About Me

My photo
read the blog(s) and find out.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Al, great stories. You kept me entertained and jealous as I sat at work! Good job man, wise words. Johnny