(12) 2nd Leg, Headin' West
Saturday June 26 2004
Well, I wasn't home so long, 2 days.
I have the bike serviced at GT Cycle in Shallow Lake, Greg also installs the heated grips I bought in Halifax, I'm sure they'll come in handy in the northwest and Alaska.
I am excited about seeing the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska, the motorcycle is running great and I have many kilometers to cover, no time like the present.
I book a place for myself & motorcycle on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry from Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula to South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island on Georgian Bay.
The reason is to save some time instead of driving around Georgian Bay and I enjoy to relax on the ferry.
I am lucky in that I learn that a friend, Jeff Warner will be on the same ferry and we will drive together north to Terrace Bay, home of his brother and an old childhood friend of mine. a good ride and my first overnight stop going west.
We rise early for the hour ride to Tobermory, a nice calm sunny morning
sail across, we enjoy the ride through beautiful north Georgian Bay and Lake Superior along Hwy#17 which is part of the Trans Canada Highway.
After a few fuel ups, some lunch in Sault Ste. Marie we roll into Terrace bay around dinner time. Not long before Terrace Bay we see 2 black bears along the rodaside.
We arrive at friends Jack & Kelly Warner's house, have a delicious dinner and relaxing evening visiting with them.
Sunday June 27 2004
I leave towards Thunder Bay early morning, the skies are clear, sunny and a great day for putting some kilometers on my bike.
I stop at the Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay to take some photos, a great tribute to an amazing Canadian.
Amazing country to drive through, lakes, rivers, mountains & wilderness, it is so vast and beautiful.
I only stop for fuel ups, eat some of my food and to stretch my legs, it is my plan to see how far I can ride safely before I get too tired, then stop for the night.
I reach the Ontario/Manitoba border, then Winnepeg and call it a night when I cross into the Saskatchewan border.
I pitch my tent beside an tourist information building and sleep like a baby, a good days ride today, about 1,303 kms.
Monday June 28 2004
I wake early and pack up camp.
A young woman pulls into the parking lot and promptly falls asleep, I'm sure she must have driven all night, she has the car packed full of her belongings, including her husky dog who doesn't look so tired.
A cowboy in his pickup stops wondering if the info building is open to use the facilities.
It is quite busy for 6 am.
Everyone talks about how flat the prairies are, actually it is really quite flat not long after you leave Winnepeg, Manitoba.
Another long day in the saddle on the Trans Canada Highway, I pass through Saskatchewan and into Alberta and on to Calgary.
It is at this point when I am getting excited about the Rocky Mountains, but first I wonder about all these black thunder clouds I am heading straight towards and what I am in for, they look very mean.
Through Calgary and with the Rockies in sight, I luckily somehow miss the rain storm and head for Banff National Park.
Wow! You feel like a speck of sand in the ocean riding a motorcycle along side these guargantuan beautiful rock monsters.
It is hard to keep your eyes on the road with these mountains all around you but I manage to steer into the city of Banff, ask for the Youth Hostel and make my way through this lovely tourist filled town and enquire about a dorm bed for the night, it is raining and I am wimping out not wanting to setup camp in the rain.
This Youth Hostel is probably one of the nicest I have ever been to in all my years of travelling, it is awesome.
The backdrop of mountains is breathtaking, there is not much to say.
Take the photo and enjoy!
What a drive today, to end up here and have a nice firm bed in this place is awesome, 1165 kms today. I check out the town, the scenery, eat some dinner, sleep well & fast.
Tuesday June 29 2004
On the road early after muesli, bananas and coffee, my regular breakfast.
I have to stop at Lake Louise for photos on my way through the Rockies.
You can not imagine how beautiful this place is, it is almost not real looking, if you know what I mean, awesome!
On through Yoho National Park and then Rogers Pass in Glacier Nat'l Park.
The views and scenery here are unbelievable, especially on a motorcycle when the weather is perfect like today.
I continue on the Trans Canada Highway through Revelstoke, Sicamous, Salmon Arm, Kamloops and Cache Creek.
It is at this point that I take highway #99, a very scenic, mountainous 2 lane road through amazing country.
I pass through Pavillion and then a town called Lillooet.
It is here that I encounter massive forest fires, the temperature begins to really climb and it gets quite hazy with smoke.
I can now see the sky lit up in a orange ball of fire around the other side of the mountain, right where the road leads to...in the daylight!
About this time I start to feel a little queasy, I have not made enough water stops today and I am dehydrated, the air is so hot and I am suddenly thinking, "Oh shit, If I faint now I am going to wreck this new motorcycle way out here in the middle of nowhere."
So, I stop for awhile and drink my nearly hot water and find some shade, watch the fires and listen to the water bombers & helicopters battling the forest fires.
I continue on but still feel like I could faint at any minute, really lightheaded.
I stop along the way for photos of the fires, stop on bridges to catch the cold breeze from the waterfalls, anything to cool down some.
I make my way to Pemberton, buy Gaterade & Powerbars, try to rehydrate and get some energy back in my system, still not working yet.
I pass Whistler, one of the worlds most renowned ski villages & resorts. There are as many mountain bikers on the hills as skiiers in winters, an all year round used resort.
I continue on to Squamish, a nice town surrounded by mountains and shear cliffs, a rock climbers paradise.
It is here that I will spend some relaxing time with an old travel friend I met years ago in Israel.
It will be good to get off the bike and explore this beautiful place.
I want to go mountain biking and hiking in these amazing mountains and see more of Vancouver.
I will also visit friends in the area and just south of the border in Washington State.
I look forward to seeing more of Vancouver Island and B.C. the Yukon and Alaska.
I spend the night rehydrating and hope not to make this mistake again, another lesson learnt, stop often and drink water in the heat.
I guess I didn't realise it until it was too late, must have thought I was still in eastern Canada in the cool & wet.
Well, it was only a few days ago that I was in Newfoundland driving beside icebergs and hoping for a little warmth, quite a difference a few days makes, east to west coast.
I'll enjoy this and get ready to go north again. 902 tough, hot kilometers today, I'll let the bike rest for a couple days now.
Posted by Jeff Nicholls at June 29, 2004 11:43 PM GMT