Monday, 10 August 2015

Cody Wyoming and Home

I packed up and headed for Red Lodge. I wanted to go back to Cody and eat at the Irma Hotel. Also I had not done the Chief Joseph Highway when I was there before. So I stopped for breakfast in Red Lodge at the Red Lodge Cafe' again. The waitress greeted me with You again! Bacon and eggs over easy and rye toast. It has been a long time since I found a person with that kind of memory. It was delightful.
This was one of many old cars I saw in my travels. This was in Red Lodge. I know there were several car shows and I saw many beautiful old cars.
I pulled out at a viewpoint on the Beartooth Pass. I parked next to 2 ladies in a car. They were from China but are from San Diego now and the mother was so effusive about meeting me. Oh she said I love your lifestyle and she insisted on taking a picture of me with the motorcycle so I included her daughter in the photo. I find this often happens with the Chinese and Japanese. They seem to be fascinated with a woman riding alone around the country???
At this point one is not even on top yet but it is a looong way down from whence I came.
Lots of bikers and tourists here.
On top of the world
Very near the top going down the other side is this lovely Lake. I then turned off before reaching Yellowstone and headed down the Chief Joseph Highway. Beautiful views although not as impressive as the heights and switchbacks of the Beartooth but it has a beauty all its own.
Crossed this bridge and stopped at the viewpoint for this canyon.
Gorgeous ground juniper
Gorgeous country
Then on into Cody. I went back to The Ponderosa Campground and as I was putting up my tent a young man on a Harley asked if I needed a hand but I said I was getting pretty proficient at it and then took him my new air mattress to show how it worked. I said I had been there about a month ago but wanted to go eat at the Irma Hotel so he asked if I wanted company. Of course I was delighted and he had talked Roman from Switzerland into coming with us. Roman rented a car in New York and was driving across America.
Who is this woman?
Roman from Switzerland
The Irma Hotel. Irma was one of Buffalo Bill Cody's daughters
Russ. He even paid for our dinner which was excellent.
My tent and Lucky patiently waiting for me to get packed up.
Russ was so nice and we have been exchanging emails since meeting. One day I get this email entitled There she goes.
Pretty sneaky
I travelled back to Red Lodge and then headed north. The correct direction this time. Hoping to get fairly close to home but alas I ran into another of those heavy hail, rainstorms through the pass between Livingston and Bozeman. When I got to Bozeman I took a motel. It was not high end but at least I was able to dry out everything and get a good nights sleep. It rained most of the night but although overcast was not raining in the morning and the further west I road I came out from under the clouds. This is the poor bike sitting out under a tree outside my hotel room.
I had decided to turn off I 90 and head north to Helena on Hwy 278 as I had never done that before. At the motel there was another BMW guy obviously  caught in the same storm but when I asked if he wished to share a meal I had ordered he was rather short and said he was still drying out and had other plans. Oh well. So went I turned on 278 there was a Wheat Montana bakery on the corner and I stopped for breakfast. I met a charming couple who own a ranch in Harrison Montana and we had a great conversation and I have been invited to visit them at their ranch. Sure made up for the curtness of the night before. As I continued on I was impressed with the beauty of this valley as this is where they grow a lot of the wheat for Wheat Montana. Mountains on both sides and a lovely lake and very little traffic.
You come into Helena on the back side and I stopped for fuel and took this picture of the sky I had left behind.
A lot of these metal structure abound in different places made up of old car parts. A pleasant beauty out of old junk.
Then Home. A bit of a let down but I can rest up before my next journey.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Hyder back to Dawson Creek and on to Billings

Having left Stewart and Hyder behind I headed back to Dawson Creek and the rally. I had my next bear encounter. As I neared Burns Lake there was a truck towing a U-Haul trailer ahead of me when suddenly a black bear came out of the ditch right in front of the truck. I was back aways and saw the whole thing. The truck piled on the brakes and the bear wheeled and headed back to the ditch. When I stopped for fuel in Burns Lake the gentleman came over and said..DID YOU SEE THAT BEAR...He was far more excited than I had been. Seems he had been laid off his job in Kitimat and was headed home to Nova Scotia. That evening I stayed in a motel in Prince George. I then pulled into a place Mackenzie Crossing wanting to get a bite to eat. As I walked in Mark and Willi Prior from Grand Forks walked out. So good to see them again. Mark was one of the ones I had traveled with on the 3 Flags last year. So now I had travelling companions.For the most part the roads were good. Some road construction between Fort St John and Watson Lake. What really got me was east of Mackenzie crossing they turned a perfectly good paved road into a perfectly awful gravel road for 30 kms. Chipsealing. ARGH! We stopped in Chetwynd for a little break and I was delighted to see all the chain saw carvings. It seems they have a competition every year and people come from all over the world to display their skills and the carvings are everywhere. This praying mantis is in front of Tim Hortons. There were many along main street but I did not get back to take more photos as I had hoped.
Arrived back at the campground and put up my tent by Mary Norby and her brother Ben and Steve. Rick and Irene Evens were set up with their motorhome and Dick and Joyce were there also. Then others started arriving. By Saturday we were getting a full contingent and the rally did not even start til Monday. I was delighted as I was going to have to leave early and this way was able to enjoy the camaderie of friends before I left. This was the sunset from our campsite on Friday night.
This was the view from the campground. Lovely yellow canola fields in every direction.
My campsite near Tonni and his brother Jim and a million miles from the bathroom.
This lovely couple from Hemit California were camped with us on Friday night but they moved on on Saturday and Gerry and Annie moved into that spot.
Then on Sunday I led a ride up to Tumbler Ridge. Peter and Nelly, Ann and Gerry, myself and Mary and Ben and Steve. We thought we would get to see the beautiful waterfall that is on all the brochures but alas it is another 50 kms on unmaintained gravel road. So we had pie and ice cream in Tumbler Ridge next to the new tourist information place and decided to go to a smaller waterfall and dinosaur tracks.
When we arrived at the place where the waterfall was supposed to be we hiked aways and if you look at the picture it was way down near the water you see. Some of us turned back and some forged on only to return. It was hot and way to far.
A highlight of the trip however was that we saw a mother moose and her 2 calves in the ditch and we saw a deer loping beside the road. I did not want to pass as they can change their minds in an instant and sure enough she popped out in front of me, stopped, took a look and back down in the ditch running in the opposite direction. Back at the campsite more had arrived and we frequented the Mile 1 Café' for several meals. Here is Gary Shearer our former International Rep from Oregon and Gerry from Clive.
Tuesday I packed up and headed for Calgary as I wanted to be in Billings Montana on Thursday in Billings Montana in good time Thursday. So rode from Dawson Creek to Calgary. I ran into the tail end of a hailstorm around Didsbury. Cars parked with their 4 ways going and me on the motorcycle riding on through. I had no shelter so if I stopped would only end up wetter than I was. Got home and slept in my own bed and the next day headed out and made it to Billings that evening. Sorry no pictures. No time.
I arrived at the rally very late and was greeted by no less than 10 people I know. There were 5,872 in attendance for the weekend. I found a spot to put my tent a few feet from  a very busy thoroughfare in Billings Every square foot was covered with tents. I call it the rally of the lines. Line up for food, Line up for a shower. Line up to check in. Not all bad however as I met many friends and made new friends standing in line. I had to thread my way through this mess to the bathroom. I was camped behind that rounded blue tarp that I thought resembled a UFO.
This beautiful rock cliff was across the road. One of the joys of the rally was the pond by the beer garden where a mother duck had her 8 little ducklings. Then swam and swam and 1 of them was the wayward child. When she called them in he just kept on swimming around and around. At one point for no reason she brought them from the pond to where the food trucks were. Not a good spot.
When they noticed we were all taking pictures of them they all huddled under mom except the wayward child.
This was Airhead Central out in the infield.
Just a mass of tents and bikes everywhere. I did not take near enough pictures but the following is my friend Gord from Vancouver. I met him on the 3 Flags also. I had gone to the seminar put on by Gregory Frazier and Gord asked me to take a picture with him. The BMW National has some great seminars on all kinds of topics.
Greg has circumnavigated the world 5 times on a motorcycle. He is a Crow Indian living just a few miles from Billings in the Bighorn mountains.
One of the statues on the grounds.
Looking across the parking lot to the back of the grandstand. Sometimes this lot was solid motorcycles and further along were the food trucks. They were overwhelmed and ran out of food on occasion. The Subway truck proved to be the most consistent feeding us breakfast, lunch and dinner at a reasonable price. Some chose to go of site and on Saturday night the Western Montana BMW bunch invited me to go with them. Unknowingly it turned out I was the designated driver and entertainment for 6 guys who had had a few too many in the beer gardens before we left. We went to The Fieldhouse in Billings. I had meatloaf with an excellent Blueberry BBQ sauce and broccolini and potatoes. A great meal. I did not mind at all. It did however take an hour from the time we ordered until our order came.
After the rally was over on Sunday I packed up and headed home. Whoops. Seems I went in the wrong direction. I went to Red Lodge, over the Beartooth Pass again, up the Chief Joseph Highway and into Cody Wyoming again. I will save that for the next episode.

Friday, 7 August 2015

On to Hyder

I went a few kilometres west of Watson Lake and headed down the Cassiar highway. I got gas at the corner and met some fellows from California on motorcycles and they wanted to know if I wanted to travel with them. I declined and they went on. In Jade City I caught up to them and followed behind for aways. Then one of them got a flat tire. There were 3 of them and they seemed to have everything under control so I went on alone. I arrived at Deese Lake with my fuel light on. There were 3 BMW motorcycles there. 1 a Dakar was completely disassembled. The had narrowed it down to the fuel pump and figured at some point he had gotten bad gas. I am sure I saw it later in Prince George on the back of a truck. That it one thing I fear on the bike because I do not have the where-with-all to do those kinds of repairs and in this case in the middle of nowhere. I had a lovely bowl of soup and continued south to Meziadin Junction. By this time it was 8:30PM and I was driving directly into the sun so I decided to stop for the evening and go into Hyder the next day. I had just seen a bear and everywhere I stopped there were bear warnings so camping was not an option for me. At the Junction they had fuel, a cafe' and advertised lodging. It was a work camp. Where crews stay when working on the roads or firefighting or logging. So I had the camp experience staying in a room in one of those Atco trailers and sharing a bathroom. Actually it worked well and had all I needed. A hot shower, a bed, and internet connection.
This picture is indicative of some of the scenery I was driving through on the Cassiar. I stopped at this place called Bel2 and got food and asked about a room but it was $149.00 for the night.
Again I tried to capture the beautiful gardens of fireweed. One scene that stays vividly in my mind is passing through a burned out area with blackened trees standing against a blue sky and a carpet of purple fireweed covering the forest floor. Beautiful.
There were also fields of yellow flowers and all kinds of gorgeous "gardens" by the road. We try to do this in our homes but cannot even come near to the beauty all around us.
This was the view from the door of my camp room.
I was in number 1
As you can see one had to be aware that there could be bears nearby.
The next morning Charlie cooked me breakfast in the camp kitchen. Very good.
After breakfast I headed for Stewart. Only 68 km but glad I had saved it for the next day. It was by far one of the most beautiful parts of my trip with glaciers and waterfalls and yes even bears everywhere.
This is Bear Glacier. I have no pictures of the real bears that crossed my path. Too dangerous to stop and take pictures but I did see 2 between the Junction and Stewart.
Another glacier on the route.
Some of the gorgeous waterfalls.
Stewart B.C. is an ocean port. And this freighter was waiting for the tide to come in so it could leave.
Looking towards the ocean
Obviously low tide
I rode into Hyder. There is no customs on the US side but you have to make a stop coming back into Stewart. I had to do it twice because I forgot to take pictures the first time. DUH!
This is the guard post on the Hyder side.
I rode right through the little town and continued on to the bear viewing area. It is 660 ft of boardwalk and when the salmon are running it overlooks the stream where the bears fish and one can watch in comparative safety.
It was too early in the year for the salmon so no bears present.
I took this picture as I had been seeing this bright red berries in many spots along the highway. It certainly looked like mountain ash and gave spots of colour to the view.
Not sure what river this is but it seemed to be high and flowing very rapidly.
Hyder Alaska. I did it! There were moments when I questioned my sanity but am so glad I did.
I did not get hyderized which is a drink of everclear with a toe in it but I was there at 9AM and they did not open til 11AM. Could not hang around . Places to go and things to see.
One last point I noted as I passed between Hyder and Stewart was that some of the trees along the road looked as it they were decorated for Halloween with Spanish Moss hanging everywhere.
And lastly a picture of bear glacier heading out. Things really do look different from the other direction.
Back to Meziadin Junction. Stopped for fuel and this time headed for Burns Lake, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek. The rally was to start on Monday. Would there be anyone else there early?
Next episode.