Trip Synopsis of 10 Day Ride
Through British Columbia and The West Coast


Well, after 10 days of being in areas of bad cell phone service and no email, I am back to my routine. The last few days have put me right back into reality. The only bad thing about a 3000 miles, 10 day ride around the Country is that it has to end. But if you do it right, you've got a lot of things to recall when those work days get a little long. After going through the first 500 of the 1500 photos I took, to decide which ones get posted on the site, I have had a chance to relive a few of the days.
As I mentioned in last week's letter, we started our ride in Washington. We had the bike shipped to Downtown Harley-Davidson in Seattle via Valley Transportation Group here in Phoenix. They did a great job in getting the bike there in perfect condition and exactly on time, I would highly recommend them to ship a bike and I will use them again. Downtown Harley-Davidson was very helpful in coordinating the arrival of the bike, a task which they said they do all the time for Harley owners all over the United States that want to ride in the Northwest. After a short 4 mile ride in a cab from the airport to the dealership, we strapped on the bag and were on our way to Canada by 11:00 am EH!
One of the enjoyable things about riding cross country for me is the interaction with people. I love pulling into a gas station or Country Store and talking to the locals. It seems as though everyone is intrigued by the thought of traveling on a motorcycle. But some of the questions they ask are kind of funny. They will walk up to the bike and look at the T-Bag strapped to the back and say: "Are you traveling?" Nope, just taking a few T-shirts out for a ride around the block. Or they will walk up and look at the tank that says Harley-Davidson and say: "Is that a Harley?" Nope, we just painted Harley-Davidson on there to see if anyone would notice. I lost track of how many times we answered those 2 questions. But the interaction is what makes it fun.
We crossed the Canadian border at around 3:00 pm and got acclimated to the change in road signs. Everything was in kilometers. I have to admit, when I saw that first speed sign that said 100, I got a little excited, until I realized that really means about 65 miles per hour. Between the currency difference and the distance and speed being quoted in Kilometers, I was pretty tired of doing the math after about 500 miles in this country. We made our way to Whistler by around 6:00 pm. Wow! What a beautiful place this is. The village of Whistler, nestled in between the Whistler/Blackcombe mountains is built to look like a mini Switzerland. They did a great job of master planning this area, and it has just about every outdoor activity you can think of. In fact, one of the outdoor activities particularly caught my eye. I showed the flyer to Mrs. C. and she said: "You are not going to do that are you?" I said yes, I think I am. So we hopped on the bike and headed 8 miles South of Whistler and traveled 2 miles on a dirt road to the 160 foot bridge that was the home of Whistler Bungee.
It is kind of interesting how something can look good on paper, but when you actually are standing there, 160 feet above the rapids, contemplating stepping off of a perfectly good bridge, excitement turns to fear. That is pretty much what happens on your first bungee jump. And of course, I unknowingly did it the scariest way the first time, falling off backwards. Here is what it looks like from 160 foot above the rapids watching a guy who is questioning what he just did. Mrs. C. took a great shot. After doing that, I decided to go again, this time experiencing it from the "Swan Dive" position. This way was filled with adrenaline as you could see the water getting closer to you by the millisecond. What a rush that was! Mrs. Cyclerides wasn't sure at first, but decided to join me as well. She stepped right up and jumped off forward. She had no desire to go again, but said it was awesome. I did a cool little 4 minute video with music that I think you will enjoy. Click Here for broadband or cable and Click Here for 56K dialup. To see more bungee pictures click on Day 2 below.
Once we got our little adrenaline charge from Whistler Bungee, we were on our way for our 270 mile ride through the Lillooet Mountain range in Southern British Columbia. This is an absolutely beautiful ride as you go through farm land and then right through and around massive mountains and cliffs while paralleling rivers most of the way. But if you are looking to get out of the heat in the Summer, you will be surprised. It was 110 degrees in Lillooet when we were there, and they said that is normal. But, it was a dry heat, so we felt right at home. After getting a late start due to the Bungee jumping, we went through Hell's Canyon and the 7 tunnels between Lyton and Hope and got into Hope, BC. at about 9:00 pm. Along the way I found that a long lost ancestor by the same name had a started a small business in Yale, BC. Here it is. We finally made it back to West Vancouver at 11:30 pm that night.
After 2 days of riding 596 miles and tackling more twisties than I could count, at 10 am on Day 3 we were boarding the ferry for the 12 mile, 90 minute cruise to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. This is not a ferry that I was expecting. This is more like a cruise ship than a ferry. It had a full restaurant, gift shop, and just about every convenience you could think of. And the good news was that motorcycles got preferential treatment. You didn't have to wait in the long line of cars to board the ship. We were the first on and the first off. Now that is what I call motorcycle friendly. We disembarked in Nanaimo and made the 60 mile ride to VictoriaVictoria is one of those cities that is filled with history and seems like you have gone back 100 years in time. They have many of their old buildings including the Empress and the Parliament building that was built in the early 1900's. There is plenty to do here, but we decided to take a little ride, a walk around town and just sit on the balcony of the hotel and enjoy the view. I would recommend the Laurel Point Inn in Harbor Bay. It is a little pricey, but the view is worth the extra cost. If you wanted to spend an extra couple of days here, there would be plenty to do, but we came to ride. So the next day we were off again. I will bring that to you next week. 
One of the funniest things that we encountered was the dialect of the locals in Canada. We had watched Mike Myers and Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live do their skits on the Great White North, but had never experienced it in person. Canadians really do say EH? after every sentence. It got so comical that we started to join in. I couldn't figure out exactly what it meant, then I saw a T-Shirt in a window that pretty much explained it all. It said that it is a Canadian term for right? okay? please, maybe, thank you, how about it?, don't you?. Used after a statement or question. Said with spirit and pride even to Americans and other visitors. Why do we Canadians say EH? It's better than saying HUH!

On Monday morning, after a night of luxury in the Laurel Point Inn, we arose early to catch the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, Washington. It's kind of funny how our attitudes and habits can change when we are on a cross country ride. I'm not a morning person at home, but on the road I was awake at 6:00am every morning ready to get up and go. Amazing the difference in attitude when choosing between going to work or taking a 350 mile ride through beautiful unknown territory. One tip about the ferry in Victoria is that you have to go through U.S. Customs and you need to be there at least 2 hours prior to departure to get in line. They only take 8 bikes on this ferry. We were number 5 in line and made the 1 1/2 hour cruise to Port Angeles where we were on our way to Portland, OR.


I called Day 4 a travel day. That is a day spent getting to where we wanted to go. The ride down the 101 along the inner bay in Washington is not a bad one, it is just a little redundant after 93 miles of the same twisties and scenery. Our main goal was to get to Portland and then to the Old Columbia River Hwy. off of I-84. This is a beautiful ride where you experience 7 different falls including the 600 foot Multnomah Falls. From there we continued on scenic I-84 that parallels the huge Columbia River and ended day 4 at Hood River, OR. A very cool little town on the banks of the River. I would recommend the Best Western Hood River. It is right on the river with a great view. Day 4 ended with 300 miles.


Day 5 was a highlight of the trip. We started the day with breakfast in Hood River and then made our way to the old Columbia Gorge Hotel built in 1921 that is on the National Historic Register. This is a beautiful hotel with incredible views of the river. It is worth the stop. We were then on our way South on Hwy. 35 toward Mt. Hood. Oregon is an excellent State in which to ride. I could have spent three days just riding around there. There is a lot of fruit farming there, the rolling hills are beautiful, and it seems that the ominous Mt. Hood is present in almost every view. This area is excellent riding. We continued on Hwy. 26 to Portland where it was 95 degrees and then onto the coast of Oregon where we were met with a thick layer of fog and 58 degrees, all in a mere 60 miles. Day 5 ended at Tillamook, Oregon freezing our rears off after riding 308 miles.


Day 6 was the beginning of 3 days of coastal riding down coastal Hwy 101. We started the day with breakfast and a tour of the Tillamook Cheese factory which was interesting. We were then off to the fog and the Three Capes Scenic route to really get a feel for coastal living. One of the historic aspects of the coast of Oregon is all of the Lighthouses that are still standing. It is a real treat to view and to visit them. Another stop that I would recommend are the Sea Lion Caves, just North of Florence. You take an elevator down 300 feet below Hwy. 101 to view the sea lions.


As with anything you do for the first time, your recollection and fondness of the area is always going to be remembered by the weather that you encountered. With that being said, I am not going to remember the coast of Oregon with high regard. For three straight days we were riding through fog, mist, high winds and temperatures reaching a blistering 63 degrees. You can see by the pictures the gloom that was present in almost every picture. But with that being said, on a nice clear warm sunny day, I would think that this would be a sensational ride. The entire coast of Oregon is mostly old cities that have been there since the early 1900's and are still there for a variety of reasons including fishing, logging and some tourism. But it is definitely a ride through the past when going through these many small towns on coastal Hwy 101 in Oregon. We ended day 6 in Gold Beach, OR after riding 288 miles of coastal twisties.  


That is about as concise as I can put it. The pictures will tell the rest of the story. As I mentioned above, I have posted about 250 pictures from the 3 days which I feel captivates the essence of the ride. When you go to the photo pages click F-11 on your keyboard to go to full screen mode and then click next to view the pictures. If you missed last week's photos, Here is a link to last week's newsletter. Click Here for All 6 Days Photos. Stay tuned next week for the next three days and the story on the fantastic "Lost Coast Highway" ride just outside of Eureka, CA.


When I left you last week in Gold Beach, Oregon, we had finished Day 6 of our 10 day 3000 mile ride through British Columbia and the West Coast. The odometer was reading 1621 miles traveled, slightly over half of our miles that we would end up traveling. The interesting thing about traveling without reservations for hotels or a particular destination is that you totally lose track of time and the days of the week. There were several times I had to figure out what day it was to know how much longer we had to ride. On a 10 day adventure like this, you don't event think about the days early on, because you know you have plenty of time to go. But when you start seeing day 7 roll around, you are having so much fun on the road, that you don't want it to end and start trying to figure out a way to extend the trip. We said to each other a couple of times in the last few days of the trip, "This is really fun, I wish we could figure out a way to keep it going". That wasn't going to happen, reality had to eventually make its' way back into our lives. But what we didn't know was that one of our best riding experiences was right ahead of us.
Day 7 started out with a quick breakfast bar experience at the Beachcomber Inn in Gold Beach, Oregon.
For once, and for a brief time, we were greeted with some sunshine on the coast as we headed South 37 miles to California border. But it wasn't long until the typical fog on the coast started to find its way onto shore. It was only another 39 miles and we were entering the Redwood National Park and about to embark upon our first real tourist experience, the drive-thru Redwood tree. Yep, this 2 second ride makes bungee jumping look like stepping off the curb. But you HAVE to do it, or you wouldn't be a tourist. Just think, if we had a drive-thru cactus, people from California would be coming over here to do that. After finally calming ourselves from the rush of riding through the Redwood tree, we were on our way to the Eureka.
Eureka is one of the most interesting towns that we went through on this part of the California coast. It is an old Victorian Seaport that began in the 1850's that thrived on both logging and commercial fishing. It is a town of 26,000 people, but best known for Old Town Eureka where they have preserved and rebuilt the Victorian houses and buildings that were built in the late 1800's. It is definitely a good place to spend a little time, soak up some history and ride through the old town. You can also visit Redwood Harley-Davidson located right on the Hwy. 101. They were very friendly and helpful with directions and questions about the area. Thanks to the lady at Redwood HD, we took what turned out to be one of the best routes on the trip.
I had this route penciled in on my agenda, but was falling into the old clock watching syndrome that we are used to at home and was ready to abandon it until she insisted that we take this ride, and boy are we glad we did.
It is dubbed by the locals as "The Lost Coast", and when you go you will see why, there is no one out there. About 15 miles South of Eureka you take the exit for Ferndale. A beautiful little Victorian town in it's own right. This is also a good place to stop for lunch at Curley's Bar and Grill in the old Victorian Inn Hotel. Just a block off of main street you will see a sign that says Capetown-Petrolia. Turn here and you embark upon some of the most interesting and exciting 70 miles you will ever ride. This is a narrow road that will take you through the pines for a view of Ferndale and then up a couple thousand feet through twisties until you then make your way back down into the beautiful rolling California golden and grazing land. After about 18 miles you will see the clouds starting to roll in as you get near the ocean. Mattole Rd. will then take you for a 7 mile ride right on the ocean. But watch out for cows as it is open range there and they do take advantage of it as you can see by this picture. From here, your next 30 miles will criss-cross the Mattole River, more California golden, and go through the very small towns of Petrolia and Honeydew where you are likely to see deer along the way. You will then start winding your way up and over a 2700 feet pass for 20 miles before being dropped right into the giant redwoods of Humboldt State Redwood Park and back to the Avenue of the Giants for your next opportunity at a 5000 year old drive-thru tree. An awesome ending to an awesome ride. If you are doing this route near the end of the day, you will want to stay in the town of Garberville. It is the only town in the area that has a choice of motels, food and gas.
Day 8 would take us from Garberville to Leggett for our final drive-thru tree of the trip .
This is the Chandelier Tree and is probably one of the more famous drive through trees as it is actually called a drive-thru park. The tree is 315 feet high and is 2400 years old. I wonder what these guys were drinking when they were setting around on the front porch looking at this tree and said: "Hey Bo! How bout we get out the chainsaw and cut a big hole in that 2000 year old tree out there and then charge people to drive through it"? Now that was the thought of the day. But as a tourist you have to do it and take the picture. From that photo op we were on our way to Hwy 1 and heading to some pure California Coast riding. But not before 20 miles of massive twisties on the way to the ocean.
South of Fort Bragg you will go through a town called
Mendocino that is billed as a New England getaway, California style. This is a neat little artsy town full of B&B's that dates back to the California Gold Rush and since the 50's it has been a thriving art community. There have been several movies shot here including "The Summer of 42", "Murder She Wrote", and more recently Jim Carrey in "The Majestic". It is worth the stop to cruise through and take a break. From here it is 161 miles of small country towns and California twisty coast riding to San Francisco. The scenery is beautiful and if you have a sunny day it will be a fantastic experience, although you will get your fill of twisties and may want to lay off of them for quite a while. We cut over at Bodega Bay for a stop in Oakland.

Click Here for the Rumble Magazine article about the trip.