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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I would like to think that you have read (and enjoyed) my ride report from June/July. May as well get the shameless plug out, and point to the signature. My only complaint is that I didn't have more time on that trip.

This trip was very much rushed. I was heading to Toronto (where i grew up) to visit friends and family. The sooner I got to Toronto, the more time I had in Toronto. So, some photo opportunities were skipped as a result.

However, if you read my other report, you should know that adventure has a way of finding me, and this trip wasn't much different.



So, let's see, here's my faithful mule. I use the term lovingly. She's not such a "sport-touring" bike as much as a "put on everything i can and go for a ride" bike:



Givi hard cases (40litre) - clothes, spares, tyre repair kit, compressor, toiletries
PVC Bag (blue, on passenger seat - 57litre) - all my camping stuff
Backpack - sits on the Givi top rack, and is wrapped around the PVC bag. This makes everything on the passenger seat one "module" that is held on with two bunjie chords. in this pack i have my rain gear, and my sweaters for when the ride gets chilly. Quick and easy to access; also has a hi-viz vest to make me more visible
tent and tarp held onto PVC bag thanks to Backpack
Duffle bag also on passenger seat, has my camera and tools. this bag is purposely almost empty so that if something doesn't fit in my saddle bags, and i'm in a rush, in the duffle bag!
tank bag is expandable, and has a box of "dad's oatmeal cookies" and various energy bars and my maps and my sunglasses

I also use a camelbak for water. i think it's 1 litre, and lasts me a day (usually)

Beleive it or not, I can unload the bike completely in under 10 minutes, and pack 'er all up in about 15. It's awesome I'm so proud (being an engineer and all - hahaha).

okay, onto the trip!



So, there's your hero at work haha. That hi viz vest didn't last more than an hour. It was too big, and kept interferring with the camel bak. I figured the vest on the backpack would be enough.

So, I live (and work) in Northern British Columbia. I'm one hour from Fort St John, which is about mile 60 or something of the Alaska Highway.

The day I left was beautiful. Sunny, and about 17*C. Only problem is that the wind was from the north (ie, arctic). Therefore, as soon as I started moving, the windchill was just brutally cold. I left work at 1340 on August 27th.

My first stop was Chetwynd, where I fueled up, and put on my rain gear. I found that the rain gear helps a lot to cut the wind down.

Next stop was Dawson Creek. I had realized that in all the times I had been through here, I never stopped to look at the mile zero marker. Well, let's fix that, shall we?



Next stop was Tim Horton's for a hot chocolate and a bagel. and apple fritter.

From there, it was onto Grande Prairie and Alberta. With nothing but prairie ahead of me, it was time to work on that flatspot on my wonderful BT014's. The rain was threatening while I was filling up on petrol, but just like that bully from the school yard, the rain gave up once it realized nobody cared.

However, by the time I got to Valleyview, it was obvious that the rain called for reinforcements. I was nipping on the heels of a rain storm, and saw one of his chums to my right. At one point I saw three rainbows.

Six hours and twenty minutes after leaving work, I was in Fox Creek and it was 2100. I had covered 500kms or so, and felt that was enough for a day. I found myself staying in the Western Inn, the last (in my direction of travel), of numerous hotels and motels in Fox Creek. Fox Creek is a postcard type town for me in Northern Alberta. It is nothing more than a stretch of inns, motels, and diners. It services the thriving oil industry, and as a result is filled with numerous trucks of all sizes, and gentlemen of all sorts of "over" sizes. As is usual in my travels, the skinny kid on an overloaded sportbike sticks out like a sore thumb. And this time, with neon sign on the back!

While unloading my bike, i noticed that I lost one bolt for my chain guard. Hmm, so that's what that ticking sound was....Nothing some creative zip-tie work can't fix!

I then turned on the weather channel, and much to my dismay, it seemed like the bully had a lot more friends than I did. I was surrounded. Just like the school yard all over again. A nice rain storm had formed over Grand Prairie; ahead of me, Edmonton was about to get thrashed with a thunderstorm. But I had a plan....

But, sleep first, and thus, the end of day one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day 2: Onto Calgary!

Day two started as any good day does: with an omlette.

Much to my dismay, the rain had arrived with some light drizzle and very overcast skies. I bundled up with everything I had, and just like the day before, it was just enough to keep me warm. I had the supreme pleasure of watching the storm heading for Edmonton. I was also travelling fast than the storm. Slowly, the roads got wetter and wetter, until finally I was in the rain. Slowly the rain got heavier. Just in time, I hit Mayerthorpe, and HWY 22. I turned south to evade the clutches of the rain storm. Within 20 minutes, the skies were clearing up, and I had rainclouds to fill my mirrors, not my view.

Soon enough, I was in ranch country. This is quite appropriate, as HWY 22 is named the Cowboy Trail. So, I had some onlookers:



And, the view behind:



Long, straight, rolling highway...for 300 kms haha

I was shocked, but let me tell you about Evansburg Alberta: It is described (by wikipedia) as a Hamlet. It's population is less than 800. Yet, it looks like a cookie cutter suburb.

Onto Drayton Valley, where I finally found my sunshine. It was about noon, and I filled up on Petrol. Believe it or not, there are some things I like about the prairies. For one, I could watch storms from 100's of kms away.

It also started to get windy, but here are some pictures:





Look at the tree. That's how windy it was. If the wind was in the opposite direction, the bike would have blown over for sure.



I had lunch in Rocky Mountain House at the "Black Stump Char Grill." It was a fantastic family owned place. By 1615, I was approaching Cochrane. The intersection of HWY 22, and 1A. I had the choice of East to Calgary, or West, into the Rockies which I skipped.

about 80 minutes later I was in Canmore. I love the 1A. It has numerous twistie stretches that are just oodles of fun. I stopped at Ghost Lake to admire the view, and blue water of the bow. While there, I met a gentleman on a '94 BMW touring bike. he confirmed my suspicion that it would be snowing in the passes.

pictures:









You can kind of see the rain storm in the mountains there.

Anywho, on to Canmore. I stopped by at my favourite restaurant in the rockies: Santa Lucia. Easilly the best Lasagna I've ever had.

After a wonderful dinner, I was off to Calgary, this time on the trans-canada.

I was riding through Calgary, and couldn't believe what I saw at 16th/4th. In the lot of an A&W was a ride in! Easilly 30 bikes! And the best part was that it was sponsored by the local vintage motorbike group.

the first thing I saw was a cb450 (I think) converted to a bobber:


Then there was this beautiful beemer:


Just behind was, get this, a goldwing/harley ******* child:


Then, a real gem:


I hadn't even heard of Ariel's before this. It had three funky levers on the handlebars: a "choke" (i use the term loosely), a gizmo to advance/retard the ignition timing, and a lever to open the exhast valve (the "killswitch" - again, I use the term loosely). The best part was the oil leaking on the drive.



Vintage triumph, front drum brakes....



More triumphs, old, and new



Guzzi in the back



guzzi, other side

From there it was onto my bed and breakfast, and the end of day two.
 

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Nice trip report. Google Ariel Square Four for info on one of the more interesting engines ever.

Also, I see a Water Buffalo in your last pic above. AKA Suzuki GT750. I used to own one of those. Interesting how Honda almost made a large displacement two stroke street bike to compete with it. Can't remember the model offhand.

Have a safe trip!
 

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There has to be more!! (It's like reading a good book and then you turn the page and find it to be blank. :'()
Great pictures.....I still want to come play in your neck of the woods! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Day 3: Services and Calgary

Friday morning, I had an appointment at GW Cycle for my 12000km service and some new tyres.

I won't bore you with the details, but GW Cycle has the best service department. I live over 1200kms away from these guys, and this is where I take my bike. They have always been super good to me, and helped me out whenever I needed. So, I give them my business.

The flat spot in my BT014's was just brutal by this point. All my commuting, and then 1200kms through prairieis with not a switchback to be seen really took a toll on my rubber. Whatta shame too. Michelin Pilot Road 2's went on instead.

They also let me loiter in the dealership and use one of the computers. So, I spent a couple hours planning out the rest of my trip. I originally wanted to swoop by Drumheller, but it seemed the rain would beat me there. So, instead, it was just a straight shot across the prairies.

By noon, the service work was done, and by 1pm, I was on my way. I stopped in Strathmore for some lunch (Sobey's) and some petrol.

The wind was getting pretty bad. With a speed limit of 110, I was also gunning it a lot. So my fuel mileage dipped below 50mpg (gasp!). I also narrowly missed a speed trap. By pure blind luck, I decided to ride beside an 18 wheeler in order to give my neck a rest. All the wind was from the right, so passing a truck gave me a huge shield from the wind (and sun). At this moment, I went through a speed trap. You have to remember that visibility on Alberta's rolling prairies is an obscene advantage for the RCMP. I didn't see the guy with the radar until I was beside him, and even then, the cruisers were well hidden behind the next hill.

Medicine Hat was the next fuel stop, and then I was off into Saskatchewan:


Believe it or not, I do actually find the prairies to have their own beauty. Just look at the sky! I apologize, as the bright orange in the corner kind of detracts from the rest of the picture....

I also found out when I got to a hotel in Moose Jaw that Saskatchewan does not do daylight savings. I found a steak house in Moose Jaw and had a nice dinner. I sat by the window, and watched the friday night cruisers and bruisers go by. No pictures, but saw quite a few nice muscle cars, choppers, rat cars, and general cruisers.

More pictures of the prairies in the next post, I promise!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Day 4: my neck hurts

So, the prairies are quite flat. There's no exaggeration possible; No crude similie that could possibly convey the flatness.



This day started in Moose Jaw. Whilst riding, I looked for things to keep me awake on my ride. I started to look for the furthest objects, and then see how long it took until I passed them. In most cases, it took so long, I forgot to keep an eye on it.

Although, one stood out: I noticed two small silos on the horizon, a little to the north. At least, I thought they were silos. After about 10 kms, the "silos" turned out to be two buildings that were now part of a larger city scape. Another 12 or so kms, and I saw "Welcome to Regina." It wasn't for another 11 or so kms that I was finally in Regina. So, I figure, I saw Regina from about 35kms away.

Also, the trans canada has over 100km stretches with no turns. I'm confident that (excluding Regina itself), the trans canada has less than 20 turns in all of Saskatchewan.



Or how about:


This next image was taken before a small bridge over some train tracks. Notice the length of the train?


How about that?

I had lunch in Brandon, where I met an old gentleman that used to tour on an old beemer. Unfortunately, the big did not survive getting taken out by a drunk driver 15 or so years ago, and the gentleman had the scars from surgery to prove how close he really was to having the same fate as the bike.

We talked bikes and travelling in the parking lot of a grocery store for a good 30 minutes.

From there, it was onto Falcon Lake, a small resort almost on the Ontario/Manitoba Border.

Prairies, crossed in a two days. Right on.
 

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****....I thought I would find out if the prince rescued his princess....now I'm still left waiting for the ending. Great trip and pictures! Love the prairies and train!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
scoobinator: i just love travelling by bike, and there's not much stopping you. pack up that bike and go for a trip! haha

tuckster, your posts are awesome. thanks haha

i only have three more days to post, but it seems like all the fun was in ontario haha!

i'll post more from work when i get the chance.

it took longer to get around lake superior than it took to get through saskatchewan!

my dream for next year is to ride to the grand canyon
 

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scoobinator: i just love travelling by bike, and there's not much stopping you. pack up that bike and go for a trip! haha

tuckster, your posts are awesome. thanks haha

i only have three more days to post, but it seems like all the fun was in ontario haha!

i'll post more from work when i get the chance.

it took longer to get around lake superior than it took to get through saskatchewan!

my dream for next year is to ride to the grand canyon

The Grand Canyon....how awesome will that be!!!!
I would like to ride through the Red Wood Forest, Yellowstone all of those incredible places someday....how do you do it by yourself? I guess being a guy might make it a little easier, but I would be nervous about traveling that far by myself. Just stopping in the mountains here to get gas is sometimes more of an 'adventure' than I like. (guys seem to come out of the wood work to look at the chic on a bike...I feel like a side show sometimes).

Looking forward to your last three days...does your neck still hurt? ;)
Tuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What type of engineer are you be? Me am Electronic Engineer in training, and broke too.
Z/S: I'm a mechanical engineer in training. I build generators :D

Tuckster, I can see how it could be somewhat un-nerving for a girl to travel all by herself. I have had times where I was nervous (quite a few actually). Most of those times were when I was riding through Northern British Columbia. I recall on my previous trip, my first day was going through "black bear provincial park" or something along those lines. I saw more bears than cars for one stretch, and I kept thinking "okay, it'd be nice to get to the next town right about now." I just didn't know what I would do if I broke down because it was getting late, and it felt like I was all alone on that highway.

I don't like travelling at night unless it's through populated areas. But I don't travel through populated areas.

I always overpack. I have all sorts of spares, and all my camping equipment "just in case" I get stranded and need to spend the night someplace I wasn't planning to.

I'm sure being a chick on a bike attracts a lot of attention, but if it is any consolation, guys come up to me all the time to chat too. Although, in my case, it's mostly older bikers that want to share stories. Plus, most people can't believe how young I am. The vast majority of people (riders) I meet are at least 15 years my senior.

The saddle soreness, back pain and sore neck only lasted a day :)
 

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Glad the soreness didn't last for more than a few days! Sometimes I feel like I've been riding a horse bareback after awhile :-\....got to look into a more comfortable seat.
Can't wait to hear about the last few days! And if most riders are 15 yrs your senior....wow I feel so old about now.
And being a chic on a bike by yourself in the mountains usually brings out all the old fellas with no teeth playing a banjo :banjo:. I just want to run!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Into Ontario

Okay Tuckster, you've got me off my lazy ass, and it's time to continue haha.

So, I awake to another brisk morning. I started out pretty much first thing in the morning. Well, for me, 0800 is first thing. By this point in time, I was covering about 800kms a day. I lube my chain every 1000 or so. I decided I didn't want to worry about stopping in the morning to lube my chain, so I started spraying some PJ-1 every morning.

I hopped over to the local golf course for some eggs, and was out on the road by 0930.

Oh Ontario...or, as I like to call it, the police state. In four provinces I saw two roaming RCMP cruisers, and one speed trap (four cruisers? five tops). Before hitting Kenora (60 clicks?) I saw four OPP cruisers. To make matters worse, the speed limit is 90kph, as opposed to 110 in the prairies.

I was literally afraid of getting a brutal ticket. I mean, I could easilly cruise these roads at 110 or 120, enough to get a 200$ ticket; passing? well, if I touch 140, I lose my bike and license for a week. As a result, I stayed under 5 grand in 6th, no matter what.

Unfortunately, this day is pretty heavy on the text, so I apologize.

So, about three hours west of Thunder Bay, I turn a corner to see an intruder on the shoulder. As I slow, I notice a flat rear tyre! From the road, I shout "d'you got a plub kit?" "nope!" was the response.

So I pull over and assess the situation. First things first, where's the puncture? Oh yeah, no center stand on the bruiser. After an impromtu introduction, I ask him to unload his luggage while I run into the woods. I come back with a log approximately 22" in diameter, and some branches.

"Okay, here's the plan, I need you lean the bike as much to one side as you can. then, I put the wood under the frame; you lean the bike the other way, and I prop up the other side"
*pause*
"what are you, some kind of boyscout?"
"worse buddy, I'm an engineer :D "

So the rear wheel's in the air, but I don't see anything! After about 10 minutes, I give up and try something new:
I pull my bike over, hook my compressor, and pump the tyre to 10psi. I found the leak as the air was pouring out. I found the puncture, and plugged it; pumped up the tyre, and soon enough he was on his way to Calgary (home).

Now I've got a sofa in Calgary if I ever need one. Nice.

That did kind of set me back about 90 minutes, and I had run out of water, so I was PARCHED. Next town over, I stopped for a rest, and chugged a litre of water.

250kms later, I was in Thunder Bay. I averaged about 110 or so, no more than 120 indicated. I stopped by the Terry Fox monument for some relfecting.


I met a gentleman on a weestrom (nice choice in engines!) and we chatted for about an hour.

I left Thunder Bay, and cruised over to Nipigon. I had a black car catch up to me real quick, but I was too tired to realize who it was. I was cruising at about 115 or so (indicated), which I figure puts me at about 105, or 15 over the speed limit. I slowed down to see who was behind me and freaked when I saw a super thin light-bar. OPP (Ontario Provincial Police). Even my buddies who are cops in Toronto say the OPP have a rep for being *******s....

I was paced for about 20kms, easy. Then he blew by me on a passing lane, and set up a speed trap ahead of me.

I got into Nipigon around 2100, just as it started getting dark. I stay in a bed and breakfast, and called it a night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Day 2 in Ontario

Another early start, and I was on my tour around Lake Superior.

So, let's make up for the last post, and start things off right!


Now, I've done two road trips, and on both, I had a zero speed drop. Both offroad. Well, I was wondering when I would have one this trip. I pulled over on a steep hill and was so absorbed by the view, that I forgot to shift into gear when parking. The bike rolled forward and off the kickstand before I could say "oh crackers."

After straining my groin picking up the bike, I got my ****ed picture:


It took some time to catch my breath, and fix my left bark buster. While working on the bike, a couple from Thunder Bay turned around to make sure I was okay. Thanks! We chatted for a bit while I wrenched and then they were on their way.

Less than an hour later, I found myself with this view in my mirrors:


And then this one:


While dodging the long arm of the law, and sometimes what feels like overcompensation for a shorter than average length to another member, I did find a couple positives. First, I had more time to enjoy the view. Second, I realized that at 5000rpm in 6th gear, I averaged just under 4l/100km. That's 60mpg folks.

I also realized dragon flies have a larger splatter; not to mention that they have excellent aim:


Nothing like smelling dead dragon fly for an hour.

I mean honestly, I just love riding HWY 17 around Lake Superior:


A couple steps closer:


I caught up to a group of about a dozen bikers all on harleys from various states named Texas and Ohio. I'm so proud of the beauty of this country that I am only too happy to see my neughbours from the south enjoying the beauty.

Only one problem:
A group of 12 bikes travelling less than the speed limit. A lot of people took some pretty bad risks to try and get past the train.

So, this is my plea: If you ride in a group of more than 3, and find yourself with vehicles catching up and passing, please break yourselves up so that people can safely pass.

I'm sure that at least someone muttered 'f'in bikers" or worse "f'in americans"

I really wanted them to pull over at a view point to tell them. But their pace was constant. I really hope they enjoyed the rest of their trip.

The views of Lake Superior are just amazing, and I love northern Ontario. Here's another picture:


Pretty soon, I found myself going through Sault Ste. Marie. I passed a small town (Blind River) in the evening and saw an older gentleman pushing a harley down the road. I turned around to make sure he knew he was supposed to ride the bike, not push it. He ran out of gas.

I have a wonderful multi fuel camping stove. Said stove has a cute little fuel bottle. I turned around and put in 50 cents of gas, and he had enough to get into town to fill up.

Also, on this day, my dad left Toronto. He drove towards me as I headed into the big smoke. We met up in Spanish and spent the night.

Another beautiful day with the home stretch in the morning!
 

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Well, glad to see you're off your ass and finishing my story....:). Yeah....guys on Harleys pretty much think they own the road when really, all they are is a road hazard! It took me a moment to figure out what piece of gear your dragonfly was on....are you sure you weren't catching dinner? :eek:
Looking forward to the rest....
 

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What type of engineer are you be? Me am Electronic Engineer in training, and broke too.
Unfortunately, once you graduate and start work as an Engineer you'll still be broke. I worked for a few months as a software application engineer after graduating with a degree from a top ten engineering school. I hated graduate school at the same university so I quit and started working in industry, that sucked worse. Now in Pharmacy school. Although I did save enough in 8months to buy the SV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
sorry for all the typos, I am making tonnes.

I'm trying to fix them as I re-read my posts, but I always get left/right, air/ground. we/he mixed up, not to mention my atrocious spelling (you have no idea how long I spend on a single post hehe). so, sorry about the dyslexia
 
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Sounds and looks like a wonderful trip - I so want to travel through Canada - envious of you sir - awesome, just awesome - are you originally from British Columbia?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I grew up in Toronto and moved to Northern BC for work.

I moved out last year by selling everything I could, and put everything else in my car and drove out haha. I've been to every province except Newfoundland/Labrador, and I haven't made it to the territories yet either. But I've been just about everywhere else in Canada. I've made it through quite a few states as well, so I know you've got a lot of beauty to your backyard too.

You know, I almost went down to Helena to try that same Shamrock tour. Somehow I just never left BC haha (that's my other ride report). Roadrunner is probably my favourite motorcycle magazine.

Being in the Apalachians (that is my assumption from your ride report), you can't be too far from Ontario. Northern Ontario is just beautiful. The maritimes are also a must see.
 
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