Day 8: West port to Portland

178 miles today. The morning on the coast started out overcast and a bit chilly. There was a bit of a mist in the air that caused some issue with face shields on the helmets. But we continued on and fought through the cold. Of course my heated grips and seat came in handy!! 🙂 I noticed in the mirror that Emilee was warming her hands on her engine so I decided to pull over and let her warm up a bit. I pulled off on a fairly steep shoulder and used the center stand on the bike. After letting her use the grips for a bit it was time to continue on to Astoria for a snack. As I dropped the bike off the center stand, the weight all went to the right. It was all I could do to step out of the way and watch the bike drop straight to the ground! The engine guards did their job and saved the bike from any damage, other than to my ego.

Back on the road to Astoria after standing the bike up. No other issues on the way. Still a bit chilly however. Hit Astoria after crossing the Astoria/Meggler bridge. Pretty cool trip just to hit that bridge to go from Washington to Oregon. Pull into town and hit the gas station go fill up. Decide on a place for lunch and decided on the silver salmon grille. Got to be the best bowl of clam chowder on the coast! simply amazing with the garlic cheese bread. A second order of the bread with smoked salmon on it as well. Simply amazing. If you’re ever in Astoria you need to hit this place. Its fantastic.

Heading out from Astoria its highway 30 east. You begin to notice the heat as you venture farther inland.  The clouds clear up and the elevation rises. Its almost as if someone turned on the heat! Headed over to Portland we bump into our first very aggressive driver. As we crest a hill with a passing lane, as the lanes merge a white Toyota decides that they have enough room and horsepower to make it around the two of us. So as we pull over close to the shoulder to let them by after the lane has already merged, I flew the  correct salute that is required in this situation. 🖕🏼

After heading down the hill close to Portland, we stop at a gas station to shed some clothing and hydrate. There are no more chilly temps in this area. The humidity is heavy and the heat is sweltering. Its a short shot to our landing spot for the night but its in heavy traffic and heavy jackets. We weave our way through Portland traffic to B and S ranch. The phone mount on the bike with maps giving directions is a great thing. When we run into traffic it offers the ability to call an audible and take side roads and avoid long sitting periods in the heat of the bright hot sun while recalculating a new route. As we arrive at our spot, theres a welcome sight as the S in the B and S ranch is out front guiding us into the garage to park the bikes inside for the night and providing sustenance, drink, laughter and AC!! Thanks to you both, the son and the mighty mighty Bruceski for a great stay and great times.

Day 7: Victoria, B.C to Westport, WA

203 miles today.

Last night we airbnb’d in condo on Yates street in downtown Victoria. The location was great! The condo was very nice, but we couldn’t figure out how to turn the AC on and we almost got trapped in a stairwell  on the way to the parking level. Sometimes, I lose my shit in confined spaces. We had to leave the access fob on the table in the condo, but you can only go the the main floor without a fob, so we took the stairs to the underground parking (another tenant that was walking by let us in the stairwell). A few minutes later that tenant came back because she realized we also needed a fob at the bottom of the stairs too. I was so thankful for her! If she hadn’t comeback, we would have been stuck there for who knows how long! What a mess. I will still use airbnb though, a lot of times we can find great places for less money! This certainly wasn’t a terrible (and definitely wasn’t sketchy AF like the Vernon motel), but a little frustrating!

We started our day at the Black Ball Ferry in Victoria. We reserved spots on the 1030 ferry to Port Angeles, WA for $80 American for two people and motorcycles. We had to be there by 9 am to go through customs. Kind of a long morning waiting… similar to an airport experience but outside on pavement in the sun. The ferry ride was about 2 hours. We ate a hot dog on the ferry so we could ride as soon as we hit land. We also saw another whale playing around! It was so cool! The ferry rides themselves are quite the experience. Lots of folks and vehicles getting transported around on the water. Good times.

We said a sad goodbye to our Canadian friends when we hit land. They headed east, then north back home. We headed southwest to make our way home.

We rode to Westport, Washington by way of highway 101. We crammed a good 200 miles into a few hours since we didn’t really get started until around 1pm. It was another amazing afternoon of two-lane curvy rides lined with trees and opening to the ocean.

We stopped at Ruby Beach for some pics and I ate shit in the gravel. It was some thick gravel and I must have come in too fast and locked up, all I know is I skidded for a few feet then it felt like I slid into home plate with a motorcycle between my legs. I jumped up, reached down and turned my bike off, and checked my shorts. All is well. We lifted up my bike, dusted it off, adjusted my gear shift, and went on about our business. Thankful, it was just a minor oops! Although the fat pad on my left hand is sore, I must of landed on a rock.

We were hoping to make it to Astoria, OR today, which is about another 80 miles, but we stopped in Westport, WA because both of us were feeling a bit rummy. Started spacing off a bit while riding the last hour…. which is never good.

We are staying at the Westport Chateau. It was the second hotel we booked for the night. In Aberdeen, which is about 20 miles northeast, we booked a room at The Islander Westport. We drove by it a couple of times while trying to find it… because it looked like an abandoned building. So, we ate half that room (50% refund policy), and booked another at the Chateau. We already stayed one night on top of the covers in a room and didn’t want to do that again. We have the windows opened and will be able to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean… and the sheets are clean, and there is free breakfast in the morning!

We got a recommendation for dinner and ate delicious fresh seafood, halibut and chips, clam strips, crab melt, and clam chowder at Bennetts Fish Shack. Pretty dang good! Tomorrow it is off to Portland for Tri-tips with good friends and lots of laughs. Life is good people. Get out and enjoy it every once in a while would ya? :).

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 8.27.20 PM.png

Day 6: Tofino, BC to Victoria, BC

203.4 miles today. Waking up in Tofino and having coffee on the deck overlooking the bay was a great way to start a day. Sitting there watching the sea planes fly in and take off, the boats cruise by filled with fishermen headed to catch the food that will be eaten that night at the local establishments, a couple huge bald eagles flying in the area looking for some breakfast, I begin to think of how I could find a way to live in such a place and enjoy these things every morning. What a great way to go through life and a great location to do it in. Definitely a must see and a must do again.

After the coffee is drank and the cottage is cleaned up, its time to load the bikes and head towards Victoria. Its another casual day of riding so there is no rush. Figure that after 4 days of some fairly heavy riding, a couple days of slow, casual riding is deserved. Bikes are loaded, we say good bye to the patron of the cottages and head into town for a quick bite and a bit more coffee. Rhinos is the chosen spot and it doesn’t disappoint. Seems to be a favorite of the locals and tourists alike as its fairly busy. Good coffee and good grub to start the morning off right.

After sitting outside to eat and people watch, its time to head out. We decide to stop at Chesterman Beach on the way out. We were able to walk on some sand and see the sea up close before we leave this section of the island. There are lots of surfers out in the waves, and it is low tide so there are rocks exposed to explore. Investigating tide pools has always been a favorite excursion of mine. All the life happening in and around them is just great to experience. Hermit crabs, mussels, barnacles, starfish, sea anemones, small salt water fish just existing and surviving. The whole experience is a good reminder that we are not the only creatures on this planet that matter. All of us are responsible to every other living thing that exists on this planet and we need to start to do better in remembering that. Off the soap box now. 🙂

We jump back on the bikes to head to Victoria. we are excited to get the chance to ride highway 4 back to highway 19. Such a spectacular ride. The pacific rim highway deserves to be on your bucket list just in general, but if you ride a bike its a must do! All the way to highway 19 is just kick ass riding. And the strong cedar smell near the Cathedral trees is unbelievable. I take so many deep breathes, it is almost lemony because it is strong. I wish I could bottle it!

Hitting highway 19 begins the fairly long stretch into Victoria. We make a pit stop in Nanaimo for fuel and have our first experience with a Nanaimo bar. It is a chocolate bar with a custard as the second layer followed with a third layer of a chocolate bar with coconut in it. Enjoying one of these is apparently what it takes to become officially Canadian. Delicious and if I’m not mistake completely calorie free! Back on the road to hammer out the last of the ride that day.

Arriving in Victoria we get to our Airbnb, if you haven’t done this yet I recommend looking into it to see what you think. Most places are cheaper than a hotel and with the exception of the one in Victoria we haven’t had a bad experience. Now the one in Victoria wasn’t necessarily a really bad experience, it was just kind of a pain with all the rules, getting into the place, the AC not working, and a small spot for 4 people let alone 2 (we were traveling with “Toasty Box” and “Crazy Legs”…the names and initials have been changed to protect the guilty). Again, the want to get out and experience the town gets in the way of a need for a hot shower. We do a quick change and touch up so we don’t smell like we just came off the road and walk to the wharf area.

Another great Canadian town it seems. Turning onto Wharf street, we locate a spot for dinner called The Docks. We choose to sit outside on the deck in the hopes of enjoying some nice weather. The food is delicious, the service is good, the drink menu doesn’t suck. The weather outside is nice but its a bit chilly for shorts and a t-shirt. It is down right chilly actually. But we sit and enjoy our meals, we enjoyed the special (salmon with a shrimp and crap bĂ©arnaise sauce on top of garlic mashed potatoes) and the fresh Dungeness crab! Simply delicious. Both courses were done to perfection. It is a bit breezy on the deck and the sun is going down so its getting colder as we eat, but decide that a dessert is necessary this evening. We decide on the turtle pie. I will say that my crab was probably the best I’ve ever eaten, the salmon was out of this world, but that turtle pie was made with love and sincerity. It was just delicious. Even with the cold wind blowing on us and the shivering at the table, there was nothing left of the ice cream turtle pie when we were done!

Next, we end up meeting at a local pub called Darcys pub. Have a drink or a shot or both and then go walk farther down Wharf st. towards where we will catch the ferry in the morning to travel back to our home country. Lots of folks out, the parliament building is lit up, a couple of very ritzy hotels are hopping, horse drawn carriages are out riding around the city. There is a very casual relaxed air about the place that instills the idea that we (the human race) are going to be ok. Great town filled with what appear to be great people.

We start the walk back to the sleeping location and on the way hear some bluegrass, hillbilly music and discover a spot called Irish times pub. We decide to walk in and have some more drinks. Always a great idea, right? Right! Its a great spot with all sorts of drinks to choose from and a decent selection of late night grub. A margherita pizza and several beers are ordered. Again, a great spot for late night grub, good cold beers, a nightly whiskey special and some live music to tie it all together. Canada has some strange rules in regards to alcohol. Not only the purchase of but the consumption of alcohol is a bit different. We have to move inside if we want to finish our drinks because at 1130, they do not serve alcohol outside. So being the problem solvers we are we head inside to sit. Brilliant! Since we are in an Irish pub we finish the night with some Dirty Nellie shots (similar to the Irish car bomb). Just delicious, as a matter of fact maybe to delicious because there was more than one ordered and consumed by us. Great way to end a great night in a great country!

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 8.17.29 PM

 

 

 

Day 5: Nanaimo, BC to Tofino, BC

139.3 miles today. When heading north on highway 19 out of Nanaimo, you spend some time riding through some parts of surrounding towns. The traffic is light and there are plenty of places to get food or fuel along the way. There are also some extraordinary views of the Salish Sea and the Strait of Georgia along the way.

After taking a left onto highway 4 heading northwest, the trip takes a great turn in terms of the road and the lessening of traffic. As with some of the other roads we’ve been on this trip, it is lined on both sides with spectacular views and smooth asphalt.

Along the way is Cathedral Grove located in MacMillan Provincial Park. A must stop on the way through whether you are coming or going. There is a short walk to the largest tree in the area and it is worth it to see (check out the pics on Instagram #blogoffbitches), not to mention it is the perfect time to stretch the legs from the ride.

Continuing on into Port Alberni. We stop at the visitor center to check the local sticker situation, we have been trying to get stickers from all stops but it seems that stickers are not that popular in the area, score a couple stickers and ask a local for a recommendation on a place to eat. He provides a map with several recommendations and we continue on our way. Finding the Bare Bones Fish and Chips spot – we dine! Good food, fair prices, large portions, and good service.

After finishing up with lunch, we head towards Tofino. The road itself is amazing. Lots of twists and turns and fairly well maintained, that is until about the last 10 to 15 Km before the turn to go to either Ucelet or Tofino. There is some damage on both sides with big ruts and some frost heaves that are a bit large so take this stretch with a bit of caution. Other than that, the ride is great. Lots of curves, great weather, and cruising right along. Hit another visitor center at the decision point to go left (Ucelet) or right (Tofino). Scored a couple more stickers and began the last short trek into Tofino.

Heading  into Tofino you know that the ocean is off to the left but the trees prevent its magnificence from being seen other than a few breaks where it offers quick glimpses of the water. The smell of the ocean is strong though and for some reason that always makes me feel better about everything in general. Its refreshing and clean and simply a wonder to behold.

We have a reservation at the Tofino Inlet Cottages. As we pull up and kill the bikes, she asks if we are the tenants in cottage 4. Indeed we are. Very friendly and good spirited. She offers up some good dining spots in town and walks us through the cottage we will be staying at. Again, great service with a friendly and sincere smile. The view from the cottage is amazing. It is overlooking Deadman Islets and directly across from us is Strawberry Island. Simply stunning. We also learn that there are two eagles that are living in some trees outside, so we keep our eyes peeled.

The want for a cold beer outweighs the need for a hot shower so we do a quick change and start the walk into town. Its a short distance made even shorter with a couple stops along the way for a beer here and there. Nice quiet little touristy town. There are decent folks in the local pubs/restaurants we stop at as we slowly make out way through town trying to locate the spot where we will eat our dinner. We stop for some oyster shooters at The Ice House Oyster Bar, stick our feet in the ocean, and then end up at The Wolf and The Fog for what can only be described as food porn!!! It is epic! Presented well, cooked perfectly (steak, pasta, shrimp) and was obviously made by a chef that knows what he is doing and enjoys doing it. It is not a fast place but its totally worth the wait if you are in town. A bit pricey but again, if you’ve got some extra $$ laying around and you want a great meal, give it a shot.

We walk back to the cottage (stopped at a liquor store to score some after dinner brews for back at the cottage) and hang on the deck to enjoy the sunset with good friends and lots of laughter. So much laughter that the folks who were upstairs had to knock on the floor as a kind way of asking us to keep it down (sorry to whoever you are!). All in all, another spectacular day in BC on Vancouver Island. Time for sleep to get ready to head to Victoria in the AM. Night folks.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 8.14.23 PM

Day 4: Vernon, BC to Nanaimo, BC

306.2 miles today! There is a saying in Idaho about the wind… well, it is not windy in BC it is that Washington sucks and Alaska blows! We fought the wind allllll day. And even though we were tired and wind burned, it was still better than punching a clock on a regular Monday! By the way, I do not have a windshield on my bike, so I really felt the wind.

Today was mostly highway because we wanted to make it to the island. Our plan is to ride a little on Wednesday and Thursday so that we can spend some time in Tofino and Victoria. So, the closer we got today, the better.

The Coquihalla Highway was gorgeous. The locals call it the “coke.” And it ends in the city of Hope, so we took the coke to Hope. We did not stop for a lot of pics today because most of it was interstate and congested.

The best part of the day was the ferry ride to the Island. It was a little less than 2 hours and it was beautiful. And we saw a whale, well its spray and tail anyways. The ride was $90 for two people and 2 bikes… just FYI. The ferries yesterday were free.

And we stayed in a legit hotel, TravelLodge, where we could walk around barefoot. Below are a couple of pics from the ferry and short video from the boat. Follow the trip on Instagram for more pics! #blogoffbitches

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 9.56.16 AM

 

Day 3: Creston, BC to Vernon, BC

261.7 miles today. Less miles but a bit of a longer day. We got a late start this morning because we were up to late last night creating new dance moves. we actually got 86’d from the parking lot of the hotel…basically we got kicked IN to the hotel. Been kicked out before, but this was a first for the kicked in. Check out the new dance moves on Instagram #blogoffbitches. Adulting is hard sometimes.

So, the road from Creston to Kootenay Bay is 81 Km long with 177 turns!!! Now, I’m not good with numbers or math, but as someone who loves to ride motorcycles that totally adds up to a great start to a day of riding. We hit the gas station first thing to fuel and get the necessities for a day of riding – camel back filled with ice and water and a snack of some type for the occasional stops along the way. The clerk asks if we are headed north to Kootenay Bay, I answer yes with a bit of glee in my voice. She shows her scar from her crash from a year ago. A solemn reminder of the dangers of riding bikes. I’m a firm believer in the fact that riding is not inherently dangerous but it provides absolutely no leeway for arrogance or stupidity. I’ve been both at times, sometimes at the same time. So the day starts with a bit of personal reflection and introspection into how I’m going to handle the day ahead. Stay focused and vigilant, present in the moment, ride at my comfort level and don’t push the ride any faster than I want.

It did not disappoint. One fantastic turn after another. Beautiful views, smooth roads, and great company made this trip to the ferry simply the best way to begin a day.

We get to the ferry dock in Balfour at the right time, which happens to be the longest free ferry in the world. We load up and off we go. 35 minutes later we are on the other side.

Now it is time to continue north to Kaslo on highway 31 for another fantastic road full of twists and turns that rival any road in the USA. Two for two on road choices for the day. Long sweeping turns through majestic mountain landscapes on one side while on the other the steep drop down to Kootenay Bay makes this an absolutely wonderful scenic trip.

Next, we hit Kaslo in time to take 31A to New Denver. Apparently, this is the road to take if you’re in BC and are on a motorcycle. While it was phenomenal in its views and turns and smooth 46 Km of asphalt along the river and mountain lakes, its only 3 best for the day so far. Now, I’m not saying don’t take the time to ride it, by all means if you can – do it!!! But also take the other two stretches of road from above and compare yourself. All 3 are spectacular in their own right.

From New Denver to Facquier was also a great ride. So many trees! Weather was great! We hopped on another short ferry to cross the Upper Arrow Lake and continue on highway 6. We made it to Vernon, where we called it for the day. We found a really cheap motel (really sketchy), but we were somewhat ok with it because we were hot and tired and hungry and it was late. Check out the outdoor pool on Instagram #blogoffbitches!

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 11.16.38 PM

Day 2: Missoula, MT to Creston, BC

345.9 miles today! Another spectacular day on the bikes! The ride around Flathead Lake is an experience that can only be truly enjoyed while riding. The fresh air, the smell of the water, the birds in the sky all come together in a magical landscape of beauty and poetry that is unmatched and undiscovered by those that are enclosed in a vehicle. Continuing north into Kalispell we stop for the usuals…fuel, bathroom, snacks, a little light dancing in the parking lot of the local gas station. You know, because we are on vacation bitches!!!

Back on the road towards Eureka, MT (pronounced EEEUUURRRREEEEKKKAAA), the highway begins to take on the feel of a place thats much bigger than our home town of Idaho Falls. The trees are tall, the mountains are magnificent and gigantic. The road snakes its way through the  mountains like black asphalt python lazily dragging its way through life. Smooth surface, fresh air, big blue skies above. Glorious!

 

 

We met up in Eureka with the Canadians, who made the trip from Saskatoon, to ride with us for a few days. We broke bread at the Porch Grill House and Trading Company. Highly recommend the Huckleberry burger and the Bubba burger. An actual scoop of huckleberry ice cream on top of a burger with bacon!! What!?!?! Delicious.

Heading north from Eureka to highway 37 which will take us south again. We find a bridge to cross the reservoir to NF-228 road. That road takes us south to Libby Dam. Lots of tar snakes on the first half of this road. Great views, lots of curves, but lots of hot, gooey, black tar snakes slows the ride down a bit. This road leads us back to highway 37 which get us to highway 2 outside of Libby. Heading back towards Idaho now and eventually into Canada.

Reaching the US/Canada border it comes time to pull out the passport and answer some questions to get into the great white north. After some intense questioning and sweating, we got in. Whew!

We stayed at a great place called Creston Hotel. It has Jimmy’s Pub and a liquor store in it. Check out our #blogoffbitches instragram for a peek at a new dance move that will be sweeping the country soon!

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 10.57.54 PM

 

Day 1: Idaho Falls to Missoula, MT

355 miles today. It may not seem like much if you are in a car but on a bike 355 miles equals about 8 hours of riding–8 hours of amazing riding! There is just something about riding a motorcycle. The differences in temperatures, the smells, the requirement of being there in the moment and paying attention to everything. It is an amazing brainwash. I am reminded of how small I really am in this big world. How small the frustrations at work are, or how miniscule a differing opinion with another is, or how small negative self talk is! I L-O-V-E riding!

So, some random thoughts from today…

  • At one point I looked up and there was a hawk flying maybe 20 feet above me. I knew he was thinking about shitting on me, but all I could think of is how much I wanted to rub his belly, I mean I could see his cute little armpits and everything! I imagined they would be so silky like my fat dogs pits.
  • There was a donkey in a field with his head wedged between barbwire fencing in order to taste the grass on the other side of the fence. The other donkeys were like, “dude, you have the same grass, if not better, on this side without all the trouble….”
  • Asphalt cares not who you are or what you do for a living or how much money you make, it only cares that you are!!!
  • Trees are spectacular in every way imaginable.
  • Sometimes what’s necessary is full throttle ahead! So when it’s time, twist that wrist and go!!

 

Anticipation

In less than 48 hours we leave for a 10-day bike trip and I haven’t even started packing… Instead, I am distracting myself with a PooterButt and a MaxiPad. They are much more enjoyable than trying to pack 10 days of outfits and clean undies and toiletries into a tiny T-Bag that will fit on the back of my bike. #blogoffbitches15385396_10154839607243656_6848151640824864146_o