06-18-2012, 04:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Inverary, Ontario, Canada
Part 5 (Final)
PART 5 (Final installment)
I was packed and heading out of town by mid-day. I expected to experience the discouragingly warm feel of hot oil on my feet and legs at any moment. A kilometre out of town I stopped and had a good look. So far so good - no leaking or spurting fluids.
As time went by, my speed and confidence gradually increased. I passed the spot where I had been stranded then pulled to a stop at the junction of the Trans-Taiga Road. Was I daft? Not this time! To head down 600+ kilometres of unserviced gravel road with a bike whose vital fluids were held in with epoxy metal and whose alternator belt was hanging on by a thread was simply asking for trouble. I headed south.
Its 620 kilometres from Radisson to Matagami. To my utter astonishment, I made it to Matagami that evening without further trouble. I checked in to the overpriced motel and celebrated with half a dozen Rickard’s Dark and the obligatory Doritos.
Up and on the road before 6 the next morning. From Matagami to home is quite a haul. For starters, there’s the 200 kms between Matagami and Amos, then add to that the total distance of my first day - so a total of 866 kilometres. Whether its canoeing, hiking or bike riding, I always find that by the third day I’m in the groove. My mind has begun to shut out the bum soreness that long distances inevitably create, my neck and hand muscles have just about given up bothering to scream about being held in one position for so long.
I was definitely ‘in the groove’ coming south through La Vérendrye Park - so much so that I completely missed the turn-off to Maniwaki and had travelled an extra 30 kilometres through Mont-Laurier before I noticed that I no longer recognised where I was. Rather than face the grotesque prospect of driving through Gatineau (formerly Hull) and Ottawa, I opted to retrace my steps until I hit a road which would link me up with my original route. Damn - an extra 60 kilometres added to my day through sheer inattentiveness.
I should mention at this point that all was not exactly peachy with the Eldorado. The re-manufactured bracket had fractured in exactly the same spot as the original so I was in a constant state of worry that the bracket might start eating its way through the oil line again. To prevent that from happening, I now had the alternator clamped down with a rat’s nest of nylon webbing and zip ties. It wasn’t pretty, but at least it kept the critical parts from destroying themselves.
Back in Ontario, safely across the Ottawa river, I stopped briefly in Calabogie to empty my remaining 10 litre jug into the gas tank and check my oil. As I was crouched next to the bike in a public park, a fellow on a Harley saw me, stopped, turned around and came to see whether I needed assistance. I thanked him for stopping, and after a brief chat - during which he looked increasingly disturbed at the condition of my bike - he rode away. I think he may have been even more disturbed when I blasted past him a few miles later. He was out for a nice evening ride - I was hurrying home and had the bit between my teeth.
The final chapter in this minuscule, 4 day saga occurred within a few kilometres of home. I had been tailing a jeep on the road south from Westport. He wasn’t going quite fast enough for my taste, there were few suitable opportunities to pass, and something about the way he was driving - some intangible - really annoyed me. Once I get the chance, I’ll show him, I thought. Finally, just past Loughborough Lake I was able to gun by him, only to have the bike suddenly die.
Despite all the oil line and alternator troubles, the old Eldorado had plugged along flawlessly, never missing a single beat during over 3000 kilometres of steady flogging, with daytime temperatures reaching 30 degrees C. Now, she just quit - almost precisely as my friend Norm arrived in the other direction on his Burgman. Norm and I chatted for a couple of seconds then I tried the starter. The old girl just fired up as though nothing had ever been the problem and continued to run perfectly the rest of the way home.
Personally, I think she was chiding me for being a show-off. Its as if she was saying “No matter what, I’ll get you home - but not if you behave like an ass!”
the route (minus mistakes)