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2019 FTR 1200
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1,292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Couldn't let July pass by without another road trip, spent 4 more days on the road this month touring western Canada w/ two good friends. Ridiculously awesome trip full of highs, lows, and a ton of uncharted territory for all 3 of us. The plan was for Scout and Guzzi to leave the west coast at sunrise Thursday morning, crush ~1000 km in a single day and arrive in Calgary at sundown. As is often the case on a motorcycle trip, that did not happen. About halfway there we received word of an opportunity to intercept another good friend in Banff for drinks and mischief. So we booked a hotel, rolled into the Rockies and met up at Tommy's Pub for a few. On the way back to hotel we were joined by an Elk strolling right down the center median of Banff Avenue. Next thing you know it's 3 AM and we're looking at a maximum 3 hour sleep till go-time.

PSX_20200726_220401 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
PSX_20200726_215243 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

The next morning we roll out of Banff in the rain, feelin' about half past dead, Calgarybound to meet up with T7 who will be joining us for the rest of the trip. T7 is a master of hospitality, he has coffee ready for us and an empty dryer waiting for our soaked gear (typical Adventure Biker). While waiting for our socks to dry we chat about possible day trips around the area.

PSX_20200726_210233 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

The forecast isn't looking promising, the sky is a patchy blue but we're looking at a Severe Thunderstorm Warning by dinner time. We decided to chance it, gear up and hit the road toward the Badlands and Bleriot Ferry. In BC we're used to multi-hour ferry rides that meander through islands and canyons, Bleriot Ferry is a raft reluctantly tugged across a river by a cable, charming nonetheless.

PSX_20200726_214852 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
PSX_20200724_230608 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

I've been to Drumheller plenty of times but had never taken the ferry across to Hwy 838 (AKA Dinosaur Trail). This is absolutely the way that all motorcycles should be taking into Drumheller, it adds an awesome series of prairie drag races and badland twistys to an otherwise short ride along the river.

PSX_20200724_212643 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
PSX_20200724_212137 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

Time was ticking away and while the sky appeared to be holding itself together nicely we knew what to expect on the horizon. When we got there, we were greeted by something far more sinister than we had anticipated.

PSX_20200724_224527 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

To be continued...
 

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Well written, thanks for sharing... Get a haircut... lol

Unfortunately, out here is west our hair cuts are forbidden by powers that be due to Covid! My hair hasn't been this long since my sophomore year at KU. That was the year of our lord known as 1988, :p
 
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Bronze member
2019 FTR 1200
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1,292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The storm consumed the sky ahead of us end to end... riding around it wasn't an option, so we pulled off to the shoulder and geared up for war. We make it about a mile further before an oncoming tractor trailer comes into view, hazards flashing, a 60 ft comet tail of water flailing violently outward and across the prairie. Across the highway parked along the shoulder T7 points out what he later explained was a Storm Research Vehicle, something you never want to find parked on the side of the road in rural Alberta. If you do find one, chances are you've fallen right into the eye of the storm. Barely a mile further we collided with a torrential wall of water and hail being cast about in all directions by intense gusts of wind. The highway was completed flooded with a river of rain flowing across both lanes, our visors were completely obscured by the rain within seconds and all we could see through the thick film of mud and water was intermittent flashes of lightning. The storm laughed at our rain suits and drenched us to the bone in less than a minute.

I wipe away the grit from my visor and for a brief moment notice the faint glow of a diner ahead. I immediately signal to the shoulder and dive the Scout through a deep mud puddle into the parking lot. Once more I wipe away the dirt from my visor...

PSX_20200724_225314 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

I couldn't believe it, it's exactly the same gas station and diner that saved my father and I's asses from a storm 1 month earlier on our way back from Drumheller, 1 of 2 gas stations within a ~20 km radius of us. Aimlessly attempting to ride around the storm not one of us had any clue where we were until that moment, remembering the covered patio area from the month prior I immediately signaled the others to follow me around back. We park the bikes under cover and hop off, T7 and I take one look at each other and immediately burst out laughing.

PSX_20200724_225003 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

The three of us walk into the diner and a puddle immediately forms beneath us. We apologize to the waitress, she laughs and tells us to hang up our rain suits and sit down for a fresh pot of coffee.

PSX_20200724_225526 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

Remembering Guzzi's stark warning and hesitation earlier that afternoon after checking the forecast I wasn't exactly sure what to say... she certainly didn't look impressed. I sit down and the first thing that comes out of my mouth is "So... a T7, V7 and an Indian walk into a bar...". T7 laughs, Guzzi does not.

We all agree on splitting a plate of nachos to wait out the storm. Guzzi gets a message from a friend in Calgary and the diagnosis is dire. The storm ain't going anywhere until 2 AM... With 60 km to go it took us the entire plate of nachos to agree on a game plan. Do we stay in the adjacent motel? Do we call a friend with a trailer? Do we gear up and ride it out like a bunch of idiots? Despite a consistent rhythm of thunder shaking the diner's rafters throughout our conversation T7 and I eventually convince Guzzi to attempt precisely the latter.

At a brisk pace of 60 km/h it took us one long, rain soaked, muddy hour and a hundred visor wipes to make it back to T7's place in one piece, but we did.

T7's dryer got a workout that night. We kicked back on the couch, cracked open a case of Alberta Genuine Draft and reflected upon our poor decisions, ultimately agreeing that it was entirely worth it for a day that we will remember for the rest of our lives.


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To be continued...
 

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one day when this covid-19 is over i'll get to ride my Canada ride...Ride on bro....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Day 3 began with an unexpected pair of visitors. While packing our gear two young Huskies snuck into the garage to say hi. We did a lap around the house to see if we could spot the owners but there was nobody in sight so we closed the garage door and checked their collars for a phone number. I suggested inviting them to join us on the road but T7 declined and begins dialing the number. "Hi there, are you the owner of two Huskies?", "I am, yes....", "Are they missing?", "No... they're with the dog sitter...", "Ma'am I think you need to find yourself a new dog sitter, they're in my garage". Fortunately they weren't far and arrived shortly after to pick up the hounds, we were on our way by 10 AM. We headed south toward Crowsnest Pass on scenic Hwy 22, also known as "Cowboy Trail".

hwy22.jpg


With only a couple of gas stops and coffees we found ourselves making damn good time. With a couple of hours to spare we decided to go check out a lesser known swimmin' hole near Creston that I had only heard of from another rider.

PSX_20200726_212208 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
PSX_20200726_211717 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

The Goat River Dam began supplying the town of Creston with electricity in 1933. By 1958 Creston had mostly switched over to the higher capacity power line supply from the Kootenay River Dams, by 1979 the dam had been sold to a private owner, ceasing operation and slipping into disrepair. Nowadays it doesn't appear to be much more than an incredibly scenic swimmin' hole.

PSX_20200726_210438 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
PSX_20200726_211309 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

Next up was a gorgeous rip along one of BC's greatest lakeside highways, the 3A to Kootenay Bay, the second and final ferry ride along Guzzi and I's route (T7 managed to hit one more on the way home).

PSX_20200726_213756 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

While aboard the ferry a man on a Harley from Rocky Mountain House, AB got into it with another passenger, coronavirus and BLM of course. Passenger only asked him if he was on a road trip, ******** responds with "just riding through to spread the coronavrirus to BC!". He rambled on about everything you'd expect for a good 10 minutes before hopping on his straight piped Street Bob, lighting a joint, strategically positioning it to hang out his open visor, and firing up the bike a good 2 minutes prior to docking. The Captain, who had been watching the entire argument from above, made sure to dock the ferry with just enough force to get his point across. Buddy on the Harley, the only one with his kickstand up and his bike running, stumbled and barely managed to save his bike from toppling over sideways. The crew and most of the passengers immediately burst out laughing and opened the gates. The Harley opened the throttle, spun the back tire, and swerved his way ahead of the line, leaving his father in the dust, who had remained quiet and visibly annoyed during the entire event.

T7, the only other passenger with Alberta plates, was clearly angered and embarrassed by the entire ordeal. Knowing T7's street racing history I wasn't surprised when he signaled to pass, opened the throttle and blasted ahead in top gear pursuit. Guzzi and I hung back, knowing that the situation was likely to go sideways quickly. About 8 km later we caught up to them both parked upright along the shoulder at the bottom of a hairpin, surprisingly still aboard their bikes with their gloves on. Just as we're pulling up alongside them the Harley takes off. T7 explains that he did nothing more than humiliate the guy in the twisties, riding his ass at 160 km/h for about 4 km before the Harley reluctantly pulled to the side and waved him by to lead, T7 lost sight of him within 3 corners and continued on for a few km before pulling over for a chat. He says the Harley pulled up alongside of him with a much humbler attitude than what we had witnessed aboard the ferry. We congratulated him on a successful pissing contest, called him a dumbass and carried on with the ride, only a few more km to the motel.

PSX_20200726_214100 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
PSX_20200726_214436 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

We arrived at our lakeside motel, fired up the BBQ, cracked open our few remaining cans of AGD and took it easy for the rest of the evening.

Day 4 consisted of a sweltering ride home through the Okanagan, my favorite region of BC. No photos or wild stories from the final leg, just a long, relaxing and beautiful final stretch home.

One of the greatest and most memorable road trips of my life. Despite being only ~2500 km, the company, the highs and lows and the new spots discovered along the way made it an absolute blast start to finish. Looking forward to heading out that way again at the end of August.
 
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