Archive for August, 2010

Day 3 & 4 – Murphy’s Trip

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 by mdride

Oppps! I got ahead of myself – Day 3 was New Brunswick and I added it to Day 2…. Let me get back on track for everyone!

It was Day 3 that we enjoyed the hills and forests of NB – where the roads were all new and beautiful, the lakes were deep blue & everything else was GREEN! BUT we didn’t make it past 40km’s when both my mother and I suffered from what seems to be genetic – falling asleep at the handle bars. The swerving began and we knew we had to stop. And we did …. sleeping at the side of the road as motorists passed  – for an hour!

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful – we did stop at Grand Falls … which was disappointing as the water had been directed away from the falls and to a near by power station. One thing came out of it, met some hot riders with some hot bikes – not a sports bike, but not a cruiser, a very nice, light and comfortable gortex middle.

We arrived into Amherst late, and the motel we planned to stay at was closed. We searched around and found the Motel 8 – great people and comfortable beds (with a pool we didn’t have a chance to use).

The real fun began the next morning as we planed our route to Sydney and the ferry to Argentia – very quickly upon pulling out the reservation we realized we missed the ferry by 24h….it was July 31st at 1:30am not August 1st at 1:30am. Well shit – the only way it could be described.

I can say that my world began to crumble slightly. I didn’t know what to think or do. All I saw was that the plans that had been made, the work that had been done for over a year seemed to be in jeopardy. We had few options – 1. Re-book the ferry for August the 7th (the only spot available, as per Customer Service); 2. Re-book a ferry to Port-Aux-Basque and ride the opposite way; 3. Not visit NFLD; 4. Ride to Sydney and hope there’s a space on the 6:00 pm.

Well, the plan was set to ride like bats out of hell and attempt to make the 6:00 pm ferry – rushing all the way there, rushing across the Island, rushing off the island and rushing all the way through trying to catch up on a schedule that was already shot.  Murphy’s Law had not only visited us but MOVED IN!

Plans changed – we decided to head to PEI for a couple days and let Murphy move on instead of rushing, rushing, rushing and creating no success at all.

But Murphy remained.  We could not find a place to stay close enough to the ocean so we decided to Camp – no problem, we have all the equipment we need, or do we??

We unpacked the bikes, set up the tent and began thinking about food and showers. Mother went to visit the bathrooms while I unpacked the air mattress … and the most vital part was missing – the cap. And to boot, the air pump attachments were too small for the ginormous hole left behind.  That’s when I started laughing – what else can you do?!

Ohh you can do DUCK TAPE. So I used almost a whole roll of duck tape, while my mother was pumping and I was listening to see if air was escaping. A full hour later, I heard nothing but knew that throughout the night, our butts would touch the ground. I prepared my mother for the eventuality of sleeping on the ground…..

One thing that I knew I could do is build a serious camp-fire and that I did! Our luck started to turn when the lovely ladies at the campsite office, called the next shift and had them pick us up some food and drink. The bathrooms were meticulously clean and the people were amazing. Not to mention the beach only a 2 min walk away.

PEI was starting to look like the best place to wait out the ferry schedule and leave Murphy behind. Next was the personal challenge of dealing with change, disappointments & the reality that with Murphy, completing the ride in Vancouver would be a challenge.


At The End Of Day 2

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 by mdride

Welcome to the ride! We started at 5:30 am on the July 28th from Barrie, Ontario – by the time we hit the pavement it was 6:30’ish and we were both exhausted.  But day one turned out to be a smashing success, even though the weather did not agree.

At our first stop, a trucker stop on the east side of Toronto for some breakfast, we met Jim Finch – who pulled out a map of Montreal and directed us to miss the crazy traffic and construction (THANK YOU JIM!). When we told him we were on our first day of a 28 day cross Canada ride for charity, without hesitation he pulled out his valet and donated $50 to our cause! What a great way to start day one. We hope to meet up with him again, as we travel through his usual route – he delivers exotic cars, maybe I can catch a ride.

As we got back on the road, the rain came and went and came and went – I think we stopped every 30 min to dress or undress.  We stopped again for lunch and met a lovely lady, Brenda and her adorable dog Prue and met Karim a fellow biker headed to Montreal like us. Lucky for us, we stopped longer than expected and when we got back on the road, we missed flying shrapnel by 5min, hitting the front of the traffic jam that followed an accident.
Finally, Montreal was in sight. Even with the help from Jim, we got lost a couple times before we made it down town and to the Hostel who has graciously offered us 2 nights free. 620km on the first day – shower, food, bed was the only things on our brains.

I must say that Montreal drivers are slightly crazy and the roads are TERRIBLE but the hostel was incredible andnothing can beat being down town Montreal where the food is plentiful, the people are pretty and the party is happening all the time.

We indulged in Indian food right down the street and finalized our plans, discussing our accommodations. From the next table, a man overheard us mentioning almost every city in Canada. He seemed perplexed and asked what we were up to. After sharing our story, he asked if we had out-planned all the fun – Randall Benson paid for our meal without us knowing. But he did much more than that.  On a personal level he sparked a journey of self discovery in me that I can never thank him enough for.

Waking up on Day 2 was tougher than on day 1 – but we were back on the road by 10am for another 550km to bring us through Quebec an into New Brunswick.  Riding along the St Lawrence was INCREDIBLE! The colours of the water, the greens of the fields and the trees & the blue skies – just amazing.  There was only one thing that caused some heart ache, Hyw 20 leaves riders desiring consistent and smooth paving!

All was redeemed when we hit 185 and New Brunswick – I never realized that NB is one big forest… with beautifully paved roads, amazing scenery and roads/routes made for bikers. Although the ride was great, we didn’t quite make it to our destination we did land in Ville Degelis  at a motel when my 1985 Virago decided to act up temporarily while filling up on gas for the night.

What reminds me of home

I had no idea what to expect – how would 400-500km a day feel? Could I and my 500cc keep up to my mother and her1100cc? How would keeping everyone informed work out? What personal learning would occur and how would I react?

I won’t lie, it has been a challenge BUT both my bike and I have kept up to the long rides and the crazy weather. We’ll see what the ride has in store next!

Stay tuned!

THe Wettest Dry Run in History

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 by mdride

We’re just about 4 weeks away from the ride, and my mom and I had not even ridden together – this weekend was to be our dry run of packing, equipment, riding style & navigation. No better time than Ride For Sight, Canada’s largest Charity ride/event to try it out. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend all summer – I must say, I never expected the weekend to be over so quickly.

Friday started with my motorcycle backfiring and having trouble starting, mixed with very dark oil. My biggest concern was riding it 500km before being able to get it to the shop for a much needed tune up before riding it across Canada. Having figured out that my engine needs a good cleaning and an oil change, it was my overuse of the choke that was causing most of the trouble. I was very relieved, to say the least. I arrived in Barrie Friday night, ready for the Saturday morning packing and riding day.

It took longer than expected to get everything on the bikes but by 7:30am we were riding away in formation – my mom and I were joined by her partner, Greg, riding in front. Together we had 2 tens, two air mattresses, our banner, two spleeping bags, our clothes, raingear, tarp and chair with luch. We stopped for gas and were concerned about getting to Woodbine in time, missing the parade which I had been most excited about. My mom made the best point of the day “what do we have to lose? Let’s go people”.

The he rain started at Hwy 9 and the 400. We pulled off under an overpass and geared up – unfortunately, my saddle bags hung too low and melted to my exhaust, melting my rain suit through the bags (don’t ask). Alright, I was going to get wet. I’ve ridden very wet before, can’t get that bad, can it?

As we pulled of the 427, my mother pulled over due to her engine light coming on – it seemed her bike was overheating. We could practically see the racetrack. We figured someone at the Ride for Sight was a mechanic who could take a look. Within 5min. of riding again, Greg and I seemed to lose my mother. Overheating once again.

We made it to the starting point just as the engine start signal was given. And it was amazing! There must have been more than 400 bikes ready to go, and we stood to the side, making calls to mechanics, speaking to riders and taking apart the 1100cc Honda Shadow. As much as my mother told us to go ahead without her, we firmly stayed put, watching and filming the bikes as they honked and road off.

Meanwhile, I called a local Honda Dealership to confirm we could come by and we were off to see what could be done. The rain intensified and I got wetter – and when we arrived at the dealership, we knew a mistake had happened.

We stood outside of a Honda Car Dealership, with no motorcycles in sight except for ours that were under water with heavy wet equipment on the back….this day was not going as planned. Our dry run was more like a wet run. We stood inside the car dealership checking the weather and he nearest motorcycle Honda Dealership. 1pm and the rain was scheduled to continue into the night, my mother’s bike was still overheating and it was very obvious that I needed newer, better equipment.

We decided, begrudgingly to call it a day after standing outside the Dealership for at least 15min trying to decide what to do. I was the first to say I was done – already I was wet from top to bottom, and my tent was wet, with little chance of setting it up in dry conditions on dry ground. I needed better equipment.  I decided to head home instead of to the Ride For Sight outside of Bowmanville having learned quite a bit about what needed to change to make sure this wet run doesn’t translate into a cross Canada disaster. And on the list:

Rain suit
Better, water proof boots
3 more pairs of gloves
more straps, with wrenches
more dry bags
New saddle bags or fix these ones
Motorcycle tune up
Gas tank bag with clear window for maps
And a better understanding of my bike
It must be said that my mother and I were a splendid team and rode well together. The best part of this wet run was our flexibility and intuition. Sacrificing the weekend to get more prepared for the month of August. I was disappointed and as the sun has come out, I wonder how bad it could it have been – did I chicken out?

Stay tuned to for info re: rain equipment and transporting bikes nationally – the next puzzle pieces to figure out.