North to South America on a Honda 250

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joris van O, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. Michigan_rider

    Michigan_rider n00b

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    Joris, Thanks for the great conversation over dinner on Manitoulin Island. I loved hearing about your previous and upcoming adventure. I'll be following your travels over the next few months. Ride safe.

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    #61
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  2. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Last time I posted something I was camping on a beach in Wawa, Ontario. That was over a week ago.. So gonna make this a short one, mostly pictures to try and get up-to-date.

    From Wawa I rode to Thunderbay, the first 'big' town in the aera. The ride was nice but after a while the trees start to look the same, so you just carry on. I saw that I could camp in the park in Thunderbay, but to give myself the best chance for a quiet night I wanted to pitch when the sun was down. There were some rv's parked which gave some comfort, at least some people around. I waited in the local Tim Hortons for a while, checked out a cool hotrot. Actually had a good night sleep there!
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    On the Tent space map I saw there was an offer in Dryden. So I asked if I could spend the night there, that was no problem, just call me when you get there. Once in Dryden I tried calling but my phone didn't work, I asked some other people but they couldn't get through either. Eventually I asked a couple of bikers if they perhaps knew this guy. No, unfortunately not. I sent a message that I would go to the local campground and waited for a while hoping to hear something back. Half an hour later those two bikers, Terry and Ed, came back and asked if I already had managed to reach him. If not, they wanted to show some Canadian hospitality and I could stay at one of their places. Yup, alright.. Why not, thanks! So I followed Ed on his Harley to his house just outside Dryden. A supernice place, with a view on Eagle lake. Ed asked if I needed to do, any work on the bike, well yes, I need to change the oil. So he grabbed a can of oil and we quickly had it replaced. And then did it once more after finding the copper washer in the drain pan. In the evening we watched some movies and talked about the life in this remote part of Canada. It was unfortunate that the tent space offer didn't work out through communication error, but in the end it all worked out good.
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    I had the best sleep in days, warm and comfy in a real bed. It would rain the whole next day and Ed said I could stay another night to wait it out. So nice! That gave me time to change the chain and sprockets, and not a day to soon, as the front one was already missing a teeth. We also soldered the voltage meter that had been broken during shipping (no idea how they managed that). We then went to pick up a patio set from Terry's neighbor. The afternoon and evening were again spend talking and watching movies and MMA fights.
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    Thank you Ed for helping me out, you really made my day (and the day after) by offering me a place to sleep, shower, eat and drink! Again I was amazed by the kindness of strangers. Thanks for everything, and for insisting and assisting me changing the chain and sprockets. The bike felt like new, boosted the confidence!

    Then it was on to the prairies. About halfway en route to Winnipeg the trees disappeared and it was farmland as far as the eye could see. The only thing that was mildly interesting was a sign indicating the longitudinal centre of Canada.
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    I arrived early in Winnipeg and went to the hostel I had found online. When I parked in front there was a little note on the door with 'Closed for season, try Airb&b'. Ahh crap, there aren't many hostels there so I was already thinking about riding to a campsite somewhere outside the city. I peaked over the fence and saw the owner in the garden. I talked with him and fortunately he was willing to let me stay for the night. Once inside I realized one night was plenty as it was a bit of a dump. Dumped my gear and walked to downtown Winnipeg to see the sights. There aren't that many, so I went straight to the Museum for Human Rights. The exhibition was interesting but I was even more impressed with the architecture of the building.
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    After the museum I sat down with a good craft beer and read for a while. Grabbed a pizza at the Forks Marketplace and walked back to the hostel. In my opinion Winnipeg wasn't a beautiful or nice city, but there were a lot of younger people and that created a lively and easy atmosphere.
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    For two days I slogged across the prairies. I spend the night on a campsite near Regina, which was nice. A guy named Dan and his wife invited me to watch the Toronto Raptors NBA game. He told me his job is mostly focused on online coaching and that enables them to travel around with their RV full-time.
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    The next day it still looked the same but when nearing Medice Hat rolling hills started to form and then the Badlands show up. What a welcome distraction! I had to stop at the Saamis Tepee and take a look before I got a place on the campsite nearby. There I talked with a guy from Montreal who was cycling home from Vancouver. Quite the feat. I told him that riding a motorcycle cross country for me is mostly a mental challenge, not so much physical. He said that while being physically challenging, the mental challenge is even bigger on a bicycle as you have so much time. I wished him luck and washed some clothes, and then had to dry them in the tent as it was raining all night.
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    Today's ride was only short because I wanted to visit the Dinosaur Provincial Park. I arrived at 1pm, managed to get one of the last places on the campsite and walked the whole afternoon through the park. Incredible views and the dinosaur fossils are also a thing to behold.
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    Tomorrow I'm first heading to the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller and then to Calgary.
    #62
  3. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Dave! Thanks again for the dinner man, and thank you for the pictures :)
    #63
  4. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    After a cold and windy evening in Dinosaur Provincial Park I left early and headed to the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller. Short 2 hour ride, and riding into the valley Drumheller is located was awesome! The museum was also very good, lots of families but that was fine.
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    I left early because I would be staying at Dave's place in Calgary that night, and he told me that there was a party starting at 5pm. I didn't want to miss that opportunity so was there at 4. He didn't tell me it was his own birthday we were celebrating, that made it even more fun. Dave was so welcoming, and meeting his family and friends at the party was such a pleasure. And of course there were many beers to drink and many things to eat! To top it of there was another biker staying at Dave's place, Lawrence Bransby from the UK, another legend! They both grew up in the same city in South Africa but had never met before. I would have loved to listen to more of his stories as he's been rinding around for a while but he was leaving the next morning, heading to Alaska.
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    After saying goodbye to Lawrence, Dave, his wife and youngest son went climbing at Wasootch and I tagged along. It was my first time in the Rockies and I couldn't stop looking at those mountains. You can even see them from Calgary, a long line of snowy peaks on the horizon.
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    The climbing was so much fun and even Dave, celebrating his 65th birthday the night before, climbed up without a problem. We all had a couple of tries and I felt pretty tired when we drove home in the afternoon.
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    That's Dave up there!
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    We watched the Canadian GP in the evening, great way to end the day!
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    Dave had managed to get a new tire (Kenda K657) for me so after showing me around the garage, explaining where everything was, he left me to it. Besides the tire I had a couple of small things I wanted to do. Extend the chain guard to prevent all the schmutz flying everywhere, weld the hand guard and make a bear spray holder. That all went without issue and in the afternoon it was ready for Dave to take it for a spin. He then let me have a go on his wife's F650GS and his DL650 v-strom. Maaannn, those things are fast compared to the little 250. I loved the GS, might be my next bike.
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    He said that I could stay as long as I wanted, and although I really enjoyed it, I had to leave to make it in time to the Dust2Dawson gathering on the 20th of June. Dave, his wife and his family were so incredibly welcoming, combining the South-African and Canadian hospitality. They really charged my batteries after the long slough across Canada. Thank you for everything, it ment a lot to me!
    #64
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  5. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Great report and pictures Joris!
    Thanks for keeping us updated...
    #65
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  6. Flying D

    Flying D Adventurer

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    Awesome ride. Thanks for having us along :D.
    #66
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  7. velobuff

    velobuff Adventurer

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    :lurk
    #67
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  8. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    The riding days are long and the wifi is really slow around here so it takes a lot of effort to write and upload a picture. So just a quick update and I will fill in the gaps on a later date.

    I'm currently in a hostel at the Takhini hot springs just past Whitehorse. Hopefully be in Dawson City in the afternoon for the D2D event. I have no arrangements there so let's see if they have a spot for me on the Goldrush Campground. The plan is to reach Tuktoyaktok in Monday.

    Yesterday it was 450 kilometers from Watson Lake to Whitehorse and it never stopped raining. Throw in some long streches of roadworks, a headwind and non-functional heated grips it was wonderfull. But still loving it, meeting lots of nice people all heading the same way! The Alaska Highway is something, the vastness of the nature here is incredible.
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    #68
  9. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Hey Joris I just found your latest report! It was nice to meet you at the camp ground in Fort Nelson. I ended up getting a new tire in Ft St John. A Dunlop front tire which I mounted on the rear! fit perfect.
    Its not often that 2 250's are in the same camp site. I'll follow along with your report. Guess I just missed the rain! haha
    #69
  10. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Oh ya and bear spray...are all Europeans afraid of bears! I once saw a ranger spray a bear in a camp ground 3 times and the bear just shook it off, the ranger then went to his truck and got his rifle, you know the rest of the story.
    #70
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  11. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    We appreciate the "lot's of effort"!!!
    Boy, Cal get's around...
    #71
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  12. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Made it to Dawson City yesterday, what a brilliant little town this is! Sharing a spot at the Goldrush campground, went out for drinks, did the sourtoe and got my certificate. Made it back to my tent before the sun went down :) The weather couldn't be better!
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    #72
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  13. landyguy

    landyguy Adventurer

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    Good on you Joris. Man that toe looks ugly!
    #73
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  14. Hogges

    Hogges Adventurer

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    I've had liquor with a venomous snake inside the bottle, or some other creature, but a human toe!
    #74
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  15. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Setting of for Tuktoyaktuk today, weather looks good for the next couple of days so let's hope it stays that way.

    Dust2Dawson was brilliant fun, I understand wht people keep coming back to this place. I met a bunch of nice people, everyone is a friend here. Did the Pokerrun, but missed a checkpoint and my cards were crap anyway. Was a good warm-up for the Dempster though.
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    Did manage to get first overall in the evening games, wasn't expecting that at all.
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    And of course a trip up to the Dome to watch the summer solstice on this longest day of fhe year.
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    #75
  16. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Ha, thanks for the encouragement Cal! Riding into Dawson City a grizzly on the side of the road scared the crap out of me. They're big when the stand up.

    Was nice meeting you, good to hear you found a new tire.
    #76
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  17. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    So yeah, made it to Tuk and back (different story) and was on my way to Prince George and then this happened.. 40km north of Kitwanga on the Cassiar.

    Cruising along I start hearing a ticking noise, pull in the clutch, shut the gas, ticking stops, let it out, ticking starts.. Shit, that's not good. Pull over and look down just to see the last drops of oil pissing out beneath the engine. Lots of cursewords, check if the drainplug fell out or anything. But no, it's coming from behind the stator, I suspect the crankseal worked itself out. Puked out all the oil and ran dry long enough for it to start ticking. Fack..
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    Someone stopped to help but there's not a lot to do, so he gave me a quart of oil and went on his way. I threw in the oil hoping it would sound better but no, that thing is done.

    So after concluding I definitely won't be able to fix it on the road I start thinking about getting it somewhere. Best chance is Prince George, the first big town south, only 600km away. Long way to hitchhike with a bike as luggage. After an hour a couple with a pickup pulled up and they were heading to Smithers. We lifted the bike in the back and got on the road. We tried finding a ride to Prince George today but no luck, luckily I can stay with them until monday. Then a friend is driving to Prince George and can drop me and the bike off there.
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    If there's anyone around Prince George or BC who has a Honda 250 Nighthawk or Rebel/cmx250 engine or knows of a place I can get one that would be really helpfull! I have a spare one in the Netherlands but shipping might take a while/cost big money.
    #77
  18. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Sorry to see this news Joris
    Prince George has a few moto shops and a moto salvage business. also I have heard of a very helpful custom shop in PG I will try to find out who it is. edit the custom shop is in Smithers
    #78
  19. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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  20. Hogges

    Hogges Adventurer

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    Sorry to hear. Is the engine really shot? Did you try putting the right amount of oil in (more than a quart I assume) and running it for a while to see if the noise disappears or improves? Then again you would still need to fix the crank seal which might be a big deal in itself.
    #80
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