Saturday, July 31, 2010

Calgary to Redmond

It's been a while since we updated 'cos we have been out of internet access, doing things like 'wild camping' but finally here is the next instalment. Hope you enjoy hearing about our travels and adventures. I think we have both finally settled into it and I have to say I am having the time of my life (and it has nothing to do with the menopause!!).
We managed to drag ourselves away from the comfort of the house and by 09.00 we were on the road heading back up towards Banff. The weather was warm as we left, but gradually became really cold and we found ourselves biking towards thunderously black clouds hovering over the mountains. We just managed to get all our wet weather gear on at the side of the road by a sign warning of wolves, wolverines and bears, when the heavens opened up and we were deluged. Along with the rain came the wind as we travelled down the 93, 95 and the 3. We sheltered at a picnic area whilst we had our usual picnic lunch of cheese, bread and tomatoes.
At Fairmont Hot Springs, the wind still raging, we stopped to get a free map of British Columbia from the tourist office, but they did not have any and charged $6 for what they did have. So we declined. As we arrived, we came upon a bit of a local stir as a tree at the side of the road had been blown over in the wind. It had only just happened. Luckily the driver of a truck parked beside it, had noticed that the tree looked a bit unsteady, and had just moved his truck further away, as the tree came down across power cables.
But nothing lasts forever and gradually as we crossed the border into the USA, and Idaho, the weather miraculously changed, and we got out of our wets and basked in some sunshine. Crossing the border into the US was as they say 'a piece of cake'. The border guard, a biker himself checked our passports and visa, and gave us lots of advice about where to visit and waved us on our way.
Mountains gave way to rolling mounds of farm country. We had been told that we could get into the bike rally a day before it formally opened so we decided to have a long day on the road to get in the miles. At about 19.00h we found a Motel where the owner regaled me (David was wisely sorting out the bike outside), with stories of 'huntin' shootin' an' fishin' and how he came to be in the Motel business ,and making huckleberry jam, which he gave us a jar of an is very yummy indeed. Eventually installed, we nipped across the road, bought some soup and nibbles and had a picnic in our room, before falling into bed. By the way the room was dark, musty, and questionable clean, but I guess any port in a storm!
The following morning, we hit the road bright and early, well about 0830 (I hope you are all proud of me!!), another long day through rolling farming landscape, down the 95 and then the 12 and 14 brought us to a remote green oasis island camp-ground, the Crow Butte State Park in the Columbia River.
It felt odd in some ways being out of the mountains and bear country. But not to be outdone, bears were to be replaced by rattlesnake warnings. We were mischievously informed by the park warden that he had not killed any rattle snakes so far this season, and that last year it was over twenty! After we sweated putting up the tent and embarked on our usual one-ring wonder (now what was it-ah yes chilli and rice) a fellow biker who was camping in his RV came over and gave us a couple of ice cold beers-what a delight I can tell you.
Later that night we heard what sounded like a really loud TV. We decided to go and investigate to find that someone had set up a huge screen, near his tent, and lots of campers had brought their chairs over to watch an outdoor movie in the warm night air! Adds a new dimension to camping.
Another early start we motored past the John Day Dam (who is John Day?) We turned on to the 97 and Redmond, arriving about 1400, setting up camp on the quiet zone, next to Bil from Medford Oregon who was very proud of his deck, Pat from New York State and Don from Colorado. They do travel some to their rally's.

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