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Old 09-10-2007, 07:09 AM   #16
Lornce OP
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Heading north form Burkes Falls I followed Hwy11 to New Liskeard before heading west on 65 to Elk Lake and 560 west through Gowganda, Shining Tree and Westree. 560 ends at 144 (which runs north and south between Sudbury and Timmins) where the Sulton Road, a gravel logging road, continues west to the town of, you guessed it - Sultan - where you rejoin pavement towards Chapleau.

The Sultan road is plenty wide, but be careful on a street bike: The gravel appears to be continually graded which keeps the surface soft and deep. Had a few tense moments in some of the deeper gravel in the curves, but made it through without incident. It'd probably be pretty exciting on a street bike in the rain! The views were limited to clear cuts and the occasional river but it was an interesting diversion from pavement travel for an hour or so.

Never pass a chance to take a cool picture of your motorcycle.

Sultan, Ontario.

Was a little surprised to see this sign not far from Chapleau. I thought it might have been a little further north. Interestingly, it's only 150kms or so from Lake Superior at this point.

You know you're not in Kansas anymore...

Near the now closed Hemlo gold mine just a few miles inland from Lake Superior's stunning northern shore.

A loaded logging truck strains to climb one of the many steep grades that head to higher ground from Superior's spectacular northern shoreline.

Forestry products are an important part of northern Ontario's economic survival. Lumber mills and pulp and paper mills often provide the primary livliehood in northern communities.

This mill storage yard is in Fort Francis Ontario just accross from the Minnesota border.

It was 8C heading north from Sioux Narrows along the shoreline of Lake of the Woods.

Man, I was missing the PD's hand guards and heated grips that morning.

Route wise, I planned to stay on minor roads, eschewing the Trans Canada wherever possible. So far I'd only followed the TCH from Wawa to Thunder Bay and again from Kenora to just across the Manitoba border. You really don't have a lot of choice between those two points.

Once into Manitoba I headed south and west zig zagging across the lower part of the province following the most minor roads I could see on the map, many of them gravel. I ain't got no gps and I don't listen to no i-pod. Actually, I've owned an older gps for years and only ever found it useful as a speedometer and altimeter. I like maps. And I like to sing in my helmet. One of the things I do when traveling on my bike is allow signs and place names to trigger songs and tunes in my head. Stop and think about it and it's amazing how many popular tunes have place names and references in them.

Not this one, though. This is just a gravel road, a wheat field and the big prarie sky somewhere near Morris, Manitoba.

I was really digging the praries with the big skies and seas of grain in every direction.

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Old 09-10-2007, 02:04 PM   #17
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Old 09-10-2007, 02:05 PM   #18
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I was encouraged to see the skies being harvested, too. Judging by the amount of wind I experienced on the praries, in the mountains and near lake shores all across this country I'm hopeful we'll see more and more of these clean energy producers in the future.

You really notice the wind when you ride an R50/5. I was into day 5 of stiff headwinds since leaving Trenton and my "performance" was really suffering.

Can you tell how hard the wind is blowing in this gratuitous view of my motorcycle against the big blue prairie sky?

Some more views of those wonderful wind turbines.

Good on you, Manitoba. One of the answers IS blowing in the wind.

Can't remember the name of this sleepy little burb, but I thought it representative of the type in southern Manitoba with it's storefront lined main street and breezey open feel.

And a few words of warning: The biggest combines you've ever seen roll right through the middle of town in August.

Combines like this beauty, here.

This is a cool story....

I'm minding my own business standing on the side of the road taking pictures of this impressive machine when the guy stops, climbs down out of the behemoth and strolls over...

"Ever had a ride in a combine before?" he asked. "No. I've never ridden in a combine before." I said. "Come on, I'll show you what's it's like."

I gotta start writing stuff down, I forget the gentlemen's name but his family's been farming this land since his father settled here in 1946 when he was 2. Now he's a few years from retirement and his two sons are working the same land.

Says these new machines are pretty slick and take most of the hard work out of farming. That's a joy stick in his right hand to control things like height and speed of the impliment, engine speed, wheel speed and etc.

There wasn't any grain or straw dust in the cab either, unlike the air outside which was choking with a cloud of it.

Pretty slick rig.

This thing chews through rows of wheat at an amazing rate. I think our speed was 3.5mph. That's pretty quick when you realise it's conveying all that wheat and straw (for you city slickers, the stem of the wheat is the straw and has no nutritional value and must be seperated from the kernels) into a drum where it's threshed and seperated with the kernels being moved to the storage hopper and all the straw blown out the back onto the field and into the air to create huge dust clouds that can be seen for miles.

The grain is then transfered to a semi trailer in the field. This can be done while the combine is still moving through the rows of mown wheat so as not to interupt production. 55 bushels/acre is what they expect to see off thier fields this summer.

I really gotta start writing stuff down, but I think this was around Belmount or St. Alphonse in southern Manitoba. If anyone sees this and knows the area or can identify the farmer, I'd sure appreciate it if you could let him know he made a Hamilton guy's day with his hospitality and good will.

I was singing an old Murray Maglauchlan tune for a while after that encounter.

Just north of that orange blob on the map is where I met the gent in the combine. Anyone know him?

Crops are pretty diversified across the praries. In fact I read some numbers in Saskatchewan that suggested wheat only accounted for $1.9B out of a total $20B of all farm produce direct income in the province.

I found that number pretty surprising. I thought wheat was king.

Agricultural activity makes for an amazing aray of beautiful sights as you cross the country.

While in Southern Ontario we bury some of the land's finest top soil under more and more housing subdivisions.

Somewhere in southern Saskatchewan I caught my first sight of an oil well.

After camping in provincial parks most of the way, in Lake Alma Saskatchewan I had my first night of hobo camping beside the town's public ice rink. I stopped beside the quanset building in an effort to get out of the incesant wind. After I'd pulled out my sleeping bag I met a farmer's wife and a curious local fellow who operated the cafe in the rink facility. After I promised I'd be gone in the morning before thier breakfast customers arrived they weren't too worried and said I was welcome to sleep in the grass beside the building. Very friendly people.

It was a great night with the skies mostly clear so I didn't even bother with the tent. At one point I was awakened by a curious skunk that was sniffing around my exposed head. When he saw me stir we looked at each other for a moment before he waddled off into the night along the building's edge. It was pretty neat to see a skunk close up like that.

It clouded up over night and the wind shifted direction. A couple of views in the first pink light of dawn.

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Old 09-10-2007, 04:55 PM   #19
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I became friends with someone just because they rode motorcycles from no-place to no-where.
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:21 PM   #20
I am the Brewmaster.
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Let me put on my fuzzy socks, grab another coffee and wait for the next installment. Tops!
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:31 PM   #21
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terrific, Lornce!

great trip, and great report!

excellent pictures.
Unintentional psychokinesis.
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:41 PM   #22
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This is great!
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:04 PM   #23
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I gotta get me one of them Bikes. This is my new favourite RR.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:01 PM   #24
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More ..more ..more
Nice Pix Lorence
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:09 PM   #25
Lornce OP
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Thanks for the kind words, lads. I'll try to keep it interesting as I work my way west from memory. Wait'll you see the killer whales off Vancouver Island.

Now here's an interesting shot from the morning after sleeping with the skunks... Apart from the interesting topography (and you thought Saskatchewan was all flat!) did anyone notice which way the flag's pointing?

That's right, I've got a tail wind. Whoo hoo! After five days of brutal head winds, day six brings a tail wind. Let me tell you, that morning the mighty R-Five-0 felt like a scalded R60. For perspective, a scalded R60 prolly goes like an inspired '72 CB350.

The ox is slow but the earth is patient, baby.

Eventually I'll post some pics of high-lighted maps to provide route details, but for now here's a view of a long, lonesome road.

Hwy18 in southern Saskatchewan just north of the US border. Arrow straight all the way to the horizon.

And everywhere the undulating seas of wheat.

And ghosts.

And always the wind.

The same wind that blew accross the vast heards of buffalo.

Weathered wooden grain storage bins tell stories of farming from a different era.

Combines have seen some changes, too...

No computerised head speed control here.

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Old 09-11-2007, 07:55 AM   #26
who's yer daddy??
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Originally Posted by Lornce
And ghosts.

oustanding photography, Lornce! why did you choose not to ride your PD?
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:20 AM   #27
Lornce OP
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Never had the chance to choose, K, the indefatiguable PD finally fatigued. I need to find a new bottom end for the motor. Not sure why, but it seems to have failed due to low oil pressure shortly after that massive mud bog incident. It's a bit of a mystery, the oil was clean and uncontaminated. I'm sure it'll make sense when I tear it down and look for clues. I suspect I "may" find a plugged oil filter.

Anyhow, let's get back to Saskatchewan....

You never knew Saskatchewan looked like this, did you?

Me neither.

This is along Hwy18 near the border town of Big Beaver.

I'm not making this stuff up.

Notice which way the grass is blowing? Sweet. It was like having a turbo on the little Beemer.

Anyhow, it's time for a little optics lesson... That hill is a lot higher than it looks.

"How's that?" you say. "The camera doesn't lie!"

No, the camera doesn't lie, but wide angle lenses tell little fibs. A wide angle lens grabs everything in a broader than natural field of view and compresses it all onto the back of the camera so you can see it all at once. It's a cool effect but it distorts perspective and shrinks landscapes and everything else in it's path.

Trust me. That hill's a LOT higher than it looks.

Can you spot the bike looking back down from the top?

It's easier if you know your Beemers....

This area was called The Big Muddy Badlands. I didn't see any beavers, just one big old badger. Which was cool. I'd never seen a badger before.

This is looking south. That's Montana at the right rear of the photo.

This is the first of the semi-arid desertish sort of landscape that I'd see on the trip. I was to see more as I continued west.

It's a fair bet most eastern Canadians don't know we have landscape like this in Canada.

The only trees for miles around are in the bottom of these coulees where meager water and protection from the wind affords them a chance to survive.

Bracing myself to take a picture I nearly kneeled on these before I saw them. I was NOT expecting to find cactus in Saskatchewan.

The wind and sage brush I was expecting...

And the prarie ghosts.

Who built this place and when?

Why did they leave?

And when?

Where are they now?

And their children? And their children's children?

The ghosts know.
The ghosts always know.

We're all travelling with ghosts.

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Old 09-11-2007, 10:50 AM   #28
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nice style, man, I love getting off and climbing the hill next to the road.

I dont know if I can spot the bimmer, is it the dark spot on the right or the light spot on the left, near the road.

lol, scalded R60.

Unintentional psychokinesis.
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:03 PM   #29
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hijack on
cool report
that thing got more than 25 hp?
can you put bigger jugs on it?
hijack off
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:25 PM   #30
..the last open road...
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nice trip

Great pics from a nice trip!

As I recall, Max Burns of "Cycle Canada" did a similar trip but from west to east a few years back... I like your pictures better!
at your service,

" the philosopher Jagger once said, 'You can't always get what you want.'
Dr. G. House
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