not all those who wander are lost | two earthlings ride around the world

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Rockwell, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    Thanks everyone!

    Paula and I were in the day before we left to pick up some Rotopax. We haven't had to use them yet, but, given the tank range of the 990, I'm guessing they will come in handy.
    #21
  2. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    [​IMG] On August 26th we crossed from Ontario into “Friendly Manitoba”. It was strange riding from thick forest, smelling of pine and cedar, to flat grassland, filled with the aroma of hay and manure. It was a nice change of scenery, but strange because it was so immediate upon crossing the Ontario-Manitoba border. We rode into Winnipeg, set up camp in Assiniboine Park, and, the following day, we rode out of Manitoba and into Saskatchewan.

    “Naturally Saskatchewan” looks a lot like Manitoba with many acres of farm land, checkered in all shades of green and gold. We found a great place in Wascana Park to set up the tent and spent the night in Regina, the provinces capital. Saskatchewan is very pretty and, as we rode away the following day, the land began to show it’s beautiful curves.

    When we got to Medicine Hat, Alberta. We stopped to meet Piet and Ina, a couple we met on the website .

    Unsure of what to expect because the experience was our first, we were comforted by a warm, kind welcome and invited to join them and other guests for dinner. They prepared a feast and introduced us to their son Josh, his beautiful wife Amy and a pair of musicians who were also staying over. Piet and Ina enjoy having concerts at their home and had planned to have one the following night. Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki would be performing and we were invited to stay another night. With a full belly, a comfortable bed, a few drinks and great company, how could we possibly say no¡ In the morning, we decided to explore Medicine Hat and it’s sloping valleys, by evening we were ready to party. The concert was amazing! Romi and Jason are great people and performers. At midnight, the group of them serenaded me with happy birthday and passed around some cake, it was a perfect way to turn thirty two. To say the least, Piet and Ina are incredible beings. Even with such an amazing trip ahead, we were sad to part from our new friends.


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    [​IMG] Our final night in Ontario was spent camped out next to the highway. We parked and set up next to a truck stop restaurant and hotel at the side of the gravel shoulder on a nice patch of tall grass. It seemed, at the time, like a logical place to pitch a tent.

    Passing into Manitoba the next day, there was an abrupt change of landscape. The long, straight stretches of highway of Manitoba were a welcome change.

    Not having had a proper shower for several days, we decided to give CouchSurfing a try instead of tenting out another night. CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travellers and the local communities they visit. It is a social network of people who offer travellers a couch or spare bedroom for a night or two. We were contacted by a guy in Winnipeg and were offered a spare room for the night. As we got closer to the city later in the day, we received a text message from him explaining that he had to cancel. This left us having to find a place to stealth camp for the night. We pulled onto the University of Winnipeg campus in the hopes of finding some sort of locker room shower in the campus rec center and a place to pitch our tent, but we were disappointed. We weren’t able to find accessible showers, and all the security cameras on campus didn’t make it a viable option for hiding out over night.

    Slightly more hungry than we were tired, we decided to grab a bite to eat and weigh our options. Looking on the GPS, we found a large park in the middle of Winnipeg. This seemed to be a safe bet. We drove over to Assiniboine Park to find hundreds of people gathered with their kids for, what we later learned to be, Friday movie night in the park. We set up our tent in an inconspicuous location, unpacked the bike and settled in the the night. We even managed to snag an unsecured WiFi connection!

    The next day was a pretty steady and uneventful day of riding, though finding premium fuel proved to be a bit difficult. Gas stations were few and far between, and many of the ones we stopped at didn’t have anything higher than an 87 octane.

    We spent that evening camped out in the central park in Regina, Saskatchewan, pulling in at dusk, setting up the tent, and riding off early the next morning.

    Still in need of a shower and not yet brave enough to jump into rivers or lakes to bathe, we decided to give CouchSurfing another try. Paula contacted an older couple in Medicine Hat, Alberta who said that they would be able to host us. We pulled into town just after 5pm and were greeted by Piet and Ina. They offered us their shower and laundry room, and we graciously and anxiously accepted. After washing up, we were treated to wine and cheese, followed by a delicious supper where we were joined by Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki, a Canadian music duo who would be performing the following evening in Piet and Ina’s garage. Piet and Ina suggested that we stay an extra night to watch the performance, and, without giving it a second though, we accepted.

    We spent part of the next day exploring the town and working on trying to get a blog post ready. Evening came and it was time for the show to begin. The opening act went on and, about an hour later, Romi and Jason took the stage only to find out that neither of Romi’s guitars were functioning properly. While everyone waited for a replacement guitar to arrive, I tried re-soldering the wires in the guitar to see if the issue was due to a failed electrical connection. This didn’t solve the problem. The replacement guitar arrived, and soon Romi and Jason were rocking’ out. They put on a great show.

    Morning came, we packed our belongings onto the bike, and said our good-byes to our new friends, Piet and Ina. We said our good-byes to Romi and Jason the night before. Rock stars don’t wake up before noon.

    We pulled out of Medicine Hat and headed for Calgary.


    Entering into the province of Manitoba
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    Stopped at the side of the road somewhere in Saskatchewan
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    Paula on a bail of hay in a farmer's field in Saskatchewan
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    Paula somewhere in Saskatchewan
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    At the welcome center entering Alberta
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    Romi Mayes & Jason Nowicki performing at Piet & Ina's
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    Romi Mayes & Jason Nowicki rockin' out
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    Piet & Ina's garage music venue
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    Romi Mayes and Jason Nowicki after the show
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    Paula and our first www.couchsurfing.org hosts, Piet & Ina
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    #22
  3. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,254
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I'll follow along. Nice Photos.
    #23
  4. Ford_Prefect

    Ford_Prefect Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Afghanistan... Lovely place minus the heat & dust!
    I have to ask...

    Why premium gas? Is that required by the bike, won't it run on lower octane? I mean you are likely to have a very hard time finding that stuff in Central and South America.

    Also very impressed that you managed to put up a tent in a public park! The cops in the USA would run you out faster than you could blink!


    Regards,

    Brian
    #24
  5. Animo

    Animo Beastly n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,080
    Location:
    Playa del Carmen
    This :deal


    #25
  6. BOOCH

    BOOCH n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Lancaster,Ca.
    Hi,

    My wife and I met you two in a coffee/ice cream shop in Banff on 09/01/11. We were the senior couple riding the BMW R1200RT. I looked you up on this Site and checked out your itinerary when we arrived at our daughters apartment in Puyallup,Washington.What you guys have planned is amazing and we wish you all the luck in the world.We are experienced travelers ( by paved road and motel) and know how grueling two up traveling on a bike is. After 15 days out (riding 12 days) we arrived home in Southern California after covering 5,000 miles. I have to admit that if I were 27 years younger I would be in better physical shape but I (we) would not have been in a position ( kids and careers) to have even contemplated such a journey. In closing,you two are special.God be with you

    Steve and Sharon Bouche':clap
    #26
  7. Rastus

    Rastus World Traveler

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    The View!
    We just heard one of our sister inlaws has advanced Cancer. Shes in her mid 40's, just like us. You never know how long you have left in this world.
    #27
  8. fulviapaulo

    fulviapaulo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    241
    Location:
    Portugal
    Hi guys!!

    It sure takes some balls (sorry Paula :rofl) to do what you've just done and are starting... It really goes a long way from dreaming something and just do it. Glad you managed that :clap

    Will be following your adventure and be sure to say something when you get to Portugal :freaky First bottle of wine's on me...

    Btw, why calling Almeida to your bike? :lol3

    Godspeed and boa viagem!

    Cheers
    Paulo
    #28
  9. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    We usually pull in at dusk, try to find an inconspicuous location, head out the next morning and try not to leave a trace.

    We've been in the USA for a few weeks, and managed to stealth camp successfully, for the most part. We pulled into Bend, Oregon last night at dusk, and found, what looked like, an abandoned parking lot. Apparently there was a security officer who came on site in the evening, saw the tent and called the police. Two officers showed up at around 10:30 pm. They explained that the owner of the lot had been having problems with vagrants, which is why they were called. The officers didn't care if we stayed there overnight, but had to get the permission of the lot owner. Everything was OK, and we were able to stay the night. We're just making our way out of Bend now.

    We haven't had a blog post in a while, so we're going to try to get an update within the next few days.
    #29
  10. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    Yes! Thanks for the bottle of water. It came in handy. We think we passed you again heading up towards the ice fields. You two were on your way back down.

    We're loving life on the road. Getting along is the hard part.

    Thanks for the well-wishes!
    #30
  11. BOOCH

    BOOCH n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Lancaster,Ca.
    :clapThree things made our touring so much easier
    Our Rick Mayer seat
    Our Garmin 2730
    And most importantly,our Autocomm,intercom.

    Best of Wishes

    Steve & Sharon Bouche'
    #31
  12. Tom-Traveller

    Tom-Traveller Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    90
    Location:
    Switzerland, near the border to the BlackForest
    :clap:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap

    Very good .... you are on the move and you will enjoy it

    I like the the route you choose and you will see the most interesting and rideable countries.
    Other travellers I talked to said, the East coast of Africa is more touristy but also more to see :deal

    However, the time you hit Europe, give us a call and you are more than welcome to stay at our place :freaky

    We live about 45min north of Zürich, right on the border to Germany/BlackForest. There is always a hot shower (or hot tub), a garage to work on the bike and the next KTM dealer/workshop is about 5 km away., where we bought our KTM 690`s. :rofl

    In 2012 we will be away in September for a 2 week vacation in South France (Alpes maritimes), our last testride before we leave again in 2013 :evil :lol3:evil:lol3:evil:lol3

    If you make it early enough (end of August) , I can show you my favourite routes heading south to Portugal :deal and we can ride together for the 2 weeks and split in South France.

    OK, this is just a suggestion for next year .... right now have fun riding south and

    HAPPY TRAILS
    Thomas & Andrea

    www.miles-to-ride.com
    #32
  13. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    Awesome. Hopefully we'll all keep in touch and hook up when we get over that way!
    #33
  14. booger1

    booger1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    971
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks for sharing your story, looking forward to hearing more.
    If you find yourselves in the PHX AZ area drop us a line. We'll help however possible.
    #34
  15. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    [​IMG] On august 30, the weather turned bitter and it was a cold ride to Calgary, Alberta. Luckily it was a short trip because we weren’t wearing the weather liners on our riding gear. The tread on our back tire was wearing thin and since we have to learn to do all the repairs on the bike ourselves, we were about to replace our first tire. Fortunately, we were offered some help from a man named John. He lives in Calgary with his family and he replied to a post that Rocky had placed on the website www.ADVrider.com. After entering his garage, it was obvious that he loves motorcycles and his enthusiastic stories had me wishing I had my own. It was very kind of him to help/teach us and I thought it was really cool that his wife was also celebrating her birthday that day. With the weather still cold and wet, we were very thankful to have been invited to spend the night in Calgary. It is a great feeling to be treated so well by strangers.

    The rain remained by the next morning and the ride felt longer than it should have. As we reached Canmore, Alberta we were only able to get a few peeks at the mountains as we literally rode through clouds. That is when we finally decided that the weather sucked! We had an entire day to waste so we pulled over and spent it at Tim Horton’s. We were hoping the rain would stop, but it didn’t. So, we rode into Banff National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies and before it got dark, we found a great place for our tent.

    The following morning we rode to the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper, Alberta. On our way, we stopped at the famously beautiful Lake Louise, but everywhere I looked was jaw dropping. The mountains were majestic, the lakes and streams were all aqua marine in color and I love the smell of fresh air. “Alberta, Wild Rose Country” is incredible but no words or pictures could properly describe it’s intensity.

    Just as the sun began to set, we passed the border into British Columbia and stopped in a town named Fields, BC. It was definitely a scenery I wanted to wake up to. The morning was beautiful but during the night, a storm almost blew us away. The tent swayed viciously and at first, I thought it was a bear attack. Ironically, we fell back asleep too tired to care.

    When we were in Calgary, John recommended we take a different route than we had planned. We trusted his opinion and am I ever glad. We rode through “Beautiful British Columbia” on winding roads that took us up, down and all around the mountains. These mountains were green, covered in trees and their peaks, smooth. We took ferries across a couple of lakes giving us the chance to stretch and enjoy a different type of ride. After a long day on the road, we pulled into a town named New Denver. We found a very small park on the edge of Slocan Lake and the view was breathtaking. It was a great home for the night but our morning was a rough one. As we packed up, I tried releasing the tent poles to take apart the tent. I was having a tough time but finally managed to bend the pole just enough to have it pop my front tooth with all the built up pressure. Imagine me with a missing front tooth? Haha close call, but thankfully, I still have them all. With everything finally packed, the motorcycle refused to start. A local who lives across the street, had seen our troubles and offered us a boost from his portable battery charger. Within a few minutes, the engine begun to purr. Thanks David!

    We finally headed out towards Grand Forks BC to meet a local named Nancy but since we arrived late, she had to go to work and her sister Joanne greeted us instead. Nancy is a kind lady we met on www.couchsurfing.org and we were the first she had hosted from the website. When she finally made it home from work, we were pleased to meet her. We shared stories, drank wine, walked around town, and shared many laughs. Two nights later, we had to part ways. I love meeting new friends but I always feel sad to say good bye. We were on our way to Vancouver and the roads we took were a lot of fun. At times I wished I was the one steering but who am I kidding, I’ve had the best seat on this trip. I once thought I might be crazy for wanting to join Rocky on this adventure but, everyday I have been reminded by every moment passed how amazing it is to be experiencing this. I have traveled a lot in my life but nothing beats doing it on a motorcycle.

    Looking for a place to take a break, we came across a town called Osoyoos. We didn’t stay there for long but I just want to mention how much we liked it there. Rocky said that it looked like a great vacation spot, I thought it looked like a great place to live. It was really pretty.

    The entire ride through Canada, I don’t remember seeing any police, it must have been because they were all hanging out in BC. They were everywhere pulling over groups of vehicles. At one point, the car in front of us and about four cars behind us were asked to pull over. We weren’t sure if we were asked as well so to avoid trouble, we did anyway. As soon as we realized how many of us were waiting for a ticket, Rocky decided that the cop had his hands full so we did him a favor and left to make his job easier.


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    [​IMG] With Almeida’s original rear tire tread thinning, I had posted on a internet motorcycle message board asking for tips on changing tires. I was contacted by a couple members of the website www.ADVrider.com who were willing to help. A guy in Calgary named John emailed me his contact information offered to show me the ropes.

    Heading towards Calgary, the clouds became increasingly dark and the air much cooler. We pulled into Blackfoot Motorsports in a frigid, drizzling rain. After picking up a new Pirelli Scorpion, we followed the directions entered into the GPS and arrived with John waiting for us in his driveway. Pulling into his garage and seeing seven or eight motorcycles, including a KTM 990 Adventure, we knew we were in good hands.

    After getting the tire changed, Paula and I washed up and headed out for her birthday dinner — all-you-can-eat sushi. John had offered us a place to stay for the night, so we finished up dinner and headed back to his place in the rain.

    The next day was just a cold and rainy as the previous. Nevertheless, we loaded the Almeida up with our gear, thanked and said our good-byes to John, and headed towards Banff. Arriving in Banff after enduring a bitterly cold rain, we found a Tim Horton’s to camp out at for a while to rest, dry off and get warm. We waited for several hours for the rain to stop. It didn’t. After about five hours of sitting, we decided to find a place to stealth camp. We found a suitable location on the outskirts of town, set up camp and endured a long, cold night.

    We awoke the next morning to some breaks in the clouds that had been overhead for the past few days. The day was spent riding along the Canadian Rockies – to Lake Louise, Bow Lake, and up to the Athabasca Glacier. The scenery was awesome. The sun shared the sky with the clouds, and the temperatures cold, especially while riding. With nightfall quickly drawing upon us, we pulled off the side of the road to camp just outside the town of Field, British Columbia, a picturesque town of approximately 300 people situated along the snowcapped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

    We were awoken in the middle of the night to a fierce thunderstorm. I was sure that the tent would be blown apart by the winds, but I was too tired to care, so I shut my eyes and went back to sleep.

    Coming down in elevation the next morning, the sun began to shine and the temperature began to rise. We followed the route John had made up for us through Golden, into Revelstoke, and down along Upper Arrow Lake where we had our first ferry crossing. We continued along twisting and winding roads and beautiful scenery, and stopped just before sunset. We camped out in the park next to a lake in the small town of New Denver along the edge of Slocan Lake.

    The next morning, the bike refused to start. My initial guess was that the battery was drained from charging all of our electronics the previous day, even though it was while Almeida’s alternator was turning. The several attempts of fire up the engine were in vain. The battery just didn’t have enough juice to crank the starter motor. Luckily, a neighbour, just across the street from the park where we were camped, heard us trying to start the engine and offered his assistance and his battery charger. After about fifteen minutes on the charger, I tried the to start the bike and the engine immediately fired up. We thanked our new friend, David, for his help, I put the bike in gear and we headed towards Grand Forks, British Columbia.

    In need of a rest, a shower and a friendly conversation (Paula and I get sick of each other after several days with just each other), we decided to give couch surfing another try. We contacted a lady named Nancy who agreed to host us for a night or two. We arrived in Grand Forks, and were let into Nancy’s apartment by her sister, Joanne, who lived across the street. Nancy worked at a local pub, and wouldn’t be arriving home until later that evening. We were surprised at how trusting someone could be to let strangers into her home without ever meeting them. Nancy finished work and arrived home at around 10pm. We sat at her kitchen table and talked about everything under the sun as Paula and I polished off a bottle of red wine that Nancy had opened up for us. Tired and tipsy, we took our last sips of wine and hit the sack.

    In the morning, Nancy cooked us a tasty organic breakfast, and took us out for a cup of Joe at her favourite coffee shop in town. She offered great stories of her travels around the world, a bit about the history of Grand Forks. Many of the residents of the town were descendants of the Doukobors, a group of pacifist Russian immigrants that settled in the area at the beginning of the twentieth century.

    The remainder of the day was spent exploring the town and enjoying its sunshine.

    We left Nancy and Grand Forks the next morning. From there, we made a beeline for Vancouver, stopping only twice. Our first stop was a great little town in Southern B.C., called Osoyoos. Riding down into the valley and into the town, it felt like we were in the wine country of Southern California. The buildings were Mexican-style with stucco facades, and the landscape seemed out-of-place for British Columbia. Our next stop was Hope, British Columbia, where the first Rambo movie was filmed. I had hoped to get a photo taken on the bridge during the arrest scene of the movie, but was disappointed after learning that it had been torn down a few months earlier.

    We rode into Vancouver and hit, what seemed like, every red light before finally arriving downtown at my friend’s apartment. Vincent, a good friend from Taiwan, greeted us and took us up to his apartment for some much-needed R&R.


    Lake Louise
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    Paula and I at Lake Louise
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    Paula at Lake Louise
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    More Lake Louise (it was awesome!)
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    North of Banff, Alberta
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    Paula
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    Up in the Canadian Rockies
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    Athabasca Glacier
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    Waking up after a night of camping out near the town of Field, British Columbia
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    A strange man whom we met in good ol' B.C.
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    In Grand Forks, British Columbia
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    #35
  16. TheReaper!

    TheReaper! Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    653
    Location:
    S.E. Michigan
    I'm in , this is going to be good . :clap

    TheReaper!
    #36
  17. *Paula*

    *Paula* n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    7
    Haha. No balls, just a lot of heart!
    He named her Almeida after me.

    Uma pinga de Porto, e um prato de bacalhao? :p
    #37
  18. Cowtowner

    Cowtowner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    240
    Location:
    Calgary
    Hi Rocky and Paula. Glad you guys had a good trip through southern BC, I think Paula's picture marked "southern BC" is north of Creston above the Creston valley - awesome pavement twisties on that road. Now that you've seen some good pavement roads in BC, come back one day and I'll show you some cool unpaved ones. :evil

    Best of luck,

    John
    #38
  19. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Ontario
    Damn, you're good. That's exactly where it was taken (I had to look it up on the map).

    When we come back to Canada, we'll meet you up in those northern gravel roads you were telling us about. I've got an awesome video riding in the Alvord Desert. So much fun! I need to get it off-road more often. I'll be posting the video within the next few posts. We're a little behind, and trying to get caught up on the website. These things happen when you're busy riding.
    #39
  20. fulviapaulo

    fulviapaulo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    241
    Location:
    Portugal
    :D Well said!

    You do understand that usually you don't call bikes by a family name... that's why i found it funny :lol3

    Um copo de Porto antes ou depois do prato de bacalhau! Combinado! :freaky

    Cheers, ride safe!
    #40