Friday, August 19, 2011

Alberta Bound…

Leaving the majesty of the Rockies is always a bittersweet time, every rider I have ever met loves the twists and turns and the absolutely breath taking scenery and yet, heading towards the prairies is also a wonderful experience, with the foothills all around you and the mountains in your mirrors the experience is almost surreal.

I had phoned Jeff LeGrande and he went to one of the Harley shops and grabbed me a couple of spark plugs for my bike as it was running really rough. He and his lovely wife Lin had emailed me to tell me they were going to ride to Canmore to meet me and ride me into the city. We had an iced coffee at Timmie’s, the heat was stifling and the iced coffee took the edge off.  As we headed for Calgary, Lin, the camera bug snapped photos of us riding. The big sweepers had a person relaxed in the saddle in spite of the traffic travelling at machine to get home after the weekend. The highway was also filled with bikes making their way home after Sturgis North.

The 5 Calgary Downtown Hotel was our destination – it was amazingly easy to get to but on the way I faced a danger that many riders cringe at the thought of…a man threw a full can of beer at me – I ducked and it went over me smashing on the ground and exploding. I am thinking that this person was one of the Calgary Stampede revellers – my heart finally settled down just in time to be in down town Calgary in front of the hotel.

After checking in – we hauled my gear to the room and then went back down stairs to put my bike in the parkade. While Jeff and I did that, Lin made a pot of coffee and we enjoyed some chat time.

This hotel started its life as an apartment building so the suites are enormous.  I felt pampered and spoiled – I have to tell you.

After saying my good byes and thank you’s to Lin and Jeff I settled down for a great sleep.  In the morning I headed off to find breakfast and had a wonderful visit with Sean, one of the hotel managers. He gave me the tour of the hotel and all of its facilities. This is a magnificent hotel with affordable rates considering it is right down town!
They offer a great breakfast buffet, they have a lounge but for me one of the best features was their guest laundry room! Equipped with a TV and couch, you can sit back and relax while your laundry is in the washer and dryer and if you want you can even polish your boots!

The pool and gym on the sixth floor is a wondrous sight – the gym is better equipped than many that you pay to be a member of and the pool area affords one a great view of the city.   The business center is also a large one with free computer usage and internet access.  There is a magnificent Spa called the Serenite Spa that I also got to take a peek at. Had I known I might have gotten up a bit earlier to have a hot rock massage!

After the tour of the hotel – the bell man helped me with my bags and I got on my bike.
If your travels take you to Calgary, I really recommend this wonderful hotel – they are very rider friendly and very accommodating!

The 5 Calgary Downtown Hotel  Suites
618 - 5th Ave SW,
Calgary, Alberta, T2P 0M7

One left turn and one right turn and I was on highway 1 headed to Strathmore and Underground Heads.  I had the spark plugs changed in my bike and took a tour of the shop. It is well equipped and by the looks of it the locals take full advantage of it!

If you need service while on the road, check these guys out – they are, like the 5 Calgary Downtown Hotel & Suites, members of our Rider Friendly Business Association®

I bought some helmet stickers there too – they have a great selection.  After my brief pit stop there I was on my way towards Medicine Hat and Dunmore, the home of Medicine Hat Harley-Davidson, sadly I missed them by about a half hour so I continued on my way to Swift Current.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A wonderful day in the saddle...

Well folks - day two of our Conga has come and gone. Hubby and I met up with some riders at the Comfort Inn West in Edmonton and had breakfast at the Albert's Restaurant there.

Riders Meet after Conga Event
From left to right...Brenda, myself, hubby Mark, Geoff and Lucien
Comfort Inn West -Alberta
In front of the Comfort Inn West...
Geoff and Brenda could only ride with us for a short time, they had to go to a meeting in Smokey Lake - but it was wonderful to get to meet them and ride with them none the less. 

Lucien, Mark and I continued on our way stopping only for bathroom breaks until we hit Vegerville where we had a cup of OK coffee at Tim Horton's (Man I can't wait to get to Ottawa and have some good Biker Coffee Company Coffee - my shipment will have passed me and should be in Grande Prairie this week)

While in Vegreville we decided we had to stop at the big Pysanka - the Ukrainian Easter Egg - the largest in the world! 

The Ukrainian Easter Egg
Lucien I at the Egg!
We had a wonderful day of riding albeit we only put on 330KM ...after Vegreville we stopped one final time to expel the rented coffee and headed for our hotel at the Econo Lodge in Lloydminster...

Now I could probably blog about my time in Lloydminster here in the Alberta by Motorcycle Travel Blog but I have decided that I will carry this over to our Travel Saskatchewan by Motorcycle Blog...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day one of the Awareness Conga for F.I.R.R.E.

Early Saturday morning - August 14th, my favourite riding partner and I put the finishing touches on packing our saddle bags, did a double check around the house and said goodbye to our kitten - "Lost".
He knew something was up and he was highly agitated. My daughter and our friends are looking after him for us while we are gone and while I know he will be in good hands, big crusty ol me had a good cry while saying goodbye...

At 9 am we headed over to the Best Western in Grande Prairie at 10745-117th Avenue. It is a Pacrim Hospitality Hotel and a Rider Friendly Business Association member business. Pacrim Hospitality along with Choice Hotels are supplying the rooms for our Awareness Conga and they are all supplying special rates for riders who join us along the way.

Best Western in Grande Prairie
We took a picture of our first "stop" and then headed off to get fuel and double check the air in my ties. Having new tires on my bike and a hubby how is a mechanic means lots of checking to make sure the tires seat in properly.

Once we were officially on the way we stopped in Valleyview at the new Shell travel centre - although I travel this highway often I have never stopped here - preferring to stop at the smaller Esso, but hubby likes Shell gasoline so...

We made another stop to visit Skippy and Shirley who own the Little Smoky Motel - after the highway was twinned and their business traffic cut down to almost non existent because of the limited access they chose to close down the restaurant - the motel still operates but with no food only those who are really tired and coming in late at night tend to avail themselves of a room. These are good people and very rider friendly - if you ever find yourself in need when in this region - they would be a good place to stop for shelter and or help.

Then we were off to Whitecourt where we had lunch at the Rivers Pub - another of our Rider Friendly Business Association member businesses (The River's Pub is located in the Quality Hotel). Pap aGeorge was in so we had a great visit with him - he rides and is off to his native Greece in September for a month long vacation - two weeks of that will be on motorcycle.

We stopped for a break in Gunn and talked to a whack of riders all heading to the Brotherhood Rodeo in Rich Valley. Ken, Phil, Coralee...sorry I don't remember everyone's names - your faces yes...
Anyway - they wished us well on the Conga and off they went to go party with Marion and the gang from the Electric Rodeo in Spruce Grove (Marion - one of the owners is a member of the Brotherhood)

We arrived in Morinville and had some great Chinese for supper at the Golden Palace. If you ever find yourself in Morrinville and your appetite is needing satisfying check this place out. The food is amazing.

We got all settled in and all settled for the night and yes Joe, the bikes were fueled and WASHED before we put them to bed for the night!

This morning we are off to the Comfort Inn West at 17610 - 100th Ave in Edmonton. There we have Lucien Gratton joining us for the trip into Lloydminster on the AB side...

We are staying at the Econo Lodge at 5009 – 51 S. This is a Choice Hotels property and the manager Tami and her better half ride and they are planning on joining us for part of the ride, perhaps in to Saskatoon where we will be meeting up with the Saskatchewan Lone Wolves.

I will post pictures all have a fabulous day and order to light this F.I.R.R.E. across Canada we need you!

Join F.I.R.R.E. today (Foundation for Injured Riders, Rights & Education)
It is the BEST $20 you will ever spend - the never ride alone program itself is worth it!

Till tomorrow morning...ride safe folks.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Th Go-Pher Run - A southern Alberta treat!

Submitted by Cindy Nobiss
WITW Southern Breeze Chapter Pres.

On a very cool and drab looking Saturday morning I was debating whether I should take my car or take my bike up to Brooks for the 1st Go-Pher run in support of the Jumpstart Program in Brooks.  I looked to the North and it looked like it may as a friend once said “I put on my big girl panties and bikered up”. I put on the rain gear just in case and headed up to Brooks to the Go-Pher Run.
Lined up and raring to go towards Bassano
All Lined up and raring to go...

I made it to Brooks and found the Wal-Mart where registration and kick off point was.  There were 110 bikes registered and 140 people.  This Go-PHER run was not a poker run.  This run was to raise funds & awareness to the Jump Start Program which raises funds to help kids get into sports & activities in their community.  The riders headed out at 10:30 our first stop was Bassano.

There was no poker involved in this run how it worked was you registered and they gave you a number on a key chain then every stop you were given a different colored ticket and you would put your number on that ticket and at the last stop in Tilley the tickets are handed in for draws for prizes.

No rooms at pumps in Bassano
No room at the pumps in Bassano
 No room at the pumps in Bassano

We landed in Bassano and everyone had a stretch got their tickets some gassed up and then we were off to Duchess.  Now I had not ridden up in that part of the country so I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Road side at Rosemary
On the road side at Rosemary getting some shots of the riders going by...
 From Bassano we headed east to Duchess.  I headed out first as I wanted to get ahead of the group so I could take some pictures and video of the bikes going by me.  I pulled over in Rosemary it was amazing to watch all these bikes of all makes & models go by.  From Duchess we headed to Jenner and then onto the final stop in Tilley.  Tilley is a small town and they closed off Main Street for this fundraiser.  Live music and a BBQ put on by the Tilley minor hockey association.  This run was so well planned and organized I actually thought this was an annual event. 

In Tilley I finally had a chance to talk to the organizers how this event came to be.  It turns out that this is the first year for this event.  They started planning this event in January.  And what a great job they did.  My first question was why they put this on.  The answer was that there were no events in the area anymore so the seed was planted now to pick a charity to support.
Randy Patton in white head of the local Jump Start Program
 The organizers - Randy in the white shirt in the middle

So they contacted Randy Patton head of the local Jump Start Program as they knew that all the money raised for Jump Start in Brooks stays in the area.  Randy Patton is also the owner of the Canadian Tire Store in Brooks.  Randy told me that he was more than happy to jump on board with this run.  It is a great way to raise money and raise awareness about the Canadian Tire Jump Start Program.  Randy explained to me that the Jump Start Program helps kids in their community to join in sports and different activities.  To date they have helped 92 kids join different sports and activities.  Randy said that he was stocking shelves one day and a little girl tapped him on the shoulder and said “I’m in gymnastics” he said that is great.  At first he didn’t make the connection but then he said he saw the look in the mom’s eyes and realized that this was one of the kids that the Jump Start Program helped out.  That is the reason he does this and was so glad that Steve and the rest of the organizers picked Jump Start Program as their charity to raise money for with this Go-Pher Run.
Tim Horton
Main Street in Tilley

It is simply amazing what can and did happen over a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s! 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A fabulous idea for a day ride!

My friends from the Two guys who like to ride meet up group sent me this fabulous idea for a day ride:

The Giants of the Prairies!

Day trip to visit the largest pumpkins (Smoky Lake), Largest Mushroom (Vilna) largest perogy (Glendon), maybe lunch at the Perogy Cafe, which serves "Ukrainian and Chinese Perogies, UFO landing site (st Paul), Large Easter Egg (vegreville) and large Kobasa (Mundare) total of 490KMs...great day trip

A group of them are planning this trip fro July 10/2010 - I just might have to try and join them for that depending on my schedule!  Thanks for the idea Dusty!
If you'd like to know more about their meet up group:

Navteo Maps

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Grande Prairie to Grande Cache

Grande Cache

The view between the handle bars on this day trip is a wonderful one.

It is a full day ride to do the round trip. It takes about 2 and a 1/2 hours to ride one way. (190 kms)
You will want to make sure your bike is full when you leave Grande Prairie as there are no services until you get to Grande Cache.

There are some pretty good restaurants in town and the tourism information centre is very interesting. There is a lot to see tin the centre and worth the ride alone.
The Grande Mountain

The Grande Mountain Get-a-Ways Best Western has a good restaurant and the rooms are pretty nice. The staff was very friendly.  Although there is no motorcycle specific parking, there are some fairly secure areas to park close to the main doors and for those of us who don't do stairs well, there is an elevator to the 2nd floor.

You do need to be careful as there is much wild life on this stretch of Highway.

Belt Drive Betty

Thorsby to Drayton Valley

Only about a 75 kilometer ride but what a beautiful one...

We held our first ever Rider Friendly Business Association Ride & AIM Can Memorial in Thorsby and then rode to Drayton Valley for the V-Twin Family Diner's Show 'n' Shine.

 Rider Friendly Town of Thorsby
The Rider Friendly Town of Thorsby
We filled a good portion of main street up in front of our 
Rider Friendly Business Partner's location: Kountry Kitchen Bakery

At Thorsby

Leaving Thorsby with about 50 riders
Leaving Thorsby with about 50 riders

On the Ride

The V-Twin Family Diner's Show 'n' Shine
The V-Twin Family Diner's Show 'n' Shine

The V-Twin Family Diner's Show 'n' Shine

The V-Twin Family Diner's Show 'n' Shine