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Lesley’s Reports.  March 2006

   I am really excited about getting back on the road again. The 3 months in Oz really gave me a taste for adventure but we don't plan to take too many risks. At the moment it’s the final health checks that are taking place. Doctor, dentist, optician, Andy, the Chiropractor crunching my back and Ian and Shirley at the local doctor’s surgery preparing to exchange emails with blood test results.

I am one of the 1% of the population in the UK that is under anticoagulation therapy i.e.; Warfarin for DVT's (Blood clots). Roche diagnostics have kindly given me a CoaguChekXS INR test machine for my regular blood tests while we are travelling. This XS test Kit is compact, light and easy to use and will enable me to check on my clotting levels and adjust the medication accordingly. I have been practising so hope I don't encounter too many problems.

Halifax, Nova Scotia; 26th June 2006.
After a fantastic send-off from family and friends in the Glasshouse pub in Norwich, we caught the plane from Gatwick to Halifax, Nova Scotia, but not until I sent the airport security into a bit of a panic. It appeared my tank bag magnets, looking like explosives, sent the alarms off! We eventually got on our way, and to all those sceptics, 'ZOOM Airlines' did exist and provided a comfortable 6-hour flight.
We arrived in Halifax to a foggy drizzle and the sound of fog horns from ships approaching the largest east coast port of Canada.
After a short bus ride we found our way to the Halifax Heritage hostel, and our double room for 6 nights. The hostel is fine, people friendly and the room comfortable.
As we’re 4 hours behind here, it was a bit of a struggle staying up and getting into the new time zone, especially as we had a restless last night in the UK.
The food’s great, cheap and so many choices, we’re going to have to be careful we don’t end up rolling down the hill into the harbour!
We’ve had a walk around this great old town steeped in maritime history, we’ll have to visit a museum or two and bone up on the history while we’re here. It’s warm and humid with the odd shower; they reckon things will improve towards the end of the week though when we should see some sun and blue skies.
 We’ve bought a few bits and pieces, stocking up with supplies, now we just have to wait for the bike which should arrive tomorrow, the 27th.
All the best for now folks.

From Les

Everyone here drinks coffee all day, every day and you can have breakfast, (Cholesterol Blow-out) from 6am - 10pm. The people we have met so far have all been very friendly and very courteous; not one bout of road rage and very little rubbish as they are heavily into recycling.

I hadn't heard of Halifax, Nova Scotia till we booked the bike crossing and it is a real mixture of new ‘glassy’ high-rises and the traditional wooden houses, all with a front staircase and balconies. The harbour is the World’s second largest natural harbour and is full of working fishing boats, tugs, navy, pilot boats and of course the tourist type. The Titanic collided with that dreaded iceberg not far from here in 1912 and boats from Halifax were first on the scene recovering bodies, many of which are buried in the town’s cemetery. Another claim to fame is the largest explosion in the world prior to Hiroshima when 2 ships collided in the harbour in 1917. The Mont Blanc munitions ship was fully loaded and caused devastation to a large part of the town killing over 1700and injuring 5000 more; It feels so much safer now though!

We load up and head off tomorrow, (Saturday) for Truro. I'm having to be very ruthless with the’s hard but at least I still have room for my four pairs of knickers and baby-wipes, who needs anything else? (Oh yes, and my case full of pills!). Nick has a bout of "Man flu” at the moment so I'm dosing him up with Panadol and a bit of T.L.C.

By for now, Lesley.


From Nick.
Here we are on the eve of the start of the ‘Big One’ and I feel terrible!
I went down with a fever yesterday and spent most of today in bed in an effort to sweat it out; Les says it's 'Man Flu'. I can’t believe it, it’s been ages since I’ve been sick with this type of thing, and I have to get it now! Still, before I got the bug we managed to get the bike through customs with ease, if only the other countries will be this easy!
It was a case of just filling in our immigration cards on the plane and handing them in at Halifax airport customs, passports were then stamped for max, six - months stay.
Then when the bike arrived we went to the shipping company and paid a few dollars to get release documents from them. Armed with this documentation we then made our way to the Canadian immigration office in Halifax who, after a stern warning to inform them if we ever sell the bike here, they stamped the same document with their release. We then caught the ferry and bus to the auto terminal at Dartmouth, on the other side of the river to Halifax, and after the issue of another form we found the bike, checked it over for damage, signed the form and away we went; it was all so painless and easy.
It felt so good be back in the saddle for the short ride to Peggy’s Cove, a quant fishing village, which turned out to be a tourist trap and full of tourist coaches, we got out of there quickly!
Now the bike is parked out the front of the hostel in all her glory, all we’ve got to do is remember how to pack our stuff onto her, - enough kit to last 3 years!!!!!!
Anyway, that’s all for now folks, tomorrow we’re heading west, until we find another internet cafe, bye for now. Nick & Les.

Niagara Falls. 6thJuly.

   Wow, an amazing feat of nature, not surprisingly turned into a tacky tourist attraction but not to be missed still the same. We then left back towards Toronto and promptly got lost in the city eventual finding our way using ‘boy scout’ navigation! That night we found another campsite which turned out to be the most expensive, well it did have Yogi Bear at the gate!!

Sat 8th;      Riding around the great lakes, Huron then Superior, the roads are well surfaced and gently sweeping bends. 'Road kill' consists of racoon, porcupine and skunk! Superior, the world’s biggest freshwater lake looks like an inland sea. The sun shone as we entered Mohawk territory where we found another cheap motel at White River, east of Thunder Bay.

Sun 9th;    Followed Route 17 towards Thunder Bay and had our first sighting of a black bear, only 25yds in front of us it cantered across looked as though it needed a hug but the locals advised against it!  Several cyclists follow the Trans Canada Highway and I wondered how they get on with the bears? Today we went through another time zone gaining another hour. We stopped the night at Ignace after a record 417 mile day and a real numb bum!

Montreal; 9th July 2006. 

Hi all, Just a quick note. We’re at a place called White River, along north side of Lake Superior, Canada; 2000 miles done in 6 days riding with a rest day in Montreal at the Jazz Festival. Weather’s not too bad with the odd rainy day. Had a great time with the Montreal IPA team; some great pics to follow. All’s well with us both, more detailed update to follow soon.  Regards,    Nick

Mon 10th;   From Ignace, Ontario we travel along Route 17 and move into Manitoba province riding a gently undulating 2 lane which occasionally goes to 3 for overtaking. The trees gradually thin out and rockier outcrops become commonplace. Then suddenly the trees disappear and all we have are massive paddocks as far as the eye can see under a huge sky; this was much the same before, and after, Winnipeg. At a place called Gladstone, west of Winnipeg, we find a campsite, though It’s not until we’ve set up camp that I realise we are next to the railroad! The trouble with this travelling lark is that we don’t get time to exercise or should I say, make time, so tonight we start jogging!!!

Tues 11th;   We leave Gladstone and ride into another province, Saskatchewan. We follow Route 16, Yellow Head route west. We pass a train consisting of 3 engines and 127 wagons! Must have been a mile long! We wave and the driver toots. Rolling country side brings us into Saskatoon and our rest day where I’m writing this update using our landlady’s laptop at our hotel, the College Drive Visitor Lodge, Saskatoon. I got the details out of the rough guide to Canada handbook, and a little gem it is too and well worth a stay.

So far we’ve covered 3386 miles; the longest day was 424mls in 10 days riding. It’s not been all easy but rewarding all the same, only a few more thousand miles to Alaska! The bike is running fine but I’m going to look for a BMW dealer to do an 18k service. The ‘Hood Jeans’ are great and so comfortable, thanks Chris. The MSR Dragonfly stove, which I bought at home and is much cheaper over here, does what it says on the box. The Autocom rider to pillion radio works well but eats batteries; I wish I’d plumbed it to the bikes electrics before we left like Eddie suggested! Tomorrow we head North West towards Edmonton and eventually the Rockies.               

From Les

Hi all. Everything is fine so far. The man flu has disappeared and things are looking up. We are now on the North bank of Lake Superior at White River the place that Winnie the Pooh came from. We are having a treat tonight in a nice motel but have been camping and covering about 300 miles a day. Glad I have the 'AirHawk' saddle!!! Heading for Thunder Bay tomorrow and then towards Winnipeg area. Best wishes to you all. Les

Thought of the day. STRESSED spelt backwards is DESSERTS...TREAT YOURSELF TODAY!!

Saskatoon; 13th July 2006.
   After 3386 miles in 10 days we are having a rest-day at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan province. Moving west, we’ve past through several time zones gaining an hour each time;

Canada is B - I - G.
After leaving Halifax we travelled west into New Brunswick and camped at Fredericton. We were only on the site a few minutes when another camper plied us with beer! Everyone we’ve met so far has been so friendly and very interested in our plans.
The bike was leaking oil from an after-market locking cap I had fitted before we left home so I’ve put a new cap and fittings on which seems to have cured the problem. Petrol is cheap at about 60 pence a litre and with the bike doing 51mpg - happy days! Food is also cheap also but the beer’s not!
We had problems with our credit cards working at petrol stations; they have to tap in the numbers by hand as they won’t swipe although they seem OK at ATMs, thank goodness!
On entering Quebec most people speak French so I had a few occasions to practice my schoolboy French!
The countryside changed from forests to more paddocks and rolling hills where the roads started to get busy. The Trans Canada highway, which we’ve been following most of the way, changes from duel to single to triple but, for the majority of the time, the surface is good. I’m thinking we could have done the trip on a more comfortable road bike as opposed to our giant trailie, never seen so many Harley's and Gold Wings!
On our arrival in Montreal, I went straight into the city centre and found the tourist information office. They searched and found a comfortable hotel closed to the centre of town. We then walked a few minutes to the Jazz music festival area and watched a variety of styles of music on eight different stages, a great atmosphere. I made contact with Andre Langlois, an International Police Association rep here and before we new it we were taken out, wined, dined and met up with the region’s President, Gilles Theberge who presented us with a few gifts. I also had my photo taken with a couple of Montreal's finest, see the photos in the GALLERY. All in all it was quite an overwhelming evening considering it had been arranged in a matter of hours, a big thank you to Montreal IPA.
We left Montreal and headed towards Toronto, big motorways and very very busy. Even on the motorway the posted speed limit is 100kph or 62mph in real money. No one keeps to it mind you, HGVs jog along at 70-80mph! We camped just outside Toronto in one of the national parks; an excellent campsite, but again we were bitten by the dreaded mossies.


From Les

Saskatoon, 13th July 06.

So far so good! I am actually surprised how good I feel. I'm sure the ‘Air-Hawk’ saddle pad must have something to do with it and also the fact that we are pacing ourselves by endeavouring to take a 10 minute break every hour or so. We have been lucky enough with the weather, though day 2 was wet from start to finish and, for a moment, we wondered what we had let ourselves in for but next morning we were back in bright sunshine and off we go again.

We are breaking ourselves in gently and getting to know the bike, ourselves and our routines are becoming second nature.

One of the first things that struck me was that nearly all the houses are Pre-Fab's. On the main highways on the outskirts of towns you see House shops! The houses come in all shape and sizes and you can choose the colour and type of plastic veneer, even the brick effect plastic looks like real brick, from a distance.

People are so friendly and stop to chat and suggest places to stop off at, such as Montreal for the jazz festival which we thoroughly enjoyed along with a pleasant evening with members of the I.P.A. Montreal is a lovely city, totally French, with old and new complimenting each other; we could have been in the middle of Paris!

Toronto is a navigation nightmare! Stick to the ‘boy scout’ way, it’s better than maps. Niagara Falls, once you manage to fight your way through the hundreds of tourists with junk food, is something to behold. They are truly magnificent although not as high as I had thought but 600mtrs wide. I tried to imagine being there before it became a tourist trap and it was awesome.

We initially averaged about 300mls a day but for the past couple of days have been just over 400. Julia and Kevin Saunders really were outstanding and we now realise that their ride from North to South was not only ‘record breaking’ but ‘back breaking’! There is no way I would have made it.

On the stretch of road between Toronto and north/west towards Massey and Thunder Bay I had noticed small piles of rocks that were all arranged in the same way. We were in Mohawk country and apparently the North American and Alaskan Indians laid stones to guide lonely travellers to food and shelter. "Inukshuk" figures are in the likeness of man and represent strength, leadership and motivation. All stones support each other. I felt as though I was being protected along that part of the road.

White River has two claims to fame, (1) coldest temp recorded -75deg and (2) the place Winnie the Pooh came from before he was donated to London Zoo.

The roads in this area have become sweeping, rising and falling along the shore side of Lake Superior, (which looks more like the sea with a few wooded islands dotted about).

At Thunder Bay in Ontario we stopped at the Terry Fox memorial which overlooked the Bay. I remember seeing a very moving documentary about this remarkable young man who, despite loosing a leg from cancer at 18, decided to run a marathon a day to bring awareness and generate funds for further cancer research. He died after running 26 mls a day for 143days, just short of his 23 birthday, 3339miles in total.

The scenery is changing, the prairies are flat like the fens and there are miles and miles of Oil seed rape fields (Canola), so yellow everywhere. I'm looking forward to the mountains but so far it has all been good.

Negative point .......Inflatable pillow leaked!

Wed 12th July; Rest day at Saskatoon.
   We had a great couple of night at the `College Drive Lodge` with the most friendly of hostess you’d want to meet; she even lent me her laptop and I didn’t break it!  The borrowing the laptop came about because, after having only an hour at the local library, not finding an internet cafe in town and coming back a bit fed up, our lovely hostess/ landlady came to my rescue!
While in Saskatoon I phoned Argyll Motor Sport, a BMW Dealer in Edmonton, and arranged an 18000 ml service which was a little overdue!

Thursday 13th July,
   We left Saskatoon, (what a lovely name) and picked up the Highway 16, `Yellowhead` all the way to Edmonton, moving into the province of Alberta. It was a great day, sun and blue skies, gently rolling countryside with big valleys, miles across; paddocks and lakes for miles. Giant grain silos punctuate the horizon like the heads of buried robots. We’re in Indian country now with the odd bison roadside, fenced in and a butcher’s shop near by, must be bison burger time!!
On the way into Edmonton we looked for the campsite advertised in `Rough guide` when a car pulls alongside and the guy winds the window down and says, “Like what you’re doing man”. That statement kind of sums up the general response from the people we meet.
Found the site only a couple of miles from the bike shop where the bike’s due in early tomorrow. We phoned Gerry Vercammen, President of the IPA Edmonton region who’s coming to see us at the shop tomorrow.

Fri 14th July
   We’re up early, tent away and at the shop for 8.45am, a record! I book the bike in with the very helpful girl on service reception that will try and get the bike done early as we’re keen to get going and not lose another day. Gerry picks us up and takes us for breakfast. Bearing in mind I only phoned him last night we couldn’t have found a more helpful and friendly guide for the day in Edmonton!  Once again the family of the IPA works well. We had our breakfast at the world’s biggest shopping mall. I’ve never seen so many shops and restaurants; and how about this! a fun fair with roller coaster, Ice rink and swimming pool with wave machine, this place was huge.
We went back to the bike shop shortly after 2.30pm to find the bike still being worked on, a late start!  We hung around and are the last out of the place after 6pm. I’m fed up by now as we were hoping to get away by lunch! Oil was coming out from the rubber boot at the small oil seal pinion between the shaft drive and the rear axle, and because the mechanic hadn’t been started on the bike until late, this job couldn’t be done. I bought the seal anyway and hopefully we’ll get it done in Anchorage, Alaska. We left Edmonton, having made a friend in Gerry and being disappointed by another motorcycle dealer!  We found a campsite just 80mls west, the shortest day so far.

Sat 15th July.
   After a restless night in a campsite, with people chopping firewood well after midnight, we hit Route 43 west passing an amazing railway bridge at Rochfort. It looked like it was made of matchsticks, built in 1914 and still going strong.
At one of our hourly stops, I fitted the plug, which I bought from the bike shop yesterday, to our Autocom. Now I just plug it in each time we ride off, no more batteries. I also bought a throttle rocker, which just Velcro to the throttle twist grip and I can rest my hand rather the gripping all the time. This proves to be invaluable especially on these long straight roads.
Stopping in Grand Prairie we get a few supplies for dinner and I have to check out a hunting shop next door, rifles racked along the complete length of the shops wall, scary!
We eventually pull into Dawson Creek, the beginning of the Alaska Highway, which will be our route for a few days. We find a campsite at mile zero, we’re now in British Columbia and it’s day light until after 10pm. The campsite is full of RVs but we console ourselves by talking to a cyclist called Dave who’s cycled all the way up from Calgary, a real hero!

Sun 16th July.

   We started our ride down the Alaska Highway today from the campsite which was marked at mile 0. The highway was built in 8 months during the Second World War in an effort to get troops and equipment to Alaska to repel the Japanese; all 1168 mls of it!We stopped every hour as usual for leg stretches and coffee and every time finding someone interested by our adventure, passing on some tips or advice each time. We met a Harley group ride-out from Fort Nelson, a great bunch of people, again pointing us in the right direction! After a 376ml day we camped at Testa River campground and ranch.The countryside started to get more spectacular today, mountains and smaller twisty roads, bliss. At this site we met Jim Ciura from Grand Prairie doing a big trip himself and on the way home from Alaska, more useful exchange of info. Fell asleep to the occasional snort from the paddock of horses, or was it Les?

Monday 17th July.

   Today we followed route 97, the Alaska Highway, North West towards Watson Lake, Mountains with the odd pocket of snow on their summits. Narrow roads and bends for miles! Just after the start we passed ‘big horned’ Goats in the road reluctant to get out of the way. Then a massive moose, we had to stop and take a picture, then a Caribou herd and buffalo. Black bear and wild horses, like riding through a game reserve. We passed over a couple of bridges with a metal grill surface, made for interesting handling and the voice of concern from the back!We met up with a German couple nearing the end of their round the world ride while camping at Walker Continental Divide which had a handy restaurant.

Tuesday 18th July.

   After a ‘fat boys’ breakfast we passed through some spectacular scenery, gofers jumping out of our way nearly all day. Stopped at Teslin where we crossed over on another grilled surface bridge looking through to the raging river below. We followed The Alaska Highway to Whitehorse then turned onto the Klondike Highway towards Dawson City. After another 300ml day we camped at Carmacks, beside the Yukon River. 

Wed 19th July 06,

   We are at Dawson City in the Yukon having a day off to catch up with some washing before we cross, `The road at the Top of the World`, and into Alaska. Over 5000 miles and it's only into the third week, no it's not a race!  I will now update you from the 12th as to what has happened since I last wrote.

We left Carmacks at a record 8.45am and had only gone around a couple of bends when I swerved to avoid a gofer, then a Black bear! No time for a picture, I think it was looking for its breakfast and it wasn’t going to be us! 

We had our first serious stretch of gravel road, 28ks, loose and deep in places, relax keep the power on letting the back wheel push the front through the soft stuff and quietly scream. Drifting around the road, sort of out of control, the bike feels like an elephant not a Paris Dakar winner!!We eventually pulled into Dawson City and a step back in time, dirt roads and boardwalks. Tying my iron horse to the rail, we walked into the saloon, the dust falling of us as the spurs rang out our arrival. "Whisky’s all round" and then I woke up and jumped into the hotel hot tub! Dawson City was the centre of the gold rush in the late 1800s and they’re still panning for it, or at least the tourists are!

5441 miles done since July 1st and this is rest day 3, I think?  We had a walk around the old city, although it's more the size of one of our large villages, boy did those early prospectors have a hard time!

The hotel we’re staying at is the, `Downtown hotel` and advertises at being 'biker friendly', there’s even a bike wash bay at the back which I’ll have to make use of.

I’ve booked the bike into a BMW dealer at Anchorage to have the oil seal in the final drive fixed on Tuesday, so we’re riding the, `Top of the World Highway` into Alaska and our first visit to the USA. Some more gravel roads await us on route to Anchorage though, should be fun and, oh yes, we now need a new rear tyre!!

From Les
Dawson City; 19th July 06.

Hello one and all. Here’s hoping this update finds you all fit and well and having a good time, whatever you are up to at the moment!

We are taking a day off in this, “step back in time" Klondike shanty town, Dawson City, which is awesome. It’s just like in the movies with the dirt road and big steps to get up onto the boardwalks. There are original buildings like saloons, banks and trading posts where you cash in your gold finds. To get here the prospectors must have been a seriously hardy bunch as its difficult enough now with the dirt roads and grit like marbles. The weather has been good, although it gets very cold at night. Actually we only get slight dark-time here between 1am and 3am which makes it difficult to sleep!

No problems encountered on the way here although we have been lucky enough to see black bears, grizzly cubs, moose, caribou, fox and buffalo etc, all at a safe distance. Fortunately though, one night while camping at a working ranch campsite, the horses became very restless and I became even more nervous! Since then, whenever we stop I stamp around a lot. Actually I pretend I'm doing some stretches but really I'm trying to scare the bears....just in case!

Since the last day off we had a day kicking our heels while the bike had a service in Edmonton. We met up with another IPA member, Gerry, who took us for breakfast in the world’s biggest mall with the worlds biggest car park and fairground. It also housed a swimming pool, ice-rink, big dipper and was the size of 115 American football fields; it was all too much for me! I suppose the locals need somewhere to go in the endless winters.

Saskatchewan is the province of the "Living Sky" and lives up to its name. The sky was full of puffy clouds that don't threaten too much. The horizon is low as the sky takes up so much room you don't have to look up to see it! It's mainly arable farming in this area but much tidier and more prosperous as more oil fields have recently been discovered in the area.

Rochfort Bridge in the middle of nowhere, (there's a lot of that here) is made of wooden poles and looks like a matchstick construction. It cut across the valley linking settlements. On the way to Dawson Creek it became windy and blustery and so was hard work for Nick, who already had a niggling pain on his back. We stopped to camp and discovered that we had just gained another hour! We had a lovely fire burning the night before to keep the mozzies away so when we set the tent up it was all Smokey.

At Dawson Creek we joined the Alaska Highway and within an hour the landscape opened up and we were in spectacular hills and every bend in the road brought us to another, "Wow "scene. Muncho Lake was incredible. It was a pale milky green with mountains and pine forests surrounding it. I could have stayed there for ages but winter is approaching. It’s a place to come back to. Further on at Watson Lake we almost missed the, "Signpost Forest". A large area is covered with tall posts with signs attached. In 1942, while working on the Alaska Highway, a lonely GI erected a sign pointing to his home town and it has since been added to by people all over the world.

The roads are becoming more bendy now so there are less Harleys! Nicks enjoying it more as some of the endlessly straight roads do become a bit tedious.

We have met so many really nice people on our way so far and wish that we had time to get to know them better but we are all on the road and have a mission; lots of names and addresses have been exchanged and promises to stop by if you are passing.

Yesterday I got the Banjul belly again! And, just in the "nick of time", we came across a ‘pull-off’, (lay by) with loos, which are hidden in huts like a confessional box; I could then appreciate the scenery which again was breathtaking. I'm so glad that we started in the east and made our way up here as it gets better every day.

At the moment we are trying to decide how much further North to go as we are getting conflicting reports on the condition of the dirt roads and fuel availability. I am not as ambitious as Nick and have said that if it gets too bad I will book into a motel and he can do the last rough bit on his own. We have some research to do tomorrow, that and the weather, will be a deciding factor.

I am trying to think of any ‘down sides’ so far but can't come up with anything at the moment except, why do washing machines take so long? At least we have some clean clothes to start the rest of our adventure.

One observation....Nearly all the bikes we have seen have been so loaded up I am beginning to think that I am missing something vital. Many people look in awe wondering where we have left the trailer. I think Nick is now appreciating how good I am at minimalist and grubby!

Till the next time....Lesley.

Anchorage, Alaska; 24th July 2006.
   Here we are at Anchorage, Alaska, having another rest day; enforced due to the maintenance on the bike tomorrow. It’s important that we get the oil seal on the rear wheel final drive repaired and a fit a couple of tyres. We left Dawson City and crossed the Yukon River by ferry, then climbed up onto and over, `The Top of the World Highway`.
We stopped at the boarder post at Poker creek, had our passports stamped and carried on a dirt road slipping and sliding, meandering around the tops of the mountains. It surprised me that the road was worse on the American side, but Fantastic roads all the same, and views as far as the eye could see, as it said on the package, “The Top of the World”. One surprising thing is that most of the forests along this road had, at some time, been burnt, and as we rounded one bend, there in the distance was another forest fire. We managed to get around it but heard later that the road had been closed, that was close!
After dropping down out of the mountains, we finally camped at a place called, `Tok`, a great site with a Blue Grass band playing that very evening. The following day we left `Tok` heading down the Glen Highway towards Anchorage.
From the moment we left the campsite we entered the longest road works I’ve ever been along, about 50mls of gravel, shale and sometimes when we’re lucky, compressed mud! Seems I’m getting used to the loose riding now and other than the odd moment when you hit a deep bit, it’s not too bad until we had two punctures which I only noticed when we stopped at a café. All the time I thought it was the loose surface. The vibrations loosened a bolt holding the panniers on but I fixed it with some plastic straps given to me by the cafe owner; (make a note), must buy some! Punctures were fixed with the plugs and we carried on to `Palmer` riding through more spectacular scenery of ‘snow capped’ mountains and glaciers. We saw our first, `Andy Mick` Bald Eagle! A beautiful sight, that’s the Bald Eagle not Andy!
Camped at `Palmer`, only 40 odd miles from Anchorage. In the morning we found the tyre flat again! Fixed it the same way and made for Anchorage before it went down again. No more problems, we found a camp site within walking distance from, ‘down town’. Initially it looked a bit dodgy but turned out fine. Our neighbours,’ either side of us, were kind of pre-eminent with issues, but really friendly, one of them even giving me a book on Alaska to read.
You wouldn't believe it, but today, the 24th, we just literally bumped into Lesley’s cousin from Australia. We were just looking out of the window of the restaurant where we were having breakfast, and there they were!  Sharon, Mark and their son Joshua; It’s a small world!
Tomorrow we get the bike fixed and head north towards Fairfax and the final push to the top and the Arctic Circle.
Saw this little saying at a cafe, very appropriate I think?
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside thoroughly used up, totally worn out and proclaiming, “Wow, what a ride”!
I’ve done the broadside bit but pity about the ditch!

From Les

On Top of the World, Anchorage, Alaska. 25th July 06.

   Well folks, I have been there! We Left Dawson City on a beautiful morning and took a quick FREE ferry ride over the Yukon and then began to climb. It was wonderful! Hardly any other traffic and you could see for miles. It really was the, ‘Top of the World Highway and I am so glad we went. The American border was interesting and I had to be good, I think we disturbed the staff from reading the paper but at least I got a picture of a Moose in my passport.

The scenery has changed again and once in Alaska it was evident that they have had lots of forest fires. In places, all you can see for miles is what looks like charcoal sticks pointing skyward. The roads are to be seen to be believed, but I am happy to report that a good job is bound to be done as more than half the road workers are women! It's great to see them in their monster road rollers and dump trucks; Girl power !!

The camp site in the town of Tok was great! We had our first introduction to Blue Grass music and sour-dough bread; a fun evening.

50 miles of ploughed road, shale and rocks gave us 2 punctures in the rear tyre, hence our 2 days enforced stop in Anchorage. The site is rubble and the rail track runs 5ft from my head but it’s cheap. I also bumped into my cousins Sharon, Mark and Joshua who are on holiday from Melbourne, Australia. Small world! Great to see them again though.

Over the past weeks I have been asked by fellow campers, "How do you manage for clothes”? Well, 4 pairs of socks and knickers, Long-Johns, tops and bottom (Pyjamas), 3 T-shirts and vest T-shirt, swim suit (not worn), Bikini (not worn but will double up as undies if I get caught short), Hood jeans (excellent and very comfy) when biking, light trousers with zip off for shorts, 2 bras, flip flops and trainers, 2 long sleeve light shirts and my MP3 player! The idea is to wash undies in the shower and hang them on the indicators to dry overnight. Nick forgot his once! Very embarrassing discovery at the first coffee stop!

Talking of washing.....We heard the true sad tale of the R.V. driver who had to stop for repairs after having travelled along some of the rough dirt roads that we have travelled on. Apparently the washer/dryer in the RV bounced through the floor and made a big hole! Next time I will let you know about RV's..... All the best, Lesley.

P.S. Downside so far.....Sense of humour failure trying to decipher 2 maps of different scale and perspective to find BMW shop when hungry!

Fairbanks, Alaska; 28th July 2006.
   Hi all. We're at Fairbanks, Alaska. All's well, I'll send you and update next time we find an internet terminal which we can take over for a few hours!
All the best, Nick

Whitehorse, Yukon.  31st July 2006.
   On the campsite at Anchorage we had a good conversation with our friendly neighbours, a great couple of guys. We drank beer together and I was given a great book on Alaska and the early travellers/explorers. We had arrived at the `The Motorcycle Shop` in Anchorage, early and they started on our bike straight away. The pinion oil-seal from the final drive to rear wheel was replaced and two new Avon Distanzia tyres fitted. There was more 'block tread' on these and hopefully they would be better suited to the gravel tracks than the Bridgestone TrailWings?
While at the shop we met, Franz from Holland, also on a world tour but doing it in manageable size chunks; we gleaned lots of advice and guidance over lunch. We left Anchorage on Route 1 to Palmer then Route 3 North towards Fairbanks.
I bought a new pair of boots as the old, `gay bar boots` split. I am now the proud owner of a pair of Carhart waterproof, calf length lace ups, which should last for ever and can be used when I get my sled and dog team in the winter! It didn’t take long before I tried out the water-proofing on the boots though when we rode into very heavy rain!  We stopped for the night at Willow Creek at a river-side campsite with the biggest salmon I’ve ever seen swimming upstream. We had a great night in the bar chatting with the locals who were all very friendly, filling us in with their life in Willow. Half way through the evening a moose ran through the car park and is narrowly missed by a semi on the highway! Nothing unusual about that it seems!

Wed 26th July
   With a thick head, after one to many beers, we left Willow following Route 3, the Parks Highway towards Fairbanks. Low clouds covered the Denali National Park mountain range, which contained the tallest mountain in North America, Mt McKinley at 20,320ft. The scenery was still fantastic. We ran into some more heavy rain which forced us to stop and take shelter under the eves of a nearby museum. We still got soaked all the same but I’m pleased to say the Avon tyres, once bedded in, were behaving quite well and the oil leak had stopped. We rode into Fairbanks like two wet puppies and went straight to a motel to dry out.

Thursday 27th July.
   Today was the big day, the final push north. We started at the Fairbanks tourist info centre and enquired on the state of the Dalton Highway or the `Haul route` as used by the locals. We’d been warned about the road surface, or rather the lack of it, and they weren’t wrong. After a few miles of Tarmac from Fairbanks we turned off onto the Dalton and straight onto gravel. Speed was right down until I got the hang of riding the loose stuff again and gradually the speed crept back up with the odd surprise of a deep bit which caused the odd scream, and it wasn’t from Les; sometimes I wish we hadn’t got the Autocom!
With lorries coming the other way, and being on quite a narrow track, the ‘size rules’ came into action and we gave way the big guys. On the whole, the trucks backed off a bit and didn’t shower us too much in gravel; we even got the odd wave as they passed. The route followed the Alaska pipeline up to the north coast town of Prudoe Bay, 400 odd miles away. We stopped for lunch at a shanty town made from Portacabins beside the Yukon River. Fuelled up we headed up to the Artic circle where we decided to stop and head back after a couple of pictures taken for us by a French guy and his mate who celebrated their arrival with red wine and salami!
We read posters at the site warning us of several wolf attacks on tourists, one of which was on a motorcyclist; the wolf, no doubt, thinking he was a caribou. Seems moose don’t go to Spec Savers then? With our time at 66deg 33min north we headed south again, and back to Fairbanks and this time a campsite.
We had just punched in a long day of 422mls, 200 of which was on dirt roads. It made for, without doubt, the hardest days riding I’ve ever done!

 Fri 28th July 
   We left Fairbanks and followed Route 2 down to Delta Junction and the start of the Alaska Highway south. Following this down to Tok again but a different campsite this time, aimed at bikers and run by a Harley man, Brian Thompson. Eagle Claw Campsite was fairly basic but very clean and a friendlier host you’d never meet. Les and I spent the evening chatting around the campfire and drinking Brian’s homebrew!

From Les
Whitehorse, Yukon. 31st July 06

    We have now been on the road for a month and covered 7,500mls in the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen, and we are still talking!

The staff at the bike shop in Fairbanks were really friendly and pointed us in the direction of coffee and a nearby diner. We spent time with Franz from Holland and swapped notes before we were back on the road by mid afternoon. Unfortunately it had been grey all day and it had now decided to rain and there are no roundabouts to scrub the new tyres in, so we headed towards Fairbanks – gently! We did think about a Motel for the night but opted for a campsite by the river in Willow and erected the tent in the rain, dumped our gear in and fled to the bar/restaurant. What a good call! The locals were so open and friendly and within an hour they have begun to tell us their life stories.

Some people have said that travelling as a couple stops the locals chatting and that you are much better off as an individual. I have found that I have been drawn into conversations with women who have a very hard life and have to be tough but below the hard talk they crave a girly chat. This is not my speciality, but I am coping! I was even given the recipe for meatloaf and cabbage rolls, (which I conveniently forgot). That evening in the bar was really an education about close knit communities. Nick also has inside info on fishing and dog management, and I'm sure we would be welcome back there anytime.

We missed out on seeing the Denali National Park due to very low cloud and rain and boy did it rain, we had to run for shelter. Fortunately the weather changed when we set out for our 200-mile ‘off road’ trip along the Dalton Highway (Haul road as the locals call it), to the Arctic Circle. What a brilliant day! We did 422 miles of which 200 were on dirt roads. It is all scary stuff but exhilarating at the same time, (my driver was 1st class). The scenery was awesome! The hills were steep at times, then rolling and suddenly, you might find yourself in a wide, flat valley surrounded by hills all pink with fireweed flowers. Wooden bridges crossed small rivers and it was so quiet and peaceful.

At the Arctic Circle we met the first bikers of the day. Two Frenchmen who had just celebrated with a bottle of wine ...we were 5mins too late! That’s what I call forward planning!

Warning signs had been posted as a large pack of wolves had recently chased a motorcyclist for several miles, I understand he survived with 1 bite on his leg. We didn't want to give them a second chance so retraced our way back on the dirt and rubble for another white knuckle ride. Boy did we sleep well that night!

The road from Fairbanks to Tok starts off flat and dual carriageway but later it becomes stunning with snow-capped mountains on your right and lower tree-clad hills on the left. At times like this I am glad I'm passenger so I get time to take it all in. We stayed in the biker camp at Tok and were entertained by Brian the host who plied us with Eagles Claw Alaska Mixed Berry cordial (100% proof) and his walrus tooth peace-pipe. We eventually got to bed just before dusk at 1.30am!

Everyday the scenery changes, on so many occasions it’s hard to describe. I am so glad we have travelled east to west as it keeps getting better. Kaluane Valley Park is amazing mountains, glaciers, lakes and pools. We watched a large Moose wading in a lake whilst eating weed. Suddenly he broke into a trot and duck dived underwater. He came up blowing bubbles and made another dive. Amazing stuff.... Lesley.

Sat 29th July,
   I woke this morning with someone else’s head on, what was that stuff I drank last night?? We left Tok and followed Route 2 to Beavers Creek and back into Canada and the Yukon. Passport control couldn’t have been more relaxed and another stamp entered the book. The road into Canada was bad with, what could only be described as a selection of whoops. Les and I had a system, I called out ,`up` and we both stood up on the pegs taking the shock out of the bump, this must have looked funny to the passing traffic, but worked well. It was on the same road an RV driver told me his washer/dryer went through the floor of his vehicle, I wasn’t surprised!
One beautiful sight was of a male moose wading and grazing in a roadside lake. He had a massive head of antlers, a scene straight out of National Geographic. I took a couple of pictures and I hope they come out.
We carried on to the, Kluane Wilderness Village where, they didn’t really have tent sites but found a piece of grass out the back for us, what’s more, there was even a washing machine so now I could see Les at her best!

Sun 30th July
   With clean clothes we left Kluane. With the sun shining, blue skies and surrounded with snow-capped mountains we followed Route 1 towards Whitehorse. We had hoped to catch the Alaska Marine Highway from Haines to Prince Rupert, but when I phoned up they were booked through to August 10th so we’ll have to ride; no worries though, with this fantastic scenery. We were just commenting that we hadn’t seen any wild life when I ran over it - a Gopher! I hate it when that happens. We got into Whitehorse and found a campsite, Yukon riverside again and decided to have another rest day tomorrow - Mon.

Mon 31st July. Whitehorse.     
   A leisurely day as we wandered up to the dam where the salmon will climb the stairway to the next level as the dam is in the way; humans interfering with nature in a nice way! We watched floatplanes takeoff and land in a nearby lake then found the library and write this update.
Things are going well. The first month of our adventure draws to a close, 7500mls and it’s gone so quickly. Both of us are enjoying the experience and the riding although a lot of miles have been covered it’s been so easy and the more we do, the fitter to the job we’re becoming. The bike, although filthy at the moment and with the leak fixed and new tyres, is going well.
We’re going to do the accounts and see how much over the budget we’ve gone! I keep telling Les that the further south we go the cheaper it will get and eventually all balance out! Alaska I have to say, although a beautiful state is expensive with gas just a little cheaper then us.
Oops, time's up on this terminal, till next time, Nick.

From Les
Squamish, British Columbia. 8th August 2006.

    We had two lovely relaxing days camping in Whitehorse, getting some exercise walking around the town; we seem to be a bit slack on the exercise front. We have only managed one run out in the evening and the rest of the time we do a few yoga stretches and hope for the best. Nick in particular has lost quite a bit of weight and my jeans are becoming looser so I've probably lost a pound or two. The meals over here are vast and we tend to have a decent breakfast and the "one pot" meals Nick likes to cook over the camp stove which is fast but sounds like a jet engine but at least it frightens the bears away!

From Whitehorse we retraced our steps a little till we got onto the Cassier Highway heading towards Prince George. The road was rough in places with plenty of wildlife, especially bears! We experienced the coldest night of the whole trip in a basic Provincial camp site by Kinskan Lake. It was beautiful but freezing cold; I almost ran out of clothes to put on inside my sleeping bag ...and then it rained!

The Cassier Highway is supposed to be one of the prettiest remote roads in Canada. I didn't see much for the rain and it was definitely remote! We were glad to arrive at Stewart, passing the Bear Glacier which looks blue and very cold. Stewart and Hydra are almost joined and the highlight of our stay was watching a mother grizzly catching salmon in the river to feed her 3 cubs. It was magical and even though there were 50+ people watching, the bears seemed not to notice. The cubs tried to copy Mum and tried to catch their own fish unsuccessfully as the fish were bigger than them. It was just like something in the National Geographic magazines.

Unfortunately I was struck down with the stomach bug again for 24hrs but I tried to be brave.

From Stewart we headed into the logging area of Canada and Prince George.....and that’s all I have to say about that!

In our guide book is says that the Caribou Highway is boring but I beg to disagree. I found it beautiful because it was different again with its soft rolling pastures with cows and horses grazing and lovely Dutch barn type log cabins and neat farmyards, (A farmer’s daughter you know!)

British Columbia is under plague of the beetle that burrows under the pine tree bark cutting off its circulation and leaving it brown and dead. It is awful to see hill sides completely devastated. Apparently man is partly responsible as he has the ability to prevent or suppress fire that years ago would have swept through the area and destroyed the trees but also the culprits; we have a lot to answer for!

Its getting busier now the closer we get to Vancouver and I would quite happily turn back towards Alaska but I know there's much more to see and this is just the beginning of the great adventure.....and we are still talking!

Bye for now, Lesley

PS; Something that made me smile.... we met an old lady in a car park who immediately started to chat. She was 89 and had recently turned her car over. The ambulance was called and as far as she was aware she had no injuries until they cut the seatbelt and she landed on her head! Some while later, at home with a packet of frozen peas on her head and her purse $300 lighter in the pocket, (ambulance fee), she realised she was filthy dirty and is convinced she paid her money to be dragged home behind the ambulance! She then hopped into a tatty Merc and drove off leaving us open mouthed. There are some serious characters out here and we have met quite a few already.


Port Renfrew; 13th August 2006.
   We left Whitehorse on 1st Aug and followed Route 1 through Johnson’s crossing and Telsin Lake, once again beautiful scenery blue skies and sun, but cold; we had to stop and put the lining back in our jackets!
We had to retrace a short section of the route we took on the way up, but still looks fantastic whichever way you look at it.
We camped the night at Nugget City at the junction with Route 37, The Cassiar Highway. Here we met a fantastic Dutch couple from New Zealand. They were about to Pedal cycle the Cassiar, Miles of wilderness, ------ Respect.
In the morning, when we eventually got up, the cyclists had already gone!
Following them an hour later and only after a few minutes we saw a black bear on the roadside licking his lips, had he had meals on wheels for breakfast? Fortunately we caught up our cycling friends and all’s well!
The Cassiar highway is a combination of metalled and dirt road and proved to be the closest we came to taking a ‘fall all’ trip. They occasionally degrade the dirt surface by chewing it up and re rolling, but doing this they leave a ridge of 6in deep gravel which we had to cross, tank-slapper induced out of control ness followed and another short scream from the pilot! We made it!
We camped the night at Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park, a lovely site but plagues of mozzies.
On the mozzie front, I had to make a small complaint to Chris, of HOOD Jeans. Although the Trousers are really comfortable, the Kevlar needs to go the full length of the trouser leg as the mozzies can bite through the lower section!!!!! Other than that they’re great and considering we’re virtually living in them they’re as good as new.
Kinaskan Lake proved to be the coldest nights sleep yet, frost on the tent when we got up; time to head south I think?
We carried on down the Cassiar turning off onto the 37A to Stewart where we camped in the town’s only site.
Stewart is a great old frontier town with Alaska only a couple of kms away and the town of Hyder. When we had a wander around after putting the tent up we decided to stay a couple of nights, the place had something about it we just had to explore some more.
On the way into Stewart we saw the Bear Glacier and on a ride through Hyder and up into the mountains, on more dirt roads, we saw the Salmon Glacier. But the highlight of the visit was standing on a boardwalk beside a river teaming with salmon, and watching a mother Grizzly Bear and her three cubs fishing. It was a scene straight out of national geographic magazine.
Here, at Stewart, we met Charles, a Brit from Guernsey touring on a Gold wing and also having a great adventure.
We left Stewart on Sat 5th August; Les wasn’t feeling too well so we took it easy following the 37A to Meziadin junction and then 37 to Kitwanga 16 south to Smithers where we had a grass pitch, the first in ages. Les obviously not too well as she fell asleep on the back!!!
From Smithers to Prince George straight down the Route 16.
In British Columbia they have a problem with the mountain pine beetle which is slowly killing the trees. You would see small areas of brown trees with healthy ones surrounding them. Where we had seen forest fire damage now we’re seeing beetle damage, and apparently because the freighting is more efficient the beetles thrive, you just can’t win!
We left Prince George after a tense breakfast in a nearby dinner where a fight nearly broke out followed by a road rage incident the first aggressive actions since we’d been over here. I miss the wilderness of the Yukon and Alaska, too many people here!
We got onto Route 97 south and the Caribou highway to Clinton, the countryside getting mountainous with the road following the valleys
At Clinton we met Rich and Judy from the US on their way home from Alaska, and had a pleasant evening over a bottle of wine.
Heading into serious mountains we left Clinton following the 97 and then onto the 99 towards the well known ski resort of Whistler. It rained non stop for miles so we had to treat ourselves to a hotel at a place called Squamish.
From Squamish we rode into Vancouver and heaving traffic. We found, John Vaulks, BMW dealer who I booked the bike in for its 24-thousand mile service the following day; a really friendly dealership who pointed us in the right direction to the youth hostel at Jericoe beach. A great spot for a couple of nights even though it was in a dorm, but cheap and for us, that’s good!
Whilst travelling we keep bumping into people we’ve met before and that happened here where we met a German chap on his KTM who we’d seen at Hyder a few days ago.
Here at the hostel they provided good food at backpackers prices so no need to break out the stove!
We shared the dorm with several couples amongst them a Swiss couple who were working their way around the world by cycle, we found our paths may cross again in Mexico in January!
Got the bike serviced; only an oil/filter change and rub down with an oily rag, also the final drive pinion oil seal has gone again but it will have to wait till we have the next big service in the states.
While the bike was being done we wandered around Granville Island, a very touristy spot but quite nicely refurbished docks area.
We caught the ferry from Horseshoe bay across to Vancouver Island fighting our way through the traffic and trying two campsites until we found another provincial park one at Bamerton.
I seemed to loose my sense of humour today and got a bit stressed-out, we need to take it more easily. I’m hurting from the riding, the saddles so uncomfortable and my back is playing up again. It’s difficult getting comfortable two up and the oil seal keeps blowing. Les dropped the Autocom wire on the exhaust, so that doesn’t work anymore!!
Following the coast road clockwise around the island starting south we followed the road to is end at Port Renfrew where we’ve found a campsite on the cliff overlooking the sea, fantastic and we’re having a couple of days R&R here.
The road along the coast was extremely twisty, short straights with tight, sometimes hairpin bends over hillcrests, the side and center-stand grinding out or was it the cylinder head? I’m sorry, that familiar thump in the back from the pillion, no communications - yes! Smiles for miles, I feel better, Pooley`s back!!!!!!!

Merritt, Vancouver; 19th August 2006.
   I think we hit the wall; 10,000mls in just over the month!  Some people do that mileage in a year, and if your name is Darren, in a lifetime! Our trusty webmaster, Eddie even told us to slow down, but I was concerned that we needed to get to Alaska before winter, now that’s done. Seeing so much every day, we got to a systems overload, anyway we’re rested now and what a great few days we’ve had.
We found a little campsite in Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island, overlooking an estuary feeding into the Pacific Ocean, half way up a cliff, covered with trees and the sun shone.
Our neighbours, Brad and Lori from Chilliwack, BC, were the best you’d want, feeding us steak dinner and a fry up breakfast, all cooked on an open fire.
We got some gas at the marina nearby and watched a black bear on the other side of the river making sandcastles, or at least that what it looked like, or perhaps burying a fisherman for a snack later.
We left Renfrew on Monday 14th, following dirt roads that the logging trucks use. We cut the corner of the island and wound our way to Ucluelet where we camped in a surf-dude resort, lucky to get in as everywhere was full. We followed the coast road towards Tofino passing through the Pacific Rim Park. At Tofino we walked around the very touristy town and watched the float planes takeoff and land in the bay appearing to narrowly miss the whale watching boat trips leaving port.
From here we retraced our route along Route 4 towards Port Alberni stopping off to look at some giant pine trees, the oldest 800yrs old.
We got to Nanoose Bay, just north of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, and Mick and Karen’s fantastic home. They moved out here from Norfolk after Mick retired and are running a guest house, `Seablush Accommodation` offering a 3-bed roomed, self-contained, basement apartment, standing in seven acres and a stones throw from the coast, if you’re a professional pitcher! On a beautiful wooded hillside; with only a few minutes from the ferry terminal this location is ideally situated to explore the island. Bookings can be made directly with Mick via Email;

Whilst staying at Mick’s we met another family from Norfolk, Andy, Helen & kids.
Mick arranged for his friend All to show us a bit of the east coast on his Harley. I had already emailed All before we left the UK for mileage and travel timings so we were not total strangers. We had a great ride up the coast on a beautiful sunny day, following All with the occasional plume of smoke billowing out from his Harley as he lit another cigar, how cool is that? We stopped for lunch at a marina restaurant, and met All`s wife, Gail who just managed a quick lunch in her busy businesswoman life. Another beautiful couple who I only wish didn’t live so far away from us.
We left Mick’s and caught the ferry from Nanaimo and an enjoyable hour and half cruise back to Vancouver city.
We followed Route 1 to Hope where we camped in the town’s site by the river, beds are a treat but it’s nice to be back on the floor, camping again. We got talking to a selection of bikers here and it looked like there’s a rally for everyone this weekend, HOG, BMW and Sports bike riders.
We left Hope and followed Route 1 north on the Trans-Canada and Caribou gold rush highway towards Spence’s Bridge stopping at Hells Gate where the Fraser River suddenly funnels through a 38ft wide gorge, quite dramatic.
From Spence’s Bridge we turned off onto Route 8. It got very hot, the mountainsides bleached dry and only very light tree cover, similar to the south of Spain. We camped at Merrit, the country music capital of Canada, or so the sign said. Unfortunately, we didn’t know we were camped next to the town’s lumber mill and the night shift were on!!
The bike’s running well, the pinion oil seal’s still leaking, in fact it’s getting worse, still, brings back memories of my Norton and leaving a drip of oil as if marking its territory! I’m going to get it fixed when we get into the US. I’m still looking for a sheepskin to cover the saddle in the hope it will improve the comfort. However, after having ridden with All, I’m tempted to call in at a Harley dealer and see if I can do a part ex, then all I need are the cigars! Thanks All.


From Les
Merritt, Vancouver; 19th August 2006.

   Our night of luxury in the hotel in Squamish was the deciding factor for us. We had been so concerned about the weather in Alaska that we have been riding hard and covering a lot of ground and now we need some "chill time".
We arrived in Vancouver and found John Valk's BMW shop without too much stress. John, his staff and customers were very helpful and sent us to the Hostel International at Jericho beach. We had bunks in a ‘couples’ room in the old Floatplane-pilot's quarters, sharing with 7 other couples. We met Swiss Marie-Ann and Thomas who were cycling to Mexico. We may meet again in January...who knows? It’s a small world.
Jericho beach area is for the sporty, fit types, volleyball, Frisbee, kayaking, sailing etc....we really fitted in! Lesley, born the spectator! We did walk for miles along the beach and witnessed a spectacular sunset.
Once the bike had its little service, we caught a ferry over to Vancouver Island. On the ferry we met Laurence, biker, hockey player, plumber who told us about all the surrounding Islands and the best places to go, away from the tourist areas; thanks Laurence, we found our quiet place in Port Renfew. Two days and 12, yes only 12 miles later we were suitably refreshed thanks to our fellow campers Lori and Brad who fed us Dinner and breakfast and kept us plied with fluids. The owner didn't miss the opportunity to ask us if we had seen the resident 300lb black bear that lived behind the bins...just a little too close for my liking! No sightings thank goodness, but it does tend to stop you going to the loo in the middle of the night!

Vancouver Island is fantastic as it has everything from glaciers to long sandy beaches, rainforests and mountains. We had another couple of days pottering about taking it all in and then went to visit Mick and Karen at Nanoose Bay and stayed with them for 2 nights. They have a fantastic place and have a 3-bedroom self-contained basement apartment for holiday hire. Mick’s friend All, a Harley man took us for a ride along the coast road to the Campbell River. It was really beautiful especially as it was hot and sunny and had been for the past 5 days. We had a great day out with All followed by a special evening when we caught a little ferry to a floating restaurant for a lovely meal with Mick, Andy, Helen, Alex and Will.

The time on the Island was a real break for us which we now realise we needed but now we are ready to get on the road again. So here we are in Merritt, the ‘country music capital’ of Canada! Not quite my thing but they take it very seriously here. The countryside here is very parched and dusty and in the Fraser River gorge area the trees and bushes are looking quite autumnal. We are heading for the Horizons Unlimited rally at Nelson next weekend and till then will be exploring the Rockies and surrounding area.
The sun is shining, and the road is calling..........Till next time...Lesley.

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