WeSTOC Day 5 – The Ride Home

I had mostly packed the night before, so I had little packing and stuff to do this morning. Wearing my Aerostich riding suit I ventured out in search of breakfast. I found Guy and couple of other guys hanging around waiting until 11am when they were heading down to Colville in the US for a few more days of riding before heading home. The other Calgary bound folks were going to leave at 8am, but I think they were much later than I was.

With the bike all packed up by 845, I hit the road. Light drizzle pretty much followed me out of town and continued all the way south until I hit Highway 3. Then it rained. And it rained for while, then on and off.

My plan was simple, head to Creston to top off the gas tank and grab a breakfast supplement and a coffee, then on to Sparwood, BC to fill up and have some lunch, then just push on to home. And in spite of the rain, that simple plan held together all the way, when I got home just before 6pm.

While the rain was pretty easy to take, by the time I made the Crowsnest Pass area, the wind really picked up and it was blowing like crazy all the way Highway 22 and Highway 2 into Calgary. But I made home safe and sound, after racking up well over 2000 kms on the bike.

Many thanks to Apple SE team, my former tribe for graciously contributing to my gas fund – I used up the entire amount and left nothing on the table.

Now I did have pictures, but before I thought to off-load them, I managed to run the iPhone through the washing machine. So I might have lost them – we’ll see.

Thanks for following along!

Ian

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WeSTOC Day 4 – Part 1 Kaslo / New Denver / Passcreek Road

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The usual suspects (Guy, Rod, Bob, Ken and myself) gathered for breakfast at the usual time and started working on a plan for the day. Bob and Ken bailed – they just wanted to wander Nelson, but we were joined at the table by, I’ll call him Rod2, and he figured he’d tag along with us, whatever we decided.

So the plan was to check out some squiggles on a map, then redo the Pass Creek Road that we did yesterday, backwards this time, then head up to the ferry at Balfour, ride down towards Creston, have lunch, and head back to Nelson. It was a good plan, but totally defeated by a wrong turn and ruthlessly slow chicken drivers on the highway north of Nelson.

Both Guy and I were looking at some squiggles on the DH map between Nelson and Castlegar, on the east side of the river. They looked intriguing and we were determined to seek out how good the Granite Road was. We were able to easily find the start at the Nelson end of the road and we happily roared down the road (well, as much as our FJRs and STs can roar). It was pretty fun, with lots of twists, and only a little gravel in some curves. But it was over too soon! We came around a nice 180 degree curve and we were right back at the highway.

Wondering why it was so short, we carried on to the same little road we were on yesterday – the Pass Creek Road, except that this time we entered it from the south and road it backwards. While many parts were recognizable, it was almost a different road. It too, was over too quickly, but at least we ran the entire road!

From here, the plan was to go back up north through Nelson to Balfour and catch the 1040am ferry. The GPS said we’d make it to the terminal by 1030am as we rolled across the Nelson Bridge, but then we got stuck behind a whole bunch of slowpoke chicken drivers. Yes, some of the curves on Highway 6 north of Nelson have a 40km speed suggestion versus the regular speed limit of 90km, but that’s no reason for the cage drivers to slam on their brakes and creep around the curve at a walking pace. So it was with mounting frustration that both Guy and I watched the arrival time on the GPS go up minute by minute. We arrived right at the revised on the fly arrival time – 1044am.

The ferry was still there, but the loadmaster (or whatever they call the person at the lineup who decides who gets on and who doesn’t), had already turned away a small group of bikes ahead of us. One more truck got onto the ferry and that was it – no ferry ride for us today.

So we had a quick bio break, then figured out a new plan. We’d go up to Kaslo for pie, over to New Denver, then back south to Nelson. Off we went up Highway 31, a very scenic and relatively entertaining road, which is Destination Highways #60. There’s one spot just south of Kaslo where the highway crosses a creek that runs into the Kootenay Lake, where the bridge is on a hairpin that goes almost 180 degrees – the road here makes a serious U off the line of the road along the lakeside. We got a little spread out along here, Rod was far out in front and arrived at Kaslo with enough time to have a full cigarette before Rod2 and I arrived, Guy was about 5 minutes behind me.

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With the bikes parked, we sauntered into Theresa’s for a coffee and pie (cinnamon roll for me). While we were polishing off our treats, some Harley riders pulled up out front, beside our bikes. The riders got off, removed their beanie helmets, and their leathers, all with the HD logos prominently displayed. All the bikes all had the typical Harley straight pipes treatment and had all the other patrons of the place shaking their heads.

As we left, one of the patrons started talking to me about where we were from and about our bikes, came outside, went right past the Harleys and walked all around the two FJRs and the two ST1300s, asking lots of questions.

Geared up, and mounted up, we rode out of town on Highway 31A, DH 5. Not far out of town, this road become a great road, lots of sweepers, almost all curves from Kaslo to New Denver. The highway runs along the Kaslo River, which is running very very high. At one point where the road runs through a narrow canyon, the river is coming very close to washing out the highway. When we went by, there was a BC Highways guy in a truck watching the river – no doubt trying to determine how long the pavement would last. We had been following another government truck on the road and the driver obviously knew the road well as he stayed well ahead of us and while we weren’t riding hard, we were pretty spirited in the curves.

Riding through the outskirts of New Denver, a number of what looked to be feral dogs, or maybe they were coyotes, crossed the road in front of us, completely oblivious to the bikes going by. Maybe they were ghost dogs and knew we couldn’t hurt them. We didn’t stop in New Denver, instead we figured we’d just run back to Nelson and get some food at the hotel.

Highway 6 is number 25 on the DH hit parade and it’s kind of two roads in one. The northern part has a number of sweepers with some great views from along the lake, both down at lakeside and up high as the road climbs and dips beside Slocan Lake. The southern part of the highway runs through forest and is really curvy as it follows the Slocan River to where it joins the Kootenay River.

It was near the start of the curvy part when the wind and rain started. Guy stopped to close the vents on his jacket and Rod2 mentioned that he wanted to stop in Winlaw to get his rain gear on. While we continued south to Winlaw, the wind really picked up and was tossing tree branches at us. A pretty large piece of a fir tree bounced off of my helmet at one point! So we stopped at a little cafe parking lot, where Guy put his rain gear on and Rod2 ducked into a shelter to put his rain liner on under his jacket. Rod’s jacket was mostly waterproof, so he just had a smoke, and since I was wearing my Aerostich, I didn’t have to do anything. While I was standing there, a hippie came across the highway to tell me that he had just heard the highway south was closed because the wind had caused a tree to come down across the road and onto some power lines. We figured we’d head down anyway, worst case, we’d get some pictures. Rod2 came out of the shelter, headed towards his bike, so Rod1 and Guy headed out. I held back for a bit waiting for Rod2 to get going. When I saw he had his gloves on, I pulled out onto the highway to follow the other two guys. He never caught up to us and it wasn’t until later at the banquet that we found out what happened to him – more on that later.

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The hippie guy was right, there was a tree down across the road and hanging on some power lines, and it hadn’t been down long – there was only a half dozen cars ahead of us. We rolled up to the back of the line and since we didn’t know how long it would take, we shut off the bikes and popped our helmets off. Then we watched behind us to see where Rod2 was and ahead to watch the progress with the tree. It didn’t take them long to get the tree down, after only about 10 minutes of waiting a pickup truck was pulling the top of the tree down the road towards us in the other lane. In no time, the line of cars ahead of us was moving, so we quickly geared up and started off ourselves, but still no sign of Rod2.
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We had thought of riding the Pass Creek Road again, (yes it’s that much fun), but it was still raining, and we figured it would be no fun wet. At the Pie stop in Kaslo, we figured we had located the highway access to the other part of the road we missed this morning, it’s called Blewette Road. So instead of just heading straight back to Nelson, we ducked off the highway and followed this absolutely brilliant narrow little road up above the Kootenay River and the power dams.

Since the rivers are running high from the rain and the melting snow, the water roaring through the spillways was pretty spectacular. It was almost distracting as we went into curve after curve, with the highlight being a tight hairpin going up hill, had to take it in second gear!

Continued in Day 4 – Part 2

WeSTOC Day 4 – Part 2 Storms, Banquet, Luck of the Draw

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Sorry for the delays here with Part 2 and the rest of the blogs – just started a new job, so things are a little hectic.

I can heartily recommend the Granite/Blewette Roads to all of us on motorbikes. It’s a fun road, with lots of curves and elevation changes, and you can’t get going to fast on it, plus there’s very little traffic (at least on a Thursday afternoon).

There were a couple of spots where homeowners driveways had spilled some gravel out across the whole lane of the road, which led to at least one disconcerting moment as the rear tire slid out to the outside of the lean a bit. Yikes! But all was good, no spills and we continued on carving the twistie road until it popped us back onto the main highway to Nelson.

As we entered the highway we noticed a few cars parked along the opposite side of the road. We were each wondering what was going on until we saw an obviously dead deer dragged up to the cement barrier at the road’s shoulder, and a large red splotch in the middle of the lane. So it was clear that one of the cars further up the road had hit the deer and that a few cars had stopped to help. It was a bit sobering, considering Rod and I had a deer get up on the highway between us the day before. It’s one thing to hit a deer in a car, but it’s pretty scary hitting one with a motorcycle. That would for sure wreck your whole day. It was also sad to think of the deer, it really had a bad day.

Once we were back at the hotel, I zipped back out to the gas station to fill up, that way I wouldn’t have to do it in the morning. While I was parking next to Guy, I noticed that he had just washed his bike, for I think, the third time. Earlier he had threatened to not let me park my bike next to his because mine was so dirty. So he guilted me into washing mine.

It wasn’t a really thorough wash, I just got most of the grime off, it sure looked better. Then Rod rode by and stopped to stare in amazement. He called out that he sorta thought my bike was grey and since I’d washed it realized that it was actually black. I guess it was pretty dirty. Trouble was, it rained later, then overnight and for much of the next day on the trip home, so it’s all dirty again.
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I might have mentioned in a previous post that I purchased a pair of kevlar summer gloves from Motoport. Today was the first day that I wore them on the bike and they actually worked great. My other gloves were a cheap pair of leather gloves that in less than a full season of use, were already beginning to fall apart. But, the old ones were one of the only pairs that I had where the thumb was long enough to not press on the end of my thumb, so to me, they were worth much more than the $50 I paid for them.

The new ones have a long thumb which is great, they are made of stretch Kevlar which is also great, but they have zero waterproof capability. And it rained a lot today, heavily at times. If not for the hand-guards I have installed on the handlebars, the Motoport gloves would’ve been soaked in seconds and my hands getting cold in the rain. Another fellow that we rode with on Tuesday bought the same gloves in a larger size and have very cold cold hands at the end of today, because he doesn’t have hand-guards on his ST1300.

Anyway, between finishing washing the bike and the start of the banquet, I slipped into the little cafe at the entrance to the hotel and satisfied my craving for a latte. Not quite the same as a Starbucks latte, but good enough! Then I enjoyed another relaxing neck/shoulder massage for 20 minutes. Very nice after 6 or 7 hours of riding.

There was still time to kill before the banquet, so a few of us hung out in Rod’s room for a couple of pre-dinner beers. While we were, there an wicked little thunder cell rolled in from the south and headed north up the lake. This picture is looking north towards the Nelson bridge in the distance.
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This view of the rain pelting down onto the lake, is pretty much the same view as what I had from my although this picture was taken from the ground floor, and my room was on the second floor.
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The banquet started at about 7pm, and after a little pre-dinner entertainment by our MC, Al DeVries, tables were sent to the buffet. The food was very tasty although the kitchen staff was hard-pressed to keep up with the consumption of food. All in all, the entire hotel staff did a pretty good job of dealing with us all for the week.
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With dinner consumed, the time had come for the various draws to been and prizes handed out. Wile it was hardly fair to all the Honda ST owners, I won arguably the best prize of all – a free set of motorcycle tires! YAY me! Winning the tires means that I almost broke even on the hotel room cost!

So many many heartfelt thanks to Tim and Diana Graham, and the rest of the WeSTOC XVI disorganization committee – they did an absolutely fabulous job in putting WeSTOC together.

It was great meeting some new friends in addition to Guy – Rod, Ken, Bob, Al, Rod2 & Lorraine, Walt, Dwayne, Martin, Tony, Jeff and his wife and many others. I’m hoping to hook up with some of these folks later for some around southern Alberta.

Next update will be the ride home.

WeSTOC Day 3 – Lunch at Grand Forks

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We had a pretty eclectic day of riding today. The first destination road was Passcreek Road that runs from Crescent Valley to just north of Castlegar. This road is an extension of the number 25 Destination Road in BC. It’s not very long, but it does have some excellent twisties marred only by sow blind driveways and gravel in the corners. I got a bit spooked in one corner where the rear wheel slipped out on the gravel while I had the bike leaned over hard. The deer yesterday scared me more though, just to put things into perspective.

From Castlegar, we headed over the Paulson and Bonanza passes on Highway 3 on the way to Christina Lake for coffee and then to Grand Forks for lunch. We stopped at a view point that looks out over the lake for some pictures and a bio break in the rough.

Here’s a view of the lake.

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We sort of all swapped cameras so we get our pictures taken, here’s mine.

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The plan from here was to head down to the village of Christina Lake and find a coffee place. Guy thought he had the perfect place in mind, but instead we toured all around the west side of the village before turning around and heading back the way we came. The once past the village on the east side, we turned around on the highway and went back west again into the village. We stopped, where one of our group asked a civilian and presumably a native, if she knew of a place for coffee. She did and directed us to go a little further west to a place called Kool Treets. Meanwhile, Guy took off down a side road into the village and left the rest of us back on the highway. I rode up and down some roads looking for him to no avail.

So the rest of us went to Kool Treets, and ordered milkshakes and such. After most of us had ordered, Guy called to say that he was at a place up the road and had been waiting for us! We left him there, until I finished my milkshake, then I headed up to meet him and to bring him back to the rest of the crew.

With every one back together, we zipped off to Clyde’s Pub on the corner of Second Street and Market Avenue for lunch. We were served by a waitress who claimed to be the owner, but even if she wasn’t, the service was good and the food even better. During lunch I got to do some iPhone troubleshooting between bites. After driving further into Grand Forks to the same gas station that Louise and I, and Robert and I had gassed up at last year we all topped off before heading back east.

Instead of coming straight back to Nelson, we took a side trip through the Nancy Green Provincial Park and over the Nancy Greene pass, which used to be called the Strawberry Pass. While Nancy was recently appointed to the Senate, that’s not why there’s a park named after her. If you don’t recall, she was a very hot downhill skier back in the 70s and early 80s I think.

South of the park are the towns of Rossland and Trail, but we didn’t stop at either town, instead we stopped for a bio break at a gas station at the highway crossroads, then headed back trying to get to the hotel in time to catch the Motoport seminar. Riding up to Trail I could see two huge smokestacks – I guess that’s why the major junior hockey team in Trail is called the Trail Smoke Eaters. So we were late for the scheduled start of the seminar, but luckily, because so many riders were coming in late, the start of the seminar was delayed, so we didn’t miss anything.

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The Motoport seminar was fairly interesting, although I think the owner is somewhat biased. I love my Aerostich suit, I’ve had it for about 6 years now, and its as good as waterproof, (and I’ve tested that a few times). Anyway, the Motoport gear is really good stuff and Louise is pretty sure she’s going to order a pair of custom-made riding pants. The jackets and pants are all made of Kevlar, which is extremely tough stuff, and the armor they use is good for racing. I asked a number of questions and talked to the owner about my ‘Stich. He did make some sense, so maybe someday I’ll replace the ‘Stich with a Motoport suit. If you want to see more information on the Motoport stuff, <a href="click here – Motoport.com.

After the seminar, I got a 20 minute neck massage, had a late dinner, called Louise and hit the hay.

Ian

WeSTOC Day 2 – New Denver/Kaslo Loop

Today was the first day of riding for the sake of riding, instead of riding to get somewhere. I met up with Guy and some of his folks at breakfast, and after deciding on doing the New Denver / Kaslo (with a side of Meadow Lake) loop, we made arrangements to meet outside for a departure at 930am.

Before heading back to my room, I stopped by the Motoport display to check out gloves again. I had tried on a couple of sizes the night before and the XL seemed to fit. I guess I have long thumbs, because while a large size fits my hand, the thumb, especially on the right (throttle) hand gets crunched into the end of the thumb part of the glove and after a couple of hours used to hurt like hell. My current gloves are size XL and my thumbs fit just fine. But the current ones are kinda cheap and I wouldn’t mind getting a really good pair. I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy them, but nope, no sale. It turns out that they only brought one pair of each size with them and they wouldn’t be able to sell them until Thursday night when they were leaving. So I passed.

Back in the room, I figured I’d have a few minutes to get the blog and the tracking link squared away, so I sat down at the laptop and plunked away for a bit. I was watching the clock and figured that I had time, until it was 925am. I slipped into my riding suit and headed down to the bike. Once I got to the parking lot, I saw Guy waving at me to get a move on! So much for thinking I had time! I raced back up to the room, gathered my helmet and the rest of what I wanted to take and raced back down. We all needed to get gas, so I just met them at the gas station just up the road.

With the four of us tanked up, we headed out of town west on the 6 to Crescent Valley, where we headed north on the 6 towards Slocan, Silverton and New Denver. This road is one of the Destination Highways roads, number 25 of more than 70 roads and it was full of sweepers with some twisty bits. It was also a bit early yet, so there wasn’t much traffic out. I did see a few deer by the side of the road, but they didn’t pop up onto the road.

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We stopped at a little cafe for coffee and bio breaks, and in behind us came another half dozen or so ST1300s who must have left Nelson a little behind us.

After our coffee break, headed east on Highway 31A along the Kaslo river to the town of Kaslo. This is another Destination Highway, number 5, with lots of long sweepers and some great views of the roaring rapids of the Kaslo River right beside the road and mountains with plenty of snow still on the peaks. One sight that was not welcome was a burned out tree trunk that the high water of the river weakened enough that it toppled almost onto the road in our lane. It was about 6feet into the roadway at about a 60deg angle! Would have made a heck of a mess of a bike and rider if they had hit it – it was just at the right height.

At Kaslo, we turned north and headed to a little place called Meadow Creek near Duncan Dam. This section of Highway 31 north of Kaslo is also a Destination Highway, number 33. There’s not much there, the pavement ends at the dam, so I took a couple of pictures, then we turned around and headed back to the promise of lunch at Kaslo.
20110621-222921.jpgOn the way up to Meadow Creek, I was following Guy when a deer jumped up onto the road just behind his bike, then just as quickly, jumped back into the woods. He was out and back into the woods so quick that I didn’t need to slow down. On the way back down to Kaslo, I was behind Rod, an ST1300 rider, when (maybe) the same deer jumped out and came within inches of hitting the back of Rod’s bike. This time though, instead of right away bounding back into the woods, the stupid deer took a few bounds down the road straight towards me! I hit the brakes hard to slow down, and started trying to second guess the stupid deer as to whether he’d go left or right, so I could dodge the other way. The deer decided to jump to my right back into the woods, before I had to try and dodge him, thankfully.

This road is very different going out versus coming back. Many of the twisties are much tighter coming back to Kaslo because your riding on the inside, whereas going out from Kaso, you’re on the outside of the curve. It seemed like a way harder, much more technical ride coming back down which was very surprising! The chicken strips on my tires are only millimeters wide, and the feelers on the tips of the foot pegs are scraped up now! It’s a pretty physical workout too, because in some of the S curve sections, you really have to push the bike over to get the necessary lean angle to make the curve, then pick it up vertical again, only to push it over the other way to make the next curve.

Back in Kaslo, we had lunch at the Kaslo Hotel and Pub, where we sat at the patio that looked out onto Kootenay Lake and the mountains beyond. Excellent backdrop for a really good meal of chicken fingers.
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With lunch under our belts, we saddled up again to head back to Nelson via another Destination Highway, number 60, Highway 31 to Balfour, and then the 3A into Nelson. The highway to Balfour was fun, except for the slowpoke cars, motorhomes, and cars pulling trailers with boats on the trailers! One of the best parts of Highway 31 is a really tight hairpin at Coffee Creek (I think), that was totally wrecked by all three of the above slowpokes. We crawled through there at a walking pace because the car in the head of the line up was scared to death.

It was mid-afternoon and traffic was substantially heavier, especially as we got closer to Nelson. So that sucked the fun out the last road of the day. We crossed the Nelson Bridge and made our way to the hotel, just in time for the next attraction!

Tim Graham, one of the organizers of WeSTOC, had arranged to have a helicopter fly by with a photographer on board, to get some aerial shots of the bikes and people in the parking lot. By 4pm or just after, everyone was on hand and milling around, then the chopper showed up.

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I consciously left my distinctive blue Aerostich riding suit on, and for fun put my blue Yamaha cap on. Thankfully the Honda enforcers weren’t there so I didn’t get beat up for wearing my Yamaha hat at a Honda event! So when I get the aerial photo, I should be able to quickly spot myself.

Back in the room, I changed out of the riding gear, washed out my LD Comfort Shorts (like biking shorts, only without the padding in the bum), and sat down at the computer to get the Spot tracking links figured out and to update the blog. With that done, I headed out to get some dinner. Along the way, I managed to acquire a WeSTOC t-shirt, a WeSTOC poster, and a white Honda cap! Tim the organizer, his wife Diana and few other folks he knows hadn’t had dinner yet, so I joined them outside on the patio for a pretty Halibut burger. Service was very slow though, there were lots of bikers all ordering dinner at the same time, as well as about 50 or so Red Hat Society ladies, more info on the Red Hat Society can be found here .

After, dinner, I was done, so back in the room, I called Louise, wrote this up and off to bed.

Ian

WeSTOC Day 1 – Calgary to Nelson

20110621-172431.jpgI didn’t get a chance to update the blog last night – there was too much going on then I hit the bed early.

So now that I have some time, I’ll write up the blog from yesterday. I managed to leave the house at about 845am or so, then gassed up before heading south on Deerfoot Trail. Traffic was pretty quiet all the way south to Nanton, then over to highway 22 south.

The only traffic jam was a bit of a wait for a cattle drive! Some cowboys were driving about 100 head across the highway from a field on the east side of the highway to the west side of the highway. They were pretty well-behaved cattle, except for one calf who got separated from it’s mother and wandered down the ditch a bit before a cowboy on horseback shooed it back through the gate.

The last few times through the Crowsnest Pass, that might have been it for wildlife, but this time I saw a number of deer in the woods near the edge of the highway. None were looking like they wanted to attempt a road crossing, so they were all pretty benign sightings.

The rain started just east of Fernie and it rained pretty hard for a few kilometers. The good thing about the rain was that it washed much of the bug guts off the windscreen and visor. Just west of Cranbrook, Guy Metcalfe, a fellow FJR rider and also headed to WeSTOC, caught up to me and we rode the rest of the trip together. It was better riding with someone than riding alone, but It’s nothing like riding with Louise.

It’s still pretty early in the season yet, Kootenay Pass between Creston and Salmo still had lots of snow in the ditches and up the sides of the mountains. The passing lanes up the summit and down the other side were pretty treacherous for the bikes, they were almost totally sand-covered from the winter sanding.

Guy and I made it Nelson just after 3pm, parked the bikes, checked in and I had a quick shower. After registering and taking care of entering draws and signing this and that, I took advantage of a 20 minute shoulder and neck massage that had been arranged for incoming riders – as you might imagine, that felt great!

I sat down with Guy and some folks that he knew for a couple of beers, then we had BBQ burgers in the parking lot. After the burger, I had a hankering for a Starbucks latte. There is one in Nelson – down the road at the Safeway!
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Coincidentally, there is the last remaining streetcar that has it’s tracks right in front of the hotel. They were offering rides for a “loonie”. So I rode the streetcar up the line to close to the Safeway, got my latte and walked back.

After that, I retired to my room, chilled for a bit, then off to bed.

Here’s some other pictures from Day 1

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Stopped for a quick drink of water in Nanton.

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My FJR parked at the hotel

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Line up of Honda ST1300s at the hotel – hey that’s a white Burgman 650 Exec in the foreground, with a black FJR next to it!

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Cycleport/Motoport are on hand showing off their line of Kevlar riding suits.

Lunch in Sparwood, BC

As I type I’m stopped at the Midtown Cafe in Sparwood for lunch. Just got some gas and a bio break and a stretch, then a BLT will arrive and I’ll scarf it down. Then back on the road again.

The wind has been blowing pretty strong all the way from Nanton, but it’s died down a bit here in Sparwood.

Bike is running good and it’s handling good, so shouldn’t be any worries there. I ought to be in Nelson right on time!

I’ll have at least a couple of pictures in a post later today after I’ve arrived.

Ian

WeSTOC Day 0 – Tracking

On Monday I leave for Nelson, BC, which is the headquarters of WeSTOCXVI for 2011. WeSTOC is the Western Honda ST1300 Owners Club. I know Tim Graham, the organizer of this years event pretty well, and he issued a special invitation to me, and since I’m kinda between jobs right now, the timing has worked out pretty well. In fact it would have been perfect, but Louise can’t get the time off of work, so she won’t be going and I’m going solo 😦 .

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Anyway, I leave on Monday morning and I’ll be blogging the trip each day, plus I’ll have me Spot Messenger updating the map in close to real time:
http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jspglId=08G958f5jAqlC8meXxaFMPaklqrWYJ4Y8

I’ll put the link to the map on the main blog page as well on each blog entry. Hopefully, through the blog, you can share some of the scenery and great roads that I’ll be riding for 5 days.

Ian

One chapter over, another begins

Well, today was my last day at Apple. In a week I start my new job as the Vice President of Technical Service at a local Apple reseller – Office Solutions (OSI).

This a great opportunity for my future and it offers me the chance to build my own team and function and puts me in line for an ownership stake in the near future.

I’m really excited and I can’t wait to get going.

20110617-203750.jpgBut today was a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally. I had lunch with a couple of local coworkers at Apple and midway thru, Michelle one of the SEs that reported to me handed me a huge card, filled with comments from the team and a couple of gifts that will come in handy for my motorcycle trip next week. I was feeling pretty good all morning, in fact I was feeling really good that it was over and the Apple part was close to over. The departure interviews had been done and I just had some logistical stuff to take care of.

Then I got the card and starting reading the comments. It was at that point that I realized that while I wasn’t going to miss the job itself and working for Apple, I really was going to miss my team of SEs. They were (and are) a great team of professionals who all got along great and were extremely competent at their jobs, making my job managing them pretty easy. It was very humbling as I realized while reading their comments what kind of impact I had on each of them.

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So thank you to everyone at Apple and the partners. I’ve enjoyed working with everyone for the last 5+ years. But I especially want to thank

Michelle, Bill, Brian, Rob, Luis, Steve, Ian, Rob, Alex, Pierre, Marc, Pierre, and Bruce

For being some of the best employees a manager could have! I’m going to truly miss all of them.

And so one chapter comes to and end, and another begins. More on the OSI position later.

Ian