TRIP REPORT

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA

11 MAY – 12 AUGUST 2003

The Bike: 2002 Black VTX 1800C with ca. 20,500 mi. 

Modifications: Honda luggage rack; Memphis Shades 19” windshield; Champion Sidecar “Patriot” hard bags, Givi E52 top back, mounted on luggage rack.. 

Other equipment and clothing: Pro Sport brand raingear.

 Tires/Oil: Metzler 130/70HB-18; 180/70H-16; Honda 20W50 oil.

 Participants: myself and the beauteous Suzanne, riding pillion.

Total miles: 12, 877.   Total time of point-to-point travel: ca. 3 months.

Itinerary:

Ft Laud > Chipley, FL > Beaumont, TX > Austin, TX > Stephenville, Tx > South Amarillo, TX > Santa Fe, NM >  Durango, CO > Ouray, CO > Salida, CO > Denver, CO > Steamboat Springs, CO > Jackson, WY > Bozeman, MT > Whitefish, MT > Waterton Lakes Natnl Park,.AL > Calgary, AB > Banff, AB/Lake Louise > Jasper, AB > Kamloops, BC > Victoria, BC > Hornby Island, BC > Vancouver, BC > Grand Forks, BC > Kalispell, MT > Helena, MT > Three Forks > Bozeman, MT > Sherldan, WY > Sturgis, S.D. > Sioux Falls, SD > Appleton, WI > Luddington, MI > Forest, ON > Brampton, ON > Toronto, ON > Brighton, ON > Watertown, NY > Utica, NY > State College, PA > Charlottesville, VA > Jonesville, NC > Asheville, NC > Athens, GA < St. Augustine, FL > Ft. Lauderdale, FL

General comments:

At no time did I want to come home, including when we were coming home. 

Trip notes:

(1)   Without a doubt, the most spectacular road in the US was between Durango, CO and Ouray.  Passing through Molas Pass, it's one inclining twisty after another.  Ouray is our current favorite place to stay, as the topography looks quite like Switzerland (something not lost on the local promoters).   

(2)   We went through Glacier National Park twice, once in early June and once in early July.  We returned because during the June passage it was too foggy and too cold to be enjoyable.  The lodge (we didn't stay there) is beautiful and next time through we'll try to stay there.  However, we continued on to Waterton Lakes National Park, across the border in Canada and it was worth the trip (and you might want to consider going through Glacier and ending up there, rather than staying in one of the small towns outside of Glacier. 

(3)   If you choose to take a smaller road in Alberta, keep an eye on the gas tank.  At one point on the "Cowboy Highway" it was 85 km between gas stations. 

(4)   Banff is beautiful, but (a) touristy, and (b) subject to far too much development on the outskirts.  We had heard that Lake Louise was expensive, but found a motel there that, while not cheap, was reasonable.  One of the highlights of the trip was a hike around the lake to Seven Glaciers, where there is a 1920s "cafe" that serves tea and sandwiches. 

(5)   Our second favorite road was the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper, especially the first half.  We found a small, pretty cabin on the shore of Lake Patricia, north of town, that was beautiful and peaceful. 

(6)   We've been to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, several times, and it still is one of our favorite places, although real estate speculation by the Vancouverites may well spoil the place over time.  A fun ride goes from Victoria south, then west, to Port Renfrew, where there is a restaurant and hotel (and not much else). 

Comments on equipment:

The Metzlers, while expensive, continued to perform well.  They lasted approximately 8500 miles, with no cupping (like the stock Dunlops).

The Givi top bag is marvelous, especially the "one-key" system, which allows one to pop out the handle, open the bag, and reposition it on a rack all with, a single key.  It requires an adaptor pad (additional purchase) which bolts onto the luggage rack.  If you have a backrest, you need to remove it.  There are several options: a back rest pad, internal lights, a rack, etc., which we did not get.  I purchased it online from Arizona MotorSports, along with the adaptor pad (which claims its for round, bar-like luggage racks, but fits just fine on the flat Honda luggage rack. 

Like the 2002 trip, we were quite fortunate with rain.  The hairiest time was spent in the fog coming down from the peak of Glacier National Park.  Also fun was the all day rain between Jasper, Alberta, and Kamloops, BC, which is more or less straight down. 

Once again, the SpaceBags allowed us to pack much more clothing than we would have without them.  They are expensive for what is basically a large Ziploc baggie, but well worth it.