1 cylinder, 13,000 kms

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by squonker, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
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    [​IMG]
    I took a bunch of these darn stupid pics while playing with my camera. I have to live with them, so I'm making you suffer through them too!

    From Eagle Plains it's less than an hour to the Arctic Circle pull out. I got to spend the first ten minutes or so here alone, which was pretty cool, before a van load of fellow travellers turned up. They asked me to move my bike, which was parked in front of the sign, so that they could take pics of themselves. I was mortified!

    Just had to get this pic out of the way. Dunno where it comes from or why it's here, but it's on the Dempster somewhere...
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    The money shot
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    View from the pull out
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    Fellow travellers
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    Looking south from the pullout
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    I know, I know...but I think my bike is beautiful!
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    Kari was a few minutes behind me
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    #61
  2. canuckAME

    canuckAME Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Great report and pictures. 2 of us did almost the same trip in 2005. Didn't know about Adventure Rider or digital cameras then!
    Your pictures are sure bringing back lots of good memories:clap
    Don't be shy about posting lots of them.

    Thanks again for the report.
    #62
  3. motomac

    motomac Mac

    Joined:
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    Canton OH/San Diego CA
    Ben, the most endearing thing about your bike is that license plate. I'll never forget the first one of I saw. It was on the back of a Ford pick-up on the ferry across the McKenzie in '99 and it was so dirty you could barley make out the numbers on it, but the shape was unmistakeable. Unique, none other like it in the world. Keep the pictures coming, I'm in suspense as to what the border weather was like when the two of you crossed. Get 'er on up the road Buddy!!!
    #63
  4. Sask_pirate

    Sask_pirate Been here awhile

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    S'Toon , SK
    Ben your dempster pics so far bring back my memory of a great trip. keep it coming:clap

    claus
    #64
  5. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Thanks man! I won't be shy, don't worry about that - I'm a camera whore!



    Thank you, too - pretty wild place, huh?
    #65
  6. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    It's a pretty sweet plate, Mac, that's for sure. Funny, lots of people don't notice it, but when they do the questions start...and usually take a while to stop! It's the same with my car. When I take that down south I watch people walk past it and nudge eachother, pointing to the plate. Sad thing is I may well be moving from the NWT next year, and then I'll have the same old boring rectangular plate as everyone else. Oh well, it was good while it lasted!

    Hey, I'm going to be in Nunavut later this month - they have the same shape plate but with something different written on it. I'll snap a pic and post it up...

    And I got your PM, too (at least one of us checks theirs!) - I'll take care of that next week.

    Cheers Mac -keep checking in! More coming later today, I hope (but my boss is upset because every time he walks in I'm on ADV):D Note to self - get a life....
    #66
  7. m0x

    m0x the VooDoo Child

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    looking at the pictures have actually calmed me down... thanks TS thumbs up for you
    #67
  8. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    all part of the service, my friend - the bill is in the mail!

    <link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5Cmahoney%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:35.4pt; mso-footer-margin:35.4pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> After the Arctic Circle pullout, it was time to head north toward the NWT border. At Eagle Plains Rick and co had told us that the road became worse across the border, and I&#8217;d written in my journal that that sacred me. Not that it had been bad so far, just rough in places, but I&#8217;m not a very experienced off road rider (or rider at all, in fact), and one of the things I hate most is gravel. We were told there&#8217;d be plenty of it, laid on thick just for us!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Before we went too far, though, we came across the truck that had flipped while we were having breakfast.



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    You can see how recently it happened - the lights are still on.
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    Not sure how this happened, it being a flat, straight stretch of road. My guess that he was pouring a coffee, changing the 8-track cassette, or maybe dozed off - but once he'd caught one wheel over the soft shoulder of the road it would have just sucked him on in to the ditch. The guy was ok, by the way - shaken but not broken. He'd been wearing a seatbelt and that likely saved his life.


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    The trailer was full of fresh fruit and veg, and the doors were bent to the extent that you could get in there easily enough. The cheap-ass KLR owner in me saw a free lunch and I asked the guy who was dealing with the wreck what the scoop was on my grabbing something to eat out of the trailer. He said, "That's illegal". I thought to myself that I hadn't asked whether it was legal or not....

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    For those of you that have never driven a rig, one of the most elemental things when driving one is to keep the rubber side down. Hmm, a slight oversight on the part of this particular driver...

    Ok, although it didn't directly have any influence on this particular trip, when I saw 'Long Way Round' and those guys were in Russia on the Road Of Bones I felt 'the calling' - that is adventure. Anyone can ride to Inuvik, but dealing with what those guys did was pure motorbike porn in my book. Before they'd got that far and were still in Mongolia I was struck but the sheer scale and beauty of the landscapethey were riding through, and ever since then Mongolia has been my dream ride - you can even look and see that it says that in my profile (would I lie to you?!) But up here, you know...I don't think what you ride through on the Dempster is that much different. In many ways I feel that I might as well have done Mongolia already, in terms of scenery at least. The ride from the pull out to the border crossing was, I think, some of the most spectacular things I'm ever likely to see, (mirrors excluded, of course!!!:eek1).

    Check this out:

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    And my favourite because it gives a good sense of scale. Thanks to Hecktoglider for posing for this one
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    Coming up, I'm about to put the good luck bracelet that Rick gave me to the test when I have my first 'oops' of the trip. But I'm likely going to be posting less frequently, for a few days anyway. Today is my last day at work here and I'll be spending the weekend traveling home. Once I'm back in Yellowknife I'll do what I can, but it's going to be a busy week. I'd like to as much as I can before I go to Ellesmere Island just to get rid of a few more of these pics - I think I took about 800 over the entire trip!

    (And you're going to have to suffer through every one of them....)
    #68
  9. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Mac, I forgot to say that you should wait and see the pics I took once we reached the bottom of the Dempster having ridden back out of Inuvik if you like those polar bear plates covered in mud. Heck, it was hard to see what colour my bike was, even! A little rain towards the end...
    #69
  10. funhouse

    funhouse Overdue

    Joined:
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    Santa Barbara
    keep in coming, love to visit these areas.....is this a motel trip or camping trip........Bruce

    OK, reviewed the entire trip log......got the atlas out to follow the trip.....have rarely spent this much time on a RR.......fantastic.....my wife and i got as far as Atlin on an XL600 twenty years ago.....love to come back .... sure wish I could carry my .45 in Canada! thx and look forward to the rest....Bruce
    #70
  11. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    You've rarely spent this much time on a RR? High praise indeed - and appreciated. Thank you!

    This a camping trip - I only spent two nights in motels on the entire trip, but I do have friends all over the country and I made good use of their generosity when I could!

    I went to Atlin on this trip...keep watching...and about that .45 - you can carry it. Just don't get busted. Or use it. (What would you use it on? Bears?)

    Thanks for the compliments!
    #71
  12. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

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    I like the bit about the flipped produce truck!:lol3

    Nice report!
    #72
  13. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Thanks darth! I've been looking at yours too and am jealous of your SoCal weather. It's nice in Toronto right now, but it's been snowing in YK for the past two weeks already. Oh well....


    So we left Mr. Upside Down Truck and headed for the NWT border. Good to be home again and all that crap, but the road really did get noticeably worse. Not bad compared with what was to come, but there was enough of a difference that it threw me, and I almost copied Mr. Upside down. I was coming through a little S-curve - and these aren't exactly the world's sharpest corners we're talking about, but I suddenly lost all my confidence and did the two worst things I could have done. I became fixated on the deeper gravel on the side of the road where I specifically didn't want to head, and I slowed down. The result?

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    Yeah, well.

    I was only going about 50 km/h, maybe 60 at the most and I pretty much just ended up sliding off the soft shoulder and landing on my left hand side. I wasn't hurt, but I was glad that I hadn't had more of a head of steam up because if I'd gone sailing over the edge I'd have landed about 30ft below in the river. And that wouldn't have been good.

    I shut the bike off, unplugged my electric vest and climbed off, beginning to unload the thing, before I remembered that this was going to be on ADV and promptly took the photo above.

    Standing the bike upright was easy enough but I couldn't walk it up onto the road 'cos the rear tire just kept spinning, so all I could do was wait.

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    And take photos.

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    It was sunny, and pretty, so all I could do was take pics and explore while I waited for someone to come along and give me a hand.

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    I wasn't hurt, and neither was the bike other than one broken mirror, so I figured that this is where the bracelet I'd been given worked its magic. Thank you magic fairies!

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    I was there a couple of hours all told, I think. Eventually a Highways pickup came along and we got the bike back onto the road in about 30 seconds flat. I loaded up and jumped on the bike, fired it up and was just adjusting my one remaining mirror when Hecktoglider came back looking for me, proving that our system worked. Thanks again, Heckto - I know you were a long way ahead of me when you realized something was wrong.



    Heckto leading the way again
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    There are two ferry crossings on the Dempster hwy, one crosses the Peel river and the other the mighty Mackenzie.

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    We stopped for gas in Fort Macpherson and these kids...

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    ...started asking us about our bikes. They were all over Kari's black bike and asking how much it cost, how far he could get on a tank of gas, how fast it went etc. Kari answered their questions and by that time we were ready to be off again. Just as we were about to leave they pointed to my bike and started asking the same questions. I told them it was the same bike...then Kari rode off and I said to them, "You know, I couldn't say anything infront of him, but my bike is faster 'cos it's red".:D

    The gravel realy did get deeper the further we went, but for some reason my face plant had only helped and I now felt more confident than I ever had. I was able to pick a better line and pick up speed. The views were...big...not as spectacular as they had been in the Yukon, but you could see the curvature of the earth now, the distances were so huge. Crazy. I really got into my ride, and then had a sudden urge to hear Dire Straits' 'Love Over Gold' album so I pulled over and put my iPod on.

    At last...
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    It was 10:15pm when we rolled into Inuvik and once again I was simply shattered. The lady in this pic was repainting the sign and she told us that the campground was the other end of town, so off we went. Driving through town I immediately liked it - it is just a mini version of Yellowknife and I felt right at home.

    We found the campground, paid for a night and grabbed the best spot, which happened to be available. Mission accomplished - we had ridden the Dempster. :clap

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    #73
  14. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lone Pine Ontario (or travelling)
    I get goosebumps reading this, and looking at the pics. I think the produce truck driver said(to the rescuers) it was the glare on his windsheild, from the midnight sun.....It was'nt midnight, but anyways thats what impaired his vision, and the soft shoulder pulled him over.
    I was about 40 km ahead of you when I turned back. I waited a long time at a nice spot to get a photo of the bike approaching, and you never appeared. I got to enjoy that section of road again!
    I am glad you took so many photos. I took way less. I distinctly remember seeing the curve of the earth at the top end of Canada, just before we descended into the Beaufort Delta and the Peel River crossing. This ride has been one of the best I have ever done. The way back was really spectacular too. I am glad we had the good weather and were able to kick back in Inuvik for 3 days and really enjoy the time there.
    #74
  15. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    I'm glad you were there to share the experince, bud - and thanks for the input re: Mr. Upside Down Truck Driver!

    Here's our campsite in Inuvik
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    I didn't get much sleep that first night 'cos it was cold, and the drunks were hootin' and hollerin' all night.

    Our plan at that stage was to spend one full day there and rest, then head back south. We had both heard horror stories about what happens to the Dempster when it rains lots, and didn't want to get caught up in that shit.

    Some pics from in and around the town

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    During the day heckto went to the library to use the net, and checked up on the weather forecast. He said it was just peachy and suggested that we stay another day and rest while we knew we had a window. Very good call, as we both needed it, and that's what we did.

    That evening I met my friend Eli for a bit to eat.
    #75
  16. motomac

    motomac Mac

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
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    575
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    Canton OH/San Diego CA
    Obviously, your border weather must have been much better than mine. The wind was blowing so hard going north, I was leaning right in left hand turns and just as vicious going south leaning left turning right. That is scary enough on pavement, but doubly so when on gravel. It didn't rain, but there was a huge thunderhead hanging just west of the road. I'm on the road in NC so I'll post a picture when I get home.
    #76
  17. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    That evening a group of about 5 youngsters from Europe were camping in the same campground. They were nice kids, although Hecktoglider spoke to them more than I did, but there was one thing that really stood out. These kids were probably around 22, 23, and a couple of the girls weren&#8217;t exactly hard to look at. Somewhere along the line they&#8217;d had a 50-something yr old from southern California attach himself to their group, and this guy simply wouldn&#8217;t shut up. Kari and I were setting up our stuff beside them and pretty much keeping to ourselves, but I couldn&#8217;t help but listen to this guy, who &#8211; it seemed &#8211; knew everything there was to know about everything under the sun. He wasn&#8217;t overtly arrogant, but any subject any of these girls began to speak about, he was the world expert. And he wouldn&#8217;t shut up, the others could hardly get a word in edgeways. I still don&#8217;t know whether or not he was hitting on any of the girls, but I did begin to wonder about going over there and seeing whether anyone needed &#8216;rescuing&#8217;. I didn&#8217;t, but, later when they&#8217;d all gone somewhere and been away about an hour I happened to go to the laundry room, and there he was, still yapping away to one of the girls, who by this time I felt truly sorry for. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    His name was Peter and he seemed harmless enough, just very, very annoying. The following day all the youngsters had gone and Peter was there alone. This time Kari and I got to talking to him, and found out that he was making his third attempt to walk to Paulatuk, NWT from heaven knows where. He&#8217;d failed before due to running out of food, but had left various stashes along the route and with the help of all the extra he&#8217;d bought with him, was hoping to make it this time. Any community in the north that you mentioned, no matter how small or remote, he&#8217;d tell anything you wanted to know about it &#8211; he just knew it all. Sachs Harbour? Oh yeah, when I&#8230;.. Wha&#8217; Ti? Well, I knew this guy&#8230;. Yeah, whatever. The dude lives in Southern California, and when I happened to mention that I was from Yellowknife, all he said was, &#8220;oh&#8221;. Me thinks he didn&#8217;t want to be called on his bullshit banter, but I dunno. I guarantee that if I&#8217;d asked him about Yellowknife, pretending to know nothing, he&#8217;d have prattled on for several minutes. Strange guy. I didn&#8217;t dislike him, I just think he was full of shit.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    That night I slept much more soundly, and was well rested the following day, appreciating the decision we&#8217;d made to stay the extra 24 hrs. I met several local bikers that day: George, Dave (ADV username ve8nc) and Leonard. Also ran into RVinGS&#8217;R, also known as Bill from (Florida and) Montana. Mid afternoon Dave from Juneau rode up; can&#8217;t remember what his username was then, but now he&#8217;s known as JuneauDave. Get your mind around that one if you can! I had already spoken to my friend Eli about getting together for a wiener roast at our campground that evening, and Eli was going to bring a couple of friends along. I also invited all the bikers I&#8217;d met that, wherever they were from, and we spent some time in the afternoon preparing for that (had to chill the Champagne, ready the caviar for hors d&#8217;oeuvres etc):D .<o:p></o:p>
    In the middle of the afternoon, 13 seniors showed up&#8230;on bicycles! They&#8217;re a posse of hardcore (push) bikers from all over N.America, and had taken 14 days to bicycle the Dempster, which I know I couldn&#8217;t do in a million years and I&#8217;m only 37. They were all between 55 and 77 yrs old. Very, very impressive and also extremely good people. I felt a little awkward going around telling them that there was going to be a &#8216;party&#8217; in the campground that evening, but we were very quiet and they were very cool. Everyone was happy. It wasn&#8217;t too late that we all said our goodbyes- Kari, Dave and I planned on leaving mid morning the following day.

    Perhaps I should have saved this one for the 'Yellowknife Ice Trucking' thread.
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    <o:p>This guy was just sitting on the mud on the side of the river. Looked as though it hadn't seen service in many years.</o:p>
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    <o:p>L-R: RVinGS'R, Myself, Hecktoglider, JuneauDave</o:p>
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    <o:p>Weiner roast</o:p>
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    <o:p>Seniors cyclists at the campground</o:p>
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    <o:p>Eli and JuneauDave</o:p>
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    <o:p>Hecktoglider and Phil (friend of Eli's)</o:p>
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    <o:p>The can on the left is mine, dented from when I dropped the bike on the way up here. On the right is Heckto's, I think also dented from a bike-dropping incident, but I can't remember details.</o:p>
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    #77
  18. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
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    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    What gorgeous country. And an adventure!

    :lurk
    #78
  19. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

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    Jan 1, 2004
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    Location:
    Prince George, BC Canada
    I've been wondering about that boat on the side of the river ever since watching the second season of Ice Road Truckers.

    Nice RR Squonker....keep it comin....
    #79
  20. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
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    Hey bud, I'd forgotten about the wind. It sounds as though you had it worse than us, but I do remember having to lean the wrong way in turns a few times to stay upright, and as you say, on gravel that ain't much fun! Looking forward to seeing your pics. Cheers.
    #80