My first Ride report – FIRE ON THE TRANSLAB!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Bear Creek West, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

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    Well, not to bait and switch, but this report is actually more accurately described as “2 complete rookies learn how to ride, navigate the north east, combine a family vacation, and survive the forest-fires on the Translab!”

    Preamble…
    So it all began sometime around the spring of 2012 when my family decided to travel to Newfoundland for a vacation to happen in the summer of 2013. Shortly after having hatched this plan we were having dinner with kdoglaw (aka Kman) and his family, and were discussing our plans to drive to the east coast – after about 2 minutes of conversing they were in for the trip as well. The laws are very seasoned travellers and, our boys are best buds so we were stoked to have them join us!

    Fast forward a few months and I get one of these as my first bike…
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    A few months later in the summer of 2012, Kman is away travelling the Dempster highway and his amazing wife surprises him with one of these on his return.
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    Thanks to BikerBobber for passing along a great KLR! BTW – I think this is the last time the bike was clean!

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    STOKED!!

    At this point the trip is purely a family vacation - 2 dads, 2 boys, and 2 wives….
    So we spend the next few months learning how to ride (Big thanks to ScramblerTom for our first dirt ride last fall – 4 degrees and rain has never been so fun!). Here are a few shots from our local excursions...
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    Ganaraska off-road training day. Is it bad when your helmet is filling up with muddy water?
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    Learning the fine art of riding in the rhubarb on Hinchinbrooke Rd.
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    Simcoe Island – note the knobbies!
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    Accomodation Rd.
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    Long lake rd.
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    Simpson Rd.

    So after a half season of learning how to ride these beasts, (and countless hours on ADVrider!), we are FULLY hooked on all things moto!!

    But dang – the Translab is being paved! We need to ride this thing now! And so the process begins to convince our respective significant others how critical this is that we ride, and they drive! After some high level negotiations – the wives are on board! The loose plan is that we will meet up at predetermined camping locations – ride the NE states, spend a week a rental house north of St. John’s, a few days at Gros Morne, and then part ways for the return trip.
    And so it begins…I hope you enjoy my post-ride recollection of my first big ride and an incredible vacation, all smashed into 3 ½ weeks of pure adventure!

    Full disclosure - any photo that looks half good was taken by skilled photoguy Kman...the shite ones are all mine!
    #1
  2. geddstock

    geddstock Adventurer

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    good luck guys
    #2
  3. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

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    So the ride begins… June 15th
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    Bike is loaded and ready to roll! After much searching on the fleamarket, I secured a pile of farlkes and had nothing but excellent purchasing experiences! Thanks to Embeedee for the vario cases and headlight covers, Rockin Rollin for the windscreens, bigbadandugly for the drybag, Drif10 for the Montana GPS, iLander for the BMW heated vest, BalancePoint for the Klim pants.

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    My second TCK80 - starting on new rubber!
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    Someone else is pretty excited about the trip.

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    I’m off! First stop Kman’s house in Kingston. Day one is a half day of riding to where-ever we get to in upstate NY.

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    Short jaunt to Kingston to pick-up the Kman – this is really happening!

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    Hit some dirt almost immediately in upper NY state! We did a shakedown ride through the Adirondacks in May, plus I had spent a lot of hours fighting with the Garmin basecamp (arggg!!), so we had some back-road routes for us to follow. The GPS has proven to be invaluable – I was skeptical at first but wow – what a game changer for touring the unknown.

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    Small twisty dirt roads – day one is shaping up very nicely!

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    Yeah, this should do just fine! A few hundred km is all we logged on the first day but it feels like we are already far away from home – this is great!

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    Thanks Mel for the dehydrated Chili!

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    Hydrated and delicious!

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    Night one meal with accompanying beverages was terrific!

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    This was a cracking good campsite – nice lake and much better than the wall to wall RV’s at the first campground we were directed towards by the cashier at the booze store…

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    Beautiful morning shot from our site, (also a classic example of the kind of photo I do not have skills to capture – thanks Kman!).

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    Little morning blaze to warm-up from the single digits!

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    Kman – doing what he does…

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    A quick breakfast and the steeds are ready to roll!

    Meanwhile…. Back in Kingston, the Honda-sapiens are getting ready to roll.
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    Boys are raring to go!

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    Day 2 staring off on the right track!

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    Quick pre-lunch stop on east side of lake Champlain – it’s a bit cold and has been raining but we’re on a high. This shot is just after we came off of a rocky logging road near Port Henry.

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    Almost rode past this place just off of the main drag in Port Henry on Lake Champlain – spotted some bikes and did a u-turn. Great lunch spot. The other 2 riders were just heading back to Montreal after a quick trip south.

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    Pouring rain in Vermont – nice roads and great little river. At this point we are realizing that the route I have plotted out for us is taking too much time. The plan is to meet the wives/kids for the night at campground in NH – so we bypass a few of the gravel routes I had plotted and hit the slab…

    Although – we could do this small little bypass I see on the GPS…
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    It leads us up a small mountain and through a very rustic settlement before petering out.
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    At this point it’s getting late in the day – I’m following Kman too closely up the hill and end up tipping over. No damage – pick it up and have to backtrack though… We ended up seeing the route my GPS was attempting to route us on - it would have been too rugged for my skills on the loaded bike, plus there were weird ropes hanging from the trees right about head level - I’m still convinced I heard a banjo playing…:eek1
    #3
  4. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    :lurk

    That looked like a lot of fun! Great report!
    #4
  5. Amack37

    Amack37 Adventurer

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    Fantastic start to an epic trip! Can't wait to watch it unfold... subscribed!
    #5
  6. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

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    So Day 2 continues with us racing to get to the Mount Washington campground before dark. Vermont and NH were full of great roads and beautiful scenery – it was hard to just blast through knowing we were missing all kinds of great terrain and untold adventures. The evening was cold and raining and the campground had no fire wood so we decided to get a motel nearby. The four seasons motel in Twin Mountain NH, proved to be just the ticket – it’s tucked into the shadow of Mount Washington, spotlessly clean and was practically empty. Had a great chat with the proprietor Lee – a swede transplant from Boston area (who of course was a Bruins fan). He brewed us a huge vat of coffee and we chatted hockey for a while – it was great to meet him, I hope to return.

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    Mount Washington – I definitely need to come back here sometime…

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    The bikes are looking clean – thanks to a good number of hours in pouring rain on Day 2. When preparing for this trip I actually contemplated not bringing winter gear – I used my heated grips almost every day, heated vest got plenty of use and proved to be one of my best purchases. Kman and I chuckled to ourselves many times how it looked like we were getting geared up for a ski trip – long underwear, undershirts, sweater, heated vest, gore-tex rain liner, jacket…

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    And so our first night together with family ends and the morning ritual of packing up begins. The Honda-sapiens were ready to roll quickly – the boys are still excited about what’s to come. My bike started developing a hesitation on day 2 – I suspected water in the fuel as the last stop in Vermont was a shady little gas station and it was raining like crazy with ponded water everywhere. After a quick search on ADV, Techron or Seafoam seemed to be the preferred treatment, so the hunt was on for some fuel treatment. We said goodbye to the families – tonight’s meeting spot, the coast of Maine!

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    The first repair shop we stopped at had some bikes for sale on the side of the road – the owner was quick to pick-up on my interest in this little beauty. He promptly fired it up with one small kick - $1,200 bucks! Hmmm, how can I get this back to Kingston?? No fuel treatment, but he points us to an NAPA a few more miles up the road.
    Every stop has folks warning us to beware of moose – the point is hammered home as we ride past a fresh car / moose collision – holy shite, I don’t even want to think about running into one of those guys. After a quick stop in Whitefield NH, we hit the Presidential Highway #2 running east through the mountains. It’s a truly beautiful road, spectacular scenery and the day is finally warming up with some sunshine! Kman and I are like giddy school girls as we banter like fools through our Sena helmet intercom – life is great as we carve turn after turn down the mountain road! Traffic continues to be non-existent to this point.

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    Roadside lunch next to a small county road proved to be excellent. Simple food eaten with a Leatherman in the sun was just great…canned mackerel from Bar Harbor, some fruit, bread all consumed while sitting on the grass overlooking a sundrenched valley. This lunch still sticks in my mind as one of the best road-side stops we had on the trip – only wish I had snapped more pics.
    Day 3 continued with some cool scenery through small towns in Maine, we hit the coast around Belfast and travelled north to Bar Harbor for the night. The traffic was increasingly worse as we headed toward the coast, finishing up with bumper-to-bumper in the Bar Harbor area. The Honda-sapiens travelled much quicker than us and had already decided the hunt for a decent camping spot was futile – so another hotel was booked and we rolled in to find the boys and the pool waiting. The communication between the bikes and families was pretty easy at this point with good cell service near the coast – the Sena unit has proved invaluable.

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    Bar Harbor had some perfect boats for travelling to Simcoe Island….

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    Shaping up to be a very nice evening…

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    Great meal by the harbo(u)r. The beer and seafood were delicious!

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    You, will be mine!

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    We unleashed the boys with the cameras – I now have about 195 shots of random goodness from Bar Harbor.

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    One of Levi’s shots.

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    Another few shots compliments of the 6 year old photo-guy.

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    Great dusk shot Julia captured. Bar Harbor was nice, although it was crawling with tourists already. The town appears to have very few original structures and had a Disney kinda vibe of artificial facades created to attract $$’s. I don’t think I would go back but it was nice for a night.
    #6
  7. kelsow

    kelsow Long timer

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    Subscribed! :evil
    #7
  8. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

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    Kingston / South Frontenac
    The exit from Maine was a fairly mundane drone on the highway. The lack of alternate back-roads enabled us to be relatively close to the Honda so we met for lunch in Calais at the border crossing back into Canada. My original routing plan had us bypassing the coast altogether and had us riding through dirt roads in northern Maine to the NB border – this would have to wait for another trip.

    Tonight’s destination was the Fundy National park campground – I was determined to find us some dirt on the way…:wink:
    After St. John the super highway heads further away from the coast – there’s gotta be a more direct back-road route to Fundy National Park. The mapset I have loaded on the Montana GPS showed a bunch of small trails coming out right at the park so we decided to try it out. The risk was that the mapset (or at least my ability to interpret it), doesn't differentiate between snowmobile trails and logging roads so we may reach spots that are impassible.

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    So far so good!

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    Getting a bit more interesting…

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    And now we’re fully committed….

    At this point we have had to turn back several times due to impassible trails – either way too steep or deep in mud. The shadows are getting long and we are starting to worry about having to possibly backtrack out to the highway – this would be a several hour endeavor at this point. Cell coverage has been gone for hours so we also cannot let the families know where we are. We are hours behind them by now and are concerned that they are getting worried. Kman has his spot locator and has been updating our location periodically – so if the wives are really worried they could find a wifi and see where we are. We had decided to be as self-sufficient on the bikes as possible, so if we needed to camp in the bush it’s not really a big problem.

    It’s at times like these that being a rookie on the bike is weighing particularly heavy on my psyche – all I can envision is watering out my new bike and being stuck in the middle of nowhere. This is where the Kman on his KLR provided the perfect complement to my riding style and lack of confidence.

    Typical scenario is this: I’m leading as I have the GPS – approach small puddle – winge, pucker, stop, and contemplate all of the things that could go wrong (unfortunately for Kman, I vocalize all of these negative feelings through the headset!) – Kman usually pipes, “I’ll go” and passes me before I can even respond and blows through the obstacle leaving me no choice but to conclude what a huge wuss I am!
    #8
  9. huguesfrederic

    huguesfrederic HF

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    Super keep going :clap
    #9
  10. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    I'm in..
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  11. squawk77

    squawk77 Dreamer

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    Nice! My home turf

    There's endless trails all over NB of all sorts, I know a lot of them and I still get lost :lol3 There's a bunch of remote beaches between St Martins and Fundy I used to dirt bike to as a kid. Lots of unmarked caves, fossils, viewpoints etc. We never tried to go directly to Fundy though because it's a protected park

    I'd be surprised if you made it there off road :ear
    #11
  12. diverandrew

    diverandrew Been here awhile

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    Nice photography. Subscribed!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #12
  13. Wdwrkr

    Wdwrkr Long timer

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    I'm in the trans lab is on my short list, i just cant get any of my wussy friends to come :huh.. Might try it solo in october, but I'm afraid that may be pushing the season that far north.

    you went right through some of my favorite places in NY, and VT.. keep the report coming..:clap
    #13
  14. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

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    So after a few hours of snowmobile trials we finally get across the oxbow river and emerge on a logging road with a direct track to the 114 to Fundy National Park. What an awesome ride! I truly thought we were going to be backtracking a loooong way out of the bush!

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    Life is good! Once we hit the logging road we are spit out on the 114 turn right and within 1km we are in the park! This area clearly has a load of awesome trails to ride – I must return!

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    We rolled into the campsite a bit late for dinner to find the ladies relaxed and enjoying a nice meal and bottle of red. What an awesome day of riding – the adrenaline was still flowing!

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    Our yurts for the next 2 nights. We had pre-booked the campsite for 2 nights to give the boys a bit of time out of the backseat and allow us to explore the area a bit.

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    Sunrise over the Bay of Fundy was spectacular (my photo is not!).

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    I highly recommend the yurts here – perched high on the bluff the view is fantastic – my only complaint was that campfires were banned.

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    Amazing tide rolls out over 1km in the bay at Alma.

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    Covered bridge near the south end of the park – the place was virtually deserted.

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    Lovely little river flowing into the bay.

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    Beach at Wolfe Point.

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    Clam digging.

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    The Honda-sapiens.

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    Alama river valley.

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    Harbour at Alma.

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    The boys were having a ball.

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    Fundy National Park has some great facilities.

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    Yours truly working hard.

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    Some old friends of Kman’s met up with us at the campground – this is a dog they rescued from Mexico a few years back.

    Sorry - back to the bikes!!

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    Kman oiling up the cement mixer.

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    1500Km on the new tire…Still looking good!

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    My Bike was still hesitating – we stopped here for gaz near Hopewell rocks. Loved the sign and also hoped some premium non-ethanol might help. At this point I have run a few tanks of Techron through but still no change. The hesitation is subtle but definitely there… Next stop is the BMW dealer, Atlantic Motoplex in Dieppe just outside of Moncton. I had called ahead and they agreed to have a look. Fingers crossed this is nothing major.

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    As we start to leave the fuel bar Kman’s headlight stops working. This spurns the yard-sale of unpacking to get at Kman’s tool roll. He wisely checks the fuses – simple fix, he had pulled the lead out when his aftermarket 12v plug-in rotated on his barmount.

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    KLR – simple but good! I’m really loving this bike – can’t really imagine how you get a better bang for your buck. Fuse lead plugged back in, lights on, lets roll!

    Next stop Dieppe.
    #14
  15. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

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    Thanks! The adventure just got better and better - can't wait to do another one...
    #15
  16. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Kingston / South Frontenac
    At the time I would have killed for a local to guide us through - although the tension of the unknown was exhilarating!
    #16
  17. Bear Creek West

    Bear Creek West Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    220
    Location:
    Kingston / South Frontenac
    It was cold in July (frost!) so I can't imagine what October would be like! Agreed NY and VT have some great roads - I've only just scratched the surface, must ride more...
    #17
  18. BlueRider85

    BlueRider85 n00b

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    Harrisburg, PA
    Great pics! I'm looking to do this ride next year!!

    :lurk
    #18
  19. iLander

    iLander Been here awhile

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    Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
    glad to hear that the vest worked out so well for you: looks like it found a great home!

    If my health ever improves & I can ride again, it a heated vest would be one of the first pieces of gear I'm buy!
    #19
  20. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Well - common then...............:ricky

    Nick
    #20