Canada Trip - Part 3 (Long)

scapco at scapco at
Mon Sep 8 10:03:46 PDT 2008

The BC ferries are a real trip to a land lubber like me.  
Bikes cost $40 to get across, but you get on and off first 
which was a plus.  I arrived 15 minutes before departure 
and was second on the ferry behind a new Triumph Tiger.  I 
headed upstairs to get something to eat and find a brochure 
for a Nanaimo bed and breakfasts as the forecast was 
calling for more rain.  1 and ½ hours later I’m in Nanaimo 
and driving around to find a B&B.  By now it was around 
7:30 local time I was starting to worry as everything was 
full already.  Finally about 8:00 I reached a lady who was, 
of course, less than 5 minutes away from the ferry and had 
a room available for two nights.  I drove there and was 
greeted by a nice lady from the island of Malta and who is 
married to a German.  This was a nice house, not some shack 
and it was obvious they had some money so I suspect they do 
the B&B to meet people and for spending money.  I was shown 
downstairs to an immaculate den and my own nicely furnished 
bedroom.  She brought me down some hot tea and chocolate 
chip cookies which were excellent.  After unpacking, I 
showered and fell into bed and slept very well. 

Next morning, I awoke to an excellent cooked to order 
breakfast and some good advice about touring around the 
island.  Since the forecast wasn’t great, I decided to rent 
a car to drive north and west over to the west coast of the 
island and Tofino.  The rental car place was only two 
blocks away so they picked me up, put me into a Focus wagon 
and I was off.  I went north quite a ways and explored the 
coast and then headed west past Port Alberni, Kennedy Lake 
and to the Pacific Rim national park.  It was very cool to 
see, as we don’t have trees like that in Colorado.  I got 
out and explored the beach before heading into Tofino where 
it was raining pretty good (it had rained off and on all 
the way there). I picked up a couple of T-shirts for my 
kids and explored around until it was time to head back and 
get the rental car back before 6:00.

Friday morning started out fairly dreary with rain in the 
forecast, but I had to get going, so after another 
excellent breakfast, I loaded the bike up and decided to 
oil the chain before I left.  I bent down, put the oil 
bottle on the chain and started to turn the rear wheel and 
it wouldn’t turn.  Try harder and nothing.  Go around to 
the back of the bike and push it with my boot and it still 
wouldn’t turn.  I figured it had frozen the chain up after 
all the rain and sitting a day, so I started it up on the 
centerstand and put it in gear and oiled it that way which 
freed it up.  I jumped on and headed south down the coast 
to Victoria in cloudy skies to Steve Drane Harley to get 
another t-shirt.  The blond behind the counter made the 
trip to Victoria worth it; all I can say is WOW!!  I then 
headed out to the ferry to take me to Tanawassen near 
Vancouver.  This was another neat ride through the fog, 
various islands and watching some really interesting 
Made it to Tanawassen, first off the boat and headed south 
towards the US.  I hit the border crossing and was greeted 
by a 90 minute wait to get through, but at least it wasn’t 
raining.  When it was my turn, I was greeted by an 
individual who appeared to be Vietnamese or something 
similar and the bastard couldn’t friggin speak English.  He 
started giving me the 3rd degree about where I’d been and 
why and seemed mad that I didn’t cross the border somewhere 
else.  I was just about to explode when he finally handed 
me back my passport and told me to go on.  You’d think they 
could at least have someone who was born in the US and 
could speak the goddamn language determining who gets 

I was pissed off the rest of the day, but I had bigger 
things to worry about coming.  30 minutes later the skies 
opened up as I headed for Bellingham and the turn off to 
Highway 20 (thanks for the suggestion, Paul Landry) which 
would take me back east to Montana.  Jeez, it rained and 
rained and rained like the next great flood and I was 
wondering if I needed to go find Noah and the ark.  I rode 
onward through western Washington and through North 
Cascades National park.  Here things got worse and the wind 
started blowing, the rain and now fog continued and here I 
am riding on squared off tires.  This was a white knuckle 
ride until at one point I nearly lost the back end in a 
corner and had to put my foot down to save myself.  I 
pulled over and let the car behind me go by and continued 
slowly until the rain and wind finally stopped and there 
was a little sunlight.  By now I had ridden in heavy rain 
for about 3 ½ hours and was soaked to the bone, even under 
five layers of clothing.

I stopped in the tourist trap, I mean town, of Winthrop at 
a convenience store needing something warm to drink and to 
ask about a hotel.  As I got off the bike a gent pulled up 
behind me in a car and commented that I had made it down 
the mountain safely.  I looked at him and said “yeah???” 
curiously, whereby he told me that he was in the car behind 
me when I almost lost the back end.  He said he thought I 
was lucky that I hadn’t gone down when I hit that oil up 
there. I looked at him and said “Oil??” then remembered I 
had seen an oil/gas sheen in the middle of the road for 
much of the ride over Cascades Park and we figured that 
someone had lost a drain plug and that was what I hit.  
Spooky.  I got something to eat and drink and then got a 
motel and took a long hot shower and dried everything out 
for the next day’s ride. 

Saturday morning made up for much of the previous days bad 
weather as it was sunny and warm.  I loaded up everything 
and continued east through Washington’s orchard valley’s 
and ripening apples through lots of interesting small towns 
and into Idaho and on into Montana.  It was getting late so 
I decided to stop in Missoula and camp out for the night 
and head the last two hours back to Helena in the morning.  
I had a nice dinner at Cracker Barrel and was really tired 
after 435 miles so I left the bike uncovered under clear 
starry skies and fell asleep about 10:00.  I awoke an hour 
later to rain hitting my tent and of course it rained all 
damn night.  Next morning there was no let up at all, so I 
got dressed in the tent, packed everything as best I could 
and took the tent down in the rain.  I stuffed it soaking 
wet into the sack, tied everything down and headed out in 
the rain.  I rained for the next hour and a half until I 
was almost in Helena.  Once there, I headed for Chuck’s 
house and we unloaded the bike and went to get my Explorer 
and trailer from his other place and loaded the bike up for 
the trip home.  The tent was soaking wet, so Chuck kindly 
dried it out in his dryer, we tossed it in the Explorer and 
then went out for a late lunch before saying goodbye. 

I headed south to Bozeman where it started to rain again 
and then drove on to Sheridan Wyoming where I pulled into 
the same park as on the way there and folded down the back 
seat and slept.  Next morning I headed out in the rain once 
again which didn’t stop until I was south of Casper 
Wyoming.  At this point I was glad I wasn’t on the bike 
anymore as I’d had enough rain for one season.  I made it 
home about 2:30 Denver time and unloaded the bike and 
thought about how much I didn’t want to go back to work the 
next day.

I rode 2,452 total miles and drove another 1,650 in all, 
taking over 300 pictures.  I’ll upload some pictures and 
post a link later today.  The bike performed flawlessly and 
never missed a beat even at nearly 50K on the clock.  
Yesterday I treated it to some fresh tires, oil, a clean 
chain and a badly needed wash and wax job and got it ready 
for a ride this weekend with a nice gal I met Saturday.  
She rides bikes and owns a Kawasaki Vulcan and is a very 
interesting lady.  I hate to see summer end, that’s for 

Special thanks to Chuck Driscoll for his assistance and a 
place to sleep, and Art Johnson and Paul Landry for some 
excellent suggestions for roads to ride.  I would do this 
ride again and take the exact routes anytime.


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