An overlander's account of South and Central America by motorbike - the trusty Suzuki DR650. Within are great travel tips and hints (2011).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Canada for the Winter

Gday wallabies and emus, moose and squirrels!
As I’m still behind in my website writing I thought I’d send some news and pics home and figured I’d include a few more of you good chaps again! The last time I wrote I had just entered British Columbia in Canada in late September where I was to work for room and food for an outfitter near Cranbrook. I spent a month down there working and learning a great deal. An opportunity not wasted as my eyes witnessed many beautiful scenes and I had the good fortune to meet great folk! I mentioned last time I met Jerry and Jane, with whom I stayed for a couple night before coming to Canada. He invited me back for his 80th party a couple weeks later. I arrived at 2230 wrapped like a lolly in warm gowns and surprised the worms out of em! I met his family and friends and once again had an amazing time with them and it truly warmed the heart. A good friend said to me recently “travel reconfirms your faith in fellow humans”, and indeed it does! I was welcomed back to ‘Jerry and Jane’s End of the Trail Ranch’ like family. Thanks a million guys! The 80th was a blast with great skits, a few beers, interesting folk and some full on boogying!

Back at Jerry and Jane's with some of their family!  And the local Griz!

The beer is HEAPS cheaper in the states so as I returned to Canada I strapped on some Busch!

When I returned I went to one of Brad’s several hunting camps. I was the camp hand at Copper Creek camp...and mate, this one was possibly the nicest of em all! There were 2 cabins, 1 hunters cabin and 1 guide/kitchen cabin. I got the cook’s bed right in the kitchen as I was cooking for 2 mexican hunters and 2 guides. The Mexican hunters were chasing moose, elk, bear and mountain goats but only came out with one very nice 44 inch Shirus moose. The camp was situated in the mountains right on a lake. The water came from the mountains in a pipe and it would freeze if the taps were turned off, meaning you had to climb the hills to take the pipes apart and defrost the buggers! A great mission for the morning to get the blood runnin!
After finishing here I returned back to base camp at Brad’s house and watched the Kiwi’s beat France in the world cup rugby! Holy smokes what a close one (8-7 I think!). I joined a couple of kiwi’s that were working back at the main lodge with hunter Troy and his wife Terry from Florida. Troy and Terry had returned for a few years in a row trying to smoke a big moose as well as for a good ol vacation and honeymoon! Terry mentioned that “the blonde” was meant to come on this latest trip and I voiced my disappointment that she didn’t come...but I thought we were talking about her BLONDE labrador we were just talking about and not her 21 yo daughter! 

What bears do when they're for food!

The view from Copper Lake Camp

Gerardo the Mexican hunter and his Shirus Moose

A little cut throat trout I caught one arvy on the lake from the canoe!

Glassing for goats, bears, elk and more for the hunters!  It was so cold you had to be in a sleeping bag so ya toes didn't go numb!

Taking the horses out for a ride...

Calamity Creek camp before...

And after snow!  There were fresh grizzly bear prints right up here when we came back one day and then on the way home one day the others saw a huge one runnin down the road!

Brad the boss on the left with the Mexican hunters Elpidio and Gerardo

Whats up pussy cat, meow-ow-ow-ow-ow...Love cougar!

I took Nessie out to one of the camps.  It took 2 hours, 7 drops to make it the 50km of dirt/snow out to the lodge.  Insane riding!  45 degrees down the road and no traction.  Bent handlebars, brake pedals and more!

One of Brad's 40 somethin horses got a little too nosey with a porcupine...

The day I road to camp.

Brad's vehicle with the hound boxes on the back to look for cougar

One of his amazing cougar sniffin hounds with GPS collar!

Some more of Brad's horses

Back at camp for tea with Karlee the Kiwi, Troy and Terry the Floridans and Dylan the guide.

Jerry and Jane me adopted grandparents!

I was heading in the direction the photo is looking...crikey its slippery!

Calamity Creek Camp.

Willy managed to derail the tracks on one side of the escavator while trying to dig a whole for the water pump so it wouldn't freeze over winter

My first snow man with help from the Kiwis!

Eventually time came for me to leave for Grande Prairie on November 4 as more and more snow began falling. Brad’s dad Willy offered to take me halfway as he was headed that way anyway and thank the stars he did as it was snowy and icy all over the road! Calgary had their first day of snow and by 10am there were 65 runoffs and a few bad crashes! We saw one car do an accidental 180 on a bridge! He dropped me off at Red Deer and I pushed on to Edmonton in –6 C where I met some lads coming home from work for the weekend and had been drinking. They were going to lead more to a hotel but invited me for a beer at theirs first. I ended up leaving that place as it was a little crazy at the end (a crack kind of neighbourhood) and went and stayed with 2 lads my age that were there at first and had just recently moved to work. The next day I took off again in freezing weather and had half planned to ask someone to chuck my bike in the back and take me, but to no avail. 200 km before I reached Grande Prairie, which was to be the end of stage 1 of my round the world trip on the motorbike, my motorbike broke down for the last time. I pushed it 4km into with NO ONE stopping to ask if I needed help. In latin America I would’ve got sick of saying ‘no thanks I’m ok’! I made it to Fox Creek and made cardboard signs to hitchhike with the bike to Grande Prairie. After 5 hours, and many empty pickups and flatbed trailers later, a couple from Cape Breton finally said they would take me there. The thing was, they weren’t even going that way! These are the people that melt your heart and bring a tear to the eye! I was physically and mentally exhausted and frustrated when these guys saved my skin! Saturday the 5th November 2011 I finally finished stage 1 of the trip in Grande Prairie. Here I live with 2 aussie lads I knew through their relative who I knew through a mutual friend and is planning on doing the trip to Chile by bike with my his cousin (and my housemate now) next year. Currently Nessie (the bike) sits in the living room at home with Dale’s bike and soon, Sean’s bike as well (both Honda 650L’s). I’ve taken Nessie apart and am ready to take the engine in to get it checked out. She died at 110km/h, luckily didn’t lock up, and wouldn’t start again. Normally thats no biggy, but this time I knew it was more than just a fuel feed problem! I suspect its a crankshaft bearing but we’ll soon find out!
Its started snowing here now and with a bit of luck I’ll be snowboarding this weekend and ice skating and ice fishing soon!! Work starts Wednesday at a pipelining company where I’ll be labouring to build pipelines for the oil companies up here. Apparently it gets to –40 C here plus wind! Something to look forward to...but at least the beer stays cold outside! I tried walking home from the pub on my first night out and found a cab after an hour of walking, some in the wrong direction! Below freezing just isn’t fun to walk home in, but luckily I found a clothing drop off for salvos and borrowed a jumper (which I’ve returned now!). The job i’m doing also requires all outer clothing to be fireproof. I bought a jumper today for $195...because its fireproof. Coveralls cost 280 for the winter ones, but I found some 2nd hand at a cleaners nice n cheap.
So for now its working in Grande Prairie, AB, Canada until it heats up in June next year when hopefully I’ll head up to Alaska, back down the west coast of USA and over Arizona and Texas to the East coast to ship to Africa for stage 2!

The roads on the way to Calgary...
My lift for the morning
The views outside the window at the Grande Prairie apartment
Nessie made a new friend, but is a little gutless to make the advance
So until I see you again...enjoy the Aussie summer, the northern winter, don’t be hittin any roos/deer while driving and I’ll catch ya on the eggflipside!
Big love,


  1. Wow bloody amazing story.
    Are u still there?
    Here´s my blog


    maybe See Ya greetz Andy

  2. Hey cheers, mate, had a look at your blog, where are you now?