Around the World: WheelsOnRoadHoles - Part 3
The Icefields Parkway – Jasper and Banff National Parks
We’ve been a month on the road so far. A month filled with beautiful Alaskan landscapes, new encounters and rain. Lots of rain! Luckily we found some rain gear for me, otherwise the journey through Alaska and along the Alaskan Highway would have turned out very differently.
But I have to admit that I´m happy to be back with my Brixton. As much as I like riding as a passenger, I missed the freedom, which comes with riding your own bike. During our journey North, Dan has managed to get Chaton´s kickstand fixed, so we´re now officially ready to drive South.
Before leaving, we first have to do Chaton´s first oil change on this journey. I won´t lie, it was a messy business, but we made it. Until I totally panicked a few kilometres later because I could smell something burning on the bike. Oh oh… Thankfully, it was just some oil which had dripped onto the exhaust pipe.
Although it´s only been a month since we last drove up and through Jasper National Park, we witness the first subtle changes in the scenery. Trees have started to turn to copper and gold and the morning air feels chillier when you start your daily ride.
We meet up again with Kassi, who shows us around the places we didn´t have time to visit last time: Patricia and Pyramid Lake, as well as Sunwapta Falls.
This already leads us down along the Icefields Parkway. Hands down, the most beautiful scenic ride we´ve done so far! Let me show you why…
Following our stop in Sunwapta Falls, we continue along the 230 km of this road towards Banff. The road winds up along mountain sides, curves down along the turquoise waters of the Athabasca River, and all the way up to the Athabasca Glacier – the pass which connects the two national parks. The glacier isn´t completely visible from the road, so we take the dirt road to get closer. The perfect opportunity to try out those off-road tires of Chaton.
The perfect opportunity to try out those off-road tires of Chaton.
We get to Lake Louise as the night is falling. I can feel the cold air cooling down the engine, a real riding pleasure, the road smooth below my tires. We are the only ones left on the road; all tourists are gone.
The next day is filled with a visit to famous Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Here again, travelling with a motorcycle has its advantages: you don´t have to stand in the queue for the parking spots! And they let you through, even when the parking places are full. This is one of those times, where I´m the most thankful for travelling with Chaton. The skies are blue, the curvy roads lie ahead of us and the scenery is the most breath-taking I have ever seen. Nothing could make the day more perfect!
We continue West, heading towards Vancouver. But before that, we cross Yoho National Park. Often overlooked due to its more famous neighbours, Yoho offers some hidden gems such as Instagram famous Emerald Lake and lesser known Takkakaw Falls, which belong to the highest ones in Canada. We reach the waterfalls after taking a tiny road with a few hairpin turns, which are so narrow that larger vehicles have to drive some parts up backwards, unable to make the turns. The sun sets just right, casting rainbows in the falling waters. Tomorrow, we’ll be entering British Columbia and discovering the Okanagan Valley.
Part 1: Finding the right bike
Part 2: Canada and Jasper National Park
Part 3: The Icefields Parkway
Part 4: The Okanagan Valley
Part 5: Vancouver and the Sea-to-Sky Highway
Part 6: US 101, Washington and Oregon
Part 7: Idaho & Montana, the Lewis & Clark Highway to Denver
Part 8: Denver
Part 9: Kansas City