Day 7 - July 7th Friday
Distance travelled for the day - 734 km
Total distance for trip - 4623 km
Route - Golden - Vancouver
It was a beautiful day in Golden, BC. Clear blue skies and cool temps at 7:00 am when I went downstairs for my free breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express.
My plan was to ride to Revelstoke and then assess the situation. I was considering two routes one on the TransCanada Hwy 1 to Vancouver and the second down to Nelson to the hot springs that Julian had told me about back in Ontario. My original plan was to make it to Vancouver by Friday through Kamloops.
Riding in the Canadian Rockies is truly special. The mountains are majestic and humbling. Around every corner there is a new spectacular view of deep valleys, snow capped mountain tops and sheer rock faces where the road was carved through the mountain passes. The turns and twists, uphill and downhill are exhilarating on a motorcycle.
The roads are well maintained which means there was some construction along the way but it never held up traffic for too long. They've also built in two lanes on the inclines to give faster vehicles a safe way to pass the big trucks struggling to climb under the weight of their cargo.
60 km west of Golden is Glacier National Park which was easily one of my favourite parts of the ride. About halfway through the park is Rogers Pass and this is the one photo I wish I had stopped to take. The white glacier was a perfect contrast to the blue sky. Sadly I did not stop due to the construction in the area but I wish I had.
I continued west for another 50 kms and stopped in Revelstoke for lunch. I ate at an outdoor cafe where I could keep an eye on my bike and enjoy the surrounding mountain views. These mountain towns have a real 'western' feel to the buildings.
Over lunch I decided to push on through to Vancouver. I had very good friends waiting for my arrival and they had planned a party for me on Saturday at 4:00 pm. If I took the route south through the hot springs I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it to the party in time the next day because I'd have to spend the night at a hotel nearby.
A little further down the road and I was faced with another decision. I could take the new Trans Canada Hwy 5 which is a divided highway with up to 3 lanes in each direction at times or I could take the old Hwy 1. I knew that Hwy 1 would be more interesting but I wasn't sure if there were enough small towns left to provide gas at the right intervals.
As I was riding along the highway an overhead sign reported that Hwy 1 was closed due to wildfires. This made the decision easy and I followed the multi-lane hwy West through Kamloops, Merritt, Hope and Abbotsford.
In Ontario I talked a lot about the Moose warnings. In BC the warnings signs are for deer, mountain goats and elk. There are also signs to watch out for wildlife in general and I had a surprise coming.
Between Abbotsford and Burnaby there's a flat stretch of highway. As I was riding I spotted a black animal on the side of the road and wondered if it was a dog. As I got closer I realized it was a black bear. I slowed down and the bear came up from the ditch and crossed the road right in front of me. Luckily it kept going to the other side and I was safe but the adrenaline was pumping.
I crossed a long suspension bridge and entered the greater Vancouver area. I was on my way to North Vancouver where my long time friends and their families were waiting. I rolled up to their home just before 10 pm on Friday 4623 km since I left home in Toronto. I made it across Canada!