Sunday, July 24, 2016

Road trip, Harley style!

This past week was absolutely fantastic! Last Sunday, Chris and I topped up the oil in our Harleys, checked tire pressures, loaded up the saddlebags, and headed south.

Six days on the road took us through parts of Alberta, Montana, Idaho, and BC, and we rode our bikes through some of the most incredible scenery I've ever seen.

Bustin' outta Red Deer before the rain!

Day 1: Red Deer to Medicine Hat

Not many pics were taken on the first day of our road trip, mostly because we spent the majority of it in our rain gear. Boooooo. We did make a quick stop at Dinosaur Park, where we were finally dry, and then it was a bee-line to my parents' house for a great (albeit quick) visit.

The parents!

Day 2: Medicine Hat to Shelby, MT

Okay so this particular destination is not actually much of a 'destination', but at least the hotel was very nice (Best Western). The ride across the Southern Alberta prairie land was gorgeous however, which more than made up for where we stayed, and after we left Medicine Hat we pretty much did not see a cloud in the sky all week. So spending one night in a less than mediocre town is really nothing to complain about. The highlight of day two (aside from the awesome brekkie my Mom cooked up!) was Writing-On-Stone Park - a true hidden gem of our province.

You know how I love reflections!


The only interstate we rode - I-15 to Shelby.

Day 3: Shelby. MT to Kalispell, MT

This was a most spectacular day, and even the fuel stop in sketchy Browning could not put a damper on it! We rode the Going To The Sun Road, which crosses Glacier Nat'l Park.... People, this is something you need to do in your lifetime.... Whether it's on a motorcycle or in a regular vehicle, JUST DO IT. And I recommend driving it east to west, and be sure to get an early start. The road starts in the uber neat village of St.Mary, and it ends in West Glacier. The views are stunning, and it definitely makes the top ten list of most beautiful things I've seen in my travels.

Splendid views, everywhere!

We rolled into the Travelodge in Kalispell at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and luckily got one of the last available rooms in town. As we were unloading our gear from our bikes, another group of riders from the Vancouver area stopped by for a chat. Later in the evening we caught up with them and spent the night drinking and laughing our asses off. Lucky, Jim, Bill, Sid, Bernie, and Rene were on a road trip as well, and we were fortunate to meet and hang out with this funloving bunch of guys.

Left to right: Lucky, me and Chris, Bernie, Bill, Jim and his finger, Sid.
Behind the lens is Rene - check out his great blog here!
These boys were a hoot and meeting them was a highlight of our holiday!

Day 4: Kalispell, MT to Sandpoint, ID

The weather continued to be incredible, and this day consisted of just plain riding. The nice little hotel we stayed at in Sandpoint had a pool (Hotel Ruby Ponderay) and let me tell you, a cool swim felt indescribably awesome after a day in the 95F heat.

Day 5: Sandpoint, ID to Radium Hot Springs

This was a loooonnng day. And again it was HOT. Very hot. We were on the road fairly early, so that we would have time to stop at Kootenai Falls for a hike. The falls are beautiful, and the swinging bridge was fun as well. If you are ever in the vicinity of Troy Montana, do stop - it is well worth it!

What is NOT worth it though, is driving on FS228 up the west side of Lake Koocanusa - at least not on a street bike - oy! It is described as 'paved' and 'Scenic Byway', but we learned the hard way that neither of those terms are accurate descriptions. The route did offer a great view of the Libby Dam, and at the end of it we got to cross the longest bridge in Montana, but the 45 or so miles in between were frightening.

Then, just before we crossed the border, we rolled up to an oasis in the middle of nowhere called Trappers Saloon.... OMG what a place! The beer was cold and the food was yummy.... It was by far the best all-round eating/drinking establishment we came across on the trip!

I think we had full intentions of checking out the hot pools the night we stayed in Radium.... But between washing the bikes and visiting with an interesting couple from the Czech Republic, a soak in the springs never materialized.

Day 6: Radium, BC to Red Deer

Brrrrrrrr!! I had to put on everything I brought with me to keep Jack Frost from nipping at my appendages. Seriously. The first two hours on the road were chilly - we left Radium around 7:45am in hopes of beating the traffic - and made several stops to warm up the hands and faces. Coffee and hot chocolate at Castle Junction was a treat! Highway 93 north of Radium is another road I would avoid on a bike in the future - the frost heave cracks are atrocious and even Chris scared himself when getting caught in one on a curve.

My favorite mountain!

We wound our way along the 1A to Cochrane and cut north on the 22 for a beverage stop at the classic Cremona Hotel. By this time, the landscape was feeling familiar again, and on the gridline Central Alberta highways we made good time into Innisfail for a late lunch. From there, it was a short ride back into our fair city, and the amazing 2500km road trip concluded.

After getting an oil change and a new back tire yesterday - the Fatboy Lo's odometer clicked past the 9,000km mark - it's now time to shift back into work mode. But only for a few days, because next weekend we head to the Shuswap-de-bop for two weeks of lake time - woot! What a stellar summer! Life is good.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

* X C I I I *

XCIII is the Roman numeral way to write ninety-three. And that's how many years our planet has been graced with this lovely lady.....

Happy 93rd Birthday Irene!

Chris's sister and a few of his aunts and uncles stopped in this afternoon, and we celebrated Grandma Irene's birthday. Excellent company along with some cold drinks and a half-decent lunch (haha I'm making fun of it because I cooked it!) made for a really great visit.

I tell you, the woman is amazing - she is spunky and sharp and recently renewed her driver's license! Plus good luck on winning when playing cribbage with her...

So here's to Irene, and to many more trips around the sun!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Summer is officially here!

Not much can top spending a summer long weekend at the lake, and the Canada Day long weekend was no exception. Chris and I rolled out to the Shuswap on Thursday to join his parents and four nephews for some fantastic lake time.

Early morning in the Rockies - what a treat!

On the lake! Yippeeee!

Cabin fulla kids! Fun!

The neighbor's garden is incredibly gorgeous as ever!

Headed to the fireworks.

Tons of boats in the bay - ready for the light show!

Happy Canada Day!

Afternoon cruise in the little fishing boat.

See you again in a few weeks!

As per usual, time went by way too fast. Tubing and wakeboarding, watching the amazing fireworks, laughs around the campfire, combined with a bit of cabin maintenance.... before you know it, Monday showed up and it was time to go. But that's okay - this week's a short work week, and we've got three out of the next six weeks booked off, so I really can't complain. Summer is here! Yeah!