Video Diaries Part 3 – Arriving in California

Video Diaries Part 3

Route 99

Route 99

Last weekend Ivanka and I went on arguably one of the best rides in the world for motorcycling

The route from Vancouver to Whistler is amazing and it is great to do it in summer and during the day as it is a road that I have only passed before during the winter months.

Consisting of 130km of winding tarmac, climbs, views, islands, glaciers, waterfalls, eagles, sunshine – all leading to one of the best outdoor playgrounds out there. Have a look at our Flickr account or gallery page for the latest images.

I salute you route 99 and the ‘Furry Creek.’

Next stop Vancouver Island and we have kayaking with Orcas on the radar..

A day in the life and saying YES

A day in the life and saying YES

We have just arrived in Vancouver and had a day yesterday where Ivanka and I did absolutely nothing.

This travelling business is amazing, we have seen great things and met wonderful people – but at the same time it is also a bit tiring.

A typical day is getting out of bed/ the tent around 7.30am. It may be raining (it usually is) and then we always prepare a coffee on our stove, followed by a bowl of porridge. After this we tend to pack up the bike and we get on the road for about 09.30am. Each start to the day is different, we always have the same things to pack away but it is often a big jigsaw to fit everything on the bike.  Plus, we may or may not have to take our food from up a tree – so it is out of reach from the lovely wildlife characters around us. We tend to have our washing line up most days too – depending on whether there is anywhere to swim – or whether we’ve washed our clothes in a stream/ campsite showers.

So each day on the road is totally different. We have a type of route in our head most of the time but we speak to other bikers/ friends we meet and then we go from there. We went to Haida Gwaii because we met Janet in Fairbanks. Then the Cassiar Stewart Highway was recommended by a bloke in Dawson City, then more recently we visited the Columbian Icefield in Jasper because Melissa said it was sometheing we couldn’t possibly miss. So we do like to say yes to most things – this way you have more to experience.

Three days ago we traveled 250 miles from Nelson to a place called Osooyos. Nelson is a rich, wet mountainous area with incredible volcanic rock features. It is home to some of the freshest powder for skiing on the one hand, then a picturesque mountainscape in the summer.  The way of life in Nelson was also something very remarkable. In the community where we were hanging out there were infact no locks on peoples doors because their homes were so remote and crime didn’t exist. Nelson was personified by hippyness.

We set off from Nelson in quite a downpour and headed for the Manning Pass and the rain just did not stop for 2-3 hours.  The rain was so hard on occasion that we were so in need of shelter but there was just nothing for us to find. So we kept on going and going in an effort to get to the neighbouring mountain range and hopefully seek some kinder weather. We both got a little wet, but considering the conditions – we got off lightly.

So eventually it did stop raining and eventually we found a great stop for coffee and a sandwich – normally we might have a lunch stop at the side of the road (tuna & tortilla, coffee). We had managed about 100 miles so far on this particular day so we had a good 150 miles in the afternoon, so we could make great headway in arriving in Vancouver the following day.  So while indoors and out of the bad weather outside we made sure our clothes did dry off, we warmed up and then we were ready to go once again.

The afternoon was equally as spectacular as the morning but in the afternoon we headed towards a totally unique type of landscape and something very special for Canada. The landscape became drier and drier so eventually we arrived in the city of Osooyos and it greeted us with the best sunshine of our trip so far! This place was almost desert like as we entered into this colossal valley with a series of mountain road switchbacks. I think Ivanka would have had better views than me on the way down the mountain side as I concentrated on every inch of tarmac on these sweeping mountain bends.. Great riding!!!

As it was approaching 5pm it was decided that this was where we were going to stay for the eve. We camped in a lakeside campsite among a busy tourist centre, we set up camp, had a run and a swim, then it was curry and Quinoa for supper – one of our favourite dishes on our camping stove. That night we made phone calls to Natalie in Vancouver – Ivanka and Natalie used to work together a few years ago in London. Now Natalie has moved to Vancouver.

It was great to be sleeping in the tent once again as this is what we are now used to. The other day I commented to Ivanka that it looked like a bit of a pit as we sleep among our helmets, motorcycle clothes and other stuff. But in fact, the tent is treating us very well and on most occasions I prefer the firmness of the campsite floor rather than a soft bed.

It gets dark about 10 and that is when we head indoors.

Tonight there was no need to protect ourselves from the wildlife as we were in busy site with no wildlife nearby.. The only predator tonight was a kid wondering round the campsite who tried to walk off with our camping lamp – naughty!

It’s now time for lights out.

 

The image on this post is courtesy of our friend Janet. It is a fox on her bird table in Fairbanks, Alaska which is quite unusual – normally it is the squirrels that’s on there. I don’t think the fox will out fox Janet.

Dancing Queen Moves on the Dalton Highway

Dancing Queen Moves on the Dalton Highway

Video Diaries Part 1 – Footage on the way to Deadhorse/ Arctic Circle

Video Diaries Part 1

Haida Gwaii – Remote Adventure Motorcycling on Canada’s most Westerly point.

Haida Gwaii

White sandy beaches, nature at it’s best and great people – Discovering a place we never knew existed!


Recently Ivanka and I returned from the Island of Haida Gwaii, the most northerly island off the coast of British Columbia – located just a Ferry ride away from rainy Prince Rupert. To be honest, not the best of times to visit the island as it rained and rained and rained – but we met some fantastic people along the way which made the trip a great mini adventure.

We met a couple of groups of people. First there were the gents from Lancaster/ Yorkshire who were on a fleeting visit to the island.. They’d hired a couple of bikes further south and were on a whistle stop tour of all the BC sites so they were only on the island for 1 night. We met them on a slippery muddy road at the north of the island near Old Massets and on the way to the Blow Hole off the Tow Road.. The lads could have been a double act with the witty banter and innuendo. The highlight of their trip so far was when a woman asked if they would like her stuffed beaver!! How lucky were they – ha ha! Guys – I hope you have an amazing time kayaking with the Orcas…

After this we met a group of families who all met at Smithers in BC.. It started with freshly baked Cinamon buns in the remotest of bakeries and then from this point on they invited us to their Canada day, we enjoyed crabbing with them the following day and it made our stay on Haida Gwaii a superb one.  Ivanka and I consequently visited Smithers in BC, enjoyed helicopter rides, went to ‘locals’ bbq’s and got a real taste for what living in this part of BC was all about.. Hopefully see you all again in August??!!

The Midnight Sun and moving South

The Midnight Sun and moving South

Yukon River, Whitehorse – Far Northern Canada

Now we are in the capital of the Yukon Terrirory, a town called Whitehorse and its a large outdoor playground. Arriving here after two days of continuous rain.. it is a pleasure to see the sun shinning today as we take a day off the bike, eat some tastey food and have a good lie in.. Life is hard on the road.

What we did in Fairbanks..
We saw the midnight sun with our friend Rob from Fairbanks, I cut down a few trees with him and had a go on his ATV (All terrain vehicle).. now we are planning to head into British Columbia and hit some serious mountain roads.

F#ck Me – There’s a Moose in the middle of the road!

Hairiest moment over the last few days was seeing a 8 foot moose in the middle of the road as I turned a wet corner on the Klondike Highway. Plus I had to pick up the 350 kg bike one morning as it sank into the wet earth and toppled over.

Loads of happy people on the road with loads of stories to tell.. Whether its which route to take, how to deal with bears or just general chit chat – all is good.

Heading down the Cassiar-Stewart Highway in the morning – Should take 4 days or so.. Apparently lots of wildlife and lots of trees.. funny that!

Deadhorse in Alaska. Through the Arctic Circle and along the Dalton Highway

Deadhorse in Alaska. Through the Arctic Circle and along the Dalton Highway

What a journey the first few weeks has been and probably the most challenging motorcycling I have ever done. For 8 days Ivanka and I had to negotiate thick mud, blizzards, gravel, bears, oncoming trucks and this was about a 1,000 mile round trip… It feels great to get back on the tarmac I must say!

As I sit and write this post we are in a library in Fairbanks where we have been kindly looked after by Janet and Rob. They offered us a place to stay when we bumped into them on the road and so we are now crashing in their lovely camper van just outside of Fairbanks.

To date we managed to get the bike out of customs rather swiftly with no problems whatsoever.. then after this we headed north through Eagle River outside of Anchorage and we headed for the Chena Hot Springs outside of Fairbanks. Here we had a couple of days to get used to the 24 hr daylight hours, we hung out in the hot baths and then we hit the road up to the Artic Circle.

Our first two weeks has been incredible. For ‘out of towners’ even camping in the artic wilderness where you know bears are roaming is a challenge. There was the night when Ivanka made me go out side and push the bike away from the tent because we had food in it.. and there was the rustling of the tent and she thought there was a predator outside. All was ok – I fought the bear off and we then went back to bed..

People have been amazing and generous too.. Everyone is super friendly.

This is all for now as I am running out of time. When I get back to the computer I want to give you more information about what the road on the Dalton Highway was actually like – one of the best things I have done for a while!!

The anticipation is just too much!

The anticipation is just too much!

1 week today the motorbike flies out on its own to Alaska.

The last couple of weeks have been rather busy to say the least:

  • Moved out of our home and moved in with Pete, Jules and Tom – Thank you so much for looking after us – what would we do without you!
  • Had a leaving do in Brighton on Saturday night – bit messy but have seen worse. Still, the hangover lingered on all day yesterday. Great news about Claire and MJ – baby on the way!
  • Performed in a dance competition for a ‘Spring Ball‘ charity fund raiser – raised £29,000 by dancing the Argentine Tango for the Argus Appeal. Well done to everyone involved and a big thank you to my dance partner Carola at Brighton Dancing.
  • Ivanka spent two weeks with work in Budapest. Just arrived back on Friday.
  • Spent Monday and Tuesday on a motorcycle mechanics course – Thanks to Pete at Bike Smart – Haywards Heath I can now perform a major service and fix a puncture on my bike. Twas a very funny experience drilling a hole into my tubeless tire to give it a puncture.
  • Hosted the last Brighton Business Curry club at the Lansdowne Place Hotel. A great send off and a great turn out. I look forward to seeing you all when I get back and Lisa will do a superb job while I’m away!
  • Intercoms are now working and tested.
  • Multi fuel burner is now dismantled and Ivanka is great at reassembling. Love the fact that my wife is more technical than me!

This week will be entirely different.

  • Finally preparations for our adventure motorcycling trip – travel and bike insurance.
  • Re packing the panniers – over and over – making sure we have the right items to take with us.
  • Final bike tune at BMW motorcycles Brighton. Tick over and balance is slightly out at the moment and it needs to be perfect before I go away!
  • 10 more working days left!!

Ivanka and I will be flying to Alaska 2 week on Wednesday.

Taking some time out by the sea

Taking some time out by the sea

On 19th March Ivanka and I will be getting married and I cannot wait.

Here are some really great photos from a day we spent together planning our special day. It was a beautiful sunny day that we took off together where we put together those final touches to the wedding day and we had a lot of fun doing it…

First it was the registry office to fill in all the paper work and answer a few questions. Next, we met Trevor Love from the Brighton registry office and we had a look at the venue from which we will make our vows to eachother.

Next we visited the gorgeous Due South on Brighton seafront where we will be having our wedding breakfast. Here we spoke with Michael Bremner the head chef and we put together a menu for our wedding lunch with all the trimmings. A big thank you to Rob and Adam from the venue for looking after us and for making this day a very special one! Rib Eye Steak, Champagne, and chocolate deserts are all on the menu!

The photos you see are courtesy of Paul Fletcher from Paul Fletcher Photography. Paul is a great Brighton event and wedding photographer and he has supported me with a number of different work related photo shoots to date. The photos look great and will make our site look fantastic! Thanks again Paul.

After the photo shoot we were off to Bar 106 where we met Katja from their events team as we planned our party night at the Hilton Brighton Metropole. We have a Brighton Breeze cocktail for our guests on arrival followed by a bit of partying, fish and chips to soak up a bit of alcohol, then dancing late into the night.

As I sit here and write this it is two weeks today until the wedding.. then about 2 months 25 days until we depart for the Top to the Bottom of the World.

Life is really good. :)

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