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July 22, 2012
A Playground of Beautiful Things
Moab, Arches National Park, The Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park, it is like being in the Disneyland of nature. All things seem accessible and in view, with line-ups and rides, it is totally awesome. We travelled first into the Moab and stayed at a campground in the area where Johnny Depp was filming something about the Lone Ranger. We had a chance to intrude but couldn’t be bothered even though we both like the actor. Instead we hung out with a group of young campers and their chaperones who invited us for dinner at their campsite and told us about the cool stuff they were doing.
The next day we headed out and on towards the Grand Teton and Yellowstone where we would use the National Park pass that our goods friends Frank and Petra mailed to us. The scenery is fantastic and the more obscure the route the better. Eventually we got into Yellowstone and headed up the East side to the Mammoth Hot Springs. We got lucky and secured the last camp spot beside another rider. We were waiting for a friend from Vancouver who thought he might make it out to see us but never showed up.
As the evening wore on a fellow rode up on a mean looking bike and pulled in. The guy introduced himself as Brad and he became an awesome camp neighbour. We chatted into the evening beside the fire, under the stars with a warm wind blowing. The moon sat firmly an arm’s length over the hill to our South with an old man standing at the crest of the hill waiting for the moon to move so he could proceed, he never did. Brad had a long comfortable night to contemplate his next move, go on or go back. Either way Brad we wish you the best and know you’ll find the route you need.
Heading on, we wound through Idaho and Montana. Unfortunately our maps, provided by the visitor centres, sucked and we had some trouble finding camping.
Stopping for gas several hours away from our destined camping area near Glacier National Park, as I started to fill the gas a truck pulled up and I heard a guy on a cell phone say, “Yeah I’m looking at a 650 and 800 right now!” I knew immediately that this guy rides BMWs. He went inside and on the way out we started to talk. Turns out Tim was on an adventure ride with a buddy, Jeff, and were camped in the general area we were headed. Deya asked about camping and Tim offered up the only place he knew which was where they were staying. Tim took off trying to get there before the sites were all taken and we stopped for a late breakfast at the rest stop across the street.
Later in the Day we reached Bigfork where the described campsite was and headed in. As we rounded the camp we saw Tim standing there with Jeff and they had a camper and a trailer. I stopped to talk while Deya went looking for a campsite, returning to tell us that there was nothing vacant. Jeff immediately offered up their tent space since they were in the camper on the truck and we were set. The boys went off on a tour while Deya and I set up our camp and prepared some dinner. That evening was spent with good food, conversation and friends; the best way to camp in my opinion. (Check out Tim’s Trailer for a series he’s working on about the best geography as experienced by a motorcyclist www.vimeo.com/sidetracked).
The following day we headed out towards Glacier National Park, this would be our day to come home to Canada. As we enjoyed the beauty of the park we bumped into Tim and Jeff doing their laps through the park and said our final goodbye. The park was cold and wet through the mountains but the riding was fantastic. We left the mountains on the North side and headed to the border. There was no one at the border but us and I was excited to get back.
The Customs agent asked all the appropriate questions and I was super happy to be able to understand and answer them. I was smiling and nodding yes when we asked me if I had any weapons. I answered no but was still nodding yes, that turned into conversation but really I have no worries about being pulled inside and searched, I’m home.
If I was excited entering the USA I was almost emotional entering back into Canada and Deya and I both agreed that there was a sense of peace about getting back into Canada. We took our border picture entering into Alberta and headed North towards Calgary. As we approached the city of Fort Macleod we saw our first Tim Hortons. We decided we had to stop for a coffee and a sour cream donut.
As we were sitting in the shop another biker came in and approached Deya saying, “How was South America?” That was weird, after a brief explanation we discovered that two years ago in Grand Prairie, in the North of Alberta, we had met this lady at a Tim Hortons and told her of our intended trip. We had only been a couple months into the trip at that point and now we bump into this lady through a one hour window some 900 kilometres and 730 days from the original location. It’s a weird thing and it would happen again soon.
Our destination now would be Calgary and as luck would have it would end up there on Stampede week, just as we had left it. Our journey now really is on old stomping grounds and we would get to see old friends and family as we toured up to Edmonton area to see my parents and head towards Vancouver and onto Vancouver Island. Riding through the Rocky Mountains is always a treat and even though we got a bunch of rain the beauty of this country never gets boring.
We camped at a provincial campground called Blanket Provincial Park, the next morning about 7:30 am, as we were packing up our gear and preparing breakfast I hear some say, “Deya, is that Deya?” It turned out to be a friend’s sister who just happened to be in the camping in the same park. Funny, next time someone asked me if I know Bob from Canada I think I’ll say yes, because the chances are I just might.
I think the beauty of this trip was the time to see what is important to us, to realize what we have and what we want to accomplish and that relationships and the environment are important. Riding a motorbike is such a rewarding means of travel that I can’t underplay it and while I recognize the value in all other means, for me, it is the best.
Our journey doesn’t end here because we have many things to do and this trip is not a trip of a lifetime, it is a part of who we are. This project will officially end by August 5th, 2012 so that our new project can start. For now we have business to attend to, more riding, more people, more planning and new opportunities and adventures to consider. Going forward I will add stuff here periodically as I think it’s interesting or just to empty my brain, but for the moment we are back, until that point comes that the plan is set and it’s time to move on, then I can say, “And then we were gone”.
Special thanks to all our friends and family, to all the fantastic people we’ve met who played an important role in this journey, to the Earth that we all share for being amazing and our personal support team of Lee and Jen; I wish everyone the very best success.