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Old 09-04-2011, 06:17 PM   #16
Rockwell OP
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After a few delays and a lot of built up anticipation, we were ready and excited to finally greet the road. The house was sold and my belongings were either donated or traded for some shiny quarters. It was sad to part with the past eleven years of my life, but it was also liberating.

Being accustomed to comfort, convenience and close relationships with my friends and family, it will take some adjusting to this new lifestyle. I will miss many things and people, but the toughest thing I am currently dealing with is being separated from my cats. I can’t yet forgive myself for leaving them. Mama is 16 years old and Belle is 11. Although they are safe and being well taken care of by my mom and brother, I hope they will be ok for the next few years.

August 20th, 2011 was day 1 of our adventure. We packed up our gear, exchanged hugs with loved ones and rode through Hamilton one last time until we return.

Good ol’ Hamilton is where this adventure was born. With a population of half a million, it is just the right size for comfort. Known as “Steel Town”, Hamilton is an industrial city located in southern Ontario at the center of the golden horseshoe. With an escarpment separating the upper and lower parts, it is also known for having over one hundred waterfalls.



From Hamilton, we headed north to visit with Rocky’s dad. The weather was beautiful and traffic was flowing for the first few hours, but the roads quickly became congested with vehicles and clouds began to turn the skies grey. It didn’t take long before we got hit with a lot of rain. We chose not to stop and we continued north until the skies cleared. The ride wasn’t as bad as I imagined it could be, but my butt was definitely sore.





Larder lake is a really small town with less than 1000 people. We arrived with just enough sunlight to catch a glimpse of it’s beauty. *Rocky’s dad, Conrad, and his wife, Lorrain, have property that faces the lake. The view is perfect after a long day. We were spoiled with our own apartment above Conrad’s garage and we stayed a few days to spend some time with him. I now know where Rocky gets his charm from.

Three nights and many beers and cigarettes later, we awoke to dark clouds and packed up to ride towards Timmins, Ontario. We went on route to visit with more of Rocky’s Family. His cousin Brandon had offered us a place to stay for the night, and Brandon’s wife Tracey prepared a yummy dinner. Wine, candy and a lot of laughs made for a great night. It is a short but sweet visit in Timmins.

On August 24th, we spent a long day on the road. We saw many gold mines, forests and lakes. The roads were busy with construction and trucks, but I always enjoyed when a truck full of freshly cut lumber left it’s scent. We rode towards Lake Superior and set up the tent near the waters edge. Our first night in our new home was beautifully located, and the thunder helped me to sleep at night. The following day we prepared for another long ride along Lake Superior. We now regret rushing to make up distance because we didn’t take any pictures of the stunning scenery. “Ontario, yours to discover!”

The following day, we made a trip to the university Rocky went to, and took a break for a couple of hours to wash and shower at the recreation center before getting back on the road. By sunset, we reached a town called Ignace and set up the tent on the side of the road. I have to admit, I didn’t want to set up camp there. It was beside a motel truck stop on a small patch of tall grass under a street light. It was an odd and random place, but I slept well.

Having planned and thought about this trip for so long, the anticipation had me wishing that time would somehow speed up so that I could finally realize this journey that had lived inside my head for all that time. In the month or so leading up to our departure date, there was still so much to do that I found myself needing more time to ready ourselves for the trip.

Our original departure date was set for July 23rd, but delays in selling Paula’s house and getting my full “M” motorcycle license set us back about one month. This was somewhat frustrating, but, at the same time, was a bit of a relief. The delay allowed us to better prepare, tie up all loose ends and spend more time with Mama and Belle, and our families and friends.

Our date of departure finally arrived, and we set off from my mother’s house on Kitty Murray Lane in Ancaster, Ontario.

We said good-bye to our families and finally hit the open road. The weather, heading off, was warm and sunny. My motorcycle, Almeida, and I were not accustomed to riding with so much weight. Halfway between Toronto and Barrie, the traffic came to a stall, and was stop-and-go for about, what seemed like, two hours. When it finally broke, we were hit by a torrential downpour. We rode through the rain and the sun finally broke through the clouds as we rode into North Bay. Shortly after leaving North Bay, a bird, flying up from the center of the road, met my forearm and its demise. 656km later, Paula, Almeida and I pulled into my father’s driveway just as the sun was setting. It was nice to arrive after my longest day ever on the bike. All three of us welcomed a good rest.

We spent three nights with my father and his wife. For one reason or another, my father hadn’t been around for much of my life. During these three days, I felt that I got to know more of my father than I did in the first 33 years of my life.





Our next destination was Timmins, Ontario to stay the night with my cousin, Brandon and his wife, Tracy. It was a short ride of roughly 150km, with a brief stop at a bike shop in Kirkland Lake, where Adam, a mechanic at Northern Freedom, helped us changed our clutch oil. That evening, we had dinner and wine with my cousin, his wife, my Aunt Marianne and her husband, Jean.

We left Timmins the next morning to try to make up some distance. Over the next few days, we stopped in Marathon and Ignace, Ontario and, for the first time with no place to stay, we had to find spots to pitch our tent.

Heading out of Ontario, I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t gotten out my camera much to take photos of the scenery. This was, in part, because I had been trying to make up some time and distance and, trying to get use to the riding, needed to concentrate much on the road.

Our next stop: Alberta.

Dad & Paula
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockwell View Post
My motorcycle, Almeida, and I were not accustomed to riding with so much weight. Halfway between Toronto and Barrie, the traffic came to a stall, and was stop-and-go for about, what seemed like, two hours. When it finally broke, we were hit by a torrential downpour. We rode through the rain and the sun finally broke through the clouds as we rode into North Bay. Shortly after leaving North Bay, a bird, flying up from the center of the road, met my forearm and its demise.

Initiation day is always a bitch, welcome to the Club

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Old 09-05-2011, 08:25 PM   #18
JoDawg
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Rocky & Paula, Cheers from the crew at Dualsport Plus. We will be following along on this great adventure of yours. If you need anything do not hesitate to contact us and we will help you out.

Be safe and enjoy the adventure!

Cheers

Les, Cath, Jody, Jen, and Tim
The DSP Crew
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:03 PM   #19
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You two are off to a great start. Looking forward to following along. Safe travels.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:13 PM   #20
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Looking like it's going to be a great trip, I'm jealous. Congrats on beginning your adventure and drive safe!! Subscribed.
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:38 PM   #21
Rockwell OP
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Originally Posted by JoDawg View Post
Rocky & Paula, Cheers from the crew at Dualsport Plus. We will be following along on this great adventure of yours. If you need anything do not hesitate to contact us and we will help you out.
Be safe and enjoy the adventure!
Cheers
Les, Cath, Jody, Jen, and Tim
The DSP Crew
Thanks everyone!

Paula and I were in the day before we left to pick up some Rotopax. We haven't had to use them yet, but, given the tank range of the 990, I'm guessing they will come in handy.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:08 PM   #22
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On August 26th we crossed from Ontario into “Friendly Manitoba”. It was strange riding from thick forest, smelling of pine and cedar, to flat grassland, filled with the aroma of hay and manure. It was a nice change of scenery, but strange because it was so immediate upon crossing the Ontario-Manitoba border. We rode into Winnipeg, set up camp in Assiniboine Park, and, the following day, we rode out of Manitoba and into Saskatchewan.

“Naturally Saskatchewan” looks a lot like Manitoba with many acres of farm land, checkered in all shades of green and gold. We found a great place in Wascana Park to set up the tent and spent the night in Regina, the provinces capital. Saskatchewan is very pretty and, as we rode away the following day, the land began to show it’s beautiful curves.

When we got to Medicine Hat, Alberta. We stopped to meet Piet and Ina, a couple we met on the website .

Unsure of what to expect because the experience was our first, we were comforted by a warm, kind welcome and invited to join them and other guests for dinner. They prepared a feast and introduced us to their son Josh, his beautiful wife Amy and a pair of musicians who were also staying over. Piet and Ina enjoy having concerts at their home and had planned to have one the following night. Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki would be performing and we were invited to stay another night. With a full belly, a comfortable bed, a few drinks and great company, how could we possibly say no¡ In the morning, we decided to explore Medicine Hat and it’s sloping valleys, by evening we were ready to party. The concert was amazing! Romi and Jason are great people and performers. At midnight, the group of them serenaded me with happy birthday and passed around some cake, it was a perfect way to turn thirty two. To say the least, Piet and Ina are incredible beings. Even with such an amazing trip ahead, we were sad to part from our new friends.









Our final night in Ontario was spent camped out next to the highway. We parked and set up next to a truck stop restaurant and hotel at the side of the gravel shoulder on a nice patch of tall grass. It seemed, at the time, like a logical place to pitch a tent.

Passing into Manitoba the next day, there was an abrupt change of landscape. The long, straight stretches of highway of Manitoba were a welcome change.

Not having had a proper shower for several days, we decided to give CouchSurfing a try instead of tenting out another night. CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travellers and the local communities they visit. It is a social network of people who offer travellers a couch or spare bedroom for a night or two. We were contacted by a guy in Winnipeg and were offered a spare room for the night. As we got closer to the city later in the day, we received a text message from him explaining that he had to cancel. This left us having to find a place to stealth camp for the night. We pulled onto the University of Winnipeg campus in the hopes of finding some sort of locker room shower in the campus rec center and a place to pitch our tent, but we were disappointed. We weren’t able to find accessible showers, and all the security cameras on campus didn’t make it a viable option for hiding out over night.

Slightly more hungry than we were tired, we decided to grab a bite to eat and weigh our options. Looking on the GPS, we found a large park in the middle of Winnipeg. This seemed to be a safe bet. We drove over to Assiniboine Park to find hundreds of people gathered with their kids for, what we later learned to be, Friday movie night in the park. We set up our tent in an inconspicuous location, unpacked the bike and settled in the the night. We even managed to snag an unsecured WiFi connection!

The next day was a pretty steady and uneventful day of riding, though finding premium fuel proved to be a bit difficult. Gas stations were few and far between, and many of the ones we stopped at didn’t have anything higher than an 87 octane.

We spent that evening camped out in the central park in Regina, Saskatchewan, pulling in at dusk, setting up the tent, and riding off early the next morning.

Still in need of a shower and not yet brave enough to jump into rivers or lakes to bathe, we decided to give CouchSurfing another try. Paula contacted an older couple in Medicine Hat, Alberta who said that they would be able to host us. We pulled into town just after 5pm and were greeted by Piet and Ina. They offered us their shower and laundry room, and we graciously and anxiously accepted. After washing up, we were treated to wine and cheese, followed by a delicious supper where we were joined by Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki, a Canadian music duo who would be performing the following evening in Piet and Ina’s garage. Piet and Ina suggested that we stay an extra night to watch the performance, and, without giving it a second though, we accepted.

We spent part of the next day exploring the town and working on trying to get a blog post ready. Evening came and it was time for the show to begin. The opening act went on and, about an hour later, Romi and Jason took the stage only to find out that neither of Romi’s guitars were functioning properly. While everyone waited for a replacement guitar to arrive, I tried re-soldering the wires in the guitar to see if the issue was due to a failed electrical connection. This didn’t solve the problem. The replacement guitar arrived, and soon Romi and Jason were rocking’ out. They put on a great show.

Morning came, we packed our belongings onto the bike, and said our good-byes to our new friends, Piet and Ina. We said our good-byes to Romi and Jason the night before. Rock stars don’t wake up before noon.

We pulled out of Medicine Hat and headed for Calgary.


Entering into the province of Manitoba


Stopped at the side of the road somewhere in Saskatchewan


Paula on a bail of hay in a farmer's field in Saskatchewan


Paula somewhere in Saskatchewan


At the welcome center entering Alberta


Romi Mayes & Jason Nowicki performing at Piet & Ina's


Romi Mayes & Jason Nowicki rockin' out


Piet & Ina's garage music venue


Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki after the show


Paula and our first www.couchsurfing.org hosts, Piet & Ina


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Old 09-11-2011, 07:47 PM   #23
dave6253
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I'll follow along. Nice Photos.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:58 AM   #24
Ford_Prefect
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I have to ask...

Why premium gas? Is that required by the bike, won't it run on lower octane? I mean you are likely to have a very hard time finding that stuff in Central and South America.

Also very impressed that you managed to put up a tent in a public park! The cops in the USA would run you out faster than you could blink!


Regards,

Brian
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:45 AM   #25
Animo
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Originally Posted by Ford_Prefect View Post
I have to ask...

Why premium gas? Is that required by the bike, won't it run on lower octane? I mean you are likely to have a very hard time finding that stuff in Central and South America.

Also very impressed that you managed to put up a tent in a public park! The cops in the USA would run you out faster than you could blink!

Regards,

Brian
This


Quote:
Originally Posted by crashmaster View Post
I would guess the rating for your Super Tenere would be RON as AKI 95, if it does exist is found only in a very few places.


For those not familiar with RON vs. AKI ratings, the US and Mexico use the same AKI (anti-knock index) octane rating. The other countries in the Americas use RON (research octane number)


RON 95 = AKI 91

RON 91 = AKI 87


Many places in the Americas you will only find RON 91/AKI 87 And, quite often, especially in Peru an Bolivia, generally in higher elevations, you will only find RON 84, which interestingly enough, is also leaded fuel.

IIRC, the BMW 1200GS has an anti-knock sensor which automatically retards the timing, nice feature. I'm surprised the F800 doesnt have this as well.


Like I mentioned before, The KTM 950/990 has 2 different ignition maps to select from, one for RON 95/AKI 91 and one for gasoline simply described as "less than 95/91." Seemed to work well enough in my travels most of the time.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:59 PM   #26
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Greetings

Hi,

My wife and I met you two in a coffee/ice cream shop in Banff on 09/01/11. We were the senior couple riding the BMW R1200RT. I looked you up on this Site and checked out your itinerary when we arrived at our daughters apartment in Puyallup,Washington.What you guys have planned is amazing and we wish you all the luck in the world.We are experienced travelers ( by paved road and motel) and know how grueling two up traveling on a bike is. After 15 days out (riding 12 days) we arrived home in Southern California after covering 5,000 miles. I have to admit that if I were 27 years younger I would be in better physical shape but I (we) would not have been in a position ( kids and careers) to have even contemplated such a journey. In closing,you two are special.God be with you

Steve and Sharon Bouche'
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:13 PM   #27
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Do it while you can!

We just heard one of our sister inlaws has advanced Cancer. Shes in her mid 40's, just like us. You never know how long you have left in this world.
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:23 PM   #28
fulviapaulo
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Hi guys!!

It sure takes some balls (sorry Paula ) to do what you've just done and are starting... It really goes a long way from dreaming something and just do it. Glad you managed that

Will be following your adventure and be sure to say something when you get to Portugal First bottle of wine's on me...

Btw, why calling Almeida to your bike?

Godspeed and boa viagem!

Cheers
Paulo
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:24 AM   #29
Rockwell OP
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Originally Posted by Ford_Prefect View Post
Also very impressed that you managed to put up a tent in a public park! The cops in the USA would run you out faster than you could blink!

Regards,

Brian
We usually pull in at dusk, try to find an inconspicuous location, head out the next morning and try not to leave a trace.

We've been in the USA for a few weeks, and managed to stealth camp successfully, for the most part. We pulled into Bend, Oregon last night at dusk, and found, what looked like, an abandoned parking lot. Apparently there was a security officer who came on site in the evening, saw the tent and called the police. Two officers showed up at around 10:30 pm. They explained that the owner of the lot had been having problems with vagrants, which is why they were called. The officers didn't care if we stayed there overnight, but had to get the permission of the lot owner. Everything was OK, and we were able to stay the night. We're just making our way out of Bend now.

We haven't had a blog post in a while, so we're going to try to get an update within the next few days.
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:30 AM   #30
Rockwell OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOOCH View Post
Hi,

My wife and I met you two in a coffee/ice cream shop in Banff on 09/01/11. We were the senior couple riding the BMW R1200RT. I looked you up on this Site and checked out your itinerary when we arrived at our daughters apartment in Puyallup,Washington.What you guys have planned is amazing and we wish you all the luck in the world.We are experienced travelers ( by paved road and motel) and know how grueling two up traveling on a bike is. After 15 days out (riding 12 days) we arrived home in Southern California after covering 5,000 miles. I have to admit that if I were 27 years younger I would be in better physical shape but I (we) would not have been in a position ( kids and careers) to have even contemplated such a journey. In closing,you two are special.God be with you

Steve and Sharon Bouche'
Yes! Thanks for the bottle of water. It came in handy. We think we passed you again heading up towards the ice fields. You two were on your way back down.

We're loving life on the road. Getting along is the hard part.

Thanks for the well-wishes!
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