After Field, we rolled through the Columbia Ice Fields on our way to Jasper. Dozens of ancient glaciers hanging in the mountain valleys digging them deeper as time goes on. The waterfalls along the way were also impressive and worth a stop to get a closer look. At one stop I, being my typical talented self, managed to drop the beamer on its side while trying to put snacks in the cooler on the back… “Traaaaavisss!!!”, as if he could do anything from 6 feet away in mid-conversation with our parking lot neighbor! Ah well, nothing damaged but my pride.
The Day Wine-Woman Was Born…
Jasper was a great place to pull in for the day since I seemed to be melting on the Indian. I love that bike for many reasons but, it is terribly uncomfortable to ride once the temperature rises above the 70-75 degree mark. The amount of heat that motor pushes out makes it difficult to ride long distances. I was riding in shorts and a tank top on the Chieftain and a while later when I hopped on the BMW I needed full gear to be comfortable.
We managed to nab the last available room in Jasper at a quaint little hotel on the edge of town. It was early in the day and we decided to venture downtown. There was a lovely bar with some great menu and beer options. After chatting away with a few locals and enjoying a beer it was time to wander down to an outdoor store. We were in search of a spare fuel can for our camp stove and I needed a set of pajamas. The store had both and I ended up with the worlds most expensive long underwear that happened to be the color of red wine, I am now known as wine-woman and have since acquired matching slippers.
Travel Day…And Gas Station Sandwiches
Sun was up and the sky was clear for once. Down the road we went coasted on our way towards Vancouver Island. Towns were scarce, to say the least, and not much worth mentioning happened. Then it was time for a fuel stop. But, where?
Eventually, with gas lights on, we passed a small sign with a fuel pump and an arrow to the left. There we came across a T intersection and the Bridge Lake General Store on the corner with a lonely gas pump out front. As we were positioning the bikes to fill up a voice came beckoning from the porch, “I’ve got premium out back if you’d rather have that for the motorcycles.” We shrugged at each other and put our gas caps back on to go find out where exactly “outback” was.
Premium Fuel In A Standard “Town”…
Sure enough there on a steep hill along a gravel shoulder of the side road was a big above ground fuel tank with a pump handle. Parking was a bit fun and so was our adventure inside. We were half starved and decided to do some grocery shopping. Ten minutes later we arrived at the cash register with a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, lunch meat, cheese, and potato salad. The friendly couple behind the counter were all kinds of curious about our trip and ourselves and somewhere in all the conversation, it dawned on me that I forgot the corkscrew. As Travis pacified the clerk’s questions and gathered our goods I rounded the corner with a corkscrew and for whatever reason, they told us to just take it for free. Well, okie dokie, “if you insist.”
We made our way out to the bikes and sat on the curb fixing up our little lunch and discussing which route to take from here. The couple strongly advised against the route we had planned on and ushered us back to the main road we had come in on. Using our better judgment, for once, we listened to the locals and did just that. This is when we found the thickest smoke yet and the best little cabin a traveler could ask to happen upon.
Ah The Cabin By The Lake…
This my friends, was Watch Lake Lodge. The best place to enjoy primitive cabin camping in all of British Columbia, or at least along our routes. A quiet little lakeside resort in the middle of not much else. The cabin has no plumbing but does have a sink and water jugs, a wood burning stove/oven, electricity, and electric hot plate along with a full kitchen of dishes. Out back you will find the outhouse and out front a nice little porch and clothesline. Perfect.
Morning rolled around, too early as usual, and it was not the warmest outside. This did not restrict me from taking our camp shower outside and lathering up there for the world to see…not that anyone could see anything through the smoke. We were packed up and moving at an early hour and had a long stretch of road ahead. Speaking of that driving record of mine, lets just say it’s best no police were involved in the next few hundred miles.
Oh, Those Curves Though…
The roads from the cabin to Vancouver island were that of a motorcyclists dream. Curves, canyons, bridges, and waterfalls oh my! To the left, to the Right, lean harder, lean farther, go faster! There we were flying like the wind, then we caught up with a bit of traffic. A few sport bikes went whipping around us on a double yellow and on around the camper up ahead.
All I could think was, “GO TRAVIS GO!” The Indian was primed up and ready to run and I was in my groove.
It turns out Travis was up ahead going, “damn it, if I go flying around these campers on a double yellow she is going to be so pissed.”
Would have been an excellent time to have a couple of those helmet talkers, or intercoms as you probably call them.
But, eventually, T said “screw it!” he hit the throttle on a double yellow coming around a curve and just as we passed the motorhome he glanced in his mirror to see that I was not only far from pissed off but quite the contrary and right on his ass. Ride Gorgeous Ride! And, that is precisely what we did for many miles, bob, weave, lean, and drop gears. BEST F##%ING RIDE EVER!
Sooner or later we slowed down just enough to catch sight of a waterfall off the side of the road which turned into a small cliff jumping experience. Ah just what the doctor ordered to cool down and relax a bit.
Next, it was on to the ferry and dinner at the docs. We arrived on Vancouver Island just as the sun was setting and had a two-hour ride to Ucluelet from there. The road proved to be equal to our journey on the mainland with one small problem, it was full of construction and giant potholes. I had the brighter headlight and took the lead twisting and turning through the dark until I came around a curve a bit too quick and found a large uneven crack in the road. Time to slow down for the day. We arrived in one piece on two-wheels at the Black Rock Resort around 10:30 wound up and full of adrenalin. Fantastic hotel, wonderful company, and a bottle or two of wine… we were set.
Coffee On The Rocks…
The next day we were up before the sun having coffee and making our way to the black rock beach to discover a wonderful world of tide pools and all of the creatures they hold.
This adventure was followed by a day out and about on the BMW where we discovered giant redwood trees at Cathedral Grove and then took a logging road up the side of a mountain and ended up finding a huge hidden lake. Of course, we took a swim before heading back to reality. The day ended with dinner and cocktails at the resort lounge and the day couldn’t have been any better.
On to our next adventure after two nights at the Black Rock. Loaded up and heading around to the tip of the island we stopped at the lover’s fence outside Ucluelet but had no padlock to secure there. I settled on tying my sunglasses bag with an American quarter inside to the fence then we took a stroll around the rocks and waterfalls.
The trip over to Port Renfrew took the entire day and the Indian was melting me again. But, it was well worth the journey when we found the campground on the driftwood beach in the giant trees. A skid for a table and gas station groceries for dinner. We couldn’t have been happier with our chili cheese dog supper and the long walk down the driftwood filled beach.
Road Trips Aren’t Meant For Plans…
The plan was to head off the island after our two nights in Ucluelet but that plan wasn’t panning out. Every time we turned around there was something new to discover and somewhere new to stay. We found the Avatar grove of ancient redwoods, the botanical beach where I nearly got swept away with the waves, then there was the waterfall inside the cave, and well, we simply couldn’t leave.
Night four was spent in the heart of Victoria at a lovely hotel downtown within walking distance from a little brewpub and a giant bridge. It took an entire hotel cart to get all of our things from the bikes up into our room. You would be amazed at the amount of things one can pack on a street bike. Not to mention I have a habit of collecting rocks and things from everywhere I go.
Day 6 on the island we finally decided to find the ferry back to mainland and head for Montana. It was a long smoke-filled ride back, we found the heart of several wildfires, one amazing Thai restaurant, a hotel hot tub, and not much else other than the border.
Back stateside we had a whirlwind tour of Whitefish Montana followed by Jessie’s worst hangover in the world, accompanied by a long drive through North Dakota and one wrong turn into an Indian reservation and a dead end dirt road.
Home sweet home….stay tuned for our next epic adventure! Baja Mexico via dirt bikes coming up in March and April.