That’s my new Yamaha FJR1300 ES, just picked up and brought her home today!
That’s my new Yamaha FJR1300 ES, just picked up and brought her home today!
Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 – Trip of Wasps Day 1
We had done a bit of packing the night before, and this morning was mostly about packing it all onboard the bikes.
While we were loading up the bikes, Izzy got out of the house and was running around, so Louise decided to try her out in the tank bag …
She kind of fits, maybe she’ll come with us on a trip sometime …
There was one thing we had to pick up before leaving. Louise wanted a sturdy camera bag for her new Canon 35mm camera. So instead of heading directly out, we ducked into the Future Shop at Deerfoot Meadows and got a nice camera bag that would fit into the tank bag.
By 1pm we were well out of town and heading south on the familiar pavement of the Cowboy Trail, aka Highway 22.
After stopping in Pincher Creek for a bit of gas and some food, the rest of the way south, through the border at Chief Mountain Crossing, was uneventful. We pulled into Johnson’s Campground just before 6pm, setup camp …
… then went to the Johnson Family Restaurant for dinner.
Back at the tent after dinner, we enjoyed a cup of tea and chatted with a guy who was fulfilling one of his bucket list items by riding his mountain bike coast to coast. His plan was to get up REALLY early in the morning so he could attack the Going-to-the-Sun road over Logan Pass. Apparently there’s a rule that bicycles have to be over the pass and on their way down before 10am or something like that. So he went to bed early, and because we were still recovering from the deck building effort, we went to bed early too.
Every year we try to have one big trip that we go on together, no matter what other trips we might have planned. It’s been that way since 2008 and our Montreal trip. This year was a little more complicated in that our patio deck was falling apart and it desperately needed to be replaced. It was now at the point where it wasn’t even safe for the dogs to go up and down anymore.
Now since I’d far rather go riding than … well pretty much anything … I had been prevaricating. So Louise, rightly so, got mad and said “No Deck? No Trip!” or something like that. We had agreed on Monday 19 Aug 2013 as the departure date. Based on the departure date, I worked out a plan for the deck and figured what bits and pieces would be needed to actually build the thing, then worked out how long I’d need.
With somewhat limited vacation time, I tried to minimize the time off of work for the deck building, but still wound up taking most of August 14, 15, and 16 off to build up the two of three major parts of the deck – the beam and the deck floor. By Friday, afternoon, we pulled down the old deck (which didn’t take much effort). By Saturday night we had the deck fully secured and the steps built. By Sunday night we had the steps up and the railings on. It was done!
But at what cost! There was absolutely no way possible for us to leave on Monday morning. We were just too worn out from working hard on the deck from early in the morning to dark, while also trying to do my job for a few hours on Wed, Thu and Fri mornings, in the 90 deg plus heat – Calgary was suffering a heat wave that week and weekend.
What made it worse, was that on Saturday, we’d made some reservations to go east to Duluth MN. for the Aerostich rally. Checkin for that was on Thursday, which meant that we’d have to leave Monday to get there in time, and even to just get there then, we’d have to haul ass to be able to arrive Thursday sometime before dark. Since we couldn’t leave Monday, that threw the whole Aerostich rally out the window.
Louise came up with a great alternative on Monday morning. We’d head south then west instead, staying no more than 2 days riding from Calgary, making the route up as we went. The only thing we knew for sure then, was that we’d leave Tuesday and head for the Johnstone Campground in St. Mary, on the east side of Glacier National Park in Montana. From there, we’d take it day by day.
By the way – the deck turned out awesome! And many thanks to Alvin, our next door neighbour and close friend for putting in hours helping out. And also many thanks to Robert for helping out and figuring out the magic with the stair railings.
I should have taken more pictures, but seriously, we just wanted to get the damn thing built.
So Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 was departure day!
Monday, July 1, 2013
We’d be home sometime this afternoon – it’s about a 4-5 hour ride to Calgary from Cranbrook.
Remember that Starbucks I mentioned yesterday? We decided to have breakfast there.
Another “product placement” …
… maybe so, but that breakfast muffin sure tasted good.
We got away pretty early – hitting the road just after 9am, which meant that we’d probably be home mid-afternoon.
Coming up on Fernie, traffic was very slow on the highway. Way back on Day 1 I had noted that the river was washing out a lane adjacent to the highway and by today construction crews had been hard at work making sure the rest of the eastbound lane didn’t fall away into the river.
This is the Fernie Stanford Resort, it’s a fairly striking building …
The rivers are still running pretty high …
We rolled into Sparwood at, lets see, 10:26am!
The primary reason was a bio break at the Sparwood Visitor Centre …
Louise must have wanted to document my beard with this close up shot. I can grow a pretty good beard, but it’s mostly grey now 😦
Tek operates a giant coal mine just over that ridge …
The west-bound passing lane just east of Sparwood was still being worked on after being in danger of washing away earlier in the week …
… that tree there is still in danger of losing it.
Another matching boot shot …
Yay, we’re back in Alberta! Now we’re going through the frustrating Crowsnest Pass area – traffic is usually pretty slow and there are few opportunities to pass …
One day I’m going to check out the Blackbird Coffee House – it’s in an old church!
What’s left of Turtle Mountain …
Frank Slide …
Turning of Highway 3 onto Highway 22 to head north.
After an hour or so running up the 22, and then east to Nanton, we stopped at the Flying J truck stop on Highway 2 for a bio break and a stretch. Louise may look like she’s doing a hero pose, but really she’s stretching out her back.
Back on the road, Highway 2 north to Calgary – ah the wide open skies of the Alberta prairie …
The happy-face barn on Highway 2 just south of Cayley not far from Calgary.
By 230pm we’d made it home safe and sound …
Just over 3550 kms …
All in, a great trip. I really enjoyed riding through Washington and through Anacortes. Having to replace the tire in Victoria was a a pain, but it all worked out well. Riding the Victoria area side roads and hanging out with the Honda ST crowd was fun. It was great having Louise on board for the return trip and I finally got to ride through Lilloet.
I did miss all the excitement that the flood caused in Calgary, by the time I got back, things had settled down to normal except for the hardest hits areas close by the rivers.
How did Louise like riding two-up? Well, she’s pretty adamant that she’ll never do it again. Not because she was scared or anything – rather, she was bored silly. Maybe that’s why she took a bunch of pictures of our feet. At any rate, she’ll be riding her own bike on any future trips.
Next up – Run to the Hills 2013 in Northern Alberta!
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Well, almost home – this was to be our second to last day on the road. The destination for today was Cranbrook, but we also had to stop at one of Louise’s favourite places on the road – the Buffalo Trails Coffee House in Creston.
This was another prolific day for Louise taking pictures – she took well over 200 pictures and it was pretty hard to pick the best. I’ve only been able to post a few pictures here, but if you want to see more, check out my photostreams on Flickr –
So on with the day!
We had breakfast next door at the Heartland Cafe, which was a heck of a lot better than the dinner the night before. I guess bacon and eggs are a little harder to screw up. By 930am we had the bike ready to go and all we needed was to top off the gas tank and head east.
Maybe we should have had breakfast here …
… way busier than the Heartland and a cooler name to boot!
Heavy traffic on the highway early Sunday morning …
And open road ahead …
We rode along the Similkameen River as the highway parallels it until the river runs south into the US and the highway curves near the border and heads back to the north just after passing through Keremeos, BC. Since it was relatively cool in the morning , we just kept riding until we got to Osoyoos at about 1030am. We stopped for water and a snack at the Osoyoos Visitor Centre.
Both Louise and I racked up some pictures while waiting for each other and while munching on trail mix and water.
Mmmmm, trail mix …
Wow, who knew that BC visitor centres offered “Free Hotel Accommodations”?
Hero shot …
Leaving the Visitor Centre, we dealt with the tourist traffic as we passed through the town of Osoyoos, with Louise taking pictures of the lake.
By this time, it was really getting hot and we were both looking forward to riding up the highway east out of the valley and back into the higher elevations where it’d hopefully be cooler. Highway 3 east from Osoyoos is a pretty steep road, and I love riding it going down and west – the view is spectacular and you’re on the inside lane on most of the hairpins. Going up and east doesn’t offer the same views and since you’re on the outside lane going up, the hairpins look like they just disappear over the edge which is a little freaky. Since the bike handles differently two-up, I didn’t push things too hard. I know that sounds a bit odd considering I had been pushing pretty hard yesterday on the Duffy Lake Road, but on that road I could see the whole curve going – even the hairpins. There are a couple of the hairpins going up the Osoyoos road where you can’t see the road because it just disappears off into the horizon.
Anyway, Louise took a video on the way up so there’s not so many pictures, but here’s a couple …
We did not stop at the Anaconda Cafe …
The Rock Creek Trading Post was a happening place! Not sure if it was the free Wifi that was causing these ladies to rush the place or if it was the market or the espresso … we did not stop here either …
Gas stop in Grand Forks …
We also had water and … trail mix! I love the dried cherries we put in the mix this time.
Middle of Christina Lake where the highway heads east up to Paulsen Summit and on to Castlegar …
Just outside of Castlegar on the east side, we pulled off for a rest and some water. Man was it hot, and I needed a bit of a break from riding.
Selfie for the win!
It wasn’t too much farther to Creston where we’d be stopping for a bite to eat, but first we had to go over the Salmo/Creston Pass just ahead. At least it would get cooler up at the summit!
There was still snow up at the elevation of the summit …
It’s not too often we get a picture of the wildlife while in motion, but Louise managed to capture these critters …
There is a mandatory stop in Creston – the Buffalo Trails Coffee House, Louise has to have a smoothie. Obviously, as can be seen by the signs behind me, they serve much more than smoothies, but I like the carrot cake …
There’s a place between Creston and Cranbrook whose name never fails to crack me up – Yahk. It’s such a ridiculous word – apologies to Yahkians, or Yahkans, or whatever people from Yahk call themselves. There’s not much at Yahk, a few gas stations, a motel, a couple of houses – but back when the railroad was a big deal, from the looks of the rail yard left over here, it was a much bigger place 50 or so years ago.
I’m not sure why, but somewhere between Yahk and Cranbrook, Louise took four pictures like this one …
… look we have matching boots!
After a long day of riding, by just after 6pm we rolled into Cranbrook …
… and headed across town for our usual spot – the Best Western on the east side.
Some might say it’s my favourite because there’s a Starbucks within walking distance!
After we unpacked the bike, Louise rode the FJR around the parking lot …
… and parked in the motorcycle parking only row.
Here’s some more “product placement” for tonight’s accommodations …
If recall, we went to Mike’s across the street for dinner, then made an early night of it. We’d be home in our own bed tomorrow night.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
I’d wanted to ride through Lilloet for quite some time and I was pretty excited to finally be able to do it. Our plan for today was to ride north from Squamish, through Pemberton and Lilloet, then south through Merritt and on to Princeton, where we’d stop for the night.
We managed to get up relatively early, tried out the free breakfast (which was typical free hotel breakfast quality) and got the bike loaded up and ready to go by just after 9am. The new Sandman Inn in Squamish is pretty nice …
After filling the gas tank …
A little while after cruising through Whistler Village, which seems like more a town than a village, we stopped at Pemberton for a bio- and snack- break at the Pemberton Tourist Info building.
From Pemberton to Lilloet, we’d be riding the Duffy Lake Road, a fairly famous motorcycling road in BC and after riding it, I can see why. From terrific scenery …
… to twisty pavement …
… – Duffy Lake Road was a blast to ride.
What also made it fun was that somehow I got ahead of a long line of bikes directly behind a truck/camper. I managed to get by the truck just before the really fun hairpins and such and had pretty much wide open road ahead, so I cranked it up a bit. Louise must trust my riding because we were setting quite a spirited pace and she didn’t hit me or yell even once! It was pretty fun, riding two-up and often pulling away from the bikes behind me.
Finally after about 40 minutes of riding hard into hairpins and tight turns, I backed off and let the long line of bikes behind me get by. The great thing was almost all the bikes give us a “thumbs-up” on the way by!
We saw more spectacular scenery and interesting roads the closer we got to Lilloet, which we reached around lunch time.
There’s a curious amount of waterways around Lilloet, crossed by a bridge into the town itself.
Instead of looking for a restaurant to eat at, we just stopped at the gas station and had a very forgettable kitchen trailer lunch that was merely edible. They did have lots of ice cream though.
By this time it was starting to get pretty hot and we knew that in heading south to Cache Creek/Lytton, it would be getting even hotter and boy were we right! It was 38 deg C. when we stopped at the Lytton Tourist Information Centre for a break – thankfully they had cheap ice-cold water and air-conditioned bathrooms.
It looks like I was about to start marching around in this picture.
The caboose at Lytton is right across the street from the Information Centre.
After our bio break, we were back on the road, this time heading north-east for a little while on the original TransCanada Highway until it reached the intersection of the TransCanada and Highway 8 aka Nicola Highway at Spences Bridge. We turned right heading to Merritt, BC.
The highway ran along the Nicola River for a ways …
but the scenery also included some more unusual sights …
Like most of the rivers in BC and western Alberta, the Nicola seemed to be running pretty high, even now in late June. The old fire truck prompted Louise and I to wonder if we could interest one of our best friends, Alvin, in a gently, well heavily actually, used fire truck. It was certainly more pink than red after sitting in the sun for probably decades.
The scenery had changed dramatically from the heavily forested coastal mountain area we left behind in Squamish only this morning to the far more arid and freaking hot climate we were in now.
Because it was hot and we we both getting tired, we stopped for a bio and water break at a 7-11 in Merritt.
At the time, we probably could have used the giant-size of Gatorade, but we settled for a couple of bottles of cold water each instead …
On the way into Princeton, we saw signs along the side of the highway promoting the Princeton Rodeo, (we think), which suggested that hotel rooms would be at a premium. Once we got to Princeton, we tanked up …
before locating the Sandman Hotel, which is really just a jumped up motel with Sandman Hotel bed covers!
The picture is better than the reality. There was probably better hotels in Princeton, but I figured the Sandman would be alright and once we got there, we were too tired to go chasing around looking around for another hotel.
We ate a forgettable meal at the Heartland Restaurant next door, where the most of the menu was made up of Greek dishes. I think we watched TV for a bit and we both fell asleep. Sweet dreams …
Cranbrook, BC tomorrow.
Friday, June 28, 2013 – It’s been a week since I’d seen my wife Louise, except for the evening FaceTime sessions to catch up. But I’d be picking her up at the airport in the morning at 830am. Back when I was planning this trip, Louise wanted to come, but it was the very last week of school for her, which is a really tough time to take off. So she thought she’d do the next best thing – she’d fly out early Friday morning with the minimum of stuff, wearing her gear and carrying her helmet – and ride back as pillion with me. So I packed all her traveling clothes and toiletries with my stuff when I left, so she wouldn’t have to have any luggage and a minimum of carry-on.
When I first arrived in Victoria, I connected with my friend Richard Catinus and we’d arranged for breakfast for us and our wives at the Brentwood Bay Resort restaurant. So as soon as I picked up Louise at the airport, we’d head over there. This was handy because our plan from breakfast was to head across Brentwood Bay on the small ferry and from there ride up to Departure Bay in Nanaimo for the ferry back to the mainland at Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver, then stop for the night at Squamish.
So I was up early to finish packing up and to load the bike, and have a coffee before heading out at about 745am.
Traffic on the roads through the outskirts of Victoria were pretty light until I got closer to the airport, it seems I got in on the start of rush-hour traffic. I got there early, which is way better that being late, so I wandered around the airport and outside for a while until I noticed Louise’s flight had arrived. I waited, camera in hand, for Louise to come through the doors …
I thought that there would have been some unusual looks or non-routine security hassles seeing as Louise didn’t have any luggage and was dressed in her motorcycle jacket and pants, carrying her helmet. But apparently no one gave her a second look, as if people dressed like that for the plane all the time!
It was only a few minutes to the Brentwood Bay Resort where we met up with Richard and Deb – they had arrived just before us. We had a great breakfast and they even had a cool looking teapot assembly to keep Louise’s tea hot:
We had a great time catching up and before we left we asked the waitress to take a picture of all of us …
With breakfast complete, we said our goodbyes, and we headed off to the Brentwood Bay Ferry Terminal not even a block away from the resort. We just missed the ferry and watched it pull away as I rode past a line of cars to near the front of the line. I couldn’t get right up front because a car pulling a tent trailer and truck pulling a horse trailer had the ramp totally blocked. I thought of riding up the off-ramp to get to the very front, but Louise didn’t like that idea so I stayed where I was. For some reason, the ferry was late coming back, so the wait was longer than the schedule showed. I chatted a bit with a BC Ferries employee, but he didn’t have any information on the holdup – he was just delivering a package for the other side in Mill Bay.
Eventually the ferry arrived, unloaded, and we got onboard for the 20 minute or so ride to Millwood Bay.
Once we unloaded, the Zumo GPS led us to the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal for the 90 minute ride to Horseshoe Bay and from there, we’d ride up to Squamish for the dinner and the night. Since we had just missed the last ferry, we had a bit of a wait until the next one, so we had a snack from Starbucks and communed with the semi-wild bunnies that inhabited the grassy area next to the parking area.
Oh wait, that’s not real grass there. It’s fake grass, astroturf or something. Looks real from a distance, but it’s clearly fake closeup.
It’s not too often you get to ride two ferries in one day – well, for a guy from the prairies, two in one day IS worth crowing about. Louise and I spent a pleasant 90 minutes or so just sitting reading and chatting as the ferry crossed over to Vancouver …
… while the bike stood lonely in the belly of the boat.
I did, however, take the time to make a hotel reservation at the brand-new Sandman Hotel in Squamish – Louise wanted nice places to stay at, not random small cheap motels.
While we were one of the first ones onto the ferry on boarding, the way the deck narrows, we wouldn’t be the first off, we pretty much had to wait until the entire centre section exited before the traffic guys waved at us to move out.
Now an interesting thing happened, and while I’m sure that other folks who ride two-up get this, sitting on the back Louise wound up taking tons of pictures – way more than either of us would have riding out own bikes. Louise literally took a hundred pictures or more a day on the way home. So many in fact that it became difficult to figure out which photos to post!
So here’s a bit of a sample as we zipped along the Sea-to-Sky Highway on our way to Squamish.
Late in the afternoon, we arrived in Squamish and prepared to seek out the Sandman for the night. So our first stop was at the Information Centre, which is a very cool looking new building on the highway. It must have been built for the Olympics …
Does my bum look big in my Aerostich? Actually I don’t care if it is …
We figured out where the hotel was (it was so new that it wasn’t in the GPS), checked in and got showered.
Then we stopped at the front desk to see about recommendations for a dinner. A woman was checking out or in or something piped up and quickly suggested a place called The Water Shed. It sounded good, so with a minimum of pretty inadequate directions we took off looking for the place. Now Squamish isn’t very big, so you’d think that even with inadequate directions, it’d easy. First we had to decide – left or right?
We chose left.
We chose the correct direction, but we drove up and down this one road until finally, after agreeing to go past just one more curve … Turns out it wasn’t so easy to find, but we found it and it was worth it – the food was pretty darn good.
It was still pretty warm out but as we were finishing our dinner, we saw the mist start rolling in on the river, which was pretty cool – the picture doesn’t really do it justice.
Back at the hotel, I parked right in front of the main entrance and that was it for the night.
Tomorrow, we planned to get to Princeton, via Lilloet and Merritt.
Thursday, June 27, 2013 – The plan for today didn’t go beyond riding the Port Refrew – Lake Cowichan road. We had discussed it the night before and agreed that we’d be wheels up at 9am. It had rained most of the day yesterday and overnight and the forecast was for more rain today. Some of the guys weren’t sure they wanted to ride all day in the rain, but as we were gearing up and getting ready, the weather looked to be improving.
So a few guys that were wavering on the fence decided to come along with us keeners.
However, the further north we went on Highway 14, the heavier the rain got. There were a few of us who were pretty blasé about the rain – we had the right gear so we stayed warm and dry, and I had my Aerostich finger wipe blade – but there were a few others that turned back for a spa day at the hotel. It was a steady downpour by the time we reached Port Renfrew. We stopped at a place on that was supposed to make good pie or something but it was closed on Thursdays of all days – and today was Thursday.
Someone, I can’t recall whether it was a passerby or one of crew, suggested going a little further up the road to the Port Renfrew Hotel.
That turned out to be a great idea – the food was very good, and we had large number of WeSTOC folks here for a group brunch – in fact we pretty much took over the place!
After brunch, a few more riders dropped off, heading back to the hotel. Us survivors carried on to Lake Cowichan and we rode through rain and lighter showers, with very occasional bright spots. With the road so wet, it somewhat took away from the experience in that no one was cranking and banking. We all took it pretty easy – so much so that instead of turning around at Lake Cowichan and doing the road again in reverse, the group consensus was to simply jump onto the highway at Duncan and slab it back to Sooke. We made pretty good time in spite of the rain and the beginnings of rush hour. It wasn’t really that hard a decision to come back, we all wanted to be back at the hotel cleaned up for the group picture and the big banquet dinner.
Arriving back in Sooke around 3pm or so, we all filled the tanks and Gord asked if I was interested in a coffee at the Stick in the Mud again? But of course I was!
After heading back to the hotel and getting a quick shower, I wandered about killing time until the group photo was ready to go. With the full support of the hotel staff, various generations of Honda STs were run up into the courtyard to be in the foreground of the picture. This is almost the same angle as the eventual picture:
We all enjoyed the banquets dinner and the prize handouts. Sadly though I did not win a set of tires like I did in 2011 in Nelson.
I ducked outside for some fresh air and noticed the fog rolling in …
After a couple of drinks I headed back to get a head start on packing – I had to be up early so I could get to the Victoria Airport to pick Louise up at 830!
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 – The night before, a group of us who had ridden together before had decided to ride together today on some roads in the area that are the Destination Highways map of the area. Now admittedly there’s not a lot of fun-to-ride roads in the area. There’s Highway 14 up to Port Refrew, then the old logging road from Port Refrew to Lake Cowichan, which is awesome. But almost all the other roads around either have tons of traffic (Malahat) or homes and driveways all along the way and you never know when someone might suddenly pull out (Gillespie, Kangaroo) or are are very narrow forcing caution due to oncoming cars (Humpback Road).
It was wheels-up at 9am so I was in the ballroom just after 8am for a buffet breakfast sponsored by Honda Canada. During breakfast, our small Calgary crew decided on riding some of the local Destination Highways roads, and save Port Renfrew for tomorrow. Since Guy was the only one of us that remembered to bring a map, he was designated leader.
In addition to breakfast, Honda Canada also provided three bikes for test rides – one of the new NX700 (I think), a CBR1000 (I think) and the new F6B (Goldwing Bagger). They were out and about all day.
By about 845am, we were all outside in the parking lot getting fired up and seeing who needed to hit the gas station before heading out – it turns out we all needed gas!
At the gas station, one of the guys found that he’d picked up a nail or a screw in his rear tire, so he bailed, and headed off to Victoria to see if he could get it fixed. That left Guy, Rod, Gord and myself.
So we rode the obvious DH roads, and Guy took on some offshoots that looked suitably squiggly on the map. On one, we ran down a narrow paved lane to a dead end at a hiker’s trailhead.
Here’s Guy, Gord and Rod
While we couldn’t get up to any speed, and we were always on guard watching for cages and deer, the roads sure were fun to ride! Eventually we took a road called William Head Road that led to a spot near the water, and we were surprised that the road ended in the staff parking lot at the William Head Minimum-Security Federal penitentiary!
We stopped to stretch and wander a bit, Gord took off to take some pictures. While he was up at the main building, the rest of us stayed at the bikes near the exit … and took some pictures. Gord also took some pictures, then asked an official coming out of the building if he could take pictures? Since we were at a federal institution, of course the answer was no, and the guy made Gord erase all the photos off his camera! We later found out that Gord did a bulk erase, deleting ALL the photos from the camera, not just the 4 or 5 he took at the Pen!
I didn’t ask about any of the pictures I took, so I got away with it!
We found some twistie roads around Metchosin, to the north of Sooke, and around 1pm, decided to find a place for lunch. Guy led us on a merry route through the wilds of Esquimalt, which is the home of the Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet and Command. Finally, at the marina, we found this place …
Rare among most places, this place had motorcycle-only parking right in front. The owner saw us pull into the parking lot and ran out to wave at us to make sure we parked there. We sat on the patio right next to the bikes!
Lunch was really good – mostly fish that I assume was fresh caught. Our waitress, Giselle was originally from Edmonton, but she’s a surfer-girl and so she moved here to Victoria a few years ago. Rod took a shine to her and asked how long it took to accept the slower pace on the Island and to stop yelling at cage-drivers to “get a move on!”? She said it took her two years.
I got her to take a picture of all of us …
… then Rod wanted a picture with Giselle, can’t remember why now …
… and I thought I’d take a picture of myself too.
There was one other road Guy was going to lead us to, before heading back to the hotel for the day – Humpback Road. That road was pretty close to Sooke, so we followed Metchosin Road where we had the closest encounter of the day with deer. I couldn’t get the camera out quick enough, but there were two small deer standing in the middle of the road as Guy braked – then they bolted off to the right and into the bush.
We also had a close encounter with some Canada Geese on the Ocean Blvd causeway between the ocean and the Esquimalt Lagoon. It’s a narrow road and both side had tons of geese in and out of the water. They’re pretty used to people and we had roll by a few very slowly …
These geese weren’t running, they were just ambling along, like they owned the road instead of the other way around.
Eventually we found the Humpback Road which is pretty narrow, twisty and rough in spots. So rough in fact that Guy’s top-box came off his FJR and nearly hit Rod following behind. From behind Rod, I saw the wild Givi case bounce and bound and then roll into the deep ditch. We stopped and Guy kept going, oblivious. Rod retrieved the case and surprisingly, it didn’t open, nor did it look too damaged – just some scratches. We waited for a few more minutes to see if Guy was going to come back for his case, but when it looked like he wasn’t coming back, Rod strapped onto his ST1300 and we went off to find Guy.
Quite a bit farther up the road, Rod came upon Guy headed back the other way – he finally realized that no one was behind him and so he turned back to find us, still not realizing that he’d lost his top-case, until Rod pointed it out. We all stopped while Guy secured the case back onto his bike, and we headed back down the road.
Back near the hotel, we all stopped at the Petro-Canada to fill up. Rod and Guy went back to the hotel, while Gord and I went off to find the “Stick in the Mud” Coffee Shop in Sooke, just around the corner from the gas station. Well, that was easier said than found. Gord and I went all the way the road until it ended, turned around to come back, before finding the place, tucked in behind another building.
Great service, great coffee, great carrot cake! Gord and I had a great conversation as well.
You’d think this orange sign on the side of the road would be hard to miss, but we both did the first time past …
Back in my room for a quick shower and change before dinner in the hotel restaurant, I found this little piece of towel art left me by the cleaning staff!
After dinner, I joined the guys for a wee shot of Irish Whiskey. I actually did just have a wee shot – my drink(s) of choice are beer and red wine, not so much whiskey – ever since that unfortunate night with a 26oz bottle of Canadian Club when I was 17 …
Tomorrow, wheels up a 9am again, this time we’re doing the Port Renfrew-Lake Cowichan road.
Tuesday, June 25 2013 – The day started out pretty bad. I could see the bike from my window, but not the tire, so after having a quick shower next door in the shared bathroom, I headed down to the diner for breakfast and checked out the tire, which was flat – flat to the rim.
While I ate a breakfast that I’m sure was pretty tasty, I just couldn’t finish it. Things looked kinda bleak, because if the tire wouldn’t hold air, I wasn’t sure I could get it replaced quickly in Port Angeles and of course without the bike being mobile, I’d have no way of getting around. I had a hotel waiting for me in Sooke tonight, so I didn’t want to spend another night in Port Angeles.
Oh and I was beating myself up just a bit for not looking more closely at the tire earlier – I could have avoided this drama if I’d have known the tire was leaking say on Sunday or even on Saturday night.
Anyway, I figured I’d get out the compressor and see if the tire would inflate and hold for a bit, then decide on what to do. Hooking up the compressor is much easier when not in the rain!
I also put the bike on the centre stand and I got a pail of water to see if I could find the leak. If I found it I could at least plug it which would keep me mobile until I could get another tire in Victoria or make it home. I poured the entire pail of water over the entire tread of the tire and I could not find the leak. I did find a 1/4″ gash in the tread, but it was not bubbling, so it might not have been the leak.
It was now 7am, and since I’d left the tire 30 mins previously and it was still over 40 lbs, I figured I’d make it on the ferry to Victoria and once there I could get the tire fixed or whatever. The terminal office opened at 7am, so walked the 1/2 block and bought my ticket.
By 8am I had the bike in line all packed up and ready, with the compressor in the top box, easily accessible because I was sure I was going to need it before getting off the ferry. Since I had inflated the tire at about 645am, the tire had lost about 10 lbs.
There were a number of other bikers going across that were also going to WeSTOC and we got to chatting of course. Ironically only one of them was a Honda ST1300. After we got loaded onto the ferry and left the terminal, I got chatting with the ST1300 rider, Phil from Pennsylvania. Turns out, like two others that I chatted with so far on this trip, he was also a Vietnam vet – he was an lieutenant in one of the last infantry units in country before they all pulled out.
Because of the size of the SS Coho and possibility of rough seas in the Juan de Fuca Strait, the bikes all had to be secured to prevent them from tipping over.
When we got close enough to Victoria that my phone switched back to Rogers instead of AT&T, I googled the motorcycle dealers in town to see if I could line up a tire. I recalled that a friend of mine in Victoria had mentioned SG Power on Hillside was pretty good, so I called them. As I expected, they did not have a BT023 Rear in stock – it would be a week away, so I asked for any tire that would fit the wheel. They did have a heavy duty sportbike tire, so I took that. The next part was lining up the installation – at first, the answer was not until Friday, but when I explained that I was traveling, the service guy said, “ok bring it in, we’ll do it right away”.
As the ferry pulled into the dock, I hooked up the compressor and brought the tire back up normal pressure, from the low of 20 lbs it reached during the 1 hour crossing. Good thing SG Power was close to downtown Victoria, because as I pulled into the service area, the tire was getting squishy again.
In addition to motocycles, SGpower does a lot of boats, and I mean a lot …
I had given the service guys my name, so as soon I rolled in, they took the bike, got the panniers off and got to work. Within an hour they had the tire changed and I was back on the road with a brand new Bridgestone BT023! Now I have to scrub that newness off that tire!
Many thanks have to go to the service and parts staff at SG Power – they clearly exhibited superior customer service and might have saved my trip! If you’re in need of motorcycle (or boat) service in Victoria – I can heartily recommend SG Power.
So, fully functional, I headed north to see a good friend of mine in Victoria, Richard Catinus and after spending a couple of hours catching up, I finally headed out to Sooke for WeSTOC!
I arrived at the hotel around 345pm, got checked in, unpacked and showered, and washed up some of my shirts and such in the sink and hung to dry. I wish I had taken a picture of the bathroom!
Downstairs, I hooked up with some riding buddies and got a beer before the BBQ and Riders Meeting. While things were getting started for the BBQ, the Victoria Police Motor Unit rolled up with three brand new Victory Cross-Country Police bikes.
The Three officers, on their own time, spent about an hour talking about their unit, their experience with Honda ST1300 and the transition to the Victory Cross-Country Police bikes, and about the recent trip to a police motorcycle rally in northern California over the previous weekend. They told some great stories and then answered some questions.
In spite of some wild weather all over North America in the past few days, there was very little drop-off in attendees and the ballroom was pretty full for dinner …
And Motoport was there again, with a huge amount of kevlar gear to see, touch, and try on. I had a good conversation with Wayne, the owner of Motoport, about Louise’s gear. He committed to make it all right – just get her gear back to them and they’d fix it. Good to know.
The BBQ was followed by beer and bench racing. A small group of us decided on riding together the next day on some roads between Sooke and Victoria.