Jasper to Banff 2010

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by feejer, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    So last April, my friend who is renting my house up in Washington State calls and said he had just bought a brand new Kawi C14 and was itching to take it on a long trip. Where should we go? I said ride it down here for MotoGP in July. Oh no! He can't wait that long. So I said I have always wanted to ride North up to Jasper and ride down the Icefields Parkway to Banff. So a trip plan was hatched and I ride from Santa Clara to Skagit Valley in one go. 907 miles straight. Good thing I had the highway pegs to straighten out my legs or my knees would have been highly displeased!

    Ready to move out

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    So we ride out of Mount Vernon, WA onto Hwy 20 "Cascades Highway" and make it to Diablo Lake and Dam.

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    Then continue on to Osoyoos, BC and the Canadian "Napa" wine country where we stay for the evening. Probably 50 different wineries up there to visit and sample. I wish we had more time to explore here. Maybe next time when we bring our other halves. This was the "Burrowing Owl" winery and Inn.

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    We continue North through the Okanagan valley and stop for lunch at the Northern end of Lake Okanagan.

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    Then keep going until we get to Mount Robson and take the necessary photos.

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    We get into Jasper and tour around the various spots within the town and park. It was so early in the season being mid-May that we had the place to ourselves pretty much.

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    More wildlife walking by me close enough to touch

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    Took the tram up to the top of Mt. Whistler

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    Small town of Jasper, Alberta from the top

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    Then to the Athabasca Falls

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    Along the IceFields parkway to Banff

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    World Famous Banff Hot Spring Baths. Soaking in that sublime, natural spring mineral water surrounded by nature's beauty restored about 10 years to my lifespan I think. I seriously felt 20 pounds lighter when I got out and felt like I could run a marathon. I think there is some narcotic effect to soaking in that stuff.

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    Main avenue through Banff on the old bridge. We had a kicking good time in Banff. Lots of great restaurants, pubs, and friendly locals.

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    Diablo Lake - Mineral content makes water look like that.

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    More IceFields Vistas

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    Our Black Raven friend. He hung out and had lunch with us for 20 minutes. He was a big fan of unsalted cashews.

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    That was almost a year ago. We are planning a ride all the way up to Denali National Park in Alaska this year. Have to wait until late June though as that is only about 100 miles South of the Arctic circle. The old FJR ought to tick over 100K miles on that trip. Will post photos/report when we return from that one.
     
  2. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Stunning scenery Feejer but it looks a bit nippy for me. Thanks for sharing as its lovely to see and clearly such clean fresh air too. Can you give the bike a bit of a poke down those roads or are you going to get nicked by the local constabulary?
     
  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Fantastic Photo's and Great Views! The Roads would be a Ripper but I expect the Speed Limits are Well enforced so You wouldn't be able to Open those Big Bikes up like here? What did You two think of the Comparison between the Yamaha and Kawasaki? Were they Similar or did anything stand out?
     
  4. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Thanks Ron, it was a good trip with no problems at all. We took a bit of a chance with the weather by going in early-mid May, but were rewarded with extremely light vehicular traffic and enforcement prior to the prime tourist season. There were stretches of 20-30 miles where we did not see another vehicle so we could have pegged the speedos for extended periods without concern. But to be honest, we were so gobsmacked by the scenery we found ourselves pulling over every 10 minutes or so to take pictures. We took our time on this one.

    As far as being cold, I was not uncomfortable except when we were going through some snow flurries over Kootenay pass (5800 ft) coming home. That was a bit scary as the snow was starting to stick to the road and I could feel some slippage. But just as things started to get really hairy, we peaked and started the descent and the thaw. I had fitted some modified DL1000 handguards to the bike and that makes all the difference in the cold. No Gerbings heated gear required.
     
  5. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Thanks Ian,

    I would imagine the speed laws are enforced strictly during the peak season, but we had the province to ourselves on this trip. If you ever make it over this way and want to bury the tach through gods country, come to the great white North in May. As far as the bike comparo, the Kawi is hands down the technical superior with the variable valve timing, linked brakes, inverted forks, traction control, electronic wizardry etc. But it is also tilted more to the touring side of the Sport-Touring formula, where the FJR still feels much closer to a sport bike with panniers. To me, the FJR just hits harder, is more "raw", and is more flickable. Or as flickable as a 650 pound machine can be. But I am biased as the old feej and I have spent many a mile together. Will be a sad day when I have to trade her. Been waiting for Yamaha to give me a good reason with the next generation, but not to be so far. Minor tweaks of little consequence IMO.
     
  6. Hoghead

    Hoghead Ol'Timer

    I rode that area many times and these pics take me back to those days. The speed limit in the park is religiously enforced and you are lucky not to have been nicked.
    I got nicked once for speeding in Banff and forgot that I had a rifle in the truck which, as you can well imagine, is forbidden in the park. The RCMP almost had a fit and I was lucky to get away with both the rifle and my truck.

    Sounds like you came back on Hwy 3, which is a great route in itself.
     
  7. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    This brings back memories! Been all around the above mentioned areas on six various tours with Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Holidays of Whistler. 5 trips using a Triumph & the last one in 2008 on a BMW R1200RT. The scenery is spectacular.
     
  8. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Whoa! This must have been some time ago and I assume you were a Canadian citizen. If a US citizen was found with a firearm in Canada these days, they are going to the monkey house for sure. And probably on the order of years. They take that shit seriously up there. One time the wife and I were going on a day shopping trip back in the '90's when the US dollar was actually worth something and I forgot I had my Glock .40 in the glove box (I have a concealed carry permit in WA state). I told the border agent and she had me pull over to the inspection station and we were swarmed by 6 agents a a dog. They told me to empty the gun and place it on the sidewalk. Then they searched the car for 15 minutes and then told us to get in the car, turn around back to the US where they would return the gun to me.

    For the moto trip, we took the 97 North from US border to Kamloops, then Hwy 5 up to Mt. Robson. Then East on the 16 over to Jasper. Then South on Hwy 93 (Icefields Parkway) all the way to Banff. Continued on the 93 South through Radium Hot Springs, and then yes, we took the 3 West over the Kootenay pass to Nelway where we came back into the US. I guess we did get lucky because the law was not visible in the least. Still hibernating I guess.
     

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