Monday, July 20, 2015

Homeward bound.

Bow River off 1A
Okay so technically home was still 5000 km away, but I was bound for Calgary, my previous home of twenty years.  As I pointed the Savage's front wheel east on the TC highway, I wondered what it would feel like riding back into the city after a three year absence.  After all, Holly had mostly grown up there and both my girls were living and working here... 

As always, the mountains quickly receded into my rear view mirrors.  I'm using some poetic license here as truthfully about the only thing I'd seen in the mirrors for 2500 km were my shoulders.  Then again at my road speed of 90 or so kph, nothing was "quickly" receding.  Alright having that out of the way, the mountains, what I could see of them... gradually receded while I craned my neck to the left and then right for a  view through the mirrors.

Canmore saw some construction and I missed my turn off onto 1 A, which I picked up at the next exit.  I wanted to ride the slower paced route for several reasons, the least of which it was less frenetic and heavily traveled and I wanted to stop by the final resting places of Snoopy and Scribbles, both of whom  died early of kidney failure.

A Special place for me...
After a short and tearful stop, I continued into Cochrane and boy was I surprised.  The little city in the foothills had been growing in my absence.  There were subdivisions everywhere, new boulevards where only gravel country roads existed before and I can state from fact, that the single intersection of highway 22 and the TC 1A were as congested as ever!  Why aren't we allowed to filter lanes!!! 
I grabbed a quicky lunch (3pm) at the local DQ before the last leg into Cow Town.

Here too I found more road constriction and stop and go traffic entering the city on the TCH.  I was right in the rush hour but the nimble little Suzuki sliced and diced it's way through the city in exemplary burger bike fashion.  Finally, she was in her own element as a light weight boulevard cruiser!

I had returned!

The next week was spent living out of Lisa and Rick's spare bedroom, visiting with old friends and a round of the MC Shops with Tommy G as my guide and driver. 

Mr. Smiley!

Tom, like the Savage, fairly cuts his way through clogged city traffic.  I had a chance to yap with many people I knew from the MC business days, and catch up with TG, always enlightening and a treat.

Yup, pard, them there's buffalo...

While there I spent some time constructing myself, helping Holly and Kevin in building a patio divider on the deck of their duplex.  Nothing like working on your holidays right!

My girls are hard working, maybe too hard in some cases. 

Chillin' out or at least trying to. 35C
Ukrainian Orthodox church in Renfrew.

I spent quality time with Jagger, the dog and Jaxie the cat over at Lisa's pad.  There has been plenty of opportunity in a month to get my pet fix in regularly:)

Husky Tower
Now better known as the Calgary tower

I didn't ride the Suzuki much during my stay there, the leaking forks were not getting any better, but when I did, I was once again satisfied that if not a trans continental tourer, she was a good blvd cruiser.  Low to the ground, torquey and quick off the line. Besides, as that truck driver waiting next to me at a red light yelled out his window... "How big is that?  Good looking bike!"

Nearly home!

Last fuel stop.
Time stands still for no man as the saying goes and my week went by very quickly. When Monday morning arrived, I loaded the bike one last time and after the morning rush died down I headed to 16th avenue which would lead me to the Deerfoot and out of the city heading north.

I picked up 2A at Crossfield and kept to it as much as possible, only taking highway 2 when there was no alternative.

A short stop in Red Deer to fuel up and have lunch with long time friend Brenda, afterwards we said our goodbyes and with my gear on, I sat on the Savage for the final leg into Leduc, now only 75 miles distant. I turned on the ignition as I had done a hundred times this trip and pressed the starter button. 


I pressed it again, harder this time, still nada.  Quickly overheating in the 30 plus degree heat, I enlisted the aid of a passing trucker to give me a little push....... zero.

Smitty's Red Deer where I couldn't re start.

I said something under my breath (expletive deleted) and began peeling off clothes.  The only shade was a little strip under the Husky sign.  After a half hour of this and that, I decided to give it one more try but without help I would have to push it up the small hill and roll her down in third gear while running alongside, (try doing that on a Gold Wing!) it was too difficult to hop onto the saddle with the limited space.  By George... just as I was about to give up hope, I was greeted with the familiar "thump thump thump" and by this time I wasn't sure if that was the Suzuki's engine or my own I was hearing.  I didn't care, unwilling to shut (either) engine down... I put my riding gear back on and wasted no time hitting the highway.

Back in Leduc, cleaned up nicely (the bike, not the rider)

I rode through Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Millet and finally reached the outskirts of Leduc proper.  I rolled into Liz's place at 4 pm July 13th after a month on the road.

2505 km since departure
One month on the road

I'd covered about 4000 kilometers in total, about 2500 on the Savage and the balance on Ron's bike's and Cindy's Serow.  True... I never hit the ton on the Savage but did several times on the other two 650 Suzuki's I had at my disposal.  The single cylinder 653cc cruiser averaged about 67 mpg, my butt averaged about 300 km before burn set in, I was never so uncomfortable that there was any fear of going postal, but I did squirm plenty.

A Hazy morning view of the Confederation Bridge

I had ridden the magnificent Rockies yet again, met old friends and created yet more memories.

Final approach

True the only real (mis) adventure part was near the very end, when the little single let me down finally, but in all fairness, she did manage to take me home. 

"What do you mean... my credit card's been declined!?

All in all, as Mike and Mike would have said... 'A Most Excellent Adventure'

I was looking forward to arriving home the following day after an all night flight, seeing my wife and kitties and of course my bikes, which I'm sure were totally pissed with me for leaving them behind for so long


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