July 03, 2010 GMT
British Columbia (Northbound)

Arriving in Victoria on Vancouver Island from Washington State by ferry was like entering a different sunnier world compared to the wet temperate rain forests of Washington State. First impressions are how green and English it all looks with its imposing ivy clad hotel, lawns and red double decker buses. The top portion of the British Columbian flag is taken up by the Union Jack.

005 Victoria Empress Hotel  15th Jun 2010.jpg
Victoria Empress Hotel


The one thing that was very un-British were the seaplanes taking off and landing in the harbour. As the towns have evolved around the harbours the seaplanes are landing a few minutes walk from the centre of towns making them much more convenient than regular planes and regular airports for the short hops.

007 Victoria Harbour Float Plane Landing 16th Jun.jpg
Seaplanes In Victoria Harbour

I bought spare inner tubes and filters in preparation for the 5,000 mile round trip to Alaska. I intend to do the next service myself as I expect to be somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I have been concerned that the BMW mechanics use clever electronic diagnostic equipment during servicing that isn’t available to me but if the bike is running ok then any diagnostic equipment isn’t needed anyway. Out of the four times I have had work done by BMW mechanics three of those times they have put the non standard Touratech fuel breather pipes back incorrectly.

004 Victoria Parliament Building15th Jun 2010.jpg
British Columbia Parliament Building In Victoria

I liked Nanaimo a lot. The only problem I had was that it took a week before I could pronounce it correctly. Nanaimo is north of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

004 Nanaimo Gate 18th Jun 2010.jpg
Nanaimo Gate

Just off the coast at Nanaimo is Newcastle Island named after my home town, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. Newcastle Island was given the name when coal was discovered. Miners and Shipbuilders were recruited from England and Scotland to work in Nanaimo and they formed the bulk of the European settlers.

017 Nanaimo Harbour 18th Jun 2010.jpg
Nanaimo Harbour With Newcastle Island In Background

I got the ferry from Vancouver Island to the mainland on the Nanaimo / Vancouver route. The five days I spent on Vancouver Island were hot and dry and you can watch seaplanes taking off and landing in the harbours so it is about my favourite place in the world at the moment. I must have seen 20 or so seaplanes take off or land without mishap so it appears to be a reasonably reliable mode of transport.

024 Nanaimo Seaplane 18th Jun 2010.jpg
Seaplane In Nainaimo Harbour

Seaplanes must be solidly built as I watched a mechanic standing on a float hitting the plane with a big hammer. You may be reassured to know that the plane was stationary at the time.

003 Stanley Park Statue 20th Jun 2010.jpg
Stanley Park, Vancouver

The Vancouver to Lillooet ‘Sea To Sky Highway’ (Hwy 99) has fast sweeping bends climbing up into the mountains and the day I rode it, the traffic was light enough to enjoy the views and / or the bends. The snow capped mountains got bigger and closer all the time but I never quite got into the snow.

001 Whistler 22nd Jun 2010.jpg
Whistler, Home Of The 2010 Winter Olympics

I had been riding at my usual leisurely pace as far as Pemberton but decided I had better eat some miles to get up to Alaska and back to Mexico before my USA visa expires.

002 Pemberton 23rd Jun 2010.jpg
Pemberton, British Columbia

Rain was forecast but apart from some showers it was dry most of my first long day. I took a dirt road ‘shortcut’ although it would have taken longer but that’s not the point. The road passed a lake before joining Hwy 97 trundling ever northwards to Prince George where I joined Hwy 16 towards the Cassiar Highway.

003 Lakeside Dirt Rd 24th Jun 2010.jpg
Lakeside Dirt Road 'Shortcut'

The wildlife count along Hwy 16 was a pair of coyotes, a moose followed by a black bear cub. I started looking out for a camping spot about 50 miles from the start of the Cassiar Highway and spotted the bear cub with an immaculate shiny coat jumping around by the roadside. I didn’t see Mum but no doubt she wasn’t far away. There was a bit of a weird feeling in seeing a bear just before pulling over to pitch a tent!

004 Snowy Peaks 25th Jun 2010.jpg
Snowy Peaks, British Columbia

I had done 637 miles from 7:30am until just before it got dark at 9:30pm with a couple of meal breaks in roadside cafes. The mosquitoes were too bad to prepare or eat food outdoors and I don’t like to have food in the tent in case I have to fight a bear for it.

006 CAIRN 25th Jun 2010.jpg
These Little Rock Men Pop Up All Over British Columbia

The Cassiar Highway (Hwy 37) from Kitwanga to the Yukon border was another road with little traffic and enough bends to make it interesting. Just after stopping for breakfast a car in each direction stopped on the road so I pulled up behind as a one year old grizzly bear walked across the road to my side. It stopped behind a bush 20 feet away and turned to watch me.

008 Snow Capped Peaks 25th Jun 2010.jpg
Yet More Snow Capped Peaks

I saw a second grizzly, bigger than the first one a bit later. I stopped, turned around and went for my camera but it disappeared into the undergrowth before I could get a photo. Towards the end of the Cassiar Highway I saw a third enormous black grizzly right at the road side. I slowed and we were watching each other as I passed. In order to confuse the amateur wildlife spotter black bears aren’t necessarily black and grizzlies come in a variety of shades including black. I finished the second long day in Whitehorse, Yukon at 9:30pm again although I had set off earlier, at 6am and covered 784 miles.

Posted by ianmoor@tiscali.co.uk at July 03, 2010 11:12 PM GMT
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!