Friday, June 6, 2014

Canada sure knows how to welcome two RTW Riders :)

Meeting Nevil and Jim at a gas station in Quebec last year
Although dry, our first morning in Canada was frigid and we made our first Tim Hortons Toe Thawing visit within an hour of beginning our ride that day. We were on our way to our friend Nevil’s (check him out at, who we had met at a petrol station in Quebec last September when he was on his way to Labrador to complete his RTW ride with his friend, Jim. We had asked Nevil if we should ride directly to Canmore from Pincher Creek, but he strongly recommended that we go the “long way around” and ride Route 93 so that we would ride through Banff on the way to Canmore. The difference was about 200kms, which is not excessive, but when you are freezing and the further you get along the more the clouds sock in what were supposed to be lovely the mountains that made the additional 200kms worth it… well, morale was failing a bit by the time we turned off onto the Kootenay Highway that would take us 
through Kootenay National Park and on into Banff.
 But through a tunnel, up over a hill and across a bridge that all changed… A mama black bear was feeding along the side of the road and her cubs were playing in the grass behind her. We watched in amazement as one cub came running from the under brush of a tree and tacked the other, rolling a meter or so before getting up and running up over a log and into a nearby tree. It was like watching a cartoon unfold in real life before our eyes.
Bear cub tackle


A few kilometers down the road, there was a “bear jam” (multiple vehicles pulled off of the road, including two ranger vehicles). Here, we got to watch two clumsy little Grizzly cubs follow their mama up the rocky hill.
Grizzly Family
Our moods were significantly buoyed, and as we rode through Banff to get to Canmore, the clouds opened up and we got to enjoy some stunning mountain vistas.
Lake Louise

We arrived at Nevil’s and met his lovely wife, Micelle, and daughter Jessica. We had only planned to stay for 2-3 days. But Nevil and Michelle are awesome hosts and made it difficult for us to leave, taking us on beautiful rides in the area, reuniting us with Jim, who we also met in Quebec, and introducing us to their network of ADV riders at Garagarita Night (aptly named for an evening spent in the garage drinking margaritas). 
Enjoying Lake Moraine w/ the Stowes and Jeremy Kroeker, author of Motorycycle Therapy and Through Dust and Darkness

And besides, after our race for the Canadian border and a few chilly, wet nights camping between Montana and Canmore, our bodies were in need of some rest, so 2-3 days stretched on for a couple more. 
Team KLiM RTW - LOVE our KLiM gear :)

We poured over maps of Alaska and Nevil and Michelle, who are pretty much experts on the area, pointed out where to go, what to do and
Drilling new foot pegs for the Transalp
for me, when to get nervous (i.e., crossing the mesh bridge near Teslin). Nevil, who worked as a back-country guide for a while,
educated us on bear safety practices, which it seems will come in handy. The guys went to work outfitting my bike with some sweet new farkles that will make my ride North infinitely more
New cruising pegs and hand guards for me!!

comfortable. Upgraded hand guards (a.k.a. recycled plastic bottles - lighter, more attractive and cheaper than the old flooring plastic ones) and cruising foot pegs, courtesy of Jim.
Jim’s wife, Grace, is a rep for Buff and knowing that the buffs Jim had given us back in Quebec had kept us toasty warm last year, she gave us some more. (If you see us along the road and need one - just ask - she sent us along with a few to share :) )

Garagaritas in Garage Paradise

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