Across Canada – Middle Part

Prairie awaits

From Kenora there is only way how to get to western provinces – take the most exciting and awesome highway through the prairies of course! Once I crossed the border between Ontario and Manitoba, land was getting even flatter, more straightforward and it was just… loong and booring.

I did not know anything about capital city of Manitoba and it stayed the same when I was leaving it the same day. I stopped on lights there only, so the one place I visited was Jim’s Vintage Garage close to Winnipeg. Old gas stations with few vintage cars and motorcycles, but it has nice authentic atmosphere so it is worth visit if you will take Hwy 1 some day.

Eric from Ottawa recommended to me RCMP Musical Show and I Googled very hard if it will be possible to see it somewhere. Luckily for me, one of the shows was really close to Hwy 1 and it was my next stop. Neepawa village held this show and I was there as well. Interesting show of 32 RCMP members and some of the “stunts” were really tight. But it did not beat the chance to see Amish guys in person which were populated in this area. Their’s clothing style and vehicle choice is really unusual.

Straight road for several ours lead me to Regina, biggest city in Saskatchewan. Reason to go here instead of Saskatoon? Simple – Rob gave me info about FB page We Ride Canada and recommended to me to visit Wendy there. Lovely lady with her purple Harley and I did not see purple H-D yet.

You could feel the Harley-Davidson spirit all over the place when approaching Wendy’s home – H-D Parking Only, just that purple bike in garage and nothing else and Wendy herself welcomed me completely dressed in Harley clothing.

Next day we went on a little tour around the city to see the Parliament and other sights such as Prairie Harley dealership. Wendy introduced me to the owners Carol and Robb and together we went outside to see Zuzka. And it was stunning view – Zuzka standing in the center of the lot, surrounded by guys in Harley shirts and HOG vests and nobody was paying attention to the Harleys. They were admiring state-of-the-art technology from Czechslovakia from the 50s 🙂

Because of the CZ brand Robb gave me contact on Steve Drane, who owned H-D dealership in Victoria for over 40 years and besides owning, racing and many other things, he used to service those CZ and Jawa motorcycles as well. So I contacted him and hopefully we will meet later on.

Alberta

From Regina is loong way to Alberta and to my next stop, Drumheller. Did something interesting happen during the race there? Guess what? No. At least one short part on road 7/9 before Alberta was beautiful, endless green fields with wavy relief without any disturbance. Just plain gorgeous view and balsam for the soul.

Drumheller is in many tourist guides and because we do not have any dinosaur skeletons back home, this was must see for me. And it confirm the fact places mentioned in guides are overcrowded. But it was totally worth it to see those big animals and be part of Jurassic Park for a moment.

Funny statue is “the biggest dinosaur” in the city itself, his small hands always put smile on my face. Which I could not say that about the Hoodoos few kilometres down the road next to the Red Deer River. Interesting on pictures, but in reality it is small and not so fascinating. Maybe because we have much nicer and bigger rocks in this style in area called Bohemian Paradise. Czech it out 🙂

Calgary, here I come. And you welcomed me with rush hour, that was not pleasant from you. I had no plans in Calgary so I just stopped somewhere for quick bite and was lucky enough to meet friendly couple Leslien & Colin who were kind enough to provide me place to stay over night.

British Columbia

I could feel and see mountains really close to Calgary and the shortest way to Rockies would be to Banff. But I decided to explore BC little bit more and went down to Cranbrook first to visit friend who owns several Czechoslovakian two-strokes and rides them often. Ride from Vancouver to Crambrook in one day on vintage two-stroke 350cc is also unbelievable.

Next stops, Hot Springs along to route to Banff. Natural in Lussier were lovely and not overcrowded, but the 17 km long gravel road there was not pleasant for Zuzka and me as well. Little bit down the road, Fairmont HS with its ordinary pool with hot water. Definitely worse. However time spent in camp was fun as I spent it there with Calgary guys who knows how to party. Radium HS has better view and the feel of mountain next to the pool is great. Last and not least, Banff Upper HS has its advantages as well. Resume of HS in this area – natural definitely Lussier, commercial Banff.

I had friend in Banff who took me on little tour on Tunnel Mountain and showed the night life on Banff Avenue. Interesting place at the foot of Rockies. Johnston Canyon is worth to visit as well with all the waterfalls surrounded by forrest.

Along the old road to Lake Louise you can spot different kind of animals, Bighorn sheep or majestic deer so I was not surprised when there was traffic jam in the middle of nowhere. Cars with warning lights and I was wondering what kind of sheep is slowing the traffic. When I spotted “it” I managed to say only “Ou sh*t…” Big grizzly bear just few inches in front of me and unlike the people in car cans, I was not protected by anything. Luckily for me, grizzly did not pay attention at all, so I was able to get some blurry pictures.

Lake Louise Fairmont is just tourist trap, Moraine Lake is much better with the view, surroundings and twisty road. I managed to get up very early somehow and take some pictures during sunrise and it is gorgeous. No wonder Moraine Lake is one of the most photographed place in Canada.

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park is beautiful as well and I met some California biker who recommended to me nice camp in which he stays as well. I followed his instructions and ended in completely different camp. Beaverfoot Lodge with ranch, cabins and western atmosphere all over the place. So I stayed, did maintenance on the bike and enjoyed hospitality there. Great food and chance to ride horses around with views on the mountains.

It’s getting interesting

Continue west over Rogers Pass. This is going to be fun. I thought at least. Just in the middle between Golden and Revelstoke I felt back wheel is wobbling and my suspicion was unfortunately right. Flat tire on back wheel. Damn it!

Keep calm and change the tire. I could spin with the valve, luckily I had spare tube. All the baggage on the ground and start repair procedure. Just few moments before I was able put tire back into the rim, some guy appeared out of nowhere with pickup and trailer asking if everything is ok. He heard about me from his trucker radio and I was glad he showed up, because I made a hole into new tube by mistake. Jason was on his way home to Vernon and was willing to help me. We put the bike into trailer with all the baggage and Jason drove me over Rogers Pass in his car to Revelstoke.

Destination hostel where I took bed for few nights, put the bike under cover and went with Jason for dinner to repay him his favour. He is biker as well, he flies with helicopters so there was plenty of topics to talk about.

Next day I was lucky for the second time, on recommendation from receptionist Laura (as well biker) I went to local outdoor shop and they had correct tube size I needed. Yes! Repair was quick with attention to not put a new hole into the tube. I was ready to meet Steve Drane.

We communicated little bit when I left Regina and this was the meeting point of our trips. I was crossing Canada, Steve was on his tour around BC with his friends Linda and Marc. We went on dinner and the whole evening was about motorcycles, experiences and how to have great time. And if I will be somewhere near Victoria, I have to visit him. It is a deal!

From Revelstoke going south to Toad Rock Motorcycle Campground. I received good recommendation to this camp which should be the biggest motorcycle camp in Canada. Sounds great and reality is even better. 40 years ago Marry was not satisfied with all the camps she visited on her bike so she founded her own. And for the last 40 years she was decorating it, making it bigger and better and all the visitors were like hers best friends. The atmosphere there is just so friendly and kind you cannot describe it with words. Just go there and spent some time in there. The place is incredible, roads are clean and twisty and there is plenty opportunities to fill your free time.

One example – Ainsworth Hot Springs. In my opinion the best hot springs in Canada. Pool outside may be not nice for someone with its brown-ish water, but the best is right next to it – cave with stalactites and stalagmites you can touch, knee-deep water over 40ºC even dripping from the top, awesome place to relax and enjoy.