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Ride Report // Chasing the Northern Lights

EDITORS NOTE: Obviously here at Rocket, we love anything space. Hence product names like the Aurora and Meteor. So when we heard Rocket ambassadors John Rathwell and Tracy Guenard were headed out moto camping to chase one of the strongest Aurora's in decades, we had to get the story.

It was just another Friday. Tracy and I were working away from home in our offices when she got up and proclaimed "Do you want to stay up late tonight?"

My first thought was that Tracy wanted to make the 2 hour ride into Victoria to see a Flamenco show. She went out to explain that forecasts are showing indications the we may have the best Northern Lights show in over 20 years. This is much more up my alley!

Living in a small, remote town, we could have just stayed home and watched it from the back deck, but what's the fun in that. My mind immediately went to a moto camping trip!

Once we finished our work day at 4 we scrambled to get out bikes and camping gear ready. It would be our first camping trip of the season so things were still packed away.

We rushed to sort out what we needed, pack our bikes and get on the road. I put on my new Ballistic 16.0 Jacket and we headed east on the Pacific Marine Route. While riding, I was thinking about camping spots with a north facing view. One finally popped into my head.

We got off the paved road and onto dirt. The road started climbing up the mountains immediately as we traversed mountain sides and navigated loose and washed out switch backs before coming to the perfect plateau that looked over the Cowichan Valley towards the north.

We parked our bikes, took off our gear and started to set up camp, still with hours to go before dark.

With the camp all set up, Tracy started getting dinner ready. She pulled out our camping stove to find out we had no gas. Good thing I was already in the process of starting a campfire. We went old school and cooked our dinner over the open fire instead.

As the sun began to set, we got more and more excited for the Northern Lights. It seemed to take forever to go down. As 10pm hit, we noticed the sky did seem brighter than normal.

Just before 10:30, I was getting ready to give up. No show had started yet. Then all of a sudden a faint green beam came across the sky. As it bounced around it started to show more. Then the pinks came.

The light show was unbelievable at times. Our entire view was lit up in greens and pinks. It felt like it was the show of a lifetime.

By midnight, Tracy and I were beat. We crawled into our tent and feel asleep as the sky slowly moved and danced above us.

With sunrise, we woke up to reflect on what we had seen that night. Our fire was still glowing red and some fresh branches got it going again. Perfect for heating water for our morning coffee.

We enjoyed the sunrise and started packing our bikes, making sure to leave no trace at our campsite.

With our engines started and Rocket gear on, we worked our way back down those switchbacks, enjoying the morning sun in our faces and wondering if we would ever get a show like that in our lives again. 

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