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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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