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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Umarth, Jun 18, 2013.
We never did put to vote Henrik's motion that I be nominated APOMRC'S Roaming ambassador...
Subscribed, this is really good. I think this is probably the first ride report I've seen that has managed to convey that feeling of "where do I go now?" of real freedom and no fixed plan.
Looking forward to follow your ride report.
Yukon must be a paradise for Big O and you.
Morning of day 11 saw me say good bye to Thunder Bay and head on out to Manitoba via Minnesota.
Nice roads and skies.
Not long after,
Even more miles done than the previous day, with a total of 750km. Which, at the moment, is about as long a distance as I care to do on Big O. Was quite happy to get off him when we reached the campground. But I have a feeling that as the days go by and get use to the plywood seat and the ridiculously vibby hand grips, that maximum is going to go up...
One of the things that I've always wanted to see in the prairies is a thunder storm. With the wide open landscape, when on the proper side of the storm front, you get to actually see the storm cell and not just experience it. Well my wish was very quickly granted: I had not one but two cumulonimbus greet me at the Manitoba border!! Seems that if you ride fast enough, you can go through them and once you reach the other side, you get to see them! Nice!!
Big O's take on today's events
What a dreamy place to gallivant! Even the clouds where being herded away by this nice giant.
So that I would not get my feet wet perhaps? How thoughtful of him!
The prairies was the part of the that ride that I thought would feel like a never ending stretch of boredom. Boy was I misinformed!! Manitoba, with its 1mile x 1mile grid work of gravel roads, is simply stunning! The views, the terrain, the gravel roads, the absence of any traffic all made it a pure joy to ride.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-4SfptnQ/0/M/_FX01819-M.jpg">
But of course, I was missing something today. After all, this trip has been plagued with water just about every time I get off tarmac. Well, no worries, today would be no exception. It's rained some 16inches in three days near the Saskatchewan border and this is what greeted me mere miles from that province:
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-2drBBf5/0/M/IMG_0722-M.jpg">
Notice the car that got washed away....
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The locals told me that the road was out and that there was up to 3 feet of water on the road. Well, maybe I misunderstood and what they where describing was the size of the last fish they caught. Anyway, a little water isn't gonna turn back a member of the APORMC now will it? And just look, not a trace of grass on that stretch of watery tarmac!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-X9GxrTR/0/M/IMG_0724-M.jpg">
Saved me an hour detour that did! :)
At around 5pm, started looking for a place to crash so I hit the tarmac. Took a while to find a place as this is really a very sparsely populated region. And I guess it's true that the prairies are the food store of Canada: I think I saw more of these than people!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-btGhRq8/0/M/_FX01837-M.jpg">
<b>Big O's take on the day's events</b>
Wow! Going 120kph in loose gravel roads sure does keep you awake!!! What a blast!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-pxB3b9x/0/M/_FX01817-M.jpg">
And Mgr. Know-it-all was kind enough to adjust by carburetor as I was running a bit rich. We'll see tomorrow if he did it right...
The damn doohickey that I use to charge the computer on the bike broke a few days back and haven't had a chance to charge it since the last entry. Also to be honest, Saskatchewan was rather dry in color so there hasn't been much to write about. To give you an idea, I drove for eleven and a half minutes without, literally, touching the handle bars!
A few days back, I was informed by my neighboring campers, in Saskatoon, that there was a nice loop to the north that would be much more fun to ride than heading straight to Edmonton from Saskatoon. So north I went.
My first destination was Meadow Lake provincial park. I was told that it had one of the nicest campgrounds in Canada; Sandy Beach. Well, as my luck would have it, this was Canada Day week end and it would seem that Saskatchewanians love to camp. The park had multiple campgrounds and where all full. I ended up in a campground right next to Cold Lake. And I was lucky; I took the very last tent spot!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-LpZ4C4H/0/L/_FX01844-L.jpg">
The next day, I headed out west, to end up in Athabasca. Just a click or two before entering the town, I saw a campground sign saying; that way, 17kms. Question: will there be any space left???
So I find the campground which is the self-registration sort and I'm going slowly, looking for a free spot. Not looking good was thinking I. That's when I spotted a lot with a sign saying: resident manager and this guy walking towards me and Big O, with somewhat of a frown on his face.
Have to admit that the frown seemed out of place on Ron's face. He seemed, and later proved it, to be much more inclined to smiling and having a merry good time. But right this moment, Sir Ron was frowning because the campsite has a zero tolerance rule, that he enforces, for quads and dirt bike's and hearing happy Big O chugging slowly along, he figured some twat was again attempting to enter on one of those devilish machines.
Ron here took one look at big O and seeing as he's street legal and all, changed his frown upside down into a very welcoming smile. To Big O's smug satisfaction it must be said! Had a quick chat with Ron about me looking for a tent site for one night, where I'd been, what I was about and where me and Big O where heading. After which he promptly showed me where I could set up camp. Hearing that I had some electronics to charge up, he invited me to hop over, once I was settled in, with what I needed to charge and he would fire up his generator for me! I even got to finally fix the tablet charger doohickey! I'd gone to church again a few days back and prayed for a soldering iron which god promptly provided, but had not had access to an electric outlet since. Ron fixed all that! Wow, my hero!
So, once all set up, I walked on over to his trailer, was greeted by Ron, given beer number one and promptly instructed to have a seat while he started up the generator! Things are on the up and up I'm thinking. A few minutes later, the doohickey is fixed, the tablet and cell phone are happily charging and I'm relaxing with a nice beer, getting acquainted with Ron and co. Co. Being his charming family composed of his wife, three daughters, one grand child, a son-in-law and a boy friend. I know I know, I'm horrible! I don't remember all their names and since they might read these lines: I'm not gonna say who's I member and who's a I don't, so as not to stew up any jealousy. In any case, they all greeted me like an old family friend, even insisting on me staying for supper.
I won't go over the whole night, but I'll let you imagine with this little fact: got back to my tent way past 3am, my bottle of scotch was no more and Ron proved to be a most delightful' host!
So, Ron and co., I'd like to thank you all for a most pleasant evening! And all the more enjoyable for being unlooked for. Hope I did not bore you all to much with my ramblings...
<b>Big O's take on the day's events</b>
I'm not so sure I like Ron as much the big slouch that rides me: because of him, I got to spent the whole evening alone. Some neighbour took pity on me at some point, came over and gave me a beer. BUT HE FORGOT TO OPEN IT FOR ME!!! How was I supposed to do open it? I ain't got no 10 fingers with opposable thumbs!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-xt8nxG3/0/M/IMG_0733-M.jpg">
Life is hard sometimes...
This morning started off with the usual scenery for Alberta.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-KMMK3jx/0/M/_FX01851-M.jpg">
But the main course quickly arrived!
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Finally! The Rockies! The party I've been most wanting to see on the Canada leg of the trip.
Avoiding southern Alberta due to the floods of previous week, I entered the Rockies from Jasper. Didn't take long for the mountains to make me smile like a child in front of a candy store. It's really to bad that pictures just fail to convey the scale of these mountains. But none the less, here are a few.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-rHkSdMv/0/M/_FX01863-M.jpg">
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-xHVGGnV/0/M/_FX01866-M.jpg">
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-CRtJHkJ/0/M/_FX01922-M.jpg">
Made the tourist stop at this glacier. A bit underwhelming to be frank, but then it's the glacier's fault that it's melting into oblivion...
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-LRXD3zr/0/M/_FX01927-M.jpg">
After the glacier, hit a side road to go to Mnt. Edith Caveli. Boy was that a treat! The small winding road in the middle of lush forest. Some of the turns where really sharp; one i did at 15-20kph and my foot pegs craped the road!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-htqg3cw/0/M/_FX01872-M.jpg">
And all this, with beautiful mountain back drops.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-wKwbcGX/0/M/_FX01893-M.jpg">
Hell, even the campground hade gorgeous view. This picture is from my tent:
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-23WZhFS/0/M/_FX01939-M.jpg">
<b>Big O's take on todays events</b>
Sure, we've had our differences, but faced with all this beautiful nature: all was forgiven! For now anyway...
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-Jd6KjD7/0/M/_FX01884-M.jpg">
Today was all about lakes as Karma (the mascot) was feeling a bit dirty from all the riding.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-TwxTcgg/0/M/_FX01949-M.jpg">
First stop was Lake Louise. It's beautiful I'll admit, but that ugly hotel they built and the gazillions of tourists just turn me off to much to really enjoy the scenery...
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-8MZMrnD/0/M/_FX02003-M.jpg">
I found that the secondary lakes where actually prettier...
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-CFcCrZh/0/M/_FX01961-M.jpg">
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-74Grgcw/0/M/_FX01946-M.jpg">
From the hotel, you can walk to the other end of the lake. Near the end the path crossed a swallow stream. Holly shit was that cold!!! The step felt like cold water, the second start to uncomfortable, by the tenth step you figure that's as cold as it can get! Hell NO! It keeps on getting colder and colder! This happens to be glacier runoff water. It freezing cod! I feel in a river in winter once and it wasn't this cold!
After Lake Louise, we went to a near by lake, much smaller oh how much more beautiful. Still a lot of people, but somehow they weren't to annoying here.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-r4HzrJt/0/M/_FX02028-M.jpg">
Here re miscellaneous pics of bodies of water of the day.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-vqjDQFb/0/M/_FX02039-M.jpg">
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-c7WkNXZ/0/M/_FX01969-M.jpg">
Near dusk, we arrived at Banff. Holly shit what a tourist trap!! Oh well, time for supplies and head on out to the nearest campground...
<b>Big O's take of todays events</b>
Meh, got bored going from one lake to another, each time waiting forever for Mister to walk around take stills. But I got back at him quite nicely: I managed to wiggle out of my counter shaft nut! I now have an self lubricating chain! Woot Woot!
Looks like you had some fine weather for visiting the rockies...
If you still plan to head for my neck of the woods, try to make it in time for a weekend... Week days are very busy right now for me at work but Fri evenings to Sunday I am free to ride...
As acting president of the APORMC you are officially our Roaming Ambassador with all the rights and privileges herein....of which there are none...
keep up the reports...missing you buddy.
Where: still in Banff
Well, we have arrived at the 6000km marker and I'm about 1000km overdue for changing Big O's oil. And doing an oil change on him usually takes quite a bit of time: I took a day off from riding. It's a good thing too, as Big O had been leaking oil from the counter sprocket seal for a few days. I was thinking that it was just the o-ring that was shot. Turns out, the nut that holds the counter sprocket had fallen off completely! I'm really happy, and surprised, that the sprocket didn't try to come off too! But as luck would have it, I'd figured that such a thing might happen and had packed an extra nut. Now I need to order a extra one...
For those of you who wonder what my tool kit and spare parts bin looks like, here's a pic of it.
Once the oil was changed and the sprocket secures once again, it was time for some grub. The campground was 40clicks from town but figured I had nothing better to do and I could have a go at take a few pics of the tourist trap, aka the town of Banff.
Nothing for it, I just don't care for the place.
Big O's take on the days event
Ah that felt gooood! my blood wa getting rather thick and dirty! But I woder if i'm falling apart from this inside or if this is a normal amount of stuff on the oil plug?
What is stuck to your drain plug looks to be less than normal... Often after an extended ride oil change you can't even see the top of the top of the magnet as it is covered in a cluster of metallic fuzz...
I've seen a lot more fuzz on drain plugs than that. Looks like ig O is holding up nicely.
Figured as much, but never hurts to double check and have assumptions validated...
Oh, and gunner, you up for a ride this Saturday? I'm in Vancouver at the moment and should be good to be in your neck of the woods Saturday...
It's time to get back onto the TCAT! Well, that was the plan anyway. All that was between me and the start of todays segment of the TCAT was a bridge, which was out of course: remember all the water that Alberta got two weeks ago? Yup, you guessed it. And the detour around that bridge was 90km!!! To end up just 2 km from where I started but on the other side of the bridge.
An hour later and I'm on the TCAT again. Hurray! It started off quite nicely with some easy gravel roads that where taking us through some really nice country side and far far away from any traffic.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-5CJVfkr/0/L/_FX02068-M.jpg">
Managed to hit traffic of an unusual type...
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-7W6fdjV/0/L/_FX02103-M.jpg">
Maybe a hour after the bull blew his load, I came upon this, of course:
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-CLPfWXW/0/L/_FX02105-M.jpg">
To bad, cause the road was getting real interesting and was taking us through some real nice places.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-W43sv4q/0/L/_FX02094-M.jpg">
But had to turn around. So double back and hit the TCAT a bit further down. Only to get this one.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-Vwc3k7X/0/L/_FX02069-M.jpg">
That's when I said: fuck this! Alberta's TCAT is crapped for this season. So headed back to the tarmac, just as rain was about to arrive.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-WkRNCSF/0/L/_FX02098-M.jpg">
<b>Big O's take on todays events</b>
Ah, I got nothin'...
I would have loved to show you some Vancouver hospitality but today is my birthday dinner and I am at work all day and tomorrow I leave on my own adventure.
have a good time and if you need any local riding suggestions, just ask and enjoy your journey
Thanks, it's the thought that counts!
Have great ride. :)
In the mountains somewhere near Marysville, BC
What an interesting day this was going to end up being!
It all started quite normally, with Big O and me looking to hit the TCAT again. Getting to todays start point was drama free and the dirt road was free of those nasty 'road blocked' signs. Again, some real nice scenery.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-pQpqJf6/0/L/_FX02108-M.jpg">
Got some fluffy sand on one section that was like flour. Quite interesting moments there! :)
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-SB2vtRJ/0/L/_FX02109-M.jpg">
The road quickly turned to the mountains, or more precisely a valley in the mountains.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-2c5RRr9/0/L/_FX02113-M.jpg">
After a while I came across this dude in a little hybrid car coming the opposite way. We chatted for quite a while about life the universe and tar sands, him being from Alberta. He also told me that the road was washed out farther down the road. FUCK!!! But, being a bit pissed at having to turn around yet again, I decided to go see for my self. Not very far down the road I saw a sign saying that the road was a dead end 48km from here. That would be quite a turn around if I couldn't make it. So I looked at the gps and noticed that a line seemed too be branching off not to far away and going up and down the valley in the general direction on the TCAT trail. Let's go said Big O and off we where.
This was a gorgeous road.
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-Vvgct25/0/L/IMG_0754-L.jpg">
Maybe half way through the valley, we came across this merry bunch of fellows:
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-rMGfJJX/0/L/IMG_0757-M.jpg">
I cought them just as the last traces of their last antic was fading away. One of the guys had pulled out his dreaded sun screen spray can and doused two of his friends. Well, this simply could not be left unpunished figured one of the two men deprived of the sun's rays! And what was closest at hand? A can of bear pepper spray... he actually sprayed the instigator, and an innocent by standard, with that shit! It took over an hour and half for the two legged bears of washing there eyes in the creek to get over the mind blowing pain of the pepper. Nice! I guess only real good friends can do shit like that and hope to get away with it... well, red neck friends anyway.
I ended up returning to there camp site, shared there food and beer. Even went out and played in the mud in there 4x4's. Of passing note, the campsite was at the start of the valley, so I ended up backtracking to the start point of the day!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-Vn4w6vs/0/L/IMG_0758-M.jpg">
They told me that it would be impossible for Big O to pass where they where going so Big was left behind. When we came back, for more beer, they decided to show me a red necks idea of a palace. But this time I decided to strip Big O of all his luggage and bring him along. God can Big O hit the trails when not burdened by all my junk. Went some nice stone bed creeks to a log cabin that some dude made. Here is the palace, or what we civilized people would call the 'shit house'.
You have to admit, that's pretty sweet crapper!
Later into the night, we played red neck Jenga. The idea is that each player get's his turn at laying a log on the fire, when you fail to balance it write and everything come crashing down, you have to chug your beer. One little note, the wood is on fire and FUCKING HOT!!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-6VJpJNM/0/L/_FX02123-M.jpg">
I don't have any pics of this, but I was introduces to red neck fire works too! The idea is quite simple, you need: a large mountain with no trees and a large calibre gun with a good sized clip! You shoot at the mountain the whole clip in a short burst and wait a second or two and see the sparks fly off the mountain... crazy fucking R.N's. Lol
The sky was stunning that night! Here is a poor picture of it, but I was distracted by all the hooliganisms going on around me, so took it quickly...
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-2qNJVFk/0/L/_FX02128-M.jpg">
<b>Big O's take on the day's events</b>
You know, with all his talk of red necks, he sure fit in with disconcerting ease into that group. It might be time for him to come out of the closet and just admit it: I'm a big fat Red Neck!
<img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-dgQRsz8/0/L/IMG_0759-M.jpg">