There I was sitting on the pier by the lake, sipping coffee, and watching nature wake up. Next thing I know Travis is plopping down next to me with a Yetti of coffee and one of those grins that means he has an idea! It was somewhere around the 4th of July and we had already been to Colorado and I was a week away from leaving for Alaska. We had discussed Sturgis several times and this particular day the discussion transformed a 5 day Sturgis ride into a 3 week Canadian road trip! Load the bikes down and ride to Alaska he said…. Oh, okay, if we must ha ha!
A few minutes later we were mapping and Googling distances, routes, and destinations through Canada up to Alaska. It has always been a bucket list type thing of mine to ride to Alaska and I just hadn’t quite gotten around to that one in all of my journeys so I was what you might call slightly excited about this plan! We had 5 weeks until go time and endless possibilities to look forward to. By the time coffee had run dry we had dates in place and a rough idea of a route through British Columbia and several national parks. By the end of the next day we had completely changed course and decided to make it a 2 part trip with the 1st leg being through the US to Idaho with the van and trailer and the 2nd leg being straight north across the border. By the end of that week we had re-plotted our course a few times and settled on a straight through drive to Idaho for an overnight and a cruise through the mountains up to Whitefish Montana where we would leave the van behind and roll through Glacier National Park on up to Canada. The nice thing about vacation is that the world is yours for the taking and it really doesn’t matter where you end up as long as you are enjoying the trip so we stopped our planning right about here.
The only thing standing in our way at this point was that, due to me being a naughty kid a few years ago, we were a tad concerned about me crossing the border. Most definitely NOT my proudest moment in life, but, there is no shame in my game so I will let you all in on a little secret. Once upon a time I had that famous “Just 1 more beer” and ended up landing my motorcycle on its side in a field. Now in Canada such things are considered extremely serious criminal behavior even though in Wisconsin it is only a traffic violation resulting in a fine and high auto insurance for a bit. All that being said, we also made alternate plans in case Canada was a no go. We both love the Pacific Northwest and agreed that if we were rejected at the border we could continue on into Washington and Oregon and have just as great of a trip. It’s always a good idea to understand that on a road trip anything can happen and, just like life in general, you gotta be ready to roll with it!
I’m big on positive thinking and manifestation, I spoke about and thought about the trip with no doubts in my mind that I was going to Canada. With the right attitude anything is possible, right? Right! August 8th rolled around and we had a crazy busy day with Travis’s Adaptive Water Ski School. Somewhere around 20 volunteers showed up and 21 skiers! It was quite the event with each person skiing twice and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect! It was 4ish in the afternoon and everyone helped pick up and put away equipment then we all headed for pizza. We arrived home about 7 P.M. and realized neither of us was going to get any sleep knowing the next day was go time so we decided on the obvious option of showering up and hitting the road!
It was about 8 o’clock and I hopped in the driver’s seat for the 1st pull of the trip. Three miles from home Travis realized his boots were not with us and I made a U-turn to head back to the house. (Insert smiley face emoji here) What would a road trip be without the unexpected! With the boots safely tucked into the backseat we began our adventure again! By this time we were literally driving off into the sunset, see everything happens for a reason! As I’m typing this the theme song from Smokey and the Bandit just began playing in my head but we were west bound and down loaded up and truckin going to do what they say can’t be done! Odd coincidence since Burt Reynolds just passed away this week.
I’m 800 words in already and we have barely left the house … it may take a few posts to fill in our 18 day travelling extravaganza!
When driving with no real timeframe or deadline it’s easy to just stop here and there and roll along without a care in the world. Sometimes you may not even know where you are while being lost in your adventures and daydreams…this is exactly why I can’t tell you where we decided to pull in for the night. I want to say it was in Minnesota but there is a very good chance it was South Dakota, hey that rhymes! Where ever we were it was getting late or possibly early depending on the actual time which we may never know. It was a rather vacant rest area along interstate 90 and we just happen to have a bed in our van for a lovely roadside nap. The sound of semi’s idling outside was a bit soothing and a bit 1980’s horror movie all at the same time. This coupled with the ridiculously bright street lights , (probably installed after too many 80’s horror movie scenes were reenacted in such places) made for a short nap. I believe the best part of this stop was when I came out of the restroom from brushing my teeth and Travis was loading somethings from the van into the trailer looking exactly like Bill from Silence of the Lambs where he is trying to load the chair into a van in the parking lot. Of course all I could do at this point was waltz up behind the trailer and quote Catherine, “Hey mister do you need a hand with that?” Travis replied in character with something along the lines of, “It puts the lotion on the skin.” …Ah how boring would life be without a good sense of humor?!
5 A.M. was our on the road again time, Travis was taking a turn at the wheel and we were roughly 17 hours from our 1st scheduled destination. A few hours down the road I was in need of a nap, I curled up with my blankie and was off to dreamland in a matter of seconds. An hour or so later I woke up and we were still trucking along I-90 a few hundred miles from the Black Hills. Travis had been driving away making plans and surprised me with another fantastic idea/change of course. We both would be in need of a good nights sleep and a shower before the next days drive and we just happened to be headed right through Sturgis so why not grab a campsite and unload a bike for the night?!… No arm twisting needed on my part, where do I sign up?!?
I began mapping our travel time to my go to campground, Hog heaven, and plotting rides and food plans. This little change of course just made my day! It’s hard to beat a ride through the hills. A few miles up the road was a gas station and an 1880’s old west town tourist attraction that looked perfect for rolling a bike out of the trailer. We pulled in filled up and unloaded, a fully loaded, 1978 BMW! It was getting rather warm and I opted for throwing on a pair of Keens with my comfy van riding attire and hitting the highway in blazing sunshine.
Travis continued on in the van and about 70 miles in I had to pull off at a rest area. The heat was too much and the highway 90 ride just was not enjoyable. As much as I love to ride I was more than thrilled to hand over the Beamer when Travis volunteered to take a pull behind the bars. He was a tad smarter than I and unloaded the bags from the backseat so more air would circulate as he rode… a slight, “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment happened and away we rolled. I was super excited to be back in the air-conditioned van, for the few minutes it lasted. I looked down to find the temp gauge was running into the red …so … down the windows went and I was wondering which of us was actually experiencing the lesser of two evils here.
A tank of fuel later we arrived at Hog Heaven a bit warm and soggy but all in one piece and wheels rolling! I believe I have rambled on enough for this section of our 18 day cross continental tour… 16.5 days left to tell! Stay tuned…