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Archive for September, 2013

Loaded

Loaded

Could load standing still or driving, this was at the rodeo

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Ready to Run

Ready to Run

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Winnipeg to Sturgis

Winnipeg to Sturgis

                        July 24 2013

Well loaded up and time to hit the road again. This time I will be southwest bound into the States, with some stops along the way back to Bullhead City. It will prove to be an interesting ride, with lots of fun & some heart ache. Notice there is not a lot of room left on the bike for me to sit or move around too much, but there is a good backrest with the Kurakyn Tombstone bag. I will be wearing full leathers leaving this morning, so they don’t need to be packed. I also brought along my big winter riding gloves, knowing I wouldn’t need them, but have worn them every day since I started. They are very comfy & keep my hands warm & dry. Sometime in the next couple of hours I will need to make a decision about where to cross back into the US. I have already ruled out Pembina, as that would entail a lot of freeway riding. In any case I head southwest on 2, towards Killarney, that would also give me the option of going onto Boissevain & crossing at the Peace Gardens. I opt for Killarney, & stop for fuel, this will be my last fill up costing more than $20. Now to US customs & back across the border, what will that entail, will I be unloading or not? I arrive & there is only one other vehicle, which they are going through, looks like they haven’t a lot to do other than slow people down, I wait a few minutes & they wave me to the window. Shut down the bike, onto the stand, & dig for my US passport, a lot easier than 20 questions, he looks at it & comments that I was born in Killarney? Yes but I moved where it was warmer, can’t see my license plate, my shoes have slid down, so out he comes, asks me to open a side saddlebag, looks in says Thank you, have a nice day. Hello!  Fire up the bike, ask where I can head west, & I’m on my way. Wow that was quick & painless, he was in a good mood, & now I am too. Crack the throttle, its good to be back where I’m not converting kilometers, liters, celcius & dollars, will need to adjust again when I cross into Mexico but in the meantime I don’t need to spend time thinking about it. Bike’s running good, she’s happy back too, I head towards Minot ND, haven’t been there in years, I’ll need a full tank there as its 180 miles & I only have 5 gallons including reserve, & now I’m using it. Hate to run out as this is not an easy push down the road, & I’ve had to do that before, when I pull in I have 2/10 of a gallon of fuel left & a lot of air, just right, & I still don’t use all of a $20.

I stop for the night, head for a campground but find out their tenting area has been closed, due to the fact it was gone, flooded out. The state fair is on so there is free camping by the fairgrounds,  then I can take in the fair. Finally find the campgrounds, but it looks like you get what you pay for. It is a large dirt field, with no grass, 2 porta potties, a bunch of stock trailers parked, doesn’t look like any water, tables or trees. I pass, head back into town, maybe I will see if there is a cheap motel, I see one, but realize the fair is on, all will likely be full, & there is a lot of oil drilling, but in any case I give it a shot. I figure max $65 tax in & I’ll take it, but when I check, they want $100 plus tax. I know they won’t fill this tonight at that price, but I’m back preparing to get back on the bike, maybe find something down the road, then again maybe I could make an offer. About this time a gal comes up & asks if all is well, I say the prices are too high, she asks if for only one night, one person, one room? In that case she can get me a room with tax in for $65, must have read my mind, & its first floor, I can park by the door, & has free wifi. I check in & realize there is a sports bar next door, & a Chinese buffet next to that. Life is good, if you live right, all is well again, no fair tonight I’m ready for a cold one & some Chinese food. I unload & head for the bar, couple of quick beers, Chinese food, glass of the finest boxed wine (maybe not ), then an early night so I can get an early start.

Today I will head to Buffalo SD, via New Town ND, & Bellefield SD. But all is not well, have roads with detours, gravel, mixed up GPS, confused hungry rider but in any case I arrive in New Town, looks like one little restaurant on the Indian Reservation, but now I’m in oil fields, & prices all reflect that, was a pricey breakfast, but tasty, fuel & back heading southerly. I stop again for fuel in Buffalo, head for Lead where I have friends & had made a reservation for 2 nights at a fairly nice hotel for a pretty good price. I am between Deadwood & Lead SD, I don’t have their phone number but send off an email. I head out to find a restaurant for supper, just down the street there is a nice one, it used to be the train roundabout, but converted. I am having a glass of wine, getting ready to order when in walk my friends Nancy & Greg. There boat is in Mexico, & they have bought an old historic 100 plus year old home here that they are restoring. We have a nice meal, & make a plan to have breakfast together, they will pick me up in the morning. They know a nice little casino in Deadwood that has a buffet breakfast where they spring for breakfast, it was delicious & really well priced. We decide after breakfast they will take me over for the grand tour of their project. They have done a lot of work, this is a big old house, & will have work ongoing for some time to come. It sits on the side of one of the hills in Lead, so has really nice views, there is a sitting room with a 2 story high cupola above it which really adds to the ambience. They have a lot of rock to move, basement to shore up & the home needs to be partially raised, needless to see not a lot of people would be up to this task, but they are boaters, so they can see in their minds eye the finished product & overlook the heartache in between. I will spend the night in Lead & then on over to camp in Sturgis for as long as I stay.

The next day the rodeo is on in Deadwood & I decide this one is not to be missed. They have a parade everyday, which consists of almost exclusively horses or horse drawn floats etc. One of the horses is so well trained it loads itself in the back of a pickup(parked or moving) without the use of a ramp or harness of any kind, then stays there for the duration of the parade.

This was the picture from the rodeo that afternoon of the horse. Also did a display in the ring that was pretty unbelievable.

The next day I ride over to Sturgis, its only about 15 miles away through the mountains. I ride & go to the Glencoe campground. This is owned by the same people that own the Oatman hotel outside of Bullhead City. It covers somewhere more than a ¼ section of ground, is in very nice shape, lots of grass, trees, restrooms, showers, bars, entertainment hall & very secure. I find out I can camp starting tomorrow night for $210 for up to 2 weeks. That’s a bargain seeing as some people are paying $5000 per night to camp in a backyard in downtown Sturgis, course that included the beer & breakfast & 6 or so people. In any case from there I can ride to check out everything going on in the mornings, before any adult beverages, & then the bus starts at noon & for $50 you get to ride for the next 2 weeks till 2 am. Works for me, especially when I find out that they serve cold beer & shooters on the buses for $3 a beer. This will be a huge party, no doubt in my mind this little town of 6000 or so is now expecting up to 1,000,000 people this week. In this campground it seems clothing is optional, to a lot of people, showers tend to be coed, the party just goes on. Downtown though any nudity is an instant arrest for public indecency, although I see folks that have their clothing painted on, interesting! One night I get thrown off the back of a 4 seater golf cart in the campground when the driver rolls it in a high speed turn, road rash & bruises for me, one other person suffers a skull fracture & is airlifted to Sioux Falls SD where she will spend a week in the hospital. There are countless number of vendors to visit, HOG (Harley Owners Group) is there so I stop & pick up my ride pin, I also get a patch sewn on my vest that shows I ROAD MINE there in 2013. Many are trucked, both by private trailer as well as commercial highway tractors & trailers. Surprisingly I see not one fight, nor even raised voices, I guess everybody came with the same opinion & that was to have a good time. They had some high name bands every night, rock, country, you name it. During the day, there were hill climbs, motor cross, drags, burnouts, name it we saw it all. After a week or so though I was starting to run out of gas, it would soon be time to hit the road again, & head towards Arizona. So on 8-6-2013 I load & head south to Hot Springs SD.

Next up Sturgis to Bullhead.

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Regina to Winnipeg

Regina to Winnipeg etc.

July 10 2013

I got a good start out of Regina, heading to Winnipeg, had fueled the day before, so it was just a matter of loading gear & heading out. I had made this drive many times before by car, leaving late Friday afternoon & driving to Winnipeg in the evening. Was still to be a long ride on the Trash Canada as some have been known to call it. Should only have to make 2 fuel stops & be in Winnipeg, fairly straight forward & it was. I fueled in Whitewood & Brandon, then on into Winnipeg. It was just past Portage la Prairie when the rain hit. Had stopped to put on rain gear under the cover at a gas station, then back on the road.  Rained hard but only for a short period of time, was glad I stopped though. My rain gear has a habit of pulling up my chaps on my legs, so they get wet. If I don’t put the rain pants on my lower legs stay dry & covered by chaps, but the tops of my legs by my crotch get soaked. Guess I’ll stick to wet feet & modify my rain gear before much more use.

Arrive in Winnipeg early afternoon & head to my friends Donn & Carol Hamm’s home, have known Carol from the ‘70’s living in Winnipeg.  Donn & I were both working at Air Canada at the same time although in different departments, we knew many of the same people. After Carol started dating him, she discovered he & I were born the same day, about 5 hours apart, he being older, & we were about 50 miles apart. Always a good time with them, they like wine, & he makes his own, has a really impressive wine cellar in the basement. We really worked at making a dent in it while there. The wines he makes are finer than the wines in the stores, & a variety that is not to be believed.  Donn is also an excellent cook so he made some pretty awesome meals while I was there. Believe me I put on some pounds but enjoyed every minute of it. While there Donn & I got out to play several rounds of golf. He conned his son into lending me his golf clubs & Carol’s daughter Sue’s husband had an extra pair of golf shoes in my size. Needless to say with my son’s living in Winnipeg, great food, fine wine & golf, it was not easy to get away, & in fact was to spend 2 weeks there.  Before leaving I asked Donn to make me a batch of Cabernet wine to be consumed the next time there. Donn’s twin son’s had bought a Fatburger franchise, the first in Winnipeg, so we spent time checking on the daily progress while I was there. Unfortunately it was not to open until several days after I left so I wasn’t able to sample any of their fares.

I arrived in Winnipeg on Tuesday, then on Friday I left to go to a family get together on Saturday & Sunday where I grew up, in southwest Manitoba. A relative of my Dad’s was in town from England, who is an author & was meeting a lot of the family. I left Winnipeg early Friday in good time to be able to drive by the old farm site & take some pictures. The old brick home is still standing, & in use, was built shortly after the turn of the last century in the early 1900’s. The barn is no longer standing, although the stonework is still there. I then drove to the little town which was our home town of Ninga & the cemetery where my parents are buried, where I spent some time. The town now has a population of something under 30 I think. I continued into Killarney for the evening & realized the Thresherman’s Reunion was the next day. Got to see a lot of old machinery, some old friends & an old time tractor pull. This is the little town where I was born, so must drive by the hospital, nope it’s not a hospital anymore, now it’s an apartment building. They have built a new hospital in town.

The next afternoon was a family get together & after picking up some cookies for the pot luck I headed out to my Dad’s cousins farm. No one there knew I was coming, nor I think knew anyone riding a Harley.  I was recognized though by the first person that saw me although not too many others did, & there were many I didn’t recognize, cousins, aunts & uncles.  Late afternoon clouds starting building after supper & we knew we were in for a storm, so I hightailed it back to town. I was staying at a little motel, checked in, covered the bike & it started in earnest. It blew so hard when it was raining the rain was horizontal, & I thought it may blow the bike over. In the morning it had cleared nicely, & I met my brother Douglas for breakfast across the street, then off I went to meet some friends in Boissevain (where I went to high school) before the next reunion. I had called them so they knew I was coming,  had a nice visit, then under way again. I stopped in a little town of Minto, because I remembered they was a really nice little restaurant  there & I was craving some homemade pie again. As I drove down the main street, (this is another little prairie town of a few hundred or less) I saw 2 motorcycles on the street, sure enough, in front of the little restaurant. More pie eaters, in I went, we were the only customers, for that matter the only people I saw in town, I sat down near the window to survey the street & was brought a menu. No pie today, but she had a desert called (something sex), which I expected was going to be really good & had all calories removed(she promised) so I ordered, I think some pecans, some custard, filling, crumbles etc., etc. sure enough she was right I couldn’t taste any calories & it was really good. So I felt no guilt & was ready to waddle back to the bike. Now I just needed to find the farm where the reunion was. I had never been there but had pretty good directions, or so I thought. Back on the highway I promptly turned the wrong way, travelled about 3-4 miles before starting to realize I was wrong, it was because of a junction in the highways that had intersecting highways paralleling. So I turned around & headed back North the way I should have headed, then onto 7 miles or so of gravel which I don’t enjoy on a highway bike. From that point though I drove without incident to the farm site. Really wasn’t that bad, at low speeds you really get to enjoy more crops & buildings, of which more are becoming abandoned. Meet many more family, but I want to get back on the road early because it’s 2 or more hours back to Winnipeg & more possible storms. When I stop for fuel, I run into the same predicament, only regular fuel, they tell me though that 20 more miles down the highway, there is premium available, so off I go, if I had to I could make it on reserve. Then on to Winnipeg arriving before any rain or storms.

Golf in the morning with Donn & some Air Canada friends, at a course about 20 miles from Winnipeg. The course is very nice, but almost every hole is a dogleg so you seldom see where you are going on your tee shot, lots of water & trees full of mosquitoes, so it’s best not to have too many errant shots, unless of course you want to deal with mosquitoes or poison ivy trying to find your lost ball. After playing we must go in for beer & something to eat. One day the beer rep was there so he was buying all the beer, just happened to be the flavor we were drinking, we had a designated driver but after eating one tends not to drink a lot of beer. Sure did enjoy though, great beer with flavor.

The next weekend my oldest son Craig was to be racing his motorcycle out at the old Gimli airport. (the sight where the Air Canada 767 landed when it ran out of fuel at 35000 feet in the early 1980’s) He had just got his bike put back together after crashing it the first race of the season this year, so was not running his fastest speeds yet, also still getting the bike set back up. It was fun to watch though & we did until it was time to go into town to eat pickerel fillets at a local restaurant. Gimli sits on the side of Lake Winnipeg which the Red River drains into that originates in the US. The lake is hundreds of miles long & as a result there are many sailboats in the marina there, could have spent the whole day there.  A few days later I get to have lunch with my youngest son Ryan, we make plans for a round of golf with them both, & one of my other brother’s Les. We play a course in Winnipeg, we have had to make a tee time a week ahead of time to get on the course. Because of winters, courses are pretty much filled in the summertime, most are in pristine condition this year because of all the rain. On the second hole I see a movement to my left, looking over I see a doe & her 3 fawns, 2  still with spots. One decides to investigate this golf thing, & starts over toward us, a small sound from her though & he rejoins mama & off they go back into the trees.  Before leaving Winnipeg I will get a chance to have dinner with Ryan & my first wife, their Mother, as Craig is working & can’t join us. Too soon it seems & it’s time to get back on the road & head southwest to Bullhead City. Not before more gourmet food & best wine at the Hamm home.  Next up Winnipeg to Sturgis SD.

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Airdrie to Regina

Airdrie to Regina & Beyond

August 13, 2013

Time to get back to work.  I’ve had a problem trying to use my ipad for updates & that’s the computer I took with me when I got on the Harley in Bullhead to head north. I did borrow along the way to update, but wasn’t always convenient to do so. That’s my story & I’m stickin to it. Now I’m back in Bullhead with my own computer, so here goes.

After getting settled in at Dave & Sue’s at their place & ha, I mean settled in. I had my own bedroom, run of the house, knew where the liquor cabinet was, was beginning to think maybe I should stick around for awhile!  Alas it wasn’t long before I got demoted to the basement of all places, my sister Barbara & Aunt Elsie showed up & they got the bedroom. Oh well in any case I was helping Dave & Sue get ready for the 18-85 birthday party. They were hosting at their house, was Katie’s 18th, Sue’s Dad’s 85th with several in between including my brother Dave’s five-o this year.  We made many store run’s for groceries decorations etc. Kept checking the weather to make sure all was well to host outside on the lawn, grass was all mowed & watered, edges trimmed & the big day arrived. The weatherman on the computer was saying all may not be well, even when checking different web sites. In any case Sue insisted we prepare for inside, so we did. Course a lot of folks were in the backyard when David looked north & saw an ominous black cloud hanging & suggested maybe everybody should head inside. A few minutes later the hail started, not golf ball size thankfully, but mothball size, & it came down. By the time it stopped there was 4-5 inches on the ground, & it was cold. The kids built a little hailman on the deck, David started grilling kebobs & all was well again, more drinks & eat. Everybody had a great time, I got to meet a lot of Sue’s relatives & their friends had not met before & everybody had a great time. Lots of pictures were taken, was great to see everyone there. I think my brother Les made a comment he would like to do something similar at their home in Birds Hill in 2 years. Don’t suppose his age has anything to do with it, he’s trying to catch me!

On Sunday, some of us got tickets to go to the Calgary Stampede, & see the chuck wagon races. They were as exciting as ever, we had great seats for the races, there was to be a concert afterwards, but the seats weren’t the best for that so we took an early leave, caught our train to the car, & then Dave drove us all back out to Airdrie. I was to leave the next day to ride to Regina to spend a day of so with my brother Jack & his wife Myra.

During the weeks all this was taking place I got time to ride to Red Deer to visit with my friend Norm & his wife Andrea. Norm & I both worked with Toyota Canada years ago & have been friends ever since. We had a great dinner & visit. Norm had throat cancer & so is unable to speak, but now with the technology on his ipad, he can type in what he wants to say, & the computer says it for him. He has now also taken up painting & has talent that we never knew he had. He has just been asked by the hospital to showcase some of his artwork in a showing in the hospital hallway. Was really great to see them both.

Monday morning the 8th of July, & its time to get moving, I have a big day, 500 miles of the TransCanada highway, which is not a comforting thought. You don’t get to enjoy the scenery so much as you must concentrate on speeds & traffic. Not to mention the 500 mile sore butt. Oh well the Harley is surprisingly comfortable for a smaller bike, I have a Kuryakyn bag/backrest which gives me good back support & there is a lot of cushion in the seat, even more that the Goldwing I had years ago. I get an early start & stop in Brooks Alberta for fuel & eat after about 2 hours.  Then back “On the Road Again”.  Another 120 miles I fuel in Saskatchewan, as expected crossing the prairies I can see for miles, they say if your dog gets out here, just look out the door, you can see him miles away, he won’t  get lost. Next stop Swift Current Saskatchewan, more fuel & its pricey here, sometimes takes as much as $20 bucks to fuel.  I had been paying 10-15 but still much cheaper than putting $100 in the truck. About 100 miles west of Moose Jaw, I am getting tired & know I must pull over for a few minutes. I do, & instead of just stopping on this little gravel road & resting, I make a dumb decision to turn around first, the wheel is cocked, drops in a hole, & you guessed it, over goes the bike. Nope with this load I can’t stand it up, surprisingly nobody stops to help, so I realize I must unload it. I have leaked a little fuel & oil from where I can’t tell, but after all is unloaded I stand up the bike. Back on the kickstand I get to rest, have some water & contemplate the next step. I know what it is, reload & get back on the road I’m now alert again. Needed to readjust a mirror, which had swung back, & I bent the shift lever. I didn’t realize at the time, my shift lever had landed on my ankle, I would figure that out in the evening when I found my bloody sock & nastily bruised ankle.  In any case everything still worked, lots of fuel left & only leaked a small amount of oil. Back on the TransCanada & on to Moose Jaw. Passing through, I stop at a gas station, looks like its going to pour, so I don my raingear, & fuel up for the last leg to Jack’s house in Regina. The first station I stop at only has regular fuel & with my high compression engine I need premium. I press on & at the next station they have the good stuff. & maybe it’s not going to rain after all. Into Regina to Jack & Myra’s where I will stop for a couple of days. The next day while they go to work, I check fluid levels, & realize it is transmission fluid I have leaked. I contact the former owner of the bike to see what’s in it, but none is available,  its still ok to go to Winnipeg so I don’t worry about it. I pull the shift lever & straighten it in Jack’s vice, then reinstall. I visit the Harley dealer,& do some rides around Regina. I lived here for awhile in the late ‘70’s before moving to Arizona. We go out for dinner that night to their daughter’s & son in laws for awesome BBQ hamburgers & a nice evening. I plan my departure for a good departure time in the morning.

 Coming up Regina to Winnipeg, family reunions, golf & seeing my 2 sons!

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