived home at around 10pm. We sat at her kitchen table and talked about everything under the sun as Paula and I polished off a bottle of red wine that Nancy had opened up for us. Tired and tipsy, we took our last sips of wine and hit the sack.
In the morning, Nancy cooked us a tasty organic breakfast, and took us out for a cup of Joe at her favourite coffee shop in town. She offered great stories of her travels around the world, a bit about the history of Grand Forks. Many of the residents of the town were descendants of the Doukobors, a group of pacifist Russian immigrants that settled in the area at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The remainder of the day was spent exploring the town and enjoying its sunshine.
We left Nancy and Grand Forks the next morning. From there, we made a beeline for Vancouver, stopping only twice. Our first stop was a great little town in Southern B.C., called Osoyoos. Riding down into the valley and into the town, it felt like we were in the wine country of Southern California. The buildings were Mexican-style with stucco facades, and the landscape seemed out-of-place for British Columbia. Our next stop was Hope, British Columbia, where the first Rambo movie was filmed. I had hoped to get a photo taken on the bridge during the arrest scene of the movie, but was disappointed after learning that it had been torn down a few months earlier.
We rode into Vancouver and hit, what seemed like, every red light before finally arriving downtown at my friend’s apartment. Vincent, a good friend from Taiwan, greeted us and took us up to his apartment for some much-needed R&R.
Paula and I at Lake Louise
Paula at Lake Louise
More Lake Louise (it was awesome!)
North of Banff, Alberta
Up in the Canadian Rockies
Waking up after a night of camping out near the town of Field, British Columbia
Before arriving in Vancouver, the traffic was congested. But, with the date being September 5th, a holiday long weekend, it was expected. Rocky’s friend, Vincent, has an apartment in the heart of the city and we were invited to live there for a few days. Being on the 25th floor, we were spoiled with an amazing view.
Vancouver is pretty, but a typical city. It smelled like exhaust, urine, all types of food and perfumes. Lots of people, traffic stops, many tall buildings and a main road of homeless drug addicts shooting up in public. I’m not a fan of big cities but the sandy shores of the ocean, the surrounding mountains, the mainly clean streets, large parks and friendly people, creates an atmosphere anyone can appreciate.
Stanley Park was a few blocks from the apartment and we enjoyed a few walks through it. While taking a few pictures there one night, we walked towards the sound of music and stumbled upon an outdoor Blue Rodeo concert. It was fenced in but we could still watch and hear them perform. Many others had also found their way there and sat on the grass with blankets or lawn chairs while others stood. And, of course, the sweet smell of BC pot occasionally blew past.
It felt great to relax for a few days and I am sure that the motorcycle appreciated us having the chance to change her oil and clean her chain. We were excited to unpack her and ride her bare but the city streets weren’t fun with the constant red lights. So, we rode through the highway named Sea to Sky, recommended by my friend Ryan. The scenery was beautiful and the name of the road was well suited.
After being in one place for so many days, we were eager to get back to our adventure. I’m excited for what’s next, but, I’m also going to miss the comfort of my country. Canada is amazing, more so than I already knew. I’m happy to have discovered it on such an intimate level and very proud to be Canadian. Eh!
It was good to see my old friend again. It had been almost two years since the last time we had met. Vincent is originally from Taipei, Taiwan, and had moved to Vancouver shortly after the last time we saw each other to try to get his Canadian citizenship.
Paula and I spent much of our time in Vancouver relaxing and exploring the downtown area. It was a time for a much-needed rest and to do some work on the bike. Almeida was ready to have her oil changed, chain cleaned and clutch fluid replaced. A good part of an afternoon was spent in the parking garage of Vincent’s apartment working on the bike.
Downtown Vancouver has many restaurants of almost every type of cuisine. We visited the all-you-can-eat Mongolian grill and some Lebanese Shawarma places a number of times.
Vincent wasn’t working when we arrived on Vancouver. He spent a lot of time at his PC playing the Taiwanese stock market. As a result, Paula and I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as we would have liked to. Vincent’s limited work experience and broken English make it hard for him to find work, but, by the end of our week there, he was able to find a job working in a restaurant kitchen.
On our last full day in Vancouver, Paula and I road up and down the coast and, on our way back, stopped in Vancouver harbour at dusk to take some photos of the downtown skyline. We were ready to pack up and go when we heard, what sounded like, a very good live cover of the band Blue Rodeo. The music was coming from close by, so we followed it and were lead to an outdoor concert venue. There were many people sitting on the grass around its perimeter enjoying the sound of the music and, judging by the sweet smell of the air, the B.C. bud. Paula and I found a spot atop a small hill that allowed us to peer over the fence that surrounded the venue. Looking over, we were able to get a full view of the stage. It wasn’t a cover band, it was the real Blue Rodeo. We listened for a while and then headed back to Vincent’s apartment.
After a good five-day rest, I was feeling a little restless, and was beginning to miss the open road and the feeling of moving from place to place. Paula and I decided that we’d head out the next day and make our way across the border and into the United States.
We woke up the next day, had lunch, packed up and set off from Vancouver after a short stop at the CAA to get my international driver’s licence.
Several weeks earlier, I had contacted an old university friend whom I hadn’t seen since graduation. Paul is his name, and he was living and working in Surrey, British Columbia. On our way towards the U.S. border, we met up with Paul at, what would be, our last stop at a Tim Horton’s. Paul is now married to his long-time girlfriend, and they have two children together. After a short visit over a cup of coffee, we parted and headed for the border.
Sunset Beach Park
Paula at Sunset Park
We walked around downtown Vancouver. Paula wanted Dairy Queen ice cream. I opted for Tim Horton's.
Somewhere along Minaty Bay
More of Vancouver Harbour
We found a spot where we could see over the fence and watch the Blue Rodeo concert.
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