Day 28 – Butte, SD to Castlegar, BC
I have been back now almost 2 weeks and have had time to reflect on this trip. I think I feel like most when we return home whether it’s from a weekend trip, month or longer. I have the longing feeling to be back on the road. Don’t get me wrong, life on the road is not easy especially if you have only a certain amount of time to achieve your goal in mileage. There is no time to be lazy, the weather can be daunting but in the end it’s the freedom from reality, the control one has over their own destiny on a daily basis, witnessing your surroundings by being a apart of them versus a passerby that I miss all the time.
Riding along a cargo train while being drizzled on has a much different meaning when you are away from home. At least for me. Somehow this “normal” occurrence, seeing a train like this is a dime a dozen in my area but on the road always captures my eye and has a sense of beauty to it.
Stretches of endless roads give me hope that the trip will never end. Avoiding reality? For sure. As I have stated before when I am on my bike, loaded with gear and more specifically on this trip as a SOLO rider gave me confidence that I seam to have lost while going through all my changes in life starting January 30th, 2014. I don’t embrace change easily but when on a trip I do.
Watching to road dry right before you and looking ahead where I am going to see the clouds part, blue sky is an awesome feeling. I was rained a lot of this trip but I also was fortunate that throughout the mid west, especially heading home west I got to ride some of the most beautiful parts of South Dakota and Wyoming in relatively dry and cool weather. It can get HOT in this region in June and I rode a beautiful stream of temperate weather. Big bonus not many bugs compared to my x country trip in 2010.
You often are simply riding and come around a bend to be pleasantly surprised to see a tranquil body of water that compels me to pull over to watch. As the sun and clouds hover above the colour of this little lake turned many shade of green, blue and even brown. Yes, I have lakes near me but being far away I seem to enjoy this view that much more.
As for my bike…I can’t wait to “review” it as a touring machine. I now have had over 15,000 KM’s on board a 2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC that I borrowed from Triumph Canada to go to Alaska in 2011 and after this trip over 14,000 KM’s on my 2013 BMW F800GS. Could it be possible for me that these bikes are not that far apart when it comes to comfort touring the country? I will do a separate post and when on the road you will notice I don’t talk a lot about how my bike is functioning.
Superstitious I suppose but now I can….a brief comment, I can honestly say my F8 was fantastic. Not too sure how many people out there have owned a BMW F650GS, have been able to ride a Tiger and own a F8 in a matter of years to be able to really compare the three after a long distance ride.
I have been asked about feeling lonely on the road. My answer is simple “No.” I feel more lonely at home then I do when traveling. I think many of the solo riders I met while traveling feel the same way. As a matter of fact being around too many people might feel like an invasion of my space. I am not a huge crowd type of person in general but I noticed on this trip it’s obvious in some ways I am an introvert and find I “refuel” with one on ones. Quality versus quantity for sure.
While heading to BC I took many back roads and found my self exploring the terrain by myself even more so. Hardly any cars. I found this in many parts of the country…just me and the road. Perhaps taking trips before many schools are out is the key to success avoiding RV’s, cars and people. I never really had any issues finding accommodations except a few times when actually trying to get a hotel or motel in certain cities. It’s amazing how coal companies as well as oil companies take small towns, buy up all their rooms making the rest of the rooms cost so much and nearly impossible to find. I actually find that completely annoying and wish these companies would just build their own housing for their employees. I could write a book about that topic. ;-)
Hard to see in the above picture, the lighting was not good at all for my little waterproof camera. This bridge struck me because it’s built into a strip of land. Almost a natural bridge for the trains to cross over this river. I don’t know I almost rode past this but again needed to pull over and just look. Weird, sometimes I will see something obviously beautiful and ride by with no reservations. Other times I need to stop. I say need because I found myself at times filling my head with thoughts that I would need to clear. Day 28 I definitely could feel my apprehension growing about my return to my house. Not so much because my ex removed furniture while I was gone but the huge hole I would soon realize that has been left behind with the death of my beagle, Cruizer. Huge hole not only for me but my 2 other dogs Xander and Sierra. I would learn they are suffering the loss of their buddy.
I decided to head down this dirt road just because I could. Only to find it was a dead-end with a very narrow area to turn around as well as a ton of mosquitoes. Not impressed with my decision I got off the bike this time rather than trying to turn around while sitting and got out of here quickly. That is the great part of riding a dual sport. Dirt? Why not. Pavement? Sure. Sand/mud/gravel yes that too.
Back on the road I was looking forward to getting to BC but really only for one reason. Might seem trivial but I needed to return some calls, my USA data plan almost all used up. I wanted to get to BC so I could make “free” calls to the people who were waiting for me to return theirs. Seems silly I know but getting to BC this time around was not really welcomed….I sort of wanted to just use its cellular air space and then head back down to Washington to ride through Winthrop. But I needed to stay north because I would end up be expecting a call from within Canada and it made sense to return the route I took when heading east on May 17.
As I rode towards Bonner’s Ferry I could see mountains, clouds, a little rain and the temperature was dropping. Moisture in the air, heading to a mountain summit could mean snow? Not today. Just rain and hail.
Quite a few low visibility moments where I could not see the bends in the road ahead of me. Not really knowing this area I slowed it down to make sure I would not literally run into anyone and tried to make sure I was visible to them as well. I find white outs to be a little intimidating to be honest. Anything can happen when you can’t see…cars, BIG trucks even rock slides and you can’t see the hazards. All part of the adv riding experience. The unknowns! This makes it more exciting but I do get nervous while riding my bike at certain times. Maybe not nervous just more aware.
It seemed like it took forever to get to the border but I made it. Anti-climatic to say the least. Yes, i live in a beautiful province, no doubt about that but I ended up on purpose right where I started. Stayed in the same motel on Castlegar and even ate at the same pub as I did on May 17. Why? I just wanted to see how I felt. Day one I cried a lot, Day 28 I did not. Day 1, I mourned the loss of my ex and wondered if I could actually ride solo across the country by myself….Day 28th I did it and now was thinking more about work and my beagle. Different concerns which was a good feeling. It meant to me I have moved on from the hurt and devastation of being left, but I was not naive at all that I still would have many many challenges with dealing with just me, my emotions, my head and getting enough confidence to return to work at full capacity.
Creston, BC is down there. Lush greenery like the USA side. Over cast skies said Welcome to BC. My route at this point was compete with a little over 500 KM’s to ride before in my driveway. I would spend the night in Castlegar, talk a lot on the phone and ended up on Day 29, the final day headed home.