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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

even more pictures!

i've uploaded some large size pictures... they're still smaller than the 3264 x 1832 pictures that i took them at :)

i couldn't post all the pictures since all of them take up like 5.5 gigs of space. heh.

anyhow, i've put up a few of some pictures that caught my eye and that i like for one reason or another.

more pictures!

I know some people like to look at pictures. I'm one of them.
Althought I never got to see Inuvik, the Dempster highway, nor take any pictures that way... I did manage to fire off a few pictures...

roughly 2475. can't post all of those online now can i.

I've been going through my pics because, well, some of the sights are still in my mind and they were awesome, so i wanted to see them again.

to the right you'll find the panoramic pictures link. they might look funny, but that's because they are really wide. some turned out pretty well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The final countdown or: how i learned to stop worrying and love the road

july 2
tired. oh so tired.

This is it.. the final day i had to get home. I wasn't going to make it in time for work for the 2nd, but at least i'd be there for the 3rd.

1046 km. 650 miles. this day was going to be brutal. i'm going to need every bit of wits to get through it. all the weather reports say thundershowers along the route i'll be taking. crap. since i i didn't wake up early, i was on the road by 10:30. crap.

I say that i'll need every bit of wits because i know i'll be riding at night, one of my PIAA riding lights isn't working and it's always the final stretch that's the most dangerous of all trips. people tend to fall in a false sense of security and they get tired and bam! crash.

i'm determined to not let that happen to me today.
this was going to be a long day.

the route in the GPS said i'd be home at 9:30pm. with breaks and all i should be home by about midnight.

I rode until i needed gas and went to a denny's. i know, not the best food in the world, but it beats eating a handful of skittles and bottle of water.

I sat where i could see if someone was near the bike. hah.
The heartland scramble. pretty good actually... i felt better already.So i hit the road... and rode and rode and rode. luckily, the speed limit of 70mph isn't followed by everyone... most go way faster. a cop passed me when i was doing 80mph. heh. i guess the speed limit isn't observed in every state.

I stopped at a visitor info center near Ann Arbor, and relieved myself and had a coffee from a vending machine. this machine worked finally and the coffee wasn't half bad for being from a vending machine.

I had seen a BMG1200 GS adventure on the other side of the building so i walked out that way and started chatting with it's owner.

Meet Steven (hope i spelled it right)
He's a fellow canuck from manitoulin island. He was doing a great lakes tour while riding to his different meetings. it beats flying if you have the time. i want that job. hah.

He lived in ottawa for some time and has family there too. small world eh?

We chatted a while about this and that and since we were both heading in the same direction to the same border crossing, we rode off together.

holy crap the GPS had me switching lanes ever few miles for the different interstate exits i had to take to get to the port huron crossing. traffic wasn't exactly light either, but we managed to go at least the speed limit and not have any spills. hah.

The border crossing was one of the easiest i'd ever gone through. Standard questions, only asked for my plate and didn't even take my passport. wow.
She asked about my trip in total and i gave her my route. she was a bit shocked and asked if i'd do it again on a motorcycle. hah. of course i would!

first things first. i hadn't had a Tim Hortons coffee since leaving vancouver on what.. .the 24th? holy crap. over a week with only crappy gas station coffee. BTW, americans don't have coffee shops like canadians do. we love our coffee. yes, they have their little expresso and starbucks places, but only in major cities. If a canadian city has more than a few thousand people, there will be a Tims. if Tims invaded the states, there would be one every 50 miles along every insterstate. heh.

ahhh... tims.

Steven and I chatted a bit longer (and an old biker came to talk to us as well) and we parted ways.

Off east i went, and the weather started turning sour. light rain, but with all the traffic along tthe 401, it was a mess. I pulled over for a coffee and put on all my rain gear. i took longer than normal, but my shoulders were really bothering me. I had popped 2 advil when i got up in the morning, and i popped 2 more when i took a break. seemed to help a bit.

Since one of my forks leaked, it created 2 problems.
1) it went all over the brake so stopping is a problem
2) this changes the cornering characteristic and overall stability of the bike when both forks aren't balanced.
another problem; ever since they changed my back tire, the back brake has been real soft. maybe just an adjustment, but i know they are pretty much done.

so. no brakes. guess i have to keep my distance then.

and to my suprise, i guess all the rain washed most of the oil off my front brake, so i seemed to stop better. heh.

I could see the airport from the 401 and traffic came to a dead stop. it says that the 3 right lanes on the 401 is closed up ahead. i didn't know how far the street was closed, and didn't know how many lanes the 401 had up there. i was hoping for many.

2 and a half hours later, i got past the bottleneck. holy crap. GPS says i'll be there at 1:30 am. crap. i guess i can try to aim for 2am then.

I got into toronto at about 6:30. got out at 9. Bad traffic in the other direction as well as there was a crash and all lanes were closed. that's gotta suck.

into the night i rode, and kept my speed down to about 110-118. only faster when passing a big truck... don't want to stay beside one of those for too long. bad things happen.

at one point i had no traffic in front of me and the oncoming traffic wouldn't be blinded by my hi-beams, so i turned them on. WINK and no headlight whatsoever. damn, guess the bulb i just bought in vancouver wasn't so great. at least i had my regular lght when i turned off the hi-beam.
lo-beam and 1 PIAA riding light. great.

At a service station near kingston, i got a coffee and croisant, and went about to change out my headlight bulb to my Spare.
I took apart my headlight and looked at the bulb. hmm. seems ok, so i put in the spare. the spare didn't work on hi-beam either. CRAP. fuse must have blown.

I started working on the bike. I opened up the side toolkit, and noticed the whole thing was hanging by a loose bolt. i almost lost the whole toolkit assembly! i put in a spare bolt and tightened the other one. good enough for now.

I took off the side cover to get to the fuses. damn mosquitoes were bugging me. arg. I took out the burned fused and put a new one in. huzzah!

gassed up and knew i wouldn't be stopping until i got to ottawa. i had enough fuel to get there and it was already late. i didn't look at the time, but i wasn't so tired yet since i just had another large coffee.

uneventful until i got off the 401 and took the 416 north. no traffic ahead so i put on my hi-beam. yay!! err... wait. it popped after 2 mins. CRAP. it was foggy out so i put on my fog lights... at least that helped for a bit. then it started raining, and the fog lights were starting to blind me, so i did the only thing i could do. run lo-beams with the 1 PIAA light and slow way down. I was going about 90 km/h. that's slow for me if you know how i ride/drive. heh.

the rain didn't let up. i could barely see out of my visor as water was smeared inside the visor, combined with a bit of fog. this was hellish.

finally got into town and stopped at a Tims for another coffee and to unwind. i didn't want to take the major highway home, as i knew it would be crazy, so i took other roads to get home.

I got home and 3:30 am. that sucked. all i had to eat today was breakfast and a croisant. Coffee helps. a lot.

so here i am, safe and sound back home, thinking of the next big trip.

i didn't take note of stats like how much gas i used, how much everything cost, yadda yadda.

Here's some the GPS did for me
21,337 kms/13,258 miles total round trip distance
5 provinces gone through
1 territory toured
14 different states touched.

for those curious as to what my route was, here's a google maps view. it's not exact, but it's close enough

[edit]I had to get rid of the map here...just too big and kept crashing IE

View Map

Totally different than what i had planned in april. see it here

I learned much on this trip, and not all of it about motorcycling. so many roads out there... so much to see, so little time.

if there's one piece of advice i have for everyone, it's this; you have one life. live it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

a very boring day overall for canada day

July 1st
first of all, happy Canada day!
I was glad i put my little canadian flags on the back of my bike in vancouver. The whole time i've been in the states i people always see the flags. heh.

anyhow, the affordable inn was a pretty good deal... hot shower, soap and shampoo, a clean bed, cable and wifi.

The weather didn't look that bad, but it didn't look great. I didn't put on the rain gear though and i only put on the jacket liner and the warmer gloves. for some reason my legs don't get too cold. maybe it's because they're a few inches away from a really hot engine. hah.

I learned last night that a buddy's dad from work passed away recently. Another friend's mom died a few days ago as well. Brigitte S. ( my ex's mom) was quite dear to me and passed away on July 1st 2003... i hate cancer.

I'm thinking that if i do another ride like this next year, i'll do it for a cause to spread the word, or something like that... a ride for cancer or something. i wouldn't have the first clue how to do it, but hell, i talk to enough people when i ride, it wouldn't be hard to figure out something.

cancer sucks.

this trip isn't over and i've already started planning for the next one. heh

anyhow, back to me

I rode out of town and didn't stop for coffee or anything like i usually do.
After about 120 miles i figured it was time for food and gas.
I stopped in at a gas/restaurant place called the hearty platter (i think that's what it's called)

a stealth photo of the inside of the diner. heh

What was funny is that it was a smoking restaurant. hadn't seen that in a while. even as a smoker i'm not sure i liked it, but the place didn't stink and had good ventilation.

I ordered the long haul breakfast of 3 eggs, 3 bacon, 3 sausage and a choice of hash browns or american fries. WTF are american fries? i didn't ask. at the time i though it was just french fries and they had something against the french... kinda like they wanted to call them freedom fries at one point. i still don't know what they were. i got the hash browns.

it was pretty good... then again, how can you screw up bacon and eggs. hah.

the view from inside.The rest of the day was spent riding. no pictures because most of the time i was whipping through wisconsin at 85mph. not so safe to take pictures at that time.

I tried to stop as seldom as possible and just try to get home. it was 1047miles from the motel to home, but i was not in shape to try an Iron Butt ride.

wisconsin is pretty boring btw... then again my view is from the interstate, so it would be rather boring nonetheless.
Crossed into Illinois and headed for Chicago... that's where the GPS said i had to go.
I stopped at the rest area on the border of illinois and went to the visitor info. i wanted to score a free map and i did... I was also getting tired a bit and my shoulders were sore, so a rest was in order. they had a coffee machine there and for $0.80 you can get a cup of coffee. insert dollar bill, the cup drops, the cream and sugar go in... then nothing. no coffee came out and the little door opened. piss me off. i really wanted a coffee.

I drove for another 120 miles or so and grabbed a coffee and gas then. This was after the 1st of multiple toll booths. man they're annoying when you're on a bike.
The first one was a buck, then 1.60 and i lost count how many or how much they were.

the traffic was heavy and didn't realize what time it was. 4pm. CRAP. rush hour and i'm heading in, through and out of chicago. crap. anyone that knows me knows that i have the WORST timing. seriously i do.

it took me at least two and a half hours to get through chicago. man that was nasty. I stopped in at the Mcdonalds on the other side of chicago near the indiana border because ever since i got to chicago, i had to pee. bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic with a loaded motorcycle when you have to pee really sucks donkey butt.
It didn't help that the people here drove pretty poorly. no close calls, but i kept my distance. big city driving = agressive. small town drivers are usually just nicer.

I had to make my pilgrimage to the Castle. heh.

4 sliders, a fry and a drink. fries were cold, the drink was cold and the burgers were... well, if you've ever had sliders, you know what they are like. heh.

I hit the road and tried to keep near the speed limit of 60mph. there's no way. the trucks were supposed to go 55, and they were doing 70. the cars doing 80-85mph. seems people ignore the speed limits here. heh. Well, i kept up and set the pace at times. i don't like being behind people.

I wondered if i could make it to the middle of michigan before it got too late and too dark. it was getting real dark real fast. hmm. better look for a motel soon then. I stopped in to Kalamazoo and got a room. hmm... i thought it was 9pm, but when looked at the clock on the wall, it was 10pm. crap. i moved over another timezone again. at least now my laptop, my motorcycle and GPS all have the same time again. heh. at least my cell phone changed time automatically when it hit a new timezone.

unloaded my bags in the motel 6, and did nothing else. i'm tried. i need to be back in ottawa tomorrow, but i won't make it in time for work. I had called work earlier to make sure that i was covered for tomorrow's shift. had i not had all the breakdowns, i would have been home days ago.

ah well, one more day, 650 miles left to ride and back home i will be.
no more updates until home i'd assume... unless something bad happens. hah.