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My First Motocamping Trip

tc339

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Day #1

Im up at 5:45 to register for classes, get ready, and I’m out the door at 8am. The first 30 minutes go by uneventful as I drive through towns familiar to me on my way to the coast, but then something unexpected happened. As I am cruising along on the freeway, some unknown monster of the sky decided to release the most horrifying, gigantic crap of all time, and it hit my square in the visor, spattering everywhere. It gets on my jacket, on my tank bag, and in my chin vent, but this thing doesn’t smell like poop, no. This thing smelled like Satan ate a dead body then puked it up. I do everything in my power to suppress my gag reflex from this putrid pile of poop as I try franticly to get to the next exit as soon as possible. I pull into a gas station and rip off my helmet as quickly as possible and spend the next 15 minutes cleaning it off everything. An interesting start to my trip to say the least…

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Satans Poop

After the poop incident, I make it to the coast and work my way up to my camp site. Damn were these roads fantastic. Hwy 1 up the coast were some of the most gorgeous roads I have been on, although you will probably be hearing that a lot from me in the next few weeks. The first 200 miles of my ride are amazing. I hit perfect windy roads along the coast, followed by forest roads. Then it started to rain. Luckily it was mist for most of the time, but I hit a few good downpours here and there. So the last 150 miles were slightly less fun.

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The rain lets up a bit just as I find a campground, and holy hell is it a gorgeous campground. I stopped in Klamath, CA after 348 miles. The campground is right on the bank of Klamath river, with the mountains in the background. After I set up camp and find some food, it’s about 5pm and I go to the club house to charge my computer and phone. Did I mention they had Wifi? Not exactly roughing it… After spending a bit of time in the club house, I pull up a chair right on the bank of the river and just relax for a few hours until the sun set. I then went back into the club house and played dominoes with old people for an hour, it was pretty awesome.

Camping along Klamath River

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Day #2

I wake up at 8am, slightly later than I would have liked to, and set off around 9. There honestly isn’t much to say about most of this day, I got into Oregon pretty quickly and the roads were really boring. They were quite pretty through the trees and a bit along the coast, but strait and not very exciting.

I make it to my campsite around 4:30, I only did about 320 miles, slightly less than I would have liked, but I’m only about 220 miles from Seattle, where I am staying with some friends, so it doesn’t matter much. My campsite is back in the trees, but I am maybe about 100 feet from the beach, I can hear the waves crashing while in my tent. While sitting at my picnic table making dinner, a lady walking by invites me to her bon fire on the beach. I head out there and it is her, her husband, and their 4ish year old son. After a bit of talking and a few beers I find out they are from Vancouver, both ride motorcycles, and the guy had a VFR! What on earth are the chances of that! So we chat it up for about an hour as the sun sets over the water and the fire slowly dies out, then we say our goodbyes and back to the tent for me.

Oregon Coast

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Camping at Cape Lookout, Oregon

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Day #3

When I woke up Wednesday morning, I decided I as sick of riding up the coast. It had been pretty boring so far and didn’t look like it was going to be any more exciting, so I decided to head inland. After having breakfast in Tillamook, OR I headed up Hwy 6 through the Tillamook National Forest where things became a bit more fun. I rode through some long, smooth sweepers on my way north, and eventually turned off on a smaller road where I saw another motorcycle way up ahead. As I caught up, the guy on the Ducati noticed me and pinned it. I spent the next 15 minutes or so chasing him down. He then let me pass and we spend another 20 minutes with him chasing me before he gave me a quick wave and took off down a different road. Probably the most fun I have had with a complete stranger.

Tillamook Forest

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After riding some of the back roads through the forest I had to jump on the freeway to get up to Seattle where I was staying with some friends. So the last 100 miles were all freeway, not too exciting. I only did about 250 miles but I’m pretty close to Vancouver now so it will be a short trip up when I leave.

Day #4

I woke up around 9am and stuck around to help out with some stuff for the family I was staying with. I left around 2pm I think and had a pretty uneventful freeway ride up to the boarder, that’s when things got interesting…

After showing my passport to the guy, I was asked to park and enter the building there, whatever it is. I was then questioned about my stay, what I was doing, where I was staying, the usual stuff I guess. But then they asked me to remove my jacket and boots, and take everything out of my pockets while 3 big guys are standing there watching me. He then says, “why are you so nervous?” not aware that I am nervous, or look nervous, I immediately become nervous. “There is only one reason you should be nervous,” he said. “You are hiding something.” Even though I know I am not hiding anything, I become even more nervous. He then asks me for the keys to my bike, and the passwords to my computer and my phone. For the next hour, I watch from inside as they tear apart my bike, looking through everything. They then come in with my computer and spend the next 3 hours running tests on my computer while four very large men stand around looking at it and occasionally looking up at me with not so friendly faces. A total of 4 hours later, I am released and have to spend the next 30 minutes packing up all my stuff that is scattered everywhere.

When I get to the hostel that evening my mood gets better quite quickly. I get my room, and find a spot for my bike, then I head down to the hostel bar for a drink. As soon as I sit down an Aussie from Melbourne introduces himself and we have a few beers and chat for a while. Its trivia night, so I get on a team with 3 Aussies, one from Perth, Melbourne, and Sidney, and a girl from London, all traveling by themselves. After we fail miserably and Canadian trivia we have a few more beers then go on a quest for Poutine, and holy crap was it delicious. We then go to a pub down the street that had an awesome band playing some fun Irish music. After dancing for a while we all went back to the hostel to go to bed.

The next morning I went down for the free breakfast. I ate and chatted it up with another Aussie, a Kiwi, three Germans, and a French Canadian. So far it has been a good trip. Did I mention one of my roommates snores really loud? Good thing I brought ear plugs.

Day #5,6, and 7

I’m just going to put these together. I am having such a blast I cant handle it. This city is freaking amazing. I have been hanging out with Claire, the girl from London quite a bit, as well as Mark, a guy from Switzerland. For the most part we have just been walking around the city, eating food from all the fantastic food carts and truck that are absolutely everywhere. But today we went to Lynn Park where there is a suspension bridge and a few waterfalls that are really cool. While walking around we started talking to this girl who looked to be on her own. Her name is Flor, and it turns out she is from Guadalajara, Mexico and is babysitting for a family here for 3 months. She ended up hiking with us for the rest of the day then came back and partied with us for most the night. Its 3am and I just got into bed. Grandville, the main street here, has been completely shut down and there has been festivals going on all day. We met up with two of Claire’s friends from London who just got into town, as well as a few German guys, and all went out to some clubs and had a blast. My ears are ringing, I lost my voice, and I can barely walk, but damn it was fantastic

So I am already beginning to modify my trip a little bit. I don’t think I will be going to Vancouver Island for Canada day, because everyone is convincing me to stay here and just go maybe the next day. So if I have the energy after Canada day, I might go and ride around the island, maybe not though because its like $45 each way, so I don’t know if I want to spend $100 to go to the island and back.

Also, instead of riding strait up to Jasper and Banff on Tuesday when I leave I will be riding along the boarder and going to Osoyoos to meet up with Claire and her two friends Matt and Eliot who are both freaking awesome. I might stay a night or two there and then head up to Jasper and Banff, then meet them again in Calgary a few days later for the Calgary Stampede. I don’t know, I am rambling a lot though because of my slight state of inebriation… Ill post pictures later when Im able to figure out how my camera works again.

Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge

Lynn Valley

Flor and Claire

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Rice Lake

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Canada Day

I ended up sleeping until almost 1 o’clock. I went down stairs and met up with everyone to watch the Spain vs. Italy soccer game, and then we all went down to the waterfront to check out everything that was going on. We discovered that it was Cannabis day, so we went over to the Art Gallery downtown to check it out. I have never seen anything like it. Vendors and people everywhere walking around selling weed, and joints and brownies and anything you could think of. All while the police were walking around and just laughing. At 4:10 they made everyone there, which was probably a good 500 people, sit on the ground, while they walked around throwing out free joints to everyone, and just passing out huge handfuls of weed to anyone with a pipe. It was absolutely the most mental thing I have ever witnessed. There was then a countdown to 4:20, and everyone lit up at the exact same time.

Later that night we went down to the waterfront again to watch the fireworks and then came back for a few beers and bedtime. I am definitely glad I was able to experience Canada Day here, It was amazing

Cannabis Day

4:20 on Cannabis Day

Day #9

They day after Canada Day, (day 8) I didn’t do much. It was my recovery day so I slept till 1pm, then just went out and walked around for a bit and got my stuff packed. I left Tuesday morning at 8am and had a pretty miserable few hours. It was pouring rain and my visor was fogging up really bad. After a few hours I pulled over and duct taped my face to my helmet so my breath wasn’t hitting my visor, which worked decently, but hurt like hell to take off. After a few stops to put on more layers and wring out my soaked gloves since it was 45 degrees, I started to get into the mountains and the rain started to let up a bit. I almost wished the rain came back though, because my gloves were still soaking wet, and it dropped down to 35 degrees. Almost freezing temperatures and a 70mph wind chill and I could barely move my hands.

I ended up finding a little restaurant up in the mountains and I sat in there and held a hot cup of water for 30 minutes or so then took off again. It started to warm up after that and the road and scenery was gorgeous. I ran into another guy on a 5th gen VFR and ended up riding with him for several hours until I arrived in Osoyoos in the Okanagan area. There I met up with my English friends I met in Vancouver. We were on a farm just outside Osoyoos where a bunch of people from around the world stayed and worked on the farm for food and a place to sleep.

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Day #10

I woke up at 6am to go to work. We worked until 12 o’clock weeding and fertilizing squash plants. It really wasn’t too bad, and the views from the farm were spectacular. It seriously never got old looking at the mountains in front of us. After work we just hung out by the river, ate dinner, and relaxed.

Day #11

I said goodbye to my friends and left Osoyoos in the morning to head to Banff. I decided to stay in a hostel there instead of camping. So far most campsites have cost me between $20-$30 dollars, and the Hostel was 36, so it was worth it. I also had so much fun meeting people at the hostel in Vancouver I thought I would give it another shot. I rode about 390 miles to get to Banff with pretty decent weather. It rained a few times, but it got up into the 70s a few times.

The road itself wasn’t all that exciting, but the scenery was ridiculous, I have never seen anything like it.

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Day #12

This morning I decided to go for a ride up to Jasper. In all it was about 250 miles and it was gorgeous. I stopped at Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, and Moraine Lake, all fantastic. The weather was amazing, high 60s, low 70s the whole time. I met a couple on a moto trip from Chico on a Goldwing, and rode with them for a while. I had to do a bit of hiking to some of the lakes, which was hot as hell with all my gear on, but well worth it. It looks like I’m headed to Calgary tomorrow for the weekend to check out the Calgary Stampede. I will be couch surfing for the first time, which will be interesting. I’m pretty excited. I think I will be meeting up with Claire again tomorrow and hang out with her for the weekend.

Lake Moraine

Lake Moraine

Lake Louise

Pake Peyto

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Day # 13 – July 7

I slept in a bit and then left Banff to head to Calgary. I got there around 11am and went to the guys house that I was staying at for the weekend. I was hardly couch surfing. The guy, John Smiley, had a guest bedroom for me to use with a ridiculously comfortable queen size bed I got to sleep in. We chatted for a while and he gave me keys to his place, then he gave me a ride downtown on his way to work. I walked down to the Stampede to meet up with Claire and her friends, an Australian guy and a Scottish guy, both really cool. We walked around a while and checked out the Stampede grounds, then went to one of the big tents where they had a DJ and a live band. We hung out there and danced for a while then watched the fireworks and went home around 1am

Day #14 – July 8

When I opened my door in the morning John had left my some towels and a not saying he went to work and to call him if I needed anything etc. He was a super nice dude. I walked to the house where Claire and the other guys, Ryan and John were staying and we watched the Wimbledon match and then went down to the Stampede grounds for the rodeo. It was pretty much your average rodeo, but still fun to watch. Bull riding, barrel racing, the usual stuff. So I guess the guy that my friends were staying with, his girlfriend works at the Stampede and was able to get us into the Chuck Wagon races for free, which was pretty cool. I guess its kind of a Calgary tradition, but it was definitely unique. We were all pretty exhausted so after that we went back to their place and watched the fireworks from their balcony, then I walked back to where I was staying. I chatted with the guy I was staying with for a bit, bought him some beer for letting me stay with him, and went to bed. The weather all weekend was really nice as well, almost a bit too hot. I think it was in the upper 80’s and a bit humid.

Chuck Wagon Races

Calgary Stampede

Day #15 – July 9

The next morning I went back to Banff and met up with Claire again. We pretty much just walked around and explored the town a little bit and hung out with some people at the hostel. I was able to find a pretty cheap helmet a few towns over so we could both go on a ride. Nothing really exciting happened today…

Day #16 – July 10

We woke up pretty early, and packed up some food and stuff for the day then hopped on my bike to go for a ride. Claire hadn’t been to any of the lakes yet so we went to Moraine, Louise, and Peyto, the ones I went to before. We did a bit more hiking around the lakes though which was nice. That took up most the day then on the way back down from Lake Peyto we stopped by Lake Louise again and rented a canoe for an hour to check out the lake. It was a little pricey but totally worth it. We were able to make it all the way to the other side of the lake and back. We were both exhausted after getting back to the hostel so we just watched a movie and went to bed.

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Day #17 – July 11

Holy crap I can’t believe I have already been gone 17 days, It feels like my trip just started. Claire left to fly home this morning, and I packed up and got on the road again. I wasn’t all that excited to get back on the road after mostly just hanging out and having fun for the last two weeks, but I think mostly I just didn’t want to leave Canada. I went through some more nice forests and such on my way down to Montana, where I had much less difficulty at the boarder. I rode into Glacier National Park and found a campsite for the night around 4:30. I did about 320 miles today. It is really hot in Montana, I hit a few sections where its got up into the 90’s, which wasn’t that fun because my jacket isn’t very good in warm weather. Also, it was crazy getting here and seeing everyone else riding around on their motorcycles with no helmets, since you don’t need to where one here. Although I noticed it was just the Harley guys. I didn’t see a single Harley rider wearing a helmet. Most everyone else was though.

Day #18 – July 12

I woke up a bit late and got on the road by 9am. I worked my way through the rest of Glacier National Park, which was gorgeous as expected and then headed south. The Going-to-the-Sun road through Glacier was awesome. There were waterfalls like every 50 feet just dumping right onto the road. Honestly, if I would have seen Montana first, I would have been blown away, but it really doesn’t compare to the stuff I saw in Canada. Its still gorgeous though.

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After getting out of Glacier National Park the scenery changed a bit… I hit the long, strait highways through the middle of nowhere, which never seemed to end. The nice thing though is the speed limits in Montana are awesome, 70-75 mph almost everywhere. Which was nice compared to the 90-100 kph speed limits in Canada, which is like 55-62 mph. So I made some very good time cruising at 80mph or so. In all I did 490 miles today, it was not exactly fun, but I made some good time riding 11 hours.

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Day #19 – July 13

Last night I discovered my bike wouldn’t start again. I woke up early and walked 3.5 miles into town with my battery to have it looked at. A guy at Napa Auto Parts put it on a charger for me for a few hours to see what would happen. I hitch hiked my way back to my campsite and was able start up my bike. I packed up all my gear and rode into town and back to Napa. I put a volt meter on the battery while it was running and it was reading 12.14, which means its not charging… great… So I said screw it and hit the road anyway around 2:30pm.

I went through Beartooth pass and Chief Joseph’s pass, which are up through the mountains, what a gorgeous road. It was quite a drastic change in weather too. Within about 15 minutes it went from 90 degrees and sunny at 6,000 feet, to 40 degrees and pouring rain at 11,000 feet. It was pretty cool though, I just watched the altimeter on my GPS just keep going up and up until I broke 11,000 feet. Although the weather was crappy, it has got to be one of the most beautiful roads I have been on. It was kind of different though. The mountains weren’t as cool as in Canada, but in Canada I was riding around looking up at the mountains. Along the Beartooth pass I was in the mountains. I was literally the highest thing around (highest as in altitude,) and looking down on almost everything else.

I made it through to Wyoming and found a campsite about 40 miles east of Yellowstone. The people next to me are pretty cool and we hung out and had a few beers. Now time for bed.

Beartooth Pass

Beartooth Pass

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Day #20 – July 14

I left around 8:45 this morning and headed for Yellowstone. It was kind of cool but I honestly wasn’t all that impressed. Half the park I rode through was all dead, burnt trees, and the entire park smelled like eggs. Besides the occasional steaming, bubbling pools of mud, there wasn’t much exciting about it compared to some of the other national parks I’ve been through.

Day #21 – July 15

I packed up in the morning and made the decision to get home From Missoula, MT. So I hit the road expecting a long day, and a long day it was. I hit a few really nice roads through Idaho, but it was raining most the time so I couldn’t enjoy them as much as I would have liked. Once I got into eastern Oregon though I hit the strait two lane highways that seem to go on forever. Pretty much nothing exciting, lots of riding ect. I ended up getting home at 3:30am after nearly 20 hours of riding. What a day, but my bed feels amazing.

Home stretch



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I have a silver 2003 VFR with the factory bags, so it was neat to project myself into your story.

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  •  Ya.. me too, Silver was swift and could pack a load, typically 6 weeks worth of gear for my annual Yukon explorations.
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