Montreal - Yukon - Baja California and back: mototherapy on a Guzzi V7

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BusterMcHooligan, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. Duanob

    Duanob Been here awhile

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    Yorkton, SK that's my wife's home town. Her parents probably would've put you up for the night and my father-in-law would've offered you a scotch and then asked you a ton of questions about your trip and your moto guzzi. He probably would've showed off his original owner 1973 Honda xl250 and xl175 he has in the shed.
    #21
  2. glasshousebc

    glasshousebc Adventurer

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    A fabulous start... thoroughly engrossing trip report.

    Cheers mate.
    #22
  3. RedHawk47

    RedHawk47 Adventurer Supporter

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    For gravel and washboard/corrugated roads, turn the traction control off.
    Dan
    #23
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  4. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

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    Enjoying the ride. Nice to see road bikes out on the road.
    #24
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  5. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Just found your report, thanks I test rode a v7 carbon this summer in Langley BC Enjoyed it. Enjoying your writing style.
    #25
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  6. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Godspeed mon frere! Beware the USA, a frigging desert for vegetarians. One of the hardest places in the world for a vegetarian to eat. Countless "dinners" for me were bean burritos in a gas station. No vegetarian options in most restaurants. I mean even the fucking salads had turkey or ham in them.

    Re Canadian police. Here's a hilarious video of a Brit riding a C90 Honda across Canada in the winter and his take on interaction with les gendarmes du Quebec. Awesome parody!

    #26
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  7. Brooosss

    Brooosss Attention whoring at its worst.

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    #27
  8. BusterMcHooligan

    BusterMcHooligan Adventurer

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    Day 10 - Friday August 9th, 2019 - Edmonton, AB
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    The billboards slowly morphed from Monsanto and Farm Equipment manufacturers to Opioid addiction hotlines and car dealerships. There aren't many opportunities for fun motorcycles roads riding into Edmonton, especially coming from the East. I could've dipped into Elk Island National Park for a bit, but I'd been there roughly 47 times already. Instead I just rode into the city centre to pick up some toiletries from Shopper's Drug Mart. Now there are a few cities I've visited that have decent population sizes but oddly barren city centres; Edmonton, along with Memphis, Phoenix and a few other city centres are eerily quiet at night, with festivals and special occasions being the exceptions. Downtown Edmonton is basically a big shopping mall criss-crossed with wide, barren avenues.
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    I lucked out again and stayed with a super-friendly couchsurfing host, Tai, a Postdoc from Vietnam who was working on some crazy high-tech petroleum chemistry stuff that's way above my paygrade to understand. Tai lived in a retirement home that opened up a few units on each floor to non-retirees. I was told that the purpose of this was to "liven up" the place with younger faces and give the retirees some variety and fresh people to talk to. I believe that it had the opposite effect; when the elevator door opened and the elderly lady saw a small Asian dude and a bearded tattooed brown guy smiling at her, she clutched her purse a bit tighter and moved into a far corner of the elevator. Most of our other interactions with the residents were along those same lines, except for the asthmatic couple smoking outside when I pulled up, who waved and wished me a safe ride.

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    Tai made some fantastic Vietnamese food with ingredients he'd got in Vancouver - definitely not vegetarian, but I didn't ask. It was all delicious. We hung out on Whyte avenue most of the evening and visited some cool spots, including a neat biker cafe whose name I'm forgetting. There were a couple Guzzis there. Whyte was far more bustling than the downtown core, owning to the amount of students nearby and the quality of the bars and restaurants in the area.

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    Universities are part of the stoppers that keep places like Alberta from falling apart when global economic winds shift directions, in addition to allowing a motorcyclist some decent eye-candy while riding through campus... Despite the changes in oil prices and the devastating effects they've had on Alberta's economy, students still need to go to school. They also need to eat, take public transport, drink beer, buy things and go to events. A good university isn't just an academic centre, but an economic one in a city like Edmonton or Calgary. When the oil companies packed up and left, people like Tai still came here from around the world to pay tuition, spend money and keep the gears running.

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    A few years back, I visited Dubai and then Singapore back-to-back. It struck me how rich both cities were, but also how differently that wealth came across. Dubai seemed to be content to rest on its laurels, a bit of a faded glory, with supercars covered in dust parked haphazardly along the roads, almost like the ultra-rich folks who lived there knew that everything that brought them their wealth would eventually fade away, but that it didn't really matter because they were already set. Singapore, early on, had diversified into biotech and IT much quicker than the UAE, and was/is better positioned to build sustainable wealth into the future. The work ethic didn't allow for things like pride or patriotism - just elbow grease and forward thinking. I feel the same way about Alberta and Quebec. Alberta had the opportunity to diversify into clean energy but didn't, and now the province is playing catch-up, whereas Quebec leapfrogged the whole issue and has always invested massively in clean energy and future tech - even though it, like Singapore, has its own set of dystopian vagueries. At any rate, both the Guzzi and my wallet appreciated the clean, cheap gas we were getting in Alberta, which was about 75% or so less than it was at the pumps in Quebec.

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    After some drinks with Tai, more delicious Vietnamese food and him soundly destroying me in a game of 7 Wonders, I called it a night. The next morning, I headed to Alberta Cycle Motorsports, the local Guzzi dealer in Edmonton, just to ask some questions and do a quick once-over on the bike. They were fantastic. Everything was still perfect on the bike 6,000km in - even the air pressure in the tires hadn't changed. I also saw the beautiful V85TT for the first time, which is probably the bike I should be doing this trip on, but it's a bit too tall for me. It's still the first adventure / touring bike that looks like something I'd want to actually ride, maybe with the exception of the MV Agusta Tursimo Veloce... but given my pisspoor wrenching skills I'd be even more crazy to ride an MV to the Yukon than a Guzzi.

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    Hmm... maybe next year...

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    Today's playlist:

    Attached Files:

    #28
  9. BigDogRaven

    BigDogRaven Been here awhile

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    Very well done report here sir. Thx for posting all this.
    #29
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  10. BusterMcHooligan

    BusterMcHooligan Adventurer

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    Day 11 - Saturday August 10th, 2019 - Grande Prairie, AB
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    More straight roads, more flat prairieland.

    I wish we'd stop and look at ourselves for a second or two. Everything, everywhere is on Google Maps. Restaurants, hotels, lakes, national parks, trails, strip clubs. If something isn't on Google Maps, it probably doesn't exist, and if it is but doesn't have good reviews, it's probably not worth visiting in the first place, right? People are dumb. "This lake is beautiful. Water very reflective. I especially appreciated the bird sounds and calming breeze in the morning. But parking was tight, the trail had too much gravel and the hike was a little too hard on my joints. 3 stars / 5".

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    Each successive generation grows more jaded and blase about how accessible and easy-to-find everything - including incredibly subjective experiences - has become. My grand-parents claimed that nothing would ever beat the moon landing. My parents said we'd never see another event like the Berlin wall coming down. Caught between Gen X and Millenialism, I feel like we're the most accurate in calling it a day regarding novelty. I look for a good bar / restaurant / motel on Google Maps, and either feel vindicated about my decision by how good it is or decide that most people are idiotic prokaryotes and can't tell good service from getting kneed in the face by a drunk Lindsay Lohan. South Park has a fantastic episode on this.

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    I tend to use reviews pretty often to find recommend food / lodging / activities in cities or places I'm not familiar with. I kind of take it for granted that if a place has 4.5+ stars, I'll enjoy the best food / views / experience / babes / whatever. That's just not the case, and I've figured out why. I'm just not like most people, and I just don't like most people. Heck, I'm riding across the continent on a small-displacement Italian street bike with only a vague idea of why, when and how. For better or worse, there aren't handfuls of folks doing the exact same thing.

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    The weather was getting chilly and I couldn't find anyone on couchsurfing, so I splurged and got a fine hotel room at the Quality Inn - look out, we got a big spender over here! Not saving for retirement does have its perks. It was a nice room with a fireplace and a kitchenette, and I was happy to have a big soft bed all to myself and a comfy couch to catch up on work from. I then headed out to Better than Fred's - a bar with 4.5 stars on Google Maps, so I'm sure to have a great time there, right? - for some food. After answering a bunch of questions about the V7 to curious passerby when I parked outside, I had a great salad and some good beer, accompanied by drunk teenagers stumbling around my bike, and a surly barmaid who made sure that I felt as unwelcome as possible by serving the 4-5 people who came after me before finally coming around to take my order. I was clean-shaved so I think she thought I was First Nations, which would not be the first time I'd been mistaken for one. One she asked for ID and saw my province / name, she was suddenly the sweetest gal in the world, full of "you betchas!" and "sure thing, love!".

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    2 stars out of 5, would not return.

    Today's Playlist:
    #30
  11. Kevm

    Kevm Eternal Optimist

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    I don't bother reading reviews. There's no telling if they are real or ghost accounts of the owners or their friends. And even the real ones tend to be littered with polar opposite reviews anyway.

    Instead if I'm looking at something online I look at other things. Quality of website, photos, the written word of the business, and then I remember that if it seems too good to be true it probably is so I take a leap of faith or walk away.

    When I'm touring on a bike I might use Google Maps to locate possible places to eat or have a brew, but I start by looking for something different. Like that Columbian restaurant Jenn found in Virginia Beach on the way back from our latest OBX run. Truly fantastic find.

    But even if we find it on the G map, we do a drive by to see if we feel it's the right pick. Though I'll admit we have occasionally been fooled by a book's cover. There's a little place not far from here we heard was good but Jenn wouldn't darken the doorway for years cause the exterior looks like they're serving Hep C. Turns out the food is really good. No symptoms of any virus yet.

    I also think that when it comes to people an individual generally finds what they are looking for in this world. That is I go into every new place the same way, bubbling over like a giddy school girl and all patient as a Chinese Monk. And I generally find the nicest people. On the rare occasion I don't, I make up an excuse for them (plant died, pet died, mom died, or they just plain old got stuck with unfortunate genetics) and my day is barely any worse for the wear.

    Ymmv, but I bet it wouldn't.
    #31
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  12. NAZM

    NAZM n00b

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    Absolutely brilliant. :clap
    #32
  13. BusterMcHooligan

    BusterMcHooligan Adventurer

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    I mostly agree. I walk into wherever I'm going with a smile on my face and a helmet under my arm, all pleases and thank you mams. I'd agree with you completely if it weren't for prejudice. To some people you'll be too short or too tall, too fat or too skinny, too dark or too white, or they don't like bikers, and they'll immediately relegate you to a corner of their psyche shared with similar-looking folks from their past experiences and treat you accordingly. But that's human nature, and I decided long ago that there's no use in letting it get me down or turn me into an a**hole. We're all prejudiced and all we can do about is decide how we want to feel about it. I imagine that I'm not as optimistic as you but I still don't let it bother me. I'll enjoy a good meal and drink regardless of any attitude or stinkeye thrown my way. It's helpful for my lifespan to see the good in any situation - even when the good is simply the humour and comedy to be found in a bad situation.
    #33
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  14. Kevm

    Kevm Eternal Optimist

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    Precisely!

    Which is when this comes into play "I make up an excuse for them (plant died, pet died, mom died, or they just plain old got stuck with unfortunate genetics)"

    :clap:drink:happay:dukegirl:gdog:snore
    #34
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  15. RhinoVonHawkrider

    RhinoVonHawkrider Long timer

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    Buster - great writing - but the off'ing urself post stopped me in my tracks. I'm glad your still here - riding & writing this excellent adventure.

    My brother finished the deed and I still miss him greatly - suicide is a bag of shit for those left behind. I don't judge people for their actions. I learned a long time ago you accept people for who they are or not at all.

    Living and riding is awesome - stay with us...

    Your always welcome in my casa - most of us 'Mericans are pretty cool - especially the riding folk.
    #35
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  16. stromsavard

    stromsavard Serge

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    Lorrainville, Qu├ębec Canada
    Quebec Rider are pretty rare around here...well doing RR !!! Great Job!! Merci beaucoup!!
    #36
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  17. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers Supporter

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    Waiting with bated breath.......................
    #37
  18. BusterMcHooligan

    BusterMcHooligan Adventurer

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    Montreal, QC
    Day 12 - Sunday August 11th, 2019 - Fort Nelson, AB
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    The impetus for this motorcycle trip was to visit two of my dearest friends who had moved together with their dog (who was best friends and almost-twins with my dog) from Montreal to Whitehorse. I hadn't seen them in almost a year, and had been promising to fly there and visit them eventually. As summer rolled around my startup was taking care of itself and the folks who'd been working for me took care of the lion's share of our current workload, so "eventually" became "in a couple weeks" and a flight became a motorcycle ride across the country. Another breakup, although much less serious and difficult than the Toronto Fiasco, was the drop that spilled the glass, and that was that. I wanted a small fun bike that I could also keep and make a street build out of eventually, so after looking at a bunch of great bikes I settled on the V7 because of my love for the Guzzi brand and the look and colors of the Carbon Dark.

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    I bought it only based on price from a hilariously, terribly bad dealer, and found another slightly-less-bad dealer to help with initial setup and service. As it turns out, though, Tara and Anya had flown to Montreal and got a Uhaul to cart the rest of their stuff back from their Montreal house to Whitehorse, so we'd be leap-frogging each other on the way to the Yukon, them steering clear of large cities so they wouldn't have to drive a big f***ing Uhaul around them, and me staying in cities because, well, I like staying in cities.

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    That morning I was in Grande Prairie and we chatted on WhatsApp; they were in Fort St John's heading up to Fort Nelson. I was originally planning to just ride a few into towards Dawson and / or Fort St John's, but the prospect of meeting up with them beforehand to hang out - and having a massive Uhaul as a support vehicle behind me in case anything goes south on the way to Whitehorse - pushed me towards waking up earlier and riding up to meet them in Fort St John's so we can continue on together towards Watson. The weather leaving Grande Prairie was cold and rainy; the Guzzi's temperature gauge showed 7 deg (Celsius - sorry, I'm not going to bother to convert that into "Fisher-Price's My First Thermometer" units - and visibility wasn't great. Fortunately, my hideous rain pants did their job well and the weather warmed up quickly as I pulled up to where my friends were staying at a a couple hours later. Lots of hugging, laughing and story-trading ensued. There wasn't really much to catch up on, really, since we never really lost touch after they moved thanks to Skype, emall, and WhatsApp.

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    After a warm coffee and light breakfast at their motel, we hit the road together, and it was pretty obvious that their big f***ing truck wasn't going to match my pace (I rode fast than them, obviously, but for shorter durations than they could drive) so I pulled ahead and started enjoying the increasingly beautiful scenery and long, sweeping roads of the Alaska highway. It's still a highway, but it's incredibly pleasant to ride along. Goats, Bison, and Bears grazing along the side of the highway all but ignored me as I rode past, with just one playful black bear trying to race me for a short distance as I slowed down to 50km/h through one of the many settlements peppered along the highway. It was one of my favourite rides, ever, as the combination of the oil-paintingesque mountain backdrops together with the [admittedly timid] drone of the Guzzi engine across the valleys brought me to an uber-relaxed state of relaxation. I had to plan my gas stops just a little more carefully and I knew that from here to Whitehorse there would be few opportunities for help if anything in the way of bike problems occurred, but having my pals no more than an hour or two behind me was reassuring.

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    I arrived at the Super 8 we were all staying at, and the receptionist was used to welcoming motorcyclists, so she gave me a comfy room at ground level where I could park my bike literally in front of the door. Tara and Anya arrived about 90 minutes later, and after hanging out in the pool (and taking turns on the kiddie waterslide, unashamed to be grown 30-somethings waiting in line with 8-year-olds) and the hot tub, we went to Dan's Neighbourhood Pub for a surprisingly good meal and an even better beer selection. Although I wouldn't reach Whitehorse for a couple more days, seeing familiar faces felt like part of the journey was already done. Back at the motel we played a few games of Cabo over a bottle of scotch they had along for the trip - we're great friends, but viciously competitive when it comes to card / board games - we talked for a bit, and I decided I'd make the run to Watson Lake tomorrow morning while they'd stop at Liard Hot Springs Lodge, and we'd meet up again in Watson before continuing onto Whitehorse together. Almost there.

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    Today's playlist:
    #38
  19. Bobbrecken

    Bobbrecken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
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    Thunder Bay
    What happened to your trip? I am curious about the red valve covers. My 09 has wire wheels and two less hp.
    #39
  20. Kevm

    Kevm Eternal Optimist

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    Medford, NJ
    What about the covers? You do realize this is the new Hemi head motor, it makes a bit more than 2 hp more than the dual throttle body Heron head Guzzis.

    It's more like ~20-25% more hp.

    The 2TB Heron heads dyno'd around 38 rwhp.

    The 1TB Hemi heads Dyno around 48 rwhp.

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    #40