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Old 03-24-2014, 06:23 AM   #1
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How Not To Ride To Yellowknife

Back in July of 2012, I went on a fairly epic 12 000 kilometre ride from Toronto to Yellowknife, North West Territories.



I could write a fairly comprehensive book on what not to do when motorcycle touring based on my vast first-hand experience. I consider myself a pretty smart person, but for some reason, when I get on a motorcycle, I start to get stupid. And not in a live-life-to-the-fullest, balls-to-the-walls way. It's more of a lost-all-common-sense stupid.

So the title of this ride report describes all the dumb things I tend to do while touring:

- I speed
- I get impatient, and end up driving aggressively and passing cars when I shouldn't
- I do 1000 km days (which is way too much)
- I choose boring main highways in order to "make good time"
- I don't stop as often as I should
- I usually finish a tour with a 1000 mile last day/night
- I eat like crap (usually two "meals" a day, with one being a bag of chips and a chocolate bar), and let myself get dehydrated
- I feel depressed and guilty because I should actually be working, not out on a motorcycle trip goofing off

All these actions result in me not having as much fun as I should. Did I still have fun on my trip? Yes, but not as much as I should have. Someday I will learn.

Anyhow, now that I'm done being awkwardly honest about myself, let's get on with the ride report, shall we?
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:28 AM   #2
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Back in July, I went on a solo motorcycle trip WAY west and WAY north. The plan was to visit my friend Adam in Calgary, then ride up to Yellowknife, NWT, to visit my sister-in-law Katherine.


This is the bike pulled over somewhere on HWY 69 about half way to Sudbury. The skies were looking sketchy, so I put on my waterproof boot covers and gloves.

This was my third motorcycle trip riding out west, so I made the foolish decision to stick mostly to the Trans Canada Highway to make good time. Unfortunately, this makes for very dull riding.


It wasn't too long after Canada Day, so Canadian flags were in evidence in numerous places along my route.


That evening, I only made it to Blind River, ON, as I had left so late. Blind River is a lovely little town that is just big enough to have a KFC... Yay! Man, I have a horrible junk food addiction when I travel.

I did go out for an eight kilometre run all over town to make up for dinner. Very hot, but I discovered that running while on vacation is a fantastic way to sight see. I decided after that run that I would try to take my camera on runs.
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:31 AM   #3
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Cookin' up some brekkie in my room.


Ramen! Breakfast of champions.
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superzoom View Post
Back in July of 2012, I went on a fairly epic 12 000 kilometre ride from Toronto to Yellowknife, North West Territories.

Can you give a rough loc on where this was taken, please? I have a real need to go zipping through Canadian arboreal forests.
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You strategically place a billboard of boobs on the outside of a turn and I'd ride my motorcycle off a cliff.
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:43 AM   #5
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On the ride out of Blind River in the morning.


I find this shot inspirational.


Continuing to follow the Trans Canada.


On a road side pullout in Lake Superior Provincial Park. This park is genuinely beautiful.


In Lake Superior Provincial Park.


Stopped in Wawa for a quick "oie" (goose) shot.


And stopped in Thunder Bay at the Terry Fox Memorial.




This is really one of the most beautiful memorials that I know of. Such an amazing setting, on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior. I get a little misty each time I visit. If you've ever had anyone close to you get cancer, you probably understand.

I'm no Terry Fox expert, so I recommend you read the Terry Fox Wikipedia entry like I did. You'll be impressed.

I'd like to take my wife Allie to see this memorial some day.

Last time I was here, the place was overrun with tourists. It's much more appropriate when it is quiet, like it was this time.


This is a place where motorcyclists like to stop for a photo. Not sure why, but I think it means you're really far north.


This was my dinner in Dryden, ON. I chose this horrible fleabag motel solely for the fact that it was next door to McDonald's. It was worth it. And yes, I ordered a Big Mac AND twenty Chicken McNuggets for dinner. I did leave a few of the nuggets for breakfast the next day.

Superzoom screwed with this post 03-24-2014 at 11:30 AM
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chisenhallw View Post
Can you give a rough loc on where this was taken, please? I have a real need to go zipping through Canadian arboreal forests.
Chisenhallw,

Somewhere just south of the Alberta/NWT border on Highway 35, I think. I passed through lots and lots and LOTS of this type of forest on this type of road once I was in NWT.

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir//Mack....8119186?hl=en
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:52 AM   #7
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Back on the road next morning.


Still in Ontario.


And I cross into Manitoba, but not until after acquiring a little award certificate for my "efficient" driving while still in Ontario. For fifteen kilometres over! The cop who pulled me over said a woman had been killed on a motorcycle recently, so I guess she thought it was prudent to single out all motorcycles and give them tickets rather than warnings. My first speeding ticket in over a decade (and second ever).


Still on the Trans Canada.


Couldn't be much straighter or flatter through a lot of Manitoba.


Canola is a popular crop in all the prairie provinces. Makes for a beautiful landscape.


In about five hours, I make it across Manitoba.




And another six hours later, I'm through Saskatchewan. At this point, I've decided to push on and try to make it to Calgary, which will have me riding for a couple of hours after sunset. No sweat, I think to myself.


And thus began "The Night Of The Killer Mosquitoes"...

So every time I stopped, including taking this pic, I was instantly swarmed by dozens and scores and hundreds of mosquitoes. This area of Alberta had seen a lot of rain in the past few weeks, and I'm guessing there were probably millions of mosquitoes every square kilometre.


After sunset, I was in a real pickle, because my visor would become completely coated with mosquitoes, making it difficult to see. I would then stop by the side of the road to clean my visor and get attacked by hundreds of ravenous mosquitoes. I would then hurriedly clean my visor and take off again, only to have my visor become completely bug encrusted in only minutes.


Does our intrepid rider make it? Or does his visor become so bug splattered that he loses vision completely and crashes and is eaten alive by the Millions Of Mosquitoes Of Alberta?

Check back soon to find out...
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:57 AM   #8
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I eventually made it to Calgary by following a semi truck's tailights, seen through a tiny clear spot in my buggy visor.

Made it!

1696 kms and 18 hours after leaving Dryden, Ontario, I'm in Calgary.


What to do after an epic ride? Square Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!


Here's my helmet after the ride... GROSS!!! Imagine the visor itself encrusted with as many dead mosquitoes as the rest of the helmet, and you can imagine how difficult it was to see.


And after a good cleaning. Better!


Next... Part II... Calgary and a trip to Nelson, BC.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:02 AM   #9
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My first day in Calgary and I'm staying at my friend Adam's apartment. I've known Adam for a few years, now. We worked on a few TV shows together. I helped Adam move out west a couple of years ago.

Adam is as crazy for authentic Japanese ramen as me, and maybe more so, so he takes me to Muku, which is the best Ramen in Calgary, in his opinion. This delicious combo comes with pork on rice, which makes this meal ridiculously large AND good.


Next morning, while Adam was at work, I went for a run along the Bow River Pathway. This is an outstanding path which runs all the way to downtown Calgary and beyond.


The famous Calgary Tower, which is only the third largest structure in downtown Calgary now.


I crossed a bridge and ended up in Eau Claire Market, where they were serving free breakfast to coincide with The Calgary Stampede, which was going on. In fact, free breakfast is served all over the city during Stampede. One look at the massive line, and I decided to pass on breakfast.


My motorcycle was disgusting with bug guts, so I actually cleaned it. I NEVER clean it!
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:04 AM   #10
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A quick visit to Adam's workplace, Heavy Industries, where they make gigantic public art installations. It's a little known fact that all public art is produced by turning it on a giant lathe, as Adam demonstrates here.


We join up with Adam's friend from work, Chris, and head on over to check out The Stampede. This is us en route.


It's the 100th anniversary of The Stampede. Yippeekaiyay!


The Stampede grounds are really quite similar to other exhibitions, but really HUGE. Chris was cool and wanted to show me a "genuine" Stampede experience, but in the end, we were overwhelmed by the massive crowds.

We tried to get into a few beer tents, such as Nashville here.


In the end, we gave up, and left The Stampede grounds and went to The Twisted Grill lounge for a few drinks.


Next day Adam and I left town for a fun weekend trip to Nelson, BC. The entire route was spectacular, with mountain and river views and twisty roads galore.


Even the "boring" roads were beautiful.


Rain clouds taunted us all day, and we stopped to gear up for rain. It never got heavy, luckily.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:05 AM   #11
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Passing through a lovely flood plain.


Close to Nelson, we took this small ferry across Kootenay Lake.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:06 AM   #12
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We got a kick out of this safety poster.


Apparently the life jacket technology hasn't changed for fifty years (although hairstyles have).





We chatted a bit with this nice young couple from Saskatoon, who were meandering their way west on vacation. We had actually bumped into them previously when we all stopped to help an older lady Harley rider who had wiped out on the road. We guessed that the Harley woman was drunk.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:08 AM   #13
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A short ride on our bikes and we reach Nelson, BC.


The least expensive place in Nelson, supposedly.


We partook of some crisp and cold local brews.


Next day I got up for a morning run around town. This is the main street.











There's an honest to goodness pirate ship docked in the river!


And it's the size of a small sailboat!


Breakfast at The Full Circle Restaurant, which had great food.


My bennies.


Cute hippie girl.


More hippie spotting outside a cafe.



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Old 03-24-2014, 07:10 AM   #14
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We ducked into a head shop for laughs. Nelson is also known as the weed capital of Canada. Could there possibly a connection between the hippies and the doobies?


Not sure what these are, but they sure are purty.


Adam expands his general knowledge. This girl knew a LOT about getting high (for medicinal purposes only).


So I specifically said to the girl scooping my ice cream, "Just a small serving". She gives me this. I finished it, of course.


We descended upon Finley's Irish Bar, upon the recommendation of the owner, whom we'd bumped into on the road earlier.


It was Karaoke night! We had a blast listening to the drunk, brave, wacky locals.


Pulled Pork Poutine. 'Nuff said.


For every bucket of Corona's ordered, you get a free hat. "Two buckets of Corona's, please!"


Went for a short blast out of town and back on a pretty amazing stretch of road between Kaslo and New Denver, HWY 31A. Adam can effortlessly ride about five times faster than me when the road is curvy, and he kept leaving me behind. Jerk.





For dinner, we hit this tiny place for some BBQ take out, just as it was closing. It was in fact closed, but the owner took pity on us and served us. I think we mentioned something about reading it was the best BBQ in town.


We devoured the BBQ back in our room. It was outrageously good. Maybe the best either of us had ever had.


And a small (as in huge) tub of ice cream for dessert. We kept going back for seconds, and in seconds, we had finished it.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:11 AM   #15
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Coming back on the ferry, things were a little more crowded.









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