As we raced down the highway, scenery flashing by, I was filled with a sense of wonder about life and a feeling of pure joy that I could never explain. It was a feeling of freedom that you just don’t experience while travelling in a car. At that moment, I totally got why J loved riding his motorcycle so much.
Then a bug ricocheted off my leg and I was snapped out of my bliss by the sharp pain. Have you ever been hit by a bug while going over 100km an hour? It’s incredibly uncomfortable and I discovered why they make motorcycle pants so thick. Not only are you saved from serious road rash if the unthinkable happens, you’re also protected from kamikaze honey bees. I’m told dragon fly’s are the worst though.
This latest adventure was my first long distance motorcycle trip. We rode 1385 km in 3 days through Southern Alberta and British Columbia. It’s difficult being a passenger when you love driving as much as I do, however, without a motorcycle license or a motorcycle, I didn’t have a choice. I got used to it pretty quick though and enjoyed the beautiful sights around me.
We took off Saturday morning with J and his parents (a bit of a language barrier since they only know a few English words and my French is almost nonexistent), and headed towards Creston, BC via the Cowboy Trail highway. It had rained and snowed the night before so we were all dressed in our finest winter clothing. The mountains looked picture perfect with fresh white powder on their peaks and, even though I felt like a frozen turd for the first couple hundred kilometers, it was awesome.
J and I traveled this same route one year earlier on our way to Nelson, but it was a totally different experience on the bike. The motorcycle allows you to enjoy all the temperature changes (at one point the temperature dropped 10 degrees in a matter of seconds when the sun was blocked by the trees), and the smells of nature. The smells are especially pungent when you ride past a poor little skunk who lost his battle against a truck. Poor little dude. His memory lives on to permeate the nostrils of passersby.
We stayed in Creston, BC the first night, in a hotel with a Thai restaurant that has seen it’s fair share of celebrities. J and I love Thai food but his parents had only been recently introduced. The spice catches a lot of people by surprise, and I have to say there was a lot of sweating and red faces at the table that night. There may have been some tears involved but I’m not pointing any fingers. Seriously amazing food though. Go there. If it’s good enough for Steven Seagal, it’s good enough for you.
The next morning we took off for Revelstoke via the Balfour Ferry, up Highway 31, then across to Highway 6 via Highway 31A. The drive was amazing. 31A was a curvy, isolated highway, perfect for motorcycles. That little section was scary, and exciting, and I loved every second of it.
For most of the trip, we could see smoke from the forest fires burning near Creston and Washington State, but it steadily got worse as we traveled North. Heading into Revelstoke, the mountains were nonexistent, covered by a thick grey smog. Same for Golden and Banff. In two areas known for their towering peaks, it was sad to not be able to see them at all.
The second night of the trip we stayed in Revelstoke and, after an amazing breakfast at La Baguette (have the Eggs Benedict Florentine….absolutely incredible), we headed towards Calgary. We made a quick stop at Takakkaw Falls just outside of Field, BC in Yoho National Park, and I was again reminded why this is one of my favourite waterfalls. The name means “it is magnificent” in Cree, and at nearly 1000 feet high, it is truly that.
We hoped to arrive back in Calgary around 930pm so as not to ride too much in the dark, but unfortunately we were traveling Blonde and Blistered style, and things never go as planned.
Earlier that evening, a semi truck crossed the median on the highway, unfortunately resulting in a fatal collision. The highway was shut down for hours. We were blissfully unaware of this until we got caught in the parking lot that was the TransCanada Highway.
We decided to try to double back and take the secondary highway, but we weren’t the only ones with this idea and we were stuck again. Both bikes overheated and we were sitting ducks on the side of the road. Not much you can do though so we had to wait it out.
By this time it was pitch black, and we had been sitting in traffic for nearly 2 hours. We finally got going after some creative driving and headed home. A drive that should have taken less than an hour and a half ended up taking over 3 hours. Not so bad in a car, but it was torture on the bike.
All in all, it was an amazing trip and I’m so happy I got to join them. Maybe we’ll do it again when I get my own bike….