With spare battery on-hand (in pannier!) and fingers crossed we set out for the Trans-Taiga. Please oh please let the tired battery be the problem and not leave me stranded hundreds of km from anything..
Ted was confident we'd get the bike going one way or another and promised not to leave me to the bears. Probably :)
Because the road kicked up a fair amount of dust, we generally rode spaced out (physically! ok, maybe mentally as well..) by up to a km or few.. but on the long straight sections waited to make sure that a headlight was still alive somewhere behind us before moving on.
Imagine if you will Wile E Coyote watching RoadRunner off in the distance.. a small speeding spot followed by a giant dust cloud- and that's exactly what we looked like. Even so, many a kilometre was spent feeling the grit between your teeth, and all our visors ended up quite sandblasted and scratched by the end (both inside and out!). Early morning or late afternoon, with the sun low in the sky, the scratches made it quite difficult to actually see where you were going!
While sections of the road were quite hard there were often ridges of soft gravel and the shoulders were especially soft. They'd grab the tires and try to squeeze you off into the bushes. Look far ahead and concentrate on where you want to end up, do NOT look down at the soft stuff or you are sure to get eaten.
Just stopping to take a picture would sometimes result in a fright as the low speed and soft gravel tried to throw the bike over (see the wiggly tire mark left below from when I pulled over for a break).
That evening I had just enough time to swap batteries and ride around for 5 minutes before it got dark. New battery works ok, we'll see what happens in the morning!
Things To Bring this time of year: Warm Clothing! Notice a few of us are wearing wool toque's and staying close to the fire.. (and not just because we're follically challenged!)