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Old 09-08-2013, 09:33 PM   #196
pne OP
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Location: Alberta, Canada
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Despite an early morning start, it was already 85 and rising at 7am. I had a greasy breakfast burrito at Stollies, a little diner in town, before bombing down to Little Rock to try and fix my shoei at the cycle gear. The visor was starting to leak water at the top seal when it rained. Sadly the guy wasn't too helpful. He promised me that he would call ahead to the cycle gear in Kansas and make sure there was a replacement waiting. Days later when I got to Kansas, "nope never got a call."

On the plus side, Ryan mapped out some great riding. 27 North to 16 W, doing a bit of 123 S before backtracking up 123 N up Mt Judea. Then out to Jasper and 16W to Fayetteville. That sure satisfied my appetite for corners.

That night I crashed at tmckenz place by Rogers. I was spoiled again by a fancy guest room and purdy bathroom with scented soaps and such. I asked Lane what he had for a bikes and his answer was "oh a few.." When we walked into his shop I was all oooh, ahhhh, you have an understanding wife!!
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:30 AM   #197
Don T
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Great RR - I'm in!
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:37 PM   #198
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At this point I wanted to explain my train of thought, since I had decided to start heading home. When I started this trip I was sick of being stuck in one place. I wanted a challenge and a change of scenery, and most of all to have some fun. I had ticked those boxes off, and lots of time to be alone with my thoughts on the bike.

I want wax briefly about the philosophical side of this trip that I had been chewing on for all those long hours on the bike. What did I take away from all of this? Life is a balancing act. Without riding through freezing cold mountain passes and stormy weather, I would take warm sunny days for granted. Shitty straight interstate made roads like the PCH and Pikes Peak that much more sublime. Even the simple stuff, how a hot shower and warm bed felt at the end of the day. It's only when they were taken away did I really miss them. There were a lot of gloomy times on this trip, but these would only make those perfect days even sweeter.

I think about the cliche, a rolling stone gathers no moss. I experienced the opposite. I was starting to get too acclimated to the road. In many ways, a lot of the initial thrill and excitement was wearing down. I had settled into a routine. Yes, I was still seeing spectacular landscapes and meeting all sorts of great people every single day. But a part of me needed very much to slow down, and spend time processing all these adventures, before setting out anew. Deep down, I knew that 2 months on the road satisfied my appetite for a great journey. To keep pushing on would be too much of a good thing.

Or something like that anyways...

pne screwed with this post 09-12-2013 at 08:18 PM
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:08 PM   #199
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It was time for a day of interstate marathon. I pointed straight north to Kansas City, where I was disappointed to find that no new helmet awaited me in cycle gear. After voicing my extreme displeasure, the guy at the counter swapped out a fresh face shield onto the helmet for me. It seemed to work ok on the next spot of rain I hit, so that was that.

Next stop was Lincoln Nebraska. Why stop here you ask? Well the truth is the whole area looked pretty bleak on the map, but I had to get back to Alberta somehow. It was either suffer through the prairies south of the border and enjoy Wyoming/Montana, or see Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota and suffer through the prairies in Canada crossing Manitoba and Sask. I heard Dallas Green put this place down in a song. Hope he'll remember, a prairie man don't need him around anyhow.

The road was terrible. The saving grace was meeting Jared in Lincoln. He filled me up with cold beer and some excellent albeit interesting BBQ. I think there was some squid in there? To my delight Jared also attended med school and was halfway to becoming a doctor. "Hey do you mind taking a look at this rash I got?" Probably not something you want to hear from a stranger who just walked in your house. Lack of bathing (eck) dirty pants, and likely the engine cooking the insides of my legs for the past few weeks was the cause of the itchy rash. It was impressive to watch him use a black light to see if there was any fungus or bacteria. My legs didn't glow so I was home free.

We planned out the "scenic route" through Nebraska. Although I'm from the prairies, I can't stand the sight of them. Wheat fields make me cringe, and living skies just means the ground is too boring to look at to me. I briefly passed through some greener looking pastures though.

I asked Jared what food was characteristically Nebraskan. His recommendation was Runzas. A kind of ground beef and cheese thing in a pastry bun. It was....interesting.

That night I camped south of Chaudron in the national forest, at the cheapest campsite yet. $2.50 with my park pass discount. +1 for Nebraska!
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:36 PM   #200
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As I rode west on 20 the next morning, I started noticing the chain was in really bad shape. Remember when I said I cleaned it with diesel a few days back in Arkansas? It had stretched quite a bit since then. I was giving it a shot of lube every day to try and nurse it back to health. But then came the sound. Quietly at first, and then growing with each mile. I pulled the clutch in and could hear and feel the frozen links.

At the next stop I gave it a closer inspection, there was a lot of side play, and it had started to spew its guts out on the case guard. The orings had stopped sealing a number of miles ago, and I suspect this is when the last of the grease was flung out. In Casper I tried to find a shop with no luck. Heading west essentially lead to nowhere, besides Yellowstone. I decided to go north on I-25 and try the next big towns along the way.

As the afternoon heat got worse, so did the chain. I slowed to 55 when I could hear the crunching noises. I even pulled over every half an hour to try and let the chain cool down, soaking it with lube. It didn't seem to help. Finally I made it into Buffalo, nerve wracked. Of course, bikes only break on Sundays. I tried a few places in town but nothing was open. The mechanic at an offroad fab shop assured me that Sheridan would have something. I got a bite to eat and continued North. I could grab a motel and try the shops in the morning.

Well it turns out some band was in town, putting Sheridan on the map. All the hotels wanted at least $100 for a room, even the motel 6. Eff that. Unwilling to drop that kind of cash on a room, I tried bighorn NF. Strangely there was no spots to disperse camp here. The road wound up the mountain, passing by plots of fenced off land. Poking out on the top of the pass into a gravel road and it leads me to a cutting area, lots of NO CAMPING ALLOWED signs.

Not wanting to be squashed by a logging truck, I ride back down to the little town of Dayton where I stop at a really run down RV park/camp site. I knock on the ratty screen door of the office trailer, and the woman inside tells me $30 a night to pitch a tent. This irks me, but the sun is setting and I'm tired. I hand her my credit card. "Cash only." I empty out my wallet, and count my remaining bills. I have $17 dollars. "Look this is all I have, I'll only be here for one night." I tell her. She gives me a speech about how much it costs her to run this place, how she can't be giving anyone discounts and such. I'm looking at this sunnyvale trailer park with no ammenities at all, its just a few run down cabins that are so filthy I would rather sleep in a tent. Ok well you had the chance to make $17, and now you are getting nothing. I stop at the gas station and ask about free spots to camp. Lucky there is a free spot down by the river, and after an hour of gravel road exploration, I find it.

The next morning:

pne screwed with this post 09-10-2013 at 10:45 PM
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:16 PM   #201
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This is the end my friends

With the rear chain still going snap crackle pop and a rear tire that was getting very flatspotted, I decided the prudent thing to do would be to try to make my way back via Montana, skipping Yellowstone and trying to fix the bike along the way. If they had the parts, then I could fix the bike up and ride Going to the Sun Road. If not, at least I was close enough to home to patch together some kind of rescue mission or extended tow.

Billings was a waste of time. Only one dealer had a 525 chain in stock. Evidently this is an uncommon size? Despite just about every single bike comes from the factory with a 525! Anyways they saw me coming, and wanted close to $300 for the chain not including installation. Yea f-ing right! I kept going north east following 3. What a desolate lonely road that runs smack in the middle of nowhere. Couple with vicious cross winds and some real ugly scenery, this is a road I'll be avoiding next time. I was glad to roll into Great Falls, although I got the same story at their local bike shop.

Defeated, I decided to get a hotel room for the night, get drunk, and hail mary it home the next morning. I was close enough to make it back with an iron butt style ride. In the parkade I bump into a guy with a big Goldwing and trailer combo. We talk about our trips and he asks me if I'm on ADV. Why yes! Staggering the number of bikers I meet on the road who are members here. Anyhow we only yak for a few minutes, and his name escapes me but I do remember him telling me about his dyno. If you're reading this, cheers. The unknown rider.

A bottle of brandy and a few beers later I am sound asleep in my room. Probably worked out for the better since this motel was kinda dirty and the bed was pretty hard. The next morning I'm off quickly. It's all interstate from here baby, I click off the miles on I15, not as bad as a road I was on yesterday. The border comes up before I know it, and I top up with one last tank of cheap gas.

This time the border guard doesn't batt an eye. I'm through in seconds, this is starting to look like home. Lethbridge was a blur. I made dinner plans with an old friend in Calgary, and mother nature decides to give me one last middle finger. As I get close to town, I see another storm up ahead. There's nothing I can really do at this point. There are no overpasses to hide, no spots to turn around, and I was on a schedule here. Oh yea, I also tossed the rain gear out back in the motel. Didn't think I would need it for the last day.

So of course its raining and of course it starts hailing. I pull off quick and managed to find a gravel road leading to someones acreage. I don't even think at this point, I park the bike on the driveway and run towards the house. I'm not sure if anyone was home but I stood in the porch for awhile and waited for the hail to stop. Then got back on the bike and rode the remaining miles into Calgary for food.

Luckily I was close enough to home that I knew a few people in town. A phone call later and I had a spot to crash for the night and dry off. The next morning I got up bright and early to miss the weather, and still managed to ride in the rain all the way back to Edmonton. What a strange feeling after a long trip, to ride back through familiar streets, then your neighborhood and up the driveway. The first thing I did was take a nice long shower and pour myself a drink. Ahhhhhh. Until next adventure guys, thanks for reading.

pne screwed with this post 09-12-2013 at 03:39 PM
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:42 AM   #202
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Heavy is Good Heavy is Reliable
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:52 AM   #203
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Totaly loved your report! Ty
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Old 09-11-2013, 05:01 AM   #204
cum petris et choris
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thanks for...

Taking us along was good to meet you, last picture you posted wouldnt show for me but.....

keep in touch!
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RIDE STEALTH, Sunday worship, a strap-on, and Does this water taste funny?
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:31 AM   #205
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Great job ! Thanks for the RR.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:03 PM   #206
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Most excellent, thanks for sharing two months of your life. And what a two months they were, eh?
Gone on holiday ... may not come back!

All who wander are not lost.
Be a traveler, not a tourist ...
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:14 PM   #207
Hey! Watch this.
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Glad to have met you. Good RR. Take care.
Ride hard, you might be dead this time tomorrow!
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'11 BMW F800GS lava orange, '08 Kawasaki Concours, '06 ZX-10R track bike
'13 KTM 500 XC-W
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:32 AM   #208
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Wonderful Ride Report. Thank you for writing it.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:43 AM   #209
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Great story... I look forward to the next one! The last picture doesn't work for me, either.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:16 PM   #210
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