Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
I think I was supposed to change time zones when I entered Montana but really have no idea. My cell phone looked like it changed when I first got in but then changed back. I guess it really doesn't matter at this point. I got up at 7 but still seemed to take forever to get packed up and on the road, even without a shower or breakfast I didn't leave until 8:30. It was cold this morning, 47 degrees but I figured on it getting nicer as I got underway as it had for the past couple of days. I figured wrong.
This was truly a miserable day for riding but I only had to go 200 miles which I guessed would take me around 3 hours at freeway speeds; I wouldn't even have to stop for gas! I didn't feel like taking any pictures as I was just too cold to care; I looked forward to entering Idaho as for some reason that line on the map makes me think everything will be different. Well I was right since as soon as I crossed the line into Idaho it started to rain. If there's one thing I hate more than riding in the cold or rain it's riding in the cold AND rain. I stopped at a ski resort and put my raingear on, here's the only pictures from today, I paused on the bridge getting back on the highway to snap them.
I got both directions so you can see it was equally miserable from either way. Even though I ended up stopping for gas and to warm up a little I still got to Chapa's house by noon, of course my cell phone had been screwed up so I had woken up and hour earlier than what I'd thought anyway.
For some reason whenever I stop an someone's house I've become really bad at taking any pictures, or even unpacking the camera so you'll have to bear with me. Houston and Desiree had turned up about 30 minutes before me so we were all ready to get our stuff together. After some basic housekeeping and packing tips Chapa took us out to get a gander at Post Falls. I was really surprised to see that it was not the backwards middle of nowhere'sville that I had anticipated but was more like a bedroom community for Coeur d'Alene (you have no idea how many times I had to look that up to spell it correctly). We went out to lunch at Hot Rods and then checked out the chopper shop next door. Afterward Chapa and I headed out to try and find a replacement power cable for my GPS. We wound up at Radio Shack who didn't have what I needed but tried really hard to sell me a new GPS; they almost succeeded but the one they had didn't have Canada so I couldn't see the point and settled for the economy size pack of AA batteries. By the time we got back I was pretty bushed and we had grilled PB&J for dinner and watched Wipeout on Tivo, I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Chapa planned to take us all out for breakfast the following morning then accompany us to the Canadian border, no further as he didn't have a passport.
I have no idea what time we got up and moving but we went to some place called GW Hunters or something like that (didn't write it down) for breakfast. I don't know what it is with these places in the Pacific Northwest but they had a bunch of stuffed animals all over the place.
We were greeted outside by this little guy.
However we felt he needed a little something to get us into the spirit of the day so we added...
He looks much better now and we can go inside and enjoy our meal.
We entered the door to find this fearsome guy there to greet us. Actually I think he looks like he's got a little gas. If the bears in Canada are anything like this one then I've got nothing to worry about; regardless this is the first bear of the trip so I had to get a picture of him.
The food here was pretty normal and since Chapa was buying no one scrimped. It felt good to have everyone together just hanging out again for awhile.
Coming out of the restaurant I came upon this beauty, can there ever be too much camouflage?
Before long we were loaded up and on the road, next stop the Canadian Border!
We had roughly 100 miles until we reached Canada, I didn't think about it too much but I new that we had almost 500 miles to make today and we'd gotten a late start. Traffic was pretty heavy for a little while but before long is sorted itself out.
As we continued north the pine forests took over and before long we felt like we were the only ones on the road; it was quite tranquil.
The next thing we knew we came around a corner and bang! There was the border crossing!
We all sort of messed around for a little bit and took turns standing with one foot in each country. The most interesting thing to me was that the border was even carved into the forest, perhaps those lines in the map aren't just imaginary?
We made sure to get a group picture, something tells me either I over packed or Houston under packed seeing as how my gear is for one person and he's set up for two, better safe than sorry I guess.
Chapa was a little miffed that this was to be the end of his part of the Adventure so he went into the U.S. Customs office to see if he could get some sort of day pass into Canada, they told him that as long as he came back the same day they'd tell the Canadians he would be allowed back into the country; silly border guards don't know a perfect opportunity when they see one...
We were instructed to go through the gate individually, I was the last to go. They asked the normal sorts of questions regarding weapons, alcohol and length of stay in Canada then asked if I was traveling with the other two bikes who'd just gone through. Of course I told them yes, they then asked me why we all had different answers to how long we were going to be in Canada. I began to draw a total bland but came up with the correct answer of, “those two up there are a couple of idiots who don't know what our schedule is.” This seemed to satisfy the gate guard and they let me through, probably glad to be rid of the lot of us, and now we were in Canada!
I don't know why but it immediately felt cleaner on this side of the border, the downside was that I had to do math in order to figure out how fast I was supposed to go and how far until the next town. It took a little practice but really wasn't that difficult; simply multiplying by six got you close.
The weather was beautiful and it was an excellent day to ride. Unfortunately 100 miles inside of Canada Chapa had to take his leave of us. 200 miles riding with us meant 200 miles riding home and he wasn't on vacation. I know Chapa would've preferred to continue on, I could see it in his face.
After Chapa left the day just seemed a little darker, of course it could be that the rainclouds on the horizon had something to do with it.
We stopped for gas just outside of the town of Radium. I asked Houston what he'd do if we came upon a bear while camping and he told me he'd pretend he was Bigfoot and show that bear a thing or two. I'm truly not sure that he'd be pretending...
Directly after leaving the gas station we went through this gap in the cliffs and entered the Radium Hot Springs National Park, otherwise known as Wilderness Wonderland in Adamspeak.
Luckily Houston had suggested we don our raingear at the gas station since as soon as we passed through the portal it started to rain. Immediately a large herd of elk crossed the road in front of us but I was just too slow with the camera to get a picture. Even with the rain the majestic pine forests on either side were something to see, I didn't see how it could get any better.
I discovered that if there is anything better than a bridge that I like to take pictures of it's a tunnel, unfortunately there's not that many of them.
Finally we entered Banff, where Radium had grand pine forests Banff had soaring cliffs and mountains, most with snow still on the peaks. It was in Banff where we saw our first (live) bear, a little guy by a stream. Again I was too slow for a picture but I guessed that I'd get my chance later. The rain kept up but it wasn't too bad.
The weather teased us, it would be overcast with rain for about 20 minutes then, without warning, the sky would clear and we get these wonderful views. This kept up for some time and the scenery just got better every time!
Eventually we came to the Icefields Parkway leading through Jasper National Park. Strangely enough I had no idea that it was some sort of toll road and it wound up costing $20 for the 3 of us to use it. It started out nice and clear with our spirits high but the mood soon plummeted along with the temperature.
Before long the rain was non-stop and the temperature eventually fell to 41 degrees. Miserable doesn't even begin to describe it. The scenery was breathtaking, or it may have been the cold, but it was difficult to take it all in between the shivers. Finally Houston pulled over after 150 miles of this stuff; I screamed to myself, “but we're almost there! Couldn't you wait another 30 minutes!?”
He'd run out of gas. Luckily we'd taken a one gallon can from Chapa before we left and were prepared for just such an eventuality.
Directly after refilling Houston with some gas the skies cleared and the sun started shining! Oh what a glorious sight! We rolled into Whistler's Campground in good spirits after one of the most challenging days I've ever spent riding, both physically and mentally.
We set up camp, in the dry thank you very much, and all started to get our happy thoughts together. I have to say that if you're going on a camping trip and a Special Forces guy is good to have along as he can start a fire with ease, something I still have yet to figure out. I was talking with Karen on the phone, regaling her with tails of how hard we'd had it when we had some visitors in our campsite.
I shouted at her, “we have moose in our campsite!” only to realize a second later that they were actually elk. What can I say they're still the biggest things I've ever seen. This was the perfect end to a hard day. Well almost...
If you're going to take a Special Forces guy with you don't listen if he offers to dry your clothes over the campfire. This is Houston watching his pair of socks go up in flames, evidently they're a little dryer than he wanted. He was lucky as he came close to drying his gloves and boots a similar amount.
As we cooked our dinner we realized that the frigid wetness that was Father's Day was but a distant, painful memory but a warm fire and dinner was the reality.
All is right again.