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Old 09-07-2013, 04:31 PM   #1
canadian chris OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Oddometer: 278
out of hope and settling for yellow head

My buddy Jack and I were supposed to ride Going-to-the-Sun last May, but he had some churchy thing that came up so we postponed it indefinitely. August rolled around and we decided to try again over the Labour Day long weekend.

The plan was to meet in Osoyoos, BC (since he lived in Kelowna and I'm in Victoria) and head east along the Crowsnest Highway, then down to St Mary MT and back west from there.

The Players:

Jack, (who isn't a member here, so I can talk shit about him ) has been riding for 3 years and has a Yamaha Road Star Silverado. It's a shiny cruisery bike with cruisery studded leather saddlebags and a cruisery gas tank that's good for exactly 235 km (146 miles). Jack had never done an overnight bike trip before, but had good highway gear and wasn't one of those cruiser dough-heads who wear a skid lid and a sneering disdain for the laws of physics.

I've been riding street bikes since '84 and for this trip was on a Honda ST1300. It was my first overnight on this bike and I was looking at the ride as a shakedown cruise before I drive it to Arizona next month.

The Bikes:

(any closer and you'd see the bug splat all over 'em)

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Old 09-07-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
canadian chris OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Oddometer: 278
30 August

I get my ass up at 0530 and head for the 7am ferry to the mainland. It's not raining, but it ain't sunny & dry either...more like the coastal mist that could turn to rain or sun, depending on how deeply buried in your bag your raingear is.

There's a line up for the boat but motorcycles get priority placed, so I line up behind the only other rides there: a goldwing and a spyder.

Turns out they're married and on their way home to Alberta. It's not the first couple I've met where he's on 2 wheels and she's on a Spyder. I guess it's becoming a "thing" now...

The ferry takes an hour and a half to cross and when you add fiddle-farting around with loading and offloading cars, it's close to a 2-hour trip. I pass the time with Mr & Mrs Alberta. He's retired RCAF and she's a nurse and they've only been in AB for a few years. We compare notes on how notoriously shitty Albertan drivers are and they tell me about all their nosy neighbours.

Eventually it's time to roll off and I blend into the smerge of cars all headed to Vancouver. I have a plan though, and that's to get my ass down to "0" Avenue and take it west all the way to Abbotsford.

For those who've never heard of it, "0 Avenue" runs along the US/Canada border and the only thing separating the two countries is a 2-foot drainage ditch. Personally, I think it's a testament to the bond that our two countries share. Like the sign at the border says: "children of a common mother". Here's a short video (not mine) of how 0 Avenue looks:

From Abbotsford, I get onto the Trans-Canada Highway and head for Hope, BC.

Hope is a crossroads and it's 140km to the next town, so I fuel up at Shell and eat up at Tim Hortons. Also parked at the Tims is a Victory Vision, which appears to be the Pontiac Aztec of motorcyles

I dunno...maybe I'm taking out of my ass and its handling and comfort make it worth every penny of the MSRP of $23 grand that they want for one...

(Jane, get me off this crazy thing!)

Anyway, onward and upward and west I go, past the Hope Slide towards Princeton, BC.

About 45 km into this leg, I begin slowly losing power WTF. It's real subtle at first but another 40km later and I'm almost stalling through switchbacks and having to over-rev to make it up inclines. I lurch the last 10km into Princeton and stop at the first open garage I see.

guy comes out: "we don't work on bikes"

that's fine," sez I, "I just need a place to park so I can figure out what's going on. That okay?"

"mumble grumble"

There's no cell coverage between Hope and Princeton and it turns out that cell coverage is about all that Princeton has to offer. No bike shops, no other garages, not even a u-haul rental. Just cell coverage, a Subway, and several chunky-lookin' women.

I check the fuses and they're fine. The fuel filter is built into the fuel pump, which is under the 2nd gas tank, which is under the main gas tank, so short of disassembling the bike, there's no way to see if the line is plugged. I check the manual and it advises me to "take the motorcycle in for servicing if you experience a fuel problem"

I decide to call Jack and let him know that it doesn't look like I'll be in Osoyoos in an hour after all. I tell him I'm sussing things out and will call him back in 30.

I sniff the fuel and it smells odd. I call the Kelowna Honda service manager and run the symptoms past him. We're both suspecting it's shitty gas but he sez it could also be the $500 fuel pump. There's no where to pump the gas out and the garage mechanics keep giving me the hairy eyeball, so I call Jack and ask him to run down here with his pickup. He sez he'll be there in a bit. I can hear his eyes rolling over the phone.

I find an outlet and recharge my cell. The bike starts up and idles just fine so if it's bad gas, it should be burping and farting at any rpm, not just under load. Mr Honda suggested that if I keep running it, I could mung up the injectors and I'm not keen to make a problem worse so I sit and wait.

I hate sitting & waiting.

Jack shows up 90 minutes later and I drive the bike into the back of his Tacoma, off a cutbank he'd backed into...easy-peasy. That's when I discovered that the ST has no tie-off points. The handlebars aren't round and there's tupperware in the way everywhere I look to tie off. Eventually I settle for tying off just above & behind the rear pegs and use mind control to keep the bike from shifting on the drive back to his place.

(photo for the insurance claim if it flies off the back)

Jack good-naturedly rags on me the whole trip to Kelowna, saying that he'd have packed more if he'd known he'd be using his truck for the road trip. I keep pushing my imaginary brake pedal when he takes corners too fast.

We make it to his place just fine and Kelowna Honda has promised to have a look at it first thing tomorrow. I get onto the ST owners forum and do a search for similar issues. There have been a few, mostly bad gas with an occassional failed fuel pump or squirrelly ECU. I bet Victory Vision owners don't have these problems...serves me right for sneering.

I buy Jack dinner and he tells me all about his crazy ex-wife.


canadian chris screwed with this post 09-07-2013 at 05:27 PM
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:06 AM   #3
canadian chris OP
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Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Oddometer: 278
31 August

Jack was up at 6am and that meant I was up at 6am too. I had coffee and he did his IT work for a while, then I suggested that we look at modifying the trip to account for the delay.

Neither of us were keen to turn it into a Death March just to make up for lost time, so we talked over options and decided to head to Banff, north along the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, west along the Yellowhead Highway and then south to Kamloops. It was a route that still gave us mountains and glaciers to see, without having to do 140 for ten hours a day.

When 0830 rolled around, we drove to the bike shop which opened at 9. Holy Cow this was the cleanest, snazziest bike shop I'd ever seen! They had an adjustable ramp to roll bikes & quads off trucks, they had a drive-in service desk and the toilet paper was 4-ply! I was thinking "man all this luxury this is gonna cost me!"

I have a quick chat with Adam The Service Guy and then Jack and I head to a nearby Tim Hortons for coffee and an egg/muffin thingie. I thought about staying at the shop but decided that being a loitering PITA wouldn't help them or me. We stopped at the nearby Yamaha dealer to check out the Tenere they had on the floor, then headed back to his place so he could work.

Adam called me at 1100 and said the bike was ready to roll. Said they drained the tanks and refilled em, checked the injectors (all fine), took it for a highway boot and had no problems. Jack suited up for riding and after paying the $99.13 bill (which included a new tank of premium), we got on the road by noon.

I can't say enough good things about Kelowna Honda's service department. Despite it being a long weekend, they put me at the front of the line, didn't hose me on labour costs and got me out the door in record time.

Jack and I were shooting for Golden BC for the night and once out of the Kelowna area, traffic was light. It took me a while to get over being paranoid about a recurring fuel issue but the ST held steady at 120 without a flutter.

Around 230pm we pulled into 3 Valley Gap for a late lunch. There was a wedding going on and the owner of this blinged-out 4x4 was one of the guests:

(to no one's surprise, the owner was 5'4", with neck tattoos and wearing an Affliction t-shirt.)

After lunch we carried on to Revelstoke for fuel and kept up the pace towards Golden.

We got to Golden around 7 mountain time, taking cheap rooms in the 'Historic' wing of the Golden Travelodge motel. We were both bagged, so headed for a good dinner nearby. I picked up the tab in appreciation of his chauffeuring me around yesterday and this morning.

Other than some asshole who felt compelled to fuck around opening and closing his minivan doors til 11 at night, it was quiet and restful. We'd agreed to an early start and the only thing on the idiot box was some reality fluff, so I was asleep pretty quick.

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Old 09-08-2013, 01:27 PM   #4
canadian chris OP
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Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Oddometer: 278
01 September

Up at 6am to stretch and then sample the motel's continental breakfast. The food room is full of Chinese on a bus tour and as they begin eating their oranges and Captain Crunch, the motel manager comes in waving his arms and telling them that they aren't allowed to have the breakfast We're not part of the tour, so Jack eats his porridge and I manage 2 cups of joe and a pre-packaged hard boiled egg.

The outside temperature is lingering around the 5C (41F) mark and it's foggy, but the forecast calls for sunny skies.

(Jack taking for friggin' ever to get ready)

The highways are empty and the fog lingers with us for the first 10km. One bighorn sheep is jaywalking along the centerline but my camera is buried and I don't get a photo. The new Kicking Horse Pass bridge is pretty impressive and before long we're in Field, BC to purchase a national park day pass.

(Field, BC)

Jack is shivering in his mesh jacket and puts his rain gear on to break the chill. We stretch and gawk for a few moments and then keep heading east to Lake Louise for fuel. Shortly after Field we climb out of the shadows and into the morning sunshine. There are construction zones along the way but it's all shut down for the weekend.

Lake Louise is a popular gas stop and the yard is full of 5th wheels and rented motorhomes. We're both eager to get on the highway and don't hang around after gassing up. North of town there's a park pass check at the start of the Parkway and they wave us through. We're stuck in a bit of a Conga Line, but the view is spectacular and I get some nice shots while riding

(where the skies are not cloudy all day...)

It's 235km from Lake Louise to Jasper and although Jack is confident he'll make it, we pull in to Saskatchewan Crossing at the 77km mark, because it's the only fuel stop along the way and I want another coffee. Jack fills his tank and I set up my GoPro on the clutch reservoir farkle I recently bought.

(bug magnet)

I'm getting married in December and our honeymoon is a bike trip from Arizona down to Oaxaca and back, so I'm trying options for capturing all our Kodak moments. I'm thinking it'll mostly be this handlebar mount and the helmet-top one. Haven't tried the helmet-side mount and I'm not sure if it'll work well on a flip-face.

After Sunwapta Pass, we pull into the Columbia Icefields for more photos and bladder relief. Back in '89 I drove through here in mid-winter and it was like driving through the landscape of The Shining, with everything desolate and snow-covered. This time however, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a tourist. Felt good to stop, stretch and remind ourselves that today wasn't supposed to be a race.

(obligatory photo-in-front-of-a-glacier)

Following the icefields it's steady on to Jasper. Traffic is light and we are able to blow past Mom & Pop Motorhome without too many delays. Jack is turning out to be an awesome riding partner and his 1100 loves the highway miles.

Getting into Jasper, the road is narrowed down to single-lane for a fireman donation campaign. Here you go Mr Fireman. Typical of summertime Jasper, the main drag is a clogged artery but we find a free parking spot to squeeze into. We spy a Subway across the street and that's good enough for us. We're both hungry and a little dehydrated. We stroll around a bit after eating and Jack tries to make eye contact with passing girls. I tell him he's a chick magnet, but his polarity is reversed.

Before too long we saddle up and head west on the Yellowhead Highway. There's fresh asphalt between Jasper and Mount Robson and Daddy likes. We're maintaining a steady 140kph and my rpms are a gentle 4500. I miss a photo op of passing some guy driving with his feet out the window Mount Robson pulls us in for another quick stretch, some photos and then we keep westward to Tete Jaune Cache.

"Tête Jaune Cache was named after a Métis fur trader and trapper named Pierre Bostonais who guided for the Hudson's Bay Company in the 1800s. Bostonais was nicknamed Tête Jaune by the French voyageurs because of his blonde hair. (Tête Jaune is French for yellow head.)" - wikipedia

From Tete Jaune we turn onto Highway 5 and aim for Blue River (population 260). About 10km out of town, Jack starts sputtering and has to switch to reserve. My old VFR had about the same range, so I can relate. Both of my bikes hold 29 litres of fuel and I'm lovin' the range I get.

For such a tiny town, Blue River has 3 motels, one restaurant, and 2 gas stations. We get rooms at the Sandman and being a rider herself, the manager puts us on the shady side, far from the highway. The motel also hosts the only restaurant in town, so deciding where to go for dinner is pretty simple.

Around 6pm I get a message from ADV inmate Hodgo, telling me that he's an hour out and on his way. He'd left Montana at noon, drove to Golden and had been driving the same route we did today. That was a 500 mile day for him

Jack and I took him out (well, back to the only restaurant) for a beer and because we're all old farts, we called it a day soon after. Hodgo kipped out on my floor and the bastard snored all night.

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Old 09-08-2013, 03:11 PM   #5
canadian chris OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Oddometer: 278
02 September

Here's a short video I made of yesterday's Icefields Parkway drive:

No continental breakfast today, just get up, load up and get going. Sometime after we kipped out last night, the motel manager put scrap towels on all our bike seats. We went in to thank her and she said she started doing it a few years back to (a) help riders from starting the day on a wet seat and (b) because she was tired of riders using her good towels to wipe their bikes down. Good Job Motel Lady!

(warming up and wiping down)

Hodgo set the pace and although Jack & I don't follow his lead of wheelying out of Blue River, we keep up. It's an hour's run to Clearwater, where coffee awaits. Hodgo has a small oil leak but he can't locate the source. His plan is to couch surf with inmate DiverDown when we reach Kamloops, so he'll be able to sort it out then.

I decide to knock my coffee cup over and spill it all down the ass end of my bike. The sweetheart at the cash lets me have another coffee on the house.


(Hodgo and Jack)

From Clearwater, we maintain a steady 120 to North Kamloops, where we have come to the Parting Of The Ways. Jack is heading southeast to Kelowna, I'm heading southwest to the ferry terminal and Hodges is staying here to look for Diverdown.

On my way out of Kamloops I go to the university to visit my daughter. She's away from home for the first time and a little nervous. We spend some time together and I give her the usual encouraging words that fathers give their 18 year old daughters.

The next 2 hours is a blur of highway speed as I make a beeline for the Fraser Valley. I gas up & wipe off dead bugs in Hope and then detour through Chilliwack because of a highway accident. When I get to Abbotsford, I retrace my steps and follow 0 Avenue west towards the ferries. Traffic is good and I squeeze onto the 4pm ferry, one of the last vehicles to board.

Felt good to get home and I sleep like a log.

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