In the last installment our trip had been met with an early hiccup that threatened the whole adventure. We had a fixed time and destination about half way through the trip that could cost us dearly if we missed it. We were relying on the bike mechanic to get us back on the road and into the mountains.
The map for the day.
While the V-Strom was in for repairs we found ourselves with a bit of time to kill so we explored a bit of Black Diamond on foot. Along the main road through town we came across the black diamond of Black Diamond. Lots of history in coal mining and oil in this area.
Black Diamond’s main street is filled with old buildings and small businesses including this bakery which we stopped in for breakfast.
The breakfast I ordered was huge and fantastic.
Along the historic main street was this store with a rather odd combination of candy and burgers.
There were a lot of bikes going with the the most interesting of the bunch being this Russian Ural with side car which is a copy of an old BMW design.
There were plenty of traditional curbside finds around like this Advanced Design pickup with plenty of patina.
Or restored to stock.
The classics were coming to us with this 1965 Pontiac GTO parked right outside the bike shop.
As morning turned to afternoon the bike was finally repaired. It was traced down to a fault in an electrical connector buried down deep. Nothing we could have found easily at the side of the road.
Given it was already past noon we decided to bypass the rest of Kananaskis and motor up Highway One to Banff. Highway One is a busy four lane highway which is not appealing but luckily there are still some very nice roads between Black Diamond and it. The scenery was gentle rolling foothills.
There was a long line to get into Banff National Park which is Canada’s oldest national park being established in 1885.
We did not bother with the Banff town site as we both have been often and it is always full with tourists. Instead we made a quick stop at the Cascade Ponds before heading towards Lake Louise.
There were plenty mountain views to enjoy as we headed to Lake Louise where I needed some gas.
There we saw a motorbike couple from Mexico at the car station. They had ridden two up all the way.
The gas station had this interesting sticker on the door.
The town of Lake Louise was full so one could not park in town. This odd panel Toyota 4Runner was also fueling up. Unfortunately even the out of town parking lots were full so we skipped Lake Louise as well and pressed on.
Both bikes were running well with fantastic scenery as we headed northward.
At the bike mechanic I had bought a clothes peg style throttle holder that helped the hand not cramp up as we doing some decent miles. Cheap cruise control.
There are two seasons in Alberta, winter and road construction, so we saw plenty of road construction unfortunately. It was 30C+ (86F+) outside so each stop we heated up quite a bit in our riding gear.
The Columbia Icefields was not super impressive from a distance although it has shrunk massively in the last couple of decades.
A Mercedes Benz Hymermobil was hanging out in the parking lot.
The Nova Scotia license plate meant this one had driven a long way to get here.
A 1970 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ greeted us as we arrived in Jasper for dinner.
CC gold! An incredibly rare 1954-1955 Sunbeam Mk III drop head.
What a lovely part of the world.
We stopped for the night at Mount Robson campground where I got use my tiny tent for the first time.
The tent is just big enough for a person. Ironically although Mount Robson is the tallest mountain in Canada you can’t see it from campground. That will have to wait for tomorrow.
The full trip log:
Road Trip: Part 1 – Preparation and Starting a 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 2 – Best Laid Plans on a 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 3 – Making up Time – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 4 – The Miles Pile On Up North – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 5 – Heading for the Coast – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 6 – A Coastal Ferry Cruise – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 7 – Vancouver Island and Rain – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 8 – Rain, Rain and More Rain – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 9 – Back to the Mainland and Two Becomes Three – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 10 – Riding Nirvana – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 11 – World’s Largest Collection of Brill Trolley Buses – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 12 – Beer, Dune Buggy and a Ferry – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
Road Trip: Part 13 – Finale – 4,500km Road Trip on a 250cc Motorbike
I want to thank you for these write-ups, and taking us along vicariously. It’s a part of the world we’ve long wanted to see, and it will be high on the list of our destinations in our new camper van.
Some great CC spotting too. Love that Sunbeam.
And your photography is excellent!
No problem and thank you. The second part of the trip is even better (and closer to you).
+1, great photos. I imagine that due to packing light you are using your cell camera, they sure have improved in the last 5 years.
That area has changed a lot since 1989 when I spent a week in Kananaskis visiting my uncle, Canmore was just a quiet little backwater. I spent a day fishing unsuccessfully in the Bow river, so in order to have a photo to take home my Uncle took a picture of me holding up a box of frozen fish on the end of the rod. Pretty sure we took the photo at Cascade Ponds 🙂
Yes – cell phone camera. In this case a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The lack of zoom was limiting at times but it did a good job.
Banff & Lake Louise are extraordinary. Having lived in Colorado for 40 years, it is amazing how different the Canadian Rockies are from the Colorado divide. The crowds in the summer are discouraging, but can’t blame everyone from wanting to experience them. When we had our home in Bigfork, MT we most enjoyed it in September, the crowd leave before Labor Day (US, 1st Monday in September), and the weather is normally dry, cool nights and warm (70s) days.
Also have played golf at both Stewart Creek and the Banff Fairmont. Wanted to play the Canmore Golf & Curling Club (mostly because of the name), but was unable to get on.
So, late September in the new RV sounds like a must.
David, this is wonderful. Thank you.
I myself have a Kawasaki 250 and I get tired doing the 150 mile trip from Chicago to Champaign-Urbana. Between this and the Pontiac trip, you are a real trooper.
Thanks for taking us along for the ride! You’ve had an eventful summer, with this trip, the Great Beater Challenge and (if I recall correctly) a move.
One of my bucket list items is to go far enough north that I can see the northern lights. It’d be a stretch for me to make it to your part of Canada, but the scenery you’ve shared with us is remarkable. … Some day! 🙂
Love the defiant first photo of the bike looking tiny. If I saw that out of context I would never think it was taken in North America.
Also, I’m amused at you finding it strange that a store would sell hamburgers and candy but you consider that fevered fantasy of Homer Simpson to be “breakfast”. 🙂
I did not manage to finish that breakfast for the record. 🙂
Probably a good move. It would have further reduced your rate of climb and top speed on the TU
I’m curious @tonito … do you think it doesn’t look like North America because of the 250, or the scenery? If it’s the scenery, that’s a pretty classic Western North American vista. If it’s the 250 posed away from an urban center or even a dealership showroom floor, I get it. Though on my last big northern tour we encountered a young man on a Honda CM185 Honda TwinStar, from the Midwest, thousands of miles from home, and quite a few miles off pavement as well (I think it was on the Top of the World Highway in Alaska, or thereabouts).
I mean seeing a bike like that so obviously on a tour makes me think of Vietnam, not North America where the average biker would think of touring on a 250 as lunacy – and the backdrop is American but not uniquely so.
I absolutely HATE when the whipped butter slides off of my breakfast! I hope it didn’t ruin your entire day like it would have mine!
That scenery is fabulous, the breakfast less so, whipped butter? a new one on me , I will stick with a full English, fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms, black pudding , sausage, tomatoes, a slice of fried bread and marmalade on toast with a big mug of hot tea
It was whipped cream on the pancakes. I managed to solider on after it slid off a bit. 🙂
Whipped cream and bacon on the same plate, a sweet and a savoury, that is just weird !
but I have heard of maple syrup on bacon from another Canadian, the lovely Nadia G from Bitchin kitchen
Don’t judge until you try it I suppose
To keep my comment slightly CC related, I’ll mention the vehicles I was using as I reminisce about my past trips to the area, which you report is digging out of my memories. My first trip to the Canadian Rockies was in my ‘73 Vega, in 1977, with follow-ons six years later on my Honda CB900F and in ‘87 on my Honda XL600R. The first visit to Banff was memorable for what seemed like fewer crowds than in California; the second seemed busy but manageable, with Jasper feeling like a nice respite from the tourists, and the whole experience was enhanced by being on two wheels. In 1987 the tourist masses led us to leave Banff immediately but Jasper still seemed quieter. I can’t imagine what it’s like now … but I’m getting more interested in finding out before it’s too late! Glad I saw the Icefields before their big retreat. Thanks for sharing and safe travels.
I see your small motorbike at the Ice Fields, and raise you 2 smaller bikes at the Ice Fields! ;-P
Very beautiful country up that way, and dare I say… The GBC might find itself in that general direction next year…
Was that the 50cc rally? It looked like a pile of fun. I didn’t realize you got so far north.
It’s an event called The Fiddy Run, Can run anything up to 250cc I think, but it’s full of scooters, mopeds, and Honda Groms. I ran a 1983 Honda Mascot (Aero 80 to the US), and my friend ran a Yamaha YSR 80. Was good fun, and we intend on doing it again next year.
What all others have said – great pics and a lovely trip!
I’m enjoying reading your trip adventure. And I want some of that hamburger candy.
To some of us, hamburgers ARE candy. Anyway, I can only echo the others in my appreciation for the scenery and enjoying reading about your travels. Ride on!
Glad you got back underway. Looking forward to more.