Thursday, June 05, 2003
Prince George - 1856 miles
Made it! a day early. Henning and Matt not here yet, but a quick note to all that I have arrived. I will send out a notice to subscribers tomorrow when I update with:
1 / Details of us all joining up (non sexual)
2 / More photos of all our trip to date
3 / Meet our new MASCOT!
4 / My trip from Hope to here including a meeting with a wolf!
Till then - a bien tot. Shaun
posted by Shaun; |
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Oh Canada! - 1510 Miles
I hate to say it but it feels good to finally make it to Canada. Another 540 miles yesterday has taken me well across the Canadian border to a small town appropriately named 'Hope'.
Yesterday was another good long slog on the bike, encountering many strong winds determined to slow me down and succeeding in doing so. Whilst enjoying the magnificent and breathtaking panoramas laid out before me, I was indeed (for you mum) keeping myself entertained by trying to make up new songs of such. The problem is remembering them all.
There is so much time spent on the bike and one has to be somewhat creative with ways to entertain yourself. If only there was someway of capturing all those thoughts as you are thinking them, I'm sure the three of us would have written a book by the time this trip ends.
By about 3.30 I came across Seattle, which contrary to what I hear it usually is like, was sunny and clear. I really have an affinity for Seattle and have had so since the last time I visited in 95. It is a beautiful city teeming with life and culture. The mix of both the mountains and the water nearby is breathtaking to say the least. The city feels so alive, somewhat akin to new york, but with a natural element thrown in.
Departing from Seattle after a fill up of gas (petrol) I encountered rush hour traffic, which again slowed down my process and I drudged towards the border with dogged determination. Seattle is about 140 miles from Blaine I think it is on the US side of the border, however with the traffic this took me about 3 hours so I did not reach the immigration till about 8.30pm. Strangely enough it was still bright. A sign of what is to come.
Immigration was a breeze by any standards and the Canadian officer I was dealing with was charming and extremely helpful. No bureaucratic sternness in asking me questions but a simple, down to earth friendly communication. She was in fact more concerned about me entering into Alaska and checked with US immigration, spending a considerable amount of time conversing with her US counterparts making sure I was all set for when that time arrives. A sure sign of the differences that have been put in place since 9/11 - as a Canadian she was also more concerned about the entry to the US than the border she was protecting.
There really is a change in culture, that one senses immediately after moving across that invisible line that separates these two north American countries. It is something that you feel more than seeing. A certain sort of relaxation of attitudes. Somebody has taken the video of fast forward and once again it is playing at normal speed. I must say, it is with a certain sort of relief that I welcome this.
Last night, I hit the town here - as much as one can 'hit' the town in a small Canadian locality on a monday night. It took investigating three bars before I found one that was not just about to close. I spent the rest of the evening playing pool and having delightful discussions with the locals who were more than friendly to a brother of sorts from another commonwealthian country. A truly enjoyable evening which unfortunately can't be taken up every day due to funds.
Before me as I type lays a grand splendor of peaks and valleys that make up the Canadian Rockies. Soon I will be amongst them on the bike once again on my way towards Prince George and the rest of the crew.
posted by Shaun; |
a few pics.
I see that Henning already made a post, and since I just lost my extremely well written travelogue ( I accidentally turned off the computer looking for the USB port) I'll just add a few pics. Shaun, if you can shrink these down, that would be great.
[pictures removed temporarily by shaun due to extreme size]
posted by matt; |
June snow storm in the northern hemispere.
We have been riding the Canadian plains, an amazing stretch of farm land that covers much of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Very few people and lots of empty miles. We even saw a heard of Buffalo....this time I was more careful than last, I did not get chased by a mad Buffalo Bull that can accelerate from 0 to 30 in no time flat. We also stumbled on the Canadian version of the bad-lands near Drumheller (see, even the blindest of chickens occasionally trips over a worm) and while there visited the most amazing museum that displays many of the local discoveries. The museum is the Royal Tyrrell (www.tyrrellmuseum.com) and is well worth a visit if you find yourself stuck near the northern version of the bad-lands.
Two days ago we entered the Canadian Rockies, beautiful and stunning is all that comes to mind. Spent a Night in Banff where our waitress clued us in on on the "do not miss" list between of places between Banff and Jasper. Overall Banff reminds me of an alpine ski town. I think I will have to come back here for a few runs this Winter. Much of the service staff are from Australia and many of the clients are from Austria, Switzerland and Germany. The ride from Banff to Jasper was great with breathtaking vistas, waterfalls and a stop at Lake Louise and the Columbia Ice Fields.
Spent the evening camping in Jasper, an undeveloped version of Banff. We are about to go explore some of the lakes and canyons in the area.... after, Matt gets some screws, nuts and bolts which appear to have magically disappeared from his bike 8-).
Sideline on good and bad service we encountered:
The encounter with BMW Winnipeg left me a bit sour. BMW North America does not keep enough parts in stock at its dealerships. As a result I was not able to get a matching set of tires for the bike unless I was willing to deal with a two day wait. Not the service I would expect from a Company that advertises that their bikes are ideal for long distance travel. As for the actual dealer, their staff was friendly and squeezed us into their service schedule. THX again guys.
Stumbled across a HSBC Bank in Winnipeg and decided it might be wise to pick up some travelers checks. What a great organization the rep Alison McDonald got me the checks without any issues or charges. Guess HSBC has the international banking bit down better than most.
posted by Henning; |
Monday, June 02, 2003
Position Report - 1st June
posted by Shaun; |
Corn and Snow - 970 Miles
Man, this not working is exhausting stuff - and it's still the weekend!
I am currently in Eugene, Oregon in a nice little motel with DSL of all things. It there anywhere where we won't find internet access soon??
The past day and some, has been a flurry of colors and small towns all the way from LA to where I am now. I have been trying to make as best time as I possibley can, unfortunately at the cost of seeing some of the sights that have been passing me, in more detail.
I left LA yesterday around 1.30pm after finishing the tiring work of packing all my gear. Lucky enough that everything got on the bike and I didn't have to throw anything away. I have probably packed more that I will need for the whole trip, but I think it is better to pack more at this stage and let the rules of the road decide what I'll be using and what I won't. It is easier and cheaper to remove the extra 'baggage' than buy more gear on the road. hmmm. a connotation comes to mind relating that to life . . .
Middle California is a cacophony of color – most of it golden with the fields of dreams that feed 170 people for every farmer in the US. The highest agricultural productivity of any civilization to date. Ah-hem. Anyway, There were so many great photo opportunities but if I were to stop for them all I would still be only 60 miles from LA. So my two great inventions of yesterday were a helmet cam that would read where one was looking and be able to capture to digital. The second was a pillow with the softness of a bed of roses and the delightful massaging action of a haram of burbur call girls and specially shaped to fit my butt! Yes 430 miles was starting to take it’s toll.
Yesterday left me in a town about 50 miles north of Sacramento, a small town with the prerequisite small town motel that looked like it was a set out of a Hitchcock Movie. The strange thing to note was that I have stayed in many places, ranging from YMCA to four seasons sumptuousness and this is the first place that provided not only a toothbrush, but hairbrush as well as razor and shaving cream – all within the bathroom. Hmmm. Well I thought it was cool ;-)
Hotels on the Wild Side
In the morning I repacked my gear, dodged all the vulture like crows and headed off onto the road again. Not much was happening apart from helping a gentleman load his 270 pound fuel tank onto the back of his truck to gravity feed it due to a failed fuel pump as well as having a delightful tête-à-tête with two ‘fair’ ‘young’ ‘maidens’ outside a gas station talking about the vigor of young pit-bulls. Did you know in Oregon it is illegal to fuel your own vehicle? Which led to amusing episodes of watching attendants try to find my fuel tank . . .
And also one unforgettable lunch of Atlanta Salmon at this delightful restaurant just on the Oregon state line. Log home and beautiful gardens – anybody who knows me knows that is my kind of deal.
Shades of the Oregon Trail
On my mind today apart from the sunburned shaven head is the timing of our meeting in Prince George in 4 days is the perturbing noises emanating from my bike, the increasingly worn tires and the sprockets loosing their teeth. Weird how one goes from worrying about work to other things. Need to work on that . . . .
Anyhow, I am now in Eugene as mentioned, dressed to impress drinking a $3.99 bottle of champagne, nibbling a wendy’s hamburger and realizing that the book “The perfect storm” really was better than the movie.
Hoping to make it to Vancouver by tomorrow evening. Best wishes to Dad who’s sick in bed at the moment and whose birthday is in 10 days. Suggestions welcome for presents!
posted by Shaun; |
Sunday, June 01, 2003
We are in Saskatoon at the moment. Coming here is a bit out of the way but Matt had to see the place (ask him for the story). I had fun along the way as I got to explore some of the abandned farms and barns along the way. Saskatoon is a charming city! The College is particularly beautiful. We had lunch here, and managed to get wired. Hope to hit Bamff for lunch tomorrow and ride the ridge of the Canadian Rockies to go and explore the Columbia Ice field.
Oh also wanted to add thanks to Colin for teaching us about the poor mans surf and turf.....Sardines and a hot-dog wrapped in a slice of white bread....leave it to the Irish.
Have to run as our meter is running out and we need to get a few more miles in,
posted by Henning; |
Since the tenth grade I've wanted to see this city. Just because I had a buddy from here and we would tease him about the alliteration. Everyone knows that k is the funniest letter in the alphabet. I think Henning may be adding some stuff as well, and since we didn't coordinate, I hope there's not too much double coverage. So we got new tires in Winnipeg, a lot more street oriented than the Conti's, but beggars can't be choosers. Winnipeg BMW (Wildwood Motorsports) was quite helpful, considering that they didn't know anything about me when I called Tues. Eve. and still wen't ahead and ordered a set of tires and cleared some service time to get us on the road. My thanks to Luc Athot for his assistance. Packing for the ride Friday morning I really began to miss Colin and Brendan. Not just for the extra storage space in the car, (allright mostly for the storage space, JK).
As we left Winnipeg, with our brand new, still factory slick tires, we got broadsided by a tremendous north wind, which lasted for about 150 miles. The going got a lot easier once the tires were worn in, but, I said it before and I'll say it again: riding in the wind blows. Dinner in Yorkton, SK. (cute waitress BTW) Then found a campsite near Theodore. I thought all of this flat open country would be boring, but I guess after living in the hills so much, it makes for an interesting perspective. I think we're a little ahead of schedule, so we may s[end some time touring the rockies when we get there. Well got to go feed the meter.
posted by matt; |