The Ride was so Beautiful that it is Difficult to Describe

I still can’t get over how big Canada is!  Big and beautiful.

And this isn’t even a fraction of the beauty we were exposed to!  This place was amazing.

Some more shots in video form:

How We Slept During Our 8 Day Alaska-Canada Motorcycle Trek

Sweet ride south to the Abbotsford BC / Sumas, WA border crossing, but it was peppered with rain.  No biggie, by this time we knew we could get through the rain and mists with the gear we had.  We were however getting weak about hotels.

Basically if it rained and we were not dried off we were getting a hotel room.  Over all I think we did pretty good, heck we made it the first three days with out a proper shower.

All of our hotels were on the pretty cheap and rough side, except for our last and most luxurious Best Western, where we got a gift bag for signing up as a rewards member ;).

The camping was pretty good all things considered and we never paid for a campsite, not once!  In fact in most locations in BC and the Yukon there were RVers and campers where ever they seemed to land when it got to eventide.  That meant rest stops and little turnoffs were often occupied.  It made me think what one person we met said might have some merit.  He said “They tell us we are the freest in the world in the states, but Canada is freer.”

Yes, the mosquitoes were that bad in all of our campsites in Canada.  It was quite amazing to see the bugs appear almost instantly, it was a good excuse to make camp quick and spend most of our time moving or hiding in our enclosures.  Deet and mosquito nets should be on your list for this sort of trip through Canada and Alaska.

Overall it was fun to do the camping and after the miles we racked up (5000 miles in 8 days) we were tired every night and so we slept well whether in a dumpy hotel or in a tent/hammock.

Lessons Learned on our Trek to Alaska

Clothing:

  • Gloves that say waterproof may not be.
  • Boots that don’t specifically say they are waterproof should be oiled or proofed before your ride (wet feet stink, literally and figuratively).
  • Quality wet-weather gear is must for Canada and Alaska.  It is worth the money!
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Wet weather gear is a must!

Bike:

  • Tires don’t last as long as you think, especially if you are loaded and don’t have tire pressure right (so you may want to bring extra tires or put new ones on just prior to departure).
  • Pack smart and know where crap is so you can find it when you need it (i.e. rain gear or charging cables).
  • If you charge from your bike be really careful charging when the bike is not running!
  • Handwarmers on the bike are amazing and can raise your morale on a cold wet ride day.
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Lucky to be getting new shoes in Smithers, BC Eye Candy Customs

Other things:

  • Have alternate routes planned for unexpected road closures or bad weather (it was so cold and wet we didn’t dare do Banff for fear it would be snowing at altitude).
  • Caffeine is your friend if you ride long distances, stay friggin aware so you don’t have adventures you don’t want to have.
  • Stop to smell the flowers and appreciate some amazing scenery.
  • Road noise increases with speed and that noise is fatiguing.
  • We use Senas to communicate and they can charge and be used while riding, but we learned the Sena is not the perfect communication device.  It is great to be able to talk and ride.  We loved listening to music, podcasts or audio books to pass time and keep the mind sharp.  Sena just doesn’t do it perfectly.  We kept wishing Apple would make something sleek and effective that had improved simplicity and was more user friendly. 
  • Take breaks!  Riding a motorcycle takes more focus than anything on four wheels.  We found that stretching our legs every 100kms kept us feeling better.
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Rests are necessary!

 

 

Shout out to Eye Candy Customs in Smithers, BC

Well dang-it-all sometimes you can’t have everything you want!  This trip to Alaska was friggin amazing, but not without adversity.  Heck, that’s part of why people ride motorcycles, right?  The challenge is part of the fun and the allure.

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Bald tire?

After about only 4-5000 miles this darn back tire pooped out on my 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT.  IMO that is just not enough life for a decent tire.  Dan’s Africa Twin was dealing with the same problem with only about 1000 miles more on his stock tires.  So in Smithers, BC we went a looking for tires at the local Honda shop, but no-go.  They only deal in dirt machines!  However the good guys there pointed us towards Eye Candy Customs.  Good thing they did, because we would have totally overlooked this shop that specializes in customs and Harleys (they had some beauties they were working on).

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Just about to get help from Smokey Man

So lucky to find this place!  They just happened to have two sets of Africa Twin take-offs and for a fair price and in quick time the bikes were happy on new shoes!

Sam was who we dealt with and he is the kind of guy that makes you want to stop by anytime you are in Smithers, even if you don’t have a bike problem.  He knows bikes and shares information freely.  Any adventure riders out there that run into trouble should look him up just incase he can save you a long ride to a bigger city.  Thanks Sam!

Over the Border and Through the Woods!

The day started late and since we had talked to a fellow rider that recommended Tim Hortons as the breakfast joint of Canada we decided to find out.

The trip was worth it. Before we even got in the shop we witnessed a drug deal! But inside Tim Hortons the vibe was all family and the food was good and Dan said the coffee was too.

It was a pleasant change for breakfast since we had been subsisting primarily on McSweeny’s beef and cheese sticks (hey they are keto friendly).

Then it was off to the border!

We waited in the line sweating until Dan accidentally hit the throttle and nearly wheelied into a couple cars. He saved it barely, but we laughed about it for the next ten minutes. Anyone who has a DCT knows how this can happen.

Then it was gear up for rain, again. We missed most of the rain, trailing slightly behind it. But on out way to YAkima we found it big time.

It was a lot more driving before took a break and ate more beef sticks and caffeine.

And the it was off to a hotel before the biggest miles of our trip!

more tomorrow…

Carnage in Canada

Canada is big? Way bigger than I could have fathomed before I arrived here. Maybe it is our American pride that makes us think USA is the biggest in everything, but Canada is huge!

The people and roads have been impressively friendly. The bikers are a mix of Harley and cruisers and adventure and sport tourers. We have even seen a small Honda scooter loaded and touring! There are even quite a few people out touring on bicycles!

But these same wonderful roads can also contain lurking danger from the dense foliage. On day two a ground squirrel ran out and I could do nothing but cringe as my tires bumped over him and my Sena sounded with the voice of my brother laughing hysterically.

The hills and twisted roads make for exceptional motorcycleing, but the birds! The birds keep committing suicide into our bikes! One hit me and another was decapitated by Dan’s wheel. Nothing intentional mind you. And while we are sorry about the animals we are glad it wasn’t a moose or bear or dear or porcupine. All of which we have seen near the roads.

Lots of mile racked up

Made it to Skagway, Alaska!

Took a 17 or 18 our day and night ride through a haunted forest, but it was amazing!!

Then we booked it to meet Juston and Tommy! Which miraculously happened!

Then they went north and we went south and into another rain storm.

Now we are, once again in a hotel for our first shower in three day. It was scary, but this is what happens when you ride a motorcycle over 3000 miles in 5 days.

It rained for like 5 hours!!

We were prepared for this, but it still wears on a rider. The roads and scenery have been phenomenal in Canada, but the rain and temps have been working on us.

We have been amazed at the riders in Canada, so many wet riders have I never seen on the road! Harley’s, Beemers and everything else.

We stayed the night in a hotel to dry out gear and warm our extremities.

And had a great late dinner at the Village Idiot.

Border crossing was easy and the wait to get in relatively short (and border guards were cool). Is the grass greener on the Canadian side? You tell me!

We see lake after lake and follow winding rivers on smooth asphalt everywhere.

Everything is a shade of green, blue or grey.

Except for the flowers that are in bloom everywhere.

So far so good!

Beautiful roads, amazing scenery and yes, rain.

Another fun aspect is that another brother and friend are rolling to Alaska at the same time at a different pace. Here are some pictures of their adventures thus far.

Nothing like epic road trips and trips on bikes are just so amazing.

Flathead Reservation is amazing!

The Twins Wake Up Ready for More Road

What a ride so far! Saw three states in 590miles, amazing and roads, pretty good headwinds (that dropped MPGs to 31!) and a great camp spot.

At $20 for a campsite this place on the Flathead reservation was amazing. This far north in Montana and it was light until we fell asleep after 11pm. The new sleeping bag was wonderful and my pad gave just enough cushion to make sleep comfortable.

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