Victoria, suburbs and Beacon Hill park on the strait between Vancouver island and the main land.
Piles of Oyster shells
A birthday meal of Oysters
Vancouver from Stanley Park
Great markets at Granville island
Sweet tunes and a chance to reflect on the views from Stanley park.
Colourful Whistler ski resort
Excitment is – bears at last, right next to the road
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park
Evening sun setting on Mount Begbie
Traveling next to the Colombia river.
31/5/04 – HAYDN'S 50th ON VANCOUVER ISLAND (cont.)
(How many women take their husbands to BC, Canada for their 50th birthday, but here we were. Victoria City has so much character and a ride around the bay takes us into the suburbs giving us a peak into the lives of people living there. Then it's further north up the island.) DD
Riding along the east coast we got a hankering for some sea food and we saw several signs for Oysters. We can recall how fantastic the South Australian oysters were and decided we owed it to ourselves to try out the local variety. (After all we must spoil the birthday boy) Somehow we got lucky and turned off the main road and found ourselves at the main oyster processing depot for the area. There were huge mounds of oyster shells and the workers told us they usually shuck between 140 and 200 pounds of oysters a day. What a job. Anyway, at the office we were able to buy a quart of shucked oysters for $C10.00 and they were huge, about half the size of your hand. We were really excited and resisted the temptation to open the lid and eat a few right there and then.
Dianne had a special birthday meal planned with the oysters but the labeling specifically warned against eating raw shell fish. We hadn't considered cooking these beauties so I tried a raw one to see what they were like. Now remember these things are huge and sadly not quite what I had expected - very rich and a little fishy. Dianne had stashed away some butter from the breakfast and she decided to fry them in garlic butter. Mmmmm, sounds good. She had also stashed away what she thought was salad dressing and squeezed this over the salad. Unfortunately it was mustard, so a new taste sensation was born - not so good. To cut a long story short, we both felt a little crook after the meal but were determined to eat those dammed oysters no matter what.
Reflecting on 50 good years!
Ice cream for breakfast, we'd bought it but I hadn't felt like it last night, then taking a recommended route we headed west over the island and over the mountain ranges. We're getting used to this now but the almost worn out tyres on the Harley are making cornering a challenge. We had to catch the 3.00pm ferry to Vancouver city so we rode for 3 hours then turned around and headed back.
A pleasant crossing to north Vancouver(map:1), then following instructions rode south to Grant & Susan's house where we would stay at the horizonsunlimited hub for 3 nights.
We had a few chores to get done today. Dianne's ears were still not clear so we visited a doctor who prescribed nasal spray to clear her Eustachian tubes. I booked the Harley in for two new tyres and while at the dealership checked out heated vests which Grant and Susan strongly recommended we get. I was also keen for Dianne to get a full face or flip top helmet so we checked these out too.
Despite expecting the bike to be ready, 2 hours later we were disappointed to find that at 1.00pm they hadn't started so we coerced them into loaning us a demo sportster and rode around a bit. We took the opportunity to check out the price of heated vests and helmets at a Yamaha shop and, pleased with the price, saved $70.00 on the lid and vests.
A day in Vancouver(1) today starting off at Stanley Park, a huge expanse of parkland right in the heart of Vancouver. The traffic in this city is horrendous and we decided that the only effective way to see the city was by taking a trolley car. This proved to be a good choice and we enjoyed the commentary from the drivers as we hoped on and off as we chose.
One place we spent some time was Granville Island. This is a huge market area with all sorts of foods and produce. It is also and artist colony with wonderful arts and crafts. Part of our trolley ride took us through Gas Town and it looked interesting with it's jazz clubs and restaurants so after returning to Stanley Park and collecting the bike at around 6.00pm, we made our way there. Along the way, there was a bloke playing the violin at one of the lookouts. What a memorable moment listening to his music and enjoying the vista.
Gas Town was a buzz but we were surprised at the number of 'weirdoes' in one location. Seems Vancouver's mild climate, draws the street people from all over Canada. China Town is also impressive and Vancouver has the second largest Chinese population outside of China. (San Francisco has the largest)
We've had a wonderful time with Grant and Susan in their beautiful home overlooking the mountains. Their dedication and commitment to the the web site has to be seen to be believed. Grant's understanding of the web and html is awesome and he helped Dianne with some issues we were having with this site. With updates made and emails checked it was now time to head east towards Revelstoke.
Our route now took us over the magnificent mountains that are the backdrop to Vancouver and with the new tyres, I thought I was riding a different bike. Just as well as we were riding through what has to be some of the most impressive scenery in the world. We camped at the First Nation (Indian) town of Lilooet, surrounded by mountain peaks and the Fraser river and with mild temperatures slept like logs.
Today started windy, became fine and ended cold and wet in Revelstoke(3), but that didn't matter because we were warmly welcomed by Carol and Peter, Horizon community members and RTWs. Their home faces the impressive mount Bigbie, huge and snow capped. At Kamloops(2), about 160km from Revelstoke we decided to try out the heated vests and I can report that they area truly a wonderful invention. For $A100.00, you'd be mad not to have one.
A wonderful 3 days in beautiful Revelstoke. The weather warm and sunny allowing us to enjoy Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park (4) and the hydro electric dam. I'm sitting at a coffee shop in downtown picturesque Revelstoke updating the diary and wondering if things get much better that this. Life really is good.
Glacier National Park
Feeling recharged and revitalised despite staying up to nearly midnight every night, it was time to move on following the Colombia river south. We had to take two free ferry's to get across the dammed river. Hydro electric power stations are common here, and the water from the Colombia is used about 14 times by hydro electric power stations on it's way to the sea. The dams also serve to reduce flooding, a common occurrence from the melting snow. Dianne's day was made when we saw a black bear crossing the road. Bears are apparently quite common and Peter showed us a home movie with 3 large black bears wandering around his back yard.
We passed on through the farming areas of the Vernon valley and camped at Kamloops at a lovely site right next to the Thompson river.
(Haydn has sat down to update our diary and has had a week of memories to record. What a good feeling to get it up to date. On futher reflection though, I need to add the word 'awe inspiring' to the list of descriptors Haydn has used in reference to the scenery in the mountains of BC. Awe inspiring is when you have to pinch yourself to make the moment feel real as you look around at the towering peaks topped with white snow).
The bike is bedded down in a picturesque campsite as the sun goes down, 11.00pm, Prince George.
Back into the mountains as we approach Smithers.
North of Terrance, a setting with a mystical mood, the lake filled with white silt from surrounding glaciers and an overcast sky.
In the rock pools, where the silt has settled, the water was this amazing blue and lava rocks cover the ground in the forground.
The road from Terrace to Prince Rupert winds through snow capped mountains, snow melt streams and small lakes with numerous waterfalls streaming down hundreds of feet from the impressive mountains.
The bay at Prince Rupert
We awoke to the sounds of 'pitter patter; on the tent. Bugger. We need to get to Prince George today, around 550km so we can't wait for the rain to clear. we got packed up fairly easily considering the circumstances and an hour out of town the rain stops and although overcast, we have an enjoyable ride north (to Alaska) to Prince George.
We've left the impressive snow capped mountains behind us for the rolling valleys and spent much of the day following rivers or lakes through romantically named towns as Little Fort and 100 mile House as we head up the Gold Rush Trail (Hwy 97). We passed through Williams Lake, an important stern wheeler river boat port and arrived at Quesnel feeling drained. Quesnel was a centre of gold mining last century and is an interesting town. A coffee and a muffin at one of the Tim Hortons chain of coffee shops had us recharged, yet again, and as we left to get on the bike a 'local' started to chat. Turns out that his mother lives in Tasmania and he is from South Africa and 'chats' every night with ex-Rhodesians on the 'net'.
Dark clouds were looking daunting and we hastily bid our acquaintance farewell but still caught the start of a large hail storm as we left town. Fortunately our compass bearing was due north and that was the only bit of hope in the stormy sky. We all know that feeling as the twists and turns of the road lead us towards and away from bad weather, today we were fortunate only enduring a few stray showers on the way to Prince George.
A picturesque campsite and a good meal. I wonder what the poor people are doing!!!
Overcast skies but no rain and a short run to Smithers through rolling countryside. Seemed strange not to have the snow capped mountains around us as we rode through miles of ranching country heading west on highway 16 leaving all sense of the big city behind.
I decided to change the oil and get a spare drive belt at the Harley dealer in Smithers. A fellow camper and biker, Bob, in Prince George claimed this was the best Harley dealership in British Colombia. Well we were warmly welcomed by Steve the owner but alas, he didn't have the synthetic oil I wanted or a drive belt in stock.
I've used synthetic oil since the beginning in this bike and believe it to be superior to mineral based oils. Harley recommend an oil change every 8000km, but I'm happy to leave the good stuff in the sump for 10 000km. Oil doesn't wear out, it either gets contaminated usually by unburned fuel and combustion by-products or the additive pack gets consumed. Our type of riding, in these cool conditions doesn't stress the oil and with a capacity of 4 litres and only 2 cylinders to lube at fairly low revolutions, the oil has a good life.
A cheap camp tonight in a Municipal camp ground. Cheap because there are no showers and long drop toilets. (bathrooms) Must remember to say bathroom as the word 'toilet' has bad interpretations. Even the 'toilet' paper is called 'bath tissue. No wonder we can't find any!!
Pack up under ominous skies and light drizzle and headed for the local Tim Hortons for breakfast, yes again! I then dropped Dianne off at the farmers market and went to the Harley Dealer to see if the oil he ordered had arrived. It hadn't, so I picked Dianne up and we headed west to Terrace on hwy 16. Despite the weather looking threatening, Dianne really wanted to take an additional 200km scenic ride north from Terrance along a series of lakes culminating at Lava Lake, located at the site of a volcano with lava rocks covering the ground. Quite impressive and with the overcast skies and light drizzle an almost mystical mood as snow capped mountains soared up from the lake.
Back to Terrace and a coffee hit before heading to Prince Rupert, where we catch the ferry on Monday. We arrived about 8.30pm in full daylight after what has to be one of our most memorable rides. Nearly 600km of glorious riding.
The 140km from Terrace to Prince Rupert follows the Skeena river and winds through snow capped mountains, snow melt streams and small lakes with numerous waterfalls streaming down hundreds of feet from the impressive mountains. Some of these mountains soar to nearly 7 000ft above the road and we had to crane our necks just to take it all in.
We checked into a quaint old wooden hotel last night. The weather is cool (high around 12 degrees C) and damp. Today we had a lay in and cooked breakfast as the room has a kitchenette. Time also to sort out digital photos and update this site and dry things out. The Canadian Formula One Grand Prix is on this afternoon and I'm expecting Dianne will insist I take things easy, put my feet up and have a couple of beers!! We'll see.
There is also a 'Sea Fest' on in town so we'll check that out and also confirm the ferry arrangements. We have to book in at 7:45am so we should get everything packed and ready to go tonight.
We've been told that food on the ferry is really expensive so decide to stock up at the local supermarket. While there we meet up again with Bob from Prince George. He's pleased to see us and we arrange to have Halibut for dinner at the at the local fish restaurant. (Best Halibut on the west coast). Bob brought along Dave & Jenny, a couple who've traveled extensively throughout Canada via motorcycle. We have a really good evening and exchange invitations. Hope to catch up with them again some day.
You meet the nicest people when you're travelling, hope we will meet up again one day.
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|©Haydn and Dianne Durnell 200|