Welcome Motorcycle Enthusiasts to the 5th Episode of
“ON THE BACK ROADS WITH RIDE STOP N GO”
How did this come about you ask? Well over the last couple of years we have traveled thousands and thousands of miles across North America. Between us we have ridden our motorcycles in 45 of the lower 48 states and 6 of Canada’s 10 provinces. We have ridden to Ottawa for Canada day, parked our motorcycles on the White House lawn, Shagged in South Carolina, hit a deer in Quebec, seen a Crazy Horse and partied all night long in Sturgis SD. All the while videoing and documenting our travels.
Riding in our Beautiful Province of Alberta
Early in 2012 we were planning our motorcycle rides for the year. Between us we decided to spend the year riding in our home province of Alberta. What a novel idea we thought. There is much we have yet to see close to home. We proposed an idea to Shaw TV in Calgary to film a six episode series of motorcycling in Alberta to be shown on local TV. They loved the idea and thought it was a great way to promote riding in Alberta. So we spent the whole summer riding, filming, meeting folks and just basically having fun doing what we love; riding our motorcycles.
This week On the Backroads with Ride Stop N Go We Tour NE Alberta
The focus of the show is motorcycling some of Alberta’s less traveled roads and with 40,000km of paved blacktop in the province we had no trouble finding some of them and wow did we have fun. On this episode we travel to the beautiful wilderness of NE Alberta. Once again we headed to St. Albert and had a great meal, a few laughs and an early night at Angela’s parents house. We woke early, after the traditional coffee stop at Tim Horton’s and Starbucks we were on our way. We headed north on the somewhat familiar Highway #2 until we hit Highway 651. We turned east through the town of Legal. Just before Legal we stopped at a monument in what appeared to be a cow pasture. The monument paid tribute to the homesteaders of different ethnic backgrounds who made farming and ranching their way of life despite the extreme challenges of the day.
WHAT Gravel roads… Darn GPS!
We continued east on 651 headed toward Redwater, missed the turn off on range road 235 and ended up 15km north at a tee intersection, where the pavement ended and what appeared to be 6” of loose gravel. We back tracked and found the Highway 651 Redwater turn off, whewww…or so we thought. Heading east the pavement quickly ended and the loose gravel started…WTH…continuing east slowly on the loose packed gravel we finally found the pavement again when we intersected with highway AB-28.
World’s Biggest Pyrogy…
Pulling into Redwater with our stomachs growling we spotted a number of bikes at a local pub. We stopped in, had a bite to eat and then continued east on 28 through the rolling hills and past Smoky Lake, out of nowhere a sign appeared…World’s biggest Pyrogy! Since we both love them, we slammed on the brakes, turned left on highway 882 heading for Glendon. Wow is that one damn big pyrogy, neat stuff! Just north of town we headed east on Highway 660 on our way through the bustling town of Bonnyville and continued East on AB-28 with the final destination for the day and just about in Saskatchewan…Cold Lake Alberta.
Marina at Cold Lake Alberta
Finding our hotel, we quickly checked in dropped our bags off and headed through town to find the lake. Wow, we were surprised, the lake is beautiful, the marina full of boats, people strolling the board walk and the smell of the fresh water overtakes us. We ride along the beachfront and find the local beach. We stop here, take it in for a short time or until we listen to our stomachs growling, we head back to the hotel, grab a bite to eat and hit the hay.
Cold Lake Canadian Forces Base, Amazing
We wake to another beautiful day, packed up and headed out. We made our way to the Canadian Forces Base and the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. It is one of two bases in Canada where the CF-18 hornet is based. We were lucky enough to spend some time on the base and watch a few planes land. If you get the chance we recommend checking out this huge base.
Lac La Biche, Picnic by the Lake
We headed west on highway 55 and had a nice leisurely ride to Lac La Biche despite some light rain showers and some road construction. Grabbed a sub and sat on the edge of this beautiful lake before heading north for our destination of Fort McMurray. We decided long before we got here; that highway 881 was our choice going North. We skirted around Lac La Biche for quite some time before we got into the muskeg, and spruce trees that dot the 300km trek north. The sun was out, the blacktop smooth and we totally immersed ourselves in the ride. There was not much traffic and no signs of oil sands plants till we edged closer to Fort McMurray. We will put this road on our top 10 list of rides in Alberta. Beautiful, peaceful and fun!
Fort McMurray has more than Oil Sands
We arrived in Fort McMurray, got our room, lightened our bikes and decided to head north to the Suncor and Syncrude Oil Sands Mine Sites. These sites are approx 50km north of the city. We leisurely rode north among heavy traffic until we came to the Syncrude site. Now if you have never been here be prepared, it is huge, the plant brims with activity and noise. We pulled over and took a couple pictures of the dragline and bucket wheels that are on display. WOW, a must see!
Heading back into town as dusk was approaching and animals were starting to come out. We found a local pub, had a great meal and a quick drink and made our way back to the hotel. Sleep came easy.
Fort McMurray Harley Davidson Dealerships
Saturday morning came way too quickly. Packing up the bikes we decided breakfast was needed and stopped at good ole Rotton Ronnies. Angela was frowning a little as she knew tonight’s lodgings would be the tent. After filling our bellies, we headed out to the local HD dealership. We were fortunate enough to find the owner, Eric hard at work. We spent a bit of time here and coaxed him into an interview and headed out on the notorious Highway “63”.
Alberta’s Highway of Death was quiet… Thank Goodness!
The portion of highway 63 is known as Alberta’s highway of death. With the increase in construction and Oil Sands development in the Fort McMurray area this mostly single lane highway can be overcrowded. It is busy with workers traveling back and forth as well as equipment transportation clogs up the highway. The government of Alberta has plans to twin the highway.
Howlin’ Coyote Motorcycle Campground here we come
On this day the highway was, clear, no traffic and we enjoyed the ride through the muskeg and stunted spruce trees. We marveled at some of the equipment and pipe modules being transported north. We intersected with highway 36. (Canadian veteran’s highway) and headed back towards Lac la Biche. Highway 36 turns south here and we continued south toward Vilna. Just past Vilna we headed south again on Highway 859. We came to the intersection of highway 652 and headed a few kilometers west to our destination for the evening, ”THE HOWLIN COYOTE MOTORCYCLE CAMPGROUND”. We found it easily and Les and Diane were there to greet us. This is Alberta’s only motorcycle campground that we are aware of. In their second year it appears they are starting to get a great following. Here you will find all amenities you will need for a motorcycle campground. Fully stocked store, liquor store, showers, over 40 beautiful sites, a group party area, bike rodeo grounds. What a great place. It happened that there was a poker run and rally in support of the new fallen biker memorial being erected in nearby Vilna. Needless to say we highly recommend stopping in and spending a night here.
Ang is Not a fan of Tenting
We woke stiff, sore and a little hung-over after a fun night at the party house and a night in the tent. We survived, packed up, thanked our gracious hosts and headed back to Calgary. For one weekend a year Ang has agreed to suck it up and tent at the Howlin’ Coyote Biker Bash, but don’t let that fool you… she is not a happy camper if you know what I mean… LOL she is going to get me for this comment HAHA.
Next Week On The Backroads with Ride Stop N Go
We saved the BEST for Last! The Majority of Alberta Riders we asked what their favorite backroad is, they said Highway 40, Highwood Pass. We have rode this road many times and never tire of the views. We had a large group, over 40 motorcycles, join us for a special 100th Anniversary Stampede Ride on Highway 40 this past July. We have mixed emotions for our final week, happy to have completed such an amazing big project while feeling sad it is coming to an end. Well an end of the 6 shows, if you know us by now we have a lot of BIG amazing plans for our next project!
Enjoy our final episode of On The Backroads on November 18th at 8pm MST… As many have asked we are not have a BIG ASS party to end off the shows LOL Not to worry though we will be having a bigger party for our next project!!