It’s All So Unpredictable
I would never have predicted it.
No one who knows me would ever have predicted it.
It was just so . . . unpredictable.
During the last 30 days I have travelled exactly 100 kilometres on my motorcycle.
Big Ethel, my 2014 V-Strom 1000, has sat idle; alone; ignored.
I even cancelled my trip back to Dawson City, Yukon.
Friends and family were quite surprised. “You did what?”; “What’s wrong?”; “Is everything ok?”
If you had asked me in December where I would be in June, I would have answered: “on my way to the Yukon.”
That would have been my prediction.
But my accident in 2014 taught me several lessons and one of them was this: in all things in life, go with the flow.
Because it’s all so unpredictable.
I realized by mid-February that I was not on-the-edge-of-my-seat excited about my upcoming cross-Canada adventure. And I began to realize that if you are not super-stoked about a 6 week, 20,000 kilometre adventure, well, you had better reconsider sooner than later.
I really did not want to find myself in Alberta, wondering what I was doing, and why?
And there was another big consideration for me as well. I was waiting to receive an answer as to whether or not my US Entry and Travel Waiver had been approved.
I had filed my application in April of 2017, and filed secondary paperwork in November 2017. I was and am pretty certain that I will receive approval to enter and travel through the US.
It just hasn’t happened yet.
When it does, I want to be ready to throw some clothes in a bag, load my camping gear on the bike and head south, and I have to admit that I check my mailbox with a sense of optimism each and every day!
So that explains why I am not in the Yukon today. But not why I haven’t been riding much at all.
It’s all so unpredictable
It’s all so unpredictable
I want to be clear: I love motorcycle riding. That is something that is not in question. The sense of freedom and excitement and serenity and vibrancy and ‘God, I feel so alive!’ still hits me every time that I twist the right side grip of Big Ethel’s reins.
It is a feeling that I hope to continue to experience for many years to come.
But there is a new passion lighting up my days.
If you have been following along at all over the last 5 or 6 posts, well, you know full well what has come between Big Ethel and myself.
A Liberty Blue 1969 Pontiac GTO.
My task, it seems, is to find balance.
I hope that you can see the prominence of tongue in my cheek. I am fully aware of how incredible it is to have problems of this nature.
And in this post I intend to both laugh at myself, and share my solution. If you happen to chuckle a time or two – hell, if you bother to read the next paragraph, well then that will be a measure of, uh, something.
Horizons Unlimited Ontario 2018
During the final weekend in May I hopped into the saddle and rode out to Golden Beach Resort at Rice Lake, Ontario to attend the Horizons Unlimited Ontario Travellers Meeting. It was my first planned adventure of 2018 and my fourth time attending the HU Ontario meeting. This year however, instead of just attending I was fortunate enough to be a volunteer and get involved with the organizing and set up and overall smooth-running’s of the entire weekend.
It was an experience that resonates with me still, a month later down the road. The event was a huge success by all accounts, and it is only going to keep getting better. We were in a new host location and there was a new component to the Ontario meeting – a mini HUMM.
What the heck is a HUMM, you ask, mini or otherwise?
HUMM is short for Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness, and rather than try to explain it all to you, take a minute and check this out:
Looks like a ton of fun, right?
We had a mini, or shortened version at the Horizons Unlimited Ontario event, and every single participant stated that they had a great time and that they would do it again!
Basically a combination geocache/scavenger hunt, the Ontario mini-HUMM took place in the venerable Ganaraska forest – a mecca for single track and deep sand riders from the Toronto area. Ok, I say deep sand, but it’s not, like, Dakar type sand. It just seemed that way to me at the time. Because I don’t like riding my V-Strom 1000 in the sand.
She gets tired quickly, and takes frequent naps.
In truth, the Ganaraska Forest, or ‘Ganny’ as the area is more affectionately known, is an incredibly diverse riding area presenting everything from gravel forest access roads to dual track to narrow single track through the trees with a base of packed earth, loam, and lots – I mean lots of the aforementioned sand.
And guess what?
Big Ethel and I remained upright the entire ride!
We only had a little over 2.5 hours to try to locate as many of the hidden geocache as possible while also trying to collect as many bonus points as we could, and it quickly became apparent that relying solely on GPS units was not the answer. At the end of the event our team may not have amassed enough points to come in first (or even seventh, lol) but we definitely had a great time.
And that remained the theme for the entire HU Ontario 2018 event – a good time had by all!
The tech-sessions, bike games, rider skills/training demonstrations and world-travel presentations were all very well attended, and the bonfire on Friday night saw dozens of complete strangers shaking hands, exchanging stories and settling into newfound friendships.
I know I have said this before, but I am going to say it again because it bears repeating: if you have never been to a Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting and you have any interest at all in adventure travel, well you owe to yourself and your upcoming adventures to do just that. So check out the website, join the HUBB, and start making plans.
As Grant and Susan like to say, the only impossible journey is the one you never begin.
I am already looking forward to next year’s Ontario event – same time, same place. I hope to see you there.
The Fundy Adventure Rally 2018
About 10 days ago I decided that I was going to make a return to the Fundy Adventure Rally, or FAR in Sussex, New Brunswick.
I have ridden in this event the last 3 years in a row. And I have broken ribs the last 2 years running.
I will not break any ribs this year. I am going to play it safe. I was ruminating about how much I enjoyed volunteering at the HU event when I thought ‘hey, why not volunteer to help out at FAR?’
So I get to take part in all of the stuff that makes this great event great, and remain in one piece!
I have written about the Fundy Adventure Rally in previous posts, here and here, so I am not going to add too much in this post – but I will note that like the HU Ontario event the Fundy Adventure Rally continues to grow each and every year and I have never spoken to anyone who said that they had anything less than a great time.
Even those who needed time to mend afterwards, lol.
The Fundy Adventure Rally takes place in mid-August from the 16th to the 19th
My Motorcycle Adventure for 2018
I am going to ride out east from my home in Ottawa with my camping gear packed on the bike, camp for the first time this year at the FAR event and afterwards, I am going to stay east for a while.
10 days; 2 weeks; a month and a half? I really don’t know at this point. I do know that I plan to ride the Cabot Trail again, and I will be spending a night or two at the Cornerstone Motel in Cheticamp, a motorcycle-friendly motel owned and operated by a couple of riders that is situated almost right at the entrance to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park on the Cabot Trail.
The Cabot Trail
And I am definitely going to camp at Meat Cove this time, something I did not have an opportunity to do on my last trip out east.
I also plan on spending some time in PEI, and then heading back over to ‘The Rock’ to revisit Gros Morne, Corner Brooke and St. Anthony’s.
The Trans Lab Highway may just be my route home. As I mentioned I am just not entirely sure yet. The whole adventure is set to be guided by wind and whimsy.
That’s right, because . . .
It’s all so unpredictable
It’s all so unpredictable
I will start the loose planning soon. Which basically involves making sure that my sister is willing to keep my cat, Aya, for an as-yet-to-be-determined length of time and also putting new rubber on the bike. Another set of tried-and-true Mitas E07 Dakar tires.
I also have to go through all of my camping gear and replace a few items, like broken or missing tent pegs, headlamp batteries, etc, etc.
If you are interested in camping, but not really sure where to start, I came across this really well written and informative article on another site – check it out and then start planning your long-weekend adventures!
I would like to throw this out there too: if anyone reading this thinks that a motorcycle adventure to Canada’s east coast in mid-August sounds like fun, drop me a line.
Because it’s never just about the journey.
It’s also about the people that you meet along the way.
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