Sunday, August 26, 2012

Part II: Setting out and entering the Canadian Parks

Work had been pretty harried right up to the day before I departed for this trip to the Rockies. I'm a medical programmer for a small but very cool company in Seattle. And of course, with small companies, there's never a dull moment. However, I completed a custom programming task for a customer and was able to walk out the door free and clear, the day before departing for Canada.

The first day on the road was really a mile burner, about 400 miles from home in the Everett area to the town of Revelstoke. The whole point was to get almost to the entrance to the Rockies so that the second day would be all spent riding through the cool stuff that was the point of the trip. So on this trip, I was out the door at 7am and didn't make any real stops or take many pictures until nearly the end of the day.

(Here are some pictures and narrative from the 2010 trip, however: looking for Eureka's Cafe Diem in Chilliwack; stopping in Canada's "Country and Western Capitol" in Merritt; Kamloops)

Getting into British Columbia and driving is always something I look forward to: traffic is lighter and the drivers almost ALWAYS keep right except when passing. Encountering an oblivious left lane camper like the ones who infest Seattle is really rare. Traffic moves briskly...

One quick stop for gas and a sandwich in Kamloops, where I was asked by a Russian family how to get back to the Trans-Canada Highway. Having to dig through my belongings to where the map book was buried was a little embarrassing but I did manage to find the map book and help them. The takeaway from this to keep maps easily accessible even when I know the route. Chances to interact with people are something I want to INCREASE, since just blasting along limits the enjoyment of these trips.

During the 2010 trip, having to take a detour around a bad accident scene had me arriving in Revelstoke pretty late and I was unable to make one planned stop. Craigellachie is the spot where the last spike in the Canadian Pacific Railroad was driven, fully connecting Canada's East and West coasts. This time, I was riding into Revelstoke in the afternoon and managed to stop there. These plaques commemorate the event and location.

This cairn contains an official marker, commemorating the event. One interesting bit about the cairn that I did not know until  later is that the cairn has embedded in it stones from all Canada's provinces and territories at the time that it was built.

Here's a mediocre shot of the last spike,conveniently painted gold along with an arrow pointing towards it.

Moving along towards Revelstoke, here are a couple shots of the picturesque Three Valley Lake Chateau.

Having reached Revelstoke, I checked into the Alpine Inn and Suites.It was definitely a place where I'd stay again, reasonably priced for a motel on the edge of a National Park in Summer and pretty motorcycle friendly, with the owners making a point of saying that they hoped I'd visit again. The room also had a refrigerator and microwave.

Having checked in pretty early, I went out to wander around town and pick up some food. Revelstoke is a neat little town and its prime location makes it a place that I look forward to eventually staying in and not just passing through, some day. A friendly Canadian couple on a  Harley stopped to ask what the Tiger is like (fantastic and a bit more comfortable to ride for longish distances than the Speed Triple) and we talked motorcycles for a few minutes.

Walking back through the town, I happened across some neat photo opportunities. Saint Peters Church seems to have the gravestone for Walter Moberly, mentioned on the Craigellachie plaques as having discovered the Eagle Pass.

And there is no disputing the aptness with which the Mountain View Elementary School is named

The next morning, I quickly checked out of the motel and pushed on towards the Rockies. After Revelstoke National Park comes Canada's Glacier National Park, with its grim warnings of avalanche dangers and tunnels tasked with protecting parts of the road from falling debris. The next few pictures were taken at Rogers Pass. They illustrate well the increasing beauty of the area. The purpose of the artillery piece is not to repel American invaders but to trigger controlled avalanches.

 Then account of this second day will continue in the next entry, which covers actual entry into the Canadian Rockies.

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