September 30, 2010

Best laid plans...

These are the trips that I had in mind to do in the fall, which will have to be put on the back burner for a little while.

... a weekend on Vancouver Island
... the loop
... the Cascades
Oh well, that leaves more stuff to do for next year.

September 28, 2010

Mishaps and close calls

I wish to thank you all for your kind comments. It is good to feel the support out there. Now while immobilized (and working from home since a kind co-worker brought my stuff over), I came to think about the accidents that I had from the first day of my drivers license onwards.

Car accidents: 2
Motorcycle accidents: 5
So, my mom is right, motorcycle riding is dangerous. That's why I never told her...

Thanks to The Powers That Be, I haven't been seriously injured yet, and so far none of the accidents stopped me from re-mounting the bike. It won't be different this time, the healing and repair process might take a little, but I can't wait to get back in the saddle.

Here are some of the incidents:

Acquaintance with a camper van:
In Southern France a trailer tried to pass us, while I was riding pillion on our Beemer. The left luggage case and left foot peg got ripped off during impact, but we kept upright, and I only suffered from a bruised left foot.

Over-estimating my riding skills:
The worst accident I had participating in a trial course meant to improve my off-road skills. I overturned the throttle trying to negotiate a steep sand hill. I did a back flip, and the fall knocked the wind out of me. I bruised my rib cage, and had difficulties breathing for the rest of the day.

Wet stuff:
I flipped the Swing slipping on an oil/grease spot in the parkade.

Also once, I had a low speed drop on wet tram tracks on my way to work, got some bruises and scratched my Vespa.

This time it wasn't lack of skills or fatigue, and I also was properly geared up. Yet, I am still pondering on what I could have done differently.

One lesson learned: I will never ride Hwy 1 on a busy Saturday morning ever again!
My luck: I didn't drive faster than my Guardian Angel could fly!

September 26, 2010

Flying objects (almost got wiped out...)

This morning I was heading out East on HWY 1. The weather forecast was promising, sunny and dry for most of the day. A full tank of gas and a promise of fair weather, what more could a rider ask for... maybe a big portion of luck. Which I certainly had today!

I was doing between 90 and 100 km/h in the Abbotsford vicinity overtaking a truck when a car in front of me propelled a two by two feet piece of plywood towards me, which was obviously lying on the ground. I hit the breaks hard and got the ABS working, and tried an evasive last second maneuver, then I embraced for impact. The debris hit first the bike on the right side, and then it hit me. For a fraction of a second I thought I would lose control over the two-wheeler because my leg was in a sudden world of pain. Don't let me faint, please! But thanks to my Guardian Angel adrenaline kicked in, and I managed to keep Nella on the rubber side, changed lanes, and came to a safe halt on the side line.
After... part of the plastic cover is gone.
The right indicator got damaged as well.

I hit the kill switch, got off the bike, and limped to a grass patch to inspect my leg. Carefully I rolled up the leather pants expecting a bloody mess. I got lucky. No blood. What a relief! The bike must have deflected the piece of wood good enough, and the padding in my leather pants did also help to prevent the worst. My knee obviously didn't have to take the full impact. But the pain was real. I needed to get to a hospital nevertheless. So I taped my leg to give it a bit more stability, and went back to Nella to have a look at her wounds. The right fairing was ripped apart and the indicator smashed. I started her up, and she was running ok, so I decided to bring her home, and go to see a doctor after.

Knowing Nella would be safely parked in the garage, I went to the hospital. Within minutes I was comfortable rested on a stretcher with an ice pack on my knee, and high on codeine. Within two hours (Hospitals in Calgary take note!) I saw a doctor and got x-rayed. With nothing broken, and kneecap still intact, he assured me that I would see a broad variety of colours on my bruised skin within the next few weeks.
My knee took a pretty nasty hit. But ATGATT prevented more damage.

After three hours I was discharged with a knee immobilizer, crutches and a prescription for Tylenol 3.
My temporary means of transportation for the next few weeks.

What had me worried quite a bit is that some cager(s) must have noted my struggles and seen me heading for the sideline. However, nobody cared to stop. The car causing the whole accident didn't stop either, probably didn't notice at all. Thank you for not caring you people of the Lower Mainland going East on HWY 1 close to Abbotsford around 11AM, ignoring a person in distress. YOU SUCK!

And I wonder, since there was no witness, who is going to pay for the damage caused by this anonymous piece of plywood?

Gotta take a Tylenol 3 now, and go to bed. I really got lucky today...

September 23, 2010

Carpe Lucem

Seize the light. Wednesdays are never good riding days for me since I have to attend regular Skype conferences with Europe, and the Asian-Pacific region in the evening.
But with the prospect of seven days of rain (or more) I simply didn't care if I would make it on time,
and headed out to Harris Landing at Fraser River.
The waterfront parkland is part of the Pitt River Regional Greenway and follows Fraser and Pitt River dykes. Besides walking and cycling it is also a nice spot for wild life watching. No bears but birds, seal or muskrat can be seen in their natural habitat.
In the background Golden Ears Bridge is spanning Fraser River. In the wake of the opening of the new overpass in 2009 the Albion ferry which operated over 50 years became obsolete. I love ferries. Sometimes efficiency and technological progress suck.

September 22, 2010

Capilano River Provincial Park

Only one and a half hours until sunset. Not much time to get anywhere (and back). So I rode straight to North Vancouver.
Capilano River Provincial Park offers mainly tourist traps such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, or the Gondola ride up to Grouse Mountain.

But the area around the fresh water reservoir Capilano Lake and Cleveland Dam is lovely for a quick walk in the evening.

Since I was on the highway I couldn't stop to take a 4,000km celebration picture. Hence, this one taken a a few km later on Cypress Bowl Road to Cypress Mountain has to do.
With the sunset now at 7.15PM there is not much time left between work and ride. Far too soon there won't be any more week day rides. An hour after sunset and 130km later I arrived home safely.

September 20, 2010

Das Ganze nochmal

Roland's 'Urlaub' an der Westküste ist vorbei, und so machen wir uns diesmal in umgekehrter Richtung nach Calgary auf. Das Wetter ist bescheiden, wir fahren früh morgens bei heftigem Dauerregen los.

Gen Osten klart es nach halber Strecke etwas auf, aber dafür werden die Temperaturen immer kälter.  

Die Berge haben bereits ihre Schneemützen aufgesetzt und die Bäume sehen bereits sehr herbstlich aus.

Nach elf Stunden Fahrt hat uns die Prärie wieder, 

und wir machen es uns noch bei einer guten Flasche Wein mit 'Den üblichen Verdächtigen' gemütlich.

Heute macht sich Sonja per Flieger wieder nach Vancouver auf. Das Wetter ist immer noch bescheiden. Allerdings ist es an der Westküste locker 15 Grad wärmer, als in Calgary.

September 19, 2010

Ride it like you stole it

Things you can (and can't) do with a Beemer... Awesome Chris "Teach" Mcneil at his best on an F800GS.

September 16, 2010

Li'l Yellow Riding Hood

 Who's that I see ridin' in these woods?
Why, it's li'l Yellow Riding Hood.
 Hey there li'l Yellow Riding Hood,
You sure are looking good.
I don't think little big girls should
go riding in these spooky old woods alone.
What big eye you have.
The kind of eye that drive wolves mad.
So just to see that you don't get chased
I think I ought to ride with you for a ways.
(borrowed from the lyrics of Li'l Red Riding Hood - Ronald Blackwell)

Apologies for the bad quality of the pics... my li'l point and shoot camera doesn't do well with rain in the forest during dusk. 

I so needed my riding fix tonight. Of course it was raining, because it's the We(s)t Coast and summer is over, but I went anyway. My Scorpion jacket was still good for the temperatures, but useless as rain gear, this one I know now. 

I haven't seen the Big Bad Wolf, Grandma or any other rider for that matter.

September 12, 2010

Einkaufsfieber, Kaffeekultur und Herbstboten

Wieder einmal hüpfen wir über die Grenze, diesmal um die Seattle Premium Outlet Mall (etwa 150km südlich von uns) unsicher zu machen. Zunächst gönnen wir uns aber im Shari's in Bellingham ein gemütliches Frühstück. Bei Shari's handelt es sich um eine der besseren Restaurantketten an der Westküste. Die Zutaten sind frisch, das Essen schmeckt und die Portionen halten sich im vernünftigen Rahmen, zudem ist das Restaurant bekannt für seine obstgefüllten gedeckten Kuchen, auch bekannt als Pie.

Als wir um 11 Uhr auf dem Riesenparkplatz vor der Mall eintreffen, ist dieser bereits rappelvoll. Keine Spur von Rezession, oder doch? Ein Grossteil der Nummernschilder ist jedenfalls aus Kanada. Das Einkaufszentrum ist angelegt wie eine Fussgängerzone, das Wetter ist mild und wir geniessen den Schaufensterbummel. Nach drei Stunden kehren wir erfolgreich mit Roland's neuer Lederjacke und drei Paar neuen Schuhen zum Wagen zurück. Nicht nur, dass wir uns ein paar Schnäppchen ergattern können, wir brauchen als Touristen auch keine Steuern auf die Einkäufe bezahlen.

Über Nebenstrassen fahren wir zurück gen Kanada. Es wird Zeit für einen Kaffee-Fix. Diesen befriedigen wir an einer der vielen kleinen Espresso-Buden am Wegesrand. Washingtonians sind extrem koffeinabhängig, man denke an Kaffeehaus-Ketten wie Starbucks, Seattle's Best oder Tully's, die hier ihre Wurzeln haben, und so erwartet man auch auf dem Land einen ordentlichen Kaffee.

Und den gibt es auch... in Form dieser kleinen drive-thru Buden, die offensichtlich mit erstklassigen Espressomaschinen ausgestattet sind. Der Kaffee ist dort jedenfalls hervorragend, der Service ebenso, und als Bonus gibt es heute die Kekse umsonst dazu. Und als Sonderbonus brauchen wir wieder einmal beim Grenzübergang keine GST zu berappen, und haben somit weitere 12% gespart.

Auch wenn die Temperaturen noch zweistellig sind, es liegt doch langsam Herbst in der Luft. Die Kanadagänse verziehen sich schon nach Süden, und das Laub verfärbt sich langsam.

Aber wenigstens gibt is hier in British Columbia wenigstens noch längst keine Frostwarnung, wie heute in Alberta...

September 10, 2010


On my evening walk along the shore 
I watched an armada of ducks floating by.
September is producing another wonderful sunset.
I can't wait for the leaves to change colors.

September 06, 2010

SWing Gleaning

Bye, bye SWing!

It is curious how things sometimes work out for the best. Originally we had planned that I travel to Calgary on the Labour Day weekend in order to transport the SWing down to Vancouver for sale, since we didn't expect that there would be a huge market for this scooter in Alberta, where the majority rides dirt bikes, cruisers or crotch rockets. But we were proven wrong, and the bike got sold within a week.

It was a bit unfortunate that my fellow traveler didn't have the chance to get accustomed to the bike due to his shoulder injury. And so, I had to split my attention between my Ladyhawk and the SWing, which didn't work out to well for the scooter, and my moving to Vancouver didn't help much either. After 13 months in our possession it had only 1,200km more on the clock.

What a waste of a wonderful two-wheeler, because there is a serious touring bike hidden behind the scooter face. The fairings and a proper windshield offer good weather protection, and it has lots of inbuilt storage room. 600cc gives it enough umph to keep up with the big guys. I have never tested top speed but acceleration is awesome, and it does make up to 140km easily before the bike begins to feel a little wobbly. The automatic shifting is smooth, and the ABS breaks guarantee a safe stop. Fuel consumption could be better, but a full tank (16.3l) would get me between 350 and 380km distance.
With 250kg the bike is fairly heavy (like all Honda's) but the weight will help keeping it straight in cross-winds, and it moves surprisingly easy into corners. Other nice features worth mentioning is the center stand, the shaft drive, and the stylish design that makes it look like a 'real' bike.

If we kept the SWing the upgrades would have included heated grips, a throttle lock, and a top case to make it the perfect touring machine. All in all I have gotten to know this scooter as a comfortable and reliable (solid Honda technology) two-wheeler good for commuting, shopping or cruising, and it is one of the few scooters that would actually fit my husband's size of 6'7". If we were to have another scooter, we would seriously consider buying another Silverwing.

... und zurück

Heute morgen um halb sieben machten wir uns bei 2 Grad Celsius und Schneeregen auf den Weg nach Port Moody.

Gut, dass wir nicht auf Urlaubsreise sind. Wir würden uns wahrscheinlich über das Wetter schwarz ärgern. Am Kicking Horse Pass schneit es, aber bleibt gottseidank nicht liegen.

Erst ein paar hundert Kilometer westlich klart es allmählich auf.
Aber die Wolken bleiben uns noch für eine Weile treu.

Es geht bergab. Wir stossen durch die Wolkendecke. Im Hintergrund glitzert der Kicking Horse River.

Am Shushwap Lake haben wir dann Sonnenschein und angenehme 15 Grad.

Halbzeit und die richtigen Temperaturen für eine deftige Brotzeit.

Bei Kamloops verändert sich die Landschaft zunehmend.

Und wir treffen unsere 'alten Bekannten', Familie Wolke und ihre zahlreiche Verwandtschaft wieder.

Aber es bleibt wenigstens trocken.

Als wir weiter gen Westen fahren, wird die Landschaft wieder 'kanadischer'. So mögen wir BC.

Zieleinfahrt: Golden Ears Bridge. Nach zehneinhalb Stunden und 960km sind wir am Ziel und werfen als erstes unsere Saeco Kaffeemaschine für einen wohlverdienten Espresso an, und uns anschliessend für ein verspätetes Mittagspäuschen ins Bett. 
Zur Belohnung gibt es für uns heute abend bereits vorgekochte Spaghetti Bolognese.

September 05, 2010

SWingin' no mo'

Once more I am back in Calgary. We got surprisingly high interest when we put up the Silverwing for sale, and my fellow traveler decided to give it into good hands of a farmer couple from Rimbey who came at 6.30am last Thursday to check out the bike. We liked very much that they plan to strap the two-wheeler on to their RV, and show it the world, or North America for that matter, and so the deal was done.

My mission - should I decide to accept it - is to ride up the bike 260 km North to their place in central Alberta. Of course I accept this opportunity for a final ride of pride.
So I giddy up for the Cowboy Trail, also known for western-style vacations. It has a maximum of 14C (57F) with a stiff northerly breeze, and lots of clouds building up. Good, I brought along some long johns, and woolen socks. I sincerely miss the heated grips on my Beemer though.
The crosswinds are nasty, but the roads were empty and endlessly straight.
The clouds look more threatening with every minute and unfortunately become incontinent as well. The first drops are falling and (thinking of the oh so sunny prairies) I didn't bother to bring my rain gear. I carry a second jacket though, which I put over my Scorpion jacket, and the fairings keep my pants and boots pretty dry.
The sun is out again for a last glimpse, and I warm up at Sylvan Lake, a beautiful large freshwater lake in central Alberta.
Look at the swell, meanwhile the wind has become a gale. I am pretty sure that only Alberta born and bred people can survive in these waters.
Three hours later we reach the Silverwing's new home safe and sound, and are being welcomed by it's new big brother (a Goldwing) and a lovely cup of hot steaming tea.

Good bye, my dear SWing. I wish you well on your new endeavors. And thank you for 700km of wonderful travels in Alberta this year.