Sunday, October 3, 2010

Season winding down

I think that, even with the above average temps we are enjoying, fall chill is not far away. I had intended to go for one more trip to complete the trifecta, but I suffered a few set backs, and now time is running short. There were a few roads and a few people I really wanted to meet but I will have to wait until next season. Big D has proved to be a noble steed, and I look forward to many more miles together...I think she is a keeper. Little K, my 650 KLR, has been waiting patiently for it's turn on the trail, more dirt worthy, but not quite as quick and slick as Big D. Don't worry, we will have time next year to explore some roads less travelled. Thanks to the blog followers(all four of you). Sorry about not completing the trilogy, but we had a good run, weather notwithstanding. See you all in springride2011.

over and out      philly

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

False start today..still hurting

Got a fairly early start today..09:00, and felt pretty good. An hour out, though, I started to unravel. Stopped at my parent's place in Harris for tea, and to deliver the new computer mouse I promised. Something just didn't feel right. Heading south once again, I got to Rosetown, and pulled into the 7-11, and sat there for about 10 minutes, and felt like I had nothing left to give..wasted. This is stupid, I thought. Not wanting to calf out this early, I felt it best to head back. On the way back, I encountered the most savage cross wind I have ever ridden through.....really. Big D is no light weight, and she was tossed around like a toy. I found that it was easier to let the wind turn my helmet sideways, and turn the globes to see ahead. By the time I got home, I was totally wasted, and had a major coffee headache to boot. Picked up a Timmy, and fell asleep in the back yard. Hoping to take one more crack at it..maybe tomorrow. I know that if I get south and over the pass, I should be ok. Maybe I'll take saskff's advice...take a couple tylenol, and hit the road.

over and out      philly

Monday, September 27, 2010

Trying to get pointed south

I have been packed and ready for days, but I am not firing on all cylinders. Some kind of virus or something is kicking my butt, and getting out of bed is almost enough for the day. The unseasonably warm weather won't last forever. I got a week of vacation time bumped back to Oct 2..thanks Thod. Now I just have to get my old carcass on Big D, and head south. Tomorrow is the 28th, and I'm going to give it a shot...head south, and try to get across the line in good time, and take advantage of the cheaper camp spots and lodging. I still haven't decided which pass to use, maybe just stay on I90, or maybe play it by ear. In this less than stellar condition, riding days may be shorter than normal..if I really start to crater, I'll turn back...better a live woosie than a dead or crippled martyr.
I'm trying real hard to justfy going for the longest leg of the trilogy at this late date. Perhaps because people are saying ooooh, it could get rough, and I feel I have something to prove..I don't know..I hope it is just because I find such joy in riding to new places, and the clock is ticking. Of course, the old guilty feeling is creeping in, leaving the fam behind while I adventure alone...hard to shake that..hoping it settles down as the ride unfolds.

over and out     philly

Friday, September 17, 2010

End of Phase 2 - Whitecourt to home

The morning was foggy, as ususal, but soon lifted. The clouds hung low, looking cold and ominous. A light rain was misting down...not much, so I decided against rain gear. The road was clear, traffic light, so I made good time. All in all, a pretty good day. As I rode east, the rain clouds were visibly going the same direction. When stopped for gas, it seemed to catch up. My favorite Timmy along this road is at Vegreville. I stopped there for a coffee and a stretch. Pretty ho hum stuff, considering where I just came from. It's all good, though...not many things in this world give me joy like blasting down the road on a competent steed. The anti climax of arriving home, finding everything the same, is somewhat of a mixed bag. Any issues you rode away from rear their ugly head as soon as you stop rolling. Heck of a ride, though, one that I will repeat, and soon. I put more miles on my bike than I had in the last five years combined. Looks like a holding pattern for now...unseasonably cold air has moved in, and looks like it may be around a while. I was hoping to make a run south before winter, but..we'll see what develops. Thanks for watching

Once again...I have some short vids on You channel is frphilia. 

Over and out..philly

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fogged and Frozen.

The ride south was for the most part uneventful. Mile after mile unravelled, and it became a matter of gas, coffee, gas, coffee, gas, pee, coffee, gas. I felt pretty fresh, so I carried on to Grand Prairie, and arrived there about 10 PM, after leaving at 8 AM. The sky was slightly overcast, so the remaining heat of the day was held down, and it was quite nice.

SIDE STORY: I'm willing to give most folks the benefit of the doubt, bit these Alberta yokels really are starting to irk me. I was travelling south, about 5km from Grand Prairie, it's dark, road construction is clearly marked 80km/ passing. I'm going 110km/hr, and two 4x4 trucks(the ones with the fat tires and high springs)blow by me like I'm standing still, showering me with all manner of debris. WTH!!!

SECOND SIDE STORY: Right after the above incident, I pull in for gas. I'm finished filling, and getting geared up,and this jerkwad pulls his brand new Mustang up behind me, and starts reving the engine. I turn to him, and say"what, you want this pump?" I look around, and the entire island is empty...there are seven other pumps open, and you want this one??? I'm already more than a little miffed over the last deal, but when you are alone, hundreds of miles from home, it's perhaps wise to suck it up and move on. A look around the town showed similar attitudes.....young men(boys) roaring around in 60k dollar trucks, spewing attitude, and trying to show how macho they are. Too much money...too little brains.

I was in too good a mood to let these incidents ruin it, so I carried on down the road. As I neared Fox Creek, I noticed the cloud cover had cleared, and the stars were shining brightly...not good. Still feeling good, I decided to push on. I could feel the temp dropping, but my heated vest kept me comfy, only my feet were getting a little cool.
About 50km short of Whitecourt the fog dropped in like a cold, wet blanket. the fog was freezing on the windshield, and on my visor. They have these huge luminous moose on posts by the side of the road, to warn of wildlife, and they kept freaking me out when the headlights would catch them. One actual deer did show it's face, but it turned back into the ditch. The closer I got to Whitecourt, the thicker the fog got. Now I'm getting cold. The only part of me that was warm was my torso, everything else was numb. I even froze my nose a little, as I had to run with the visor up, as it was frosted over. Finally, Whitecourt crept into view through the fog, and I recognized the Esso sign.
 Pulling in for gas, thankful to be anywhere, I limped in to pay for the fuel. The attendant was a nice fella, so I asked him if he knew of a cheap place I could hole up for what was left of the night. It was about 2am. He said cheap good, or just cheap. I said of course "just cheap". He directed me to a place at the far end of town, and I putted out of there, carefully watching for the hotel sign, as you could barely make out the names through the fog.  On the way, a truck load of punks shadowed me, taunting me with insults and general verbal abuse. I know I heard the word "retard" at least once. They peeled off, and, after thinking I had passed it, the sign popped into view. I pulled in, and guess who was there...yes, my buddies from the white truck.
I was in no mood to be abused further, frozen and tired. I took off my helmet and started toward the truck. I must have looked pretty bizarre, with my seven hairs all going in a different direction, and my huge globes all bloodshot from peering through the fog. Also, without thinking about it at the time, I must have looked huge, as I was wearing every jacket I had brought(seven layers). Luckily, this picture of a huge, crazy looking old dude with bloodshot eyes coming to square off must have been enough for them to think twice, and they lit out. I waited until they were out of earshot, and shouted after them "come back, and taunt me once again, you spineless wieners", or something equally as stupid, but it was enough to satisfy any onlookers.
I walked into the lobby, and it was attached to a bar, and I was the center of attention for a short time, as folks were amazed to see a bike pull out of the fog, intact and running. Walking over to the desk, a friendly young chap(I think he was gay) helped me to register for a was the kind of joint where you had to leave a damage deposit in case you destroyed the room.
I had unplugged the heated vest to dismount, and the cold blood from my extremities rushed into my core, and I started to shake like a leaf. It was all I could do to stutter "do you have a roo.....rrooo...rrrooo.....rrrrooooo.....rrrrrroooommmm?? " He was very accommodating, and gave me a room with a window that I could keep an eye on my bike from. No need....after 18 hours on the road, and frozen stiff, I had a hot shower and sacked out hard. At 7am I woke and, feeling fresh went into the diner for my COMPLIMENTARY breaky......eggs, bacon, hash browns, buttered toast...all stuff I was trying to eliminate from my word...yummy. Sorry, I'll try harder.

over and out     philly

Heading South...snow is acomin'

After soaking my head for an evening, I turned in early, exhausted from the day. I flopped into bed at 9 PM,and at roughly 4 AM was awoke by the sound of laughing and general fooling around. A bridge constuction crew was stayng at the lodge, and one of the workers and his floosie were partying. I thought "lodge" meant peace and tranquility. The serenity of the pool must have still been on board, because I just let it go, but you would think people would have more consideration for others.
I came down for breakfast, and a quick glance at the menu shocked me awake. The CHEAP breakfast was 10 bucks. What, so these eggs had to be air lifted in here....give me a break. The people were really nice, so I just paid up and left...I guess that is the price of living in the north. A quick look outside showed frost on everything. It froze quite hard overnight, and there was a heavy fog laying around. I started the process of packing (I carry a lot of stuff, more on that later). By the time I was ready to go, the fog started to lift, and another clear and sunny day presented itself.
The ride was cool in the shade of the mountains, but my heated vest kept me toasty. The ride south was equally spectacular as the ride north. I was not hurrying, taking my time and pulling off often to take pics, or just stare at the endless beauty. As the sun rose, it got warm enough to unplug the vest, and peel a few layers. I stopped to marvel at some of the local critters...mooses, caribouses, buffaloses, sheepses. All manner of wildlife is abundant there, and they don't seem to care if you are watching or not. Once a gaggle of caribou were in the middle of the road, and I had to kind of serpentine around a few of them because they were not about to move...the little beep beep of my horn just seemed to amuse them. Can you imagine what they are saying about me.."hey rocky, look at the wiener with the gay horn...let's just stand here and see what he does...should be funny". Anyway, the road was awesome, and I was sorry to leave it behind.
Funny side story...two Yankees on harleys had been shadowing me for a while, that's their bikes sitting in front of Muncho Lodge(they stop a lot),and I asked them what they are doing way up here. One said in a southern drawl "I'm from Alabama, and the last thing I have to do before I'm toes up is drive to Alaska, so here we are". When I asked why, he said "why not". Southern wisdom we should listen to. Also, the first pic is the camp ground caretaker Armond. Great guy, and runs a tight ship. Salt of the earth kind of fella. He is the kind of guy that, when you meet him you say to yourself "I wish I could be more like that". Thanks buddy, see you next year. Oh, and check out the gas prices at Muncho. You can check out my vids on You channel is frphilia. NOTE: I have to learn to point the camera AWAY from me...eek.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fort Nelson to Liard River Hot Springs

Internet is a hard commodity up north, so this post is a little delayed. Yesterday was a savage day. Many times I cursed the road, the conditions, my plan....every thing seemed to be weighed against me completing this journey. When I woke at Ft. Nelson, the day seemed to be like the last...foggy and dreary. As I was giving my bike a "shampoo in hotel garbage can wing wash", one  of my neighbours said "you must be pretty brave riding that bike up here". I replied  "I have a different word to describe what I'm starts with "s". However, things were about to change. As I started up the Alcan toward Liard, the fog lifted to reveal a blue sky, a warm sun, and not a breath of wind. The first hour or so was kind of ho hum, but then the true beauty of the road unfolded in front of me...for mile after mile the scenery was so spectacular, I had to stop to marvel at it, else I stray off a cliff, and become a statistic. The pics cannot lend the full beauty and scope, but it will give you an idea of what is there.

Upon arriving at Liard, I checked into my room (sorry, too much of a wiener to camp, but if I'd known the camp ground was so juicy, I certainly would have)...then moseed down to the hot pools. I know you might say "well, we have hot springs here, so why go all the way there". The answer would be "not like this". Perhaps it's the journey, or the meditative's just special, and I'm glad I did it. "and that's all I have to say about that".

over and out....philly