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Old 09-06-2006, 08:29 AM   #1
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Cool Gsxrgirrl does Banff, Alberta

Earlier this year, I had this craving to see huge mountains. So, a plan was hatched to make a 10-day run for Banff, Alberta. It would also give gsxrgirrl a chance to visit her country, Canada, and the mountains she grew up with. Why just 10 days? I wish I could do more days, but it’s just not possible to be away any longer than 10 days consecutively for my job. Eventually, the plan evolved to be a birthday-ride for one of our best riding buddies as well, and we were scheduled to leave first week of July with 4 other riders. However, due to last-minute work obligation, gsxrgirrl and I weren’t able to make the July departure date. The two of us had to move our trip back a couple of months to the end of August. We left Hercules/Pinole on 8/26, and returned on 9/4. In that time, we logged 3,137 miles on the odometer. Meet some real nice people. Saw amazingly huge mountains and scenery. Had great eats along the way. We had a blast. Hope you will enjoy the pics.

The route:

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Old 09-06-2006, 08:39 AM   #2
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Day 1, 500+ miles

The forecast for the weekend was 100+ from Redding and on. So, to avoid hitting Redding at noon, we left my house in the dark on Saturday morning. Got on I-80 and headed for Winters on 505 for gas and coffee.

Gsxrgirrl and her 600 c.c. rocket:

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Old 09-06-2006, 08:41 AM   #3
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At Winters' Chevron station, we got to enjoy a couple of balloons being launched while enjoying our coffee and pastries.

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Old 09-06-2006, 09:00 AM   #4
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From 505, our plan was to run up I-5 to Weed for 97. I-5 was pretty empty at that hour, and we made good time to Cottonwood (just before Redding) for a fill-up and break. We then cleared Redding shortly after that. It was only about 10 or 10:30, we could already feel the heat.

The section of I-5 between Redding and Weed is somewhat fun. While taking a short break at one of the rest stop, we meet a Japanese tourist who was very interested in our bikes and plans. Even though he could barely speak any English, we did gather enough that he was doing a car tour of Southern California, and is on his way back to Seattle. Back home, he rides a CBR600RR. He was quite enthusiastic about our ride.

In Weed, we had a nice but short lunch. No time to linger... We continued up 97, and made our way toward Crater Lake. Along 97, Mt. Shasta could be seen. We stopped at one of the vistas for some pics:

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Old 09-06-2006, 09:01 AM   #5
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Obligatory bike p0rn:

Gsxrgirrl's GSXR600 and my ST1300

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Old 09-06-2006, 09:03 AM   #6
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Nice! Makes the Vegas run look like nothing...
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Old 09-06-2006, 09:05 AM   #7
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We then arrived at Crater Lake sometime after. There was a small fire in the park, and the smoke could not be missed. Traffic wasn’t bad for a Saturday.

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Old 09-06-2006, 09:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hooli
Nice! Makes the Vegas run look like nothing...
Different kinds of fun
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Old 09-06-2006, 09:06 AM   #9
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Beautiful, ain't it?

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Old 09-06-2006, 09:18 AM   #10
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Leaving Crater Lake on the North side was fun. Downhill and some nice turns... Too bad neither one of us could afford another ticket

Getting back on 97, we marched on to Bend, OR. We were getting somewhat tired at this point from the straight and warmth. It took another two pit stops before we arrived in Bend.

Things got pretty interesting at this point...

We had a reservation at the Motel 6 just South of the town. As we pulled up, it was a scene from MTV's Spring Break... Girls in bikinis running wild. Young ones walking around with drinks in their hands. WTF? Turns out, the strip joint across from the motel (I sure know how to pick'em, don't I ) was hosting a concert. The theme was battles of the local head-banging bands, and the six Super Stripers. (By the way, this is the Motel 6 in South Bend )

It's good that our evening entertainment was taken care of. Sorry guys, no pics. I didn't think of the camera at the time.


Day 2, 490 miles

We got back on the road around 8'ish. More 97 for today. The stretch of 97 between Bend and Washington border was quite pretty and scenic. Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood were the two dominant and constant figures along the way. Lots of bugs.

Made a stop in Moro just before crossing into Washington.


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Old 09-06-2006, 09:31 AM   #11
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While having our breakfast, I made a mental note that two local LEO's just left the joint. That turned out to be helpful.

With the promise of another 90+ day, we loaded up on water and headed out. The road leading out of the town was quite fun. I kept my speed reasonable knowing that one of the two LEO's could be just waiting down the road... I was right. However, the twist here is I royally screwed up his freshly sprung trap.

I came over the crest finding him just turned on his pretty blue and red... attempting to make an U-turn to catch another speeder southbound. In the middle of his manuever, he was startled by my presence (coming up behind him), so he quickly pulled back over to the side of the road. I had a chuckle.

As we moved on down the road, I motioned to Gsxrgirrl to keep an eye on her 6 o'clock, and we both slowed to the speed limit. Sure enough, the Man decided to tail us all the way to the state line. I guess I really pissed him off. That's too bad, because the road was twisty all the way to the state line.

We saw a bit of Columbia River Gorge as we crossed into Washington. The traffic was somewhat heavy. Quite a few LEO's on the Washington side was busy writing tickets already.

This stretch of 97 is fairly scenic (the rugged and waste-land kind) and entertaining as it winds through Yakama Indian Reservation. The closer we get to Yahkima, the hotter it got. Out comes the the camel pack. North of Ellensburg, we get into the green zone again. We then hooked up with Hwy 2 that took us through Leavenworth (a Swiss town filled with tourists) toward I-5, just north of Seattle. If it was on a weekday, 2 would be a fun road to ride.

The heat and the traffic today just took all the energy that could be used for taking pics. No pics today for the Washington stretch. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful stretch that I would not hesitate to ride again.

We arrived at our motel in Bellingham a bit after 7pm. A quick, but excellent steak-and-potatoe meal was had. A quick chain clean-and-lube, and miscellaneous fluid checks... Off to bed we went.

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Old 09-06-2006, 10:09 AM   #12
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Day 3, 400+ miles

This was an exciting morning. We had the border crossing to look forward to. We left Bellingham at 9am, and got to the border checkpoint on I-5 quickly. Getting through was a breeze. Since Gsxrgirrl is Canadian, the Canadian custom agent just asked if I was with her, and off I went. I guess Canadians don't have border concerns as we do

The comedy today was... Before we headed out, I asked Gsxrgirrl if I should pay any attention to my GPS, figuring she would know how to get around in her own backyard... Well, we got lost immediately after the checkpoint We ended up spending about 45 minutes (being stuck in a construction zone under the baking Sun) to find our way back. GPS ON from this point on out

Trans Canada 1, here we come. We had a bit of traffic to deal with, but the further east we were from Vancouver, the easier it got. By the way, the speed limits are low around here, so it is even that much important to find a rabbit.

We got to Hope in no time. Here, we had a quick gas stop, and exchanged some good old USD for some funny monies before heading up Fraser Canyon.

By the way, I did learn that Rambo was filmed in Hope.

Getting a quick lesson from Gsxrgirrl on them funny monies:

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Old 09-06-2006, 10:21 AM   #13
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The first part of Fraser Canyon, the road took us through it on the west side of Thompson River. We immediately started climbing into avalanche country. The road was twisty and scenic. I think we went through three avalanche tunnels, which were kind of cool as they were blasted through the mountains. A bit later, the road took us onto the east side of the canyon, and the fun continued. The closer we got to Hell Gate, the hotter it got.

We found a roadside deli for lunch. The food was good, but the service took forever. We waited about 30 minutes for our burger and grilled-cheese, and they had only 5 customers at the time. Gsxrgirrl wasn't kidding when she warned me that people are on a much slower pace here I just thought maybe the cook had to kill a cow to make my burger right there and then.

After lunch, the road and scenery took on an entirely different feel. The road is twisty and fast. Although we were still running along the river, the landscape became rugged and barren. At some point on the decline, a what looks to be a local blew past me, and became my rabbit. Off I went... Yeeehaaaaawwww. Our own 96 in NorCal has got nothing on this road.

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Old 09-06-2006, 10:22 AM   #14
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Train...

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Old 09-06-2006, 10:23 AM   #15
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Looking back toward where we just rode through:

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