Selkirk Loop & the Canadian Rockies - 2UP- 1200 Adventure
Each adventure ride seems to get better than the last. I guess it’s partly due to experience... researching, planning, scheduling, preparing, trial runs and setups, proper equipment, etc. It makes the trip more enjoyable, yet there are always things along the road that you didn’t plan for and that’s what makes the adventure. The adventure can have unplanned moments of precarious and threatening moments, or it can be a discovery of shared fulfillment, wonder and laughter...or both. Nevertheless, the adventure is the journey.
Our journey would take us north through Idaho along the Payette River, Salmon River, the Elk River Scenic Byway, Coeur d’Alene Lake, Sandpoint, the International Selkirk Loop (U.S. and Canada, through Kootenay National Park in British Columbia, Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, the Canadian Rockies, and many other scenic routes and twisty grades along the way.
The actual ride is over, but the wonderful memories are still abounding in my head, so I thought I would share them with you here. Before we get started, here is a run-down on how we packed our clothes and gear.
We’ve developed a good system for packing our gear to fit in the BMW adventure aluminum cases. I get the smaller pannier next to the muffler and my wife gets the larger one. :D We pack our clothing inside Eagle Creek pack-it cubes. Clothes types are separated in different cubes. You can get the Eagle Creek pack-it cubes here: www.rei.com/product/658661
My riding shirts, like this one: www.rei.com/product/746716 are rolled and placed in one of the cubes. I have several different brands of shirts but the important thing is that they are quick-drying polyester. I wear them riding as well as out to dinner. My pants and shorts are folded and packed together in another cube.... warmer shirts in the third cube. I have a smaller cube for underwear and socks. My wife’s clothes are private :)
We fit the cubes in Kathy’s Journey Designs bag liners. You can purchase them here: http://store.bobsbmw.com/ProductDeta...uctCode=ABL%2D The compression of the cubes in the bags keep everything pressed. I also have a mesh pouch to keep dirty clothing separated. It stays in the bottom of my pannier.
Kathy's Liners ready to go
The bag liners then slide into the aluminum cases. Even though my wife’s bag is bulging when she’s finished packing, it compresses and slips in the side case easy. She even packs her blow-dryer and straightening iron! There is still room on top of the liners for a fleece jacket or jacket liner. I also have a small toiletry kit by Victorinox that slips in along side my bag liner as well as a small tripod. I keep it separate and accessible.
Here's my side pannier packed
And here is my wife's side
The top case has the typical bike essentials like, tire repair kit, air compressor, bike cover, straps, first aid kit, extra gloves, a few tools, bag with electronic chords, etc. I have a Proxon tool kit in the bottom of my pannier. My wife also keeps her hanging toiletry case and purse in the top case so it can easily be accessed. Sorry, no photo.
The red dry-bags are Ortlieb. www.ortliebusa.com/CartGenie/prod-62.htm We keep our Big Agnes Encampment sleeping bag www.bigagnes.com/Products/Detail/Bag/Encampment, with insertable air mattress, BMW rain gear, hiking shoes and fleece jacket here. The dry-bag is strapped to the pannier with the BMW luggage straps. These straps work very well and stay cinched down.
Our Marmot Limelight 3P tent is strapped on the top case with a couple 12” rok-straps. The tent is new. Our old tent was a REI sub-alpine (discontinued) but it was too small for us and our gear. The Marmot was perfect! I can easily open the top case with the tent still attached. Sometimes my large tripod will go on the top case as well. Later in the program, I present a short video of setting up our tent at the Whistler campground in Jasper National Park. We were amazed what we saw during the setup.
The BMW tankbag (and I like the big one!) has my Nikon camera in front in a Kinesis hip pack (I often stop and photograph while sitting on the bike and this make getting to the camera convenient.) When we hike, I just pull out the hip pack with camera and go. I also have a filter case, sunglasses, gloves, tire pressure gauge, passports, leatherman, Plexis and towel, Zumo case, lotion, mosquito spray, and other misc. items. Yes, the bag is heavy, but I prefer these items on the tank where I can get to them easily.
So, we are packed, but not overloaded.... 30,000 mile service done, shocks adjusted, 6 gals of fuel (although the tank holds almost 9 gals, if I know there is gas ahead I usually top off at about 6 gals,) tire pressure is optimal, we’re off! Lot of pics and video to come.
DAY 1 Boise, ID to Grangeville, ID
Here is an interactive map of our route
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Heading north on Idaho 55 out of Boise, I never get tired of this stretch of road that follows the Payette River. I’ve traveled this section so many times that I don’t stop much any more to take photos, but I invite you to check out my ride report below in my signature line called “Idaho West Mountains - Payette River.”
Here is an older pic of the Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad, “Silver Bridge” crossing the Payette River.
Here is a nice twisty section on the new pavement between Smith’s Ferry and Rainbow Bridge.
This is Rainbow Bridge, recently restored, it is a landmark along Idaho 55.
This section past Smith’s Ferry is a nice short twisty segment. My wife shot this footage to Rainbow Bridge.
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We continued northward through Cascade towards Donnelly. I knew there was road construction in town, so we by-passed it on Farm to Market Road which would take us into McCall. We stopped at a small historic town called Roseberry and ventured into the general store. It was like stepping back into the early nineteen hundreds. The store is a full working store as well as a museum.
Roseberry General Store
The Museum across the street
The interior was very authentic.
This is the Owner’s Daughter. She was very pleasant and was happy to tell you about the history of the store.
Here is a short video clip of Old Man McDougall telling the history of Roseberry and the store.
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Nice intro, very informative, looks like you have this stuff down...
I've traveled thru that country allot over the years...Definitely some of my favorite roads...
Looking forward for the rest of the report....Thanks for posting...
Stopped in McCall at the Pancake House for lunch
I had chili with onions and cheese and my wife had Beef Barley soup...boy did that hit the spot!
As we rode through McCall, there was a vintage boat display, mostly restored Criscraft. No one was there, so we pulled over and walked around the high-gloss wooden speedboats.
Just north of New Meadows, we could see rain up ahead. Pulled over to get the rain gear, but didn’t get too wet. The weather was a bit ominous, so we left our rain gear on until we arrived at Grangeville....we would be in and out of light rain the rest of the day.
Although it was overcast, the road remained fairly dry, and the passing landscape was soothing.
This is the Salmon River Canyon north of Riggins
We love this bike!
We approached the turnoff of Old Highway 95 just before reaching White Bird. I had wanted to go to Pitsburg Landing on the Snake River about 18 miles to the west, but I missed the turn and we headed up a different grade that was wet and slippery. After about 6-7 miles, I stopped a truck going the opposite direction and he told me we missed the turn. Oh well...the views were great down on the Salmon River Canyon.
This is Old Highway 95 just of the main highway
A shot looking back down the grade
The dirt road was nice and twisty, although slow because is was wet and slippery
This is near where we turned around. We gained about 4,000 feet and were in the low rainy clouds. We made it back to the correct turnoff and headed towards Pitsburg Landing, but after about 8 miles we were exhausted, it was getting late and wanted to get in to Grangeville so we went back to White Bird to go up the White Bird grade to Grangeville.
This is the steel bridge you cross from the main highway to go to Pitsburg Landing
Taking the “old” way into White Bird
And here is the High Bridge off Highway 95. We go under this to get into White Bird.
Next up, the White Bird grade (Old Highway 95) into Grangeville
Passing through White Bird, we head up Old Highway 95, the White Bird grade, but just as we get a couple miles out of town we get stopped by a herd of goats. 100’s of them yet there was no one herding them. They were just eating up everything as they came down the road.
This little one couldn’t take his eyes off of us
White Bird Grade
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OK, maybe not as exciting as the TAT, but it was fun.
We arrived at Grangeville and checked into the Gateway inn and had a milkshake and cre'me brule'e at Bishop's Bistro.
Here is the old mission style movie theater.
It was a great first day. We had a lot to look forward to the next 8 days. Tomorrow we would ride up to Orofino and ride the Elk River Scenic Byway
Gorgeous ride, report and pics :thumb
Off to a good start.
Great photos, I'm subscribed. Glad to see you're hitting some good dirt roads.
DAY 2 Grangeville, ID to Farragut State Park, ID
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This morning is heavy overcast and we would most likely run into rain. Headed out of Grangeville east on Highway 13 and up to Kamiah. My wife graduated from highschool there, so we thought we would tour the little town where she lived over 30 years ago.
Here we are at Kamiah highschool
The kids were having volleyball practice and my wife knew the volleyball coach. The coach was a junior when my wife graduated. They talked awhile reminiscing about highschool days. What a coincidence that she would see someone she hasn’t seen in over 30 years on the day we arrived.
And here is the public pool where my wife was the manager. We talked to the new owner when it started to rain.
So, we left Kamiah in the rain northward to Orofino where we would take the Elk River Scenic Byway to Elk River.
You can check out this link for more info on the Byway
The paved section was nice and twisty, but wet! Here is pic approaching the Dent bridge, a 1500 foot span out in the middle of nowhere that crosses the Orofino reservoir.
After the bridge, the road turns to gravel. It’s a nice groomed road but today it was wet with a few slippery spots. Here is a video crossing the bridge and a bit of the scenic byway.
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We arrived in Elk River, a little town in the middle of Idaho, that once was a logging town. There were some nice old buildings still in tact.
We stopped at the Elk River Lodge because we noticed the sign for Huckleberry ice cream. We love huckleberries, so in we went.
In the back room they had a map of the US and Europe where visitors would stick a colored pin located where they were from. I didn’t photograph the Europe map, but surprisingly, a lot of foreigners have been to Elk River. The northwest area was crammed with pins.
The Owner came in and talked to us about the history of the lodge and how they made their huckleberry ice cream. Then she showed us a local map of the area. There were several things to see like the cedar grove, but we didn’t have time.
We continued on to St. Maries and had lunch at a well know spot. The back highways were great to ride and the smell of the after-rain reminded me of the coast. The passing logging trucks gave off a nice evergreen aroma, that made you keep taking deep breaths to enjoy the scent.
We had the “Rustle” burger with BBQ, onions, bacon, swiss cheese. As we got up to leave, Bud himself came over to us and said, “I see your license plate says ‘XPLOR,’ where are you from and where are you going?” When you’re on the road, it’s nice that people are interested in you.
We took the scenic eastern route alongside Lake Coeur d’Alene, but it was raining and I didn’t stop for pictures....too bad, this was a nice scenic ride. We ended up on interstate 90 into Coeur d’Alene in a downpour. It was 30 more miles to Farragut State Park where I had reserved a camping space. We thought we would go on ahead to Sandpoint and get a motel, but I wanted to try to get a refund on the camp site, so we headed in to Farragut Park.
They said that it was too late to get a refund, and my wife asked if they had any cabins. Yes, we do....you need your own bedding though. No problem, so for another $20 we take it and ride in to the park. The cabin was perfect. It had sleeping for 5, a heater and small porch with a view of lake Pend Oreille.
There were 3 cabins at this site....ours is the one on the right.
The rain had stopped by the time we got there and it was suppose to clear up the next day.
I may look a little disgruntled, by I’m actually quite happy the way things turned out.
Come on in....it’s warm
After we set up our cabin, we rode in to Bayview, about 4 miles down the road and had dinner with a nice view of the lake. We rode back to the cabin in dark and the PIAA’s really performed.
We had dinner at the Buttonhook restaurant and ate the “Chickenhook,” chicken filled with crabmeat and wrapped with bacon, red potatoes, clam chowder, shrimp cocktail and chocolate fudge cake. We split most of our meals, so this is a half portion. It was a great ending to a great day (except the weather.) We needed to treat ourselves.
DAY 3 Farragut State Park, ID to Nelson, BC, Canada
Had a great night sleep in the cabin. Clear skies overnight, but the morning was overcast so we expected more rain but not yet. At least the forecast for Canada’s National Parks were suppose to be sunny.
The cabins were great, but the latrine was a couple hundred feet away, which isn’t fun to get to in the middle of the night. No problem for me since there is a nice covered deck to water the plants from. My wife’s latrine attire is a nightgown and riding boots....she’d kill me if I posted a pic.
We started the morning off at Athol, ID (yep sounds like asshole.) We had breakfast there at the Country Boy Cafe. The Chicken Fried steak completely filled the plate. We split the meal and it was still too much. Wish I’d taken my camera inside, but I left it in the tank bag.
Check out this link I found about the restaurant. We just happened to stop and it was perfect.
Next stop was Spirit Lake. We did a quick ride down the main street to see the old buildings and noticed a store called C’s Trains and Antiques. I like trains, so we stopped in.
She had a lot of old (and new) classic Lionel trains. Some I had when I was a boy.
If you like trains, these ought to bring back some memories
We got to talking to her about her business and I asked about her husband. She said she lost him a couple years ago and that he was a big part of her life. We could tell she hadn’t really let him go yet and we expressed our condolences and my wife gave her a hug and they both started weeping. It was really touching and think the lady really needed that. We hated to leave her, but I think she felt good knowing that a couple of strangers dressed in motorcycle gear care. We thought about her all day. If you’ve ever lost someone, you know what I mean.
Have to get off the computer....back a little later. Next we officially start the Selkirk Loop.
Riding the Selkirk Loop!
We decided to take the loop clockwise. Almost all the lakes would be on our right and it would be easier to pull off the road for pics. Our plan was to meet my wife’s parents in Nelson. They came up a day earlier and got a RV space in the City Campground. We would stay with them a couple nights and use their vehicle to go on the “North Kootenay Lake Silvery Slocan Super Side Trip.” That’s a mouth-full.
Coming out of Newport, WA, we headed up 20 towards Metaline Falls.
This is a shot from the edge of town overlooking the Pend Oreille River
Just out of town is the Power House...you can read about it below
I love old structures like this
The day was really shaping up, warmer temps and partly cloudy skies. While at the Power House, we changed out of our long underwear (42F this morning) right on the side of the road.
Then we took the “Rivers, Dams & Mines Super Side Trip” through Trail and up to Castlegar. We gassed up at Salmo and my wife suggested we put on our rain gear. “I know it’s cloudy honey, but I don’t think it’s going to rain.” I try to take her advice, cause she's usually right about these things, so we put on the gear and a couple miles up the road we got poured on. We were able to skirt the thunderstorm just north of Trail. Trail seemed like an interesting town, but we didn’t stop of get pics since it was pouring!
I had wanted to see the restored train station & museum in Castlegar, so we rode in. The station was actually moved a couple hundred feet. The museum was very nice, but not much history about the railroad.
What a nice surprise to see this in a railroad museum
I love these old large format cameras....wish I had one...but you know...digital.
We arrived in Nelson and found the campground and RV. It a nice area just a few minutes from downtown. There were a lot of “woodstock” kids bumming around. There was nice separate building for picnicking, restrooms and showers. It was nice to have a free place to stay.
Had dinner that evening at Jackson’s Hole...great food
Back to the RV for a good nights sleep. The campground was full and the "woodstock" crowd had gone somewhere else. Tomorrow would be our day-trip up to Kaslo in their "cage"...oh well, we're with the folks now.
DAY 4 North Kootenay Lake Silvery Slocan Super Side Trip
We were up early and took our time getting ready for today’s side trip with the folks. They were looking forward to it, although it turned out to be a long day...there’s just so much to see! We packed some day gear in the car and headed northward to Balfour. We took the ferry over to Crawford Bay to see the artisans and find a bakery for a light breakfast, then back across Kootenay Lake and north to Kaslo around the side loop.
On the Ferry looking back to Balfour
It was a great day. The weather was getting better each day and we would have cloudless skies on our way back from Jasper.
Crawford Bay: First order of business....find a bakery, get coffee and a cinnamon roll, eat.
A young couple purchased this property a couple years ago and converted this garage into their bakery. It's located back in the woods. There is a nice little trail back to the Bakery. Their house is behind me. The owner’s dad is a mason and together they built the wood fired brick oven....it took 2 months to complete.
This is the owner telling his story. You can see the wood fired brick oven in the back.
Then we visited the artisan shops. Most of them were operating today (sunday)
The weaver was very nice and posed for several shots. She explained the function of the loom. It was interesting to watch her change out a spool and work the loom.
As I was taking this photo, she said that it was the most popular photo to take....darn I wasn’t the first :)
Next Stop within walking distance
This was a great workshop. The brooms were very artistic. This place is so popular they make brooms for the movies, such as Bewitched.
We also went to the glass blowing workshop and copper enamel shop. So many people pass this little artisan town by....stop on your next visit.
We headed back to the ferry and pulled up along side a couple riding a 1200GSA and a GS650 waiting in line for the ferry. They are from Canada and were headed across the lake to stay with friends. Each of us asked each other about our bikes while the girls chatted it up. Nice couple.
We make a quick stop at Ainsworth Hot Springs to check it out then arrived in Kaslo.
Had a nice lunch here. All the Canadian people, especially who cater to the public were very friendly (except for a couple of deadbeats at Jasper...all it takes is one)
We purchased a “Boarding Pass” to tour the Moyie Sternwheeler
There is some very interesting history with this area and the sternwheeler’s. Check out this link to find out more about the Moyie www.klhs.bc.ca/
I took a few pictures
It was mounted out of the water to keep it preserved and you could see the underside.
The interior was incredible and set up like a museum. We started on the main level where the cargo is held and of course the boiler and engines.
Then up to the upper level where the guest rooms, dining and parlors are.
This is the Butler’s pantry. The food was prepared on the lower level, then sent up
Here is a typical Berth. They were all about a square meter
We continued on the North Kootenay Lake Silvery Slocan Super Side Trip and took a spur road in to Sandon, an old ghost town. I wasn’t that impressed, but I took a couple pictures here. I’m sure there is a lot of history, but the buildings were few and didn’t seem too authentic. We made up for the disappointment the next day.
This silver mine was a more interesting thing to see than Sandon
This historic generating station is still running over the creek, although modernized
New Denver was a nice town with incredible views of Slocan Lake
Nelson was still a distance out, so we booked it back so we had some time in Nelson to look at the historic buildings. I won’t bore you with the descriptions of the buildings, but there is a nice walking tour you can take that describes the history.
Guess what film this fire station was filmed in
We sat down on the outside patio to have a burger at the “Diner.” Turns out it is a Greek restaurant...oh well, the food was great..so was the beer and drinks.
The day was great and enjoyable for all of us. We got to stay with the folks in their RV in Nelson and see some sites. Tomorrow were back on our own heading toward the Canadian rockies. It would be a long day to Banff.
DAY 5 Nelson to Banff
Took the weekend off from writing this Ride Report. Hmmm...only 3 replies? Geez, I know I don't have any shots of gnarly dirt roads, drunken riders, half naked women or foolish antics, but this is what you get. Hope you're enjoying it!
"caw caw caw caw" "caw caw caw caw" This is the sound of the crows starting their early morning conversations at the Nelson city campground. I lay in bed counting the repetitions....always in fours, then I can't stand it any longer and get up as the sun rises.
My wife and I quietly get packed as her folks sleep. We were in and out of the RV packing the bike and getting ready, then they arise to have a quick breakfast of cereal with us before our departure. I hated to leave them behind today since we had such a great day yesterday, but we we had reservations in Banff and about 325 miles to ride. We said our goodbyes and left Nelson to reach the ferry for the 8:10am departure.
We followed a small group of riders to Balfour trying to catch the ferry as well. Here is a short video boarding the Osprey.
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We decided to get a coffee and roll at the same bakery in Crawford Bay we visited yesterday...it was that good. We arrived just as they were opening... the coffee was fresh and the cinnamon rolls were just coming out of the oven. Then we headed down 3A along the twisty, freshly paved surface to Creston where we would leave the Selkirk loop and head to Banff.
Here is a short video of 3A and Kootenay Lake.
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Some shots along Kootenay Lake
As we approached the Creston River Valley, the landscape changed to sprawling green fields and farms.
We arrived in Creston and stopped for fuel and Canadian currency. My wife had got a migrane headache and we needed to rest, but sitting around at the local gas stop was not going to cut it. I asked about a city park and we were directed just down the side street where there was a new city park with a soothing fountain and pleasant landscaping...the perfect place for tranquility. She laid down and slept for 30 minutes in the warm sun and when she awoke, she felt much better. I was wide awake, so I just daydreamed about our ride :norton
We stopped in Cranbrook, rode through downtown, then stopped for fuel at the Chevron. There was a nice small restaurant attached and we split a bacon cheeseburger. We asked about other restaurants to have lunch, but the clerk highly recommended Triple O’s. The food and service was great and it was so convenient.
The ride had been fairly boring from Creston to Cranbrook, but just outside Cranbrook we saw this historically preservied town right along the highway. It looked very interesting so we pulled in to Fort Steele. We stepped inside the entance building and asked how much to tour the town. Free? Yep, paid by the Canadian government..very nice!
Fort Steele, first known as Galbraith's Ferry during the 1864 Kootenay Gold Rush, was renamed in 1888 in honour of Superintendent Samuel Steele of the North West Mounted Police, who peacefully settled tensions between white settlers and the Ktunaxa people.
During the mining boom of the late 1890s, Fort Steele thrived as the commercial, social and administrative centre of the region. However, Fort Steele declined after 1989, when the BC Southern Railway bypassed the town in favour of nearby Cranbrook.
Today, Fort Steele is a Heritage Town, where visitors can travel back in time to the 1890s and enjoy daily re-enactments of the town's past history and heritage year-round, with full programming from mid-June to Labour Day.
The Water Tower
There were actors throughout the town re-enacting daily life
Although the young blacksmith was just an apprentice, it was fun watching the bellows breath on the fire and the hammering of steel.
There is a story about each building...you could spend an entire weekend here.
The School House...my wife shot this with the video camera as I read the plaque on the wall, but I don't have a great narration voice, so we'll just skip it.
The town also had a small railroad for the tourists with an authentic steam locomotive.
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