Monday, 8 October 2012

Vancouver is a lovely city and the weather when we were there was sunny and hot – perfect for mooching around the marina, dreaming about winning the lottery and deciding which boat we would buy and where we would moor it. Although at present, we are ‘living our dream’ there’s always room for new dreams but I guess we’ll have to start playing the lottery if we want to stand a chance of winning it!
From Vancouver we got the Greyhound bus over the border into the United States of America. This meant getting off the bus with our luggage and going through passport control then getting back on the bus. They ask the usual questions but there were no problems and we were soon on our way.  We had a slight delay at our change over in Seattle but that’s just another opportunity to people watch. Arriving in the city of Tacoma, we were met by Ned, who, along with his lovely wife Donna and 2 dogs (Lucy - 10 year old black Lab and Kirby 3 year old black Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle mix)) had kindly offered to host us while there.  The next day Ned took us down to the port where we would get the bike back. From walking into US Customs to getting the bike out and cleared through customs and riding away – 2 hours! We were expecting it to take much longer.

Tacoma sunset and Kirby swimming
We then took part in the 2012 Volcano Run, which is organised by Wayne and took place in Guifford-Pinchot National Forest.  We set off with Ned (who also rides a BMW outfit) and headed up into the mountains.  Arriving just before dark on the Friday, the meeting was already in full swing and Wayne was cooking tea for everyone so tent up, homemade brew in hand, we enjoyed an evening of delicious food, tasty beer and incredible company.  The next day, after a tasty breakfast burrito, Iain did a little work on the bike with some help from Ron and then we went for a small run out to Olallie Lake and then Takhlakh Lake where we enjoyed a fabulous view of Mount Adams (volcano) and fed the ‘camp robbers’. These are blackbird sized, black and white(ish) birds which will happily fly down and sit in your hand and eat the food you offer them and I’m guessing the food you don’t offer them too given their name!  Back at camp, Wayne had been out on a mushroom hunt and had made a huge pot of tasty cream of mushroom soup with his haul.  I’d also just like to mention Judy’s carrot cake – Ned, did we mention it was delicious? Over the course of this weekend, we were lucky enough to meet and spend time with wonderful people and I sincerely hope that our paths will cross again. After leaving the camp on Sunday morning, we headed to see Mount St Helens. Some of you reading this may remember when this erupted – 18 May 1980, with the loss of 57 lives. You can see clearly where the whole side of the mountain slid away and with this explosion, the mountain lost over 2000 feet in height. The damage to the surrounding landscape is still very clear, with scorched trees still standing or lying in the position they fell.

Wayne and the breakfast burritos

Tahlhakh Lake with Mount Adams in the background

Mount St Helen - the right side where it slid away

On our return to Tacoma, we met up with Darren and Leigh, who we last saw in Georgia, the day before we entered Russia. It was great to catch up and swap stories of our adventures. We also all visited the LeMay ‘America’s Car Museum’ where we were treated to cars from 1903 right through to 2013. Mostly American cars, it was really interesting to see how cars have developed and the different shapes they have taken through the years.  There were a handful of bikes on show too. We also visited DMC Sidecars ( in Enumclaw. We had met Jay, the owner, at the Volcano run and he kindly offered to help us out with a few things.

We left Tacoma with Ned and Kirby and headed north again and rode the Mountain Highway Loop which was terrific. We spent our last night with Ned in the town of Winthrop and in the morning we went our separate ways – Ned heading south again and us heading towards Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.  We would like to take this chance to say a huge thank you to Ned for looking after us so well while we have been in Tacoma, for taking us on the Volcano run and for running us around to get stuff. You are a star!

'Are you sure it's left?' - riding buddies
Ned had suggested a route for us to take and boy was it worth riding! The weather was still holding so it was bright and clear so the views were never ending.  Further along the road we stopped at a viewpoint and we got talking to another couple. We told them where we were heading and they invited us to stay with them! So, we arrived at Russ and Rose’s house just before dark and enjoyed a lovely evening chatting with them about all our different travels as they themselves have travelled extensively. The next day, we were invited to stay another night (which didn’t take much persuading) and we took a trip to Glacier National Park in the car. Again, the weather held so we were graced with amazing views and the sun sparkling on the rivers, lakes and the freshly snow capped mountains. Unfortunately the road across the park (Road to the Sun Highway) was closed for repairs before the big snows arrive but we were still able to get right into the park and enjoy a walk through the woods and down by the river. The trees are so tall and the waters so clear.
View from Hungry Horse Dam

Looking out over Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

That evening we went across to Russ and Rose’s neighbours, Rod and Sandy. Rod makes arrows so showed us the process and has a great collection of bows dating back to the 1950’s.
As I type this, I’m looking out over the plain where the town of Kalispell is, towards the mountains in Glacier National Park. There are squirrels running up and down the trees and deer and wild turkeys roaming the meadow. Sandy told us there had been a bear mooching around her house last week, shamed we missed that...........Rose then added that at this time of year the bears are desperate to get the calories they need for hibernation so will eat anything........and we are back to camping tonight!


  1. Some lovely photos. Hope you enjoy what's to come every bit as much as the journey so far.

  2. I'd just like to say thank you to you both for the 'virtual window' on your tour; seeing all the places through your eyes and descriptions is terrific. Very, very pleased it's going as well for you and pleased you're meeting such wonderful people.

  3. Hi iain and Debz, I sort of lost track of you for a while due to one or two things back home - Anyway caught up again now - great photos and good to see the trips still working well and the bikes still plodding on. Where you headed next - ( I always have very fond memories of the blue ridge area when I rode the states beck in the 80's) if your going anywhere over that way be worth a look or are you heading south now ? Excellent stuff so far - wherever your heading - wish it was me. You are living a lot of peoples dream and so many people are maybe living them through your journey. Excellent stuff keep us updated as the cold mists of winter are starting to envelope us under those grey damp skies( actually very very wet flooding lots of stuff skies) Keep a hold regards Jake.