Western Canadian Rain Festival - A LONG Trip Report

Alex af at genevainformation.ch
Wed Jul 4 04:58:16 PDT 2012

Thank you! Makes me want to ride again, chances are that I'll be able to do so w/ my son this summer vacation :)

On 4 juil. 2012, at 08:01, Charles Scappaticci <scapco at ecentral.com> wrote:

> HI All,
> I got back Sunday night from my trip to Alaska.  The old Geeper made it
> with flying colors and has still never let me down on a long trip.  I can't
> say the same for the shitty Dunlop Roadsmart tires I had on it though.
> I am a planner by nature, so I carefully planned everything I would take,
> the routes I wanted to ride and all of the distances.  The GPZ has been a
> little neglected lately, so I rebuilt the front forks with new fluid and
> seals, had the original OEM Race-Tech modified shock rebuilt for it's easy
> adjust-ability, replaced the chain, sprockets, battery, and serviced the
> air cleaner, changed the oil, replaced the rear brake pads and did a
> thorough once over on all the bolts.  I even mocked up the Givi bags,
> sleeping bag, tens, and Ventura rack and pack to be sure it would all fit.
> I also decided to tow to Chuck Driscolls house in Helena Montana because I
> despise riding through eastern or southern Wyoming, so I changed the oil in
> my daughters Explorer and replaced the decking on my motorcycle trailer and
> repacked the bearings while I was at it.  Expecting lots of rain, (I wasn't
> disappointed) I purchased some nice clothing from REI,to wear under my
> riding jacket and pants.
> I left from work at noon Friday the 22nd planning on making Hyder Alaska in
> 3 1/2 days.  I slept miserably in the Explorer at a truck stop in Billings
> Montana that night and made it to Chucks place around 11:00 on Saturday.
> After unloading the GPZ and loading all the gear onto the bike, I got
> dressed in my riding gear and then reached for my helmet.  Which was
> hanging on the handlebars of my KX250 in the garage. F**k!!!  I rode to
> Cycles of Helena and purchased a $159 HJC helmet for the trip which proved
> to be nice and watertight and had good aerodynamics, it was just the two
> hands it took to open the visor all trip, occasionally causing the left
> hinge of visor to come off at inopportune times, that bothered me.
> I had a good ride to the Canadian border where I was once again greeted by
> a cute young Canadian woman.  Three times across the border here and always
> some hot young thing to wait on me.  Where do you Canadians grow these
> gals?  LOL!!  Within a few miles as I approached Lethbridge, I felt the
> first of many raindrops I would encounter this trip.  I abandoned my plans
> to ride the Kananaski's road to Canmore and made for Calgary, riding in
> heavy rain.  I don't know what was going on in Calgary, but the Holiday Inn
> Express tried to extort $180 for a single night in a hotel.  Shouldn't the
> room come with a hooker for that price??  I said "no thanks" and headed out
> the door where I ran into two gentlemen on Harleys why were pretty much
> soaked to the bone.  I explained the pricing there so we all headed down
> the road to a Travelodge where we were only gouged for $119 for the night.
> After unloading our gear, Dwayne, Bob, and I headed next door for some
> Vietnamese food which was pretty good for about four hours at which time it
> ceased to be good anymore, LOL!!  Bob is 73 and was on his 19th trip across
> the US.  Dwayne is 67 and has traveled extensively on bikes as well.  They
> were heading for Anchorage, Denali, and beyond on a six week ride from
> Michigan.  The next morning, we were greeted by more rain which didn't stop
> until we were north of Lake Louise where we stopped for lunch.  We rode wet
> roads all the way into Jasper where we booked a couple of camping spots in
> the Canadian Forest Service campground.  The next morning we said our
> goodbyes as they were headed farther north to Dawsons Creek and I headed
> more westerly towards Prince George.  They had just gotten the road open
> after three different areas had washouts and I was lucky they had finished
> the repairs overnight. Here I got my first good weather and had a nice ride
> the next couple of hundred miles.  At a gas station I met and chatted with
> a guy on a gold Honda Varadero who was headed west as well.  I took off
> again, but was starting to get nervous as my front tire was wearing very
> prematurely and not looking good.  These tires weren't new, but did not
> have all that many miles on them so I had thought them good for the trip.
> Obviously not.  I knew it wouldn't make it the rest of the trip, so I
> stopped at the Harley dealer there as it was Monday and the
> Kawasaki/Yamaha/Honda dealer wasn't open.  He suggested the Suzuki dealer
> so i rode there and the only tire they had that would fit was a Pirelli
> Angel.  So three hours, $300 and a large jar of Vaseline later I was back
> on the road and made it to Burns Lake just in time for it to open up and
> rain again.  I found a cheap hotel and got some rest on a comfortable bed.
> The next morning, I was greeted by a lot of ugly low level clouds that
> meant lots of rain ahead, so I put on all my rain gear and headed to Hyder
> on my wobbly, new front tire. For some reason, this tire vibrated and
> bounced above 80mph (or 130kph for the rest of you) and would go into an
> ugly wobble at just about any speed if I took my hands off the bars even
> for a second.  I fought this headache the rest of the trip and believe it
> was a combination of not being mounted quite right (It is worn noticeably
> more on one side than the other) and just not meant for a heavily loaded
> 600 lb sport touring bike.
> I stopped in Smithers to ask the Honda dealer if he had any rain gear as
> I'd ripped the butt out of mine and was surprised that they didn't carry
> them.  Smithers is a nice ski/resort town with some nice shops and the kid
> at the Honda dealer suggested Valhalla outfitters so I stopped in and
> bought an $80 pair of really nice rain pants, then stopped at the Harley
> dealer for a couple of souvenir t-shirts before heading on my way.  It was
> about 275 miles to Hyder, so I knew I could make it even in the rain so I
> kept riding and made it past the wet wooden bridges, cold glaciers, and
> rain and arrived in Stewart BC about 4:00.  A quick loop around town and I
> headed across the border into Hyder, AK.  I'd been holding the left side of
> my visor on the last twenty miles in the rain so I stopped at a nice little
> gift shop and got out of the rain.  I talked to the lady owner and fixed my
> visor while waiting a bit to see if it would stop raining, but no such
> luck, so I bought some chocolate fudge and some earrings for my daughter
> and headed back into Stewart.  The road into Hyder is a dead end,
> essentially you cannot go past Hyder so the US does not bother to maintain
> a border station there, but for some unknown reason Canada does.  Out of
> this beat up trailer, marches this young Canadian border patrolman wanting
> to see my passport and wanting to know what I was doing in Canada.
> "Getting Wet" was not the correct answer,  so I had to come up with a
> better one and then went on my way to get some gas and see if I wanted to
> spend the night there.  I had no desire to camp in a swamp since everything
> was wet and I didn't find much in the way of hotels, so I decided to see if
> I could make my way back east and find something.  I gassed up at a station
> that seemed to sell just about anything one would need to fix a truck or
> boat, and headed back about 150 miles to New Hazelton where I found a warm
> motel room and was able to park the GPZ under an overhang to get it out of
> the pouring rain.  The next morning started out looking pretty ugly and it
> rained off and on for several hours, but became much nicer as I rode back
> into Prince George.  I found a nice campground there, set up my tent, went
> out for Chinese food and relaxed.
> Next morning I loaded up, stopped by McDonalds and headed back east towards
> Jasper.  While riding through Price George, I pulled up next to the gent on
> the Honda Varadaro I'd met a few days before.  We traded pleasantries and
> he turned off as I went on.  I made it into Jasper about three o'clock
> after a nice sunny ride.  This same stretch of highway was about the only
> sunny ride I had in Canada.  I did a little souvenir shopping and had an
> excellent buffalo burger at Jasper pizza before heading out to get a
> camping spot at the same campgrounds I had stopped at previously.  As I
> rode through town, I again came upon the gent with the Varadero and pulled
> over to talk.  He was looking for the campground as well after he ate some
> dinner so I told him where it was and headed out.  I got my spot, right
> next to where I'd stayed previously when along came the guy on the Varadero
> and he was just camping a few spaces away from me.  We chatted for a couple
> of hours and shared part of a bottle of Vodka he had brought along.  He was
> from Saskatchewan and had ridden out to Prince Rupert in heavy rain, spent
> the day walking around in the rain, then headed back like I did.  He was a
> pleasant fellow and I enjoyed his company.  Next morning I bid him farewell
> and headed through Jasper Park then turned west down Kootenay Park as my
> intention was to ride down the west side of the Rockies.  I was starting to
> get rather worried at this point about my rear tire as it was wearing
> faster all the time though in the end it held up long enough to get me back
> to Helena.  I rode south down the mountains and spent the night in
> Kallispell Montana before riding the rest of the way to Helena.  I stopped
> in to Helena Cycle to bitch about the visor on the helmet, so they looked
> at it and replaced the hinging mechanism so it worked fine.  Of course, I
> was only to wear it another 15 minutes the whole trip!!!
> I got the Explorer from Chucks place and loaded the GPZ and all my gear in
> it and turned the key to start it.  All I got were some clicks....  I knew
> the battery was about ready to be replaced and I'd ran it dead listening to
> the stereo and having the door all open, I just didn't know it was this
> close.  Fortunately, Chuck was on his way with jumper cables (Thank you
> again Chuck!) and soon I was off on my way to Yellowstone.  My original
> intention was to unload the GPZ and ride the park, but between my rear tire
> and the crowds, I decided not to.  I spent the night in a hotel/RV park in
> West Yellowstone, sleeping in the Explorer, before entering the park the
> next morning.  I had a nice leisurely drive, took some pictures and watch
> Old Faithful go off before heading to the Tetons where I'd planned to
> camp.  It was soon obvious that the holiday crowds had pretty much filled
> up everything so I decided to try for Lander Wyoming for the night.  The
> closer I got the more I realized it was going to be too hot there to sleep
> so I decided to cut it all short and headed back to Denver, getting home
> around 11:30 at night.
> The total trip was about 4,500 miles, 1,600 by car and 2,900 on the bike,
> averaging over 400 miles per day on the GPZ.  The rain gear and clothing
> I'd taken turned out to be spot on as I was never wet, other than my hands,
> and never overly cold.  I love my Oxford heated grips, REI mattress pad and
> zero degree rated Coleman sleeping bag.  I rarely sleep well on trips, but
> I did on this one.  I unloaded everything on Monday and then spent the
> better part of Tuesday washing, waxing and cleaning the GPZ and swapping
> the shitty tires for the Dunlop Qualifiers on my other rims.  The old gal
> still cleans up pretty well though she's showing the battle scars of
> seventeen years of trips, crashes and just general wear.  I've been looking
> at the Concours 14's but money is an issue and then I look at the GPZ again
> and think, how soon can I go again?  We're both ready.
> I've attached a picture of the road into Hyder, it was a soggy place!
> Charles S.
> 95 GPZ1100
> -------------- next part --------------
> A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
> Name: Hyder Alaska.jpg
> Type: image/jpeg
> Size: 454695 bytes
> Desc: not available
> Url : http://micapeak.com/pipermail/gpzlist/attachments/20120704/84b57919/attachment.jpg 
> ______________________________________________________________________
> This is from the GPZList mailing list. GPZList at micapeak.com
> http://micapeak.com/mailman/listinfo/gpzlist
> You subscribed to this mailing list. Therefore, you solicited all
> mail that you receive from this list. Therefore, ANY mail that you
> receive from this list is, by definition, NOT Spam, and if you report
> it as such, you are violating the micapeak.com terms of service. 
> To unsubscribe, you may send email to gpzlist-unsubscribe at micapeak.com
> ______________________________________________________________________
> Unsubscribe or choose new options at
> http://micapeak.com/mailman/options/gpzlist/af%40genevainformation.ch
> You are subscribed at the email address AF at genevainformation.ch
> ______________________________________________________________________

More information about the GPZList mailing list