Archive - 2017

1
Jasper to Radium Hot Springs
2
Jasper National Park
3
Canadream
4
O, Canada
5
Ride For Kids Dual Sport 2017
6
Super Bloom hits Anza Borrego

Jasper to Radium Hot Springs

We woke up not knowing what today would bring, but boy did we have a variety of serendipitous things happen througout the day.  We first drove to Maligne Canyon, and on the way there we saw a group of 12 or so female and young elk, including what we thought were twins.  They were grazing along the side of the road eating the grass and flowers.  They were really taking their time, so we got to enjoy them peacefully moving about for quite a while. We continued on and soon learned that Maligne, which means means evil or wicked, is a gorgeous hike over 6 bridges that span a deep canyon  with water falls. We got there early enough to just miss the tour buses and tons of people, so off we went. The drive south was so much better today, and my sadness from yesterday was wiped away because it was so much clearer and we could actually see the mountains today. We took this opportunity and stopped many times and took lots of pictures to replace all the smokey ones. It really is a breathtaking view along this road.  For those of you familiar with Yosemite Valley in California, think of that but only twice as tall, twice as wide, and about as long as a third of the State of CA. Around another curvy mountain bend we saw huge group of mountain goats that kept running back and forth along the road. They seemed confused about which way they all wanted to go, and they held up traffic quite backed up for tourist to take photos. Soon we stopped to have lunch at Icefield Centre, and just as we walked into the restaurant and got in line the fire alarm goes off, and they completely evacuate the building.  (we later learned that the smoke from the grill was not going to the vent properly and it set off the alarm) We and hundreds of other tourists had to wait outside for 10-15 min while they made sure everything was OK.  When they let us all back in we basically made it almost to the front of the line, and quickly got food. We were then able to grab a table on the recently evacuated outdoor terrace. It was such a treat to sit outside in the sun, in full view of the glacier. The next thing that happened was almost a Twilight Zone experience.  I was driving the sidecar, and Frank had stopped to take a picture when all of a sudden I see a motorcycle and sidecar on the other side of the road. What really caught my attention was that it had a sidecar that opened like ours, and it looked they there were two kids!  I honked and we all waved at each other.  Then I thought we should go meet them.  Who else could be as crazy as us and travel around with their kids in a sidecar?  I asked the kids if they[…]

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Jasper National Park

The to do list for today was a long one. Our ride would be from Golden to Jasper, in Jasper National park.  I have to admit that today was not a good day.  I was pretty much miserably cold all day until about 3pm.  A major cold front had come down and even with many layers on I was freezing. I thought we would warm up as the day went on, but that didn’t happen.  We stopped at one point to dig out my heavy winter gloves and our rain jackets. That helped a bit. I even rode with my face covered, which generally annoys me, but I wanted more skin covered up. I hate being cold. In addition to the cold, I really let this dark thought cloud loom over me almost all day.  The smoke from the fires was so bad that we could barely see the mountains that were towering around us.  You could make out the shape and see some snow, but there was no blue sky.  I was cranky, the kids were cranky, and I was trapped in this negative attitude about how our vacation pictures were going to suck, and I would have to keep telling everyone how there is smoke in the sky. Plus did I mention I hate being cold? Our first major stop was the Saskatchewan River Crossing, a restaurant, gift shop, lodging and gas station. We welcomed the chance to stretch walk around and go inside out of the cold. They were making fresh popped popcorn, so we grabbed a welcome snack.  I knew we would be back here tomorrow, so I did some reconnaissance in the gift shop area as the side car needed more stickers. The road we were driving on is called the  Icefields Parkway ,which is about 230km.  Fun fact about the waters from the Icefield area: they flow to three different oceans: the Arctic, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Frank was great about pointing this out to us as we traveled.  We would go over a mountain pass and not so suddenly the rivers would be flowing in the opposite direction. He always notices those type of things. The Athabasca Glacier was our next stop and it is the only glacier on the Columbia Icefield accessible by road. It is located at the Icefield Center, and it is a huge tourist destination as you can actually walk on the glacier or ride a tram onto the ice.  We opted to park and walk up the path to the edge of the glacier. There were quite a few signs warning of the danger of not exploring past the ropes or the path. One sign was especially disturbing, as it yelled the tale of a 9 year old boy who died after the area of ice he was walking on collapsed and he fell into a crevase. People tried for 3 hours to get him out, but unfortunately he succumbed to hypothermia. I am always a bit nervous when we[…]

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Canadream

“I knew we could always count on bikers!!” The title of today’s post is Canadream because summer vacation season is in full swing, and everywhere we go there are rental RV’s that say Canadream.  So you too can rent an RV and take your dream trip across Canada.  The other reason Frank got the idea to travel Canada this year is because it is the 150th Anniversary of Canada and they are celebrating with free admission to all Canada Parks.  The only unfortunate thing is there are major wild fires in multiple locations in the area so the visibility and air quality is terrible.  You will be able to see in the pictures how hazy a lot of the vistas are, and how the tops of the mountains are literally blocked by smoke.  That is the only bummer so far about the trip. We woke up, hit Tim Hortons of course, fueled up the bikes and got ready to head up the mountain in Mt Revelstoke National Park, which is a sweeping zig zag road. I stopped to get pictures of the town below, and you can barely see the snow topped mountains across the way.  Once you are up at a parking area,  you can take a shuttle or hike up to a series of trails that take you to an old fire lookout station at 6300 ft. It is an interesting sight to see snow and flowers just feet away from each other. We dropped back down into town, grabbed some sandwiches to go, and started our way toward our next destination which was Golden, BC. The Trans Canadian Highway took us into Glacier National Park of Canada.  We stopped for a picnic lunch at Hemlock Grove Boardwalk, which is a trail that passes beneath soaring ancient hemlocks and old growth cedar forests. There were giant ferns that made the area look like a fairy book story land.  We also found two Red Chairs from a program Canada has to help promote people getting out and discovering the parks and great outdoors. We finished out the afternoon with a very steep downhill climb to Bear Creek Falls.  We were a little leary about going down at first but the exhausted folks walking up said it was worth it. Tons of moss covered fallen trees alongside this curvy, up and down and stair filled short hike. Again I kept expecting to see a little gnome house or secret door in a tree. I was beginning  to think maybe Canada was a dream… then at the bottom we were greeted be a water fall with so much force that there was wind and a heavy mist that started to soak us. The kids loved the mist but it was hard to keep the camera dry for photos. When we came back up to the parking lot, there was a group of people asking around for a pipe or tube, but not explaining that they needed gas. No one was able to[…]

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O, Canada

It has been a year since out epic cross country trip with the Sister’s Centennial Ride.  Frank has spent some time scheming to take us on a trip in Canada.  We know the kids won’t stay small forever, so if we are going to do another big trip it is now or never.  We flew into Seattle to save two days of driving and had the bikes shipped up. Frank found a guy that delivers motorcycles from various cities between Seattle and San Diego a couple of times a week, so it worked out great. Our delivery guy meets us at the hotel in Seattle, and the bike is dead coming off the trailer. Frank says the battery was dead  when they loaded it.  So from Seattle border  to the crossing, every time we stopped the bike needed a jump start. Luckily we travel with this portable charger we got at Costco. We also have some friends that love theirs, which is a different brand. At the border crossing at Sumas, we got gas and Frank called a couple stores looking for a new battery.  We drove about 20 min into Canada and stopped at a shop in Abbotsford and bought a new one.  Yay, the bike starts now!  Hopefully that will be the last mechanical issue for the trip. We had a yummy lunch while we were in town and then hit the road on the Trans Canadian Highway. Today would be a day of high milage to get into Canada as much as we could.  (We passed through some beautiful areas that I was unable to get pictures.) Canada has some great names for their cities.  My favorite of the day was Chilliwack! Day 2: Another day of amazing scenery but less miles to cover.  We decided to enjoy the morning with a ride on a steam locomotive, the Kettle Vally Steam Railway in Summerland.  The valley it runs along is stunningly picturesque, and the volunteers on the train really make the whole experience.  After that the Highway paralleled a series of large lakes that seemed to go on for hours they were so huge.  We passed through Sicamous, the houseboat capital of Canada.  My second favorite name of the day was Revelstoke, which sounds like it should be in a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings novel. That would be our stop for our second night. Fun fact of the day: We had never been to Tim Hortons before, we ended up going there for breakfast two days in a row.  Not only was the food good, they get bonus points for having outlets and phone chargers all over the place. I was so impressed I took a picture.  It’s the little things that make a difference, aye?    

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Ride For Kids Dual Sport 2017

Once again the Ride for Kids Dual Sport Ride was a huge success. We had not planned on going because we had the highly coveted camping reservations in Yosemite National Park. But the forecast for the park was to be 20 degrees and snowing, so we decided to skip it for this year.  Unfortunately none of our LABiker friends could join us so it would just be Frank and I riding. The weather was perfect: not too hot and not too cold. After the all important pancakes, raffles and Honda giveaways, there was also the Celebration of Life and the announcement that we raised over $53,000 this year!!  Way to go RFK task force leaders and fundraisers! I will not go into too many ride details this year other than I crashed way too many times and that takes it out of you.  I was tired, and tired of crashing.  We had so much rain this season so I am blaming it on the giant “swallow your bike” size ruts, and not my ability. I will give the top crash prize to Frank as he tried to ditch his bike over a cliff, and needed help from other guys and even used the straps to pull it back up the hill. Make sure to mark you calendar for every April to join the RFK Dual Sport that starts at Glen Helen Raceway, and takes you up into the mountains and around Lake Arrowhead for a great day of riding.  

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Super Bloom hits Anza Borrego

With the epic amount of rain that we finally got for the first time in over 5 yrs here in Southern California, there was no question that we would be taking a trip to the desert to see the flowers.  The question was where… We packed up the kids and headed to Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  We decided to head out on a Friday night (in traffic of course, this is LA) so we could stay near the park and avoid early crowds in case there was no parking. That paid off in spades because we were able to get up on Saturday morning, easily find parking, and go for a hike down Palm Canyon were there is a Palm Tree Oasis and water flowing from a spring.  It was amazing to see all the different flowers in bloom. Next on the docket was lunch in our favorite town that has pie: Julian. Today’s choice was apple rhubarb.  Then we headed back to see the amazing 130 full-sized metal sculptures of artist and welder Ricardo Breceda.  The art installation is inspired by creatures that roamed this same desert millions of years ago. The artworks range from prehistoric mammals to historical characters, fanciful dinosaurs, and a 350-foot-long fanciful serpent.  Read more about it here.  These were not here the last time I visited the park, so it was an unexpected bonus for the day. And the kids were actually impressed by them too! Anza Borrego, another thing I love about California.  It is a great place to take the family, and the Visitor Center is great too. Let’s hope it is not another 10 years before we go back to visit again.

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