Pre-trip St. John’s to Vancouver Motorcycle Ride

It is official. My work has granted me the month of July off to take a little trip across Canada.

My father, Dave, and I were supposed to do a trip like this after he retired.

Back in ’92 though, retirement seemed like forever, so In the meantime I decided to put on a backpack and take off to Australia for a “walk-about”.

I eventually landed a cool job with the Queensland government, establishing a computer training program for their engineering department in Brisbane.

After 7 months down under, I got a phone call from my Dad. He had lung cancer that had already spread to his brain. He was 49. He died a few months after his 50th birthday. He was all set to retire at 55.

With some help from the folks at Quantas Air, I made it home in time to say goodbye to my Dad. His motorcycle headed up his funeral procession.

Well, I am turning 45 this year – and my Pirate friend (long story) in Halifax just turned 50. His name is Dave. When I told him I wanted to go across Canada on my bike, he decided he was going to have to go with me. He’s been in the same job pretty much his whole life, and has never had an adventure like this.

I wasn’t sure if he was serious, as he doesn’t have his bike license, but he bought a RED KLR and has a course booked for the end of May. He rode dirt bikes as a kid and seems pretty confident. It is going to be an interesting journey.

It looks like the Soiree will be on the West coast the end of July, so I may be rolling into the party at the tail end of my journey!

So, two stock 2008 KLR’s, one Blue, One Red, are going to cross the country and come back in one month. I wonder which one will be fastest?

“Setting up the KLR for highway may help you enjoy the ride a little more. As willys mentioned a butt pad will help. A taller geared sprocket will keep the revs down helping with vibes and fuel/oil consumption. Suspension on KLRs can always use a little help, progressive front springs maybe. Cheap upgrade on the brake is a stainless front brake line. All small things, only a couple hundred dollars but helpful on long hauls. ENJOY.” Murph

“Tammy, just so you know…YOU ROCK.” Dougger

The route will be semi-planned, and re-planned as needed. A more direct route to the Canadian Rockies, return will depend on how much time we have left. No particular place to go.

My plan is to camp – the Pirate likes creature comforts so we shall see where that leaves us

Service bikes? You mean change tires and oil etc? Or am I planning for a breakdown? Or two? I have my old suzuki in pieces right now – getting to know the nuts and bolts a bit – and I will need to learn to change/patch a tire (I have done it on my bicycle!) and whatever other maintenance is called for. It will be fun to learn

I am getting the June 30th Argentia Ferry and meeting up with my family in Nova Scotia to kick off the trip on Canada Day. The longest bike trip I have been on was 2 weeks from NB to The White Mountains in New Hampshire, then through Massachusetts and back.

This trip will be a little longer.

I have been checking out long trip info online and came across?“The Iron Butt Association”
With info on long distance riding…

I wasn’t going to post this, in respect for my riding partner, but he posted it himself in a blog so I get to post it here too…

Preamble: Dave hasn’t ridden a bike since he was a kid (just had his 50th) and was in with two feet when I told him I was riding cross-country. Basically he got click-happy and bid on a bike because he liked how it looked….

“So, I was preparing for the TransCanada tour, kinda had my heart set on a BMW and read up a bit on them. KLR was the next runner up because they?re more affordable and just as durable. From what I read, either manufacturer is solid. I spent a few weeks clicking around on ebay and it was still winter but that line of credit and my impending tour made me desire action SOON! The inspiration to buy and buy soon hit me ! I?m pouring over EBAY offerings and this bike pops up? WOW! I thought ?This looks like an awesome bike!? and ?Look at the low Ebay price!? ? Under a thousand miles.. Looks really slick?. I threw in the low bid and set a reasonable upper bid limit and hit the button? I was in the game!? THEN I started to check around at what I was getting?LOL My over excitement had gotten the better of me? ?CS? means ?City Streets?! I wanted to go off road about 10% of this tour!.. (bead of sweat)? maybe I screwed up??(Laughing to myself)? I assured myself that I could make money on this if I resold it in Canada? Maybe it will do? Tammy?s on Skype? I?ll ask her? She says ?Didn?t you research it?? ?.. um ? Well, ?no?? It ?looked good? I replied?? (Little pause here) OMG ! she starts laughing at me? or the situation?(a bit of both I think). It?s belt drive she says? might not do well in the bush??I can?t believe you didn?t research it?.. (More laughing.. tears of laughter at this point) ?But it does look like a cool bike.. and I could get more for it here in Canada? I keep thinking this reasuring thought to myself?(Tammy still laughing at me through Skype)? I burst out laughing too? What a dumb ass I am? Hours go by and I still have the highest bid..The next morning? STILL the highest bid !.. Oh No! At least we?re getting tones of laughs if nothing else, and it breaks the cabin fever. In the end, I find out late the next day that my top bid was less than the EBAY reserve and the bike didn?t sell ? Phew!”

Dave ended up buying a local KLR (red) and has started a blog for the trip, with spot tracking and a countdown?here.

“Forewarning..this is a judgemental addition to this thread. Sounds like Pirate Dave is having some form of mid-life crisis. Haven’t been on two wheels in decades and gonna jump on a bike he has no knowledge of and ride across the country with a fresh young lass on his arm. Good for him.” Murph

A fresh young lass with a Pirate on her arm…

He has the course lined up for Early May, and will be doing a couple overnighters in Cape Breton for practice, but yes, a great way to spend a mid-life crisis! And a brave man for going with me. Moohahahah.

He also has bought a Spot tracker – so y’all can see where we get stuck and such. It will be entertaining to say the least.

“I don’t know which of you two has bigger balls, metaphoricly speaking of course.” Murph
Pirate Dave got his license on the weekend, and still wants to ride with me even after seeing the Talc mines video… 1 month, 28 days, 8 hours to go.
Thanks to Wayne for the sheepskin, my butt is covered!Pirate Dave is a true adventurer as he is heading into completely unknown territory here with this trip. Anyone want to place bets on whether he makes it to the Pacific without the bike taking a nap??? (FYI, Dave has a very good sense of humour, he is a Pirate after all)LAtest post on Pirate Dave’s blog:Twenty Eight days before the tour? wow! I just got the ?A? endorsement on my license today for ?any motorcycle? so I?m all legal and off the 30 day learners permit. Over the last couple of weeks I?ve clocked a huge 200Km (almost)?lol, so I?m ready for the trip across Canada. (Muhaha). My front tire is making a bit of a grinding sound up around 100kph and it must be loud because I can hear it over the wind (full helmet). That will have to be checked out. No spill yet so my bike?s a spill virgin! (Maybe I can make it to the pacific ocean without laying it down for a nap?hmmm).
Originally Posted by?MURPH
Might i suggest you post occasionally as to your whereabouts. I think you know we will wonder/worry. And if you need assistance …people come out of the woodwork to help apparently.

Dave has a spot tracker and I am also considering one myself – I will be taking lots of pictures and posting regularly. I am quite sure there will be some funny stuff coming out of this trip. 28 days to go!

Gary still has my seat, can’t wait to “sit on it”!

It is a fine travel instrument, simple in design and economy of space. And it feels nice and smoooth, made from Titanium.

?I got my seat back today! Will be going for a ride shortly to try it out.I can now nearly flat-foot on the KLR, and the seat is wider towards the centre for more sitting area. Still narrow in the front though.Here is Gary:
And the seat…
So the weather was a bit off, to say the least, but I figured it would be a good opportunity to try out my travel/camping gear in the rain. My son and his Dad were camping at Butterpot, so despite the cold weather I loaded up and went to Butterpot.Here’s a few picks of my mini-trip. I have a Hennessy Hammock-tent that I slept in last night. It was not only comfortable (I could sleep on my back, side, or front) but it was quite warm. I did bring a big down duvet from home however, that I will not be packing on my trip. I don’t imagine it will be this cold anywhere else in July. And if it is, I will get a hotel?

Hangin’ with the boys in a tent trailer:

There is a picture of myself on my bike, and my son on his… just waiting to get a copy of that one.

Here it is…

Bike looks awesome. You might want to put some protective tape on your side plastics. I believe the side bags will rub bad.
Originally Posted by?WOLVERINE
Me too! Been contemplating getting one for a while. Where did you get it from Tammy? Hennessy directly and which model?
It is a Hennessy Expedition Asym, with the velcro entrance. They sell one now with a zipper entrance. They also have a larger fly that could cover the bike as well, but I had to stick within my budget – I’ll pick up a $10 CT tarp for that!The sleeves that make packing it away simply are called “snakeskins” and right now they ship free with the hammock. It also comes with the tree-friendly straps. I bought the carabiners and the washers for quick setup. Some guy on YouTube had a video demonstration – and I hate tying and untying knots!You lay slightly sideways Asymmetrically (Asym) and it is pretty much flat – for various sleeping positions.
“there were a bunch of people sporting those hammocks on the Ontario ride, I didn’t hear any complaints. Craig has one too that he’s tried out a couple of nights. I always worry about being able to find 2 suitable trees everywhere?” Skibum66
Mike, you can use it as a Bivy sack as well, And suspend the Head of it on a table or bike to keep it off your face – a stick would also keep the toe up so you get some air flow.
“Finally reading this thread for the first time and i cant believe i havent read it before now what have i bein missin?? Hammock tent, sporks (foons), pirates on KLR’s, etc is what!! Sounds like an awesome trip wish i can do this some day. Will definetly be following this tread closely and following the spot tracker updates. Tammy what size are those side bags you got and how do you find em? I’ve bein thinkin on gettin some but i wasent sure weather to go hard or soft (i know i know sounds dirty lol) but i like the look of those you got there. Btw i just to repeat some previous posts “You ROCK Tammy” THop
The side bags I bought from Dougger, but he bought them from The Toy Box. They are something like this:?…174&pid=540&p=I bought the top bag from Peter Evans, it is also oxford but a different model, and the tank bag I bought from the Toy Box. The tank bag is magnetic, so easy to put on and take off.This trip will be a good comparison of “Hard vs Soft” – but from what I see there are some basic Pros and cons to soft luggage:Pro – Lighter than hard cases
Pro – less expensive (in some cases, pun intended)
Pro – no need to modify the bike or add a rack
Pro – expandable (although they hold plenty without expanding)
Pro – Won’t crack if bike takes a nap (although they may get road rash holes)
Con – Need to use rain covers
Con – Not as secure against theft of contentsThese side cases are really “stiff” and hold their shape well as you pack them, unlike some of the softer soft bags.
I was just getting the last of my stuff packed up and tying up a few loose ends, thought I would list off all the RTR related stuff…KLR – Bought from an RTR member (Denis Curtis)
Panniers – Bought from Dougger
Top bag – Bought from Peter Evans
Sheepskin – donated from Wayne
Tank Bag – Keith at the Toy BoxLess than 48 hours to go!!
Thank you Doug
I spent Monday in the ER with a massive migraine, and had to take today off as well. I wonder if “The Channels” causes migraine?I am on the mend though and have some nice drugs for on the road emergencies.
“I passed on this bit of info a whiles back and seems to get used often around here.?
For anyone who doesn’t know: “Getting the channels” is seafaring terminology for the state of excitement one gets in the last few days onboard a ship before going home. Causes sleep loss for many. Think it goes back to when sailors started to see the English Channel.?” Relic
?07-01-2011, 10:54 AM
The eye’s in the sky report that Tammy just got off the ferry and is in North Sydney. I hope she got a good night’s sleep.
07-01-2011, 09:43 PM
Tammy’s last location is Amherst, NS. Relic has cleared the canal and is about 1/5 the way across Lake Ontario.
?07-02-2011, 04:33 PM
Tammy’s last spot message came from Bouctouche, NB. Just a few kms up the road from the motel we stayed at on our trip last year and very close to the spot we waved to Straight8 and Chuck!Relic’s ship cleared the Iroquois Lock at about 10:10am today!
07-02-2011, 05:05 PM
Tammy is now on the 480 approaching Saint-Luc, NB.
07-03-2011, 04:21 PM
Tammy is now in Cambellton – Had a grand time in St. Louis-de-Kent with Family. In a visitor info centre right now. Weather has been awesome – bit of rain here, but soon to be gone. Off to Quebec in a few minutes. Woooooohoooooo. (Insert Maniacal laughter here)I can now change a headlight.
07-03-2011, 09:27 PM
Tammy has made it to Amqui, QC, about half way along the Gaspe Peninsula on the 132.
Relic is at Quebec City again, chasing down Kate!
?07-04-2011, 08:29 AM
Tammy was up bright and early today, sending a spot message just after 6am EDT. She must still be on Newfoundland time. She’s just outside Rimouski.I’d better start making up the spare beds, at the rate she’s moving she might be here in a couple of days!
07-04-2011, 10:52 AM
Tammy is in Riviere du Loup now. Maybe she can go wave at Relic too as she passes Quebec City!
07-04-2011, 05:49 PM
Tammy is just east of Drummondville now, on the TCH, the 20. Of all things. I’ll bet she’s feeling the heat now (literally). I hope she brought her mesh jacket….
07-05-2011, 08:52 PM
Yes, we just finished dinner! More later….
07-06-2011, 12:55 AM
So Tammy and Dave got here pretty early today, I was at work and Mike was in town having yet another vehicular day requiring his car in for a new set of springs at the front (two weeks ago it was the back). Anyway, while they were waiting they found an internet connection at a local marina. While there Tammy got a call that she had won tickets and accommodation at the?Great Canadian Bike Rally?in Merrit BC.After supper an ADVrider inmate came over to pick up his swag from the Roaming Rally (the event Skibum69 came up for).A great evening.Tomorrow we will escort them through some backroads towards Orillia, their next destination. I promise we’ll get a photo tomorrow.
07-06-2011, 05:17 PM
Whew, what a lot of rain. None of us found our gear to be waterproof. Tres tres disappointed in the Olympia gear.Anyway, Tammy’s last spot message comes from Kinmount, on the 503, just east of their final destination for the day, Orillia!eta: She’s made it to Orillia! Mike got lots of photos and video, when he gets home from retrieving his car I’m sure he’ll post them.
07-06-2011, 11:19 PM

Well that was fun! Tammy and Dave spent last night here, and got to meet one of the locals, Sean, who came over on his 690 KTM to claim his prizes from the Roaming Rally / Memorial Day Ride back in late May.Here we’re getting ready to leave this morning. Got out just before 8:00, to the sound of thunder, and no, not the Nascar type. There were storms all around, but we needed to go anyway. Tammy and Dave planned to be in Orillia for the next night.Looks like we planned our outfits, eh?It sure rained a lot. Dave had a “pucker moment” as we went through a traffic circle in Almonte, moving about 4 feet across in the blink of an eye but fortunately there was nobody beside him.

He was well prepared for these pucker moments, though, as this shows.

Stephanie had planned a beautiful route which included most of our best roads including the World Famous 511, but the rain put a damper on that, so to speak.

We ended up at Munford’s restaurant in Calabogie for a quick snack and the skies opened up yet again!

We left shortly after, bringing along sandwiches for a picnic down the road.

In Griffith we stopped at some picnic tables and noticed signs of a recent storm.

The tree was huge, but had been hollowed out at the base by bugs…

After this we continued on our way, but unfortunately the best views were hidden by rain and clouds.

Later we stopped to say bye, in Hardwood Lake, roughly halfway to Orillia. And it poured!

Bon Voyage, Tammy and Dave!

Stay safe!

“Tammy if you are reading this, not sure if you know but there are rain covers in the bags. They are in a pocket at the front. Have Fun!”
“Yep, she know about the covers. She’s also melted one of them on her exhaust pipe already, so she’s using the remaining one on the bag with the clothing!” Dresda

Very cool adventure. It’s fun following it through RTR. Is there a blog too? Seem to recall Dave started one. Seeing you guys set off in the rain brought me back to 1993 when I set off for St. John’s from Toronto. Sunny skies until I hit Montreal. It rained every day the rest of the trip. Still an unforgetable experience. Have fun, stay positive and be safe.
?” KLX250snewfie guy
07-07-2011, 03:34 PM
We are at Dave’s Dad’s place in Orillia, heart felt thanks to Dresda and Embeedee for the fabulous hospitality – AND the rainy escort out of town – to Bancroft. Much appreciated!!!!! We got the sun back in Kinmount, and dried out by the time we got to Orillia – jumped off the bike – stripped off the gear sat at the dock with feet in water and beer in hand. Pictures later – not much internet access theses days! I will do a Week 1 report in a few days with some pics. The bikes are running perfectly, although I think Dave would like to have some highway pegs, and I will be picking up some cheap rain gear. Later!
07-07-2011, 10:36 PM
Just got a spot message from Tammy, she’s in Sudbury now.
?07-08-2011, 09:00 AM
Well, if google street view isn’t lying to me, Tammy spent the night at the Holiday Inn in Sudbury!
07-08-2011, 11:43 AM
She’s on the move again, in Massey.Here’s the link from the spot message.
07-08-2011, 08:49 PM
07-08-2011, 10:50 PM
Tammy has stopped at a provinciL park west of Wawa, 48.30352,-84.99408. Can’t post the link using this itouch. 571 kms for the day.
07-09-2011, 09:32 PM
Just got a spot msg from Tammy, she’s on 17 west of Thunder Bay. Google street view reveals the location as being a motel. So I checked the radar for Ontario and see that they’ve probably ridden in the rain for the entire day (I set the duration to 3 hiours and there’s a huge mass of rain there). They’ve done 546 kms today.
07-10-2011, 10:51 PM
Tammy has made it past Portage la Prairie now, 670 kms for the day. At this rate they will probably make it to the rally for the start!
07-11-2011, 08:21 AM
Well, Tammy sent another message at about midnight EDT, I guess at 11pm in Manitoba, from just west of a small provincial park a bit west of Brandon. 791 kms for the day.
07-11-2011, 02:15 PM

We have been busy for sure! Just at a laundrymat to finally get my things dry – we got really wet in Ontario.I am putting a link to my pictures I got some uploaded – more later – will do a report when I can. Gotta get back on the road!!!!Having an absolute blast – seeing all kinds of landscapes and meeting all kinds of people – and doing a whole lot of riding. Pretty flat and straight for a while yet…SPOT Page:?…IlQV8q85jqpmEiPhotos:?

Gotta go! (I love my bike)

Originally Posted by?dresda?View Post
Well, if google street view isn’t lying to me, Tammy spent the night at the Holiday Inn in Sudbury!

Dave’s idea of roughing it?

07-11-2011, 06:26 PM
She’s made it to Regina!
07-11-2011, 11:40 PM
Just outside Swift Current now. Wanna bet they make it to Medicine Hat tonight! Just shy of 600 kms for the day (so far?).
07-12-2011, 08:17 AM
Okay, Tammy made it to Medicine Hat yesterday, a total of 635 kms. They are at a Comfort Inn now (I wonder, did it rain yesterday for them?).Distance to go to the Rally at Merrit: 998 kms.
07-12-2011, 10:53 AM
07-12-2011, 11:20 AM
“Be Safe Tammy.Never let your guard down.” Bill
07-12-2011, 10:00 PM
Tammy is in Drumheller now. I guess she’s trying to avoid Calgary?
07-12-2011, 10:46 PM

What a massive, wonderful, beautiful country we live in. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us Tammy and Dave.
?” klx250snewfieguy
07-13-2011, 12:50 PM
Tammy is at Walmart in?Drumheller.Zoom right into the location and then go too street view and scroll around so you are looking across the road from the Walmart. Fabulous row of hills much like the ones just north of PAB!
07-13-2011, 07:01 PM
She’s just entering Banff National Park!
07-14-2011, 11:33 AM
In Banff – doing Lake louis and the IceFields Parkway to Jasper today. The whole country has been experienceing colder temps than usual, so I have been layered up to keep toasty. Bought Frog Togs near Thunder Bay (lots of rain) and have been using them as a warmth layer. Very cozy riding though. Will be returning through the states and hope to experience some heat (I fair quite well in warmer temps). We are in a resort right now – a midway treat. Million dollar day today – the sun is out – and the mountains are spectacular.
07-14-2011, 12:33 PM
Felt pretty strong fatigue yesterday, even though we didn’t ride much, I will blame it on the thinner air in Banff, but I am probably just getting worn out??Great sleep last night and feeling fine again today?
07-15-2011, 07:40 PM
This is the most recent Spot location we’ve received from Tammy. They’re getting very close to their current destination, Merrit BC.…UTF8&z=12&om=1
07-17-2011, 09:06 AM
Tammy is at a friend’s place near Chiliwack. I do hope they get over to the Pacific and stick their toes in….
07-17-2011, 03:50 PM
They’ve made it to the Pacific! Yahooo!
07-17-2011, 08:58 PM
She’s in Stanley Park now. I checked google street view but its just trees, no view of the Pacific.
07-18-2011, 08:40 AM
Just had a text from Tammy saying that ‘all is good’. Hopefully she is relaxing somewhere with her feet in the Pacific ocean, enjoying a nice drink and not worrying about the oil consumption on the KLR!Stay tuned….
07-18-2011, 11:03 AM
I dropped my helmet in the Pacific! Should smell some nice in 2 weeks??Visiting friends here – off today to Seattle to visit a former student. Will be making good time through the states on the way home… at least I hope I do!
07-18-2011, 11:22 AM
Tentative route back… any riders who can ride along are welcome…?…&via=2,3,5&z=5

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