Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 15 - Williams, CA to Home!

The picture says it all...15 days and 4,091 miles! Excuse the dirt on the speedometer but I haven't washed the bike yet and boy is it dirty!
We left Williams at 8:00 this morning and it was already quite warm. We headed south on Interstate 5 and saw a traffic advisory that the Interstate was shut down to 1 lane further south. We decided to eat at Harris Ranch and took Highway 198 over to Highway 99. From Highway 99 we went to Highway 58 and finally to Highway 14 and home!
The dogs were crazy happy to see us and I have to say I sure missed them!
We had 15 wonderful days of mostly wonderful, perfect riding weather. Jeff had quite the experience as this was his first ever motorcycling road trip. I think he'll do another one, but it may be a year or two!!
Thanks for following along with us on this crazy journey. When I planned it over a year ago, I had planned on doing this ride solo. I'm so glad I found somebody who wanted to come with me on this crazy journey.

Day 14 - Florence, OR to Williams, CA

We decided to take the inland route instead of continuing down the Oregon coast. We left Florence and headed down the 101 and took Highway 38 that runs along the Umpqua River. What a beautiful ride! We saw several elk but unfortunately, didn't get any pictures of them. We passed through many small, quaint towns on our way over to Interstate 5.
The weather was perfect for riding today. We stopped in Medford, OR to visit the Harley dealership there (technically it was in Phoenix!) and had lunch at Debbie's Diner. Great food, great pricing in a 50's theme restaurant.
From there we headed to Williams, CA. The weather warmed up once we crossed the CA border and quickly got quite warm. This is our last night on the road and after riding 439 miles, we were quite happy to get off the bikes!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 13 - Sammamish, WA to Florence, OR

After a wonderful breakfast (thanks Tara!) we headed towards Florence, OR. The weather in Sammamish was in the 50's but clear. As we headed towards the coast, the morning fog burned off and we had beautiful, sunny skies for our 357 mile ride.
We got onto the 101 and followed it south along the coast. The coastline is beautiful with lots of trees, cliffs and beautiful scenery. We rode across the Astoria Bridge which separates Washington from Oregon. We has to stop for road construction, so I was able to get a picture of the bridge. The speed limit in Oregon is 55 (what is up with that??!!) and through the many, many towns we rode through on the coast, the speed limits are 25 or 35 mph. So, while the scenery was beautiful, we were growing tired of the stop and go traffic.
We're staying in the town of Florence, OR which is a cute little town. Unfortunately, we got here so late, we didn't get to see much of the town. Our room overlooks the Siuslaw River and there is a cool drawbridge that we can see from our room. We ate at Bliss' Hot Rod Diner. Great food, good prices & quick service. The interior of the diner was car-themed. There were a couple of cars inside that had been made into dining tables. Lots of pictures on the walls of hot rods owned by locals and automobilia signs. Just the right kind of place for Jeff & me to eat!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 12 - Victoria, BC

Today we took a float plane from Lake Union, WA to Victoria, BC. We boarded the plane around 8:00 this morning and arrrived in Victoria around 9:00. We walked around town for a bit and then took a carriage ride through Beacon Hill Park and around the neighboring area to see all of the beautiful homes.
After our carriage ride, we had lunch and walked around Victoria. We got a Christmas ornament as a memory of our trip and took lots of pictures which are in our Photobucket album.

On our flight home, Jeff got to ride up front as the "co-pilot" and had a blast! He was good & didn't touch any of the buttons LOL!
We had another wonderful dinner with Tara and her family. We'll be back on the road tomorrow, heading home. It's hard to believe our trip is almost over.

Day 11 - Kamloops,BC to Sammamish, WA

Well our luck with good weather finally ran out. We left today under cloudy skies and got rain almost immediately. The rain stayed with us until we crossed the border back into the US.
We arrived at my friend Tara's house around 4:30 and had a great belated birthday dinner for both Tara & I. We didn't get a chance to take many pictures today because of the rain.
We rode about 300 miles today and were very happy to reach Tara's house safe & dry. Our rain gear held up well and did its job.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 10 - Prince George, BC to Kamloops, BC

Well our luck with good weather has finally run out! We woke up this morning to wet bikes & wet roads. We left our hotel and headed to the Harley dealership to pick up a pair of wet weather gloves for Jeff. Fortunately, they had some that fit his big mitts!! We picked up a couple of t-shirts and got on the road at 10:00 am.
Most of the day we spent chasing the rain that had already come through the towns. The roads were quite wet but not much rain fell from the sky until the early afternoon. We had probably 50 miles of rain and the rest of the 328 miles we rode today were on wet roads, but no rain falling. The bikes are quite filthy but performed great!
In hindsight, I would have skipped the trip to Prince George and spent an extra day in Banff. The ride to Prince George was pretty, but we rode a good portion of it when we went to the glacier. We enjoyed Banff so much we just didn't want to leave!
Kamloops is a nice looking town. We're staying at a nice Best Western and had yummy Chinese food for dinner. This is our last night in Canada -- we cross the border tomorrow on our way to the Seattle area.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 9 - Banff, AB to Prince George, BC

Sad day today as we had to leave Banff. It is such a beautiful area, I'm sure we'll be back some time in the future. We left at 7:45 this morning with temperatures in the low 40's which can make for some very uncomfortable riding on a motorcycle. We pulled over and Jeff donned his rain suit for warmth. I wish I'd gotten a picture of my Jolly Green Giant in his glow-in-the-dark green DWP rain gear!
We stopped in Jasper for a quick break & to thaw out. The temperatures were finally getting into a tolerable range for riding. From Jasper we stopped in McBride for lunch. Let's just say the town's web site looked much more impressive than the town! Most of Main Street was abandonded buildings. There were restaurants, but they were all closed except for the one at the Sandman Inn which is where we ended up eating.
From there we headed into Prince George. Jeff is convinced there will be a chalk outline in the parking lot by morning; I think the area is fine! We rode 411 miles today. The weather in Prince George is cloudy & calling for rain tonight. Hopefully it clears by morning.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 8 - White Water Rafting on the Kananaskis River

This afternoon we boarded a bus and rode about 45 minutes to a location along the Kananaskis River to experience Class I & Class II rapids. The tour group provided us with wet suits, helmets, splash tops & everything we would need for our adventure. Yes, we look like blue Oompa Loompas! Our boat guide, Arturo, was from Peru and was fantastic! It was a busy day out on the river with lots of other boats.
The scenery down the river was beautiful and the rapids were a lot of fun. Nothing too serious, but there were a few times where you had to hang on or you'd get tossed overboard! Jeff & I sat up front (I don't know why I let him talk me into that!) and took most of the water hits. The rest of the folks in our boat were from Calgary and were there for one of the guy's 40th birthday. They had about 8 other friends in another boat, so "Splash Wars" was on!
At the end of the ride, we jumped out of the boat (OK, Jeff jumped out & I had to be coaxed out!) and into the water which was a balmy 4 degrees celsius! The wet suits helped, but the water was still darn cold! We had a short ride back to our base camp where we got dried off and had some hot chocolate & cookies.

Day 7 - Lake Louise & Lake Moraine

After having a few days of rest, we fired up the Harley's and took a ride to Lake Louise which is about 37 miles away from Banff. What a beautiful ride & beautiful lake! We rented a canoe and went out onto the lake. We had such a great time rowing all around the lake.
We at lunch at the Fairmont Hotel which was a beautiful hotel. We walked around the grounds for a little bit and saw a cute squirrel who was also having lunch.
We then rode to Lake Moraine about 8 miles from Lake Louise. We were treated to more wonderful scenery at Lake Moraine. We walked around the shore of Lake Moraine and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
On our way back to the hotel, we came upon two big horn sheep having an early dinner at the side of
the road. They appeared to very unaware of all the humans around them taking pictures. The one seemed to take a great interest in Jeff!
Once we got back into Banff, we went over to the Banff Springs Hotel. It was a beautiful hotel but there was so much traffic around it, we couldn't pull over & take a picture. From there we make the short ride over to Bow River Falls. Again, more beautiful scenery.
We ended the day with a great dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 6 - Icefields Parkway & Glacier Tour

Today we went on a drive on the Icefields Parkway which included a stop at Lake Louise, and then onto Columbia Icefields. The drive on the Parkway was beautiful. We saw a black bear although he's kind of difficult to see in this picture. Our stop at Lake Louise was brief but very pretty. We then went on to the Columbia Icefields and went onto a glacier. Once we got to the Icefields, we transferred to another bus which took us out to the 6-wheel drive vehicles that took us out onto the glacier. Amazingly enough, it wasn't too cold, as evidenced by Jeff in his shorts!
Our tour guide on the tour was great. He knew everything there was to know about glaciers and the local area. I highly recommend taking a tour through Discover Banff Tours. We took 2 tours with them and their tour guides are very polite, knowledgable and friendly.
Our other wildlife sighting consisted of a squirrel who must have needed fiber because he was eating a tissue!
There are so many glaciers it's impossible to keep track of them all. Once again, the scenery at every turn we went around was more beautiful than the one before it. More pictures have been added to our Photobucket album, so check them out!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 5 - Exploring Banff

Today was our day to sleep in...finally! We spent the day exploring the town of Banff and walking into almost every store. Lots of cute stuff (a LOT of moose stuff!) so we picked up a souvenir or two. Jeff has now become an expert at spotting Christmas ornaments (I collect them from the places I've visited). The town itself is as pretty as the surrounding scenery. Everybody is very friendly & helpful.
We visited the Canadian Parks building which was not only a beautiful old building, but the gardens surrounding it were simply alive with color.
We went on a wildlife viewing tour this evening, but it was a bit of a bust...our wildlife consisted of seeing 2 deer. No matter, we still had fun and saw some more beautiful scenery.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 4 - Sandpoint, ID to Banff, Alberta

It rained a bit overnight which disturbed all of the dirt & dust on our bikes, but at least it was dry when we left in the morning under partly cloudy skies. As we headed north out of Sandpoint, the scenery got prettier and prettier. The skies cleared and the weather warmed up to perfect riding temperatures.
We crossed the Canadian border at the Eastport entry which was under construction. Welcome to ride your Harley on dirt roads! Fortunately, the asphalt returned. Nobody told me I'd have to do math on my vacation...the Harley's do not have Kilometers on the speedometers so I have to convert Kilometers to miles per hour. Fortunately, Jeff told me how to do it but geez....I'm on vacation here!
The scenery in British Columbia simply cannot be described. Just when you think you've seen the most beautiful scenery ever, you go around a corner and discover more beautiful scenery.
We stopped at the Harley dealership in Cranbrook, BC and bought a couple of shirts. From there we continued on Canadian Highway 93 into Kootenay National Forest where we were again amazed with beautiful scenery.
Jeff has become very adept at shooting pictures while riding! Our wildlife sightings today consisted of 2 deer (which were smart enough to stay on the side of the road!) and a small red fox that ran in front of us.
We arrived in Banff around 6 pm and are staying at a beautiful hotel. We walked around the town for a little bit after dinner. Tomorrow we will explore the town further.
Here are some more random pictures taken today

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 3 - McCall,ID to Sandpoint, ID

This morning we rolled out of McCall around 8:30 and the weather was a bit brisk in the 50's. The scenery in McCall wins, so far, for prettiest scenery. We took US 95 which is a great road and stopped for lunch in Potlatch at Duke's Wagon Wheel Restaurant & Laundromat. Yes, that's can wash your clothes while you eat a burger! The burger was very good.....we passed on the laundry!
The weather has been perfect so far -- temps have been in the mid-80's which is perfect riding weather. No threat of rain or thunderstorms so far.
We arrived in Sandpoint around 4pm and decided to walk into town which is about a mile from our hotel. Jeff found the perfect chair...too bad it won't fit on the bike for him to bring it back home! We ate a wonderful steak dinner, complete with pie at a great restaurant called Panhandler Pies. We then walked to Lake Pend Oreille where Jeff had some fun in the water.
Oh and just so you know Jen is really along on this adventure, here's a picture of the two of us.
Tomorrow we leave the US and get into Canada. Watch out Canada, here we come!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 2 - Ely, NV to McCall, ID

We left the hotel at 7:15 this morning to perfect riding weather. Jen saw a moose....well, almost! It may be the only moose we see this trip, so we couldn't pass up the photo op.
We traveled north on US 93 and what a great road it was! Very lightly traveled, a speed limit of 70 and very smooth riding. From there we got onto I-84 West. Speed limit of 75...gotta love Idaho and their speed limits! We stopped in Twin Falls, ID for lunch and then headed towards our final destination of the day, McCall, ID.
We detoured a bit and went through Bosie as Jeff wanted to see the area. We then got on Highway 55 north into McCall. Wow, what a beautiful ride along the Payette river! Almost too much beautiful scenery to take in. A great riding road with not much traffic headed in our direction.
We rolled into our hotel at about 7:15 this evening (I forgot about the time change!). We put a little over 500 miles onto our mighty road warriors today and both bikes have done great. Jeff, too, did awesome! It was a long, hot day no matter how many miles you've ridden before in one day.
Tomorrow should be an easier day to Sandpoint, ID so I guess I'll let Jeff sleep in a little!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 1 - Acton to Ely, NV

We rolled out of the driveway at 6:15 this morning. We had to stop along the way pretty early on as one of Jen's highway pegs had vibrated loose (hey, it's a Harley!). Stopped in Vegas for lunch and it was pretty warm. After leaving Vegas, we took US 93 towards Ely. As we began the climb in elevation, the weather cooperated and was very enjoyable for riding.
Jeff made a new friend in Alamo, Nevada but other than Dino here, we didn't see much. As we climbed in elevation the topography went from desert to almost trees. Lots of open farm land.
We got to the hotel around 5:30 after logging 485 miles today. This was Jeff's longest day ever on a bike & he did great! We found a good Mexican restaurant and Jeff discovered how quickly you can lose $5 in a casino.
Tomorrow we head to McCall, Idaho another long day at 494 miles.