Ride the Canadian Rockies: Days 1-5

Friday, July 22 to Tuesday, July 26—Novato, CA to Shingletown, CA; to Bend, OR; to Baker City, OR; to Moscow, ID; to Christina Lake, BC

Let me digress before I start telling you about what is obviously another journey on my motorcycle, and bring you up to date on my goal of reDeploying. Last September when my family celebrated our mother’s 90th birthday, we realized she had reached that point in life when staying at home was no longer an option. It was time to find an appropriate assisted living facility into which she could move, and to sell her house to fund her new “home.” We launched what seemed to be an insurmountable task—clearing out, cleaning up, fixing up, and selling her house. Our mother is a classic hoarder, having accumulated “stuff” her entire life. Imagine one of the most challenging episodes of Hoarders, and you’ll have a visual of our mother’s home…

Lisa and I teamed up with my older brother, Gary, and his wife Billie, to take on this very difficult task. We started the second week of December, and closed escrow on the sale of the house seven months later at the end of June. I am grateful to all three of these people for their herculean effort, and pray that the challenges my family endured in the process can be overcome in due time.

In the meantime, Lisa and I realized her parents could no longer live safely in their home. After considerable coaxing, on January 20 we convinced them to move into an assisted living facility near us in Novato. Even while working on my mother’s house, we were able to move Lisa’s parents six weeks later on the first of March; and closed escrow on the sale of their house on May 6.

ReDeploying our giftedness can involve something that has visible and obvious significance, or something as simple and discreet as honoring our parents by doing whatever it takes to care for them at the stage in life where they can no longer care for themselves.

A little over a year ago I was very fortunate to complete a major “bucket list” item, one many Harley Davidson® enthusiasts dream about but don’t have the time to do
—ride the perimeter of the country—a little over 12,000 miles in 35 days in the saddle. In many ways, I still can’t believe it actually happened. Yet when I returned home to Novato, I knew I needed to take another ride this summer—into the Canadian Rockies.

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Mom/Kathy, first stop on the trip

I dedicate this trip to Lisa’s dad, my second father, Lee, who died May 14; to her mom,
Donna, who is thriving in Novato; and to my mom, Kathy, who can’t remember who I am by sight, but loves to chat when I re-introduce myself to her whenever I am able to visit.

I started this new journey at our cabin in Shingletown. I wanted to get past the hot Sacramento Valley of California to position myself for a good start into Oregon. I rode the Highway 97 portion of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, which offers a view of majestic

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Mt. Shasta from the north…a dramatically different perspective than what I became accustomed to as a child growing up in Redding. I desperately wanted to continue west of Upper Klamath Lake and tour Crater Lake, but that had to wait for another time as I pressed on towards Canada.

I spent the second night in Bend, OR, where my riding buddy, David and I stopped on a trip five years ago. I took a tour around Mt. Washington the next morning out of my way to Baker City, OR. I travelled northwest past Sisters, then south and finally east on the old McKenzie Highway. The route up towards the summit is very narrow, and filled with cyclists who, by law, can take up the whole lane. My vision was sporadically impaired when the sun poked through the coniferous trees seemingly right into my eyes. I was fortunate to be following a white pickup, the driver of which had a keen eye from the protection of his windshield to spot cyclists. At the summit is the most interesting Dee Wright Observatory.

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This shelter made of volcanic rock was built during the Great Depression and features viewing tubes that point directly to surrounding peaks. I ran into the driver of the white truck in the observatory, proudly wearing his “I Hunt for Taliban” T-shirt. He was a bustling sort, up from his home in Temecula, CA to buy property near Bend. I thanked him for leading me up the pass.


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I met George on the Ochoco State Scenic Viewpoint. I stopped there to get a better viewof Prineville, a very green landscape and friendly community. He is a typical biker, happy to be on the road on a Sunday afternoon. I met another Harley rider, Mike, in the bar at the Best Western Sunridge Inn in Baker City. He lives in Bend and was on a week-log tour around the Pacific Northwest with the Pendleton Bike Week the focal point of his trip.

I left Baker City on Day 4 and headed south, away from my ultimate destination, so I could position myself to travel north up the Payette River Scenic Byway and through Hells Canyon—an area of Idaho I failed to visit when we lived there for six years. The North Payette River is as spectacular as the best rafting rivers in the Sierra Nevada, and McCall every bit as bustling as the best towns surrounding Lake Tahoe.

2016-07-26 07.35.44

Breakfast at BW University Inn

I sentimentally spent the night at the Best Western Plus University Inn in Moscow, ID, where I’d been twice before with each of our sons visiting Washington State University as a prospective college.

I crossed the border into Canada, north of Bonners Ferry, ID, at 12:30 pm today. The border agent was a very nice young man who kindly let me know that my Global Entry ID only worked when returning to the US. Unfortunately, my passport was buried in my TourPak. The agent felt sorry for me and let me in with just my California Driver’s License ID, and a gentle warning.

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Bridal Lake, Stagleap Provincial Park

From the first kilometer, the scenery in Canada did not disappoint. I travelled up and down three major passes, dodged lighting and thunder showers in Castlegar, and then got caught rounding a mountain corner into a drenching downpour of rain and marble-sized hailstones. I had my warm-weather (not waterproof) gear on, and there was simply no safe place to pull over to change. After sucking in the rooster tails from a set of camper tires for about two miles, I found an opening to pass the camper. I then followed a small car up the mountain road, which only threw up a small volume of water. The driver of that car clearly had better vision through his/her windshield wipers that I did through my windshield that resembled textured, bathroom privacy glass and rain-spotted prescription sunglasses. The road widened enough at the peak, and the rain subsided long enough for me to put on a rain jacket and full-face helmet. The rain miraculously stopped and the sun shone for the rest of the afternoon, baking me in the waterproof, polyester rain jacket. That’s just how it goes when touring on a motorcycle.

Ride Canadian Rockies-Map-Days 1-5Route: 37, I80, I505, I5, H44, I5, H97, H20h126, H242, H126, H26, I84, H52, H55, H95, H1, H21, H3, H6, H3
Miles Today:        322.6
Time Today:           7:30
Total Trip Miles:  1,649
Weather: Cool at 65°F in the morning, warming to 75°F, cold and threat of rain in the mid-day, thunder and hail storm slate afternoon, warming to 80+°F by the end of the day, with scattered lightning and thunderstorms.
Lunch:      PayDay on Bridal Lake, Stagleap Provincial Park
Lodging:   Lakeview Motel
Dinner:      Lisa’s Lakeside Bistro



7 thoughts on “Ride the Canadian Rockies: Days 1-5

  1. Yes, that’s just how it goes. How appropriate you’re having a meal at Lisa’s Lakeside Bistro.

  2. Makes me want to ride my bike again! I enjoy reading your daily adventures . Safe travels! Have fun.

  3. Gordon, good to hear from you and share your new adventure! It’s really something “traveling Along with you. So sorry to hear about Lee. I’ll reach out to Lisa. Glad Donna is nearby and Can enjoy more time with the family. Same with your Mom. How blessed they are.

    Hugs, Suz

    Sent from my iPad


  4. so fun to read this while cozy at the cabin! heart for your trip’s dedication and inspired by the new friends and sentimental moments along the way. love the shasta pic; planning to head to a hike that has a new view of shasta tomorrow!!
    ps so glad you are writing.
    love you,

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