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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 58: Sun., Aug 9: Grand Forks to Mission BC: HOME HOME HOME

Home again, home again, jiggety-jog (or sumthin' like dat LOL) ...

Start odometer reading: 11,145 km
Finish odometer reading: 28,347 km

That's 17,202 km for the entire trip!!!

Well, Big Daddy and I got ourselves on the road earlyish today, about 8:30 a.m. We decided we would NOT do the Hope-Princeton, it being Sunday and probably would be a zoo with all the mad weekenders wanting to get home asap.

Instead, we decided to take the Coquihalla, originally thinking on heading to Osoyoos and then northwards. Then, on the way, Big Daddy suggested we deke off at Rock Creek onto Hwy 33 to Kelowna. We had taken this route in the 4X4 one winter 'just for fun' ACK! and he thought it might make a nice detour.

Well, it turned out to be a fabulous ride! Hardly any traffic on it at that time of a Sunday morn and just so pretty -- lotsa nice views, a cute little village or two (Beaverdell looks like worth a return visit) and wonderful, wonderful twisties. We arrived in Kelowna thoroughly satisfied with our morning's 'outing', all due to that wonderful force, serendipity -- ah, yes, where would we be without it???

After gassing up and a brief Timmie's visit, we headed off for the first leg of the Coq. What can I say about it except that it was busy ... and windy, as usual, but the good thing was we had fabulous sunshine all the way -- the last time I rode the Coq, it was pi$$ing down rain!

Another brief stop in Merritt for people food and off we rode to Hope -- even busier than the first leg, but we arrived safely despite all moronic driver's best attempts to cream us, only to look at the clouds gathering and say, 'oh, oh -- we better get home quick, or we'll get wet'.

So, off we went, hell-bent-for-election and arrived home about 5:00 p.m. The nasty clouds were nowhere to be seen anymore we had a lovely hot-tub soak, complete with CCC libation and then a nice BBQ. We're both pooped and ready to go to bed early tonight I can tell yah, so will post more tomorrow when the brain is actually (hopefully) fully engaged!

Night-night, all my faithful followers! I could not have done this without each and every one of you cheering me on!!!

PS: I arrived home to a house freshly housecleaned (!) and a lovely huge bouquet of flowers on the kitchen counter with a Welcome Home card from my darling Big Daddy (this boy is definitely a keeper!).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 57: Sat., Aug 8: Cranbrook to Grand Forks, BC

I cain't believe it! I finally met up with my own Big Daddy (mind you, he kept me waiting for 2 hours in Grand Forks -- what's new, eh?)

Had a fab ride from Cranbrook -- not much traffic, be-oot-iful weather -- what more could yah ask for???

We've just got back from a great dinner at a local pub -- be sure to visit the Station Pub here if yah get the chance -- excellent food and good beer as well as friendly quick service.

It was within walking distance of our very reasonably priced motel 'Western Traveller' and so lovely on the walk back - dusk, the hills looked purpley-grey and a fragrant breeze -- thinkin' this might be nice retirement country???

Off tah bed now folks, for the final leg home -- escorted, no less by the Big Daddy!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 56: Fri., Aug. 7: Foremost AB to Cranbrook BC

BC! BC! I can hardly believe it -- almost home again!

WELL -- Cindy and I started out this morning in the strangest weather -- it looked like it was foggy, but as we rode down the road, the 'fog' was ever-evasive. I think it was some kind of rain cloud that never touched down. Cin and I parted about 20 km up the road and I carried on up to Hwy 3. (I tell yah, what a fabulous hostess she is -- she fed and watered me and gave me a bed to sleep in; and then she let me play with her lovely doggies, Beaver and Mooch -- who could ask for more? What a star! And this, for some weirdo (me) she met on the Internet LOL)

I was really stoking along because I knew that the weather report showed clearer and sunnier weather the further west I went so ... I went!

By the time I got to Lethbridge, things were really looking up and with the exception of the odd cloudyness along the way, it was all great. When I got to Fernie, I thought perhaps I would stay there (it was hot, hot, hot), but nothing to be found so carried on to Cranbrook. Interesting aside: at the gas station in Fernie, a gal attired in bikerette fashion admired my bike and as we chatted, turned out she and her hubby were from B.C. ... in fact, from my home town -- how funny is that? I tell yah, six degrees of separation ...

Anyway, got to Cranbrook; booked into my fave hotel - the Prestige Inn; love it that I can practically park the bike in the lobby - they reserve the canopy out front for bikes; had a hot tub; had a swim; had a fabulous meal ... plus CCC libation and wine with dinner; had a great chat with Big Daddy ... now, thinkin' 'bout beddy-byes.

I do love that ride through the Crow's Nest Pass on Hwy 3 -- the Mountains as you approach are fabulous and the view on the ride through is amazing -- Santa better bring me that webcam this year, I tell yah!!!

Off to Dreamland now ...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 55: Thurs., Aug 6: Moose Jaw to Foremost AB (aka the Long Way Round)

Ah, yes -- here I am in beautiful Foremost, AB with my bud, Cindy, who, I might add, has the patience of a saint!

Ole Willi really did the original 'Circle Tour' today; yep - got myself lost, if yah can believe it. Ride halfway around friggin' North America but ride around in ever-increasing circles in my own back yard BLUSH

My GPS refused to get a signal in Moose Jaw and when I went to use my map, I discovered the relevant portion was shredded off it. So I thought, 'What the heck', I know the way -- yeah, right Willi :-(

Somehow I forgot I needed to be on Hwy 3 and wound up driving way too far west on TC Hwy 1, then tried to get turned around near Brooks and just kept going the wrong way, due to road construction, dead end streets and gravel roads UGH.

Finally got some accurate directions from a fella and met up with Cindy -- we are at her house in Foremost now, having had plenty of libations and a wonderful homecooked dinner -- I plan to make use of that wonderful jacuzzi tub she has too -- oh yeah, these aching muscles will smile again.

Nighty-night folks!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 54: Wed., Aug. 5: Minot ND to Moose Jaw, SK

Yep -- you ARE seeing correctly -- yet another loo to enter in the 'strange' chapter of my travel memories (Does this stuff happen to other people? Or am I being singled out again, hmmm.)

So, here I am in Moose Jaw, where inexplicably, the Comfort Inn is full, the Days Inn is full, the Super8 is full ... So, I found myself at the Heritage Inn and Convention Centre. I noticed as I rode up that there seemed to be an inordinate number of Lincoln Town Cars, Chrysler New Yorkers ... and elderly folk. More hmmm. Anyhoo, sashayed into the lobby, up to the desk (more seniors there) and enquired about accommodation for the night -- they were most obliging; room on the first floor, no problem.

Great -- I ride around the building, let myself into my room and notice that there is an awful lot of space in the room. Then I notice the wide doorways, then see all the railings and so forth and realize -- TA DA -- they've put me in a handicapped-accessible room. Geez, mebbe when they saw my leathers, they thought I'd rolled into town on my electric walker LOL. Or wait, mebbe they figgered I was gonna ride the Harley right into the room! Too funnee!

However, there are many saving graces to this hotel -- first, see the lovely view from my courtyard window: the first picture. I am shortly going to go paddle around in that lovely pool. THEN, I will go to the even lovelier dining room, have a CCC libation first, then dinner, with a nice red wine. Then afterwards, if I'm feeling like it, I just might go to the nice quiet lounge and hoist a couple. Or maybe, if I'm feeling truly exciting, I'll go hang out at the cool nightclub for awhile (well, maybe not -- how cool can a nightclub called the 'Silo' be, after all ;-) ) Who knew there were such excitements to be had in Moose Jaw (AND I hear tell there's a casino if I feel like throwing away my hard-earned dosh ... which I don't).

I had asked the desk clerk at the Comfort Inn how come all the hotels seemed to be full -- was there something special happening? She said, 'No, it's just summer and everyone comes here in the summer." I asked why -- she replied, totally deadpan, "Because Moose Jaw is totally awesome!" Moose Jaw Tourism Oops -- guess that put me in my place LOL

OK -- so ya'll are prolly wondering why I'm here and not in Montana. Well, the weather this a.m looked dicey and the weather report looked worse - thunder and lightning and rain expected - so I decided to get outta Dodge and did a bolt north for the border, coming through Portal border crossing.

The young lad masquerading as a border guard and I had a great ole conversation -- he rides a Springer, but doesn't think it would be comfy enough to do what I did (ride across Canada and part of the States), but he thinks he would like a Deluxe. I tell him naw, prolly to low for him -- he looks tall; I suggest the Heritage Softail. He sez yah, his dad has one. I say, but why not sit on mine ta see if it will fit ... I suddenly hear a throat clear in the background and alluva sudden he starts back with the 'official' questions -- guess the boss heard him enjoying himself and brought him back to reality SNICKER

I headed north on Hwy 39 from the border (highly recommended -- great views) which took me through Estevan, Weyburn and the one-and-only Dog River. Well, it was Dog River on 'Corner Gas', but it's really Rouleau, SK. I stopped to fill up with gas there -- the gas jockey was a man of few words (read: no words ... and also, no teeth ICK) who just grunted when I asked, "No premium?". His compatriot, sittin' on a bench outside the store, was a silver-haired old-timer (also with no teeth) who only wanted to know where 'that plate' was from ... and dint believe me when I told him. (I was distinctly reminded of my late grandfather, who had just about as much couth ;-) ) Sooo, it's pretty clear ta me why they chose to film CG there -- all that 'ambience' LOL

OK - now, here is my question for the day folks -- I know that that pretty yellow stuff in the fields is canola. But what crop is it that has the lovely mauve-coloured tops???

Alright -- enough of this hilarity -- I'm going swimmin'!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 53: Tues., Aug. 4: Bemidji MN to Minot ND

Who knew the geographical center of North America was in Rugby, North Dakota? Not me, that's for sure! I passed through Rugby on the way here, here being Minot ND. Minot, ND

Minot appears to be a fairly largish place and a busy one, it seems, as it was tough to find a hotel room; every one I tried was all booked up -- or so they said -- mebbe they just didn't like the look o' me ;-) I wound up at a Super 8 (not my fave venue, but it will do).

Seems clean enough anyway but there is something in the bathroom which made me do a huge double take. There appears to be some kind of attachment on the throne which, according to the directions printed on it, purports to turn it into a bidet ... I'm definitely givin' that device a miss -- possible electrocution via the nether regions is NOT on my bucket list, not today anyway LOL

Delilah and I clocked over 500 km today, so that was a very good day's work, I'd say. Not sure yet which way I will go tomorrow -- prolly best to continue on Hwy 2 awhile until I can head north into Alberta to get to Foremost to meet up with Cin-Cin.

Thinking about Hwy 2 makes me remember that today as I was ridin' along, I got to thinkin' about all the different kinds of pavement and/or patching materials I've encountered on this trip: gray stuff, black stuff, red stuff, all with/without gritty stuff in 'em. What are they all made of and why are different kinds used? Anybody out there know? I bet Motor Maid Laurie does ...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 52: Mon., Aug 3: Ironwood MI to Bemidji, MN

Started out this a.m. at 8:00 cuz the weather report was calling for thunder and lightening storms to start about mid-afternoon all across the state and I wanted to e in and dry before that happened. Arrived here in Bemidji, Minnesota (on the Mississippi River, the sign sez, but dunno if I believe THAT) just as the winds were picking up and the skies darkening, about 2:30 ish. It's now after 4:00, and still no thunderstorm or rain yet -- mebbee it missed us. Bemidji, MN

The ride across Hwy 2 took me through a couple of National Parks and a lotta resort areas - camping, boating and fishing being the specified activities, so lotsa trees around and a pretty straight road for the most part. Not exciting to see, but could get up to about 120 kmh in a lotta spots, so made good time.

Drivers -- aren't some of them funny? (I mean funny 'weird' NOT funny 'haha'.) Someone will poke along in front of you in the areas that you can't pass in and then as soon as it opens up into an area you are allowed to pass in, they speed up. OR, they dawdle along for miles, you then pass 'em when yah can ... and the next thing yah know, they're on your butt - no matter how fast yah go SHEESH

Talked to Big Daddy today and he informs me I will be a great auntie one day in the not-so-distant-future so congrats and much love to G & N! (Now I just have to figger out a way to wangle 'equal time' with the babe as my bro and sis-in-law, the grandparents HEH HEH.)

And our bro-in-law who had the heart surgery is doing nicely, so we are very pleased - way to go, T!

So, I guess dat's it from the road (unless I run into more oddballs at dinner tonight LOL) till tomorrow's riveting installment!