Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AK '09 - Day 24

Today's route was from Burns Lake, BC to Valemount, BC along Hwy 16. Not much of an adventure but a big day none the less.

Things started out this morning around 5:30 when Jerry started talking through the window to tell us he was leaving. He had decided to head for Calgary today and wanted to get an early start. By the time John crawled out of bed he was long gone. So we went ahead and got up and got ready to leave too. The weather didn't want to cooperate with us as it was raining while we were packing the bikes.

About 6:45 the remaining four of us pulled onto Hwy 16 heading for Prince George. Since it was raining we decided to get 50 miles or so down the road before eating breakfast. It was lighter in the direction we were heading, we hoped we could ride out of the rain and that's what we did.

We stopped in Fraser Lake for breakfast at Tony's Restaurant. Tony is the cook and after fixing a great breakfast he came out to talk with us about our collection of motorcycles. He was fascinated with Dick's Stallion. He didn't believe us when we told him it had heat and air conditioning.

After breakfast I went next door to fill up because I didn't think I could make it to Prince George. As I was filling up the rain was just starting to sprinkle. Apparently it was chasing us as we went east. It didn't take long though and we got away from the rain and enjoyed a very beautiful sunny day.

We stopped in Prince George at the Chevron to fill up and say our good byes. Fred and Dick were heading south into Idaho, while John and I were continuing east toward Jasper National Park. My group of fellow riders was dwindling.

After the stop, John and I resumed our travels on Hwy 16 east. We stopped around 2pm in McBride for lunch and met a few riders at the liquor store. They were also heading to Valemount for the night, but staying in the Best Western. One of them had a bright, new, shiny Olympia jacket like mine. After seeing it, I'm even more encouraged to fix my jacket instead of getting a new one. It's sort of a badge of honor, just how much I've worn it. It's really just getting broken in with around 60,000 miles. I'll bet I can keep it together for another 40,000 or so.

After lunch we continued our travels on Hwy 16 until we got to Hwy 5 where we went south to Valemont. This town is like most small Canadian towns along the highway in that it's tucked off to the side but a few hotels and gas stations have built up along side the road. We found our hotel and checked in without trouble. I have a hard time believing their real room rate is $189/night, at least not while they are remodeling. John had negotiated a better rate over the phone and they didn't try to change it on us. After taxes we had the room for $139CAN.

Once I got the bike unloaded and checked out the internet it was time to take care of laundry. Since I didn't do it in Hyder, I was down to my last day of clothes tomorrow so it seemed like a good time to get it done.

Total mileage today was 330 miles. It's the longest ride we've got for quite a few days to come. Tomorrow we're going into Jasper National Park and working our way south. Thursday evening we will be in Kalispell, MT awaiting the girls who will arrive on Friday. The extra day in Kalispell should give me a little time to install some things that I'm having shipped in along with getting the Spyder cleaned up for Reagan.

So how about the Spyder? It's really a fun machine. The acceleration for passing vehicles is amazingly quick. No downshifting needed. Probably the best way to describe it is as a 3 wheeled Corvette, or maybe a 3 wheeled Mustang. It has plenty of get up and go for a 990cc machine. Ergonomics still bother me a little because I can't fully stretch out my legs but the highway pegs should take care of that. The handle bars are a little low but managable, Reagan may want to get risers. I suspect the windshield will get replaced once she sees the poor wind protection of the current one. The Spyder is a really fun ride, and with a little tweaking I think it's going to make a fun touring ride for her as well.

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