August 02, 2003 GMT
Vancouver Island, British Columbia and Alberta

Vancouver Island was just fantastic. We rode on the logging roads through the mountains and camped by beautiful lakes and rivers. We met Bruce from Pt Alberni on a KLR who tracked us down the next day to give us spare tubes, a spare tyre, a beer each and a great chat (thanks Bruce). We met Steve, from New York City (Imagine That!) on his way to live in Washington State, on his beautiful 1972 BMW 600 Boxer (with the toaster tank left in NY). What a great time the 3 of us proceeded to have. After spending a night on the beach in Tofino we headed for Salt Spring Island which is a magical place full of artists, natural beauty (Lakes mountains, beaches, forests etc) and incredible friendly people. Lisah took us on a tour of the island and we relaxed in the evening on the dock by the side of the lake. Leaving Salt Spring Isand we
accompanied Steve on his homecoming ride (via the beautiful city of Victoria) to Port Townsend in Washington State where we met his girlfriend Maya and had a great time wandering around this beautiful boating town.

Since we were in Washington State we looked up some people we had met in Skagway and what a welcome we received. Rob, Barb and Sue (and Logan) gave us an amazing weekend in Anacortes and cruising the San Juan Islands on their beautiful motorboat - Harmony Bay. Not to mention the food - Rob and Barb are some team in the kitchen.

After a quick stop in Vancouver we headed up to Whistler to catch up with Doug again and headed for Jasper and Banff. The plan was to get accross BC in 2 days. Not likely - we kept meeting wonderful people who suggested bigger and bigger "loops". Just outside Kamloops we got the first puncture of the trip. So it was out with the repair kit and compressor (Dom had rigged up a connection on one of the bikes) on the side of the road. We pushed on to Vernon that night and on arrival met Don in a Gas Station - after having a beer with him he decided his backyard was a much better place for us to camp than the local campground. He proceeded to talk us into an even bigger loop (right down to the USA border) then took the day off work to join us part of the way - Thanks Don, the loops were worth it. Although all these detours took us some 500 miles out of our way what beautiful countryside we saw. Mountains and lakes everywhere. We camped that night in Creston and woke the next morning to 2 more punctures - each of our rear tyres were flat. Dom did a fabulous job of repairing them all and never even swore once! 3 punctures in 36 hours!

We eventually made Jasper and the massive Columbia Icefield and it was just awesome. We then started
heading south for Sturgis. We took a beautiful shortcut down the Kanaskis Trail (in Alberta) then onto a rough dirt road. After about 80km of gravel road we came around a corner and there was a road block due to the fires. The only way out was the way we came. It was late at night and a group of folk from The Prairies adopted us and gave us beers to make us feel better the medicine worked wonders.

Posted by Leah Chapman at August 02, 2003 09:41 AM GMT
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