Vancouver to Montana -Martin's update

We arrived back in Vancouver on Sunday the first of May, we were due to collect our bikes on the next day. However we received a text from Motofreight who we used to ship our bikes to say that my bike had been bumped from the flight and would now be on the next flight due to land Tuesday. Not what we wanted to hear, this now meant we needed another night in the hotel we were in near the Airport which was not a cheap hotel.

We went to collect Erika's bike. never having done anything like this before we were not sure what to expect. We headed to the Air Canada office that we had been given the address for and after completing some paperwork we then had to go to the customs office to get a stamp that would release the bike. This was pretty straight forward, a couple of questions and then the paper was stamped. So back to the Air Canada office to collect the bike and pay a landing tax. The bike was crated so we had taken a knife and screwdriver with us. Fortunately we had packed all the riding gear on Erika's bike so this meant we could ride it away, if it had been on my bike we would not have been able to collect it and would of incurred storage fees.

We then set off back to the hotel, we hadn't gone more than 100 meters when the bike ran out of fuel! We couldn't believe it. We had left the bikes with minimal fuel but Motofreight had drained the fuel further. Fortunately we could see the fuel station so I went to get the fuel, we had to purchase a fuel container which was annoying as there was two on my bike that we had bought for the trip.

The following morning we received another message the bike had been bumped off the flight again! As you can imagine we were not impressed. We had to book a 3rd night in the hotel. We considered moving away to a hotel outside of Vancouver however the logistics of moving all our belongings and us on a Honda CB500X was not practical. We bit the bullet and booked the 3rd night.

Finally on Wednesday morning we got the news that my bike was in the Air and would arrive with us around lunchtime. Thank God we thought. Erika had a feeling that it would not go smoothly and sure enough it didn't. When we arrived at the Air Canada office we was informed that the Customs had put a block on the bike being released and it would need an inspection. We had read that any Customs inspections were subject to charges, great we thought! We ended up wating over 2 hours for them to d o a soil check on the bike. However when we finally got the bike it was still completely boxed up! There was no way they could have checked anything. Annoying as it was we was so happy to finally have Liberty and be able to start our adventures.

On the road at last

Once we got the chance to hit the road we headed off for Vancouver island and this meant travelling through downtown Vancouver to pick up the ferry at Horseshoe Bay. When we arrived at the ferry terminal we met up with a local biker and a young guy called Jamie who we had earlier met at the bike collection point when he was picking up his bike. We had over an hour to wait so had a good chance to chat and catch up.

Once we had crossed over to the island we then had to find our first camp site. We had been given some suggestions from a couple of the guys we spoke to on the ferry trip over and found a place called Parksville that they had suggested. It was a nice site and had basic facilities ( including the dreaded pit toilet.. yuk ! ). We managed to get some sleep and made a hearty bacon butty breakfast before packing up and heading off to meet our first bunk a biker host who lived up in a place called Tahsis which is further up the Island. This ride was to included Erika's first off road experience which was on a 67 kilometre logging road to get us to our stop over.

Erika handled the road like a real trooper and after a long days ride we finally got to meet Dave our host and what a great guy he was. Dave was a retired school teacher who had taken up a post at a place called Gold River to start teaching again. He was such an interesting guy who had travelled the Pan American highway on his Africa twin and had a lot of experience and advice to offer. Whilst we were staying with Dave his friend Wayne called over to see us and again he was a real character who had had a tough start and had led a full and interesting life and was more than happy to tell us all about it and despite his 81 years of age he was still riding around on a 1700cc Yamaha !! What a great stay we had and what a great start with our first bunk a biker opportunity.

After a couple of Days with Dave we were back on the road again and on our way back down the logging road we had a surprise encounter with a black bear as it came out of the forest on to the logging road before dashing back a little startled by the sound of our bikes. We were soon back on good roads and heading over to a place called Tofino on the west side of this land which again was a long days ride and it was getting a little bit late in the day by the time we found ourselves another camp site and this one had the shower facilities so that we could get freshened up before setting up camp , cooking our meal and getting some rest but boy was it cold and we found ourselves getting wrapped up before calling it a night.

After breakfast the next day we headed further down to Nanaimo where we had a chance to get a free pitch on land belonging to Chuck which we got via the biker site. It was a great spot on his land surrounded by trees but there were no amenities at all so we had to source some water so that we could cook and wash etc and it gave us a bit of a taste of wild camping but as you would expect we adapted and cooked our selves a chicken curry with the remaining items in our cooler box.

Once we had cooked breakfast the following morning it was time to head back and pick up a ferry ride to get us back to the Canadian mainland and to head for our next stop over at a place called Penticton which was another full days ride and we were beginning to understand the enormity of the vast area that Canada and America covers so there will continue to be long days riding to get us to where we needed to be but the best part of that is that the roads are so so quiet and traffic free. We made a few stops along the way to make use of the flasks and make snack stops so that we remained alert to the potential dangers of the many deer, elk and moose that could be seen around the woods and grassland along the way before getting into town. The place that we had booked was far from the Hilton but we are always willing to adapt to our surroundings and whilst this was not somewhere that we would normally stay we are learning to make the most of places in order to get the most out of our budget and the location more than made up for it as it was right on the lakeside with the most wonderful views of the mountains and surrounding countryside and it was home for the next two nights so that we could catch up on the lack of sleep that comes with camping and long days of riding.

We both felt the benefit of our stay and the chance to rest before heading off to our next biker stay which was over the border into America in a placed called Bonners Ferry but first we had to do our first border crossing which we were both a little nervous about to but despite our concerns it went very smoothly and the border guys were more interested about where we were from and about the journey that we were undertaking so it was nice to get the first crossing out of the way without any issues.

We Arrived at Bonners Ferry to meet our host ( Alex ) in the car park of a local supermarket so that she could lead us to her home and she arrived with a friend of hers called Julie who was keen to meet us to see the bikes and chat to us about our trip and she herself was a biker and arrived on a fantastic Indiana ( similar to the Harley Davidson bikes ) and we had a good chat before following Alex to her home and our stop over for the next to days and we have to say that Alex was so friendly and made us feel so welcome that we had no problem in settling in. Once we had unpacked and put the bikes into the garage along side there three impressive Harleys we then spent some time getting to know about Alex and her husband Jim who unfortunately was away working at the time of our visit so we didn't get a chance to meet him. Speaking to Alex and finding out a little more about her life was just so interesting and we both felt so comfortable in her company and felt that she was such an inspiration who had not only brough up her family but had also gone on to train and retrain in a number of different roles including being an EMT amongst other things and didn't seem to let things keep her down for long before bouncing back from life's problems. We loved our time with Alex and feel like we have made a friend and someone we will always keep in touch with.

After saying farewell to Alex we set of to head for Glacier National Park area where we again were amazed to see such amazing mountain views , breath taking scenery and some amazing roads to ride and we have to say that the journey so far has been just fantastic in every way. We spent some time in looking around the places we stopped before deciding that we needed to find a camp site for the night before it got to dark as we were both getting very cold. Petty much everywhere we had been so far had still been closed for the season so we were glad when we came across an RV site that had only been open a couple of days who agreed to give us a spot even though there camping area wasn't really ready to be used. So we got set up pitched the tent and set about cooking something for our meal. The site had a shower block so we both got a good hot shower before settling in for the night and as anyone who has experienced the great outdoors life of sleeping under canvas will be aware there are a lot of noises throughout the small hours that can keep you awake but this was something else.... what we didn't see was the train line just over the other side of the site that ran freight through the night and every train pulls around sixty to eighty carriages that takes at least half an hour to go by before the next one starts about a half hour later ... oh boy what a night!!!

As you can imagine we only stayed the one night at the camp site and were soon ready to ride out to our next biker stay in Moccasin on a working ranch and another chance for Erika to work on her off road skills as we had a twelve mile track road to ride before getting to the ranch to meet Tom and Carol. On the farm there ere a number of animals including there six dogs some sheep, goats, chickens, horses, cats and Tom's pig 'Otis'. Tom was in a meeting so we were met and welcomed by Carol who lost no time in making sure that we had a drink and helped us to settle into the RV in the grounds which we were calling home for the next two nights.

A little later in the evening Tom arrived home and we started to find out a little more about them both including the fact that Tom was a highly skilled fabricator with a very successful business so we asked if he could take a quick look at Erika's bike as we were having a little trouble with the side luggage sitting to close to the wheel due to the amount we have to carry whilst living off the bikes and in no time at all he had cut , shaped and sprayed some metal from his workshop to resolve the problem. What a guy and again we have been blessed with meeting and staying with wonderfully interesting, warm and friendly people who are strangers with just motorcycling as our common interest until you get to meet and know the people who offer you there time and a place to stay and you get to know more about each other. If this experience so far has given us anything it is the chance to regain our faith in human nature due to meeting people like Tom and his sweet wife Carol who are just such humble and wonderful people who it was a please to get to know and spend time with.

We hope you enjoyed our update and until next time take care xx

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