Monday, 22 July 2013 – RTTH13 Day 4
Everyone got up when they wanted, some early so they could head back to Calgary, others, heading back home to Grande Prairie. Dan’s friend went back to Calgary and Carl had hurt a rib or something, so he, his wife, and Ryan were headed back to GP. That would leave Dan and Kay, Trent and Bev, Phil, and Louise and I carrying on.
After breakfast of powdered oatmeal, we got everything all packed up and got ready to hit the road. That’s when Trent’s FJR was discovered to have a dead battery. On most other bikes, getting a boost is trivial, because the battery is readily accessible under the seat. However, the battery on the FJR is up under the dash on the right side and needs to have panels removed to get access to it. On my FJR, I installed a 12v socket on the dash for charging and for trickle charging (and for boosting should the need ever arise) but Trent hadn’t installed anything like that on his bike.
So we opted for the time-tested and proven method of starting a bike with a dead battery – push starting.
Sadly there were no pictures of us running behind Trent’s 500lb + bike with him on it! Dan and Carl and I were pushing pretty hard to get the FJR up to a speed where it would start. It didn’t start the first time, but it did the second time. First disaster narrowly averted.
Shortly after that we got rolling, back out on the highway …
It’s kind of interesting how group decisions, once made, seemed so right at the time, but later when facing the consequences of those decisions, everyone goes “what were thinking”. We all filled up the tanks before leaving Grande Prairie, but even though many of us stopped at a Grande Cache gas station for munchies, no one filled up their tanks.
This morning, ironically at about the halfway point between Grande Cache back north and Hinton to the south, I got a call from Dan on the intercom saying that his Triumph Explorer 1200 was low on gas, how were Louise and I for gas? Both Louise and I were under half a tank. Trent on his FJR was under half. We were all doing some quick mental mileage math to see if we’d have enough to get to Hinton. Louise and I figured we’d just make it. I knew from riding my own FJR for years, that Trent would probably make on it his FJR if we kept the passing to a minimum. Phil was riding his VStrom 650 and was the least worried. The wild card was Dan – he hadn’t had the Explorer very long and hadn’t really experienced what mileage the bike would get for him.
We made some contingency plans for if Dan’s bike quit – one of us would stay with him, while the rest of the crew carried on to get gas to bring back. We would also dial back the speed and nurse what gas we had left. So we rolled on, just a bit of apprehension in the back of our minds.
As it turned out, we all made it to the Husky gas station in Hinton, Dan literally on fumes. The rest of us probably only had a few ounces left, except for Phil on his far less thirsty DL650. We took over all the pumps …
With the fuelling completed, we ducked across the highway for fast food and after lunch, a couple of us headed to the nearby Canadian Tire to pick up a couple of minor things – Dan and Kay wanted inflatable pillows and I wanted a small tarp for the floor of the porch on the tent. And, there was a sale on picnic shelters! So Trent and Dan bought one each for our campsite at Whistlers Campground just outside of Jasper later today.
Everything squared away, we once more hit the road, this time heading west towards Jasper. Along the way we came across some wildlife …
Bighorn Sheep – they seem mostly unworried about the black SUV close by.
A little later on we rolled into Jasper and immediately sought out the Bears Paw Bakery for snacks and supplies for dinner!
We sat around for a bit, drinking lattes and munching cookies … then mounted up and rode off to the campsite.
Once we got through the campsite check-in we made our way to the overflow area and found Stoney from Edmonton had made it out ahead of us! It didn’t take long to get things all setup.
That’s our light green Redverz Adventure Tent in the background, the two new picnic shelters on the left side. Notice how most of us had donned our “Official Run to the Hills 2013” t-shirts?
Here’s Phil stylishly modelling his t-shirt …
We got the fire started early – the firewood pile wasn’t too far and it was free, trouble was that we had to pick through lots of bark and crap to get to actual wood. Kay loves fires – we’ve noticed this on other trips with her …
At the Bears Paw Bakery, Louise and some others had picked up some spicy sausage rolls, and we now proceeded to cook them over the open fire. Oh man were they good, especially with Rum and Coke.
Trent’s wife Bev, was a little apprehensive about camping out in the wild, mostly because of a concern over bears and whatnot. Since we were on the edge of forest, there’s a good chance that wildlife might wander through on their way somewhere else. Trent had taken great pains to assure Bev that there was nothing to worry about and he had us all fully behind him. So it didn’t go over very well when a park official came by to tell us that a bear had been spotted in the campground area and that we had to be sure to put our food in the bear-proof boxes near the parking lot!
There was other less fearsome wildlife wandering close by and thought it would be fun to stalk a deer with my camera. I took a number of pictures, but few turned out. I turned back when the deer I was stalking turned out to be the consort of a much larger male with big antlers. I figured he might get a little possessive if pressed so I left them both alone.
After dinner and before it got dark, we noticed a stranger roll in and setup a tent a ways from us. Well it might have been his bike we noticed – it was a Yamaha Tenere 660XT, not available ever in North America. So we quickly figured the rider had it shipped in. I stopped to talk to the fellow and invited him to our campsite to hang out with us rather than sitting all alone.
Turns out he’s from Marseilles France, doing a “bucket list” trip riding around Canada and the US. He shipped his bike over in the late spring and plans on spending 3-4 months riding around. His english was pretty good and it was interesting talking to him. He’s made a very cool modification to his bike – he lost a leg and wears a prosthetic on the left. So he’d modified the Tenere by mounting the gearshift on the right side so he could operate both the shifter the rear brake with with his good right leg. Just goes to show that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Not a great picture, but it was dark by this time.
In the mountains, there’s not much dusk, once the sun drops behind the mountain range it gets dark quick. Good thing we had a nice fire!
Tomorrow we’d be heading home …