Canada: BC & Alberta 2010
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Carlsberg did motorbike rides....................
On 2nd July 2010 young Ben and me took off from Manchester airport bound for Vancouver, Canada. On the 4th July we picked up two Honda rental bikes, a VFR for Ben and a Shadow for me. From there we rode out via the Okanagen & Kootenay to the Icefields Parkway of Alberta which runs through the Banff and Jasper National Parks for almost 200 miles. The ride from Vancouver and back took us 8 days of leisurely riding, via night stops at Kelowna, Kaslo, Kimberley, Banff (2 nights), Jasper, Clearwater & Pemberton.
We'd originally planned to hire a couple of Harleys for this trip but the company that hired them in Vancouver, Trev Deeley Harley Davidson never responded to any of our e.mails so we ended up renting the bikes from Cycle BC who were great people to deal with, most helpful & very professional. Ben was very impressed with his VFR800 (which was almost new), and the little Shadow I had was extremely comfortable over the 8 day trip but I did miss the "grunt" of my Harley, especially over some of the higher mountain passes.
It was the bike trip of a lifetime, a true"living the dream" experience. These are some of the photographs & videos we shot along the way. Stick with it - they get a bit better as they go along and we venture into more and more of the remote and picturesque scenery that Canada has to offer:
Note: Some of the photos are links to movies, clicking on those marked in red text beneath opens You Tube in a new window. Some of the movies are shot in 720hd and can be viewed at good quality in full screen on a suitable computer, if not they're best watched in 480p resolution.
The Honda VFR. Ben chose this bike because I used to have one and he always like riding it
The morning that we picked up the bikes began dull and grey, with a strong possibility of downpours so we quickly saddled up and headed straight out onto Highway 1 towards our first nights stop at Kelowna - 400 kilometers (246 miles) east. These are the first photos of the bikes that we took, they were taken when we stopped for a bite to eat and to fuel up at the small town of Hope, about 160km out of Vancouver.
The Honda Shadow, chosen for me because of it's similar physical size to my Harley Dyna Glide,
I did miss the grunt of the 1450cc Harley engine though.
Our first night's stop at Kelowna was at Abbaes B&B. Kelowna is a nice little town on the banks of Okanagen Lake. It has quite an impressive bridge which crosses the lake to allow access to the town from the western side
Click on picture for movie (HD - can be watched full screen)
On our way to the remote little town of Kaslo. About 20km north of Kelowna we turned off the Okanangen
highway to get a better look at Wood Lake which we'd been riding alongside for a while. The Okanagen / Kootenay area has many lakes -
as we were about to discover.
On our way to the Needles ferry which crosses Arrow Lake. About 20km after passing through the town of Vernon we stopped here at Lumby,
a small one street town, for coffee and a bite to eat.
The diner had quite a jolly window
After leaving Lumby we took a 30km long valley road that cuts across a loop in the main road. It started off as tarmac but after about 8km it turned into a hard packed dirt track and a few kms after that it gained a bit of gravel which we had to ride on - slowly - for another 20km 'til it emerged back out onto tarmac 2km before reaching the main road again. Lesson learned - Canadian roads aren't always all what they appear to be on a map! It wasn't too bad - just required a bit of care on the loose surface. An RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) cop spotted us from a farm track as we emerged back on to smooth tarmac again, he pulled over in his truck to ask if we were ok. He guessed we were tourists because local bikers would never ride that road unless they were on trail bikes. He was a cool guy though and warned us that the main road ahead had been freshly gravelled on some of the bends as it climbed up into the mountains.
Click on Picture for Movie (HD can be watched full screen)
On the pass through the mountains on our way to The Needles Ferry at Arrow Lake
Arriving at the ferry slip at at Arrow Lake. The ferries in the Okanagen / Kootenay region make up part of the highways so they're
free and they run frequently. We rode into those distant clouds when we reached the other side of the lake. It did rain but not too much, I never
even bothered putting my waterproofs on - the jeans soon dried out when we reached a warm and sunny Nakusp!
Log-pile at the side of the ferry slip, Arrow Lake. Logging is big business in British Columbia so this kind of
scene is quite common on most lakes and rivers
Ferry arriving at Needles to take us over to Fauquier on the opposite side
After reaching the other side of Arrow Lake a 50k ride north took us to the
small hot springs town of Nakusp. We stopped here for fuel and a coffee.
Petrol stations are few and far between out here so it pays to fuel up
wherever we can, the Shadow doesn't have a marvelous tank range before
reaching reserve so I had to be sure it would make it to the next town or settlement
From Nakusp we turned east to head for New Denver and on to our next night
stop at Kaslo. Here we've pulled over for a break at Fish Lake before riding
over the mountains, it started to get colder as we climbed higher
After a 335km ride we arrived at the quiet little old mining town of Kaslo. The hotel is a also
a pub, with a micro brewery at the side. Kaslo was a product of the gold rush era
and was once a much larger town......
......today it survives mostly on the on the tourism of those who can be bothered getting off the beaten track and going to find it.
It's isolated lakeside position guarantees peace and quiet, with a just hint of the old "wild west" still in evidence.
The SS Moyie. This stern-wheeler operated on Kootenay Lake from 1898 up until 1959, it now sits on dry land at the edge of
the Kootenay Lake and serves as a museum. No Rail tracks ever found their way to Kalso so everything was brought here on boats like the Moyie.
The story of it can be found here
A sunny early start. The Kaslo Hotel is probably the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in, it has 11 guest rooms that face the lake.
The pub's good too. It was restored and re-opened in 2009
From the balcony of our room at the hotel
They must have known they had a shortarse coming to stay
- they left some steps to help me climb into bed - nice!
We really liked Kaslo, I'd like to come back here and spend a little
longer exploring the surrounding area
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