Taking another connection to the movie “One Week”, this blog post follows a cancer patient as he rides a motorcycle through the mountains of BC, with the help of some great companions, 3 Minions, Yoda, Happy Bunny, and a Hello Kitty backpack.
Looking back to late July 2015 – it seemed like a weird way to plan a trip. No discussion, just a statement that “there were still highways yet to be ridden”, and with that statement there was an unspoken mutual agreement that a summer ride in 2016 would happen. Winter passed with emails containing google map links, options, discussion, invites to other riders, links to articles that highlighted “10 best motorcycle roads” and other reasons to go. Holidays were booked, a couple of hotel reservations made, and the “Type Eh Road Trip 2016” was launched.
Because this is my blog – I get to make it about me… I won’t tell stories about Graham yelling at bears, Anson with his sunscreen eye problem, or bad drivers (we saw a few of those). My portion of the trip got off to a heart pumping start – John, John, and I, were heading to Edson to meet the Yellowknife crew down the Yellowhead highway. Being that it was the Friday before the long weekend, holiday traffic was plentiful. As we were passing a travel trailer, a tire (on our side) decided to blow. I mean BLOW like a shotgun blast, just as John was right beside it. He took evasive manoeuvres from the rubber shrapnel and escaped without incident, other than the loss of his stuffed travel companion – Beamer Bear, who fell off the passenger seat into traffic.
We met the Yellowknife group in Edson for the night, contemplated walking for DQ, but it looked like rain, so we didn’t. Boy did it rain. Most of the trip was either in rain, threat of rain, or thundershowers. The trip down the icefields parkway was – in the rain – a good ride, nice visuals of the lightning in the valleys as we rode. We spent the night at Three Valley Gap, a unique resort west of Revelstoke, where it continued to rain.
Anyone noticing the theme here?
The next day involved adjusting our detours due to – you guessed it – rain, but still managed to visit the Dreamcycle museum in Sorrento BC – Highly recommended. They have an eclectic collection of unique and rare machines that are sure to interest most enthusiasts. The stories behind some of the bikes are just as unique as they are. We dodged most of the rain to Cache Creek where we swapped modes of transports to run up the many kms of dirt roads to the off grid cabin for our scheduled rest day. The guys from Yellowknife had been on the road for 4 days and over 2400 kms, so a break worked well into our schedule.
We lucked out on the rest day – NO RAIN. So, we took the borrowed 4×4 and climbed to the top of the mountain that I grew up on… views for miles, full panorama. The second morning off the grid, started really early…. Heavy rain on a tin roof is loud, and lots of thunder and lightning… quite a show, but no pictures. So, the planned loop ride was fairly quickly ditched. We said our goodbyes in Cache Creek to John from Victoria, who continued south to the Island. The story he tells is that there wasn’t much rain through the Fraser Canyon (some, but not much) all the way to the BC Ferries terminal. Lucky him.
That day the discussions needed to take a more serious turn. I was not recovering as well physically from the riding in rain days, and needed to mitigate risk from pushing myself physically. (There will be a separate blog post about just this topic) So, over supper at Denny’s in Kamloops, we fashioned a plan that we didn’t call PLAN M (which is the plan version that we were up to by that point), but a “divide and conquer” manoeuvre that allowed for 2 of us to take a more direct route, which accomplished separate new goals/requirements, and the other 2 would take almost the original planned route through the Kootenays. We would rendezvous (RV) in Cold Lake. That plan worked almost flawlessly. I say “almost” as it didn’t unfold quite 100%, but it successfully met most of the aims.
In Cold Lake for the Military Police National Motorcycle Ride, the worlds longest relay ride that goes from coast to coast raising money for the Military Police Fund for Blind Children. The silent auction items that had been carried from Yellowknife, through BC and up to Cold Lake – were then purchased by members of our group, so they returned to Edmonton with us the next day.
The Yellowknife crew took another rest day, in addition to a repair day (tires on a CBF 1000), then departed back to Yellowknife – their total trip – 14 days long, going from Yellowknife and stretching within spitting distance of the US border.. quite a haul.
The portion of their expedition that I attended was great, and through the magic of Facebook and cell phones, many short notice visits were arranged, even with people from well out-of-town passing through at the same time… I got to see people I hadn’t seen in a while – in Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Cochrane and Cold Lake. For those people I missed, maybe next time.
For those that have read this far wondering WTF I am talking about when I state “Miss Kitty”, please check out this video for the details and explanation. Then realize that infractions such as leaving turn signals on for extended (half the length of Jaspers main street)periods of time, or a saddlebag coming open on the trans-Canada, ensured that the dash of pink color mixed in the riding gear of our group was noticed by many. We received a large number of random comments from people who enjoyed seeing us on the roads with our minions, and Miss Kitty.
There were several handovers of this lovely accoutrement, but I selected this picture to post here, because we did not allow for exceptions to the rule. So when we stopped at a Harley Davidson dealership, the brave BMW rider continued to wear the backpack while the Harley has some stuff looked at.
Here is a link to Ansons FLICKR photo album in which he has painstakingly captioned each of his hundreds of photos. There are also many photos – including the ones that Anson didn’t take/posted on our Facebook event page, in addition to when he received Miss Kitty. Funny that they don’t show up in his FLICKR, but in reality, he didn’t take them – so I guess the excuse is legit.
Overall, it was just over 3000 kms for me, which was 34 hours of seat time (I have a timer on my bike that I had reset before I left). Still a great ride, even with all the rain.
The participants in the event were:
John S (Victoria)
John T (Wetaskiwin)
Now the planning for the 2017 commences.