Thursday, January 28, 2010

Got lost along the way...

Oh such a life we lead...the fantabulous trip in it's initial vision, exists no more!  Oh the drama!

Ha ha!  Actually to sum it up, some changes to our life and schedule has forced the big trip to compress into one week instead of two meaing we can't possibly make it as far south and back as we wanted to.  I am in the process now of alternating the route so that we can still visit some beautiful places and ride some epic roads.

But I still intend to visit Utah and I have devised an alternative to that as well.  After much research, I realized that the sheer amount of dramatic vistas in the Arches and Canyonland areas can  not adequately be experienced from the road and I'm working on a 1 week hiking/photography trip in the fall of 2010 in order to see them or at least some of them.

Update:  The Canon Rebel XSi has been purchased and practice is underway!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Next Big Thing

Or more correctly, the next big trip.  I've been working on the planning for this one for over a year.  We were originally planning to head out on this one this year but Fate, Life and Karma made alterate arrangements for 2009.  Works for me anyway as it gives me more time to plan and research.

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. - Lao Tzu

Planning a trip seems to fly in the face of these words doesn't it?  But I argue that the whole intention of a roadtrip is proof that it's the journey not the destination and reiterate from an earlier post that I would hate to have been close to something spectacular and miss it because I didn't know it was there.  There's also the little matter of heading down a road, not knowing how far the next amenities are and either ending up stranded or frustrated and exhausted .  So I will happily plan away, plus it helps the time pass and I can roadtrip vicariously through the internet...

Our 2010 State Tour as the route stands now:

It seems to be perpetually under revisement but that's the fun of it!  I'll break down the individual ride days in upcoming posts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Consequence of Island Life

I live on an island. I love living on an island. But as most of us learned at a young age, islands are surrounded by water. This means that every great adventure that takes place 'off the rock' starts and ends with a boat ride.

On Vancouver Island we have three main options when it's time for a mainland roadtrip:

Black Ball Ferry
Route: Victoria, BC - Port Angeles, WA
Cost for Motorcycle and Rider: $32CAN
Crossing Time: 90 min
I have yet to experience the Black Ball Ferry but I will soon. A great option if you want to head straight down the Washington coastline and avoid the I5 area. Ferry leaves from downtown Victoria.

BC Ferries
Route: Nanaimo, BC - West Vancouver or Tsawwassen, BC and Victoria, BC - Tsawwassen, BC
Cost for Motorcycle and Rider: $36CAN
Crossing Time: 1hr 40min - 2hr
The most familiar option for regular travellers and BC residents. On-board travel conditions vary depending on the the time of day and which ship you end up sailing on - definately try to aim for one of the large, new ships if you can. Scenery is nice and on occasion dolphins and whales can be spotted on route.

Washington State Ferries
Route: Sidney, BC - Anacortes, WA
Cost for Motorcycle and Rider: $29CAN
Crossing Time: 2-3hr
A token presence of most amenities. Slim food choices and not cooked fresh - but something to take note of: galley has tendency to run out of food before voyage is over. This choice has the longest crossing time but offers up some of the best views as it passes between multiple small islands. Some of the wildlife to be viewed includes deer, eagles and seals. This is also the cheapest fare.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

When wine makes you think of riding...

Now this is isn't going to turn into a post on drinking and riding because a) we know it's wrong and b) it's extremely difficult to do while being the prime operator of the motorcycle.  (Who knows what the folks on the backseat are doing...)

On a recent trip into a local beer and wine store, right at the front till was an unique idea that just begs to be packed into a motorcycle saddlebag.  It's a wonderful invention from Hardy's wines that encompasses a single serve bottle of wine and a wine glass in a compact, recycleable package.

...The unique Shuttle breaks new ground in the convenient delivery of beverage packaging. It features a single-serve 250ml acrylic wine bottle securely sealed by its own acrylic wine glass. The bottle is opened by an easy twist-top action, which also releases the glass in which the wine can be poured. The entire package and glass is recyclable. There is no other package like it; it’s the first wine bottle-glass combination to be introduced anywhere in the world!

The Shuttle was initially developed in Australia for Cirque du Soleil's 2006 season, as its design also enables customers to be served more quickly and efficiently. The package was so popular with show attendees that wine sales at those events jumped 160%! Easy to transport and ideal for consumption on the go, Hardys soon expanded Shuttle distribution to sporting events and other venues where glass is not permitted for safety reasons. The convenient and eco-friendly package remained so popular that Hardys decided to launch the revolutionary Shuttle internationally.

Last fall, Canadians in Ontario were issued a very small shipment to test acceptance of the new single-serving bottles. The enthusiasm was great, and now Hardys is proud to launch Shuttle across Canada. The Shuttle packages come in two wines: Hardys Stamp of Australia Chardonnay Semillon 2007 and Hardys Stamp of Australia Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2008POSTED: Friday, June 19, 2009   The Cafe Guide ...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The OTHER Camera

I've watched videos taken from the motorcycle viewpoint before and have even used them for researching the actual roads I've planned to travel on.  But it wasn't until a roadtrip taken last year that I ever had the urge to attach one to our motorcycles.

A spectacularly curvy little piece of real estate north of Lewiston, Idaho called the Old Spiral Highway.

I attempted at that time to take video of my husband descending the highway however, being as spectacularly curvy as it was, it was  near impossible to find a safe spot to get out of the way yet still capture the action.

This is one of those situations that the GoPro Motorsports HERO Wide video camera would have come in handy.

For a little more detail on the what, why, where, how and who, check out a review done by CNET

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Camera Upgrade Needed

Photographs are a necessity of life and of course, travelling.  Now some, I agree, we can do without.  Like the one of the hearty eater in his Speedo on a sandy beach or the 20 different-but-identical pictures of the same mountain scene.

I am currently using a Canon Powershot A590 and the size and ease of point and shoot camera, especially when traveling by motorcycle, is great.  I have been fairly happy with the photos the camera produces but with an upcoming trip next year through some of the most spectacular scenery in North America, it's time to finally pony up and invest in a decent DSLR.  I feel the need to do these future photos the justice they are so rumoured to be deserving of.

My research is convincing me to stay with the Canon name for a  number of reasons including the wide range of accessories available for this brand and my first choice is the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (450D):

However, budget is a factor, and that being said I am also considering its predecessor, the XTi:

There are a few new features on the XSi that are definately desirable, but being that this is my first official foray into the DSLR world, maybe they aren't as important right now. does a nice page that gives you the ability to look at photos taken by the different cameras for an immediate output comparison.

If anyone is using these cameras, I would love to hear your opinions...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trip Planning

Countless people wax poetic on:

- it's not the destination, it's the journey
- make it up as you go along
- just play it by ear

...which is all well and good and has it's time and place, but there is something to be said about a little old-fashioned planning. 

Planning whets the appetite.  It's a way of living the adventure before it begins, a grown up version of day dreaming.  It's a great way to find out about places or roads that you wouldn't want to miss along the way.  I'm the type of person who hates to miss out on things and I find nothing worse than being on a fantastic roadtrip only to find out when I got home that I was mere miles from something spectacular and I didn't know about.

A little homework in the planning department also feeds you those interesting bites of history that become the condiments of the trip - to know something about where you are fills out the experience just that much more.

Some of the materials I'm currently using are:

Microsoft Streets and Trips
1,000 Places To See Before You Die - USA and Canada
State Park Brochures
National Park Brochures
Road Atlas - MapArt - Canada, USA, Mexico
RoadRunner Magazine
The Traveler's Atlas: North America
Ride Atlas of North America - Rand McNally - Harley Davidson Anniversary Addition