The Americas: Heading South

A Motorcycle Diary

Archive for the ‘Heading South’ Category

12 July 2019

12 Jul

Today was a rest day. We moved hotels to the Chateau Lake Louise up the road from the Post hotel but based on the famous Lake. I was last here a little over a year ago but the view over the lake just never gets old!

Tomorrow we head for Waterton lakes on the US-Canadian border as we are heading into Montana on Sunday.





11 July 2019

11 Jul

This morning was as expected, for me anyway! Max enjoys the benefits of youth and last nights sampling of the beer menu has had no side effects whatsoever however, I cant say the same for my old frame!! As a result it was a slow and heavy start and we didn’t leave Jasper until after 11am. The upside of the day however is that we got to ride the famous Icefields Parkway which is considered one of the most beautiful and scenic roads in the world, that traverses through the Canadian Rockies. To add to it all it was a beautiful dry day so we got to enjoy the best that this route has to offer.



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Lunch was at an obscure stop; a little roadside restaurant in the Rockies where we were asked if we were familiar with the “cook it yourself” experience? I have never been to a ”restaurant” where they sell you the ingredients and make you go stand over a grill and cook it yourself. Its not quite like fondue (before my chirpy Swiss friends jump in-you know who you are!!)! Anyway, we came to the conclusion that we were starving and lunch couldn’t be put off so we pressed on with the experience and self congratulated ourselves at the end. Compliments to the chef old chap!!

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We are spending the night at the Post Hotel in Lake Louise, a beautiful destination where we will be for the next 2 nights. Incredible restaurant and wine cellar and HIGHLY recommended to anybody coming to this part of the world!



Considered one of the largest and most comprehensive cellars in North America. Really worth visiting if you are a wine fundi!


10 July 2019

10 Jul

Small American (and Canadian) towns, charming as they might be all tend to revolve around the same thing; malls and fast food drive thru’s. These towns serve an important purpose for trips like the one we are on as they become necessary fillers between destination points that we are ultimately aiming for. That said, for the most part we choose routes that are heavily researched beforehand to ensure that we get to see the best of a country so it will most often include iconic roads acknowledged as routes of outstanding natural beauty and these towns, mundane as they might be, often simply find themselves nestled in areas of paradise! Kamloops was no different and the route from Kamloops to Jasper where we are spending the night of the 10th was one dramatic vista after the next along Highways 5 and 16 of BC and even though the heavens opened halfway through our 500km leg it didn’t dampen the experience (much!).

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Crossing from British Columbia into Alberta is a big thing for Max. The legal drinking age in the US is 21, British Columbia is 19 but in Alberta Max is legal to imbibe the local craft beers! We are spending the night at the Fairmont Jasper which is set on a beautiful lake in what is arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the world. The evening started slow after we had checked in and settled down but by midnight we had made a point of sampling all of the local craft beers and washed it down with dinner and an incredible bottle of Penfolds Grange. The thirst has been quenched and tomorrows headache will be a challenge for tomorrow!!




8/9 July 2019

09 Jul

We spent the day of the 8th exploring Vancouver on one of their hop on/hop off buses. Beautiful coastal city with an interesting history although not a city I would choose to live in. We had dinner in Gastown, the old town of Vancouver which is incredibly quaint and the restaurant wasn’t half bad either.


We departed Vancouver early on the morning of the 9th to head for Kamloops, a 350km ride. The west of Canada is genuinely one of the most beautiful riding territories in the world. the last time I came through this part of the world was mid 2013 and the ride of today triggered many fond memories.


Our ride today.


Loving being with my boy!

We are spending the night at a non descript highway side hotel although Kamloops looks sweet.


5/6/7 July 2019

07 Jul

Its been 2 years since Max and I left the bike parked up in Seattle. Today (5 July), Max and I came back to Seattle pick up the bike(s!) and to continue our journey. We arrived at 11h30 and suffered the usual bout of jet lag. We had big plans of going for dinner and a movie before falling asleep at 1800 and waking up at 04h00!

This time, we have decided to head up into Canada to Lake Louise before heading back south into Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. We collected the bike from BMW Seattle after her usual service and departed Seattle for Vancouver on Sunday the 7th on a beautiful cool morning. Riding my old air cooled 2010 always takes a little getting used to after having become accustomed to the more modern liquid cooled version I have in London, that said, within the first few miles the old familiarity sets in and she just never misses a beat. Still one of the best bikes I have ever owned!


Our short ride to Vancouver which included a 5 minute stop at the Canadian border. Incredible efficiency!

Fortunately, todays ride was a short 200km so we got into Vancouver with plenty of time to start exploring….until we fell asleep again at 1800! Party Animals!


17/18/19/20 July 2017

20 Jul

Monday was our last day of riding. Whilst my original plan was to do a longer 500km coastal loop from Portland to Seattle in order to do some final exploring (and to prolong the riding a little more), both Max and I woke in the morning feeling lethargic and made the decision to simply press on to Seattle in the most expedient manner.  It was a short ride from Portland to Seattle where we are spending the next 4 nights at a hotel just off the waterfront. We need to start the admin process of getting everything cleaned and putting the bike into storage for the next year or two or however long until I come back to collect her and continue the journey. We will also use the time to explore a little and to close off our journey.


Our short and final ride for this trip…


Our Total ride over the last 3 weeks..

Seattle is a truly beautiful city. An eclectic mix of old and new mixed amongst some incredibly dramatic nature, artsy architecture, colourful characters and an interesting history. The weather however is on par with London from what I understand although we have been lucky thus far and have experienced, warm, clear sunny days. Because we so enjoyed touring Portland by Segway a few days ago, we thought it would be a nice way to explore Seattle too so on Tuesday we headed off to find who does it and then spent the next 2 hours racing around to see the sights whilst enjoying the mobility of the Segway’s. The day was capped off with dinner at the Hard Rock café followed by probably the worst movie we have ever seen (the latest iteration of planet of the apes), so much so that we left half way through.

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Some beautiful Seattle sights…

Wednesday was the day that the bike finally went into storage. The guys at Tempus detailing did an incredible job of getting the old girl cleaned up and ready for her long hibernation and highly recommend them to anybody looking for this service. This is the first time that the bike will be going into a storage unit. To date I have housed her with friends so I’m hoping that I wont next see my old girl on an episode of “auction hunters” or “storage wars”!! Max and I (co-incidentally) found ourselves right nearby a Go Kart racing circuit after dropping the bike so found it essential to go and experience the Seattle version of our current favourite pastime!! We had dinner with my old friends Bert and Margaret whom we met in Alaska in 2013 and with whom I stayed with back in 2015 when I did the trip from New York to San Diego. As always it is wonderful to spend time with these two warm and wonderful people and always leave wishing that we lived closer.


Tucked away in her new home for the next couple of years..

Both Max and I have a feeling of sadness and apprehension as is common when finishing a trip like this, particularly when one has been on a bike as it entrenches such a sense of freedom and that anything is possible. Tonight we start the homeward trek. 11 hours for me, and a mammoth 24 hour stint for Max to get back to CT. I am going to miss this time with my boy. We have already started discussing the next trip, when it will happen and where we will head to. As far as I am concerned, it cant come soon enough.

Thank you for following us for the last 3 weeks.

Rui and Max Nobre

Seattle, USA

20 July 2017


16 July 2017

16 Jul

We were up early today to take advantage of sightseeing Portland. We are only here for one day and being a Sunday means that we have been able to get in quite a lot. We started the day with breakfast followed by a 2 hour Segway tour which was fantastic. Max and I both have mildly competitive streaks and seeing as it was just us and the tour guide we spent most of the morning showing the tour guide around as she struggled to keep up with us racing around the empty streets of Portland. Great fun!! For Max and I anyway.


My boy and I on our racing Segway’s. The tour guide was so relieved when it was over.

We left the Segway’s and headed across town to partake in a game called “escape games” where Max and I were locked in a room and had to follow a host of clues to find keys and codes to various locks and doors. We thought it would be fun and it was for a while but the lack of wheels and motor meant that we got bored quickly and were relieved when the hour was up and we got out of there. We headed for the closest Go Kart racing track after that and spent the evening in petrol head heaven followed by dinner at our favourite restaurant, Yard House. A great day in Portland!



15 July 2017

15 Jul

We left our Motorway motel at the crack of dawn and opted to have breakfast on the road at a diner in a small town called Cottage Grove. These small American towns that are all so similar throughout the US but for their own cultural quirks never fail to make me feel a sense of escapism. I imagine anonymously holing up in one of the many colourful little clapboard houses that line the streets and falling into a small town rhythm; Breakfast at the diner with the locals, a job in a shop on the main street, a beer at the bar after work, and, repeat! Whilst it sounds blissfully simple and relatively free, I do have to wonder how long it would take for me to feel the yearn of the pace of my current life. The grass always seems greener elsewhere and the beauty of the bike is that it enables mini bite size opportunities to sample these lifestyles, rather than just romantically fantasizing about what they would be like. For the moment, I think I will take London, UK, over London, Ohio.


Our trip today…

We had a relatively short ride to Portland where we are spending 2 nights to rest up a little as we have been riding for 5 consecutive days. I made a bit of a mistake in assuming that Max’s riding stamina was the same as mine and I subjected my boy to long stretches of 200-300km without stopping in order to make distance. He quietly endured this but a few days ago I could see that it was taking its toll and so we now stop every 100km for a coffee/soda which in some respects is actually nicer as it slows everything right down. My personality is to tackle things hard and fast. Its the same with my pastimes and having Max along has enabled me to slow things down to his pace which has resulted in a new perspective which I am enjoying. I think I may adopt more of this into other aspects of my life.

We got into Portland early afternoon, headed out for a walk and an early dinner at a restaurant called Pearl Tavern which was great. Portland is beautiful and tomorrow we plan on doing some exploring and some activities.


14 July 2017

14 Jul

We were up early today because we are riding one of the scenic routes from my map of “20 of the most beautiful drives through the US”. This is a ride that heads 250km east through Umpqua National forest and away from our Northward trend in order to complete this route and once again, we were not disappointed. We stopped at Steamboat Inn for a great lunch and ended up languishing there for hours. In retrospect, we should have checked into this place for the night as they have fantastic rooms right on the North Umpqua river, but unfortunately they had no availability for us.


Our ride today…




Instead, we are staying in a highway frontage motel, the likes of which Jax and I spent many nights in when riding through the Americas in 2013. Not glamorous but an important part of Americana culture and necessary for Max to experience.



13 July 2017

13 Jul

Another beautiful ride north from lake Tahoe to Mt Shasta. 450km through Plumas and Lassen national forests… Forests, lakes, snow capped mountains (yes, even in July) and empty, fast roads. Motorcycling heaven.

We got in at about 4pm, took a walk around the town followed by an early dinner and bed.