Archive | August, 2014

Day 21 Sooke BC

31 Aug

Through the skylight I can see more blue sky than forecasted. The loft I’m sleeping in is rather cozy; more like a shelf because I can easily touch the ceiling while still laying in bed. The skylight is right over my bed and seems to be an attraction for crows. The folding  ladder is very sturdy and a rather ingenious design.
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The yard is full of blackberries and it’s a simple task to pick enough for breakfast. The vines are everywhere on the island, possibly even an invasive species.
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The wedding this afternoon was a grand event and the weather was perfect. So many people to meet, great food, so much fun, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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Day 20 – ferry to Vancouver Island

30 Aug

We have a reservation for the BC ferry because this holiday weekend is the busiest time. The terminal is about an hour drive so we must leave by 8:00am to be sure to catch our 10 o’clock boat from Tsawwasen to Swartz Bay.

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Tomorrow we will be at Elisabeth and James’ outdoor wedding on the Pacific coast and the weather forecast suggests that we all should dress in warm clothes with rain gear. Apparently on August 31st it’s not rained in their chosen location in ten years. “Irregardlesslywise” we all look forward to what is certain to be a great event.

No traffic problems this morning and we made the ferry terminal early enough to try for the 9:00; but missed loading on by only 3 cars. On the way over rain started and reduced the visibility, too bad because this particular boat is one of the smallest and can therefore go through narrow passages.

We arrived at the airport in Saanich, to pick up Laura, within about 15 minutes of her arrival.
The VRBO that we reserved in Sooke is perfect.
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A Charming Log House Suite, 6682 Horne Rd in Sooke BC 250 642-7174 Complete with berries growing in the backyard, for breakfast and holly in the front.
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I’ve got the double bed in the loft to myself and the girls have the double murphy on the main floor.
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After a very late lunch of an overdose of fish and chips we all had successful naps. Apparently the acoustics in the loft are perfect for snoring.
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Day 19 – visiting family in Vancouver

29 Aug

We had a great dinner of BBQ salmon last night with family and Sammy and I had a wonderful sleep.
I’ve decided to get some Icebreaker socks and found a store reasonably close by in The Village at Park Royal. Maybe these merino wool socks will be the solution to my stinky feet. Wearing either running shoes or my motorcycle boots for many consecutive days, regardless of showering and washing my feet, has always been offensive to anyone traveling with me.

https://icebreakermerino.wordpress.com/category/socks/

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I’ve scheduled and oil and filter change this afternoon for the Subaru, we driven 6,300km since we left Kingston.
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The Subaru has worked flawlessly although I’d like to discuss with a mechanic, the the computerized fuel injection software. As an economy feature the computer drastically reduces fuel when the throttle is reduced and on steep downhill mountain grades in lower gears it causes surging.
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I was impressed with the knowledge and friendly treatment by all the staff at Specialty Motorcars at 1235 Marine Drive in North Vancouver. Apparently there is no simple modification or computer chip change to solve the surging. The newer models with a cvt transmission, combined with the paddle shifter simulating a downshift to a preset ratio, might be an improvement.

Our car seemed happy to get the full “Specialty” treatment.
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Day 18 final leg to Vancouver

28 Aug

Up early, looks like it will be blue skies with scattered clouds. Perfect for travelling.
We had a personal tour this morning by an experienced smoke jumper who graciously spent his time with us. We had a good look around this working facility and all their custom made gear.
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Our drive through the Cascade mountains was great.

We’ve had some battery issues with our SPOT 2 device and although it passed it’s daily test with these ones are no good
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My spare newer batteries are obviously working better but I will try to find some new Energizer Ultimate Lithium 8X as reccomended.
Some locations were missed as we drove through Washington state in the Cascade Mountains.
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Day 17 Libby MT to Twisp WA

27 Aug

We recommend this campground.
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It is also handy to a huge grocery store staffed by friendly people and it also has a cafe with WiFi. Our night was reasonably quiet for a town with a highway; on one side is a cemetery but some noise from trains during the night.
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We had a full western breakfast at the Antlers and stopped at Radio Shack to try to get a new 12v camera battery charger. No luck, but once again impressed with friendly and knowledgeable staff.
We have seen lots of Montana country and have a bit more to do this morning.
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We passed through Idaho no problems, but blew a turn near Usk Washington and had to backtrack a bit to drive some of the Chewelah “motorcycle raceway” aka the Flowery Trail up to the ski resort. Awesome grades with high-speed potential corners, although signed at 35mph, and we saw a state trooper on patrol; as we passed head-on I noticed he was watching his radar screen. I enjoyed this paved highway two years ago and wanted to at least touch it again. Luckily for me this trooper wasn’t there when I was riding my Suzuki. It was our first navigational error so far this trip, Sammy is very tolerant of my road selection and with her map reading skills and my GPS routing we do very well together.
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Some where “lost” we found this neat place for coffee.

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We stopped in Republic just before the museum and Stonerose interpretive center closed so had a quick look.
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About 8:00pm we stopped in Twisp at Idle A While motel and cabins. We had been driving west with sun directly in our eyes or in the shadows in the Cascade Mountains through some wilderness carefully watching for cattle, critters, corners. The few campsites we saw were very remote and we decided the trade-off of $ vs bears was worthwhile. Besides we both wanted a shower and we have minimized some of our costs by camping 6 nights already.
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We drove through a few miles of recently burnt timber and damaged roads, the fire was a month ago and revenged after with torrential rains.

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We hope to get an early start on the morning and we have about 5 more driving hours to Vancouver, of course plus stops.

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Day 16 the beauty of Glacier

26 Aug

A cold night about 5 degrees C. We got up early, thankfully no bears bothered us all night, and packed up. We drove to Logan Pass without breakfast coffee to be there in time to get a place to park.
Hiking along a narrow ledge is one of our highlights.
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There is a cable for security along the ledge.
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We have seen bear, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and a variety of little critters. We have gazillions of pictures and some videos to sort through that will keep me busy for 6 months.
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We drove out the west gate of the park 3:30 having had a wonderful experience.
We are now westbound to Vancouver, hopefully in time for Thursday dinner with Ruth and Chris.
Spending the night camped in a municipal campground in Libby MT. This town is full of very friendly people, what a lucky find and just in time because it’s dusk and we have seen some deer along the highway.
It’s the first night that we have had a campfire.
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Day 15 -Glacier Park

25 Aug

Great night sleep and we woke to sun and blue skies and a view of the mountains only 14 miles away.

This pair were munching grass at our bunkhouse porch. What a wonderful place to wakeup.

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Not far down the road we are into the scenery.
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We have so much to see today on the east side of the park and hope to camp in the park tonight. We got food supplies last night at the IGA in Browning. I suspect that we won’t have WiFi after this coffee stop at Luna’s in East Glacier. (we didn’t get WiFi until Kalispell on Tuesday at 5:00pm. I’m thrilled to have picked up a few new WordPress followers. Thanks )
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We spent most of the day taking pictures of this awesome place and driving some crazy roads.

We were fortunate to get a campsite in Glacier, Rising Sun.

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Day 14 – cold & wet Montana

24 Aug

It is early Sunday morning here in Neihart and it is still raining. We have experienced cold temps and mist or rain for two days. We saw the sun last on Thursday afternoon. In some of the lowland farming areas they are running the irrigation pumps and sprinklers continuously in an attemp to use up some water and relieve the ditches to prevent flooding of roads and houses. But the fields can only hold so much water; the weather forecast has clearing tomorrow. Many of the roads we are traveling are vulnerable to slips and slides because of the steep slopes. We have already seen and avoided one nasty boulder. Hopefully we don’t get the Subaru stuck in a pull-off when trying to get pictures. I do most of the driving and we are both on full alert watching for wild animals, cattle when we are in an open range and now big rocks on the roadway which are inevitable. The last few days we are both happy to be driving the car and not riding the motorcycle.
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First People’s Buffalo Jump has a very informative visitor’s center
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and a driving loop to the top. Watch out for these
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We met Calvin and Sheri a couple of days ago in Broadus and they invited us to stay with them in Browning; so we did. Wonderful generous people, we met their girls, their dogs and their horses.
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Check out http://www.bumpmission.com

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Day 13

23 Aug

August 23rd is a special day for us and so far it’s very nice.

Sam'nGord - Beartooth Highway in Montana

Sam’nGord – Beartooth Highway in Montana

 

We slept well in an end unit of a motel on the bank overlooking some rapids of the Yellowstone River. The sound of all that water about 50 meters from our balcony, flowing so quickly is wonderful.
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We’ve just dumped our yesterday pictures from the camera into the laptop and counted 730. No wonder the trip from Red Lodge to Gardiner took all day! As the crow flies it’s only 72 miles.

Along hwy #540 near Pray MT there are lots of rocks that fall down the steep slopes along the road on the east side of the Yellowstone River. We stopped so that Sammy could move this aside out of the way, to possibly save someone from accidentally doing serious damage to the underside of a car.

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Today we had a nice brunch in Livingston at the Other Cafe. If you want a good local breakfast at fair prices, we recommend it.
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Driving north on hwy #89 in the rain was dreary so we stopped in White Sulphur Sprigs at a great community run museum.
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The friendly and knowledgeable staff, no doubt volunteers with a passion to share local history, suggested that we go north to Neihart to eat dinner and stay overnight in the motel at Bob’s Bar. Tony the owner is a friendly host and our beef dinner, for our anniversary was very good.

The town sign along the highway says it all.

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Day 12

22 Aug

We spent some time this morning snooping in all the quirky stores in Red Lodge. Watching all the bikers go by, even some ADV riders in Aerostich suits, makes me envious. I miss my Vstrom!
Sammy is in the driver’s seat this morning for Beartooth Pass and all she needs to do is stay on the road, stop everywhere it’s safe so we can get out, watch out for cars and wildlife and if possible catch an occasional glimpse at the scenery. Seems simple enough eh?

Beartooth above the treeline

Beartooth above the treeline

 

 

I think that Garmin ( Nuvi 3597LM) our navigational wizard is enjoying this ride.

Follow the highlighted route

Follow the highlighted route

I’m hanging out the window or sunroof to get pictures.

Beartooth rain and mist

Beartooth rain and mist

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Get Lost in Montana

Get Lost in Montana

approximately 10,000ft

approximately 10,000ft

 

At the pass it was only 3 degrees C and misty rain mixed with a bit of sleet. Rarely was it completely misty, this is one of few obscured locations. Fortunately for us both Sam is a good driver.

When it occasionally cleared the brightness and mist made for some very interesting photography.
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Two years ago I rode my Vstrom both directions on the pass. Today was equally awesome. I’ve never been anyplace like it. It’s incredible that I’m here again. What an adventure to share with my sweetie.

Beartooth hwy

Beartooth hwy

We had an amazing morning on the Beartooth highway

Montana and Wyoming

Montana and Wyoming

and by the end of the day after driving the great loop road in Yellowstone Park, must have hundreds of pictures.

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close encounters with the wild kind

close encounters with the wild kind

No surprise that I have also added more rocks to my collection. In between the pass and the park we lunched in Cooke City MT where I found a rock shop “Cooke City Rocks” where I chatted with rockhound Mike and his wife who run the place. Sammy was equally thrilled to find some earrings in her chorus colours of black, red and grey from a roadside vendor in a tent.
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Although pressed for time we found our way to the Norris Geyser Basin and the Mammoth Hot Springs.

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We saw a bear cub run across the road in front of us, lots of elk, deer and many buffalo up very close. We are now both experienced at taking pictures out of the sunroof. The cold and wet didn’t really bother us.

We’ve ended up staying in a motel in Gardiner MT at the north exit of Yellowstone. Our motel has a balcony right over the Yellowstone River. Tonight for our anniversary we had steak and elk at the Raven Grill. I believe that my elk burger was the best burger that I have ever had, Sammy’s steak was equally delicious. Montana certainly is the land of great steaks. We’ve not seen any vegetarian cowboys, nor have we seen anyone with dirty boots, spurs and a hat who is overweight.

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