Day 25: Nakusp to Kelowna

With the unknown ferry crossing times and traffic, we had an early morning out of Nakusp to make sure we got to our 1:15pm meeting with the Kelowna MS Society.

Getting on the Needles Ferry

Riding across the Monashee

We had a great ride down to the ferry, and then the Monashee once again proved to be one of the best biking roads in western Canada. Traffic was light, and the peg scraping, while a little startling the first time it happened, was a blast!

With the Kelowna MS Society and Team Rona MS Riders

Once we finished tearing that awesome road apart, we stopped off for lunch in Lumby, and then made it in to Kelowna just in time to meet our motorcycle escort into the city! Traffic was heavy so it was a little rough at the start, but once we picked up the Rona cyclists, things went well and we had a nice little ride in to meet the reps from the Kelowna MS Society. Thank you to Miriam King for organizing the event and welcoming us to Kelowna! Check out the newspaper coverage we received here in Kelowna.

While riding in we passed the 10,000km mark on the ride!

It was so hot in Kelowna… I melted!

It was so hot in Kelowna that when I got to the hotel I pretty much melted… or at least that’s the visual that Erin was going for when she lined up my stuff on the couch like this. Success?

For dinner we headed back up to Turtle Bay Marina for a heart attack platter, while Erin debated taking a sea-doo out for a rip. Unfortunately once she finally decided to go, they were out of them and wouldn’t have one available till later… later as in when it wasn’t as sunny and awesome out anymore.

Anyway, the heart attack was good, and it was nice to meet Erin’s friends and see C.M. again!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 24: Banff to Nakusp

I finished up yesterday’s post saying that we had a quiet night in Banff, but after pressing the publish button, Adrian and I decided it was time to throw a pizza on top of all the sushi that we had for dinner. We got our usual Aardvark pizza creation, and demolished an extra large pie before finally hitting the sack.

The morning started off slower than most so far on the trip, as we leisurely got up and went for breakfast. Phil and Jack had to head back to Edmonton, so our temporary six man wolf pack was now back down to four.

You want the road to go where? Right through that mountain?

The weather was dynamite, possibly the best we’ve had so far as it was sunny and clear, and not disgustingly hot. Traffic also wasn’t too bad, and we had a great ride from Banff to Nakusp.

Stopping for a break

We found a nice little place to stop for a break along the Trans-Canada. We rode with our jackets on up to this point as it was still pretty chilly in a few areas, but after this break it was all short sleeves and lots of sunscreen.

We stopped for Lunch in Revelstoke, and ended up rushing a little bit as we wanted to try and catch the earliest ferry. We rode down to the ferry without hitting much traffic at all, but when we got there we found out that the schedule was all messed up and it wasn’t a sure thing to get a ferry on the hour anymore. We waited for 2 to go arrive, one of which basically got filled by a fuel truck that budded to the front of the line. Luckily the attendant on our end ushered us up to the front of the line for the second ferry so that we would get on for sure. Thanks for that!

The Trans-Canada Highway near Golden, BC

Being first on the ferry meant that we were also first off, and had a pretty clear ride down through the twisties towards Nakusp… other than running into that stupid fuel truck again for about 5 minutes before we could pass.

Once we got to the hotel, Adrian made me laugh by just blurting out, “Your face needs to see some soap.” I looked in the mirror and didn’t see much, but then once in the bathroom under stronger lights, I saw how grubby my face and neck was! The combo of sticky sunscreen and road dirt made for a hilariously dirty “this guy.”

We went out to the Leland Hotel patio for some dinner and drinks, but unfortunately they were sold out of everything that we wanted food and drink wise, so we moved over to a different pub for some dinner. They we’re kind enough to have everything on the menu available, and also the local honey beer in stock as well.

Today was a great day, and I think that Erin really enjoyed herself. She also took some video of the ride today, so hopefully I can edit it and upload the video here shortly!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 23: Calgary to Banff via Red Deer

This morning we enjoyed the best french toast in the world, at the Delta Calgary Airport. Berries, syrup, fluffy french toast… so damn good! Dad, who’s been eating for 62 years now, said that was the best french toast that he’s ever had… something to behold I tell ya!

Our initial route was to take us the short distance from Calgary to Banff, but we instead took the long way, way out of the way, up to Red Deer to see the central Alberta MS Society! Bre Fitzpatrick was on board with the MS Ride from the get go, and has been a great support for me as I started to plan this ride. She even sent me the red MS laces that have been getting oh so dirty in my boots as I ride across Canada.

Central Alberta MS Society and my family

We met at the Gasoline Alley A&W, and we’re greeted by media and members of the Central Alberta MS Society along with people affected by MS. We had a great time talking about the war stories from the road over a nice lunch. It was great to see my mom and nephews who made the trek down from Edmonton to see us as well!

The good news, as was already posted earlier today, is that Erin was feeling up to it, so she decided to join us from Red Deer down to Vancouver! She hopped on the back of dad’s bike, and along with Adrian who is also joining us as of today, we are now a 4 member, 3 bike team heading out to the west coast! AWESOME!

Managed to make it to Banff nice and dry

There were a lot of threatening clouds, but we managed to make it down to banff nice and dry, all while Adrian and Erin getting a little sun on their faces to match the wicked sunglasses tans that dad and I have. Adrian still claims that he doesn’t burn, but I have to dispute that one as he has some sweet lines forming already.

Beautiful Banff!

Once we got settled into our hotel in Banff we went out for Sushi and a quick beer before calling it a night. Also in Banff tonight are my dad’s best friend Jack, and Phil Filipchuk (one of our generous sponsors), so our little harem grew from 2 to 4 to 6 in a matter of a few kilometers. Unfortunately Jack and Phil won’t be following us into BC, but it was still nice to catch up with them in Banff!

Today we passed the 9000km mark!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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A special message from Chris & Erin

As you can tell from reading the blog, we’ve had all kinds of weather, and all kinds of different experiences while out here on the road raising funds and awareness for MS. My sister, Erin, just sent this little message and photos in to pass it on to everyone:

Chris, I was thinking that you might be getting tired of dealing with crazy drivers, intense weather and road conditions, unexpected hiccups along the way, loss of equipment, bugs etc. I just wanted to remind you why you are doing this ride and how much it is appreciated. These are pictures from when I was in the hospital last summer. Unable to walk, unable to feel my body. Being diagnosed was a scary time and this was hands down the worst experience of my life. Not knowing if I would ever regain feeling or be able to walk again. Having to rely on others to help me with even the simplest of tasks. Thankfully, though it took some time. The right treatment got me turned around and I am walking again! Last week I received the 13th infusion of my new drug and am doing for the most part, not too bad. Thank you for pushing along despite the challenges and doing this for Canadians with MS, as we will ALL benefit from your efforts!! Thank you and keep on Rollin!!!

So how about some great news now?

Erin is hopping on the back of Dad’s bike today in Red Deer, and joining us as we make our way down to Vancouver! It’s awesome that she’s feeling good and can join in on this ride, not just see pictures of her Monst showing up in random locations!

As for donations, we are currently at $13,653.00, which is 68% of the $20,000 goal. Thank you so much to everyone that has donated so far, and for those that haven’t yet or are still considering it, please do and help us find a cure for MS! Click here to donate now!

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Day 22: Regina to Calgary

The longest day of the ride was finally here… in more than one way! Anyhoo, we woke up super early so that dad could try and get his bike serviced at the Harley dealer in Regina. He was there before 8, but unfortunately they couldn’t squeeze him in. The good part about getting up early was that we were going to try and be storm chasers… chasing them away so that we wouldn’t get smashed by the thunderstorms that were forecasted for our route to Calgary.

Things started off sunny!

We hit the trail after some more Tim’s (I’m really starting to get tired of those breakfast sandwiches), and stopped for gas in Moose Jaw, Swift Current, and then finally in Medicine Hat once we crossed the Alberta border. After lunch dad sweet talked the guys at Medicine Hat Harley Davidson into squeezing him in for his oil change.

As the weather was still forecasted to be nasty, I took off and left dad behind in Medicine Hat so that he could get his bike taken care of, and I could hopefully avoid the rain. Unfortunately I caught a little bit of rain near Strathmore, but it wasn’t anything like what we’ve seen so far on the trip.

Dad was lucky and stayed dry on his ride into Calgary… though… well, you’ll see!

While rolling along behind a semi, the semi blew a tire and caused an immediate dirt and rubber storm. Luckily 48 years of riding (really, that long?!) experience paid off for dad as he was able to downshift at record speed and change lanes in a split second. Luckily he made it out unscathed!

And now for the best part, tonight we’re staying at the Delta Calgary Airport. This hotel couldn’t be any more a part of the airport… but somehow dad got lost trying to find this place. He had his usual road that he thought would take him here, but it was all torn up under construction, so the detours ended up taking him in a million different directions.

I sat in the hotel bar, for what seemed like hours, getting texts asking where this hotel was, and I figured that shooting back texts like “just go to the airport, and pretend that you’re dropping someone off on the departures level… keep driving along that departures platform and the hotel is on the left.” coupled with “this hotel is right at the airport” couldn’t be any more clear.

Unfortunately for dad the construction and detours kept putting him out in the middle of nowhere. He could see the airport, but just couldn’t get at it. Oh well, after a Peter’s burger and shake all was good as I went and rescued him and brought us both back to the hotel.

No pictures with the Nikon today as we were on the road for something like 10 hours and didn’t want to use up any of the valuable sunny weather.

Tomorrow we’re making a slight detour to Red Deer… join us, or stay tuned here for updates as to what’ll be going down there… trust me, it’s good!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 21: Brandon to Regina

We had dynamite weather today as we passed into yet another province.

Just beautiful riding weather!

Check out these blue skies! The weather has been great this side of Winnipeg, but of course with the prairies comes the bugs… check out those two in the top right corner of the camera lens!

And now check out my pants…

Just an insect graveyard!

My jeans managed to stay pretty clean all the way from Newfoundland to Ontario, but wow in just one day they pretty much turned into an insect graveyard! I have a few red marks on my shins from the larger ones that decided to kamikaze me at 120km/h…

Had a pretty funny but crappy moment after we got gas today, as it got so hot that my gas tank started overflowing on me, and the gas was spraying up onto my face. I was riding along thinking that the bugs were getting bad or something with all these drops I kept feeling on my face, but once I looked down at the tank and saw all that gas gushing out of there I realized what was going on there! Luckily I had some napkins to soak it up and prevent any more from spilling all over the tank, onto my jeans, and splashing onto my face.

Being interviewed by Global Regina

Upon arriving at the hotel I got interviewed by Global Regina who was very interested in hearing about my journey and they plan on showing it on tonight’s 6pm and 10pm newscasts. I think that it’ll be available online too, so when it is I’ll post it up here.

Oh, here it is! Skip up to the 7:30 mark:

For dinner we went over to the Creek Side Pub & Eatery for pizza. It was nothing like Gondola in Winnipeg, but really, what can compare? Still, it was good and the right price. Post dinner we hunted down the harley shop here in town so that dad can hit it up first thing in the morning. His bike is brand new, and it’s time for his 16,000km service. Hopefully he can get it done tomorrow morning and not delay the long road to Calgary by too much.

Speaking of which, tomorrow at 764km is going to be the longest day of the ride. Hopefully the weather network is wrong with their thunderstorm prediction or that’s going to be one long mother day!

Today we passed the 8000km mark, and tomorrow will bring us pretty close to the 9000km mark!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 20: Winnipeg to Brandon

Winnipeg was fun, but it was another one of the quick in and outs that we’ve gotten used to along our way. This morning we ate breakfast, and got to wash the bikes before heading out from the Fairfield Inn and Suites who so kindly comped our room for the night! Two nights in a row with freebies is a huge help!

So for the whole trip I’ve been leading, but I think that since my dad is originally from Brandon/Winnipeg, he decided that he would lead on the highway today… timing couldn’t have been better as somehow his saddle bag opened up as we were ripping down the highway!

Check out the glove that just blew out of his saddlebag

Luckily it was only that glove that blew out of there!

Look at that stupid bag hanging open!

I caught up and said something along the lines of “kind sir, your bag appears to be open!” to get his attention… ;) Apparently his buddy Jack has this problem often, so he was laughing a little bit that it happened to him now.

Anyway, as you can see the weather was pretty fantastic today. Too bad it was such a short rip from Winnipeg over to Brandon! Though it looks like it’s going to be nice for the next few days as we blast along the prairies.

Family!

Once we got to Brandon we got to see our family! I haven’t seen everyone out here in quite a while so it was great to catch up, and scarf some deadly BBQ. Thanks Airdabukhan and family for hosting us!

Monst and Granny!

Monst got to meet my 96 year old granny! :)

Granny biker!

And then granny decided that she wanted to join in on the ride! Haha well not really, but she had a hoot sitting on dad’s bike and getting a few pictures taken! Good for her!

Thanks for everything here in Brandon, and it was great seeing almost all of our family out here in Manitoba! Off to Saskatchewan tomorrow!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 19: Kenora to Winnipeg

Thanks so much to Rob and Craig for the wonderful accommodations last night at Kendall House B&B in Kenora! The house is beautiful, and we really appreciate allowing us to stay for free last night in support of what we are doing.

Our last photo in Ontario

We took many photos while in Ontario, and this is the last one. Thank’s Rob for taking the last, and actually the only picture on the Nikon of the day!

As we left Kenora and crossed over into Manitoba the skies started to darken, and I crossed my fingers that it wasn’t going to get nasty again.

Incoming storm…

We thought we could beat the storm to Winnipeg, but unfortunately…

We got soaked… again…

Luckily my rain gear is pretty good so I only got a little bit damp, but dad’s jacket was having issues and he got absolutely drenched! My glasses did nothing but fog up, and of course it was raining so hard that when I lowered them in attempt to reduce the fogging I took a few 100km/h rain drops right off the old eyeballs… man did that sting! But hey, it’s all part of the experience!

Our first stop was at my aunt and uncles house in Selkirk for a quick visit, and to get our laundry done. Somehow we managed to make it this far recycling all of our clothes… in dad’s words, “Forwards, backwards, inside out forwards and backwards.” Gross! Anyway it was a good chance to dry off and see some family that we hadn’t seen in a while! Thanks for lunch!

Upon reaching the hotel I took a nap to recover from all of the late nights and early mornings, we headed out to the East Kildonan Gondola Pizza on Henderson Highway. That area is my dad’s old stomping grounds, and I’m sure it brings back good memories for him. Anyway, we want to send out a huge thank you to the couple that took care of our tab when they overheard us talking to the waitress about MS Ride!

Also check out my coverage in today’s Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal.

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 18: Thunder Bay to Kenora

Before…

After!

The balding tire was getting to be too much, so I ended up popping into Thunder Bay Harley Davidson to get a new tire. Thanks so much to Terrible Ted and his team for taking care of me quickly and for the right price! I really appreciate it!

Terrible Ted and Steve Lychowyd

Thanks to you too Steve Lychowyd for sweet talking Terrible Ted into a deal!

Just prior to leaving Thunder Bay I ran into a work buddy from back home in Edmonton. Couldn’t believe my eyes when he started walking towards me from the gas station saying something like “look who it is!” Good to see you bud!

At Steve’s advice, we took the 11 instead of the 17, and even though it was the longer route, it was well worth it! No semis, barely any traffic, and wonderful scenery. We got burned while we ate lunch in Fort Frances though as our phones connected to AT&T on the USA side of the nearby border… dad twisted a little bit thinking that he was going to get in trouble at work for the roaming fees, but we noticed it soon enough and prevented too much damage.

After leaving Fort Frances the sun came out and we rolled along nicely until dad got sunscreen in his eyes. We pulled over when it was sunny, and before we knew it, it was clouding over so we raced to Kenora to get checked into the B&B before the thunder storms started.

Kenora before the storm

As I type this, Kenora is being smashed by one heck of a lightning storm/monsoon. Hopefully all this equipment survives the walk back to the B&B!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 17: Wawa to Thunder Bay

Slept like a rock in Wawa after all that Polish food, and we got another early start on the day as we had quite a distance to travel in a defined period of time. The weather was supposed to be absolute garbage today, but somehow we lucked out and didn’t see much more than a little bit of mist.

Uphill behind a semi, at 30km/h… wtf

The road between Wawa and Thunder Bay was scenic, but I think that the most beautiful part of the ride was wrecked by three semis in front of us, going 30km/h up some of the hills… I’ve NEVER been behind a truck going that slow up a hill before, and man did it temporarily ruin things for us… luckily we managed to get around them after only 10 minutes or so, but still it made it really hard to take in the scenery when you were in first gear the whole time.

Monst at the Terry Fox Monument in Thunder Bay, Ontario

Hey! Monst found another Terry Fox monument! This unfortunately is where Terry Fox’s journey ended all those years ago, and to commemorate his efforts this monument was erected just off the highway. Apparently there was a big hoopla about moving it when they were adjusting the highway, but I don’t see how or why this should be moved. Anyway, Monst enjoyed making his 3rd appearance in Ontario!

Dinner with the Thunder Bay MS Society

Thank you so much to the Thunder Bay MS Society for hosting a little get together and dinner with us. I hope you enjoyed hearing our stories, and thank you so very much for dinner! We really enjoyed meeting everyone!

ps, check out how white my legs are in that photo… yeah they don’t get to see much sun compared to the old arms…

My MS shoelaces are getting dirty

The MS shoelaces that I’ve been wearing since day 1 of this trip are getting dirtier by the day, and I don’t expect them to be very bright red by the end of this. I really should have taken a picture of how clean they were on day 1 instead of day 17.

Today was the half way point (day 17 of 34), and I can’t believe how quickly it’s going by! It’s been a great fundraiser so far, and I’m really looking forward to the final 17 days of this event!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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