Western Canadian Rain Festival - A LONG Trip Report

Charles Scappaticci scapco at ecentral.com
Wed Jul 4 14:09:28 PDT 2012

Hi Ped,

You always take very interesting vacations with lots of good riding.  I
want to go back to Europe and ride there sometime.  I've driven through
Switzerland, but I really want to ride it.

Charles S.

On Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 1:02 PM, GPZ1100ABS <gpz1100abs at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you Charles - very enjoyable ride report :-)
> I also just got back from my summer vacation. 17 mountain passes in the
> Pyrenees and the Alps travelled in two weeks. For someone living in a
> country where the highest peak is some 584 ft AMSL this is just HEAVEN!
> Total mileage on the trip was 4400 km (2735 miles) excluding 1800 km
> (1118 miles) auto train from Hamburg, Germany to Narbonne, southern
> France. The GPZ ran like a clockwork all the way.
> @Alex, George,
> On June 27 I spotted a Swiss registered blue GPZ going downhill on the
> southern side of Passo dello Stelvio, Italy. Would that by any chance
> have been any of you?
> Ped
> '96 "Black Stealth" GPZ (now 145.000 km)
> Denmark
> Den 04-07-2012 08:01, Charles Scappaticci skrev:
> > 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
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