Published: June 2nd 2012
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Sunday 27/05/12 – This morning we rode to the BC Wildlife park, which is just outside Kamloops. We got to see grizzly and black bears, as well as raccoons, a badger, deer, coyote, wolves, lynxes etc. Adam got to feed an elk, who has a penchant for carrots. He was growing his new set of antlers, so they were covered with fuzzy brown skin and the ranger said if the antler was cut off now, the elk would bleed to death as there is so many blood vessels in the antlers helping them grow. The antlers that fell off last year were hanging on the fence; I didn’t know that they grew a new set every spring! The two grizzly bears were siblings and were only a year old. They were bought to the park as orphans, and so will remain there for life. Most of the animals at the park were orphans or had been injured and were unable to return to the wild. There was also a mischievous family of marmots, which looked like fat ferrets; we even saw one so exhausted from stealing the elk’s food that he had sprawled out on rock and gone to sleep.

We had lunch at a town called Salmon Arm, then rode through stunning scenery in the mountains again, all snowy mountains and lush green forests on either side of the road. We rode through Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park and it was very cold. We found out that the national park campsites were not open as there was too much snow, so we continued on to a town called Golden and camped at Whispering Spruce Campground. As we pulled up, I heard a rattling noise from my bike. Turned out one of the big bolts holding the bash plate on had sheared off and was bouncing around inside the bash plate. We found out there was a hardware store in town, so we could get a new one as the nut was missing off the end.

Monday 28/05/12 – We were at the hardware store when it opened to get a new bolt and nut. Unfortunately, Canada runs on the metric system for most things (litres, kilometres), but the imperial system for others, like bolt sizes. They had no metric sized nuts to fit the bolt, so we had to buy a whole new bolt and nut. Thankfully the assistant was helpful and chose the bolt size closest to ours, then let us try it in the bike before we had to buy it. We fitted the bolt and headed to Lake Louise. There was a massive crowd of people there and it was only spring! We couldn’t imagine what it would be like in the summer when people come to swim. The ice on the lake was still breaking up, so there was definitely no swimming today. The lake was very beautiful between two steep forested mountains and with another snow-capped mountain behind it. We also went to see Moraine Lake which was in the same area, it was also still frozen and we had to walk through snow to get there.

We continued on to Banff, which everybody seems to rave about. Although a cute, quaint town from the outside, it was really just a touristy money-spinner, which Adam disliked immensely. We found a nice campsite in the Tunnel Mountain area, where the ranger said there had been a bear spotted up the telegraph pole that morning! So it was time to lock up the food and toiletries to make sure the bears weren’t attracted to the tent. That night, we planned to go to the Banff Hot Springs, but there was something wrong with the filtration system so it was closed – very disappointing.

Tuesday 29/05/12 – This morning we packed up with no bear sightings L and started the ride up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. About 70km in, we stopped at Crowfoot Glacier to have a look, it was fairly cloudy day so we couldn’t see many of the mountains behind. And then the excitement began. We were at 2000m elevation and it started to snow! We had never ridden in the snow before and pretty soon the snow had formed ice on our helmet visors and gloves. Our hands had started burning from being so wet and cold, and I was quite convinced I was about to lose a finger to frostbite. I have never been so excited to see a rest stop! We came across the Columbia Icefield Centre after about half an hour and hurrah, they had a café! We parked the bikes and saw each other’s icicles – they were hanging off our shoulders, gloves, bike windscreen and panniers. We walked inside, leaving a trail of melted snow throughout the building. For lunch, we picked a soup and poutine (Canada’s national dish – basically chips with gravy and cheese). After an hour, we thought we had warmed up enough to continue through the snow storm. We asked the ranger and it was another 8km to the summit of the pass, then it was all downhill. We could feel the snow melting off us as we descended from the summit, leaving us soaked. We had to ride another 100km like that, so we checked into the first hostel near the town of Jasper, had a hot shower, watched a movie on the laptop and went to bed, with the entire room smelling of wet socks while we were trying to dry our gear.

Wednesday 30/05/12 – This morning, we packed up all our gear that hadn’t dried and rode from Jasper to Prince George. Along the way, we saw a black bear by sitting on the embankment by the side of the road, lazily watching the bikes as we went by. We rode into Prince George and disaster struck! I was turning a corner at a major intersection and hit loose gravel. The bike slipped out from under me and landed on its side and on my left foot. I tried to get out of the way while Adam picked my bike up and moved it, but my foot was too sore to walk on and I was very worried that I had broken my ankle. All of a sudden, there was a policeman there, he had watched the whole thing happen while he was sitting in his car at the traffic lights. He called it in to dispatch, and then two firetrucks and two ambulances turned up making lots of noise! They were sorely disappointed as there was nothing to see. The ambulance officer checked my foot and suggested I have an X-ray to check for damage, but by this stage, it had improved and I could walk on it tenderly. I decided to leave it overnight and see what happened. Fortunately, the bike only received superficial damage which was good, a broken left rear vision mirror and a big split up the blue fairing on the front. The engine and everything else appeared to be fine.

Once I had calmed down, we continued to the Kawasaki store which was where we were headed, making sure to avoid any gravel patches! While we were there, we managed to book the bikes in for their 6000km service, even though the mechanic was fully booked; he said he would fit them in if he could have the bikes for the day. We found a campsite just 1km down the road, so we could drop the bikes off and walk back home. I took my bike boot off and found a big purple bruise under my ankle bone. The foot wasn’t really swollen, so that was good, but I strapped it up and put a rolled-up blanket under my foot for the night to get some elevation.

Thursday 31/05/12 – This morning, we dropped the bikes off to the mechanic for their service and walked very slowly home, with my foot still being a bit sore. We spent the day doing laundry, reading, typing and eating. When we collected the bikes, they were all good to go, but the mechanic suggested to change the tyres before Alaska, as he sees a lot of bikes coming back from there and the roads can be pretty tough on the tyres. He also mended my front fairing that had split. We also had a little squirrel hanging around our campsite for about an hour, which was very cute, and when we got back from dinner, we saw that something had tried to get into our tent to get to the cookies! Not sure if it was the squirrel or the raven that was hanging around this morning, but it made a few holes in the inner lining.

Friday 1/06/12 – This morning we didn’t have to get up as we were waiting around for my speedometer to arrive at 2.30pm, so we slept in. Except that the sunset is around 10pm and sunrise is about 4am so sleep-ins in a fluoro orange tent can be hard! Anyway, the day was cloudy with some rain, so we spent most of the day reading. When it was time, we went down to the dealership and collected the speedo part and fitted it in their carpark, which required the front wheel to be taken off. So now I have a working speedo, yay! Tomorrow we are off to Smithers to start the Cassier Hwy to the Yukon.

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4th June 2012

So incredibly jealous.............
Gee the bikes looking a bit wounded, hope your ankle is not as bad. That scenery looks so amazing, though I'm not sure i'd be keen on this riding in the snow caper. You two are hardcore. Take care, Ads.

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