The plan for the first real day was to ride up through Kananaskis, Banff, Lake Louise then finally Jasper. World famous and amazing scenery the whole way. But it did not quite turn out the way we planned however.
Here is our actual route for Day 1. I combined my first leg from Lethbridge to the Crowness Pass into it as well. We certainly did not put on the miles on that we envisioned.
The day started off well. We rode out of the mountains into more foothills terrain with a large number of ranching operations in this area.
We continued north to Longview and the The Twin Cities Hotel.
I fueled up here and due to my lack of a gas gauge (there is a warning light only) and small tank this was to become a very familiar task.
A very nice Ford Model A was lurking nearby.
I love the simplicity of these early cars. A Model A would be an ideal veteran car with good parts supply, modern style controls and reasonable performance.
The rear plate indicates this one is a 1929 model.
We were off again and back in to the mountains, this time the very scenic Kananaskis area.
Unfortunately we did not make it far. His bike would not restart after we stopped to take the above photo. No power. No electrical. Dead. To top it off we were well out of cell phone range.
He rolled it down the hill to a nearby parking lot where we went into troubleshooting mode. We examined fuses and swapped them around. Jiggled any connections that we could access. We even swapped batteries from my bike to his with no change. Reluctantly we came to the conclusion that we were not fixing it with the limited tools we had brought with us. This break down was rather annoying as he bought a relatively new Suzuki V-Strom 1000 for the trip, a bike with a reputation for bullet proof reliability.
I sent him back on my bike to find cell phone reception and decide what he wanted to do next. This meant I had a pile of time to kill at the side of road and unfortunately the book I had packed was still on my bike. I still had my phone (without reception) so here is a photo of some wild flowers.
When he came back (eventually) it was with a tow truck. Not a great sign. The closest bike mechanic was in Black Diamond roughly 60-70kms away which meant an expensive tow.
By the time we made it to the local bike shop it was just about closing time but we managed to convince them to take a quick look. The bad news was that they would need more time. Good news is they were willing to bump him to the front of the line the next morning. We had planned to camp the entire trip but now only had one working bike (and the small one at that) so therefor we were stuck within walking distance of the bike shop. Luckily a hotel was near by.
The Black Diamond Hotel is where we landed for the night and as luck would have it there was also a bar where we had some drinks and food to drown our sorrows. We had a booked an expensive ferry in a couple of days and were unsure if we could continue the trip at this point.
It was in the mechanics hands at this point so nothing else to do but have a few more drinks and play some pool.
I managed a quick wander around the block and came across this neat Chevrolet Monza. It has been a while since I have seen a road going example.
Those side window louvers are an interesting touch.
This Chevy looks to be still hard at work.
As I headed back to the hotel the 1929 Ford Model A for earlier in the day drove by proving it was a driver as a well as a looker. The intersection outside our hotel room was busy with motorcycle traffic that evening and we could only be jealous of them and their working bikes. To be continued …
The full trip log: