Thursday, July 19, 2018

Now this... is about as perfect as it gets.



BEING a long time motorcyclist and sometimes racer... I am familiar with being horizontal at times. 

Fortunately it's usually something minor like my leg is too short, or I'm doing a tight circle in a parking lot, the engine coughs and stalls and I step off, not so gallantly.  Generally it's a low speed and soft surfaces get off.  I don't usually take photos of such times, being conscious of the fact that my engine is hot, the bikes is laying on it's side and gas is spilling from the overflow, and the adrenaline is pumping!

NB is criss crossed with rivers and streams
The first thing is some expletive deletive from my lips which thankfully has gotten fewer and fewer over the years as I've mellowed. 

I'll usually stand and stare for a second or two and then depending on where I may be at the time, (parking lot/dry wash/in front of my house) I'll quickly surmise the situation and right the bike. 

Typically.   

A few years ago in the Bradshaw mountains north of Phoenix Arizona, I was crawling up this narrow and steep dry wash that was only about 3 yards wide, lamenting on the fact that my latest gearing ratio choice was one bridge too far... for off roading and the 6 speed gearbox was spending a lot of time in low gear while the clutch was taking a beating. I had lost momentum in the deep sand and large boulders ranging from golf ball to basket sized and I stalled.  This was one of those times that my left leg was too short, in fact 6" too short and over we went, XT and I.  Bang Glang!  Fortunately I had my soft bags on which cushioned the blow and because of the rocks I was able to wiggle my way from under the bike without too much difficulty.  All the while I am doing this, the gas is leaking from the overflow to my inner left thigh! 

This is almost a freeway compared to some

Once extricated from underneath the bike and the saddlebags now a hindrance as I struggled for a place to grip the something solid with both hands and the fact I was on the downhill side with little grip on my Icon's in the deep sand, I decided I would try lifting the bike in two actions.  Because I was on the low side with the front wheel more or less pointed upstream and there were heap big boulders all around, I would lift the bike to my thighs, change grip (hopefully) and then push the bike fully upright.  I didn't have time to think this through and the handicaps were great, but I gripped the left side of the bar and with right hand under the seat onto the rear sub frame as best I could with the bag there.  There was no point in counting to three, after all I was alone (as per usual) and I knew it was best to do this when I still felt the affects of said adrenaline!

I got the bike more or less up half way before re gripping and pushing it up the remainder.  There it was, XT sandwiched between the two boulders the front tire get snagged on and me on the downhill side lunging the bike upright.

Just out for a little trail ride enjoying the southern weather.

Well guess what... over it went the other way with me sprawled out on top of her!  (All my bikes have been she models and believe me the position I was now in was akin to a bad porno movie on VHS... so I've been told)  Having not been hurt in the fall nor the first lift, I felt my body mentally to see if anything was broken/bruised/scraped.  There wasn't. 

The good news, I could now lift the bike from the uphill side and that was much easier than the former.  Holding the bike by the front fender I crawled over to the downward side and wedged a rock under the side stand.

The Adventure 150 on tour for the day

Once I believed the bike was secure, I immediately removed my helmet, gloves, light weight jacket, vented jersey, boots and pants and found some shade under some stunted cholla.  You see, the outside temperature that day in Phx was around 95F.  Where I was it must have been 110 or more and the exertion of the past 15 minutes had come very close to overheating me.  This had only happened to me twice in my riding career if memory served, once in Baja where a simple fall resulted in a fractured ankle and a very long and painful ride out the way I had come in and this day.  Both occasions I came within a whisker of tossing my cookies!

ANYWAY... getting back to why I am so happy today, the sun is shining, there is a slight breeze, the rains that came yesterday are just enough for me to put off mowing the lawn today and I am prepping my 225 for a day ride tomorrow. Nothing spectacular, just a dual sport ride on some of the back roads and trails of Queen's County. (We're big on Royalty hence the Prince, Queens and Kings county's.)

Excellent riding in the back roads of NB

I have been laving a lot of psychical issues this year.  Some may stem back the the Calgary rear end collision, some to my hip and shoulder problems, some maybe age...

So when I see a decent weather report I get excited.

This spring and summer I have spent quite a bit of seat time riding the southern parts of New Brunswick and naturally enjoying myself with covered wooded road bridges, old style gas stations that didn't have slots for credit cards, where you had to interact with a human to pay the gas bill.

Just like the old days!
I was making great use of the free ferry system, good food (like Kredl's outside Hampton) little traveled local roads some of which aren't even numbered, with names like "Lover's Lane" or Wharf road.



All of the Maritime provinces offer superb riding opportunities and heck... if you have a valid passport, Maine is a stone's throw away with the White mountains just beyond.

There are days when I am laying stiff as a 2x6 and looking outdoors from within, stuck in bed cuddled up to a heating pad, Coco usually right next to me.

I used to tell people that questioned why I wasn't working my rear off so I could have more money at retirement as I was heading once again to Playa Los Cocos in Baja CA and not so gingerly point out that when I hit 65... I may nor have what it takes to ride the desert any longer!


Does it get any better...?

I'm 63 now... we shall soon see :)









Saturday, July 14, 2018

Oh... Just stuff.



SUMMER is in full swing. 

Sometimes I am the motor!

It's easy to forget the east coast gets an actual 4 seasons.  We get cold winters, sometimes with lots of snow, a brilliant spring with the odd storm to remind us who's the Boss.  There's golden, blazing colorful fall, most favorite for many and of course there is a 2 and a half month summer, where you can count on mostly sunny days, warm winds and some heat and humidity.  We are in the heat and humidity period at the moment.  Riding with full gear including boots on, can be stifling.  For longer trips I often take along a light jacket.  I'm not one of those people that hesitates wearing lighter gear when the temps get higher. 

Cabot Park beach

If you've ever ridden through a hot summer day be it Baja, Arizona or PEI, once the thermometer approaches 30 C or about 90 F and especially when we hit triple digits down in the desert, I  give up some safety, by wearing less padded gear in order to remain cool enough to ride.  What's the point of having a bunch of body armor if you pass out from heat exhaustion, and you fall off your bike?

When I am down south, and the scale reaches 35 and above, I often will not ride at all.  My last trip to PHX there were temperatures reaching 110 F in the city and could easily exceed that in the outback, I'd rather be lazing in the pool or standing in a cold shower.







EVERY year I take an old filing folder (real one made of paper) and set down some goals for the year.  Nothing earth shattering like reading War and Peace in 3 days, or getting a make over or a sex change, just simple stuff like keeping my weight under 150 lbs or riding all my bikes before the season ends. 


Today, the Pelican 15.5 model (feet btw) was in the water out near French river.  Brenda and I did a short paddle hindered by dropping water levels which meant a long carry back to the launch point in water only a few inches deep.

New Brunswick coastline
Friday I rode my DL 650, known as the V Strom, to Ellerslie PEI to Dennis Motors, the Yamaha dealer at that end of the Island.  I test rode a 2009 Suzuki GS500F.  This is a fairly small, light and compact "sports/touring" kind of bike.  Not a radical sitting crouch just a slight forward lean, a simple one piece seat, about 40 horsepower at the wheel from a claimed 51 at the crank, six gears, a large 20 L fuel tank giving the bike about a 450 k range as compared to the V Strom's 550 and the T Birds 250 km. 

GSF 500 DOHC 487cc 2 valve with air oil cooling and 6 speed trans.

There is a rather full fairing to deflect the worst of the wind, a slightly taller Zero Gravity windshield on it that gives better wind protection and supplies a place to mount the GPS unit.

It is an air-cooled simple 2 valve DOHC engine with dual carbs and shows about 18000 km in total. 



Tyne Valley PEI off route 12


Why, my friends are asking would I give up my versatile DL for what amounts to an older design, dated MC

Just another DL kinda day!
Well it's a numbers game,about 2 1/2 inches lower, narrower through the tank area and comes in around 450 lbs fueled up.  Those numbers mean better control for me, less chance of tipping over and at this stage in my life, do I (or anyone) really need a 200 horsepower engine...? With a right hip that is giving me less stability and more pain year by year, and a left shoulder that has been giving me trouble for 16 years now, I find the DL somewhat hard to handle especially when two up. 


As I have proven the last couple of years, I can ride the Island or the Maritime provinces and even New England quite happily on a smaller, easier to handle bike. 

Anyone that knows me, knows I have done some wild and crazy things on smaller displacement bikes like a fire season in BC on my DT 50, or Baja on the XT 225.  My pleasure kinds in multiple displacements !
New Brunswick coastline

Early in the week I spent three days in Rothesay visiting Lisa and family, rode my V Strom , lots of fun.


So this week has seen me considering a step down if I may say that, but not in fun, that would be a step up being in better control.  I've been up to my ankles in sandy muddy water, and earlier in the week, did 18 km on bicycle over the 400 k plus "Confederation Trail"

Confederation Trail

What more can a guy ask for...


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Head to the woods!

yeah... never know what you'll find.


It was a wonderfully sunny day, and hot! 

Well not Death Valley in July hot, and maybe not exploding angry Hawaiian throwing virgins into a volcano hot, and not even me naked in the shower hot... but hot enough that I think I lost 2 pounds in sweat alone today!

Trails and woods

I've been very busy cutting grass, running to and fro, fulfilling my "manly" duties and running into Kensington to pick up 12 V light bulbs, deposit a US$ check (always appreciated) and pick up medication for my kidney stones, which if I may say... don't seem to be "rolling"... more like scraping the Rocky Mountain valleys after the last glaciation period!

Agony defined!

All I can say, must have been a wicked high tide!

I have heard giving birth to stones is a lot like giving birth.  If that is the case, I certainly don't envy expectant Mom's!

As many of my regular readers know, I have several street legal "trail" bikes.  Having not ridden my Serow 225 much this year, I decided on riding it.  Of course this meant I wouldn't be taking the highway, well at least not all the way, but I would be detouring onto the local dirt/sand roads.  Light as the 225 is at under 250 lbs as compared to the big bro XT 600 at about 340 lbs I can throw around the smaller bike and the sandy roads don't pose as much of a problem,  Usually I am standing in any case (lowers the CG) and leaned back slightly with a little throttle, or sometimes lots of throttle, depending on the depth of the sand and of course, my mood!

Peaceful and 10 degrees cooler

It's basically a 10 minute drive into K'ton but today I could stretch that out to three times that and likewise on the return.  I checked out my secret trout hole on route and even did a backwoods trail I haven't used for several years. 

The shale pit a short ride from my place
Light at the end of the tunnel!

Even though it was rather warm especially standing with my gear on in the sun, I had enough forest cover available that I could cut that exposure in half.  Unlike PHX AZ... PEI has trees and lots of them. 

Once geared up with the engine running, as I am putting on my helmet and gloves and after having checked the brake light operation, signal lights and a general walk about round the bike, I headed out.  For most of the year I have two choices for leaving my home... I can turn right at the driveway and head toward the highway, or I can turn left and climb the seasonal road giving me a fabulous view from atop or I can even take some trails before I have to pick up pavement.

Things are mighty green!
No, I didn't put a lot of miles on the little bike today, but I tend to measure my day and my F U N reader in smiles... not miles!




 Today... I was almost all the former and not the latter!  That's the way I like it :) :) :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

In another life...

Smelling the lupines *


I lived on the Island named for Prince Edward, during a previous life. 

Dennis Motors Ellerslie PEI 

It was not near as pretty then as it is today.

Or... it could be that I have more leisure time and less time spent running a Motorcycle Recreational business and raising kids, and building MX tracks, racing YSR's and running CSC** MC training courses generally.

That was such a different life, I was young, ambitious, full of zest.  I still have those traits but now they are more subdued and I smell the cafe and roses or lupines more often.*

Last Friday I went to Dennis Motors in Ellerslie, to take part in the Yamaha National test ride program.  There were a number of machines I wanted to ride.  Unfortunately the weather was wet and windy for much of the morning and didn't begin to clear off until early afternoon. There were a dedicated group of riders sandwiched between Sean (?) as leader and followed up by Kathy (?) (making sure we were safe and didn't get lost), two of the company's employees.  They had a 23 km course that followed a great mixture of quiet country back lanes and a wee bit of highway 2 for a faster pace.  We rode hill and dale, just enough to give us a pretty good handle on what a machine's capability was like.

The Yamaha van and bikes.

I first rode the R3.

Back in my day, the RD/RZ line of sports machines were great overachievers and the little four stroke twin, although not quite living up to that era... didn't disappoint either.  It's nimble, light and capable of highway speeds.  The seating position is sports standard, easy to adapt to, but not race style with the clip on's under the triple clamp.

I could see myself taking a multi day ride with soft luggage but only after I altered the final drive ratio's some.

The little twin needs an extra tooth or two on the front or 5 less on the rear to make it more versatile, which these smaller bikes that we are being offered today, need. The bike has plenty of "grunt" surprisingly but I was searching for another gear several times.  I saw an indicated 147 kph at one stretch but am quite certain it would pull three figures with taller gearing.  It's not so much the speed factor as it is the comfort level.  Now before you say anything let me add, the engine pulling minimal weight on a windy day, could easily have pulled a taller  gear.  That would have kept the revs down and given the bike a little less buzz. 

The other thing the R3 needs are rear view mirrors that you can actually use.  I quickly got into the habit of pulling in the shoulder I was looking into, to get a glimpse of Kathy riding shot gun.  Would I buy one?  You bet.  I'm somewhat noted as a fond proponent of smaller bikes, after all I have ridden a DT 50 Yamaha throughout the Rocky mountains of B.C. and even Baja, yes, that Baja!

I wish I have had more time to ride them all.

Next up was the MT-07, a bit of a "hooligan" bike really.  Nothing at all like the British twins I lusted after in the 60's but kind of along the same lines.  Although I never lived in Jolly Old nor rode bikes over there, I read a lot of the written literature of leather clad Rockers with their pudding bowls (I did have one of these as my first helmet) pushing the "TON" from one cafe to the other on twisty back lanes.  The 07's engine was a little raspy, certainly gutsy enough and with decent road manners even though it is biased to a price point.  I would immediately alter it's longer ride features by putting on a small chest sized windshield to cut down the fatigue factor.  I would also look at a taller gear for this one as well.  For screwing around on the Island, the shorter gears are more "fun" but in the bigger picture, limiting.

I know it's built for that but I want my bikes to be able to perform across a wider spectrum.  Now for a guy that has 7 motorcycles that are road registered, you may say I'm spoiled but in any case, I look at bikes especially those bikes as having a broader spectrum of capabilities.

On the other hand, unless someone brings out a luggage system, the bike is limited. 

For sheer fun the '07 would rank about 8.9 on the F U N scale.

My third ride was on the "Tracer 900".

Cathy and "Scott" :) on the left. Stop in and say Hi, the Dr sent you!

Unfortunately it was cut short as in my position as the last test rider, I had seen in my rear view mirror the shop's follow up rider (a young woman my own height), tipped over at the T intersection.  I did a very quick 180, but by the time I arrived and put the stand down on the 900, a fisheries (woman) had given Kathy a hand in picking up the bike.

No major damage but again, the bike is tip toe for me and I have been riding twice as long as she has lived :)  It can be a very fine line balancing such a tall bike.

In my short ride on the 900, I can say it too has lots of grunt, is smooth and there is no need to spin up the punchy triple to the red line (but do it anyway, they rip and sound great) For myself I would have to lower the bike but that's the case for most of the bikes I like. 

I wanted to thank Brian and the Dennis Motors team for bringing the van over for us Islanders to try some Yamaha's out.  Good on ya!



DL 650 on rte 12.



 **Canada Safety Council


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tis the season



... and I don't mean Christmas either!

After returning home from Phx this last time, I was just in time for a turn around in the weather. 
XT 225 Serow at the Devils Punch Bowl


PEI has a moderate climate, four actual seasons and pretty much what you can expect.  Almost every morning, summer or winter, I do a check of the old fashioned thermometer outside my back door.  Depending on what it shows I get up or go back to bed.  Yeah... kinda like the groundhog.  Difference is I may get another hour of shut eye, not weeks like our furry pal. 

The SYM Citicom 300 i

It hasn't been hot but most days reasonably warm and by that I mean to ride, I like to see high teens and counting.  Of course regardless what the dial says, cool wind can make the difference of riding or not.  Say it's 18, sunny but the wind speed is 50 kph gusting to 80.  That wind can make the difference of a pleasant ride or not at all. 

Being an Island and a rather low one at that (our highest elevation is approximately 500 feet) we get a fair bit of wind flow. Fifteen degrees and 50 kph I'm not keen on especially if I had planned on a distance ride. 

My last ride to Saint John on my 300 Citicom, a machine that has the best weather protection of any of my machines, the report was showing around 20C, and sunny skies.  Of course on the return trip, I never saw the sun, had to deal with a heavy wind which stole some of the power of the 262 cc 21 hp Single.  To top off that ride, I had steady wind all day and of course... several rain squalls!

By the time I stepped into my shower, I felt like a Popsicle!  So much for the weather report...



PEI riding


I've put two lengthy rides on the scooter this spring.  Riding solo, the 21 horsepower is adequate, if I don't had a major headwind to deal with and it's sunny.  Me like sunny, me no like cold/raining.

I've been able to ride my 125, 225, 600, T Bird and as I said the SYM and my DL 650 on some longer rides.

Never know what you'll come across... N.B.

I'M always happy when I can get a ride in on any of my machines. At my age I will admit I am not keen on 1000/600 km/mile days through every type of weather short of a blizzard and I tend to read a good book if it's cold and wet. One of the great things about living on the Island, is the variety of roads surfaces, scenery to die for and lack of traffic to deal with, disregarding the Cavendish strip in July and August.  Even if I have only done a 50 km trail ride, I come back smiling.  You know the feeling right?  Stupid grin face, yelling into my helmet, fist pumping and waving to fellow riders.

Although I have some setbacks health wise and some issues crop up like the tear down and subsequent year long repairs of the Phx condo, I enjoy riding immensely.

V Strom about to see the 'swinging bridge' close up and personal  Cape Breton NS



I didn't get as much traveling done in 2017, if I don't count the several trips south to check on the actual repair work.  (I would never hire the same company again) where I got to ride my local scooter while the 350 stayed under wraps, at least I am looking forward to spending some set time on my various bikes including my little TTR around my grass track, which has been dry enough down across the valley to mow! 



I suspect I will make it to southern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton to visit friends, Lisa's in St John NB and perhaps even across to Maine and beyond!  I have capable bikes and disregarding the exchange rate (standing at around 32% currently) it's partly made up for with lower prices on virtually everything traveling there.  On my Globe Trip I had a very nice room with Motel 6 at $ 50 USD as example.



TTR in my backyard!
KLR and XT 600.  Somewhere in N.B. 



I've been working on my various machines having just done an oil and rear end change on the Citi 300 which is now closing up on 10,000 km overall. 

I don't have to change any tires or do any major work this summer but a couple of the scoots will require some expense next season. 

A N Y W A Y... it's almost the end of June and I am expecting to be on a road trip this week, preferably off Island.  Stay tuned... :)

Is this pretty or what!  Highway 2, on my way home.




Friday, June 15, 2018

On the one hand we have the Mods...



After you run out of triple digit roads, this is what you find.
...and on the other, the Rockies, errr... the Rockers...

In 1965, I was a boy of ten, living in the Edmonton community of Wellington and prior to that, Kensington... which in itself may have led one to believe there was some Jolly Old influence.*



The Beatles, the Stones, the Who...the Byrd's, were revolutionizing music, and in fact the world was changing and fast.  Rockers rode bikes from cafe to cafe, trying to break the 'Ton' without breaking the engine. (which often happened) while the Mods emulated the new order on their Vespa's and Lambretta's.



I was still several years away from having my very first bike, a Honda S (for Super or Sport) 90 but I was already hooked!  I'd ride my (pedal) bike to Klatt's HD off 95th street, Alberta Cycle on 118th and when I could get there, United Cycle on White Avenue.

I've elaborated in this blog previously  Kelly, my teenage neighbor fantasy girlfriend, whose boyfriend rode a CB 160 Honda with the mufflers hack sawed off at the header.  He was the "Arthur Fonzerelli" before there was an Arthur Fonzerelli.

How can a young boy, whose hormones were already bubbling if not raging not have a fantasy that included girls, British bikes and was riding on rural roads pushing my BSA to the Ton?

Fast forward 50 some years.

Triumph

Where has the time gone eh?  After decades in the M/C business and having ridden everything from 50's to Rocket Threes... I have in my living room  two vintage Passport step through scooters and and in my garage a SYM 300.  Sure I also have a vintage BSA and a more modern but still retro Triumph Thunderbird.

Hormones if not exactly raging are still quietly idling along with the occasional burst of WFO!

Okay, this is not a blog about sex, but it's very interesting that riding pushes many of the same buttons.  Go on, try to ignore it, it can't be done.


Sad.

It rained all night, I been listening to the rain which has been falling for more than 24 hours now.  Not much chance of riding off into the sunrise at this rate.



Last weekend I managed a quick trip on what should have been to sunny and warm days.  The forecast had called for 18C Saturday and 20 Sunday but under blue skies all the way from Saint John back to the Island.  I haven't had much opportunity to see William, Rick and Lisa with the various issues going on in my life but this weekend posed an opportunity.

When was the last time you've had to stop for a train, think about it?





I've been having problems with my right hip, bursitis I was recently told, so I chose my SYM 300 Citicom.  This Taiwanese scooter has the best weather protection of all my bikes and that includes the V Strom.  The windshield is close, there are guards for the hands and legs and lots of storage room even though I was traveling light.  Being a cross between a regular scooter and a motorcycle and the coolish riding at highway speeds it was a logical choice. Besides, I didn't plan on riding the entire trip on the THC... once past Moncton NB, I could begin riding the paved but rural country lanes and roads, which is exactly what I did.


Pretty as a picture...

No idea where I am??
I peeled off the main drag after a fruitless search to find my way around construction sites in the City to Motoplex (wanted to look at a BMW 800 there) and headed for the 'old road' up an along the ridge.  This route used to be the main cross Canada highway when I first traveled here in the mid seventies.  Lined with Motels, and gas stations then, it has mostly reverted to woods, the many Motels long gone into history.



Before long I was in quiet back country keeping my speed under 100kph, consistent with the rough quality of the pavement which see's little improvement now that it has been surpassed by the multi lane TCH.  The advantage of riding the old highway was less traffic and the many small towns along the route.

Riding the rural Maritime provinces, is a real sweet treat.  Case in point... riding to Lisa's place in St John (Rothesay) can be a 3 hour ride, or it could be a 6 (or more) hour ride.  Your choice.

Old Honda... older  BSA
I can ride to Cape Breton in an afternoon, Peggy's Cove 3 hours direct, Lunenburg 4 hours or 8, just choose the route you most like.

There are thousands of kilometers of coast, even some remnants of mountains (the Appalachians)


My GPS girl was having a fit trying her best to send me back to the highway.

Her exasperation's were pretty obvious to me, as she kept telling me to...

'Turn right, then turn right' or ' Turn around when possible'


Late in the afternoon I pulled off at the junction of ... but that's another story... :)

* Lots of early Brit settlement here.













Friday, June 8, 2018

On the road to Globe (and beyond)

Globe overnighter

IT was mid afternoon as I approached Globe AZ, for the very first time.  Right around 'rush hour' but there didn't some to be much congestion as I rolled into town at the lights of 188 and US 60. 

I had scouted some hotel/motels out over the net the couple of days previous.  The most likely prospect was not the one I had picked the weekend before.  It looked terribly rustic, the parking lot was empty and my concern before I left home was the ability or inability to load/off load the XT.  I continued through the 'city' and came across my alternate pick, the would be a Motel 6 right on US 60/70 before it branches off on 77 south to my turnaround at Winkelman, but not before I did the Pinal Pass.

After passing the Pass... I would pick up the Gila River and follow it right into the Junction of 77 and 177 at Winklemen.   Doing so would take me through a wide open pit mining area, which obvious to me, had seen both boom and bust cycles! 

I followed the Gila river at different places, what a surprise!
Today's all paved route on secondary highways would be hot and dry under an unrelenting Arizona sun on my Yamaha. Before the day was out, I would pass by or ride through Hayden Junction, Kearny, Ray Junction, Sonora and finally Superior, where I'd return to AZ 60 for the final 25 miles climbing through awesome canyons before a flurry of small towns... Miami, Clayton and Midland City, brought me back to the Motel 6 and Globe.

A little more rugged.

Even though this leg wouldn't have any pure off road riding* (there was a reason for that as I would find out later) the hot dry temperatures, the pretty scenery, the feeling of having traveled back in time at least 30-40 years, made my trip most enjoyable and memorable.

THE staff at Motel 6 and especially my new buddy Manny were most helpful in accommodating me to ease loading and unloading the trail bike. I was able to secure a room at the very top of their complex well above road level at US 70.  I was able to back the Dakota  up with the tailgate down, and basically roll the bike on or off.  This was crucial, my bum hip registering in my brain at "PAIN LEVEL 6" and rising!  I didn't think I had enough left in my 'energy' tank to deal with banging through creek beds and climbing and descending trails.  Part of enjoyable motorcycling is knowing when to hold up, when to fold up and when to walk away!

Beautiful riding country, you see so much more off road.

The room was spartan but I wouldn't have expected anything elaborate, after all it was a M 6 right.  It was tidy, had a hot shower that I pummeled myself with and the overnight rate didn't break the bank which with a 30 percent exchange rate was very important.

Manny even gave me 10% off the rate unasked seemingly sincerely interested in my travels as both a motorcyclist and a Canadian.

I did a final check over of the bike and gear and turned in for the night... early.  (Hey... I'm 63 right, I get tired easier now)

Early the next morning I kick-started the 350 and we coasted down the hill to the highway.  It was already warm and it would get much warmer as the day progressed.

Free flowing Gila river

No problem with the turn off to Pinal Pass on US 70.  The sun was fully up and getting hotter by the mile.  I cruised through beautiful desert country, with little traffic in either direction.  It was obvious to me that this route that ultimately would have carried me to Tucson and beyond. Much as I wanted to check out 'Dudleyville' I opted to turn north at Winkleman.

Fast flowing and lots of water here!

Humanity in the way of subdivisions, towns and cars were pretty thin on the ground, XT burbling on at an even 50 mph with the tallish gearing I had last installed keeping the revs acceptable low on the four stroke single, which by the way has plenty of torque at these reduced speeds and happy taking the wide well paved corners at these speeds.

Teachers were on strike in Az while I was there. 

I pulled off in Hayden Junction for a little shade and a snack, sitting on a bench under some shade, as two big ADV bikes rolled by.  Funny, I felt absolutely no shame in riding my 300 lb 350 instead a big brute of an "Adventure bike".

Lots of railway around the mines.



On this side of the Gila valley, the road surface is a bit more used, the railway carrying copper ore no doubt much busier than say the ride down on 77.  The country was wide open, BIG SKY country and I felt terribly humble to be here doing this, when so many of the people I know are tied to a job 9-5 trying to earn a living.

WHEN I reached Superior, I missed the turn off and a quick U turn had me back on 60.  As I was picking up speed and climbing, I felt like turning around, should have stopped in downtown Superior, but if you have traveled here before, you know the new route 60 parallels the old route and between the vestiges of the old highway and the fantastic scenery on the climb out, left me speechless.

Too awesome for mere words.

Do the words drop dead gorgeous mean anything to you... ?

I found an old state park.  Pulling off the road, I went for a look see.  You see I had camping gear along, too much of for traveling by bike only but with the mule of a Dakota, I had splurged and brought along my little 4 lb single person tent, a cooler bag and cushions.  In the campground there were sites with stoves but no services.  Bonus though it had trails!

Gas prices were riding weekly

At Miami I pulled off to fill the Yamaha once again, averaging about 82 mpg (IMP) giving me a range of about 175 miles before needing to replenish the fuel.  I must admit I kind of pigged out sitting on the curb and eating some real food, washed down by an iced coffee, a summer treat for the Dr.

I passed a huge Walmart before getting to the M 6 again, where I loaded the bike and swung her west back towards Superior to the campsite I had stumbled on. By mid afternoon I had picked out a spot and set up the tent under, oddly enough, wind picking up the pace.  Once settled, I went for a walk and found remnants of the old route 60 just about a hundred yards from where I was camped!  I actually went for a late afternoon walk in the general area and was very excited about riding some of the old road and some other trails I had found in my walk.

My camp out didn't go so well...

As I was descending the hill back of my site I see  my 4 lb tent blown over and fortunately caught among some trees down the valley from where the Dakota was parked.  Even though I had stacked some softball sized rocks on each corner, the elevated windy conditions had blown the thing away.

Finishing off the last of my real food I was getting settled in for the night when I found that my pillows (yes, pillows) had been left home in the shuffle!  Do you know how uncomfortable it is not being able to lay your head on a pillow? I rolled up my jeans which were a very poor substitute.  But wait... it gets worse!  Remember this blog is mostly about riding and misadventures and here I am in high country in a tiny tent, with no pillows and winds getting very gusty.  I'm thinking , this is not good, maybe even bad but tomorrow I will at least explore the local trails, after all I'm not on a schedule right!

This is part of the old/old route 60, I'd like to follow it some day.

By 11 pm it is near gale force and I should know I live on an Island in the Atlantic right... and to make things even most uncomfortable as trying to sleep with no pillow in a gale when the skies open up!



So now it's flapping like crazy, wind howling in the high country and monsoon season. 

It's generally accepted that a desert see's less than 10" of rain a year.  I think I got 5 of those inches that night.  Even though I had set up my camp on a slight down slope there was so much rain that I abandoned the tent at 4 am when I realized my legs with near frozen and I was soaked from the waist down!

At 4 am I gave up and moved into the truck.

No the Dakota has a crew cab and bucket seat in the front, in the rear there is a bench seat which could have sufficed for a temporary bed had it not had a major 30 degree slope to it.

... and... even worse (yes worse) I am chattering my teeth and knocking my knees so hard near hypodermic that trying to sleep in the truck with the heater on and the engine running is just wearing me out, finishing me off in deed.

Finally the conversation I had been having with myself, "Oh it will be fine once that beautiful Arizona sun comes back in the morning, I can get on my bike and check out the hood, ride the abandoned route 60 and all this will be forgotten."

Blue sky over a hundred degrees and lots of it!
By 5 30 I had packed up in a rather haphazard fashion and heading west to Phx!



No idea...

Good thing the Dakota had just as good a heater as the A/C unit.

The sun didn't come out till I had turned onto I - 10 heading home and I got to enjoy the A/C again in, you guessed it, a city wide rush hour.









* Turns out that a) I have bursitis of the right hip, can be very painful, and... after a ridiculously expensive ambulance ride my last Saturday night/Sunday morning, thinking I was having appendicitis, excruciating pain forced me to call my insurer (at 1 am my local) which got me to a Phx hospital where I was cat scanned, only to find I have Kidney Stones!  Even more painful!