Ingrid and David’s cross Canada / USA adventure 2014

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by hasenwerk, May 25, 2014.

  1. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    The Arctic is getting a little old for me. In 2009 I did the Dempster and 2010 I did the Dalton - both solo rides and lots of fun. I'll be back but not for another couple of years.

    Now, fast forward a few years to 2014, I have a new wife and a new outlook on life and we are going on our honeymoon trip of almost 17.000km from ocean to ocean to ocean, taking almost seven weeks, two countries and visiting every province of Canada.

    I grew up in Nova Scotia and moved to British Columbia in 1992. This trip is all about going back to the Maritime Provinces where my parents now live, going to Goose Bay Labrador where I was born and taking the longest vacation so far of my adult life.

    The first half of our trip is from my home town of Quesnel in British Columbia to my parents bed and breakfast in New Brunswick via the province of Newfoundland with a pit stop to James Bay to get some remote gravel road action happening. According to Google Maps this is close to 9500km. My two teenage kids will be flying out to join us in New Brusnswick and spend time with their grandparents as well. Should prove to be the trip of a lifetime!
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    The remaining half of the trip will be back home via the USA. Ingrid is planning this section of the trip but more or less it will look like this:
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    As this is advrider, let's get into the two bikes we are taking. Ingrid's bike is a 2006 F650 GS Dakar and mine is a 2013 G650 GS Sertao, both upgraded to "YZ" status over this past winter.

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    2006 BMW F650 GS YZ/Dakar Major Specs
    - 2004 Yamaha YZ 450F front end conversion including:
    - 48mm KYB forks - tuned by STS on Vancouver Island, full 300mm suspension travel retained
    - Excel 1.6x21" front wheel
    - EBC 320mm front disc
    - 1 1/8" "Fat bar" conversion
    - Moose Racing hand protectors
    - Britannia Composites Mirage 1 fairing
    - Hasenwerk rallye skid plate and tool box
    - Hasenwerk rallye side stand
    - Hasenwerk 6L auxiliary fuel tank giving 450+ km total range
    - Hasenwerk Voltage regulator relocation kit
    - Hasenwerk peg relocation kit
    - Hasenwerk luggage rack
    - Supertrapp muffler
    - Total weight as pictured with fuel 187kg

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    2013 BMW G650 GS YZ/Sertao Major Specs
    - 2004 Yamaha YZ 450F front end conversion including:
    - 48mm KYB forks - tuned by STS on Vancouver Island, full 300mm suspension travel retained
    - Woody Wheel Works Excel 2.1x21" front wheel
    - BMW 300mm front disc with OE ABS
    - Barkbuster hand protectors
    - Touratech rallye skid plate and tool box
    - Hasenwerk 6L auxiliary fuel tank giving 400+ km total range
    - Hasenwerk Voltage regulator relocation kit
    - Hasenwerk peg relocation kit
    - Hasenwerk luggage rack
    - Supertrapp muffler

    Luggage for the trip will be Nelson Rigg's Adventure soft bags.

    More details of the gear we will be taking will added to this first post over the next couple of days.

    To be continued . . . :wink:
    #1
  2. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

    Joined:
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    Your bikes are looking great, have an amazing journey!

    Cheers,

    .
    #2
  3. MidlifeRiding

    MidlifeRiding Adventurer

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    Yeah, enjoy every second you can! Thanks for sharing your adventure!
    #3
  4. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Well - here it is almost Christmas. I suppose I should put some details into this life changing trip!

    Rewind back to June:

    The bikes are ready as they will ever be
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    The property is looking swell
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    Myles knows we're going somewhere... and Katze couldn't care less!
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    Time to pack up, get a good night's sleep and hit the road at first light. :clap
    #4
  5. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Departure day is here. My mother in law is here to look after the place while we are away. Luggage was packed the night before, bikes are loaded and ready to go and all last minute items are accounted for.

    Our plan for the next week was to put the horse blinders on and to get to Timmons Ontario as fast as we could without taking the Trans-Canada (HWY 1) or the Yellow Head (HWY 16) - for some parts of the trip we have to do this, like from Prince George to Jasper and most of Ontario.

    Then do what every motorcycle rider seems to do - lighten the load before embarking and after the paper work is done, Linda (mother in law) reports there is water dripping down stairs... WTF! :huh

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    Turns out that the toilet of all things is leaking... so rush to the hardware store and get a new wax seal and replace it - after an hour or so delay - a job well done! Things come in three, so this is #1 we figure.

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    Now... that we are "late", some hurried good-byes and off we go with the destination of Jasper park in Alberta.

    Then 30 minutes down the road... ICE CREAM in Hixon... and we stop - yeah yeah - we also had to get the score for the World Cup to see if Germany was winning or not as Ingrid is an avid soccer fan! :freaky

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    Ice Cream in Hixon BC

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    Highway 16 between Prince George and McBride

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    The woman who loves me on her 2006 BMW 650 GS/YZ Dakar!

    Just before McBride I almost get into a major collision with a kamikaze deer! It was running and running right towards the road and stupid me I just looked at it and it ran right in front of me with my braking at the last second... aaargh! Near miss, but if I hit it would have been trip ending... bad event #2 right!?

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    Beautiful Ingrid at our first fuel stop in McBride BC

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    Following Ingrid now to Alberta

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    Mount Robson

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    Bugs!

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    Moose Lake

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    My moose photo bombing the shot while we stop of pizza in Jasper before heading to our camp site.

    Our first day ride was good - Germany won the game. We stopped a few times to Ingrid to stretch and made it to our camp site at the park with lots of time to spare.
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    GPS review of the day

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    The bike always looks a mess when it's half un-packed

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    We set up tent and get ready for a good nights sleep... OMG... a few days before I set up the tent to air it out in our yard at home - turns out some freakin' cat pissed on the rain tarp... so we sleep without the tarp and of course that's what holds the heat in and it was a long and cold night with frost on the ground. OK we figure - event #3 - we're set - bring the rest of the trip on!
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    #5
  6. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

    Joined:
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    In
    :1drink:1drink
    #6
  7. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    The next morning we woke up to frost on everything and it was a night of super snuggling to keep warm! :wink: Ingrid's leg was bothering her a bit more today as it got cold that night - for the last 8 or 9 months it's been sore and trips to physio / message seems to have little effect but stopping every hour or so for a stretch and ibuprofen helps.

    The plan today was to go south on the Icefields Parkway to Saskatchewan Crossing and make it as far east on the #11 as possible.

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    Mountains along the Icefields Parkway

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    Met up with some interesting fellows from "out east" who were in Alberta on business and rented some bikes.

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    Mountain Sheep

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    More Icefields Parkway

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    After leaving the park is was the #11 to Red Deer where we stopped at a motel for the night to use the shower to wash the cat pee tent. Stretch our legs and get a good night sleep in what was a very hot day!

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    Checking the World Cup Scores!

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    Drying out the tarp!

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    Double Hockey Puck mod and hot pavement!

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    Hanging on for deer life!

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    Two BMW 650s in Parking Lot mode!

    All in all today was a good day - ate at the Berger Barron for dinner, which was OK and got ready for our next day of travelling which will take us to Saskatchewan.
    #7
  8. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Up bright and early to hit the road. Ingrid and I wander over to the motel office for their free breakfast... hmmm - white toast and coffee - you call that breakfast? We mount up and ride to Tim Horton's for a breakfast sandwich to get some proteins and some decent coffee and tea and away we went wagons east for Saskatchewan first taking the Alberta 11/12 and then Saskatchewan 51. The road in Alberta was nice, smooth and the road wasn't all that busy with lots of open flatness to keep us... entertained. The closer to Saskatchewan we got the worse the road became. Then the GPS said we were in Saskatchewan where Russian style pot holes filled the road... then the road went to hell and turned to rough and muddy gravel and then road constriction - apparently floods from a few years back destroyed a lot of the roads and they are letting them go back to gravel. At least after the road construction the roads were good gravel and eventually back to asphalt.

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    Fuel stop in Coronation AB - dark clouds all around but we seemed to miss them all.

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    GPS stats are looking good!

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    We're not in BC any more - scenery is changing!

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    That hot chick on a BMW GS is following me again!

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    Taking a break on "highway" 51 in Saskatchewan - Ingrid had to stretch her leg again and the obligatory beverage and pee break

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    Road construction

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    You just have to love the skies of Saskatchewan - this taken just outside of Biggar SK

    1600km into our trip now and at the end of a long day dodging potholes and riding 2nd rate roads, we stop at a motel at Lanigan SK - Ingrid's leg is hurting too much for camping tonight.

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    #8
  9. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Today is another "horse blinder day" so that we can make as much ground as possible to get out of the prairies and into Ontario as soon as possible - destination Winnipeg MB here we come!

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    In case you are wondering Saskatchewan is flat...

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    Stopping to change the music selection. Ingrid has a Samsung S3 in her tank bag with MP3s and I have a Samsung Note II on Ram handle bar grip that I mainly stream (Tune In app) music on and watch the GPS (Google Maps).

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    Nice sunny day, few more ponds and lakes as we make it towards Manitoba

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    After all the gravel riding from the previous day Ingrid was complaining that she had no rear brakes. So a quick stop in Yorkton for some brake fluid and I bled the rear brakes - seemed to do the trick!

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    Welcome to Manitoba - before this trip I have never been to Manitoba and nor had Ingrid - it was about to get interesting!

    Soon after going into MB, my phone was not getting any cellular data, so switch to intercom mode and talk to Ingrid for a five minutes or so and then stop at Russel for some fuel. Ingrid notices why she couldn't start her music again - her phone was GONE as she didn't zip up her tank bag 100%. We figured no worries as Google will tell us where the phone is... um... no data... shit... WiFi found... the last time Ingrid phone checked into Google was at the SK / MB border where we lost data. OK - don't panic it's only a few kilometers back to the border and a bright lime green case - how hard could it be to find the phone? Two hours later of 30km/h trawling at the side of the road, twice - nothing. So some gopher now has a fancy Samsung S3. Wagons east!

    After that we were not in the mood to take many photos as we just needed to make ground. Ingrids leg was starting to really hurt, we were both very tired of the break neck speed we were trying to do so we cut short our destination of Winnipeg and stopped at Portage La Prairie and hoteled it once again.

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    GPS progress

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    Craving more proteins - we ordered a meat lovers pizza that night - one of the best I have had in a long time!
    #9
  10. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Today we needed to get to Ontario even if it kills us, but we also need to get Ingrid a new phone. Wagons east to Winnipeg - stop at the Bell store to get a Samsung Note 3 and I drop my Sertao going into the parking place. My soft as butter bars are now slightly bent... sigh... in the store we wait and wait in hot motorcycle gear and wait some more - finally we got the phone and off we go as the early afternoon sets in. Race to Ontario begins. All the way from BC to the Ontario border the speed limit has been most of the time 100km/h with most people doing 10 over - now we hit Ontario 90 says the sign... must be because of the tourist area we are in - nope - we never say 100 again in Ontario! :cry

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    Tourist Information in Kenora Ontario - unfortunately it's closed by the time we get there.

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    Here's Ingrid - still smiling!

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    With not much distance since we stopped yesterday we stop for the night at Rushing River Provincial Park - the night costs us damn near $50 for a tent site - and I thought BC was expensive.

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    Setting up camp with the mosquitoes

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    Lake close by

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    Good to see trees again!
    #10
  11. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Ontario is a big province - not so much because of the distance you need to cover but the distance you need to cover at the very slow speed you are allowed to do it in. The whole day was 90km/h and the 550 km seemed to drag on and on and on.

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    Ontario - rocks and trees . . .

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    Ontario - 90 km/h, more rocks and more trees . . .

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    Ontario - throw in a rocky lake surrounded by trees!

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    Germany game on TV - stop at a pub and watch the game. The Mitas E-07 is showing pretty good wear with all the riding we did so far!

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    Less rocks and more grass towards Thunder Bay

    We stop at Thunder Bay at Walmart and get some food and supplies for the night - the first thing we notice is food is much cheaper in Ontario that it is in BC!

    Wagon's eat to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
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    The Sleeping Giant

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    Home for the night

    I have to say that the black flies in Ontario are worse than ANY mosquitoes I have experienced in BC / Yukon / NWT or Alaska! We ate as fast as we could and then went into the tent with the duty to god and the queen to kill every f'ing black fly in the tent.

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    Beautiful sunset!

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    Still holding on after all this time!
    #11
  12. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Today will prove to be a Marathon of a day in more than one way. An early rise and shine and thankfully no black flies out first thing in the morning and off to the truck stop we saw at the turn off to the provincial park for breakfast. After a nice breakfast it was once again wagons east... this time the start was rather rapid as my throttle stuck open on the Sertao for a second! Stopped the bike and took a look at everything - seems the drop back in Winnipeg squashed the throttle cable a tad as my choice in routing for the cable wasn't optimal for the larger 48mm Yamaha YZ forks I installed. As the day progressed it stuck more and more to the point that I couldn't stop accelerating. We stopped at Terrace Bay and I fashioned a string to pull the accelerator shut again - this proved to be only a small fix and something had to be done or else I would end up dead. At five in the afternoon we rolled into Marathon and happened to luck into finding Marathon Motor Sports and Marine - a really cool little small engines shop with an owner who could fix about everything it seemed. He invited me to roll the bike into the customer area and we proceeded to McGuiver the accelerator cable with a Bic Pen and Shrink Tubing as it turns out the BMW Canada doesn't stock these cables and it would be two weeks to get on in from Germany - tell me again why I bought a BMW?

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    After this repair, the accelerator cable held out perfectly for the remainder of the trip - fantastic job and I recommend these guys any day of the week!

    Ingrid's leg was getting worse and was starting to swell - there was a small amount of swelling over the past few days but it was getting worse - motel it again and elevate it.

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    Seems Google was at the motel too!

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    Two well traveled bikes!

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    3440km into the trip at this point!

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    Hasen!

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    Ingrid's leg is getting quite painful! :cry
    #12
  13. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Today is going to be our last rapid day as after Timmons Ontario we will be in Quebec and we will bring things down a notch speed wise so we can really enjoy Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland.

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    Stopping for a break - good thing as we discovered Ingrid's front sprocket nut came off! Fortunately it was sitting in the skid plate and nothing came apart - dodged a bullet here!

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    Almost at Wawa and the end of the Lake Superior section of the trip - too bad I was to preoccupied with a bike that wanted to run away from me to enjoy all the scenery.

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    We stopped at a park in Chapleau ON at lunch time as Ingrid leg was starting to really swell up. I am really starting to worry here, so I insist that we go to the Hospital when we get to Timmons. The road from Wawa to Timmons is only 80km/h - slow slow slow.


    We finally make it to Timmons and Ingrid is crying from the pain in her leg - so off to Emergency we go. They take Ingrid in right away and examine her. They are thinking it may be a blood clot but as it was a Saturday evening the Ultra Sound tech wasn't in so they gave her a shot of blood thinner and asked may an appointment with the Ultra Sound department first thing in the morning.

    Off to the Comfort Inn for the night.
    #13
  14. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Back to the hospital for the 9am Ultra Sound. The woman who was going the ultra sound was super nice an chearful - told me not to worry as Ingrid would be out in 15 minutes. 45 minutes later she came out. Back to the waiting area we go. Little while later the doctor comes and explains to us they could see a blood clot as her lymph nods were too swollen to see anything. He explained to us normally this could be a result of the ride but he wanted to make sure so a CT scan was booked for that day. Down goes the imaging dye and we wait. CT scan and we wait and wait and wait.

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    Ingrid watching Germany play while we wait.

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    and we wait . . .

    Finally the doctor comes. He was straight forward and to the point. "We have found a 12 to 13cm tumor at the top of your leg that is stopping the blood from coming out of your leg. If I were you I would head back to British Columbia immediately and get this looked after right away. I am sorry but it looks like your honeymoon trip is over."

    SHIT :cry

    So now Ingrid and I are pretty much shell shocked with the news. We work out a plan that Ingrid flies home and I ride home and we'll send her bike back with a freight company. Some quick phone calls back home to explain what is going on and family members book Ingrid's flight back home. We call Air Canada and cancel the flights for our kids to go to New Brunswick with was scheduled for the 30th as there's no point of them being in New Brunswick for two weeks without us being there at all - not too fair for my parents.

    We go to the pub and have our last meal together for a while - off to the hotel again for not much sleep with a flight for Ingrid booked for the following morning.

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    End of the road
    #14
  15. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Morning arrives. Ingrid will be taking back what she is allowed to take on the plane and the rest of her gear goes on my bike. After she gets dropped off at the airport I will arrange transport for her bike to go back to British Columbia.

    Taxi arrives and I follow on my bike. On the way to the airport the taxi driver stops at the shipping company so I can get phone numbers to get quotes for sending Ingrid's bike back and promptly locks his keys in his running car. I was getting quite angry - FIRST priority is to get Ingrid home, SECOND priority is I can look after stuff once she is enroute. Idiot.

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    Idiots trying to open a locked car - here's a hint - a rock!

    After an hour goes someone from the taxi company arrives with a spare key - 10 minutes ago Ingrid's flight took off.

    No problem - we can get the next flight and we can still catch the WestJet flight back that her sister arranged. Only problem is that Ingrid's sister didn't realize there was TWO airports in Toronto, Porter Air doesn't fly into the airport that WestJet uses - so it turns out that Ingrid misses that flight too.

    Meanwhile back in Timmons I head back to hotel to get Ingrid's bike - I head to Canadian Tire to get some ratcheting straps and then off to the trucking company.

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    One BMW 650 Dakar / YZ with a ticket to Prince George BC

    After all the loading of the bike on to a pallet was done it was time to go back the 4km to the hotel. I start walking, someone will pick me up - it starts raining... NO ONE will pick up a "biker looking dude" in the rain. So I pull into a business and ask for any Taxi company other than A1

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    Dark skies - heavy rain - heavy wind!

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    Hail pellet that took a few return trips back up the cloud.

    Turns out that there was a tornado warning for Timmons and yes I could see how that would be possible!

    I get back to the hotel and then head back to the pub that Ingrid and I last ate at.

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    Awesome desset and beer!

    The beer glass from the night before I have in my hutch at the house - it won't contain beer until Ingrid is better. Thank you to super cool waitress who allowed us to smuggle it out! :freaky

    Back to the hotel so I can get a 6am start back to British Columbia. I miss my sweet-e already. :cry
    #15
  16. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Up at 5:30 and off to the hotel lobby for breakfast, load up the bike and now start heading west for a 1000km day. Thing is, I want back as quickly as possible now and I don't want to take the same path - so which way to go - Ontario is too slow, USA has cheaper fuel, so State Side it is!

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    Rear sprocket looking pretty rough!

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    First day riding with rain.

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    Fuel stop and reorganize the load.

    Drive back west on the 101 and then turn south on the 129 to head to Sault Ste. Marie The sun is coming out and it is turning out to be a nice day. Much to my dismay... hwy 129 is only 80km/h but it is a much better highway than hwy 97 where i live and it's 100km/h - like a good horse my bike knows how to get home and with mental cruise control on were're doing 120km/h As I am looking ahead I am thinking is it??? Oh shit, yes it is. :eek1

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    The car turns around lights are flashing and I calmly pull over. I ask the Ontario Provincial Police officer if I can help him and he askes for my bikes registration and my licence. I told him there are packed away under my seat and it would take a good 10 minutes unload everything to get to it and asked him if he could run my plate instead. He asked me why I was going so fast and I said that I had a lot on my mind and how my honeymoon trip got interrupted and that I am heading back to BC to be with my wife with a tumor. He said that seeing how I was only doing 20 over he would let me know with a warning. I thanked him and we went our separate ways. He radar must have been broken. :wink:

    The rest of the day was spent with the nose to the road to make as many kilometers as possible. The border crossing was very smooth and the guy at the booth was very helpful. Quick bite to eat and on my way.

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    Somewhere on highway 28 in Michican

    I stopped for the night in Ironwood MI and stayed at the Indian Head Motel, the same my father and I stayed at when we drove from Nova Scotia to British Columbia in 1992! Neat!
    #16
  17. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    This just turned out to be a long day - 1150 km to be exact.

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    I knew I should have removed the sheep skin last night

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    Duluth, MN

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    At 5535 kilometers into the trip, both of us at the nose to the windscreen!

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    A stare with purpose - must get home to Ingrid!

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    Back to the flat country again!
    #17
  18. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Williston WI was interesting - basically full of young men working the oil patch with too much money in their pockets. Was glad to get out of there and be on the road again. My ass was certainly getting sore now and I am glad I stole the Dakar seat as the Sertao seat is garbage!

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    Approaching 9.000km with the Mitas E07 - getting worn a little flat due to all the highway riding.

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    A welcome to Montanna and let's get rid of the morning coffee break on highway 2

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    A little further down the road I said "Happy 10.000" to my new Sertao

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    Looking good at 10.000!

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    Wish I had time to explore!

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    OK - enough taking photos - make some time!

    I stayed on the #2 until Havre and headed north on the Wild Horse Trail to head into Canada.

    The border crossing was again uneventful - they almost seemed glad to see me at this very lonely outpost!

    I stopped outside of Cypress Hills Provincial Park to fuel up and call Ingrid to see how she was doing. The doctors say Ingrid has Cancer. I cried.

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    On the TransCanada heading to my sister-in-laws place in Calgary.

    Arrived at Airdrie AB in the early evening, had some dinner a beer and nice shower with a nice bed to be in. Thanks Kerstin and Rich for the hospitality!
    #18
  19. hasenwerk

    hasenwerk Long timer

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    Today is the day - I get to see Ingrid again!!!

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    Leaving Calgary - what a relief to see those mountains again!

    Stop and Banff for some breakfast and to take phone calls from people expressing their concern. Had a real good chat with my best friend Dirk from Germany, he made me feel a lot better about the situation.

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    Banff National Park

    The rest of the ride I have done dozens of times - camera didn't come out and nothing too crazy happened.

    I met up with Ingrid at her mom's place in Prince George, that was one very sweet kiss!

    125km later we were home sweet home again!

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    At 10.600km the Mitas E-07 had it's day.

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    After two weeks and 8128km on a motorcycle I had a trip of a lifetime and a new beginning to the rest of my life with my lovely wife who I love very much.
    #19
  20. iloco

    iloco Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    294
    Location:
    Chilhowie, Va
    Was enjoying your report until I came to the part about your wife having problems. How is she doing or is there more to the report telling us that.
    #20