About Us

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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

July 28, 2010

Grover reunion to Edmonton

Grover’s a little blue guy from Sesame Street but he’s also a group of laughing, joking and fun to be around, family members at the Clearwater reunion. We arrived at the campsite mid day after about 11 hours of riding through the beautiful Jasper National Park. After rolling into Clearwater and asking the RV site attendant where my parents were we headed down to site number 17. We sat there for several hours as no one had showed up yet. The location was nice but didn’t seem like a good spot for a family reunion. The folks that were there, like in every other spot we’ve been were German, this is a bit of a running joke by now and both Deya and I are impressed with how many Germans are touring around Canada.

It was getting onto 6 pm when we decided to go and ask the RV attendant about the reservations again. We discovered that he had given us the wrong name and the campsite our parents were at was across the lake at another place with the same name. We packed up our stuff, waved goodbye to the people there and headed over to the new campsite. We got there just as the family was setting up their RV’s so we helped out.

The next few days were good, relaxing and fun, and we enjoyed the people and family. I was happy to see some family that I hadn’t seen in a long time and wished that were closer over the years. There were typical amounts of drama and story telling, family tree stuff and who’s who from where and when all added to the mystery. It’s funny that way, I can never figure out why people ramble on about uncle this from cousin that and expect anyone to remember, but at the end of the day it’s a good group of people all the same… except Tom, as I’m told, but some of the stories are funny.

After the reunion we headed out, Deya and I were planning on going to Kelowna to get a 20,000 km service for my bike at the BMW dealer. We had emailed the dealer a couple weeks in advance but got no response and called them when we got to Clearwater. It turned out that they wouldn’t help us; this wasn’t the first time a BMW dealer wasn’t interested in our business. The folks a Blackfoot BMW in Calgary didn’t seem to have a problem so we had to schedule the work there. What strikes me as odd is that BMW markets these bikes for the adventure rider, yet with limited access to email and no telephone, getting service seems to be spotty at best.

So far I can’t fairly recommend the BMW dealers in Anchorage, or Kelowna. Calgary and Edmonton seem okay but John Volk BMW/Ducati in Vancouver is AWESOME. We have a relationship with these guys but they also understand customer service and rider satisfaction, we’re happy to have them on our team. Deya also had success with the BMW service network, it’s a card used to contact BMW international and they have a more specific interest in the BMW rider who’s on the road, so thanks to them and their good will.

We didn’t stay long in Kelowna but our stay was nice and Shirley and Bruce are excellent hosts. One thing that Shirley did that I thought was grand was to have a very recent picture of Deya and I framed and near the entrance of the door when we first came in. I was surprised and impressed at the creativity and joked that we need to leave before the next guests show up so she can reuse the frame.

While in Kelowna we were able to visit a new and award winning winery called Camelot Vineyards. The owners are very nice folks and gave us some good thoughts about their business and some great wine. I hope they continue to do very well!

Once we left Kelowna we headed for Calgary and arrived at our good friends Brad and Kat’s place. We spent several days with the family and visited some cool places; we also got to go the Calgary Stampede. Of all the cool things to do and the shows we saw my favourite sights were the cowboys eating corn dogs, unfortunately Deya wasn’t able to capture a good picture of this event. L.O.L….it’s an inside joke and has to do with the filming of Brokeback Mountain near Calgary. I find it funny anyways.

We left our friends, sadly, and headed for Edmonton. It was time to go and Deya and I agree that about 4 nights is the maximum we should spend with people as a general rule. This will help not to wear out our welcome, simply because people have their lives to live and need their space and we are no exception. I just wish, and I think Deya does too, that the people who we enjoy and care about lived just a block away and that we had the time to share with them and somehow be helpful. That’s a big pipe dream but it’s a nice one to have.

On the way to my parents place near Edmonton we stopped at Drumheller to check out the scene and shortly afterwards for a nap on the side of the road. It was a good run and rolling plains of the Albertan prairie were beautiful. We had at least three large storms brewing around us, one on the left, one on the right and one moving quickly in behind us. We adjusted our path to avoid one big cloud that was laying down rain and lightning and arrived dry and safe at my parents place. Here we’ll stay and get a handle on our equipment for a couple of weeks. Help out in the yard, clean our gear, change our tent and update our kitchen. Time spent wisely here will make the rest of the trip more enjoyable.

July 12, 2010

On the Alaska Highway

Watson lake is a bit of a drag and it doesn’t improve until at least Fort Saint John. Headed South on the Alaska Highway we saw a bunch of different wild life including bears, buffalo, eagles, fox, moose and caribou. While stopping to check out a Bison we met another fellow rider named Steffan from Germany, he was at the end of his travels having already been to the bottom of South America and was finishing in Alaska.

We headed out and pulled into Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park to find out that we had the last spot available. All others were reserved and we knew our lonely friend would not have a place to go that evening. We booked the last spot and told the registrar to send Steffan to our spot when he arrived. It was about an hour later when our road side friend showed up thankful to share our spot with us.

Steffan is a good guy, on the last legs of his trip as he started over a year earlier in Chile. His last bit of the trip was going to be tricky though as his girlfriend was going to fly to Whitehorse to meet him and ride to Deadhorse and back on the back of his bike. That’s fully loaded buddy, good luck!

We had failed to research the locations resources and discovered that there were no groceries to be had and the local gas station was closed. Once the gas station opened we’d still have to pay $1.70/litre just to get out of town, the bikes didn’t have enough range to get anywhere otherwise. The major consequence of this was that we had very little food. Steffan was able to acquire some beer on short notice from a family from Whitehorse, good times! Deya and I asked people if they had any left over food or grocers we could buy but only one couple had anything. We got bagels and oats and it was fantastic.

The Liard campground is attached to some hot springs which were quite nice and we attended multiple times despite the less than average weather. The hot springs were probably the highlight of the stay.

After escaping the area we headed for Fort Nelson and bought expensive groceries, in hindsight we should have waited for Fort Saint John. Fort Saint John was the first bit of civilization we had encountered since we came into town to find a Tim Hortons, right on Veterans Way, awesome. We ended up spending the night in Dawson Creek, which is a nice city and Mile Marker ‘0’ for the Alaska Highway, but didn’t start feeling good about this stretch of the journey until we entered Alberta. Once in Alberta we found nice little towns like Hythe and fine roads all the way down through Grande Prairie and Grande Cache.

We spent the night across the street from an ugly, lonely and expensive provincial park near Hinton. After gut punching a rat in the middle of the night, who was trying to get into our tent, we set out across the Jasper park and headed to Clearwater for our family reunion. The reunion was going to be fun and assured us a dry place to sleep, good food, family and beer.

Is it the place or the people?

So after leaving Tok we headed into Anchorage. The road improved most dramatically and became twisty and fun. We followed the GPS North to Willow where we came to our friend Chuck’s place, aka Charles and his wife Georgina, who live on some lake front acres where Chuck used to park his float plane. I won’t bore you with the details of our ride right now so I can get straight to the good stuff. Chuck!

We had the honour and the pleasure to stay in Chuck’s lovely home and eat great food. We got treated like VIPs and toured around Southern Alaska. I just want to thank Charles and his lovely wife Georgina again for taking care of us and for spending their time with us. Chuck was our tour guide through some amazing spots in the Yukon and Alaska that we would not have likely seen alone. He is a champion rider and a man’s-man, having only started riding after 60 years of age.

He is a friend and a good example of the adventurous spirit. On more than one occasion I think Chuck inspired the envy of younger men (younger than Chuck) including myself with his skilful handling of that fully loaded 1200GS. Balderdash on those folks that say their too old, Chuck was putting me to shame. I can only hope (and I think Deya does too) that I have the balls to drive wildly into the fray of mud, dirt and slop like some kind of half nuts test pilot, who knows something but he won’t tell, only to pile in then pick that big bike up with all the gear still attached, jump on and ride out of the goo like it wasn’t nothing, at that age. Chuck’s a great riding partner, keeps a good pace and looks for the options. He knows how to find a good camp site, a mean road, get beer chilled and a tight cup of coffee. Keep the dream alive Chuck, we hope to see you down South in a couple of years!

After deciding that we were not going to go to Dead Horse our host came up with a plan. First one was a day trip through Hatcher Pass, this was amazing as the weather was good and didn’t need any gear. This is a must see for anyone able to get there. Pictures don’t do it justice and my Contour video cam stopped working. After a good nights sleep we then headed North to the Denali Highway where we spent a night at higher elevation. It was beautiful and the weather was not bad. At least 50% of the time we had rain or heavy clouds so we took less photos than we might otherwise wanted to. Deya and I have become very proficient in setting up and breaking camp in the rain.

We headed back to Tok for another night at the Thompson’s Eagle Claw Motorcycle Park, which is the right place to stay if you’re on a motorcycle then we headed out in the morning rain to run the Top of the World Highway back into Canada. It was good but tiring and Deya had almost enough before we got to the border. We headed to Carmacks then East to the ‘Yukon’s Best Kept Secret’, so I can’t tell you where we stayed. The next day we headed out and stopped by Ross River for a Canada day parade where Chuck was given honourary Canadian status by the local natives, almost ran out of gas and then headed South along the Canol Road, another fabulous road worth going back to. We camped by the river and enjoyed our last camp together as a team. The next day was a short ride to Johnson’s Junction where we said our goodbyes. We miss our buddy still. Now headed East to Watson Lake in the rain, stopping for a nap in a sunny spot by the river some where, Deya commented that the country up here is epic, it would be hard place to live, it’s big and amazing at every turn.

After a month without a day off both Deya and I are feeling a little worn out. Sleeping in the rain, spot washing and trying to survive on a meagre budget is tough and draining. We’re going to have to slow our pace if we’re going to survive otherwise we might end up breaking down. One thing I do know for sure, as much as I love the rain, the rain doesn’t help and is very taxing. Getting time to write on these blogs has been tough too, just surviving to the next day seems to take up a lot of time and we don’t always have the resources available to make it happen. I’m hoping to get to some more companies for our research but just staying dry and keeping the stink off is a huge effort. Another thing I discovered is that there is no shortage of good people around and that those with a bit of adventure in their bones make for good company.