Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sandy's Coloured Leaves

Today' Leo called to say he was taking Diane out for a drive to look at some of the fall colours.  He wondered if we wanted to go along.  Since it was the end of the month, I was paying bills and couldn't go, but Sandy thought it would be nice to get out.  I waved goodbye to them after we agreed to meet at Swiss Chalet later for supper.

Once you get outside the city, all that you will find are trees, rocks, lakes and swamps.  We like it that way.  Anyway, here are a few of the fall photos Sandy took north of Sudbury.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

GoldWing 50K Service

Sandy drove me to RL Equipment in Verner to pick up the bike.  I had dropped it off a few days ago to have the 50,000 kilometer service done.  This included checking the valves, replacing the spark pugs and a few other tasks.  The think I was most interested in was the valve check.  The GL1800 uses bucket and shim valve adjustment instead of the self-adjusting hydraulic lifters found on Wings between '84 and '00 or the adjustable rockers found on the earliest models.

This is the fifth time I have had the valves checked and I have been waiting for one of them to require adjusting.  After all, our concerns about going away from the relatively maintenance free hydraulic lash adjusters was the potential for requiring regular adjusting.  Our fears appear to have been unfounded.  Once again, all valves were within specifications.  That makes 225,000 kilometers with no need to change anything.  It did possibly help that I put some Seafoam in the tank and rode the 45 miles to Verner in 3rd and 4th gear as recommended by Jim the Service Manager to make sure there wasn't a build-up of carbon under the valves which could have led to incorrect measurements.  In any case, I am a happy camper and Pogo is ready for another 50K.

As a passing point of interest, for those who remember the great oil mystery last month, Jim said Marc thinks he might have changed the oil when the bike was in for its tire change in August.  That would be the answer I suspected because, great as this bike is, it doesn't change its own oil.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Action Sudbury - Lionel Lalonde Centre

Action Sudbury is a local group I belong to that is dedicated to educating the public about the perils of drinking and driving. Today, we put on a display as a part of an Emergency Preparedness show at the Lionel Lalonde Centre in Azilda. I didn't get there until after noon because I had to donate blood, so I missed the high school students who were bussed in for the morning. I was there to help with the public school kids during the early afternoon. We had them wear our Fatal Vision goggles, which distort the eyesight to varying degrees to simulate impairment, while they tried to play that old standard games, Operation. They also tried putting with the goggles and I learned two things. Normie is really good with little kids and some of them can putt better 'impaired' than I can sober.

It was unfortunate that when the gym opened to the general public at 3:00 PM, about the only people who showed up were a few politicians. Still, carrying the message to the kids is a very important part of our mandate.

Action Sudbury Display

Norm watches Mary get the Operation game ready

STOP Officer Real supervises an operation

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Deal is Off

I was doing some investigating today and found problems with the Ford warranties on the Winnebago.  It seems that Ford was never made aware of the water immersion and, if they did find out about it, they would cancel the warranty remaining on the power train.  This would not apply to the engine but I found it was only three years/100,000 miles, not the five years that had been advertised and written on the sales agreement.  I am convinced the warranty duration was an honest mistake, but the concern about losing the rest of the warranty and hidden damage that might have been done by the water made us decide to back out.

Using the misrepresentation of the engine warranty as a reason, I rescinded the contract and asked for my deposit back.  The dealer was not happy but acknowledged I had the right to back out under the conditions and agreed to send me a cheque.

And now we are still looking.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Checking out a Winnebago in Kitchener Ontario

I was searching the Internet and found a 2009 Winnebago Chalet (a 30' Class C) with 33,000 miles being sold by a dealer in Kitchener. This was the same dealer we had visited on Labour Day. They had it priced unbelievably low at $45,000 so we decided to go and have a look at it. Leo thought he would come along for moral support so we left early this morning and drove the 270 miles, arriving before noon.

Pictures of the 2009 Winnebago Chalet

The motor home looked good. We did find that it had a new engine (Ford Triton 6.8L V10) because it had been caught in a flood and someone had tried to start it with water in the engine. They said the new engine, replaced by a dealer in Atlanta, had a five year 100,000 mile warranty on it. The price included an awning that hadn't been installed yet, they were replacing the front tires and would warranty the appliances for a year.  We took it for a test drive and found it rode much better than the Class A.  Liking it, I gave them a deposit for it with plans to pick it up in a couple of weeks after they had modified it and our financing was in place.

On the way home, we drove through a torrential downpour that had a lot of Sudbury flooded by the time we got there. I had installed a new Reflex wiper on the drivers side when we stopped for supper in Alliston and found the Rain-X treatment that came with it to be excellent in keeping the windshield clear. I will be getting some Rain-X for regular use.

The storm held us up and we got home quite late.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Ride to Cartier and a look at a Class A RV

It was a fine but cool Sunday morning. Last night when we went out for supper, Leo and I decided to go for a ride today, weather permitting. And it was. He came over at the crack of 10:00, when things had warmed some, and we set out. Our last minute destination was Cartier, a small railroad town about 60 kilometers north of Sudbury on Highway 144.

Highway 144 is the road north to Timmins and extends almost 200 miles through pretty much the middle of nowhere. It is narrower than most Ontario highways. It also has a lot of twists and winds and not much traffic, making it one of the better choices for a day ride.

We enjoyed the haul up to Cartier where we stopped at the gas station/restaurant for lunch. Which one, you ask? In Cartier, there is only one. Not far north of here lies the Arctic Watershed, the dividing line north of which all water flows to the Arctic Ocean. It's great to be a northerner. Lunch was a bowl of beef/barley soup and a toasted western sandwich washed down with a glass of milk. Outside, we talked to a gentleman with a new (to him) Suzuki C50 Boulevard. He was enjoying his new ride immensely. We gave him information on the Freedom Riders and hoped we'd see him again.

Riding back towards town, we stopped at A.Y. Jackson Lookout, a small park overlooking the picturesque Onaping Falls. I often bring visitors to Sudbury up here to see the falls and the geological and mining exhibits that dot the park. The leaves were only starting to change but there were a few colourful trees to be found.

Onaping Falls

Two happy motorcycles

Some foliage starting to change

Riding back into town, I decided to take a detour across The Valley and take a look at a Class A motor home that we saw last night.

Class A motor home for sale

The details

I was surprised they were only looking for $35,000 for it, which put it smack dab into our price range. After talking to the owner, we rode home and got the ladies and came back out for a test drive. All was doing well (although it rode like a truck) as the owner drove it towards Highway 144. I took over and, just before Chelmsford at about 80 KPH, I discovered something I later learned was the Ford F53 Death Wobble. I hit a bump and it started to shake just like one of those belt vibrator exercise things. Being a motorcyclist, I tried to power through it but Leo was quick to explain that, unlike a bike, the only way to get out of this with a truck was to slow down. About 40 KPH, it settled down but I was somewhat unnerved.

Back at the house, we said we would think about it. I learned later on the net that there are mods that can be done to correct the wobble problem, which seems to be a characteristic of some Ford F53 chassis'. It isn't that common and it was just my luck to find it the first mile I drove it. After consideration, despite the fact that this was an immaculate low mileage unit, we decided to pass.

The real accomplishment today is that the search for a motor home has gotten underway.

Today's Route (86 miles):

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Brockville Ontario to Sudbury Ontario

Rain was approaching from the southwest when we got up. It was 42 kms from Brockville to Merrickville where Paul operated his suspension shop out of his home. I tried to hold off, hoping the front would pass through before we had to leave but I finally concluded that we would have no such luck. We suited up and the rain started just before 8:00 AM as we pulled out.

We got to Paul's place at 8:30 and Sandy settled down in the kitchen to check out Facebook and her Email while I helped Paul pull the front end apart. It was hard to get the front axle out because the good fork had slipped upwards in the triple tree in an attempt to equalize the pressure due to oil loss in the other one. Good thing I didn't ride any more than I had to.

When we got the seal out, it looked like it had been bad right from the beginning. This was the one Paul had trouble getting in back in August. The replacement went in easily and we had the whole thing buttoned up and tested by 12:30. No charge. Paul is quite the rider and maybe some day we can put some miles on together.

The clouds had rolled past and we had some blue sky so I opted not to put on the rain suits again. Heading north on Upper Dwyer Hill Road towards Arnprior, I saw the error of my ways because there were some very ugly black clouds on the horizon. We stopped on the side of Highway 7 with traffic roaring by and put the suits back on again. The largest cell had moved through by the time we stopped at McDonald's in Arnprior, but we stayed suited up just to be safe.

The weather was good to Deep River but then we encountered waves of black rain clouds interspersed with bands of blue. This kept up for the remaining 180 miles home. We stopped for a break in Sturgeon Falls and talked to a man from Quebec. He was in a car but had a newer model GL1800 at home. We arrived home safe as darkness fell.

Today's Route (336 miles):

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bethel Maine to Brockville Ontario

It was a grey and cloudy morning, one year to the day from when Sandy had the blood clots in her lung. Now we'll be able to get out of Canada health insurance at a reasonable rate again. We had breakfast with Brother Bear and Laurie in the dining room before packing and loading up.

There was a squall line approaching from the west according to the radar and I figured we would have to meet it somewhere out there. Discretion being the better part of not getting soaked, we put on rain suits before we left Bethel. While I usually travel via Highway 2, Google Maps told me it was 40 miles shorter going via Montreal. Taking into account the fact that Highway 2 led directly to the weather front, I decided to try something different and brave La Belle Province.

We headed north on State Road 26, which turned out to be a very enjoyable route. It twisted and wound its way through Grafton Notch State Park and then crossed into New Hampshire just before Errol. A bit of the road was rough where it was being prepared for resurfacing but it was generally pretty good. We passed through Dixville Notch, the first place in the US to vote in Presidential elections and then passed the spectacular Balsams Grand Resort Hotel on the shores of Lake Gloriette. I checked their website and found January weekday rooms go for $318.00 per night while a June weekday room is $418.00 and Saturday night is $458.00. In their defence, that includes three square meals for two and use of all the facilities including the Donald Ross golf course. Maybe some day.

We continued on to Colebrook where we took US 3 due north along the Vermont border to the Canadian border station at Hereford, Quebec. This is a tiny crossing and the border posts look almost like old fashioned gas stations. We pulled up on the Canadian side and a young lady came out to ask us a few questions. I guess we passed muster because we were allowed back into the country again.

The farms and buildings in this part of the Eastern Townships look affluent and well maintained. All went well until we reached the northbound Route J. Armand Bombardier, which was like a quilt of road patches and could really use some attention. I did note that all the signs are exclusively in French. In Ontario, we bend over backwards to be sure everything is bilingual but I can see that the Quebecois do not feel the need for reciprocal courtesy. It is funny that, while I feel right at home in the USA, this Canadian province feels alien to me. That is probably why I avoid it every chance I get despite the fact I was born there.

As we rolled along, again trying to avoid stressing the front end, I considered the Traxxion Dynamics suspension on the bike. If I had it to do over again, I might skip the dampers and just go with the springs, steering head bearing and fork brace. The whole setup is great but I could probably get 80% of the improvement for 20% of the cost and any Honda shop would be able to do the suspension work.

We reached Autoroute 10 and turned west towards Montreal, with the speed of traffic picking up every mile we travelled. I was fighting a severe crosswind but we didn't see any sign of the weather front until we reached the city. Then, as we ground to a halt due to the three westbound lanes of the Champlain Bridge being reduced to one, it started to spit. Anyone riding a full faired motorcycle knows you can stay pretty dry in the rain as long as you keep moving. We weren't. Luckily, the rain didn't amount to much and, after a 30 minute delay, we were over the bridge and continuing west again.

Leaving Montreal, we stopped at a McDonald's in one of the outlying suburbs where I did my best ordering off the all French menu. Then we continued across the border into Ontario, where the road changed into the familiar 401. I selected Brockville as the day's destination and the weather started to close in on us as we approached. We got into the nice new Comfort Inn (popcorn in the lobby) just before the rain hit and got a ground floor room with opening patio doors. The desk clerk even phoned to check if we found the accommodations satisfactory. A nice touch.

We skipped a formal supper and went to the Food Basics grocery store next door where we picked up some food items to nibble on in the room. The forecast for tomorrow didn't look very good and, tired from the ride today, we turned in early.

Today's Route (312 miles):

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bethel Maine

It was another cool clear New England morning. The room rate included a full breakfast so we headed for the dining room where we shared a table with Charlie and Nancy and I enjoyed French toast and bacon.

Ron had set up what he referred to as a Four Notch Ride and all the bikes got ready to leave about 9:00 AM. I had been looking forward to this but decided not to go because I didn't want to place any additional strain on the ailing front end. After the group headed out, Sandy and I took a nap before going exploring.

We walked up the street, lined with big houses that had been built in the first half of the 19th Century and were now converted into bed and breakfasts, restaurants, galleries and other types of business. We stopped for lunch at Isabella's Cafe where we had coffee and Sandy enjoyed a large muffin. I had a BLT sandwich on homemade bread. Afterwards, we walked back to the Sudbury Inn, stopping to take some photos of flowers.

Sandy at Isabella's Cafe - Bethel Maine

Sign in Isabella's

Flower in Bethel

Another flower in Bethel

The riders returned by 3:00 and Lost Bob and Lorie arrived soon after. We checked out Brad and Judy's huge suite on the back side of the 3rd floor and then hung out in the lobby until it was time to be seated for our formal 6:30 supper in the dining room. Sandy and I each had veal scallopini. I also had a fine New England clam chowder to start and finished with a cheesecake. Once again, I ate too much.

As we were eating and discussing getting back to Ontario to get the fork fixed and then continuing on to Arkansas, I could see from the look on Sandy's face that she was not as excited about the second week on the road. I suggested that maybe we were a little burnt out and wondered if maybe we should skip Arkansas and go home. She looked relieved as she told me that maybe that might be a good idea. And so our plans changed.

After supper, we hung out in the lobby with some of the others, telling jokes and swapping tales, until we packed it in and headed to the room about 10:00.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pembroke New Hampshire to Bethel Maine

Happy Birthday to me.  Fifty-eight years and still ticking.  Thanks for all the VROC, Facebook and other good wishes.  Two more years and I can collect an early discounted Canada Pension.

Well the weatherman was right for a change.  At 6:45, I was sitting on Joe's steps having a smoke, listening to the rooster next door and admiring a bright blue cloudless sky.  It was cool but you can't have everything.

Bikes in front of Joe's garage

By 8:30 when we left the house, there were a few clouds but nothing even remotely threatening.  We rode up to our usual Laconia breakfast stop, The Circle Restaurant in Epsom, to see who would be riding to Bethel with us today.  The Circle is named for the famed Epsom traffic circle located a hundred feet or so to the south.  Charlie and Nancy, on their new, mean-looking all black Harley were the only other arrivals.

Joe, Sandy and Karen at The Circle

After a hearty breakfast, we headed out on a convoluted route towards Maine. Even with the GPS, I wasn't sure where we were most of the time.  Good thing the trip log remembered or I would never have been able to construct the map below.

One thing I did note was that there is a lot of resurfaced road in this part of New Hampshire.  We were having a blast until we briefly crossed into Maine, where the pavement immediately sucked. Luckily, it was a short stretch and soon turned back to the fine new asphalt we had been enjoying.

Just before the road cut back to New Hampshire, we stopped at a small country gas station bearing the creative name of Country Gas.  We were looking for rest rooms for the ladies but the place was not so equipped.  The old gentleman who ran the place, however, was worth the stop.  He was the quintessential Mainer, mayor of a town with a population of five.  The straight stretch of road that led to his place was in Maine, as was the station, but the houses on the west side were in New Hampshire.

Country Gas Station - Somewhere in Maine

17 Point Buck in Country Gas

Maine - New Hampshire Border

We rolled on looking for a bathroom on the improved New Hampshire pavement.  Heading back towards Maine, we came upon and more modern gas station.  Oddly enough, they didn't have facilities either.  They suggested Cornish, Maine would have something so we went past our planned turn and found a Dunkin' Donuts in Cornish.

It was in Cornish that my perfect day started to unwind.  I had been noticing the front end was not behaving quite as it should and, looking down at the forks, I could see oil on the left tube.  At the donut shop, I confirmed my fear.  The left fork seal was blown.  Not weeping like last month, large quantities of oil were appearing on the tube and blowing back on the fairing. I phoned Paul in Merrickville and found him in. He asked how soon I could get there and we settled on first thing Monday morning. So much for my plan to ride in three of the four states I was missing (Rhode Island, New Jersey and Mississippi) on our way to Arkansas.

We continued on to Bethel with me trying to avoid any bumps I could. The road through Evans Notch in the scenic White Mountains National Forest was rough but it was a pretty ride.

Near the summit of Evans Notch

We got to Highway 2 and found it was under construction. Make that STILL under construction because they were working on this the last time we were here two years ago. The flag girl holding us back said the road wasn't wet and the construction zone was short. She lied on two counts because as we worked our way through several miles of rough construction, the water truck was right ahead of us keeping the dust down. Of course, that made it a greasy mess too.

We pulled into the Sudbury Inn in Bethel Maine about 2:15. We were the first bikes to arrive and found they had the Suds Pub open early.

Sudbury Inn - Bethel Maine

The Pub is open and we are welcome


We checked in and got our gear up to our usual room on the 3rd floor. Then we adjourned to the Suds where Sandy and I shared a chicken panini sandwich and she had the first of several fruity rum drinks as others started to roll in. Eventually, we had quite a crew including Steve & Dee, Rhinoman, U-Turn, Brother Bear & Laurie, Brad & Judy and a few others.

Our room at the Sudbury Inn - Bethel Maine

U-Turn, Steve, Brother Bear & Laurie

Ol' Phart, Rhinoman, U-Turn & Steve

Laurie, Karen, Brad, Judy, Ol' Part and Brother Bear

Our entertainer

For supper, I had a veal sandwich. Those who were there will know that the fingers weren't appreciated. A local lady named Nancy Ray sang and played guitar. She had a good repertoire of Irish ballads and some of us joined in loudly. Sandy and the ladies put away some more fruity rum drinks and a good time was had by all. The gang did start to wander back to their rooms eventually and, as befits our not quite so young demographic, I was one of the last to leave about 10:30.

Today's Route (142 miles):

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Massena New York to Pembroke New Hampshire

The rain wasn't stopping this morning even though the drizzle didn't show on the radar.  Finally, we decided that it wasn't going to get any better so we suited up and left the hotel a little after 9:00 AM.

We passed the Talon store in Constable, NY.  It was open but we didn't stop so we don't know if the old gentleman Sherm met there back in 2007 is still with us or not.  Near Chateaugay, we passed the new wind farm which was partially enveloped in a fog bank.  It was spooky to see those large turbines through the mist, almost like large silent prehistoric predators.  It would have made a great picture if Sandy hadn't stowed her camera in the trunk due to the rain.

As we came to Ellensburg, we were held up for a bit due to road construction but we didn't mind because the cloudy skies were giving way to patches of blue.  After a quick lunch in Champlain (the McDonald's Deluxe Angus Wrap is pretty good), we crossed into Vermont at Rouse's Point and followed US 2 down Grand Isle to Interstate 89.  It was cloudy again and, in Albergh, I saw a whole field of sunflowers hanging their heads.

I opted for the super slab rather than back roads because we got a late start and Vermont drivers, while very nice and polite, are slow.  We needed to make time.  BTW, the kind, liberal type Vermonters may be the best armed citizens in the US because they are the only state (take that Texas and Arizona) with no firearm regulation.

We fueled in Royalton and then almost got taken out switching from I-89 to I-91 in White River Junction while searching for the local McDonald's.  A lady we were following came to a dead stop where two on ramps merged, and then could't insert herself into the traffic stream while other cars were accelerating up behind us.  It was close and I've decided some people shouldn't be allowed to drive  out of their won neighborhoods.  But then I already knew this from long experience.

Again there was no rain on the radar, but the drizzle started just south of town.  Down near Concord, we found more patches of blue and followed the GPS to Ol' Phart Joe and Karen's home in Pembroke.  I found the house on the second try.  I didn't recognize it the first time because the driveway had been paved since the last time we were there.  The house was built about 1832 and is quite spacious.  Joe also has quite the shop above  the garage.

Joe's new GoldWing was in the garage.  His last one went off a cliff after he was hit in the head by a huge wild  turkey while riding north on US 219 in West Virginia on his way back from Maggie Valley with Lost Bob.  I can identify with both the cliff and the turkey, but not at the same time.  He showed me a new plymer product he has called Rejex (nothing sticks but the shine) and applied it to my windshield to keep the bugs from sticking.  Given the finish on Joe's Wing, I may have to get some in case I wash the bike in a moment of weakness.

Supper was steak grilled just right and salad.  Excellent repast except I now remember why I don't like blue cheese dressing.  We visited all evening and went to bed with hopes that the excellent weather forecast for tomorrow would come true.

Today's Route (291 miles):

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sudbury Ontario to Massena New York

Last night, the forecast called for rain ending about 4:00 AM. We were supposed to have an overcast but dry day for traveling today. By this morning, the weatherman (who gets paid way too much for someone who is wrong that often) had revised the forecast and promised us rain all day.

Yesterday, a number of things on my To Do list didn't get done. The grass didn't get mowed and the Freedom Riders won't have a Treasurer's Report for the meeting this weekend. But I did get a lot of the blog caught up and I finally registered the new GPS and downloaded the latest maps.

This morning, we went through the organized confusion of packing once again. I have a system where, for the last day, every time I thought of something I should take I would get it and put it in one pile. This morning, everything was put in its appointed place until nothing was left in the pile. Then it was time to load and go.

We were loaded and dressed by 8:45. It started drizzling just as I pulled the bike out of the garage, so on went the rain suits again. After fueling, we were on or way before 9:00 AM.

We had light rain off and on as we rode east. I had time to dwell on one of my pet peeves, particularly on a grey day like this. I can't abide car drivers I meet who travel in the day time with their high beams on. Those lights can be obnoxious so anyone doing that gets the benefit of all four of my quartz halogen GoldWing bulbs.

After a quick stop at Tim's in North Bay, we continued east on highway 17. For once, we had a tail wind and it looked from the gauge like we were getting exceptional mileage. We stopped again for Sandy's four minute walk at a picnic area east of Mattawa. Two construction zones, one near Deux Rivieres and the other just before Deep River,consisted of orange barrels and 70 KPH for 15 kms each.

We stopped for lunch at Tim's in Deep River. Soup and sandwich did the trick but I was eyeing the new Coldstone Creamery ice cream. It looks different. The vanilla looks like mashed potatoes. On some warmer day, I'm going to have to try it. A Harley rider we have been leap-frogging with since Sudbury stopped as well. He was headed home to Ottawa after visiting Sturgis South Dakota and a friend in Manitoba. Severe rain kept him pinned down in Spanish for two days, a less than stimulating experience, and he was eager to get out of the saddle for a while.

I note that the closer I get to the National Capital Region, the dumber the drivers seem to become. We encountered quite a few more construction zones on Highways 17 and 417. On our way through Ottawa, the grey clouds gave way to high overcast and some sunshine.

Once we turned south on 138 towards Cornwall, however, we found ourselves aimed directly at a black cloud. Before long, the rain started again and eventually degenerated into a heavy downpour which continued as we arrived in Cornwall. Although the sky originally looked blue south of the border, the dark cloud moved south and removed any hope of getting out from under the rain.

Rain in Cornwall Ontario

The border guy pulled me into secondary saying it was policy and he had no choice. It must be a local policy along the St Laurence because Buffalo, Sarnia and the Soo don't do this. I filled out a written declaration and the nice fellow behind the wet counter (I dripped on it) had us underway without much delay.

It continued to rain the short way to Massena where we stayed in the same Super 8 where we connected with Brother Bear and Brad back in July. I was dry under my suit but Sandy, who had been sitting in a puddle that collected in her seat, had a wet butt. I ordered delivery from Domino's and we ate while I caught up the last of the overdue blogs. I thought the rain had ended but, when I went out to dry the bike off about 7:45, I found another deluge had sprung up out of nowhere.

Tomorrow, we will continue on to Pembroke in southern New Hampshire where we will stay with Ol' Phart Joe and Karen before heading on up to Bethel Maine on Friday. The forecast for the next 24 hours is (you guessed it) RAIN!!!

Today's route (373 miles):

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Motorhome Decision

When we started long haul riding together after Sandy retired in 2003, we decided we would keep it up as long as it was fun.  Over seven seasons, we covered over 260,000 kilometers and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We saw the country and, mostly through VROC, met very many great people.  Good grief, one of our regular riding partners lives in Oregon.

This season, however, things were starting to wear a little thin.  I think it was in June, as we were highballing along Highway 80 across Wyoming, when my mind started to consider alternatives.  After a couple of weeks of back roads and reasonably short days, we were making tracks to cover the 2,700 miles from Topaz home in four days.  It was much like that day in the Nevada desert back in 2004 when my thoughts turned from Nomad to GoldWing.  What I envisaged was travelling the country in a motorhome with the bike following behind in our enclosed trailer.  When we'd find good places to explore by bike, we'd unload and ride around for a while.  The best of both worlds.  And we'd sleep in our own bed every night.

I suggested the idea to Sandy and she perked up.  Since our budget is limited, we won't be able to afford a new unit but we can probably get a decent used one.  I know nothing about RV's so there will be a learning curve, but I'm sure I'll get it figured out.

BTW, VROC has a term for this.  WHORE.  We Haul Our Rides Everywhere.  It was coined by Griz IIRC to describe the guys towing their bikes to Sturgis.  But as far as I am concerned, we earned the right to take it easy for a while.  So stay tuned and see how our search for a home on wheels goes.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Cambridge Ontario to Sudbury Ontario

We snuck out early before Jolene got up. She didn't know we were there and a hello would have entailed another goodbye. We decided to spare her (and her parents) that whole scene.

I called Heather from the Zehr's parking lot to see if she and Tom were up for breakfast. They weren't too keen this early so we donned the rain suits (the weather to the north looked like crap again)and headed north in chilly 12C weather.

We rode up to Highway 9 and headed east but decided to swing up to Alliston on Tottenham Road for breakfast at the McDonald's there. Our thought was that this one would be less busy than the ones on Highway 400. No sooner had we gotten there than it started to rain seriously.

From Alliston, we went east again and caught Highway 400 north. As usual, our direction was pretty quiet but the southbound side was starting to heat up. It got particularly ugly after a car caught fire in front of Georgian Downs, just south of Barrie. The vehicle was merrily engulfed in flames as three lanes of Toronto bound traffic were brought to a complete standstill. Too bad Sandy's camera was packed away in a dry spot.

I rained through Barrie but started to improve about Waubaushene. We stopped at the Tim's south of Parry Sound for fuel and a short break. It was now up to 16C but the sky was darkening and it started to spit again.

Southbound traffic was heavy all the way to the French River where we made a comfort stop at the Trading Post. We arrived home about 2:00 PM without anything else remarkable happening.

When we unpacked this time, we took all the equipment out of the trailer in anticipation of winter storage.

Today's Route (286 miles):

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

West Montrose Ontario to Cambridge Ontario

Today was pretty quiet. The overnight rain ended but it was a cool one and everyone huddled around Jack's big coffee urn for warmth.

Jack's coffee urn was popular once again

We rode over to Kim & Mike's to see Jolene again and spent most of thee day playing with her. I managed to catch a nap on the couch as well.

Grandma and Jolene

Jolene and Mom

About 3:45, we headed back to the campground and, after an invitation to crash on the futon in Kim & Mike's basement, we broke camp and packed up the trailer. Then we shared a very generous pot luck supper before dismantling the garage structures Peter and Lynn had brought from their place in Elmira. These two shelters were greatly appreciated given the weather we experienced this weekend.

We rode back to Kim & Mike's and parked the bike and trailer in their garage. Jolene was already in bed and, after watching a bit of TV, we followed soon after.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

West Montrose Ontario to Woodstock Ontario and other places

We didn't sleep well last night. The rain tarp kept cracking and the trailer shook every time the heavy wind gusted. On the plus side, when we got up, Jack had coffee on. The rain let up a bit and we had a good rainbow. This is supposed to mean no more rain but this wasn't a normal day.

People gathered for Jack's coffee

Rainbow over the Kissing Bridge

The winds were still strong when it started to rain again. Heather and Tom came by and took us by car to New Hamburg for breakfast. Then we went to Woodstock to see how their new house was coming. Walls, floors, roof, roughed in plumbing and wiring. Looking good. The shingles are up on the roof ready to be installed.

Chez Heather & Tom - Woodstock Ontario

From the house, we stopped by their storage locker so Tom could drop off their golf clubs. Then we returned to Williams Coffee Pub in Waterloo to check the weather on WiFi. Bad news, the periodic bouts of rain (some severe) that we kept getting weren't going to stop any time soon. Chalk this up to more secondary effects of Hurricane Earl. Oddly, the ill effects didn't extend very far south of Highway 401.

We went back into Kitchener to check out an RV place that Sandy had noticed when we drove through. They closed at 3:00 and it was 3:30 but the owner, a nice lady, came out and showed us through several used Class C units.

Next, we drove out to Marj's Country Kitchen in Alma for supper. Marj's is a great place to eat. I had an open face hot hamburg sandwich with mushrooms and gravy on everything. It included two large patties. I ate so much that dessert was out of the question although I got a package of baked-on-site Monster Cookies to take with us.

My hot hamburg sandwich at Marj's

We drove through more heavy rain on the way back to the campground. Although the wind had died down by the time we got there, it had been severe earlier on. It even pulled the guy ropes on Lois' awning free and, as the awning flapped, it threw two of her poles into the Grand River. That's a new one to me.  Better the river than impaling some bystander, I guess.

Although the rain continued off and on, Jack got a fire going in the pit and we all sat around trying to stay warm as the temperature dropped. Then, no surprise here, Sandy and I turned in early.