Canada

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Old Yugoslavian communist runway

It has been a busy 3 weeks since our return from the Eastern Europe ride. We ended up riding through 15 countries and having a wonderful time.

 

After the long flight back to California via Moscow, we repacked and headed to Montana to first see Melanie’s sister and brother-in-law, Denise and Kyle, in Helena. On the way we rode parts of the historic “Route 66”, and stopped into visit the first nuclear power plant , ERBI, in the world in Arco, ID. Thanks to Denise and Kyle for their hospitality and we had a great time drinking and boating. While out on the lake, Kyle’s son, who flies Blackhawks for the National Guard, was out flying on the lake practicing water dumps for forest fires and treated us to a good show.

We left their house and headed north to Kalispell to see my sister and sister-in-law, Laurie and Chris, and a visiting friend. They were camped for the summer on a fast moving river that runs through there. The first day there we rafted firm the river in small inflatable tubes complete with alcohol coolers and watched the unspoiled wilderness first by complete with a Bald Eagle fishing for a meal out of the river within 40 meters of us.

After a couple of fun days it was time to cross into Canada for a month or so of camping and riding. We ended up on route 40 that meets up with the Trans Canada highway which was a incredible road with Mountain Sheep, tall snow covered peaks and virtually zero traffic. Just a taste of what was awaiting us in the undiscovered jem of a town, Canmore. While we were on route 40 a massive thunderstorm swept in over the mountains forcing us to take cover at the first shelter we found, a casino. A couple beers and half-priced pizzas later, we just decided to make camp in the parking lot, the rain wasn’t ending.

The next couple days we explored and rode around the area and even took in a soak at the hot-springs in Banff. On the third day we were invited over to spend the evening and night at the Stowasis, the welcoming home of friends Nevil and Michelle Stow. They both ride and a few years ago Nevil rode around the world on Twiggy, his faithful DR650. Their new endeavor is the Nine Minute Moto Film Festival, the 9MMFF, which inspires travelers to tell their story in 9 minutes. It is brilliant idea and is gaining in success being picked up by Horizon’s Unlimited.

Anyway, moto-traveler and author Jeremy Kroeker joined us for an evening of food, alcohol and story telling by the fire. We had a simply fabulous time as the Stows’ are fantastic hosts and wonderful, warm people.

The ride over to Nakusp was incredible as we passed through steep, ice covered jagged peaks following streams with water the bluish-green color that only melting glaciers can make. Arriving in Nakusp the campground host helped us find a secluded site that we will use at times over the next three weeks.

The first day out we rode about 100kms south along perfect tarmac following the curves of a clear running stream under cloudless blue skies with the temperature around 60°F. Stopping for fuel we noticed the skies to the west and north (behind) us black as a storm had blown in. Cutting the break short we high-tailed it back toward camp trying to beat the bad weather. After about 50kms our paths met as the thunder cracked after the lightning flashed, the rain came down on us, along with getting hammered by dime to quarter sized hail. Since there wasn’t a place to stop, we continued on, and ran out of the storm after about 20 minutes.

The next morning was beautiful so we did something we rarely do, but need to do more often, just relaxed. Finding a secluded section of the river we grabbed our chairs and sat by the river and watched the birds of prey above our heads circle riding the thermals hunting for a tasty fish to pull out of the river.

Riding a big, lazy loop south of Nakusp made for another fantastic day. We stopped in Keslo for lunch at a little hamburger joint on the water, famous for their sour-dough bread and Halibut sandwich, SO good. Gypsy seemed pleased with the samples she was able to stare me down for also.

We headed over to Kamloops today for the 4th annual WestWind Rowdies 4-day party. The bash was held at our friends Ricard and Nancy Bell’s estate. The group all became friends at the WestWinds RV in Yuma where they all winter and is made up of mostly Canadians and a couple token Americans.

We arrived a day early with a few others and commenced drinking, eating and socializing, what we all do best. About 20 people stayed on site, sleeping in bedrooms and all other types of mobile sleeping and living quarters. Richard and Nancy are the best at entertaining and making sure their guests are taken care of. Throughout the four days we played golf and various other outdoor games, hiked and genuinely acted stupid. Our hosts also cooked breakfast, lunch and super for us every day, supplied MANY bottles of home-made wine and made the weekend just an amazingly great time. On the final day we were given the title of Honorary Canadians, very humbling indeed.

Thanks and kudos to the Bell’s for another brilliant summer camp, uh, I mean reunion.

We have fallen in love with this beautiful part of Canada so we headed back north a bit along Route 23, along Lake Revelstoke, which run north about 120 kms to Mica Dam. The tarmac is perfect and the traffic is light, and the views are amazing. Our few days were mostly blue skies with views across the narrow, fiord-like lake of glaciers scattered over half of the distance. We found a Provincial Park with lake front view of the toe of a glacier just across the river, at the top of the mountain, framed by blue skies.

After a few days of beautiful weather and a day of rain and snow on the mountains, which found us soaking in a hot springs, we headed back down to Nakusp and a Horizon’s Unlimited meeting. The meeting and presentations were great as usual. WANDRR Motorcycle Tours, us, set up shop with our new soft gear from Andy Strapz from Australia. We had a great time listening to tales from the roads of the world from the many friends that made it to the meet.

We left Nakusp heading back to see family in GA, USA, with a week riding in Colorado visiting some old friends, John and Kathy Walker, who extended fantastic hospitality to us for a couple days. Thanks guys, it was great seeing you. img_20160907_104535214We headed up to Estes Park and the Long’s Peak Scottish Highlands games for a day of fun, drinking, kilt wearing and parades. We came across a talented band while there, Albannach, which is the number one drum and bagpipe band of Scotland. They were so good I bought a shirt and CD.

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HUBBUK

Arriving at HUBBUK in Hay on Wye and staying at Baskerville Hall Hotel was everything we had hoped it would be. The accommodations and hotel has a old, historic quality that we had anticipated and the Horizons Unlimited event seemed to run flawlessly because of attentive volunteers that make these events happen. Thanks to everyone involved, and especially Caroline that helps us whenever needed and made my presentation on the Baja so easy to do.

Caroline Carver

The weather was typical of Wales, so we were told,  rainy. We arrived in the train and it ended up training almost the entire weekend. I didn’t set up a stand for WANDRR Motorcycle Tours, but passed out flyers and cards and did another presentation on traveling the Baja, Mexico. Traveling on motorbike presents issues when it comes to inclimate weather, no coverage. We had the opportunity to meet and visit with many people from the international community and had a blast. I’ll post a few pictures with captions that show a clip of the event.

The main Baskerville hall

One of our favorite people, the charming and witty, Simon Gandolfi.

Dylan Wickrama

Friends Billy Sherratt and Bernard Smith

Friend Tiffany Coates and her presentation on riding in Madagascar

With friends Ken and Carol Duval from Australia, Caroline and Jim Carver, and the Dirty Old Bags.

Trying out Tiffany Coates bike, Thelma.

We left the great times and friends of HU UK on Sunday morning. Riding out on Father’s Day and headed toward Kidwelly, Wales and the completion of a very important mission the weather was beautifully Welsh, dreary and rainy. My dad, 15 years prior, had found a couple of our distant Turp family. It seems all of the Turp family in America come from the same family from Essex, England. My Dad passed on 10 years ago never having had the opportunity to meet with the two Turps he had been corresponding with in Wales. Well we decided to stop in, unannounced, and surprise them. Pulling up to the address on the letter that my Dad had it was us that got the surprise, an ambulance in front of the house. As it turned out, Charles Turp had falling and was OK, bought was taking a ride to the hospital to be checked out. The paramedics let us in to chat with them before they left and just loved our story. The brother and sister, Charles and Caroline, remembered the letters to my father. To me it was a very emotional reunion and a completion of my father’s journey.

My distant cousin’s, Caroline and Charles Turp, born in Essex and living in Wales.

Skinny Canal boats at a local pub

Sunset in Wales

The other thing I wanted to do was visit the Coventry Transport Museum and see and touch my friend Ted Simon’s Triumph Tiger 100, that he rode around the world in 1973. This journey, told in his book Jupiter’s Travels, lasted 4 years through 45 countries, 103,000 kms and has inspired thousands of motorcycle riders to do journeys of their own. Thanks Ted for the inspiration and friendship.

Coventry Transport Museum

My friend Ted Simon’s Triumph, Jupiter’s Travels

Tomorrow we head back to mainland Europe and ride east.

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Overland Expo

We arrived at OX16 west on Wednesday for the pre party and couldn’t check in as the campground was wet and the staff didn’t want anyone out there. We finally made a deal with the formal campground staff to pay for a place to camp in the campground. It was a very small corner space, but at least we could stay. We set up our cargo trailer to sleep in instead of tent camping. Later that day, as othet people arrived, the tent campground opened up and they were allowed to camp.

The weekend was a blast with friends showing up that we knew and meeting many new people. The area got some rain, dried out and then became wind and blowing dust. I guess that trumps snow.

The first night a group of early arrivers ended up at the restaurant. We had a good time talking of past rides, where to ride next and talking of things that had happened over the past year. It was a fun evening.

Pre OX meal with friends

The next day we attended a couple presentations but the real fun always happens around camp. As new and old friends came around we just talked to each one as you never know from one year to the next when they will turn up again.

Nigel Grace looking pretty dapper

Melanie, Ted Simon and I

Sharing dinner with Sam Manicom

Sam Manicom and Randy Perkins

Fireside entertainment

Stefano Malgrati

Ed March being himself

Nicole, Carla, Lisa, Tiffany and Traci sharing the fire

Ginamarie and Melanie

Morman Lake

Ed and Rachel’s C90’s

Greg riding Ed’s C90

Friends

Etched by Al Jessie

Morning warmth with friends

All too soon the weekend of OX was over and everyone was heading out, some to home and other on continuing journeys, local and worldwide. Saying goodbye and so long is always difficult as you sometimes don’t know if or where paths will cross again. But with some they will and we know that we will always have this group to call friends. Overland Expo 2016 was in the books, without snow this year, and we look forward to attending this fantastic event again.

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HUBBUK and Wales

We left Tiffany’s house with heavy hearts, leaving new friends we may never see again, such is the world of overland travel.  Social media is a fantastic thing, we can now keep in touch with people we meet on the road.

Riding out of Land’s End, in the beautiful English’s mist, we headed for a couple recommended stops, villages, along the coast, all beautiful with small harbors and colorful, pastel row houses lining the road along the harbor. The next stop was the Tarr Steps which made for a great photo opportunity, you can ride across this at low water times.

Arriving at HUBBUK in Hay on Wye and staying at Baskerville Hall Hotel was everything we had hoped it would be. The accommodations and hotel has a old, historic quality that we had anticipated and the Horizons Unlimited event wasa week run be the attentive volunteers that make these events happen. Thanks to everyone involved, and especially Caroline that helped us whenever needed and made my presentation so easy to do and go so smoothly.

HUBBUK, Baskerville Hall Hotel

The meet was a blast and we had the opportunity to meet many friends. Here are some pictures of the event.

Dinner on Thursday night

Baskerville Hall main foyer

Parking/registration area

Melanie and Simon Gandolfi

Dylan Wickrama, “Where the Road Ends”.

Bernard Smith and Billy Sherrett

Bike show

Tiffany Coates presentation of traveling solo in Madagascar

Carol-Ann Duval, Greg, Sheonagh Ravensdale, Caroline Carver, Jim Carver, Ken Duval, Melanie

Greg gets to meet Thelma, Tiffany Coates faithful motorbike.

Scooter rider

Duval’s GS from Australia on their RTW trip

Our presentation on riding Baja, California was well received with a packed, standing-room only crowd. Not bad for our first presentation.

We packed up on Sunday morning and said or lengthy goodbyes, many new friends to meet someday on the road, somewhere in this great world.

My mission for Sunday was to meet the only other Turp family I have never met. This journey has been 12 years in the making. My father tried researching his ancestors and it brought him to a Turp family in Wales. They had written a letter back to my Dad telling him all the Turp’s in America, just a handful, came from one of two families in the UK, and they were one of them. My Dad passed away before he was able to meet them, and we came across the letter after he had died. 

We pulled into town and located the house in the rain. We decided to tour the nearby castle in Kidwelly, one of the best we had seen.

Castlepictures
After a quick lunch we returned to the house to find an ambulance sitting outside. Fearing the worst, I walked up to the house where I was greeted by two very nice paramedics. They explained to me that Charles had taken a fall but was OK, just needed to go to the hospital to be checked out. They ushered me into the bedroom where I was able to introduce myself and Melanie. They were brother and sister living together and remembered the letter and my father. A very emotional time.

Charles Turp, Marian Turp, Greg Turp

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Lands End

After couple days of wonderful riding we arrived at Lands End.  Some of the miles were on faster highways that made the villages pass by way too quickly, but were necessary. Most of the miles were on back country lanes barely wide enough for a buggy, grasses growing in the center and tall overgrown hedges covering 300 year old rock walls with branches reaching out and at times swatting at us. Often the lanes leading into the small villages were so overgrown they formed a lush, green tunnel barely letting light penetrate, casting shadows everywhere. We would creep around blind curves expecting an oncoming vehicle where both would have to stop, us sometimes in the bushes to let a larger car or caravan pass.
After a fabulous lunch at a waterfront café in Penzance, we headed towards Land End, taking the slower coastal route. Lands End is the very tip of the UK, a long finger of land jutting out into the Celtic Sea, midway between Ireland and France. There are a few building there and some pretty views, but, unfortunately, it is fairly commercialized with shops and children activities. While we were there we meet four women from Birmingham, Alabama, on their trip of a lifetime, driving around the UK. 

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Finding a nearby campground as rain was again in the air, we set up camp and headed to the nearby town of St Just in search of a pub and serving fish and chips, hand pulled beer and, most importantly, WiFi. A friend of ours, Tiffany Coates, lived nearby and we hoped to see her. She is a motorbike rider, the most traveled woman on a motorcycle in the world, and has rode solo around the world and continues to ride to remote areas of the world, sometimes solo and
sometimes leading tours.

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After connecting to the WiFi signal we realize we are just minutes from her house. She invites us over for dessert so after eating we pop over for a hot apple crisp with English pudding, fantastic. Our night passes too quickly and we race back to our camp and arrive 5 minutes before they lock the gates at 2300hrs.
Tiffany had invited us to stay and we decide to take her up on the offer the following night. The morning brings more rain and we attempt to pack up three times before becoming successful because of the frequent rain. That was our fourth night of camping in the rain and things were becoming slightly damp.
By the end of the day there was a bunch of us at the house. She has a work away guest staying with her, a friend had popped over with her two college aged boys for a visit, us and Tiff. The boys wanted to go surfing so, somehow, the idea was we would all go surfing. The waters of the northern Atlantic Celtic Sea are chilly, in the 50’s F, and, as I suited up in a much too small wetsuit it became apparent that we would all not be fitting in the car. So, with my wetsuit on I donned my protective gear and helmet and, wait for it, climbed on the BACK of a 650 GS, behind Tiffany, and had a go at riding pillion.

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After 45 years of riding, this is the first time I ever rode on the back of a bike. Read up on Tiffany Coates and you’ll realize that she is one of a select few female riders that could get me in that position. I was told to sit still, not fidget and hold on. Wow, what a ride.
Anyway, we all got to the beach and unloaded the surfboards and info the surf we timidly emersed ourselves.

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After the first wave sealed into the back of my wetsuit it became fun and I stayed in the water around 30 minutes having an absolute blast. I rode the GS back to the house with Tiff on the back. She was a much better passenger than I was as I thought I lost her a couple times as I couldn’t even feel her back there.
Dinner was wonderful, Tiff is a fantastic cook, the PIMMs was served and was great as always. We had such a fun evening and, as usually happens when you are having a great time, the night had to end.
Thanks for you hospitality Tiff, we had a great time with you at Land’s End.

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