Saturday, August 25, 2012

Horizons Unlimited unravelled...

For the past couple of days I have been camped with two hundred other moto enthusiasts in the Municipal campgrounds of Nakusp, B.C.

The Western Canada meeting of Horizons Unlimited is meeting this weekend, and the turnout is phenominal and the participation and enthusiasm about moto travel is catching.  Right now, as I write, we are skyping with the local organizers, who are currently in Lake Bakail, in eastern Russia, I think.  They are describing to the audience about their travels and experiences as they have been travelling in Eastern Europe for the past month.  It is interesting to see the increase in the use of technology by the travellers as trips are presented and planned.

I attended a presentation this afernoon by an former pilot who discussed the ins and outs of mapping software and GPS systems.  He identifed some great sites where open source software is available, and i was joined with a young fellow from Seattle who helped me download maps of Mexico and Guatemala.  This session was extremely useful and interesting.

Yesterday, a family from Calgary presented  on their year long trip to South America and back, and their stories were interesting in that in addition to their discussions of the their moto routes, they discussed the events and activities which they attended as they travelled. It was interesting to see the perspective of the 10 year old son, who fully participated in the presentation, and provided an interesting insight into the trip.

I have met some very interesting people at this gathering.  One person from Seattle has just completed a trip down east Africa and left his bike in Johannesburg.  He is planning on heading back very soon to continue his trip up to Ethiopia and beyond.  He has a very interesting perspective on travel and the role of the moto traveller.  He is travelling on  a F800GS, and I have had some very useful discussions about the pros and cons of this bike.  I have had some significant help with computer issues from a young man from Seattle who is coming down from Alaska, and as soon as he sells his truck and motorcycle will be heading South as well.  It is very refreshing to attend these kinds of meetings and discuss motorcycle travel with some many different folks.  This young man has an incredibly refreshing take on life, and I am very impressed by his views and outlook on life   We talked about father and son travel, and he too has travelled with his Dad up to Alaska.  Out discussion brought out some of my favourite feelings about travelling with my own Sons.

Right now, I am watching a trip presentation by two old dudes and the title is "Humbled by South America"  Many of their pictures showed roads that remind me of the Nickleplate Road near Hedley.  The dudes are in their late 60's and spent over two months in South America.   Their blog is:  and I am recommending that it be read as a precusssor to my eventual travels down south.

The final presenter of the conference is a young guy from Canmore, Jeremy Kroeker, and he has published a book entitled "Motorcycle Therapy".  I am looking forward to hearing about his journey to Central America.  His description can be found at:

I have a soft spot in my heart for yellow bikes and lots of stuff...

This side car took two Calgarians safe and secure on their ride to South America  and back....

There were two TransAlps here, and each of them were on a Round the World trip,as their stickers demonstrate.   One was for sale.  I have always admired the Trans Alp, and the brand was only available in Canada for two years.   I think everyone should have at least three bikes in their stable.

My friend Dave W. from the North Island, who has let many North Island rides over the years, came to Nakusp via the Chilcotin.

A bike identical to mine, which is ownd by a Calgary fellow, has a blown stator. Fortunately his wife has an identical bike, and they will share a battery on their long ride back to Calgary.

 This bike is out of 100 mile and the fellow is familiar to a lot of BC riders

 This bike was on the BC Big Trailie last year, and I understand that he will be attending again in a couple of weeks.

I heard a very informative and interesting presentation on Baja.

A new Triumph

 Brand new BMW 700 cc, probably the first in Western Canada

Not all orange bikes are KTMs: a fancy Triumph

This bike is owned by an older Australian couple who have been on the road for 15 years.

 A young Sri Lankan man presented on his travels. He has been on the road for two years.  His photography was incredible, and he truly had a unique story to tell.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How Far are You going Mr. MotoMan?

Blondie and I had a reasonably early start from the rounded hills of Vernon (somewhat scarred from the  recent grassfires) and headed out towards Lavington, Lumby and generally in an easterly direction.

I couldn't find a coffee shop in Lumby, so by the time Cherryville rolled up, I was ready for some caffeine.  The restaurant at the local golf course served up a great breakfast, and I was once again enamoured by the pretty waitress who spent her days off boating at the the local lake. (Mable ??)

There was an older couple having breakfast, and they had just rode in on a 1000 VStrom.  We ended up chatting about bikes and rides, as riders tend to do.  The guy was from Vernon, and he had lots of useful information about local rides. He mentioned Edgewood, and memories of another life and another time filled my brain.

Edit: Can you imagine leaving the Alison Hotel in Vernon with a beater van filled to the brim with stoned and drunk hippies heading for an all weekend party in Edgwood and actually surviving the road trip?  This was before Garmin and GPS routing, so somewhere in my memory tracks, I believe this actually happened.  Because some of the participants  are still alive, I think, I will not mention names or specific body parts that come to mind...or the choice of intoxicants that the driver consumed.

As I was leaving the great restaurant, two old Beemers blasted by, They looked like old airheads, and I thought that I would easily catch up to these two ancients.  The ride between Cherryville and Nakusp is a great road for riders.  At one time, I knew every corner in the road like the back of my hand, as I had worked for the  now defunct Department of Highways as a paving guy and general flunky.  I tailed the distributor, getting continually sprayed with oil and crap all day long.  I also spent a few lonely hours as a flagman over the course of two summers as we sealcoated the highway between Lumby and Edgewood.  Because this was over 40 years ago, and my aforementioned van trip had created a time warp with my memory cells, I took it relatively easy as I moved through the corners.  I was also aware that my front tire was on its last legs, and there was not too much rubber to make it to my appointment next week at the Victoria shop where Blondie is getting her forks renewed as well as new shoes.

In short order, I arrived at the Faquier ferry, and was very quickly across to the other side. I chatted up the two Beemer riders, and their old bikes looked great.  They were from Seattle, and were heading through to Revelstoke.

I finally arrived in Nakusp in the early afternoon, and it looks like it is going to be a great meeting.  There are close to 200 riders who have registered and from the talk and discussions, there will be some great seminars and meetings topics.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Old Hometown still ain't What She Used to Be

After leaving my riding partners in Jasper, I rode south, first passing the narrow little beginnings of the mighty Fraser River, and then a short way onward, the small creek which becomes the strongly flowing North Thompson.

I finally succumbed to the threatening rainclouds and darkness by pulling into a motel in Clearwater.  I had been spoiled in the last week of riding with my family members, who did not camp or carry camping gear.  It was at the end of a very long day, and the bed was welcomed.

 After an hours early morning riding into the sun, I stopped at Barrier for breakfast, and checked the map for some dirt roads to cut east towards Salmon Arm and Vernon.  I soon found a route through to Adams Lake, a route that I had travelled with my son Gord three years ago.

I don't know if Gord will remember the Adams Lake mill, but I think that he should remember this stretch of the road, and the helpful people from Alberta who rushed him to the Kamloops hospital, as well as the ER doc from the Kootneys who just happened to be riding behind us.

I managed to find the Squilax/Chase/ and Falkland road which was an enjoyable ride across the mountains to Falkland.  On the ride into Vernon, I noticed that the RCMP had a moto cop on the road, and that a speeder had been pulled over.  I did not see what make of bike he was riding.
Tomorrow, I will head out on Highway 6 and make the run over to Nakusp for the Horizon's Unlimited meeting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Family Ride Ends and another Begins

We managed to break camp very early from Lake Louise and head out on the road.  Before we left for the Icefields, we headed up to Chateau Lake Louise and Moraine Lake to check out the views before the tourists hit the vistas.

 View from the parking lot as the sun hits the peak

We managed to arrive at Lake Louise before the first busload of tourists, and had an unubstructed view of  the lake.  The view is iconic and certainly breathtaking.

There is something memorable about  a father , son, and mom riding together.

We toured the lobby of the Chateu Lake Louise

 From Lake Louise, we rode about 11 km to Moraine Lake.  The Internet Chipmunk immediately  accosted us. Unfortunately he was too fat to get in any of our pictures and thus missed his second chance at Internet fame.

Lake Moraine was formed by a huge slide, or a combination of a slide and a glacier.  Either way, it is as beautiful as Lake Louise.

We headed out on the road north towards Jasper, stopping along the way to take some deep breaths because of the idiots driving without any regard for anyone else on the highway.

 Our crew rolled into Jasper for a late afternoon lunch, and some hugs as we headed east and west.  I have really enjoyed riding with my nephew, brother-in-law, and my sister.  While this is another activity from my bucket list, the satisfaction and pleasure that comes from the riding experience and being with family members is something that I will always treasure.  My family has been extremely generous with me and I am very lucky and grateful for the wonderful relationship that I have with them.

I have a great deal of difficulty in letting go in my life, and it seems that much of my life has been about people leaving.  Consequently, I do not do parting well.  After I left my family in Jasper, I rode south towards Clearwater.

Mount Robson towers over the highway.

I stopped for a burger in a bike friendly bar and grill, and after a good burger, I felt a little better about being on the road again, and without my riding partners.  The posters in the bar provided a bit of comic relief for me.

I had decided not to stretch my tires by riding to Whitecourt to see my son, and when I was able to check my email, I found out that my daughter-in-law was accepted at the University of Alberta, so it looks like I will be heading to Alberta in the next couple of weeks.