THE KWIK-MART KHRONICLES

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by jdrocks, Apr 6, 2018.

  1. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    THE KWIK MART KHRONICLES 96

    We stopped for fuel in Haines Junction at a station run by an unhappy looking Chinese fella. He looked like one of those old Bruce Lee kung foo bad guys, wispy chin hairs and squinty eyes. Buddy was fueling on the other side of the island while I was inside to pay.

    In a squawk of what I suppose are Chinese expletives, the guy grabs one of those tire thumpers that truckers use and runs out the door towards Buddy. I ran to the door and was about to shout a heads up when the guy stopped in his tracks, turned around, and came back to the office while muttering some Chinese gibberish. I swear that the sounds that they call a language remind me of the sounds that come out of the hen house when the barn cat makes a mistake and wanders in.

    WTF! I couldn't figure out what was going on until I realized that this dumbass thought that Buddy was washing down his bike with the window squeegee scrubber. The jerk was lucky, and the Canuck guys would understand. Buddy and I are both old northern Minnesota boys, and hockey guys from the day we could walk. In other words, if you want violence, well, let's just say we were born to it on all that old time Minnesota outdoor ice, postcards from an entirely different era.

    I know you think that all Minnesotans are just namby pamby liberals who elect comedians to the Senate. Those are just the young people up there, the old guys are the ones that wrapped on the foil. My old man was already teaching me the finer points of high sticking, slashing, and hooking before I could talk in full sentences. If that crazy Chinaman had touched Buddy with that thumper, he would have found out what it’s like to take his meals through a straw.

    This whole episode was putting a damper on my sense of humor, and it was past time to get the heck out of Haines Junction and turn south. The road was reported to be a great bike road for scenery, and the surface was supposed to be in good shape. Towards the bottom of the road, we would cross the border again into Alaska.

    [​IMG]
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  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    THE KWIK MART KHRONICLES 97

    I planned to stop somewhere around Kluane Lake, and I was ever hopeful of catching the first look at the lake around every corner and topping every rise. I could see blue on the little GPS screen, but it still took forever. I was ready to stop, it seemed like this dusty construction zone gravel had gone on for a hundred damn miles. I hit the west end of the lake and I'm expecting that deep blue, WTF, it's frozen over. They must have had a winter for the record books.

    I intended to camp at the nearby provincial park, but when I stop for fuel at Burwash Landing, Paddy, the old guy that owns the place reports that the park is closed due to bear problems. I'm jokin’ around with Paddy, and he invites me to camp for free down next to his old timey resort on the lake. Be nice, and you get treated nice. Thanks, Paddy.

    [​IMG]

    The resort must have done well during the heyday of traffic on the highway, but now I don't think that many stop. Wonderful setting on the edge of the lake, and you're looking across to the mountains on the other side. They have a restaurant, so after setting the tent, I wander over.

    [​IMG]

    I survived the ride, no goofy fuel incidents, camping for free, on the lake, food right here, and they serve beer. Nothing, and I mean nothing could be better. Well, they could have had a bikini contest going, but heck, that would have put it really over the top.

    The lone restaurant patron was an older local guy, so I naturally go over, introduce myself, and ask if he minds having company for dinner. I wanted to catch up on the local news. “Pleased ta meetcha, pull up a chair?”, so I had dinner with this guy, and man, was it a trip.

    I’m hardly seated, and the conversation starts down this winding path of truths, half truths, fibs, and outright lies. Bewildering, perplexing, outrageous, and all the while straight faced, sincere, and entertaining. It was so entertaining, I never had time to look at the menu, and finally just said “Gimme whatever he ordered“, and pointed across the table.

    We talked about a hundred different subjects, and he would switch back and forth, sometimes three times per sentence, trying to keep the loose ends tied together. I glance over at the waitress and she’s circling a finger around her ear, a signal that says “This guy is freakin' nuts“. Just when I’m thinking the same thing, the guy would come out with a statement that was so original and so profound that you just didn't know what to think. Maybe he's just a little nuts, but then, so are a lot of people I know.

    The subject turned to his claimed winter activity, gun running from a business located in Cape Town, South Africa. He supposedly sells AK47s to all the rogue armies in that region and had the business card to prove it. I think I’m going to get some of those cards printed myself, plus a deep tan and an eye patch. He had a whole pocket full of rifle rounds in different calibers, I'll be needing those too.

    He wanted to sell me an AK47 right then and there, maybe he had a whole trunk full out in the parking lot, no problem getting that thing back into the States, right?. Watch the headlines, you might see this guy on the front page for any one of a number of reasons. They were closing the place down, so I saw him out the door and he drove away in his old wreck of a gun runner car. Talk about entertainment, I could have sat there a good while longer, whew, the perfect ending to this eighteen hour day.

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  3. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    Fantastic! Thanks.
  4. Steve_h

    Steve_h Long timer

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    Great! I bet it was better entertainment than anything you could have found on the tv too.
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    when i more-or-less invited myself to have dinner with the guy, i had no idea what i was letting myself in for...it was one of the strangest encounters ever, and a Khronicle character for the ages, bar none. in my little tent that night, i decided that i really did want a cheap AK47, so i stopped by the lodge in the morning on the thought that he might stop in for breakfast, alas, no luck. no gun runner at that hour.

    but...time to fess up. the last sentence of KWIK MART KHRONICLES 97 posted today reads "Talk about entertainment, I could have sat there a good while longer, whew, the perfect ending to this eighteen hour day."

    the sentence that i wrote a full 10 years ago reads thus "Talk about entertainment, I could have sat there a good while longer. He should have his own reality TV show, or get elected to some high office back in the States."

    yup, wussed out. my original 10 Y/O words sounded like some kind of gratuitous contemporary political commentary, CSM department stuff on ADV unless the time capsule aspect added the actual context. pretty damn weird to find "reality TV show" and "elected to some high office back in the States" in the same sentence i wrote in 2009.
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  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    as i re-read the gun runner saga, i wish i had presented a little better visual on the guy, he was a very freakin' unusual dude.

    think about the setting, faded glory old time lodge sitting on a frozen lake in the Yukon, drinkin' beer with a supposed gun runner from South Africa, who was name dropping a list of every regional African dictator you've ever heard mentioned via the media, all the while playing with a solid handful of rifle ammo in different calibers.
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  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    THE KWIK MART KHRONICLES 98

    The customs dude at the St. Leonard crossing was unusually surly, must hate Yanks, or maybe unhappy with the current state of his pesos, dunno. My passport has numerous Canadian border stamps, and his computer would tell him I’ve crossed the border a crazy number of times for someone not living near the border itself. Welcome to New Brunswick…or not. Watch them mooses.

    [​IMG]

    I had a few loonies in the tank bag left over from previous excursions, now destined to be exchanged for frozen yogurt. Yogurt sure, but I’d followed a young lady into the store, raven haired, every bit of 6 feet, and dark eyes that sparkled when she smiled…exotic as all hell, need I say gorgeous. She was with a guy who had a KTM race bike in the back of his truck, maybe she was the Monster starting gate girl, heck, she could have been handed that job by acclamation in a matter of seconds. The watch cap wearing KTM MX-racer dude circled the V649 for a look on the way out, c’mon man, check what’s hangin’ at your elbow, get your priorities right. Had some good pineapple yogurt too, plus a bottle of water, only $13 CDN. I think the yogurt scale read to 6 digits, a microgram of sorts, but who’s counting, it’s only loonies.

    Sunday traffic to Saint Quentin, a place my momma said I’d end up at if I didn’t wash behind my ears and take out the garbage at age 5, now all these years later, here I am, San Quentin.

    [​IMG]

    When a covey of 15Y/O girls scamper across the road in front of the bike, hmmm, in certain segments of Stateside society, they’re known as San Quentin quail…lay a hand on one, and ya go directly to the big house, tends to make certain people mind their manners.

    I’d been looking for a camping spot, and continued up 17 where I finally found a campground behind the local forestry museum, empty except for a small motor home parked in the back. The sun was still up, I wasn’t taking any chances given the fiascos of the previous nights, and actually had the tent set up before dark, whew.

    [​IMG]

    It was a beautiful evening, light breeze, and I sat at the picnic table sipping cheap whiskey, making an entry in the travel log. The tent was set on the campsite gravel, rock hard, and as the day closed I was thinking about how many times I’d slept directly on the Bouclier Canadien with only a piece of canvas or nylon separation…not quite a thousand, but for sure another night.

    _____________________________________________________
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  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    THE KWIK MART KHRONICLES 99

    Let’s take stock of the situation…it was Saturday night, I wasn’t even halfway across Maine, and I needed to be at the Gaspe border in northern New Brunswick by Monday morning. Y’all don’t need a computer and mapping software to figure this one out. The curtain had closed on the Maine gravel, my rate of advance east was simply too slow, I’d have made the Gaspe by about Wednesday…if the Garmin didn’t get lost in the bush more than a few more times.

    Pitch dark on secondary pavement in Maine, folks, there ain’t much out there, not even a glow on the horizon, nothing darker if you haven’t had the opportunity to ride this type of road. Sometimes found in unlikely places, and under strange circumstances, just ask me, and that’s where I found myself, steady rain falling, cold and wet, every light on the front reaching.

    The road felt like it was bolted to the bike, then the bike bolted to me, it had been a long day. It’s a strain to ride at night, ya know there are some very dim witted, but huge animals that could step into the road at any minute, there’s no such thing as a casual evening ride here. My hands were cold, but when the occasional vehicle would pass, I needed to click the auxiliary light switch. Half the time the switch wouldn’t disengage fully and the lights would blink instead of switching off. While it might mean “radar trap” in an urban setting, it means “freakin’-moose-in-the-road” up here, and all the drivers were braking immediately, the brake lights still lit up as they went out of sight.

    East, east, more east, and finally I ran out of the rain, now it was just cold. I knew approximately where I was, west of I95 but approaching fast, and still well south of where my original route hit I95 near Millinocket, way off course. If I was cold riding 60mph, it was freezing riding 80mph on the slab, and I got off at the Lincoln exit, plenty of motel signs on the billboards, there has to be one room left in this town.

    After a bunch of “No Vacancy” responses on the phone, a guy with a very heavy NYC accent said “Yeah, I gotta small room, but it’s directly on the lobby if ya don’t mind something like that”. Hmmmm, it’s 11 freakin’ 30 on Saturday night, I’m frozen solid, no others available…let me think on it a bit.

    My new NYC friend spoke in a language only used by a caricature of an old time gangster, looked the part except in miniature, and was of indeterminate sexual orientation. He was a nice guy, and I had a smile stuck on my face to keep from laughing. Paid, got a key, rushed back over to McDonald's, and ate $20 worth of their gourmet fake food like a garbage can bear before they closed at midnight. I was the only one there, and I must have looked a little on the rough side…the manager with the cute little updo brought me an extra large cup of coffee when she saw that I had finished the first.

    They locked the door at my heels when I left, and that was that, I was in eastern Maine, piece-a-cake, and despite the hour, I wasn’t feelin’ humble. After all, when you pass the point of no return, it ain’t the right time to quit.

    I was needin‘ a little Tennessee pick-me-up about then, and I might know where to find it.
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    THE KWIK MART KHRONICLES 100

    The dinner special, two pieces of pie, and fully fueled at the Relais 381 pumps, it was only 80 miles south to the Riviere Rupert. I had slowed down to an easy cruise, just enjoying the day with plenty to look at. A dozen shades of green on the trees, a dozen shades of brown on the rock. The Route du Nord intersection is on the left, I’'ll see you tomorrow. The Rupert is just ten miles farther south.

    I suppose the wayside there is not for camping, but I wanted to camp at this particular spot. This is the site of the old 1200 meter Cree portage around a small falls and a long series of rapids, and had been used for centuries, more likely thousands of years. At this same time last season I had been on the Albany River across James Bay to the west, mapping the traditional Cree portages found there along the established trade routes. With most of the water diverted now, you might wonder what all the fuss was about. Before the diversion this section was considered unrunnable even with modern river craft, forget anything with a hull made from bark or skin. Many had tried, many had died trying.

    [​IMG]

    Two men were sitting on top of a picnic table towards the front, so I went over to ask them if they thought it would be ok to camp. The older of the two was a bulky hard muscled 5'’10”", and covered with elaborate black ink tats, including neck and shaved head. My impression was that this is one freakin' dangerous dude, nothing fake about him, and he had that little amused half smile that only a real deal tough guy can achieve. If he hadn’'t shaved you might not notice that ragged scar that ran from ear to chin along his jaw bone. If whatever had cut him had been a fraction lower, he wouldn'’t be sittin'’ in the sun on that table. They spoke little English, but understood what I was asking. In halting English, the tat man finally said "“In Quebec we are free, we do what we want, you can stay".” In the time that guy sat at the table up front, a number of cars pulled in. Nobody got out, nobody stared, nobody lingered.

    I ran the bike down the footpath and set up camp at the back near the river. The ground was solid exposed rock and I had to find some boulders to hold the tent down, no chance to drive a stake. So there I was as the sun went down, ready to sleep on the same rocks where the ancients had walked for so many years. I had visions.
  10. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Glad to see you're back to posting these.
    scout68 likes this.
  11. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Might be more.
  12. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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  13. MADSTROM

    MADSTROM Long timer

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    You need to make all of these a "sticky". :lol3
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    don't know about the sticky, but glad you're enjoying the first 100, crazy stuff in there. you must recognize some of the locations, even if not specifically named.

    for those who don't know MADSTROM, bring your A game if ya plan to keep him in sight on that day ride, he can wheel that moto.
    JagLite likes this.
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i'm looking at the Chris Rea video, "The Road to Hell", damn, that girl in the video is the exact same girl who passed me on her tricked HD eastbound along the north side of the St. Laurence in Quebec, except she was at the controls, not pillion...

    The same group of four Harley riders pass for the fourth time. No waves, except that this time the last rider in line pulls up next to me. A tiny woman in all black leather, blond pony tail streaming, wheeling that big bike with confidence. She looked once, then again, and once more with the low peace, before roaring off to catch up with her buds. Man, it was the same as being blessed by the Pope, and did this old guy ever feel cool now. Oh yeah.
  16. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    here we have NUMBER 101 in the series, fitting because it sets the stage for the longest time duration i've ever endured in moto travel, some thirty plus hours before turning the key to the off position for the final time on day two. there are multiple stories within those hours on the road, still vivid to this day, and i've been into my travel notes to conjure up the inspiration for future documentation.

    here's the background to set the scene, let's get this freakin' chapter rollin'...

    THE KWIK MART KHRONICLES 101

    Ok, so I did get a photo of the Perce rock, shot over the heads of a throng of hard partying Quebecois, lordy, I think happy hour is about to commence again at 8AM, but only if someone is lucky enough to find something left to drink. Take a look, you can say you’ve been there, and completely avoid the sardine-like touristy experience.

    [​IMG]

    We took off up the road, and all of a sudden the road became more of what I had expected from the Gaspe. It was as if all the tourists had stopped in Perce, and we were on a delightful road following the coast, not much traffic at this early hour, great scenery.

    We were leap-frogging along, stopping for photos, sometimes I was in front, sometimes Ned was in front…no problem, SOP for other rides I’ve been on over countless years. Wrong, as I was about to find out. I was waiting on the side for Ned to catch up, thinking it must be close to lunch time, and when he did, he said “Better take off your helmet so you can hear me.” Huh? What’s this about?, and he said “I don’t like the way you’re riding, so I’ll go my way, you go yours. You’re speeding, and you rode past the SAQ store, I wanted to stop there, buy booze.”

    Blah, blah, blah, and he rode off. We’d been riding for a grand total of three freakin’ hours into a trip that had thousands of miles to go. Ok buddy, I reckon ya done burned all them bridges, the hell with ya. Twenty-four hours later, the dude would be a minor footnote in history, and I was way past wondering why the heck I had ever changed my schedule to accommodate him.

    I rolled ahead a short distance to a fuel stop, topped off, all the while considering some options, then called my XO for an update on recent events. I hung up the phone with my XO after reporting that Ned had bailed on the ride after only a few hours of riding, to which she said "Told ya so", yup, she had called it correctly long before the start of this trip, namely, a rider who bails once will do it again. The same guy had quit on a ride several years earlier.

    I was angry, and in a very dark place, but when I turned around, here was this F800 rider parked at my elbow, bike a little muddy, big smile on the guy in the saddle. Ah, a ray of sunshine, and my mood lifted instantly.

    I've always said, “It's a lot smaller world out there than one might expect, a pleasure to meet you.”

    Folks, here were a couple ADV guys traveling their respective routes in opposite directions, me parked, but inmate jackalsour pulled over on his geared up F800 when he saw a like minded rider on an oddball geared up bike. Two random guys on the coast road in the Gaspe, yet we sort of knew each other through ADV. Not only that, we mutually knew other ADV inmates, had been to some of the same places, and had ridden some of the same roads. jackalsour had gotten around over the years, and so had I. The F800 was his second, likes it, and sure as heck can wheel it. He was on the front end of a week long trip riding the logging roads and trails in the Gaspe.

    We had an enjoyable lunch, talked people, bikes, and roads. He helped me out reviewing the ferry options across the St. Lawrence, discussed some good camping options on the north side, whale watching too. We parted ways "So long my friend, 'til we meet again", I always believe it's possible. Thanks again, Joel.

    I settled down for the ride to the ferry at Trois Pistoles, no reservation, but hoped I could get on, there was a lot of traffic on the roads. If I could board, it would put me on the north side at about 11pm in what was some sort of Construction Holiday week in Quebec, the chance of finding a place to stay, motel or campsite, being zip.

    At any rate, the black flag had been hoisted, the cop motor unwinding in a 10 grand fire-breathing howl, and I was around the corner, heading west into the realm of uncertainties, although the one remaining absolute certainty was a tune on my play list…

    One hand on the clutch and one on the gas
    Hell, there's too much traffic, I can't pass
    So I tried my best illegal move
    Well, baby, black and white come and touched my groove

    When I ride that slow, you know it's hard to veer
    And I can't get my bike out of second gear
    What used to take two hours now takes all day
    It took me 8 hours to get out of Gas-Pay.

    Gonna write me up a 125
    Post my face wanted dead or alive
    Take my license, all that jive
    I can't ride 55!
    No, no no,
    I can't ride 55!


    When I left Joel, I didn't know that my final stop would be at Lebel-sur-Quevillon, located over the hump south of Chibougamau, thirty hours into a mighty moto run...never underestimate a pissed-off old man.

  17. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    ^^^^^hey ONEWIZARD, put down that freakin' crack pipe, y'all got plenty of loose shingles up top as it is.

    can ya believe it folks, ONEWIZARD is a supermod on a different bike forum, obviously a forum with extremely low performance metrics.

    EDIT:
    how 'bout dat, our ADV supermod came along and cleaned up after that halfwit supermod from that other bike forum. i'd mention the forum, but it ain't worth going there, it's done, RIP...or as my elderly southern neighbor is want to say, "it's D-U-N".
    ShOqUePoT likes this.
  18. Corbeau de l'orage

    Corbeau de l'orage Designated Scapegoat

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    Hey! I saw that onewizard dumpster fire this morning and my first thought was “Why you f*#kin’ with the Chronicles!” Dude was definitely PUI, or stroked out, or something...
    I fully expected a Bob Melke class meltdown! :lol3
  19. 16VGTIDave

    16VGTIDave Reaver made me do it...

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    I guess the post was removed before I could see it. Oh well, it could have been entertaining...
    Dirtmonkey8 likes this.
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    "dumpster fire" is a good characterization for both that ONEWIZARD dude, and now the forum he moderates. once a good bike forum, but he trashed it during his mod tenure. crack, PUI, or on the bong, don't know, but he's one lame fool for sure.


    got a few more Kwik Mart Khronicles, one day i'll get busy and post them.