My dad called and told me not to ride at night to visit them. Spray paint can in hand, I was just about finished painting the racks, so I was really just about ready to go. Didn't want to hang around past the day I'd said I'd go yet again.
I was the only bike on the 9pm ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, BC. The ferry takes 90 minutes so I pulled in around 10:30 at night. After a series of mix ups and dead cell phones I ended up at a gas station in Victoria with no place to crash at. I decided to camp since I'll be doing that for months to come it should be good practice to start in a place I know.
As it turned out the place I thought I knew well had changed a fair bit, all the parks and beaches had new gates, and signs advertising all the fines and penalties for daring to exist there between the hours of 11pm and 6am. Victoria is a no fun place now, I remember going to all those places at night on a pedal bike or later in my jeep with friends. now there's a fine for stopping there. I wonder what the high school kids will do now, sit in cars at the walmart parking lot?
Finally risked sleeping up on Mt Doug, rode my capable off-road machine up the foot path and back onto the road past the gates, then rolled out a sleeping bag after a nice long ride up. Cold night so I wasn't sleeping much. I relocated to the lee of a nice warm stone wall to sleep, just as I drifted off, I heard a radio acknowledgment and somebody with a light having a good look around. High-tailed it out of there, I didn't know I could pack so fast. By this point it was 3am, I was tired, frustrated and getting sloppy. I rode back out the Pat bay highway to try out a trick I read on ADVrider about sleeping up beside the exits/overpasses since that no one ever looks there.
I took the first one that looked good, ignoring the foot high wet grass's effect on the traction of my old Spitfire street tires. Found a perfect spot to sleep in, so I rode down into it, intending to park the bike on the far side and sleep there. For some reason I still can't figure out I stopped sideways on the slope and turned the bike off, dropping my damn keys in the process. Reaching around uphill for them, I started to slip, and leaned over to keep the bike upright, forgetting the downhill side wasn't going to have any footing. We fell over into the bush. No amount of cursing and heaving would convince Aurora to budge, I couldn't get traction for my feet on the wet grass, and the bush was preventing the bike from getting clear even if I could have lifted her more than a few inches. I realized later she'd dug in so well that the kick stand, mirror, and left cylinder were all pretty well stuck, and the tires were right up in the air.
After a few failed attempts to drag the back end around to avoid lifting uphill I was about ready to throw in the towel call my parents and get a car jack to push the bike up. I pulled off all the bags, unbolted the gas tank and seat, and just dug in and lifted, dropped her on the uphill side, bolted back on the gas tank, reattached all my bags and only dropped her once more getting out. Took about three hours, I was so tired I just parked on the top of the hill and went to sleep as the sun came up.
Lost almost all my gas before I took the tank off, and burned blue from all the oil in the cylinders later that morning.
looking down the hill, gas tank already off.
Finally over lying on the uphill side so I can clean off the dirt and load my bags again.
It was about a half an hour before I got Aurora to budge that I realized that this trip is where I belong. I wasn't miserable, I was frustrated with myself, but I found that same peace kneeling in the mud in that bush trying to move a bike that got me hooked in the first place while riding an out of oil GS400 with a slipping clutch from SK to BC. I would rather be here than living in quiet desperation in my comfortable suite at home.