Showing posts from 2009

Day Two

This will be a test of emailing blog posts using my blackberry, so excuse the tyops. I loaded up and left Edmonton around noon on the 29th and stopped in Hinton to see my friends Dave and Joan and their kids. It was snowing in the morning and the snow did not stop until Chilliwack when it turned into rain. Nothing like driving through the mountains on icy roads with blowing snow. What a gong show. The van is an absolute pig to drive when the roads are less than perfect, but we made it to Vancouver, unlike the little red car that was planted into a drift like a dart, or the upside down pick up truck by Hope. I made it down the Coquihalla by getting behind two Tim Horton semis, the thinking here that if I was going to lose it, I would end up buried in donuts as opposed to flying off the mountain. D&J & kids were driving to Edmonton to see Avatar, hopefully they had a better trip, but I doubt it :-)

Bad Planning!

As I write this the temperature is -14 C,  great weather to start on a bike trip.  Originally I was supposed to be gone in the fall, running from winter and returning in time for summer in Edmonton.   One delay led to another, and I finally decided that if I was going to leave around Christmas, I might as well stay for the holiday...  One of the delays will be a Hawaii cruise leaving San Diego on the 21st of January with my 85 year old mother, my brother and his wife. Obviously I won't be leaving Edmonton on two wheels.  The bike and I will travel by a disposable booster  rocket-van to somewhere I am able to ride. The booster van will fall back into Canada piloted by my Nephew Adrian who needs to move his stuff from BC to Ontario.   The bike pod, is a combination loading ramp and skid that will hold it with its front wheel removed as the bike is too tall to go in the van.  The last month I have been preparing everything, bike checked, maintenance done, oil spark plugs, fil

It's where I live

Edmonton in October As I intend to share this blog with the people I meet on my travels, this post is about Edmonton, my home for the past 20 years. Anyone reading this can view the Wikipedia entry on Edmonton Alberta and find out how many people live here, where it is, and lots of other information, so I will talk about what it is like to live here.   In many ways Edmonton is a typical North American new city.  Edmonton became a city in the early 1900's, before that it was a Hudson's Bay fur trading post and a few farms. In summer Edmonton is suburban every-city, with nothing to distinguish or define it from its cousin cities in Canada and the US.  Edmonton like most  North American 20th century cities is all about cars and traffic, a collection of suburban islands surrounded by an asphalt swamp of parking lots, shopping malls, low rise industrial parks, copy cat chain stores,  motor hotels and restaurant franchises. Close your eyes and turn around, you could be in Abbott

Cheap Thrills

There are people who ride bikes because they like to ride bikes and there are people who ride bikes because they like to go fast.  I  fall into both categories, but as I grow older, I am leaning more to the former.   Go fast bike riders will sooner or later find themselves on the race track.  Back when I was more of  a go fast kind of guy I did a bit of road racing, racing on a paved track with left and right turns.   Not much needs to be said about my not so illustrious racing career other than I  never earned a kiss from the trophy girl.   The one thing that always stay with me though, is that it was the most intense fun I ever had on a bike, and perhaps off one as well.  Oh, one other thing, I never wrecked more bikes and bike parts racing than before or since. Mercifully for my bank account and bikes, my career was cut short by having all the nearby tracks made sacrificial offerings to the great god Urban Sprawl.    But where there are racers there is always a way,  new track

All the way to Hudsons Bay; The gravel road tour.

The North Saskatchewan River flows through the center of the Edmonton Alberta.  The entire river front and most of the river valley in the city is park.  Edmontonians, including me, spend a lot of time watching the waters of the North Saskatchewan flow eastward.  I would take my boys down to one of the many parks bordering the river, and whenever we threw sticks and stuff into the water, the boys wanted to know where it would end up.  I alway said it was going to Hudson Bay.  The North Saskatchewan was once the original Trans Canada Highway for the Hudson's Bay Company's fur traders. Few Canadians have stood on the shore of Hudson Bay. It is a defining feature of our Country.  A vast inland sea that covers more than 10% of Canada.   I wanted to see  Hudson Bay for myself after throwing all those sticks in the river.  I had considered doing it the old way, paddling all the way in some kind of boat or canoe, but my preferred method of travel is  motorcycle.  My newly acquire

Return from the Demptser; Going Home

It rained on and off all night at the Ethel Lake campground.  Who knows what time it was when I got up?, it is always light, even here,  hundreds of kilometers south of the Arctic circle, but I suspect it was early as the only other person up is the fisherman in the next campsite.  All night long he had kept me awake  with his really loud coughing up a lung smokers cough.  The fisherman was a Quebecois living in the Yukon since the 1970's.     We talked a bit, the fish weren't biting..  I don't like fish, so I never developed the passion for catching the smelly  slimy things, but we all must have our activities to break our routines. On the Klondike Highway there are plenty of rest stops maintained by the territory,  basic no need to flush outdoor toilets, picnic tables and interpretive signs to tell you what you are looking at.  This one had been decorated by graffiti artists.  I had seen the same style and the logo 'just one' in Ross River.  I don't know

Riding to the Arctic Circle (part 3)

Not very far down the Dempster highway is a campground, and the 'Dempster Interpretive Center'.   I had only just arrived on the highway, but here was a stop with picnic tables, a rare luxury.  The lady running the interpretive center was rounding up people for a guided nature walk.  A naturalist was going to tell them about the local plants.   I passed, as I just wanted to sit, have some coffee, have something to eat and get psyched for the ride.  The interpretive center lady lends me a guide book on the highway.  She says I can bring it back on the way back, but it does not take long to read, so I return it right away. ------------------------------------------------------- When I travel on back roads or remote areas, I always carry some food with me.  Motels are scarce, and don't always have vacancies.  I don't adhere to a schedule and am prepared to camp in a nice spot, should I stumble across one.  Always having food allows me stop whenever and where ever I wan