Last week I did something that I’ve always wanted to do. I just loaded up the bike with my full backpack and left. Wasn’t sure where I was going except that I was heading west to the Rockies. Got up early on Wednesday and started my journey. The first day was a mix of cloudy and rainy weather. I didn’t mind cause at the end of the day I will be in the mountains. Things started to clear up as I made my way through Jasper which of course was beautiful. I then made my way to Valmount where I set up my first camp. The weather was nice and sunny. It was so beautiful. I was set up right next to a river where the salmon were spawning. They were huge.
Day two I was up early and ready to hit the road again. I would have another day of rain. Again I was okay with that. At least all my gear was packed away and dry. The scenery every day of this trip was beautiful. So I won’t keep repeating that. I made my way to Wells Gray Where they have these really cool water falls. The first I saw was Spahats Creek Falls. This was supposed to be the lesser of the two that I decided to see. It was amazing. I couldn’t imagine the Helmcken Falls being better, but I was anxious to see them. After riding in 25k on really windy roads I was almost there, but the road started to get really bad. Is was really old pavement with potholes that were filled with gravel. I wasn’t exactly comfortable riding there, but I was SO close. I came this far. On the last sharp turn ( not quite a hair pin turn, but close. ) I came around the corner and found nothing but gravel. I was not ready for this. I knew if I turned too sharp I was going down, but with the road turning so sharp I was running out of road. I turned a bit too much and down I went. I just remember sliding along the road hearing the sound of my helmet scraping the gravel.
That sucked. Day 2 and I lay the bike down. With help I got the bike back up and did a quick assessment. Bike took some damage and except for the mirror it was just cosmetic. I banged up my left hand a bit, but otherwise I was fine. I decided that I was going to see these damn falls anyway, which turned out to be right around the corner. I was angry at myself and had some time to think about what happened as I watched the really great waterfall. Decided two things. I wasn’t going to let this get me down and no more back roads with gravel all over the place
I then made my way to Kamloops where I was supposed to meet up with my cousin. I called him when I got in, but received no answer. After trying a few more times I had to give up as the sun was starting to set and I needed to find a place to sleep. I found a camp and got set up. Worried about my hand swelling up over night, I made sure to have ice on it all night. the next day the hand was swollen, but manageable. Also there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I headed south east through Vernon and Lumby. It was a solid day of really great riding. Just what I needed. Nice winding roads on a beautiful day. then I came upon a bunch of cars just stopped. First thought was maybe there was an accident up ahead or maybe a rock slide. Nope they were waiting on the ferry to cross Lower Arrow Lake. Fun. I get to go for a boat ride! After the ferry I made my way to Nakusp. The town was full of other bikers and they were all so friendly and wanting to help. I quickly set up camp in a site right in town. Once set up I decided to visit the Nakusp Hot Springs. It was a lot quieter than I thought. It was really nice to just soak in the hot water. It was also nice to just get cleaned up. Once back at camp I walked downtown to the Leland Hotel. The oldest hotel in B.C. They had a buffet so I went with that and a beer. I sat on the back deck which over looks the Upper Arrow Lake.
After a good night sleep I loaded up and just took a walk downtown Nakusp. Such a nice little town with cool old buildings. After a coffee and cinnamon bun at a small coffee shop I was back on the road.
I made my way north to the Shelter Bay Ferry. Another boat ride. I decided I wanted to set up camp a bit early and stopped off at a campsite that I knew was really nice just outside of Revelstoke. Everything was booked up except for one site. An older couple with a trailer showed up looking for a site as well. I offered to share my site with them for the night and then they could have it to themselves for the other nights that they wanted to stay. I ended up being able to set up in a site where other campers left early. It was really nice there and I decided that I would whip into town to book for another couple nights as well as get some laundry done. All the B.C. Provincial campsites are about 90% reservation and 10% first come first serve. It’s a pain when just traveling without a set agenda. I wasn’t able to book there, but I learnt about another small private one that was really nice and WAY cheaper. Thanks to the pretty girl at the visitor info place for telling me about it. It doesn’t show up on any map. Then I did a quick load of laundry and headed back. Back at camp the couple that I met earlier invited me to dinner. The dinner was great and it’s always good to make new friends.
The next day I packed up and headed to Wadey, the new campsite that I learned about at the visitor centre. As I was told it was really nice. I booked for two nights. Once set up I could just relax some.
After relaxing and walking around the campsite, checking out the lake and talking with some of the other campers I headed back to my camp. I realized that if I was staying there a couple of nights then I could head into town and pick up some real food and BEER. I rode into Revelstoke to the nearest cold beer store. I was pretty sure if I asked nice that I’d be able to get some kind of beer promotion insulated backpack. I was right. With my backpack and a six pack I headed to the grocery store and grabbed some food and ice. I headed downtown to where I knew the live music would be starting up. I decided to have a beer at a bar called Chubby Funsters. ( Great name ) There I could sit and watch the entertainment with a beer. I did end up getting a burger and fries as well.
Just as the band started playing it started to rain a bit. I didn’t want to ride back in the rain or wait until it was dark so I headed back to camp. It was raining pretty good, but I was content to sit in my tent listening to the rain and playing sudoku till I started to fall asleep.
The next day I woke to a nice sunny morning. I made up some eggs and coffee then went and explored a trail that I found. It was a really nice trail that never went too far from the lake.
After hiking I decided to check out the Revelstoke Dam. They had a really good self guided tour there. Then I decided to head into Revelstoke and just walk around downtown and check out some of the stores and all the old buildings. After an hour of that it was back to camp where I cooked up a big meal. After dishes I grabbed my six pack and my sketchbook and just hung out at the lake till dusk. It was so relaxing there. After a good nights rest I packed the bike up and gave my little cooler with three left over beers and some food to some campers that were beside me. It was time to make tracks.
That day I did a lot of riding through four national parks. Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho and Banff. It was such a good ride. I made my way to Canmore. I set up camp right in town at Wapiti campground. It wasn’t much but they had showers. Later I found out that they charged $3 for 6 minutes. I was pretty disappointed to hear that and decided that I would just go to the pool. I relaxed in the hot tub there for a while and enjoyed having a nice long shower. Then it was off to the Grizzly Paw Brewing company where I enjoyed some food and of course one of their beers. They brew really good beer. Then I headed back to camp. As I laid there in the tent I was thinking how good my bed was going to feel tomorrow night.
Packed up the bike for the last time the next morning. Grabbed a coffee at the local Tim Horton’s and made my way back home. It was sad seeing the mountains fade in my mirror, but it was time to get back. Once you leave the mountains the roads all level off and start to get a lot straighter. Quite boring to ride after some of the awesome roads I’ve just been on. I didn’t make too many stops. Just for gas and a quick bite. I made it back home a couple hours before sunset. After a shower I unpacked the bike, visited with my daughter who stopped by and then headed straight for my bed. Man it was so comfortable.