Finally all the preparations are finished and I am ready to head out. I wake up fairly early in the morning. It’s a nice day for this time of year in Seattle – a bit cloudy but no rain.
I mount the GPS and load the first route that will take me through Northern Washington, Idaho and Montana to Glacier National park. I look back at the house and it is finally sinking in – I am going away for a long time. It’s an exciting and apprehensive feeling all in one. I can’t help but think of the scale of this trip, but I just tell myself to take it one step at a time. I mount the bike, put it into first and slowly let the clutch out – the first step is made.
I head North, towards Canada. The original plan was to visit Banff National park, but I decided against it due to weather and time constraints. Now the plan was to head directly to Glacier National Park in Montana, following the mountain highways in the Northern part of Washington, Idaho and Montana. As most of my good friends know, I absolutely despise major freeways and thus, this trip will consist almost entirely of smaller, windy mountain roads with a smidgen of fire roads and off-roading thrown in to keep things interesting.
After 4 hours on the road I decide to take a road that runs parallel to my route but is indicated by my GPS to be a more twisty and less traveled road. It also happens to run along the river, which I hope will provide me with great views. About 10 miles into the road, I come upon a dead end – the road has been washed away by the heavy rain and there is no path to get around.
I decide to break for lunch and to take some photographs. After lunch, I backtrack 10 miles to my original route and I am once again making positive progress to the east.
Along the way I stop to take pictures of a restored old train. This train was instrumental in building the local dam and was later used to transport personnel and tourists to Skagit until 1954, when it was retired.
I also got a few pictures of the dam. Apparently, driving on this dam was not allowed. Unbeknownst to me, I rode through a gate that was opened by an employee, who works at the dam, just seconds earlier and the gate did not have time to close. I was promptly escorted out by security, but I did manage to get these shots first.
Since this was my first day and a lot of the equipment has not been tested, I decided to find camp earlier in the day to give myself plenty of time while it’s still light out. After successfully missing a turn and putting myself 5 miles off the correct path, I made camp near some hunters, who were camping out in their trailers. This was my first encounter with the local hunters and I would continue to see them all the way to Montana, since the season on elk and other game is currently open
The tent went up no problem; sleeping bag and Thermorest also not a problem. Now came time to make dinner for the first time. First step – light up the stove – it’s the kind that burns any type of fuel, including 92 octane pump gas that is in my motorcycle. I purposely did not fill up the fuel stove canister thinking that I can just syphon off the gas I needed with the syphon pump I packed. Unfortunately, I didn’t gas up the bike and only had about 3 out of the 8 gallons left in the tank. This made it very difficult to syphon out any gas at all. After struggling with it for 20 minutes, it got dark. Now I couldn’t even see what I was doing and to add to my misery, I found the first necessary piece of gear that was missing – a headlamp. I was using regular flashlight, which would have worked great if I had 3 hands. After fiddling with the syphon pump for another 15 minutes I finally filled up my small canister about ¼ of the way, but not without first getting some gas into my eye first.
Hooked up the can to the stove and lit it with the awesome 5-minute burning matches I got from my good friends, the Tyomkins. (Thanks guys!) From there everything went off without a hitch and I was sitting in the tent eating pasta and small cheese-filled sausages 20 minutes later. It was only eight o’clock, but I was so beat after my first day on the road, that I instantly fell asleep.