Forget about unmaintained tracks in Siberia... or camping in bear country.. Let's try public speaking!! Geez!!
It turned out I was very near the next Horizon's Unlimited meeting in Nakusp Canada, which was literally just over the mountains from where I was, Calgary. Received a little bleep from Grant Johnson suggesting I attend. But I didn't decide to go straight away. Last time I spoke to Grant at the UK Horizon's meeting in England just a couple months ago, he was giving me suggestions to do a presentation. I just laughed at him and thought, there is no way I can do that.. no way!
So, I knew if I attended this meeting in Nakusp, the suggestion would arise again and I didn't want to be a weeney and say no. Again, my self proclaimed 'because I can' title came back to haunt me. I was making excuses, so I dug in, sent Grant an email back that I will attend AND give a presentation... Now look what I've done... now I'm committed.. darn it!
I've convinced myself that Nakusp is a small town in Canada and there would not be many people there.. so if I screw up in front of 10 people, I should be able to cope.
I packed up in Calgary and then started on my way; over the river and through the woods...
Cool! It's a ferry! Couldn't tell you how many ferries I've been on all over the world now, so I know the deal. As usual, they put the bikes together at the front of the boat, where I met these two characters from Vancouver out on a day trip.. they were hilarious!
I rode with the boys until I reached the town of Nakusp.. and with the toot of a horn, I was on my own again. For about a whole two seconds. I pulled right into the Horizons Unlimited camp.
I am one day late for the meeting and there are tents everywhere. I get off my bike to have a look for a spot and I hear across the way, 'Sherri! Need a place for you tent?!" I'm like, are they talking to me? Who the heck knows me here??
Turned out to be Nevil Stow.. who I had never met before, but is a friend on facebook.. of course! He gave me a couple suggestions where to squeeze the tent in. I tried my best, but I still ended up in the wrong place.
Not long after that I see a familiar face, somebody I actually have met in person.. Miles! I met Miles and his wife Tracey at the HUBB meeting in England and totally forgot they are FROM Canada! After a little catch up they show me there is more room at their end of camp.
So we decide to go fetch my already assembled tent. Miles brings his Ural, and I ride back with him in the sidecar holding my very lightweight tent over my head! It was quite a sight, wish I had photos of it. We did see people laughing and snapping away, but I forgot to ask for a copy.
Anyway, here is Miles and Tracey in the Ural.. Shortly after this meeting they took off for their 6 month journey to South America and back! If you like to catch up with them on their blog, it's at: www.smilesandmiles.com ;-)) I still need to go north into Yukon and Alaska before heading south but we are hoping I make it in time to meet up in South America at some point.. yay!
They, along with many others, gave me heaps of great advice for traveling north in Canada to Yukon and over to Alaska.. I have to admit though, I can hardly concentrate on anything anyone says.. all I can think about is "I have to give a presentation"!! I've never done one before and I'm nervous as all heck.. knees knocking long before I need to say a word in front of people.
Grant, Miles, Nevil, and many others all supported me with lots of advice and said it will be far easier than I imagine.. I've heard that before about motorcycle technique in the sand, and I'm not convinced! I know what an idiot I am at forming sentences that make sense.. they don't understand.....!!!!! (of course they all do, they've done a gazzillion presentations themselves.. however, I'm very good at convincing myself it's far worse..)
My time arrives, and I'm like, "why are all those people in here?? Oh, sh__" !! This is far more than the 10 I had pictured in my head!!!
Once the meeting finished on Sunday, we all go our separate ways.. For me I need to go back to Banff National Park so I can make the general population happy as they all say I CAN NOT MISS JASPER National Park!! (Jasper is connected to Banff to the north).
On the ferry with Ekke, Audrey and Doug.. ALL on BMW's.. I'm the only odd ball, as usual ;-)
Along my route I decide I need to pull over and plug in my iphone for a charge in the 12 V. Blew a fuse immediately, I knew straight away what it did, and I pulled out the connection took out the old fuse and and installed the new.. Yes, it shocks even me that I can do this all by myself! ;-)
While on the side of the road with my tools out and my seat off, all these guys flew right past me.. hmpff! Eventually I ran into Doug at the next fuel stop.
He was kind enough to ask what the problem was, I told him and he volunteered to dig in and fix it. I was in this worry state all along because if my 12V didn't work, this meant even worse consequences.. I would not be able to plug in my heated jacket!!! Tragedy!! Especially since I'm going toward the Arctic Circle! I am very spoiled by that jacket and can't imagine how I'll get through the journey without it.. ha!
Electrical stuff totally scares me so I didn't touch the wires, but Doug is a master and he fixed it up straight away.. wearing and torn connections, etc. It's ironic how the right person comes along just as you need them. Then I was on my way! Thanks again Doug! Lucky me!!!
At the junction he turns right and I turn left, heading north. Right into Jasper National Park.. I'm diggin' that glacier up ahead!! I've seen a few glaciers lately, but this one looks extra cool!
Sort of reminds me of the witch in the Wizard of Oz.. "I'm melting, I'm meltiiiiiiii....!!!"
Sorry, don't mean to make light of a serious glacier melt. Pretty cool to experience Athabasca Glacier so close.
I could show you a thousand million zillion scenery photos, but that can get really boring. I will do my best to keep it to a minimum and you'll just have to go see it for yourself! ;-)
No matter where you looked, upside down, right, left, every view is the prettiest view you've ever seen in your life.. even in the rear view mirror! I can't tell you how many times I looked in the mirror and said, "holy crap!" ;-)
It's been a big day long ride from Naksup to here.. time to set up camp before it gets dark.. always the worry for wildlife on the road at dusk..
By the way, notice my new tent?? The green tent I have been carrying since day one that uses air beams instead of poles.. failed again!!! I have spent far more time fixing that tent, pump and air bladders than I should be, and this time I didn't have a spare air bladder (the other times I did). The reason I followed advice online before the trip to go with that one was because I'd be able to travel without poles, and the tent would be smaller to pack and lighter. Not true at all!
My new one is exactly the same size, and even WITH poles, packs far smaller and lighter than my old tent. Luckily for me the old one broke this time in an area full of adventurers and gear, so it was easy for me to into Banff (the town) and buy a new one and continue my journey..
Even better news, since I now have more space, I was able to buy a little cooker and teapot so I can make my own tea in the morning.. Yes!!!!
I loved this camping area.. was so pretty but I was extra worried for the bears, very few people around.. many warnings posted everywhere, but survived again! ;-)
The next morning on the road in Jasper Naional Park I got an extra special treat.. I spotted a wolf!!
This first photo is as close as I could get with zoom and cropping, but wanted you to see.. big gray!
Into the woods he goes. Wonder where he was going.. he wasn't running fast like in a chase, just galloping steadily. So happy to see him or her.. seeing a wolf has been on my list ever since Yellowstone. Score!
;-( I get the unhappy face in my helmet.. I've actually been quite lucky with great weather in Banff and Jasper National Parks. I've heard many people around tell me it's been an unusually rainy year.. so looks like it's my turn, but literally just as I was leaving Jasper the clouds roll in. And boy did it ever rain! I pulled over in Jasper (the town) for the night and found a little cheap room in a basement (finding anything cheap in that town was a challenge!). I happily stayed dry for the night..
I do feel very lucky to see this great land.. rain or shine.. ;-)