City: Airway Heights, Washington
Miles ridden: 176
Cumulative miles: 10729
I tested the tyre pressure in the morning, just to make sure.. thanks Keith! I was using the pressure gauge that I got from Keith and Sigrid took a picture of it. The weather was hot and we took our time. At our first break in a small township we had subway and saw a nice sculpture, called the farmers and the bankers.
Over the time the landscape changed to plains with lakes on the side. We found a couple of really nice rest places, which was not very common so far.
When we drove through Airway Heights we called it a day, checked into a motel and had an early day.
City: Colville, Washington
Miles ridden: 81
Cumulative miles: 10810
The plan for today was to ride to Colville to the Ranger station, get some information about the campgrounds in the Colville National Forest and camp for the next few days. So we took off and when we arrived an hour later at the Colville Ranger Station, we were surprised to find it closed.
That threw the spanner in the works, there are more than 26 campgrounds in the forest, but not much information available. We had problems to find out if they have fresh water and if you have to book in advance. The ranger station was not really a ranger station, it looked like an office building and they closed over the weekend, great. On the way in, we passed a hotel with pool, so we inquired; price was great so we stayed there instead.
We had a swim in the pool and a dip in the hot water tub. After we dried off we started to ask around and finally found some information about the camp grounds and earmarked one for tomorrow. It was only 45 miles ~ our travel distance seems to decrease every day ;).
So we were sitting outside our room, had some alcoholic beverages, looked at the mountain around us and watched the sunset.
At night we talked to Wombat and Val, they were staying in a bike camp ground until Tue and then ride to Nakusp. We will try to meet there a day before the HU meeting starts.
City: Edgewater campground, Washington
Miles ridden: 45
Cumulative miles: 10855
We took our time at breakfast and met a fellow motorcycle rider who recognize the Ulysses sign on our bikes. He was from Canada and travelled through Australia in 2000. A Ulysses member lent him a brand new Harley to travel around. After a while I got the map out and he suggested some nice roads for us to ride. So we started late, went to Wall Mart, bought some tent fix material to fix the holes from the accident properly and had lunch there at subway. Then we jumped on our bikes and started the long ride of 45 miles. After 2 miles, we couldn’t sit anymore on our bikes so we stopped to have a look at the crystal falls.
It was just on the side of the road. After taking some pictures we continued to our destination, the Edgewater campground. Just before the campground we had to cross a river and they were rebuilding the bridge. Guess what, it was the same shitty grid iron as on the bridge in White Salmon a couple of days before. The bridge was not long, but to make it a bit more entertaining they put a narrow lane change at the end of the track. Anyway, we survived and arrived at the campground safe and sound. The first sign on the campground was a warning sign that a cougar has been seen.
I wasn’t worried since I’m over 50… 😛
The sign suggested taking extra precaution, similar to being bear save. Don’t leave food out, put it in container and if you can hang it in a tree. I’m not sure if this really protects you against a cougar. Our campsite was exactly what we were looking for, it was remote, had fresh water, a toilet and had access to the lake, so we headed for nice swim.
After reading the sign, we made sure that most of the food was either hanging in a tree or was locked up in our panniers sitting under the bench.
City: Edgewater campground, Washington
Miles ridden: 47
Cumulative miles: 10902
Got up in the morning and went for a nice swim in the lake before breakfast. There was no wind at all and the lake looked like a mirror.
In the campground there were plenty of raspberry’s bushes, some of the fruit was too dry but some of them where just right.
On our way to the toilet block, we noticed that the Cougar sign has changed to a bear warning sign. We talked to the guy who changed the sign; he saw the bear on the campground when he opened the gate in the morning. We will definitely hang our food into the tree tonight! Especially as we are the only guests at this campground. Just to put it in perspective, yesterday (27/8) a guy was killed by a bear in Denali National Park (Alaska) – but he was taking pictures of the bear.
We needed to buy some food for the evening (for us, not the bear), so we made our way to Metaline Falls and had a look at the Salmon Lake on the way. After we came back we had a swim and when we came out of the water we saw some wild turkeys wandering around, not far from our tent. Do bears eat turkeys ???
In the afternoon we planned our route for tomorrow and a very briefly for the rest of the US, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala trip. We realized that our US tourist stamp is valid until Oct. 2nd, which might be a bit short. In addition my Visa expires Dec. 2012, so I have to organize something from Argentinia before we return to the US next year, will have to find out if we can get away with an electronic visa.
At the campground we could buy some firewood so I made a bonfire in the evening to cook our tea. The wood was still a bit wet, so I tried to split the logs a bit more, using my claw hammer. Bad idea! The good thing is, I tore the hammer handle off and it burned nicely 😀
(Mental note, get a camping axe and don’t use claw hammers for wood chopping.)
The plan for tomorrow is to meet Wombat and Val. Since we didn’t know exactly where they are, we’ll drive up to Canada, send them an SMS and then drive to the camp ground. While we were planning it started to get dark and we had a beautiful sunset in the woods.
City: Nakusp, BC
Cumulative miles: 10902
In the morning we went swimming and had breakfast. We started slowly; no stress as we didn’t have to go too far, just 150 miles. After another nap we packed the tent and had the usual problem, – pure disbelief that all that stuff would fit onto our two small bikes.
After some pushing, stuffing, reorganizing (I didn’t say anything about swearing) we got started around 12:00. After a 20 minutes ride, we crossed the border to Canada. The crossing was without any problems. We had a brief chat with the border officer, I told him all about our trip. In the end his bored smile indicated that he was more interested if we could support ourselves than in our trip route 🙂
That was our first motorcycle border crossing in the Americans, we made it to Canada!
Our first stop was in a small township called Salmo. We stopped to fill up the bikes and send Wombat and Val an SMS. Big surprise, our phone didn’t work in Canada, well the phone did, but our service supplier didn’t have any support in Canada. Ok, no worries, we went to Subway to eat something and to use Skype to talk to Wombat and Val. Next surprise, Subways in Canada don’t have WiFi, so we were stuffed.
We decided to ride to the next bigger town and try to find a WiFi spot, if that doesn’t work; we would just look for some other accommodation and ride to Nakusp the next day. We would meet Wombat and Val latest on the Horizon Unlimited meeting which starts in two days. When we arrived in Nelson, we went to the tourist bureau. The houses here reminded me a bit of Bavaria or Austria.
The people in the office were very helpful and even better, they had free WiFi access. So we contacted Wombat and Val and they were on a Motorcycle campground just outside of Nakusp, only 200km from where we were. So off we went. The roads were just amazing, winding between mountains following some blue lakes. It looked like pictures from travel brochures. At one stage we stopped at a view point and took a couple of pictures, the view was just mind blowing.
After leaving the view point we saw some clouds on the horizon which was exactly where we were going. 20km outside of Nakusp it started to dribble, then the rain started to get a bit heavier but eased off again. By this time we were only 5km from our destination so we pushed on. When we arrived we met Wombat and Val again! Reunited at last! The campground offered setup tents with beds and provided coffee for breakfast. So we unloaded our bikes and sat together to share some stories. By that time, the rain stared to get heavier and heavier. Val cooked some beautiful dinner for us and Wombat had organized some cold beer. We took our chairs in and huddled in the small kitchen area
During our dinner another couple arrived, at this point of time it started to rain really heavily. As it turned out, it was Alex and his wife, they were on the way to the Horizon Unlimited meeting as we were and after that they would start their journey down to Argentina (as we would). After the meal we found that our tent was leaking and had some big puddle of water. Sigrid was tired and cranky for some strange reason. No problem, we moved to another tent and jumped into a very comfy and dry bed. I like to hear the raindrops on the tent when lying in bed. I was happy; we finally made it to Canada. Tomorrow we’ll move to another campground and setup our tent for the next four days.