Lifes2short....Ride the World | GTAMotorcycle.com

Lifes2short....Ride the World

l84toff

Well-known member
My wife Lori and I have spent the last 13 years or so working in an Ambulance communications (or 911) centre in southern Ontario. We've been paying down the mortgage, the cars, paying our bills, and taking a few weeks of holidays here and there. In the meantime, since getting my motorcycle license about six years ago, I've managed to rack up over 80,000 km's on two wheels, with a good chunk of that 2up. We have been to many fantastic places on a bike and loved each and every trip.

But this is where that story ends. We decided to do what we've talked about doing during every trip, and that is to keep going. Having sold our home along with nearly all everything we own, we have set out on the road 2up on our Triumph Tiger Explorer, with only a vague idea of where we are heading.

It would be an understatement to say that we've been inspired by so many others that have ventured out before us. Some for a few weeks or months, some even for years. The blogs, the ride reports, videos and books have only fuelled our fire. I’m not sure we'd have the testicular fortitude to do something like this without them.

It is with this in mind, that we wanted to share our own ride report and hopefully give back for all the great stories that have we enjoyed.

Cheers,
Mark
 

l84toff

Well-known member
What exactly is the plan?

Travelling with a specific itinerary is helpful if you have one or two weeks for your holidays or have a long list of things to do and places to see in a short amount of time. You might imagine that the longer the trip the more planning there is involved. Although going away for an extended period of time can require more preparation, it's really not the case when you're planning on travelling for many months at time. In fact, planning every tiny detail of a journey that long is down right near impossible in my opinion. There are too many variables and inevitably something happens that slows you down or throws you off course.

My entire professional life has consisted of strict time tables, deadlines and doing many things at once. Always go go go. In fact we've both spent the last decade working in an environment where every second really does count. I often feel like maybe my brain is just hard-wired to run at warp 9. Lori thinks I'm just an adrenalin junkie. Maybe. I mean I do love to ride a motorcycle...fast (but well within the posted speed limits of course). One of the things we're looking forward to is that there are no strict time schedules, no deadlines to meet and the ability to slow down (I wonder if she meant on the bike? Ok so one of us is looking forward to slowing down).

With that said, we do of course have an idea or general plan of where we would like to go, places we want to see and some bucket list items to check off. And we’re also thinking it may be a wise to leave you with an idea of where we’re heading in case we really get lost, that way you’ll know where to look for us ;). You are going to come look for us...right?

Victoria Day weekend, we departed for Newfoundland via Ottawa and Gaspé. Although we've been to Gaspé, the Cabot Trail and PEI before, we think it's a beautiful part of the country that's worth another look, (and of course it's also between here and Newfoundland). We are planning on spending about 2-3 weeks on the Rock but we're leaving that somewhat open. They've had a particularly bad winter there (haven't we all?), and at this point it looks like it will still be very cold there at the end of May. From there we’ll head back west to Ontario via Mount Washington. We've ridden by Mount Washington several times before and for some strange reason have yet to stop and check it out, so we’ve added it to the menu.

Heading west, we'll stop by at (the place formerly known as) home, you know, to make sure the kids are alright and then take about a month to ride out to Alaska. Will we go up the Dalton or take the Dempster to Inuvik? Hmmm, ultimately the weather will have the final say on this one as the roads can turn quite treacherous in heavy rain. I’m actually quite excited about riding our bike into the Arctic Circle, the land of the midnight sun, and Alaska in general. Although I think Lori has some concerns buzzing around in her head about the size and lethality of the skeeters out there.

From there, the plan is to head south (duh) to Nakusp, BC for the Horizons Unlimited meeting in August. Then meandering down along the west coast before cutting clear across the continent to Asheville, North Carolina for the Overland Expo meeting in October. Its timing and location make this a bit out of the way for us to say the least but we would really like to attend.

After that we'll keep heading south-ish into Mexico and Central America, which are a blank canvas at this point. We would like to take our time travelling through this part of the world, enjoying the sights, the culture and the people. Then continue to make our way to Panama where we’ll ship the bike to Colombia and ultimately end up in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Of course that's all subject to change but for now it's a good start and gives us a general direction of travel.

I can't figure out how to embed this thing at the moment so here's a link:
https://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?msid...=49.15297,-98.261719&spn=71.068218,150.644531

Google typically routes the fastest way possible attempting to get you to your destination in the most efficient way (or something like that). Although not representative of our exact path, it does give a general idea of where we're going.
 

Rotten_Ronnie

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I wish you good fortune on your journey, and hope to follow along vicariously via this thread.

The East Coast is such a beautiful place.
 

MacDoc

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Good luck - too bad it's been such a cold spring to work with. I'll bet Cape Breton will be very uncomfortable just now - tho getting better. The Annapolis Valley will be lovely this time of year and 5-8 degrees warmer. There is a nice route south along the Evangeline Trail and some interesting stuff at Bear River ( great gallery ).
Wolfeville is a fantastic University town - far more interesting than it's population would warranty with 3,000 Uni students there - the Brew Pub in the river is one of the best places to eat I've ever been and I've travelled a lot.
Lovely downtown coffee shops - one in an old theatre.
Take some time to explore the Annapolis Valley - it's just the perfect time of year.

http://www.motorcycletourguidens.com/fundy-shore-annapolis-valley-east

This is the 2103 guide and it's free online.

http://www.motorcycletourguidens.com/issue13/index.html

The Annapolis Royal Botanical Gardens are rated very highly in North America and will be perfect about now.
1962417_10152120967318370_641162325_o.jpg


Nice place to wander and Annapolis Royale itself is worth a stop. Crazy interesting history and cool old pub for lunch or supper.

•••

We're heading into Alaska via van in July - have an eye out for white Honda Van with MACDOC licence plates heading north from Banff and wandering..:D
We have 3 weeks set aside to get there from Banff and back to Calgary so lots of time to sight see.

If you are navigating with an iPhone I can highly recommend the TomTom app if only for Winding Roads which will take you places almost impossible to plan and it does not require a data connection. It takes away a lot of detail work but still means you get into the byways and the surprise is delightful at time. You can set to avoid dirt roads.

Keep us posted...brave pair.
 
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Roomie

Banned
I'm green with envy. This will be definitely one to follow. Good luck on your trip and always ride safe :thumbup:
 

MacDoc

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Damn....maybe that southern route will appeal

[h=2]Signs of Wild Winter Persist: Canadian City Deals With Frozen Pipes as June Nears[/h]
[h=6]By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer[/h][h=5]May 31, 2014; 7:41 AM[/h]
More Sharing ServicesShare|Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on linkedin



300x140_05301437_120270781.jpg
See larger image below.

The city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has not been able to shake the winter blues just yet. After a brutal winter, residents are still fighting the impact of frigid weather, even with current temperatures hitting 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Over 450 properties in the area still have frozen water pipes, leaving hundreds without running water. Winnipeg continues to face the highest number of frozen water pipes in 35 years.
"All of the continued patches of very cold temperatures drove frost to go deeper," said Randy Hull, Winnipeg emergency preparedness coordinator.
Frost levels penetrated an average 8-9 feet below the ground.
 

MacDoc

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Optimistic aren't we ;) Got me rethinking Galapagos as we'd decided not to due to over touristing but that boat trip looks really good. I'd bet our OP will add that to the bucket list.
 

l84toff

Well-known member
Good luck - too bad it's been such a cold spring to work with. I'll bet Cape Breton will be very uncomfortable just now - tho getting better. The Annapolis Valley will be lovely this time of year and 5-8 degrees warmer. There is a nice route south along the Evangeline Trail and some interesting stuff at Bear River ( great gallery ).
Wolfeville is a fantastic University town - far more interesting than it's population would warranty with 3,000 Uni students there - the Brew Pub in the river is one of the best places to eat I've ever been and I've travelled a lot.
Lovely downtown coffee shops - one in an old theatre.
Take some time to explore the Annapolis Valley - it's just the perfect time of year.

http://www.motorcycletourguidens.com/fundy-shore-annapolis-valley-east

This is the 2103 guide and it's free online.

http://www.motorcycletourguidens.com/issue13/index.html

The Annapolis Royal Botanical Gardens are rated very highly in North America and will be perfect about now.

Nice place to wander and Annapolis Royale itself is worth a stop. Crazy interesting history and cool old pub for lunch or supper.

•••

We're heading into Alaska via van in July - have an eye out for white Honda Van with MACDOC licence plates heading north from Banff and wandering..:D
We have 3 weeks set aside to get there from Banff and back to Calgary so lots of time to sight see.

If you are navigating with an iPhone I can highly recommend the TomTom app if only for Winding Roads which will take you places almost impossible to plan and it does not require a data connection. It takes away a lot of detail work but still means you get into the byways and the surprise is delightful at time. You can set to avoid dirt roads.

Keep us posted...brave pair.

Thanks very much everyone.

Wow Macdoc, thanks for the info. We just got in to NS (just outside of Amherst) and have been discussing where to go next. The weather on the Rock doesn't look appealing at the moment so we're thinking of heading south from here instead for a few days and let the rock warm up :).

We anticipate being out west at the end of July/early Aug so we may see you out there somewhere.

Going to find Gene & Neda. Thanks for leaving the crumbs for us Gene ;)
 

MacDoc

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Sure - cruise down to Wolfville and then Annapolis Royale and Bear River.
You've got superb spring weather coming



http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/canada/nova-scotia/wolfville

Then shift over to Peggy's Cove and meander north - too bad the ferry is no longer running off the south tip of Nova Scotia.

Highly recommended spot to stay if you are not camping
http://silvershoebedandbreakfast.com
Lovely hosts - we booked 5 and stayed 8.

This the Gastropub in Wolfeville
http://www.theportpub.com

But make reservations - went back for a second round of wonderful food and full up :(

If you are coffee lovers

http://www.tancoffee.ca/ourcafes.htm

We loved the and there is one in Wolfeville and a few others scattered around.
But the main street in Wolfeville has a lot to offer for such a small town. You can see the university influence.

When you are along that coast you are into the Bay of Funday tides.

http://bayoffundytourism.com

and lots to do on the Evangeline Trail

Map-Evangeline-Trail.gif


http://www.travelwithachallenge.com/Nova-Scotia-Country-Inns.html

Including Bear River
http://bearriver.ca

and this gallery is well worth a stop.

http://theflight.ca

Oddly one of my clients was in Bear River and his wife worked at the Gallery - only found it out later and went back to see him. ( small world for sure ).
 
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l84toff

Well-known member
On the road...finally

Just wanted to catch up with the posts from our blog while we are online.


After a whirlwind of activity at home over the last few days, we're finally hitting the road. WhooHoo! I think we're just as excited to finally begin the trip as we are to not have so much to do.We got up just before 6am, we had a couple of stops on the way to Ottawa today and wanted to get an early start. We loaded the bike and were ready to go right on schedule. Lori tried to get on the back and we discovered a little hitch in our luggage set up.

Now everything we've read about the Giant Loop Fort Rock top case (GLFR) that we bought was positive. It's super comfortable for passengers, 85L of storage space, two pockets on the outside accessible by the pillion, even a separate section on one side that can be accessed more easily when stopped for a break. Horseshoe design so it sits on the back rack and wraps around and over top of the side cases. In theory this thing was the bomb.Our first discovery before we even moved an inch was that once loaded up and strapped down, there was no way Lori had enough room to even sit. At least two inches of the pillion seat was taken up by this thing. If you know how small the pillion seats typically are on motorcycles, you'll know that's a lot of real estate to give up. We adjusted the entire set up and tried to slide it back those two inches and re-fastened everything. At least Lori could now sit.


What we looked like at 8AM.

Now you might think that setting out on a big trip like this, we would have made sure our gear worked as we expected and had set everything up before. Well we did. We had filled the GLFR and the 40L Triumph dry bag along with the side cases. We knew it all fit together and we could both sit on the bike. At the time we had everything sitting a bit further back and everything did seem to fit, just as it did now. About the biggest mistake we made was in not loading everything up and heading out for a day or two ride. I guess today would be that ride. So we hit the road.

Our first stop was about an hour away in Toronto at our friends house. Once on the highway, Lori was able to slide herself back a bit which also slid everything behind her back. Much more comfortable though. About half hour later, we discovered the case slid back a bit too far and the Silver Triumph dry bag (along with the bike cover that was on top of that) was no longer on top of the GLFR, but hanging off behind it.

Having it back those 2 inches pushed everything back far enough that all of the weight was not being supported by the rear rack on the bike and between the momentum of accelerating and gravity, everything just kept sliding off the back. So we pulled off at the side of the highway to re-adjust everything. Only way to make this safer was to move everything forward a bit so the weight was centred over the rear rack on the bike, which of course led us back to square one in terms of enough room for Lori on the back.

Back on the road Lori was basically using all her leg muscles to try and keep herself from sliding right into me. “This is not going to work”, we both agreed. If we make it so it's comfortable-ish for Lori, the weight is too far back and everything on the top slides off bike. Not even an hour into our trip and we were having a significant problem.

Something else that bothered me was having the GLFR strapped down over the side cases, made the side cases completely inaccessible without unstrapping everything and removing the GLFR. Need rain gear or a sweater, we essentially have to remove most of this system to get at anything. UGH! I dismissed this impracticality initially because I thought Lori would be uber comfy on the back, so I was willing to work around it.

Another issue that became apparent and the final nail in the Giant Loop Fort Rock case coffin was one of safety aspect. The sides of the GLFR completely covered the pillion grab bars. If we ever had to make an emergency stop, she would have nothing to grab on to and slide right into me. In the event of a panic stop, Lori could also reach around me and push off the tank, but the only thing Lori could reach was the very end of the tank bag and barely with her finger tips. Not quite sure how this little detail managed to slip past us, but it did.

Well "that's that" we agreed. Now what? Since our destination that day was our friends place in Ottawa, where we would be staying indoors, we decided to drop off the GLFR (which had all our camping gear) with our other friends in Toronto and carry on without our camping gear for the day.

While on the road we decided the solution to our dilemma was a regular top case (which incidentally was our original plan). It's locked down to the rear rack of the bike, lockable, Lori can easily reach the rear grab bars (not to mention the heated wraps I put on the grab bars for her) and we would also strap down a dry bag onto each side case, giving us full access to everything, at anytime. It also gives us about the same volume for packing. While we both love the idea of the Giant Loop Fort Rock top case, it's just not going to work for us like we thought.


Getting help from Otto unloading the bike.

It was nice to catch up with our friends Jeff & Karen over brekky at the Bad Dog Cafe - excellent food by the way, and drop off our gear. We were soon back on the road to Ottawa - our shakedown ride!


What the bike looked like by the time we got to Ottawa later that day.
 

l84toff

Well-known member
Back to the future

From Ottawa we turned around and headed back west :(. We picked up our gear from Jeff and Karen in TO and our friends Paul & Allyson offered us the use of their place in Great Valley NY while we waited for our top case to arrive. So that's where we headed.


Props to Revzilla for a quick turnaround time on our order. I placed my order on Monday and USPS attempted delivery on Wednesday morning. We basically swapped the Giant Loop Fort Rock case for a Givi E55 top case and a Wolfman Expedition dry bag. About the same volume in terms of space but the set up is much better as far as comfort for Lori and we're also able to access everything much easier anytime we need to. Not to mention Lori has full access to the pillion grab bars which made her much more relaxed and safe.


We had everything installed by Thursday and were back on the road Friday morning.



The new and improved Tiger.





We took great care to balance everything between the side cases and the bike felt MUCH better on the road. Not sure if part of that was the fact Lori was more comfortable and relaxed or if it was just better balanced overall but we both thought it handled significantly better.


Thanks again Paul & Allyson, we can not express enough how much we appreciate the use of your second home.


It was about 2:30pm by the time we got to Hamilton and reluctantly hopped on the 407ETR (express toll route). I always feel like I'm getting screwed taking the 407 as it's so expensive but we really didn't like the idea of going through Toronto at 3pm on a Friday afternoon, especially now that the Gardiner Expressway (expressway being something of an oxymoron I think) is under construction. Turned out to be a wise choice as we were through TO in no time at all.


We stopped just outside Peterborough for the night and had an easy ride the following day back to Ottawa. We wanted to check out the capital some more but once we arrived, we learned that it was marathon weekend and there were road closures everywhere downtown :(. So we would spend another night with our friends Mark & El, who were super awesome to let us crash with them yet again - we can't thank you guys enough. Mark & El are excellent cooks (and hosts) which makes it that much more difficult to leave Ottawa. And I mean excellent as in they could easily open their own restaurant good.


In the meantime we discovered an issue with the bike. Seemingly overnight, the Tiger lost over 20psi in the rear tire. Hmmmm?! I have a portable compressor so topping up is not a big deal, but that's a lot of air to lose. Checking the pressure this morning, the tire pressure gauge didn't even register. Oh oh! Running some soapy water over the tire we found a tiny leak. Nothing appears to have punctured it and its location (right on the seam in the corner of the tread) makes me think its a fault with the tire itself. Either way, it will need to be replaced :(


We found a Triumph dealership here in town is open today (Sunday) but their service department is closed so we're in a holding pattern for another day. If I didn't know any better, I'd say the universe was conspiring against us. We just can't seem get past Ottawa. I think we should be frustrated or annoyed or something to that effect but it just feels like it's all part of the adventure to be honest. I mean we're still on the way to Newfoundland, just a bit slower, that's all.


In the meantime, we've decided to put our camping gear to use tonight, that is after all the reason why we're lugging those extra pounds around.
 

l84toff

Well-known member
Finally leaving Ottawa...maybe

We pulled up to the Ottawa-Nepean campground only to discover they were completely full for the night. Apparently there was a pow wow going on. Lori pleaded with the man telling him about our tire sitch and eventually he was able to magically find us a spot. I say magically because pulling up to our campsite, we noticed the dozen or so sites surrounding ours were completely empty.


Not to mention each site could easily have several tents up. Walking around the place I found only about 30% of the sites actually occupied. Completely full huh? Not sure how this place stays in business. The answer came to me when we paid for our stay the next morning - another magic trick of sorts.


In the meantime we were happy to be in for the night. Setting up our tent we had to keep our gear on due to the swarms of mosquitos that were in full on attack mode. It seemed our campsite was only a few feet from some prime swamp land. I suppose we got off easy with only about a dozen bites between us.





We fell asleep to the sound of pitter patter on the tent. I realize I may be in the minority but I've always liked camping (and hiking for that matter) in the rain. I really enjoy the sound and the smell and find it über relaxing.


We planned on being at the dealership when they opened at 9 but ended up getting a late start. It typically takes Lori a night or two to get comfortable sleeping in a tent, something I've never had a problem with. However the cold hard ground woke me up before dawn. Apparently my (brand new) Exped Ultralight 7 has a leak somewhere. That's great, another item mysteriously losing air.


We eventually got to the dealership (Ottawa Goodtime Centre) and discovered a brand new Metzeler Tourance EXP waiting for us, conveniently enough the exact tire I was looking for. They were able to get me in right away while we went for some brekky. Nice place by the way, lots of two-wheeled eye candy.


About an hour and $297 later we were finally on the road. I think Mr Exped and I are going to have try and patch things up on our own.


Could it be? Could we possibly be on our way out of Ottawa and back on the road? Finally? We wanted to do some more sightseeing but were afraid we'd never get out if we didn't hit the road now.


I plugged in a random destination (Montebello, sounded kind of interesting) to get us heading in the right direction and we soon found ourselves on route 174 heading east out of town. The GPS directed us towards a ferry just outside Cumberland (hey why not), every motorcycle road trip needs a ferry ride.








It was a quick trip across the Ottawa river and just as Lori got on the bike (we found that with all the gear on the bike, it's easier if she gets on first while the bike is on the side stand and then I'll get on. On the ST1300 it was easier for her to get on after me.) the captain of the boat comes over to me asking me something in french and at that exact moment the bike starts to tip over towards me with Lori already sitting on the back. My immediate reaction was to grab the handlebars and shove my leg under the bike to try and stop it. Perhaps not the smartest thing to do with a fully loaded bike but in this case it worked. The captain jumped over to where I was and helped Lori get off and then right the bike. It all happened in a matter of maybe 2 or 3 seconds.


We're usually pretty careful about where we park and where we get on. If the bike is too upright, we'll never get the kickstand up and if it's on too much of an angle, then this could happen. At the time I didn't think the bike was leaning that much on the side stand, although the pic above may argue that opinion. We blamed it on the slippery surface of the ferry. Either way, no harm was done and most importantly, we were now in Quebec! WooHoo!
 
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l84toff

Well-known member
Rain, rain and even more rain




We awoke to the sounds of water running through an eavestrough next to our hotel room. I suppose I have only myself to blame for pointing out how much I love rain while camping and hiking, but I said nothing of rain while riding a motorcycle. Lori however agrees that it's all my fault.


Lori was already online checking out the weather and planning our escape. "Is there anywhere we can go where it's not raining?", I asked. "Yes but it involves a plane ride", she said.


At that moment I realized that since leaving last Sunday, it has rained at some point during the day, every day except for two. Those two days we were at Mark & El's and the forecast actually called for rain. In fact it rained all around us but not directly where we were.


Now I don't really mind riding in the rain all that much but for some reason I dislike getting started in the stuff. Perhaps why I'm still in bed writing this rather than getting ready. Nine degrees and raining doesn't inspire going anywhere to be honest and we were tempted for a moment to stay where we were.


The rain let up by 11am and we decided to make a run for it. These 11am departures are becoming somewhat of a theme last few days. Our destination for the day was a B&B Lori found online just outside of Sainte-Anne-De-Beaupré, a fairly short 330km ride.


An hour later we were pulling off at a Tim's to warm up. The weather was just sucking the warmth right out of us.



Lori was chilled to the bone and needed a couple of drinks to warm up.


Usually eager to take the slower, scenic route, we put up the white flag and superslabbed it all day. The rain went from bad to worse and the wind was gusting from every direction but our back, on several occasions tossing us into the adjacent lane, which luckily for us was unoccupied. I had no idea which way it would gust from next. The bike seemingly navigating an invisible slalom course.



Lori's impression of Randy from Christmas Story.



How many zippers can you count? That's right - 4 and a total of 5 layers.


We then managed to hit Quebec City during rush hour for some first gear stop and go traffic. For an added bonus the skies opened even more and the rain went from worse to just ridiculous. It was one of the more trying days I've had on a bike. I could almost hear the universe asking: "you sure you want to do this?"


We're cold, wet, & exhausted, but there's no place we'd rather be right now (unless that place is somewhere sunny and warm of course).


The answer is yes. Do you hear me? YES!


We discovered a little beacon of light at the end of our day when we arrived at Gîte Un air d'été Bed & Breakfast. 102 degrees of bubbling aquatic goodness calling out to us.



Oh yeah! Now this we can handle.



View of the St Lawrence from the back yard - not too shabby.



Awesome little spot to chill out and enjoy the view.
 

MacDoc

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Site Supporter

BlackBeast

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Re: Rain, rain and even more rain

You are going to have the time of your lives, I know I did.
Enjoy your ride.
 

nfq

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Re: Rain, rain and even more rain

Subscribed!
 

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