Friday, August 29, 2008

Home is where the bike is - Day 4

Today we finally left the big group behind and headed south.

The plan was to get a good early start, be out by 7:30 and get out of Dodge before it got warm. Like many a good plan before it, this one did not survive it's first contact with reality.

Mostly it consisted of packing things that shouldn't be packed, wanting to grab a bite to eat, and just general lethargy.

I'd smartly moved the KLR into the shade while waiting and then split to go get some food. Lessons learned from last year: Eat when you can. Get gas when you can. :)

We motored towards Salmo, the same path I took yesterday morning. It was actually fairly cool. Tony had filled up the day before and I had 200 kms on this tank already, so I decided to pull in at the Esso to get some gas.

Turns out that a couple on a VFR (from the meet) had managed to pick up a screw. He was enthusiastic about the whole thing though.

Nothing like having to get back to OR with a patched tire, 2 up with luggage. He had a hard time with the plug and an older shaggy looking local guy kept offering advice, none of which was appreciated.

But after enough comments of "Is it in yet?" and "Are you done yet?" from his wife, and the offer of "I'll fix it for a coffee", Tony bought the local guy a coffee and the tire was plugged within about a minute.

Now fully fueled and having had a bit of entertainment, Tony and I wished them a safe trip home and headed towards the border. (They made it home safely btw :) ).

We set a steady course southward and didn't stop again till Newport where we grabbed some drinks and powerbars. From here it was Hwy 41 to Coeur d' Alene where we stopped at the A&W.

Surely one of the slowest 'fast food' experiences I'd had in my life. Truly horrible service. But we weren't in a rush and the place had AC, a washroom and food, so no biggie :)

We gassed up and headed east on I-90 for a short hop to Hwy 3 south, a "Scenic Bypass". Within about a couple of minutes on the interstate my bike was sputtering and cutting out at 70 mph. My first thought "bad gas" so I pulled off at the next exit. Tony had no symptoms, so I concluded that it was something specific with my bike. The fact that it idled properly seemed to negate the bad gas scenario.

Screw it. Back on the highway and within a few minutes Tony indicates his bike is doing the same thing. Vapour lock? It is freaking hot out after all (over 40 Celsius).

We limped to the turn off and slowed to around 50 mph, where the bikes run fine as long as we keep the RPM's down.

Hmm, should have done the T-mod on the carb vent. I figure that the vent hose may have been collapsing. Eventually we stop to let the bikes cool off and to chat.

There was a cool breeze and the bikes were in the shade.

Tony went to educate himself on the local history.

It looked too damn far to me. I did however manage to burn one of my fingers on the exhaust while trying to check for any problems...

After a while we started heading further south. The bikes are now fine. Definitely heat related. Now I'm no longer concerned, we know how to cure it.

We passed on a number of spots that would have made for some nice photos, it was just too damn hot to stop. My bike only acted up once more and I cured it by slowing a bit and waiting to get to more open area where a bit of a cross wind was blowing.

In Deary I spotted a large group of cruiser riders hunkered down in the shade behind a gas station and decided to pull in to get some info about local roads. They were friendly and told us about a side road we should take on the way to Orofino. On my AAA map it's listed as "P1" but google shows it as the "Old ID 7"

On the way there we finally stopped to get a couple of pictures.

Eventually though ...

Wide spaces

I loved all the 20 mph corners on the drop into Oroville along Old ID 7, what a blast! At the bottom the heat got even more intense and I was very much ready to find a place to stay grab some food and some brews.

I'd spotted a sign for the "Kokoville motel" and we went to investigate. Around $50 / night, clean and friendly people. Sold. Then it turns out we're checking into room 140. We'd been staying in 140 in Nelson. Good omen.

We'd asked about dinner and by the time we'd dumped our gear and grabbed some shorts and sneakers to squid back into town, they had menus and info ready for us.

After some great Mexican food we grabbed some Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve and crashed early.

Sorry about the lack of photos, in the next part the visual content will return :)

Day 5 Preview

-Too good to leave
-Offroad? Yes please.
-Faster on gravel than the interstate? Say what?!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Home is where the bike is - Day 3

The previous day was one of the best days I'd had on the KLR. We rode great roads, explored, found abandoned mines and buildings and climbed to cool peaks. All high up on my list of enjoyable experiences :)

Today was going to be a bit more kicked back.

Breakfast was scheduled for the 'Red Fish Grill'. I had dinner there last year with Jerry and the food was good.

Some of the boys and girls were looking a bit worse for wear during breakfast on Saturday morning.

Maybe it was the walls?!

I just love how this turned out. Badass Tony!

Tony said "F*ck the water, where's the beer!" ... ok maybe he didn't actually say that.

Tim showing off his gay-harley rider wave

There were going to be a few groups and really, none of the group riding interested me all that much. Tony wanted to hang around Nelson and kick back for the day, so I decided to go and ride the same roads as the slow group, just not necessarily with them.

The ride out past Salmo wasn't very exciting and I only stopped once along the way to get a quick shot of the valley.

I did notice that there were a whole bunch of gravel roads that branched off he highway, but being on my own I was not really looking to get too far out.

The summit looked like a good spot to stop and wait to see if anyone from the nelson crew would catch up.

I saw this girl and her mom and they kept looking off the edge of the gravel, which got me to thinking....

... it was these little critters they were checking out.

I spent about 15 or 20 minutes kicking back and shooting.

As I decided to head back on the highway I noticed a path on the other side. Sure enough it was blocked with a bunch of rocks. There may have been some kind of 'road deactivated' sign, but I couldn't read too well as I bounced over to the side, past the weather station and over some small logs people had used to make a path behind the rocks.

Up and over.

The road was in good shape, I treaded lightly and soon got to another, bigger, set of rocks blocking the road. It was almost like they didn't want you to go any further.

I decided that it might be best to turn around at this point. The little sign next to the rocks said "Park Boundary" and I just got the feeling they didn't want me there... Who knows, maybe I was wrong :)

The descent was pretty and pretty uneventful.

Back on the highway and within 5 minutes I found another trail to explore. There was a sign saying the area was closed to snowmobiles, but it said nothing about KLR's so off I went.

The trail split right off the bat and "... I - I took the road less traveled by" and almost fell flat on my ass. :)

The "road" was the grassy area with the rocks in it directly in front of me. The Killer weaved and bounced but I made it up ... and decided to be smarter next time.

The other fork paid off though, providing some great views of the peaks that folks would never get to enjoy this way if they just traveled the highways.

Eventually I decided to turn back as I had planned to make this an easy day in preparation to Tony and my trip south and the more serious riding to come.

I ran into some of the VFR folks on the way to the Kootenay ferry and stopped to chat with Tim and Cass.

Tim had taken to calling me "Crazy Bjorn". Apparently it had something to do with standing on the pegs while passing sportbikers and leaving them behind in the tight twisties ... I don't really understand what he was talking about ... maybe there's another guy named Bjorn. :)

From here it was a pretty relaxing ride back to Nelson. Damn hot though, one of the roadside displays showed 41 Celsius. That's something like 105 F I think.

Despite the heat I took a bit of a stroll around to take in the sights and sounds of Nelson

and to pick up some ADVrider champagne

There was more drinking, though I split after a couple of pints to go crash. The heat had taken a bit out of me after all I guess.

Preview of Day 4

-Heat, more heat and damn heat
-Idaho, it's not what you think

Hope you're enjoying the ride :)

Home is where the bike is - Day 2

a.k.a. the real riding begins.

The breakfast plans (as most plans during the viffer get-together) were rather vague and we were to meet up at this hippy place off an alley behind 'The Co-op'. Luckily we found it easy enough, Nelson is a small place.

Some of the crew from last night was already there, but they were standing at the bottom of the stairs?!

Turns out the place wasn't really a breakfast place.

So we decided to take the organization into our own hands and wander around. As we get barely a block away, a woman in sitting in a stairway having a smoke calls out to us to see what we're all doing walking around early on a Friday. Turns out that she runs a small restaurant, but wasn't due to open for another 30 minutes.

So "Packrat Annies" opened early for our crew of 15+ hooligans. But as part of the bargain, we got to help carry and distribute cutlery, dishes, coffee and OJ. It was a blast!

Mike (Mr. Organizer) even made it eventually

Paul and Craig didn't seem all that impressed at first, but they got into it eventually.

So after a great breakfast, Tony and I went to do our own thing. We rode north towards Kaslo and enjoyed the run towards New Denver.

We'd gotten some information on a ghost town and just before New Denver we turned off towards Sandon. Through the town and soon enough the KLR's were in their element

and we'd found an abandoned mine.

There was even still ore in the shoots!

Things inside were still in 1/2 decent shape

But outside it was a different story

Where's Tony? (he's actually in this shot :) )

I decided against climbing along the old ramp

Here is the view from the little ghost town of Cody, BC

I tried to get a shot of the inside, but my arm didn't quite reach

After that Tony and I decided it was time for lunch. So we rode back to Sandon. The trailer was open for business!

The woman who was making our hotdogs was a wealth of information and told us about Idaho Peak just behind us. Climbing up there would mean that Tony would miss the 'brewery tour' later, but he was more interested in what they produced than how they got it there.

So we set off. The road was fairly easy, but they'd just sprayed something which seemed to be a combination of oil and water and was a touch on the slippery side. It did keep the dust down though.

Tony was on street oriented tires, so I took the lead. Here he is catching up and you can see some of the 'slime' in the corners :)

While it was a quite hazy day, the view from the top was spectacular. We'd climbed to around 2000 meters (6000 feet) and had a blast.

We both broke out the DSLRs and started shooting

Product placement shot

Beautiful alpine meadow, you can see the road running through it.

In case you couldn't here you go, a bit of a close up :)

We kept shooting

I have dozens more shots I like, but I'll spare you the repetition. Lets just say that we were both very glad to have taken the trip up here.

I stopped on the way down a couple of times to get some shots

Tony said he was amazed that I made him 'look fast at 2 mph' ;)

We decided it was time to stop for ice cream before riding back.

We wandered around and got a few more shots of the old town

And then it was time to head back. The ride into Kaslo was *ahem* spirited :D

After getting cleaned up, back to the bar.

Hey Tony, how do you feel about Honda riders?

Thatta boy!

The drinking continued. I have no idea what happened here... some sort of blurry shot ... oh well ...

The crew ended up pub crawling and some of us closed down "The Prestige". It wasn't even that late.

Day 3 preview:

Solo offroading.
More drinking. Seriously?!