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Old 07-06-2014, 02:13 PM   #1
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Lemonade Tour 2014

In January, I took a new job. I left a company I was with for 12 years for something new - a chance to be a part of something really interesting. It was a high risk, high reward sort of gig.

Long story short, there were a log of things wrong with the situation, and I wasn't happy. But I was willing to work through what was an unwinnable scenario because, you know, winning...

The company is going through a difficult time, and can't seem to settle on what it needs to do to move forward. And I ended up getting caught in the crossfire. On a Monday everything was fine. On the Tuesday, things weren't fine. And on Thursday, I was being handed a fair package from HR. Terminated without cause - meaning I did nothing wrong.

Although I'm still processing, I feel like this is a good thing. Sometimes life gives you lemons. *&^% happens.

I'll be ok, the settlement was fair, my reputation won't be compromised and my skillset is in demand.

So what does a guy do when he's handed lemons? He rides to the Yukon to make lemonade.

I have the bike, I have the gear, I have the equipment. I'm ok financially. I have family support for this. Like a lot of other riders, the North has been on my list for quite some time. Like a lot of other riders, the time it takes to ride out all that way is the stumbling block.

Suddenly, I find myself with the time, and when am I going to get this opportunity again? Not only do I have the time, but I don't have to be back by a certain time. I have time and flexibility.

Spotwalla stuff (will be active July 7th)

Spotwalla link: https://spotwalla.com/embed.php?id=a...ult&refresh=no

Some other Spotwalla link: https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php...f53b962f84c5c7

oomis screwed with this post 07-06-2014 at 02:35 PM
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:20 PM   #2
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Introducing my travel companion...

Here's the mount, a 2013 BMW R1200GSW, whatever. Just like all the other Beemers with adventure pretentions...



Riding (reluctantly) with me is Chris the Gnome. Chris has a backstory...

20 years ago, in 1993/94, some friends and I liberated a 300 lb 3.5 foot tall solid concrete garden gnome from a house around the corner from me.

With much glee, this gnome was relocated by several of us from Toronto to London, ON, at the house of a dear friend of mine who can remain as anonymous as the rest of us thieves. I'm sure the gnome is still there.

This story was told to my children, now ages 9 and 11, who decided to judge me for my ancient crimes.

Please meet "Chris The Gnome", a present from my kids, and my new motorcycle travel companion. He will travel with me on motorcycle trips and figure prominently into my pictures for however long he lasts, like my personal albatross, until such a point as balance is restored.

My children have an awesome sense of humour and karma. But seriously, packing around a garden gnome for this trip just seems ridiculous. Maybe Chris will meet some awful fate somewhere along the road.

This is where Chris is living, in my top case.


He's living in a padded zippered case, and I suspect that at times he'l be more comfortable than I am.


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Old 07-06-2014, 02:29 PM   #3
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Tomorrow...

Tomorrow we leave. As close to 5 am as I can get, crossing the border at Detroit and aiming to get as far past Chicago as I can.

Hopefully I'll be able to get around Chicago before evening rush hour begins. I lived and worked in Chitown for 18 months a number of years ago, and the traffic is very much like Toronto's - epicly awful.

Beyond Chicago, my itinerary has been carefully plotted out on Google Maps. I have reservations at camp sites or motels for every single day I'm on the road. It was a steep learning curve, but I plotted 3 routes into my GPS for every day. The first will get me to breakfast, the second to lunch and the third to my final destination. I know exactly where I'm going every day I'm on the road. This gives me confidence and allows me to feel like I'm in control.

Ok, so maybe not. My itinerary actually looks more like this:
Day 1: Get past Chicago.
Days 2 through 30ish. I dunno.

I have tires waiting for me in Whitehorse - Colin at Yukon Honda has been very helpful, and there's a set of TKC-80's waiting for me on the way up, and when I'm done with the north and on my way back down, he's got another set of touring rubber (I dunno what kind) that I'm sure will more or less get me to just about home or so.

I'd like to check out the Alaska Ferry system, maybe from Haines to Prince Rupert.

Or whatever.
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Old 07-06-2014, 03:06 PM   #4
Not the Messiah
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Wahoo!
Best of luck for a dream trip.
Looking forward to following along
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Old 07-06-2014, 03:50 PM   #5
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I'm in....I like lemonade.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:16 PM   #6
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Day 1

My plan on Day 1 was simple - get from Toronto past Chicago before Chi-town rush hour traffic in the early evening.

The plan was to be up by 4:30 am and on the road by 5 am. I woke up to thunderstorms, so I did what every intrepid adventurer would do.

I rolled over and went back to bed. &^%$ that noise. I'm not on a schedule.

When I finally dragged my ass out of bed, the bike was packed from the night before, and off I went. The ride from Toronto to Chicago was one that I had done a number of times before, having lived in Chicago for work for 18 months, and riding back and forth on the weekend. I know it takes about 10 hours, and it's boring as a bad simile.

At the border at Sarnia, with 5 cars in front of me, for some reason the border shut down. Every line stopped moving, people got out of their cars, and I waited. When the border re-opened again about 30 mins later, I noticed that lots of people were getting re-directed inside. Myself included, where I had to explain away a long-ago youthful indescretion. The bike got a cursory search, the border guard wasn't a dick and away I went.

And I was thinking as I rode away that it's easy to take the border crossing for granted. But we're guests in one anothers' countries, there only with permission. And so questions asked, answered and satisified, we move on.

Lunch was a salad from Wal-Mart. A great tip from a friend of mine who rides big miles too was to hit a Wal-Mart in the am, use zip-lock bags filled with ice in a soft cooler-style lunch bag to keep it cold, and transfer the salad to a large zip-lock bag. Salad is ready to go whenever you're ready - cheap, cheerful and saves big time. Also, on a trip as long as this, I'm trying to watch what I eat for the most part. Eating like crap when I'm on the road for a week is fun, doing it for a month is a bad idea.

I'm not sure where I'm going to stay that night - I have a friend who lives in La Salle, but he's away on his own adventure, so I'm left to make it up on my own. I find a camp site between Joliet and Ottawa along I80. Got a good camp site for $25, shoot the bull with a couple of guys who wished they were doing the trip too (looking over their shoulders at their brood) and I make camp.







A couple of beers from the gas station in town, and I'm in business.

The thing was that a huge storm rolled through that night, and with all due respect to the guys who post in the tarp thread, you tarp campers can go straight to hell. With all my love, sincerely,screw that noise. :)

The storm took my tarp and turned it into a whirling whip of carnage and doom. I woke up in the middle of the night and knew that bad things were happening, when I heard a lull, I got up and tried to straighten things up. Like a rookie, I had left a lot of my stuff under the tarp, and my dry bag with all my clothes in it open. The only saving grace is that the tarp fell onto my helmet and boots, keeping them mostly dry.

In the morning, my camp site looked like a bomb went off - no pics because shut up, that's why, and I was just focussed on cleaning up and leaving. I was cursing myself - again, a rookie mistake that won't happen again. Everything goes into the tent from now on.

oomis screwed with this post 12-22-2014 at 09:34 AM
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:52 PM   #7
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Lemonade Tour Day 2

Nothing really to write about on Day 2. I80, all day long.

Self-portrait



In a little town in Iowa, I decided to unburden myself of some weight - some clothes, some do-dads and the two tarp poles I was carrying (tarp campers, please see my earlier remarks about kindly going to hell). 10 lbs of crap cost me $80 to mail and it'll arrive sometime in October. Maybe. I didn't pay for insurance or tracking.



For those of you who have never ridden across the midwest, this is what it looks like.



There's corn, there's soy, there's flat and there's straight. Thank goodness for the reasonably high speed limits.

I stopped at the World's Largest Truck Stop. Chris the Gnome got a shot in quickly before too many people stared. Folks didn't seem to have much of a sense of humour in these parts...



Hauling Chris the Gnome can only be described as a pain in my ass. Literally an albatross around my neck. I thought it was going to be funny, you know, taking pictures of a garden gnome on an adventure, but so far it just seems weird and hella inconvenient for me.



I'm thinking of tomorrow, and I have a choice to make - North or South Dakota? North Dakota is new for me, but South Dakota has so much fun stuff. Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil's Tower, 16A, Badlands...

The day ended at Prairie Rose National Park. Nice enough place, had it pretty much to myself. You'll notice the distinct lack of a stupid tarp.




oomis screwed with this post 12-22-2014 at 09:39 AM
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:03 PM   #8
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Puke Pro Tip

Pro Tip - Things I would not do without on this trip (so far)

Zip Lock bags - little zip loc bags with zippers hold ice in my soft cooler, which keeps food and drink cool.

A soft cooler, filled with ice (in bags so when it melts it doesn't make a mess, which it will anyway) holds the lunch that I buy in the mid-morning, and then cools my beer so at the end of my hot as balls day (seriously, I heard they closed roads in Yellowstone because the asphalt was melting. A combination of the volcanic activity below (geysers?) and the stupid hot above) I have something cold to drink.

Wal Mart - yeah, it's evil, but they have pre made salads that are a perfect cheap lunch, and on a trip this long while I'd love to eat whatever the heck I want to, making sure that I eat vegetables of some sort is a good idea.

McDonald's - yeah, it's evil, but here are all the boxes it checks.

1. Free wifi.
2. Decent coffee (all things considered)
3. Clean bathrooms
4. An ice dispenser in the soda machine.
5. Employees who give not one f&ck.

I find I'm in a McDonald's once a day, sometimes twice. I'm not carrying maps, so I need the internet, especially in the states where I don't have a roaming plan, to see where I'm going to go. Since I'm camping, I need to know if there's a camp site around where I'm going to be around 6 pm.

A microfibre cloth in my tank bag - I don't have a large windscreen, so I get air on my helmet, which means I get a pretty serious protein buildup. Gas station squeegies are fine for the gross water, but to avoid scratches, the microfibre cleans up real good.

USB power on the bike - I can charge two battery packs in my tank bag while I ride, so that overnight I can charge
- my Sena
- my iPhone (mostly for music)
- my iPad (mostly for writing and maps)
- my DeLorme InReach satellite tracker
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:31 PM   #9
TassieMark
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Living on borrowed time

I get the feeling that Chris the gnome is living on borrowed time. Have a heart, please don't abandon your mate.
Cheers,
Mark
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:52 AM   #10
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I'm hoping Chris the Gnome makes it all the way there and back!

#5 on the McDonalds list.. hahah!
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:43 AM   #11
cbxtc6
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Hey Omar! I see you're in the Yukon!! Nice! Wish I was there with you!
Have fun on those dirt/gravel/mud roads once you mount your new tires!
Be sure to hit the Laird Hot Springs while you're in the area.
Enjoy the Ride!!
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:00 PM   #12
Vanzal15
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Sup brotha,

Its Lyle from that camping spot in South Dakota. I finally had a moment to look up your report. Im presently in Sault Ste. Marie MI just about to jump over the border into your territory. Im gonna do a Wawa, Chapleau, Thessalon loop then drop back down into the states.

just thought i'd drop you a line and let you know im watching/reading. Ride on soldier!

-Lyle
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:44 PM   #13
oomis OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbxtc6 View Post
Hey Omar! I see you're in the Yukon!! Nice! Wish I was there with you!
Have fun on those dirt/gravel/mud roads once you mount your new tires!
Be sure to hit the Laird Hot Springs while you're in the area.
Enjoy the Ride!!
Hey boss, too bad I missed you on the way out. If I end up coming home through the US, I'll give you a shout and maybe we can have a drink.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanzal15 View Post
Sup brotha,

Its Lyle from that camping spot in South Dakota. I finally had a moment to look up your report. Im presently in Sault Ste. Marie MI just about to jump over the border into your territory. Im gonna do a Wawa, Chapleau, Thessalon loop then drop back down into the states.

just thought i'd drop you a line and let you know im watching/reading. Ride on soldier!

-Lyle
Sounds good - hope your ride is going as well as mine is!
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:36 PM   #15
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Day 3. Or something.

I had intended on doing real-time posts, but screw that noise. It's too much work.

I'm currently writing this from my second stint in Dawson City.

I've been keeping a journal - old school paper and pen - and that's been my priority. If I have it in my journal, it won't crash, the batteries won't die and the screen won't break. So....let me just scroll back a bit...

July 9. Day 3, or something.

My decision for the day was North or South Dakota. I have been to South previously, which means it's old ground. But I hear that North is all oil and gas, driving up the price of rooms and also there's nothing there (with apologies to any North Dakotans).

I decided on the whirlwind tour of South Dakota. Why? Because Chris the Gnome hadn't been to those places before.

Now before I go on, it was pointed out to me how *&^%ing crazy that sounds. I understand. But in the back of my head I was like "I'm hauling around the world's worst travel companion, how can I not have some pics taken in interesting spots?"

Before I got too far, I hit another Wal-Mart for a salad for lunch. This system is actually working out pretty well - thanks to advrider inmate theshnizzle for the tip.

So at a gas station I see two bikes - a sport bike and a naked bike. Enter Kris and Maria



What I love about this trip is that every time I start thinking I'm hardcore, I meet someone who puts me to shame.

Kris and Maria are out for a 5000+ km ride, on a sport bike and naked bike, with just the clothes on their backs, a change of clothes, and raingear. No jackets. No boots. No AGATT. Just fuckit lets ride. Sunburnt, no destination in mind, man they were young, dumb and full of cum, and I mean that in the most complimentary way.

We shot the breeze for a while, and then since we were headed in the same direction rode together for a while. Their plan for the day? Party in Sturgis.

I was thinking more of heading to the Badlands, but as we were riding I was weighing joining them and tying one on with young'un who could be my kids, or sticking with my plan.





I decide, in the end, to stick to MY ride. While I'd love to join them, I'm acutely aware of the 20 year difference between us, and I really did want to ride the dirt in Badlands NP.



So off to the Badlands I go. I took some video, I think this is it, but frankly I'm drunk in a bar in Dawson City right now, so this might be it, it might not.











Huh. Looks like video linking to smugmug doesn't work. I'm having difficulty uploading to youtube. I could delete all the busted links, but screw it I'm drunk and this feels more organic.

oomis screwed with this post 12-22-2014 at 09:45 AM
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