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Calgary to Vancouver Island  -  07/08/03 - 21/08/03


So there we were, sitting on a plane, heading for Canada and somewhere below us in the cargo hold were the bike and all our gear. Somehow we had got through all the panic and actually left. I think it caught a few people out that we really were going this time, most surprised of all were ourselves.

The last few weeks were manic and we ended up not going to bed at all the night before we left. We were not a pretty sight arriving in Canada. I looked fifty for at least a week. Richard denied it at the time but has since confessed that this is not an exaggeration!

The next morning we made the all important phone call. Had the bike really got on the plane, and was he ok?

Yes!! All was well and there was much excitement at the freight company. Not many big yellow BMW bikes around here, mostly Harleys as we soon discovered.

Calgary Tower

We were so relieved to see him we completely forgot to take a picture of him all crated up. R is extremely peeved about this.

We had to get customs clearance so headed off in a cab to the office and a very nice lady stamped all the papers. It was touch and go for a while as it was possible the agriculture department would want to inspect the bike for dirt and bugs. As it was a Friday this would not have been possible until Monday morning. We assured the customs lady that we knew all about this regulation and that the bike was sparkly clean. She got on the phone and luckily got the all clear.

So back to the bike, reconnected the battery, alarm etc while warehouse guys had forklift truck races around us. Great!!

Spent the weekend in Calgary sorting ourselves out and trying to stuff three cases worth of gear into two panniers and a top box. It had all gone in before we left!

Finally we got it all on and we headed for the Rockies. Many things had not quite got finished before we left ,  so we holed up for a week in Canmore and spent many hours in the internet cafť hooked up to the computers at home, setting it all straight. We had a mountain view though.

We liked Canmore, very laid back. We saw the end of the Rockies Mountain Bike race while we were there. After seven days of riding through the mountains they came in covered in mud and blood and some at the point of exhaustion. One guy had to be lifted off his bicycle. Quite amazing but mad.

Morraine Lake

We zimmed up the road to Banff a couple of times while we were there. Went up Sulphur Mountain in the Gondola. Unfortunately it was very smoky and all the trails were closed due to all the fires. Compulsory photos of you in your gondola put us off anymore gondola rides! We checked out a campsite on Two Jack Lake to move onto but it was closed due to Grizzly Bear activity! Apparently there was a luscious harvest of Buffalo Berries in the campsite and they just love-em.

So having posted home a big box of stuff we didnít need to bring we left Canmore and the adventure really started.

Our first night camping was at Lake Louise. The campsite there is protected by an electric fence as the Grizzlyís skirt along the edge on their way to the river. Felt a bit like Jurassic Park but we didnít see any. We went to see the lake, very pretty, had a cup of tea in the hotel. They canít make tea here; boiling water doesnít seem to exist.

Camp Lake Louise

Next day we headed for Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. Beautiful scenery but road a bit flat and straight. At a lunch stop we met a couple on BMWís, Kate & Weston. They were New Yorkers who had given up work for six months and were heading for Alaska, they have a website too so we have been keeping up with their adventures. We found a gorgeous campsite just north of Jasper at Snaring River. I had been freezing the night before so got into my sleeping bag in thermal long johns, t-shirt and micro fleece Ė lovely, Richardís a bit worried about when it actually gets cold!

Next day we headed west and gained an hour crossing from Alberta into British Columbia. This was very handy as we had stopped in Jasper for breakfast and ended up in several long conversations. The bike, our trip and particularly the curious big yellow licence plate attracts a lot of attention. We camped at Bridge Lake at a site owned by a German couple; bike felt very at home, another big chat.

Birthday call home

My Birthday!! Woke up by a beautiful lake with my hubby and the sun was shining. What more could a girl want?....... I made three phone calls home and had Happy Birthday sung/yelled to me by my gorgeous niece and nephew, which was great.

We headed west again hoping to make Vancouver Island and found some amazing roads. We got to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal somewhat by chance at about seven. This is where we had our first injury and major embarrassment of the trip! We werenít sure which ferry we wanted so R pulled over near the huge queue and I jumped off. Unfortunately I got my foot caught, R wasnít quite ready and on tip toes as bike was on a slope and somehow we ended up dropping the bike. How many people were in that queue!!! We picked him up very quickly went and bought a ticket, headed to the front of the queue with the other bikes and then realised the ferry didnít go till nine. We went to get some food and this was when R discovered that the brake lever had dug into his shin bone as the bike had gone down and he had quite a hole. This turned into a mighty bruise. He believes I did it deliberately as revenge for the Norwegian incident when I ended up with the mighty bruise!

Ferry to Vancouver Island

We had a very entertaining ferry trip having met two American guys on bikes in the queue, Rich & Laird. They both work for a brewing company based in Seattle and we headed for the same hotel, found a pub and finished the evening with a few beers. By this time I had completely forgotten it was my birthday. We hope to see Rich in Seattle and Laird, who was fascinated by all Rís gadgets, in San Diego.


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