A Travellerspoint blog

DAY 37 - SPOKANE, WASHINGTON TO HOME

Final entry for my Cross-Canada ride. July 28, 2011

sunny 22 °C

I awoke early on Thursday morning. My internal clock was still and hour or two ahead of time from Central and Mountain time. I had the bike all packed and ready to leave the Apple Tree inn in Spokane. I checked out and grabbed a bowl of cereal before hitting the road. There was a group of a half-dozen guys from Vernon who were staying there. They were in town for golf and knew Clark Inglis very well. It's a small world.

I was on the road at 6:30 a.m. It was a beautiful morning. It rode back to the Canadian border at Laurier, just south of Christina Lake. It was wonderful to feel the coolness of the morning, even though it was a blue cloudless sky. It was refreshing to see the green trees and fields along the way. Highway #395 was a superb ride. Not a bump along the way. I stopped in Colville to top-up the tank with my last fill of cheaper U.S. gas and headed to Laurier. The crossing at the border was painless. I declared a couple of bottles of wine (Layercake Merlot and Shiraz) I picked up in Spokane as well as a couple of purchases of motorcycle stuff I had purchased on-line and were being shipped to Oroville. I secured a "Goods to Follow" form that I will use when I go to Oroville next week to pick up the orders.

I stopped in Rock Creek for breakfast and headed home without incident on #33. I did see a couple of deer along the way. There were lots of bikes on the road, particularly Harleys that I suspect were heading towards Sturgis. I did meet a nice couple at the Goldpanner in Rock Creek, from Parksville.

I arrived at home at 12:30 p.m. It was great to see Rita waiting for me.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON MY ADVENTURE

Left Kelowna on Wednesday, June 22nd
Arrived home on Thursday, July 28th

Total Distance = 16,613 kilometers

It was 2,300 kilometers shorter getting home from St. John's through the U.S. On the way home I didn't have the trip around the Gaspe or up to St. Anthony, Newfoundland.

Longest Day = From Birch Hills, Saskatchewan to Steinbach, Manitoba = 909 kilometers

Number of Different Motels/Hotels = 27

Amount of Gas consumed = $971.77
Highest price gas in Canada = $1.47/liter in Wawa, Ontario
Lowest price gas in Canada = $1.08/liter in Steinbach, Manitoba
Highest price gas in U.S. = $3.99/gallon
Lowest price gas in U.S. = $3.45 in Greenfield, Indiana

In the U.S. I was only asked twice for a "zip code" when paying at the pump. The first time I went into the station and left my drivers license. The second time, I entered the 3 numbers from my postal code followed by 3 zero's. It worked!!!!

Warmest temperature = 37C around Dayton, Ohio (plus 90% humidity - it felt way over 100F)
Coolest temperature = 7C in St. John's, Newfoundland

Strongest Winds - Hwy. #430 between St. Anthony and Deer Lake, Newfoundland

Friendliest people..... Newfoundlanders for sure with Saskatchewan a very close second. The younger generation in Newfoundland is not as friendly as the older generation. Young people in the service business in Newfoundland struck me as less than friendly. New Brunswickers struck me as being the least friendly Canadians.

Almost every hotel room in Newfoundland had at least one lamp that didn't work. Newfoundland hotels were the most expensive.

Security at the ferry terminals in Newfoundland was extremely tight. In Argentia, you had to show picture I.D. and your boarding pass whenever you were leaving the terminal coffee shop to go back to the bike.

They take about 2 hours to load the ferries in the Maritimes. They also take about an hour to unload them. Very different than in B.C.

Hotel prices are almost as mystical as gasoline prices. Almost every hotel in Canada was over $100/night. Some as high as $130/night. In the U.S. hotels were normally 20-30% cheaper than in Canada. I had a few acceptable hotels for less than $60/night. I only had one motel without a blow dryer.

The Best motel in Canada was the Country Inn @ New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Not cheap but very clean, comfortable and customer friendly. A fantastic breakfast and congenial staff.

The worst motel in Canada was the Villa Motel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Cheap and reasonable clean but the bed must have been over 20 years old.

In the U.S. the worst motel was the Super 8 in Grinnell, Iowa.
The best motel was the Comfort Inn in Greenfield, Indiana

Worst road award goes to New Brunswick on the Fundy Trail. I'm sure if they put the energy into paving the roads instead of patching them, they'd have better roads. I was pleasantly surprised about the quality of the highways in Newfoundland. They were generally very good.

Out of 16,000+ kilometers, I only had about 3 kilometers of gravel to travel.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 5+ weeks on the road. It was great to see Bruce Mohn and his family in Saskatchewan and I enjoyed travelling with Karl and Derek in Ontario. Ottawa and Quebec City were amazing as was the Gaspe. I'd like to go back east again and spend more time there.

I enjoyed doing the blog because being by myself, I had lots of time in the evenings to work on it. I truly appreciate the notes I got from all my friends, encouraging me to do a good job on the blog.

Thanks

Bill

Posted by wpcross625 14:20 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

DAY 36 - BOZEMAN, MT. TO SPOKANE, WASHINGTON

July 27, 2011

sunny 24 °C

Another uneventful day as I proceed towards home along I-90. I left Bozeman at 7 a.m. and had good ride with light traffic to Spokane. I stopped for gas after 340 kilometers in Missoula. I was a bit hungry but nothing was appetizing. I finally stopped in the I-Hop on Reserve Street and had the best omelette I think I've ever had.

It was surprisingly cool in Montana. Between Butte and Missoula, it got as low as 12C at the higher altitude even with brilliant sunshine. Once I got through Idaho and close to Spokane, it got into the mid-20s.

I arrived in Spokane at 3:30 pm, PDT and seriously considered trying to get home. It would be about 4 to 5 hours. I thought better of that plan and checked into the Apple Tree Inn on North Division and spent the night there.

Distance today= 675 kilometers
Distance to-date = 16,195 kilometers

Posted by wpcross625 05:24 Archived in USA Comments (0)

DAY 35 - GILLETTE, WYOMING TO BOZEMAN, MONTANA

July 26, 2011

sunny 32 °C

I had a terrible night's sleep last night. The Comfort Inn in Gillette was a wonderful hotel. It was super clean and quiet. However at 3:30 a.m. a terrible wind woke me up. It sounded like a tornado was going by. It lasted for an hour and a half, keeping me awake.

I was going to take off at 6 a.m. when the sun was up but I wanted to wait to phone Direct-Line Parts to order a few items for the Wing. I couldn't get them on the phone until after 7 a.m. I then waited for over a half hour for them to fax me an invoice for a "goods to follow" form when I cross into Canada. I also ordered a flip-up HJC helmet for Rita from Motorcycle Parts.com.

Anyway, I got on the road around 8 a.m. after I fueled-up. The sky was very overcast and it was a cool 20C. It felt wonderful. There was a little bit of rain on the way north to Buffalo and on to Sheridan before crossing into Montana where the temperature went back up to the 30's. I've been in the country before and have a lot of great memories, so I didn't feel any need to wander off of I-90. It was interesting to note that the mountains west of Buffalo, Wyoming still have a lot of snow on them. The same applied to the mountains around Yellowstone National Park. All the the rivers flowing out of the mountains had a lot of water in them.

It seems this has been an unusual year for weather all over the continent. Riding into Bozeman, the hills were green as Switzerland. Usually in late July, the hills there are burnt brown.

I stopped in Billings, Montana for a sandwich and then stayed on I-90 until Bozeman. It was only 2:30 p.m. but I was feeling very bagged so I pulled into Bozeman an got a room at the Comfort Inn. This is the 3rd time I've stayed here in the past 4 years and the hotel is in noticeably better shape everytime I stay there.

Tomorrow I will keep heading towards home.

Distance today = 625 kms
Distance to date = 15,520 kms

Posted by wpcross625 18:31 Archived in USA Comments (0)

DAY 34 - MITCHELL, S.D. TO GILLETTE, WYOMING

July 25, 2011

sunny 36 °C

I had a good night's sleep at the Best Western in Mitchell, but through the night I thought I heard torrential rain falling. When I got up in the morning, I looked out the front door and there was no rain but what I heard overnight was thousands of insects. They were resting alive on my bike and dead on the ground all around. They looked like catapillers with wings. I'm glad I had the cover on the bike. There was also one large green mantis under my cover resting on my left mirror. There sure are a lot of bugs out here on the prairie.
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I left Mitchell at 7 a.m. and headed west on I-90. There was very little traffic on the highway. The speed limit was 75 and I cruised at just over 70. What traffic there was just flew by me. I did not see one police car on the whole trip 400 miles across South Dakota. I-90 in South Dakota is excellent for most of the state. There are a few rough spots and there is a lot of construction underway.

About an hour west of Mitchell, there was quite a vista of the Missouri River. It must have been at least 300 meters across. I stopped for a coffee at the Sinclair gas station. The lady who was managing it said the Missouri had an incredible flow this year. She mentioned the severe flooding at Sioux Falls that I rode past yesterday.
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The country for the first 2 hours was quite pretty. There is a lot of hay fields but still a fair amount of corn. Where in Iowa, there were no billboards within 200 yards of the highway, in South Dakota there are billboards placed quite close to the highway. The biggest advertiser for sure is Wall Drugs. There is a billboard every minute or two advertising food, pottery, jackalopes, furniture, 5-cent coffee, free ice-water, clothes and almost anything else you can imagine. Wall Drugs occupies 3 square blocks of Wall, South Dakota. Most of the other billboards are advertising hotels along the highway or tourist attractions along the way or in the Black Hills. I thought it to be kind of cheesy. I didn't stop in Wall because I've visited it before. There is an interesting history about Wall Drugs. Check out www.walldrug.com for the story.
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We visited South Dakota in 2009 and we rode out from Rapid City and visited Wall as well as the Badlands about 20 miles east of there. It was a very interesting place. The U.S. Park Service has a very good exhibit on how the Badlands were formed and what they are like. It's a very dry, hot place with lots of prairie dogs and rattlesnakes.
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I got into Rapid City at noon. I dropped into Rice Honda to look at what they had for sale. Prices for bike sure are cheaper in the U.S. They had a new 2010 Goldwing Trike for $34,000. That's a good price. Most of the other bikes didn't have price tags on them. I thought their prices for windshield cleaners was very expensive.

I continued west on I-90, stopping for gas on the west side of town. I motored on to Spearfish and grabbed a bit of lunch. The temperature was into the 30's so I put on my wet cooling vest and it made it a lot more comfortable. As I rode past Sturgis, I thought there were a lot fewer motorcycles on the road than 3 years ago.

The rest of the day was uneventful. Some impressive thunderheads developed as I crossed into Wyoming. About half-way between Sundance and Gillette, the wind came up and I hit a brief spell of rain. The wind was more bothersome than the rain. I saw a couple of cars pulled over by police cars.

I pulled into Gillette and got a decent rate at the Comfort Inn, which appears to be fairly new. It is certainly the best hotel I've had in the past 8 nights in the U.S. There is a big overhang at the front door and they let me park the bike under it. It looks likely that there will be some rain tonight. There were 4 riders from Minnesota checking in just after me. I tried to strike up a conversation but they weren't interested. They didn't look like they were having any fun.

Tomorrow will be my 35th day on the road and I'm beginning to feel I'll be travelling fairly straight home from now on. Probably 3 more days on the road.

Distance today = 704 kms
Distance to-date = 14,895 kms

Posted by wpcross625 20:52 Archived in USA Comments (0)

DAY 33 - GRINNELL, IOWA TO MITCHELL, SOUTH DAKOTA

July 24, 2011

sunny 28 °C

Not much to report today. I left Grinnell at 6:30 under threatening skies. There were large thunderheads to the south. I rode into Des Moines and got through the city quite easily because it was early on Sunday. I stayed on I-80 for a few hours until I almost reached the Nebraska border. I managed to get that far with just a few light showers.

There is a lot of interesting history in the part of the states. Yesterday I passed the town where Ronald Regan was born and raised. There was also the Herbert Hoover Museum before I got to Grinnell. Today I saw a sign showing the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who I wrote Little House on the Prairie. There was also a town where George McGovern was from.

As I got towards the Nebraska border, I was torn between riding across Nebraska or travelling north on I-29 to hook up with I-90 which would take me right into Rapid City tomorrow. #29 was actually closed north of I-80 but there was an alternate route to hook-up further north. I opted to do the latter and headed north towards Sioux Falls and Sioux City. When I got to Sioux Falls, I was shocked at the flooding that had happened there. South of the city it became evident that the Missouri River was still in flood. There were islands in the middle of the river with trees and roof tops sticking out of the water. In Sioux Falls, there were a number of riverside hotels that were totally flooded. All around town you can see the remains of sandbagging. It looked like they don't want to get rid of them in case the river rises again. There were a number of places along I-29 where the highway has been sandbagged.
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The temperature wasn't too bad today. It stayed around 25 most of the day. Later on close to the end of the day it crept up to 30C. Travel on I-90 was an easy ride with fairly light traffic and very few semi-trucks. I made a couple of stops at rest areas to cool off and drink some water. Other travellers were friendly. I met one chap from Idaho who was riding a Wing. He had been on the Four Corners ride and had started in Blaine, then rode to San Ysidro, Key West and finally Madagaskwa, Maine. He did it in two weeks.

I got to the town of Mitchell where there were a lot of hotels. Not being sure of what was down the road, I decided to get off the road at 3:30 p.m. The hotels that interested me did not have restaurants nearby. There was one good looking Mom and Pop place that had a place to eat across the street but there were two police cars with flashing lights in front of the office. I decided to give that a pass. I ended up at the Best Western and got a room for only $55.

There was a Mexican restaurant next door that had some very good food.

Tomorrow It'll take a few hours to ride into Rapid City and maybe visit Spearfish Canyon.

Distance today = 676 kms
Distance todate = 14, 191 kms

Posted by wpcross625 17:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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